9 Secrets From the Iconic TV Series That Shaped the ‘80s
Possibly, at some point in your life, you’ve sat down and patiently reviewed an old photo album. As you turned the pages you rediscovered what you looked like when you were younger and a flow of memories flashed in front of your eyes.
Indeed, times have changed and so have you. But memories will always be there, in pictures, for you to travel back in time. So let’s take a look back at the old golden days and remember some of the most successful series of the ’80s.
1. The Greatest American Heroe (1981–1983): The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon and his tribute to the American superhero.
Fans of retro series and anybody who was born in the ’70s, probably remembered having seen before that peculiar T-shirt Sheldon wears. They first saw it on the clumsy American superhero from The Greatest American Hero, who delighted us with his adventures in the ’80s.
2. Fantasy Island (1977-1984): the beginning of the end.
One of the most popular series of the 1980s was undoubtedly Fantasy Island, which aired from 1977 to 1984. Ricardo Montalván and Hervé Villechaize played Mr. Rooke and Tattoo, respectively.
But when Hervé asked the production to match his salary to Ricardo’s —after all, they were both starring in the series— he got a “no” as an answer and ended up fired. The series lasted another year, but it had to be canceled in the end because the audience dropped after Tattoo disappeared.
3. Manimal (1983)
If you were a child growing up in the ’80s, you probably know that Manimal (1983) was one of the most popular shows. However, in the United States, the series did not have the same reception as in other countries. They only aired 8 episodes, in which Professor Jonathan Chase transformed himself into different animals.
In France, the success was such that after the series was canceled, a French company wanted to resume production with the original cast, but it never happened. However, in 1988 the French broke records for calls asking to rebroadcast Manimal when asked which series they wanted to watch.
4. Automan (1983–1984): It’s always a pleasure to come back.
Automan is another unforgettable show. Although they used SFX, they obviously couldn’t access CGI to make the magic happen, which is an added reason to love the series. Also, the main character’s car was a customized Lamborghini Countach. Both of these reasons made it the most expensive series of its time, costing more than a million dollars per episode.
Star Chuck Wagner returned in 2017 with his luminous suit thanks to the sci-fi short Hewlogram, in which they revived the ’80s superheroic hologram.
5. The Wonder Years (1988-1993): You must be this tall to ride!
The Wonder Years made an entire generation long for the past in nostalgia. With each episode, viewers relived their childhood, their first love, and the desire to stop time. As the series unfolded, many did not understand why Winnie Cooper (Danica Mckellar) moved away from Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage).
The reason, perhaps, is simpler than we imagined. Danica grew up faster than Fred, and the producers thought they didn’t look good together, so they decided to wait until he grew up to return with the love story between the two. Of course, at the end of the series, they each went their separate ways, as usually happens with life, which brings everything back to memory.
6. The A-Team (1983-1987): Actors and Rivals.
Not everything you see on the screen is true behind the scenes. Take The A-Team, for example. In real life, Hannibal Smith, leader of the elite squad and played by George Peppard, did not get along with Mr. T, who played Mario Baracus in the series.
At the beginning of the show, the biggest star was Peppard. Still, Mr. T was growing in popularity and obviously in salary, unleashing the veteran actor’s fury and jealousy. In fact, Dirk Benedict (Faceman) claimed that George Peppard made him the messenger between him and “the golden man,” as George used to call Mr. T.
7. Knight Rider (1982-1986): Couples from parallel worlds?
Remember that the main character of the series was Michael Knight, played by David Hasselhoff? Well, the correspondence written by fans was addressed to the character and not to the actor. Because of that, letters were mistakenly delivered to fellow actor Michael E. Knight.
Hasselhoff’s wife at the time was Catherine Hickland, who also appeared in the series and was married to Michael Knight, the character. But later, she and David separated, and she married Michael E. Knight, the actor. Stranger than fiction, right?
8. Remington Steel (1982–1987): A real heartbreaker
Remington Steel was Pierce Brosnan’s gateway to fame. His character, at first, was destined to be secondary, and the main role was Laura Holt’s, played by Stephanie Zimbalist. However, the actor stole everybody’s hearts, so he became the star of the series. This is, in part, what opened the doors for Pierce to play James Bond.
Cassandra Harris played Steel’s ex in the series. But in real life, she was Brosnan’s wife until she passed away in 1991. On the other hand, the series’ protagonists, Pierce and Zimbalist, couldn’t stand each other. In fact, they did not even greet each other in the morning, even though they had amazing chemistry onscreen.
9. Thundercats (1985–1989): Better safe than sorry
We’ve all wondered why a feature film about the cosmic felines had never been released. Well, it turns out that Thundercats had some very cautious producers. In fact, the first season of the series was ready in 1983 but only aired in 1985.
In 1987, the space kitties had a movie version ready to be released, but after Transformers: The Movie and My Little Pony: The Movie flopped, they decided to release it on TV only. They later split it into five episodes to avoid any risk.
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