"Remember This?" is a recurring feature on HuffPost Entertainment, resurrecting pop-cultural artifacts that haven't enjoyed the spotlight for quite some time. Today, Mike Ryan writes about a Saturday morning cartoon from 1984, Kidd Video. If there's a topic you want us to cover, let us know in the comments.
I spent my "discovering music years" living in a small town called Eldon in the middle of Missouri. Fun fact about Eldon, Mo.: In the early 1980s, the town did have a cable company, but that cable company only provided 13 channels. Unfortunately for me, one of those channels was not Music Television (also known to the people who actually had MTV as "MTV"). I had three ways to get my desperate music video fix: Friday Night Videos, Night Tracks and a Saturday morning cartoon titled Kidd Video.
NBC's Friday Night Videos was never a realistic option for me. My parents usually only went out on Saturday nights and by the time I could sneak back down to the television, Friday Night Videos was long over. Now, WTBS's (what would eventually become today's "very funny" TBS) Night Tracks could be a "Remember This?" of its own. Just like the world knows that "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles was the first video to ever play on MTV, I still remember that "Family Man" by Hall & Oates was the first video to have aired on Night Tracks. God, I loved Night Tracks. And Night Tracks aired all night, on both Friday and Saturday. Though, the only "legal" means, at least in my parent's eyes, I had of watching music videos was through Kidd Video.
Ah, Kidd Video. Let's cut to the chase. (Or, "let's talk brass tacks," if you like that cliché better.) The most interesting thing about Kidd Video was that during the live action opening, the guy who played the character of Whiz also played the infamous Cousin Oliver on The Brady Bunch. Now, I didn't realize that at the time and I honestly have no idea if that would have enhanced or hampered my enjoyment of Kidd Video.
So, the premise was that a rock band called Kidd Video -- led by a lead singer of the same name (which, in retrospect, seems selfish) -- is kidnapped by a Louie De Palma-looking man named the Master Blaster. For reasons I can't remember, Master Blaster brought Kidd Video (both the selfish lead singer and the band) to an alternate universe in which everyone appeared as cartoons. The purpose being that Kidd Video would be Master Blaster's musical slaves. I have no idea what this means.
Let's discuss the opening sequence, because it's quite great.
:04 The alarm rings, which wakes up Carla, who I think is the band's drummer.
:06 While Carla is starting her day, Kidd Video is very much awake, shaking his fist in triumph. Right here, I should have realized that Kidd Video was not the lead singer of a real band because I don't think the lead singer of real rock bands wake up at anything resembling a reasonable time.
:08 Then there's
Cousin Oliver Whiz, who's awakened by a television screen that says "Wake Up! Rehearsal Today!" Perhaps Whiz has a flair for the dramatic, but I feel the exclamation points should be reserved for the days that there's an actual performance.
Okay, I can't keep doing this. Even though everyone seems like they are in such a hurry, all that's at stake here is a rehearsal. (Even though Kidd's red scooter and Whiz's yellow truck are quite fantastic.) Seriously, I can't even pretend to have the sense of urgency that the members of Kidd Video seem to have.
At this point I should point out that no one who watched Kidd Video actually cared abut these plot developments. The show was basically a vehicle for Kidd, or one of his bandmates, to perform an action as mundane as opening up a closet door, only to find the video for "Synchronicity II" by The Police (or perhaps "Overkill" by Men at Work) lurking in the next room. It made no sense. I didn't care. To this point: I am almost positive that I have seen every episode of Kidd Video, yet I cannot remember the specifics of any given episode other than, "Master Blaster is mean," and, "I remember they befriended a fairy named Glitter who could help the band by sneezing," of all things.
Even as a child, I felt bad for the actors in Kidd Video. To be honest, I wasn't sure if this was a real band or if these were just actors hired to portray themselves as a real band. I remember leaning toward "real band" (again, at the time, I had no idea of the Cousin Oliver connection, which would have cleared this confusion up) and thinking that the four of them really got a raw deal. Even as actors, yeah, they still got a raw deal. It's interesting, basically Kidd Video was the music video era's answer to The Monkees -- a fake band only formed to create a television show -- yet there were no sold out tours featuring the musical stylings of Kidd Video, Ash, Carla, and
Cousin Oliver Whiz. Obviously, what was presented on this Saturday morning television cartoon was nowhere near the absurd genius of The Monkees -- but they didn't even try.
Sadly, at least for me, Kidd Video was nothing more than excuse to watch music videos on a Saturday morning and not have my parents care. I'm sure there was an interesting plot -- and, I'm sure, at times, I cared -- but all I remember are the videos. Kidd Video was a gateway drug. A gateway drug that would lead me to looking for my overnight fix through Night Tracks. A gateway drug that would lead me, eventually, once we moved out of Eldon, to MTV. A gateway drug, as Kidd Video would say: from my video, to my radio.
Update: So! As it was pointed out in the comments and on Twitter, apparently Whiz and Carla (Robbie Rist and Gabriele Rozzi-Nelson) reunited. Yesterday. I had absolutely no idea this was happening. Regardless, here's the video. (Sadly, they are not singing the theme song.)
Mike Ryan is senior entertainment writer for The Huffington Post. If Kidd Video performed live in New York City and tickets were reasonably priced, he'd probably attend. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.