Jun 242013

Television sitcoms in the 1960s had a grand tradition of episodes in which the main characters, usually pretty mainstream types, even if they included witches, genies, ghouls, or futuristic space travelers, were dropped into the groovy times of ’60s B-movies. As a kid, I was in heaven when one of those episodes appeared. I felt dropped into a happening scene right along with the characters. Until a friend posted it on Facebook this morning, I’d forgotten about this episode of Max Smart and one of my all-time TV crushes, Agent 99, getting real groovy.

Did television sitcoms in the post-groovy mid-1970s and beyond continue some form of this tradition? Suzi Quatro appearing on Happy Days was pretty cool, but that required some anachronistic reverse grooviness. WKRP in Cincinnati must have featured actual rock musicians inspiring Bailey to cut loose the way we knew she could. Pretty please?

I know The Doobie Brothers dropped in on the cast of some ’70s sitcom, but I don’t remember instances of of Meathead and Gloria getting down with The Dictators. I don’t recall the episode of Welcome Back, Kotter in which Vinny Barbarino and the Sweat Hogs totally rocked out to Brownsville Station. Where’s the episode of Good Times in which J.J., Thelma, and Willona get down to Curtis Mayfield‘s surprise appearance at the Cabrini-Green block party, with Michael joining the band on cowbell? Did I miss these episodes?

I shudder to think of the “groovy” TV episodes I missed in the 1980s, but please fill me in.

When you think “TV gone groovy,” what’s the first episode that comes to mind? Which “straight” character most benefited from getting groovy? Which character had no business getting groovy?

To take it to the next level, what groovy TV episode should have been written? I’m hopeful that the likes of alexmagic will deliver the would-be goods!


  39 Responses to “TV Gone Groovy!”

  1. jeangray

    Just for you Mr. Mod: “Kokomo” era Beach Boys on “Full House.”


    Featuring John Stamos, the Olson Twins & that dude that Alanis wrote her hit song about!


  2. hrrundivbakshi

    First one that comes to mind: didn’t the Munsters rock out to some groovy teen band in some episode or another?

    This is the closest thing I can find to that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3sh0wjdcIw

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    Wow. That’s really something. BTW, is Brian wearing a Michael Dukakis T-shirt?

  4. misterioso

    Mod, you’re thinking of the Doobies on What’s Happening, which is a classic.

    One of my favorite, grooviest moments is Boyce & Hart on Bewitched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PJeYvZrRNc

  5. That’s one of my favorite instances of this phenomenon ever!

  6. I love Groovy Herman. They had The Standells on the show.


    Gotta love Grandpa’s smoke-out-the-ears trick. The fake beard on the beatnik guy chatting up Lilly was an inspiration for the works of Oliver Stone.

  7. Suburban kid

    My first thought was the Mosquitos on Gilligans Island, and Chad & Jeremy on both the Dick Van Dyke and Patty Duke Shows.

    Interestingly, another blog posted on a similar topic today (Top 10 Fictional Bands), with some obscure UK entries:

  8. YES, that Bewitched episode is extra groovy because it allows Elizabeth Montgomery to play her sexy, bad-girl brunette cousin, or whatever she was supposed to be.

  9. Awesome, the Andromeda clip makes me think TV Space Groovy episodes may hold a killer subset of entries.

  10. Suburban kid

    Youtube taught me that The Dickies performed on an episode of CPO Sharkey. If you look closely you can see Kid Congo Powers and other LA area band members pogoing away.

  11. hrrundivbakshi

    That episode is the source of the RTH expression “we reach”!

  12. sammymaudlin

    This posted collection is awesome so far! I believe that the “DJ” in the Get Smart clip was a bad-guy called “The Groovy Guru”.

    This one probably doesn’t count as it features Boyce & Hart playing an actual Boyce & Hart tune but…


    Here are two clips from The Brady Bunch episode “Adios Johnny Bravo”. Their attempt at groovy is what the kids today would call Epic Fail:



    Mod- Thanks so much for the wet Bailey clip. It was only 1:38 long but I enjoyed it thoroughly 4.5 times. She was the real fox on WKRP Would have liked the video better if it didn’t have Dick VanPatten’s creepy oggling eyes in it.

