Didja Know? A Tongue in Cheek Look at Pop Culture

Everyone’s got a head full of useless information. For some, it’s knowing about every nuance of the history of postage stamps. Big yawn, I know – unless you’re a philatelist (just fancy speak for stamp collector). A guy I used to work with at the IRS was a stereoscopic photographer and knew all about the technology made famous by View Master Reels. But that’s the fun of living in a world filled with so many things – there’s something trivial for almost everyone to get passionate about.

Here are just some of the things I take pride in knowing . . . .

Didja know that the first time the Wonder Woman character appeared on television in any format (live action or animated) was as a guest star on the Brady Bunch’s Saturday morning cartoon, “The Brady Kids”? In a great twist on the classic Marcia, Marcia, Marcia rivalry between the two oldest Brady girls, Marcia believes brawn is more important than brain but Jan believes brain is more important than brawn. Wonder Woman’s belief in both (expressed simplistically as the brain being more important to secret identity Diana Prince and the brawn being more important to the star-spangled super-amazon) brings the Brady girls to a truce.

Oh and all this takes place after the Brady’s magical minah bird has accidentally transported the whole gang and Wonder Woman to ancient Greece at the site of the first Olympics. Trippy stuff. And they did these wacky guest shots with Superman and the Long Ranger as well. Actually, the Superman and Wonder Woman guest shots and the Batman guest shots on “The New Scooby Doo Movies” at around the same time was really ABC testing the waters for the “Superfriends” which debuted a year later.

Didja know that Richie Cunningham’s brother, Chuck, who disappaered and was never mentioned again on “Happy Days” after the first season was played by two actors, and the second one played a drunk factory security guard and foil for Clark Kent in 1983’s “Superman III”.

Didja know that the long-running night-time soap “Knots Landing” featured some of the earliest TV appearances of Helen Hunt, Halle Berry, Marcia Cross, Alec Baldwin, David James Elliott, and Brian Austin Green. Or that Knots was conceived before Dallas even though it was introduced as a spinoff.

Didja know that, on TV’s live action “Batman”, only one villain was portrayed by three different actors and no, it was NOT Catwoman. It’s Mr. Freeze, who was played by a different actor each time he appeared: Eli Wallach, Otto Preminger, and George Sanders all played the villain who’d been known as “Mr. Zero” in his first comic book appearance in the 1950s and only later became Mr Freeze.

For those of you screaming Meow – remember only two actresses played Catwoman on the TV show: Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt. Lee Meriweather played the Catwoman in the movie version of the TV show – snag! The only other villain played by two actors on the show was the Riddler who was played by Frank Gorshin (the only Emmy nomination for the show) and John Astin. One actress played two different villains on the show though – and that was Anne Baxter who was Zelda the Great in season one and Olga in season three.

Didja know that, on the pilot episode of “Eight is Enough”, the oldest son, David, played on the show by Grant Goodeve, was played by Mark Hamill pre-Star Wars. Hamill’s break in a galaxy far far away was also a break for Goodeve.

Didja know that Gene Hackman played the voice of God in an uncredited role in 1983’s “Two of a Kind”, the film that reunited John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John following the 1978 smash “Grease”. Or that the film featured the film debut of Kathy Bates.

Didja know that the original plan for “Grease 2” would have had Pat Benatar in the Michelle Pfeiffer lead role. Or that Pfeiffer’s leading man in that film, Maxwell Caufield, went onto play Miles Colby in “Dynasty II: The Colbys”, the series that ended with a UFO abduction.

Didja know that TV’s Happy Days is a spinoff of “Love American Style” and that it made its debut as a segment on that program in a segment titled “Love in the Happy Days”. Or that Harold Maude, Rhoda Morgenstern’s Dad on “Rhoda” was the original Howard Cunningham.

Ya well I did.

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