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The Museum of Television & Radio Presents Blast from Your Past—What Gen X Watched: 1969–1985

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA—The Museum of Television & Radio presents Blast from Your Past—What Gen X Watched: 1969-1985, screening at both the New York and Los Angeles Museums from June 6 to October 5, 2003. The series salutes the generation born between 1965 and 1975 that learned how to spell bologna from Oscar Mayer's commercials and about conjunctions from Schoolhouse Rock, and was the first to watch Sesame Street, play home video games, and grow up with a collective set of pop culture references heavily influenced by a media-saturated world. Blast from Your Past will screen in New York Tuesdays to Sundays at 12:30 and 3:00 p.m., and in Los Angeles Wednesdays to Sundays at 3:00 p.m.

Shows such as The Partridge Family, Diff'rent Strokes, and Charlie's Angels all strike a chord with Gen Xers, now in their twenties and thirties. They woke up early on Saturday mornings, eager to be entertained by the breakthrough programming of Sid and Marty Krofft and the diminutive cartoon characters called the Smurfs; they learned about important social issues such as divorce and alcoholism from sitcoms like The Facts of Life; and they shared teen angst with Maureen McCormick (The Brady Bunch) and Sarah Jessica Parker (Square Pegs). Featuring shows from the ABC Afterschool Specials to Zoom, the screening series invites Generation X to celebrate television—the defining medium of its childhood. 

Screening Schedule: 

Rising Stars
New York and Los Angeles: Friday, June 6 to Sunday, June 15
Some of today's hottest celebrities—including John Travolta, Janet Jackson, Rick Schroder, and Sarah Jessica Parker—got their big breaks on television in the seventies and eighties. (Welcome Back, Kotter, Good Times, Silver Spoons, Square Pegs; 105 minutes) 

Out of This World
New York: Tuesday, June 17 to Thursday, June 26
Los Angeles: Wednesday, June 18 to Thursday, June 26

In the seventies, several new television characters with supernatural powers or extraterrestrial backgrounds made their way not only into the psyches of Gen X kids, but also onto the shelves of many stores in the form of action figures, board games, and clothing. (The Six Million Dollar Man, The Incredible Hulk; 110 minutes) 

New York and Los Angeles: Friday, June 27 to Sunday, July 6
What these series may have lacked in plot and dialogue, they more than made up for with fast-paced action, high-speed car chases, and tall, leggy women, making them Gen X classics. (Charlie's Angels, The Dukes of Hazzard; 110 minutes) 

Saturday Morning Favorites
New York: Tuesday, July 8 to Thursday, July 17
Los Angeles: Wednesday, July 9 to Thursday, July 17

Saturday morning television was a sacred ritual for Gen X kids. They rose early to watch classic cartoons such as Hey, Hey, Hey, it's Fat Albert and The Smurfs, live action shows like Land of the Lost, and even the educational interlude Schoolhouse Rock. (100 minutes) 

Classic Night: 1977
New York and Los Angeles: Friday, July 18 to Sunday, July 27
If you channel surfed on the night of November 22, 1977 (and if your parents let you stay up late), you would have caught the following three programs: Laverne & Shirley, M*A*S*H, and Soap. (80 minutes) 

Afterschool Activities
New York: Tuesday, July 29 to Thursday, August 7
Los Angeles: Wednesday, July 30 to Thursday, August 7

The ABC Afterschool Special, which aired weekday afternoons between 1972 and 1988, was a favorite of Gen Xers who ran home from school to watch a teen drama unfold. With subjects ranging from teen pregnancy to alcoholism, the ABC Afterschool Special offered feel-good advice about how to deal with life's problems. (ABC Afterschool Specials: "Which Mother Is Mine?" and "She Drinks a Little"; 110 minutes) 

High School Life
New York and Los Angeles: Friday, August 8 to Sunday, August 17
From groovy Westdale High (the Brady kids' alma mater) to wacky Weemawee High (home to Square Pegs), high school provides the endearing—and sometimes poignant—context in which these teen television characters try to find an identity and gain acceptance. (The Brady Bunch, Square Pegs, Welcome Back, Kotter, The Facts of Life; 105 minutes) 

For Kids/By Kids
New York: Tuesday, August 19 to Thursday, August 28
Los Angeles: Wednesday, August 20 to Thursday, August 28

The seventies and eighties gave Gen X youth many television series featuring, and/or inspired by, kids. Relive great moments like "Ubbi-Dubbi" weather reports and "sliming" incidents with these children's favorites. (Zoom, The Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact, You Can't Do That on Television; 115 minutes) 

Parents Just Don't Understand
New York and Los Angeles: Friday, August 29 to Sunday, September 7
A pervading theme of the Gen X sitcom is the perennial clash of parents and teenagers. Shows featuring parents and kids served up a weekly dose of teen angst. (Family Ties, The Cosby Show, Diff'rent Strokes; 75 minutes) 

Groovy Tunes
New York: Tuesday, September 9 to Thursday, September 18
Los Angeles: Wednesday, September 10 to Thursday, September 18

Great tunes of the seventies found their way onto variety shows like the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, which featured the classic tune "I Got You Babe." And on sitcoms like the campy Partridge Family, songs regularly became hits even off-air.  (The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, The Partridge Family; 90 minutes) 

Classic Night: 1985
New York and Los Angeles: Friday, September 19 to Sunday, September 28
ABC's Tuesday night lineup in the fall of 1985 included three Gen X favorites: Who's the Boss?, Growing Pains, and Moonlighting. (115 minutes) 

And Now a Word from Our Sponsors: Gen X Commercials
New York: Tuesday, September 30 to Sunday, October 5
Los Angeles: Wednesday, September 30 to Sunday, October 5

From famous campaigns and personalities to new products aimed at the X generation, advertisements were as much a part of the Gen X television experience as the programs on which they aired. Gen X kids were the first to eat Sugar Smacks, grow up with computers and video games, wear their Underoos, play with Nerf products, and spin themselves dizzy with Sit & Spin. Remember Mikey, the finicky eater who liked Life cereal; Iron Eyes Cody, who cried when you littered; and McGruff, who urged you to take a bite out of crime? You know you are part of the X generation if you grew up singing "plop plop fizz fizz" and learned how to spell bologna from Oscar Mayer ads. And what Gen Xer can't list the ingredients in a Big Mac thanks to that unforgettable McDonald's commercial? (35 minutes)  

Blast from Your Past—What Gen X Watched: 1969-1985 screenings are included with the Museum's suggested contribution: Members free; $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for senior citizens and students; and $5.00 for children under fourteen. Admission is free in Los Angeles. 

The Museum of Television & Radio, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, is a nonprofit organization founded by William S. Paley to collect and preserve television and radio programs and advertisements and to make them available to the public. Since opening in 1976, the Museum has organized exhibitions, screening and listening series, seminars, and education classes to showcase its collection of over 100,000 television and radio programs and advertisements. In 2001 the Museum initiated a process to acquire Internet programming for the collection. Programs in the Museum's permanent collection are selected for their artistic, cultural, and historic significance.

The Museum of Television & Radio in New York, located at 25 West 52 Street in Manhattan, is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 6:00 p.m. and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. The Museum of Television & Radio in California, located at 465 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, is open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m. Both Museums are closed on New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Suggested contribution: Members free; $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for senior citizens and students; and $5.00 for children under fourteen. Admission is free in Los Angeles. The public areas in both Museums are accessible to wheelchairs, and assisted listening devices are available. Programs are subject to change. You may call the Museum in New York at (212) 621-6800, or in Los Angeles at (310) 786-1000. Visit the Museum's website at