Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Saturtainment: Out of the Blue (1979)

Historians tend to forget that the 1979-80 Saturday Morning season was delayed by a couple of weeks for reasons largely unknown (the writers strike hit the following year). ABC, needing to fill time, decided to experiment by showcasing one of their first year primetime sitcoms.

Out of the Blue was the latest to come from the Miller/Milkis/Boyett stable, which at the time was associated with Paramount, and had slight ties to one of ABC's top sitcoms, Happy Days. Emphasis on slight.

Blue actually had more in common with Mork & Mindy, which was beginning its 2nd season. In fact, Mork himself (Robin Williams) made a guest appearance on the opener, and seemed to be plenty familiar with Random, an angel sent from Heaven to watch over a family. Mork greeted Random with the line, "Hey, brother! Sell me some wind!", which I thought was pretty funny. Unfortunately for Random (Jimmy Brogan), he couldn't rely on Mork to help bring the laughs on a regular basis, and Blue was given a quick hook from the primetime lineup.

Thesafekind uploaded the open to YouTube:

As I noted, Random had also appeared on Happy Days in order to prevent Chachi (Scott Baio) from selling his soul to the devil. It was just one of those deals where they had gone to the creative well one time too many. ABC would've been better off keeping Blue on Saturday mornings after all......

Rating: C+.


magicdog said...

Scary, but I remember this show and the back door pilot from Happy Days (which was one the worst eps that show ever produced, IMO!).

IIRC the family was orphaned and living with their aunt and a housekeeper. "Random" became the babysitter somehow to make sure things went right with the kids. The only ep that seems clearest to me was when the oldest son in the family fell in love with a girl and wanted to marry her (they were still HS teens) and he planned on dropping out of school and working some menial job. Random had to convince him to go back to school and put off adult ideas for a while by using his powers.

Every ep I think followed this formula to some degree.

hobbyfan said...

I think you're right. As memory serves, Out of the Blue aired on Thursdays, meant to be coupled with Mork & Mindy, but couldn't hold the audience. In hindsight, maybe ABC was better off leaving this on Saturday mornings anyway.