Huffpost Detroit

'Hamtramck' Television Pilot Emerges From Video Obscurity

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Sure, Hamtramck city council meetings can get a little hairy sometimes -- and the multi-ethnic working-class Detroit enclave certainly doesn't hurt for local color. But would the city make for good television?

Although it might sound crazy, this actually happened in the late 1980s. During those carefree days of teased hair and stonewashed jeans, a pilot for a sitcom called "Hamtramck" was produced and aired by news station WDIV. A HuffPost staffer recently unearthed footage of this rare television event on the internet (SEE ABOVE).

According to the YouTube video's description, the 1987 show features Detroit radio personality Tom Ryan, who appears as characters "Pop Hamlin" and "Stan The Man, as well as guest appearances by comedienne "Pudgy" and Detroit Tigers coach Sparky Anderson.

The show kicks off with schmaltzy music and an awe-inspiring theme song that includes the lyrics "Let's run off together/ Leave Detroit on a lark/ Let's all head to Hamtramck/ East of Highland Park."

It's filled with over-the-top local references and enough over-acting to make William Shatner cry. At the time, it also angered the city's Polish-American residents.

"It was not only an amateurish production, but an offensive representation of our community," Jean Szulec, a spokeswoman for the Polish-American Congress, told the Los Angeles Times in article that appeared during the pilot's fleeting shelf life.

A commenter named Mike gave this review of the show on the Hamtramck Star blog:

"The show was trying to be 'All in the Family,'" he said. "It failed. On the upshot, in terms of Hamtramck-themed fare, it made 'Polish Wedding' look like 'The Godfather.'"

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Hamtramck (TV pilot, 1987) - YouTube