NPF has taken on a regrettably serious tone lately. Let's get back to having a few ha-has.
One of my colleagues is a devotee of terrible 1980s action movies (I believe his favorite is Road House, from which you can see every punch and kick condensed into a single 10 minute video). He recently sent me this clip of the opening sequence from the short-lived TV series Blue Thunder, which is based on (and uses copious amounts of stock footage from) the film of the same name. It is basically Airwolf, which defeated it in an epic ratings battle for the "Shows about helicopters" market. For reasons that will become clear in a few moments, I think this may be the finest of all TV intros:
A few things.
1. 22 year old Dana Carvey. Regardless of his age, role, or station in life, I cannot see Dana Carvey and think of anything except a) "It's sucking my will to live!" and b) Strom Thurmond, the best part of the single greatest cold open sketch in the history of Saturday Night Live. Also, Chris Farley was essentially born to play Howell Heflin ("That's a good mooovie, jurrdge.")
2. Dick Butkus is cast as "Ski" Butowski. Attorneys for the network vetoed the writers' initial choices of "Stereotype McTypecast" and "Polack J. Polackson" as ethnically insensitive. I don't know anything about the character, but I bet that beneath his gruff exterior lies a heart of gold and a softer side.
3. There's an actor named Sandy McPeak. I can't even.
4. The "Turn around and make a serious face into the camera as we put your name on the screen" intro. You don't see that one very often anymore, do you?
5. The theme song. Good god, the theme song. It's like they boiled the 1980s, collected the vapors, and distilled a pure, concentrated Eighties Essence…and made a song out of it. Horn section! Sound effects! Muted, Boss-distorted guitar lead/solo! It reminds me of that song Mark Wahlberg's character recorded in Boogie Nights after his porn career melted down.
If there is anything more ridiculously 80s than this, I don't think I can handle seeing it. (Small Wonder excluded. That…that is its own category. It has no competition.)