  13. sammymaudlin

    Should be in the RTH Glossary.

  14. Yes, HVB, if that’s distinct to the Hall, please write that up. When you and a few other write that, I’m never sure whether we’ve reached a good thing or a bad thing.

  15. I think he is, HVB! That is a wonderful clip. Mike Love’s slacks could stand no more plaits.

  16. Check it out, they were on Home Improvements too! Is that Adrian Belew or a ponytailed Michael McKean singing with them?


  17. hrrundivbakshi

    Would like to, if time allows. For now, check out this excellent distillation of grooviness from that episode. Check 0:30 for the first use of the term “we reach.” Too bad the editors of this clip excised the groovy jam session featuring Mr. Spock and his Vulcan blues harp.

  18. I’m seeking the link you may have intended to supply, but came across this brilliant work of editing:

    AHH!!! Here’s the full episode. I guess the 6:15 mark of this clip is what you were referring to:

  19. BigSteve

    Larry Storch must have had a predilection for this kind of thing. Here is Lowell George & the Factory (pre-Little Feat) on F Troop:


    And if I recall Jerry Scheff, who played bass for both Elvises, was one of the Sacred Cows in that get Smart episode.

  20. Suburban kid

    What about groovy variety show appearances? The Beach Boys, Blues Magoos, and Issac Hayes were among many groovy acts appearing on Jack Benny’s specials.


  21. cliff sovinsanity

    Not necessarily groovy but definitely stoned was Christopher Lloyd as Reverand Jim Ignatowski on Taxi. The episode where he gets his driver’s license is sublime.

  22. ladymisskirroyale

    I was looking in to appearances on a tv show I’m embarrassed to have watched very regularly as a kid: My Three Sons. And yes, there was a band appearance, but look what I found while doing my research. Someone beat us to this and wrote an encyclopedia: http://www.60sgaragebands.com/images/TVCameos.pdf

    Now to look for visual/audio clips.

  23. ladymisskirroyale

    Does it get any groovier than playing for a belly dancer? Gotham, penguins, colonial garb, belly dancers – more like an acid trip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrmAs4rkRi8

  24. OMG. plus Stax of Vox, the Continental and white curlie cables! Who needs shrooms.

  25. Can we include commercials?
    Even The Stones had to pay the rent.

  26. misterioso

    I’d read about this but never seen it–thanks. It was all I’d hoped for.

  27. misterioso

    I was a big fan of MTS in reruns when I was a kid. I know that Don Grady (Robbie) was himself in the band The Yellow Balloon–did they perform on the show? I cannot remember. I have no knowledge of Chip, Ernie, or the vanished other brother Mike and their musical careers, I am saddened to say.

  28. misterioso

    I saw this episode recently for the first time since, whenever, the late 70s? Anyway, it was a great moment of having the light bulb go on when I heard “we reach” and I understood its usage here in RTH. One of life’s small victories.

  29. misterioso

    Mod, the comment under the video must be from you: “One of my absolute favorite performances. You can’t beat raw spontaneity. AND they were all really singing (not miming) AND they brought up their mics so you can hear them!” Golly,I am getting all tingly!!

  30. diskojoe

    Don’t you remember a thread we had several years ago where we imagined rock bands guesting on TV shows? I think I kicked it off w/the New York Dolls on the Odd Couple & also ended it w/Love guesting on Dragnet ’68

  31. I do remember that now! I thought we’d covered something like this, but couldn’t be sure. I’ll see if I can find it in the archives.

  32. cliff sovinsanity

    This is one greatest things I’ve ever seen. There is not a scene or camera cut-away wasted in this clip.

  33. Oh! I thought “We Reach!” was meant as a negative like “That’s quite the exaggeration!” Thank you for clarifying via Spock.

    Agent 99 doesn’t have much natural rhythm.

    More Bailey please.

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