How “Ozzie & Harriet,” “Punky Brewster,” and getting married are all connected — kind of.
Decades ago, in the “Big ’80s,” two dear friends of mine found wedded bliss.
In other words — they got married.
And after the reception, the loving newlyweds gathered their gifts and went through their gifts and cards.
Upon opening one card, which was filled with only $5.00, the newlywed husband turned to his newlywed wife, and exclaimed, “$5.00?!”
He was shocked, to say the least.
Certainly, we all give what we can for such gatherings — but $5.00?!
I mean, come on:
A wedding gift in the ’80s should have at the very least been $50.00 (although I guess $25.00 would be acceptable…I guess).
Around this same time, I was working as a page for NBC-TV in Burbank, California. And, one day, I was working the phones in the “Ticket Office,” which we used to refer to as the “Hell Whole” or “Ticket Orifice,” because it was the most boring of our many assignments.
The given-Page would speak with incoming callers from the public who wondered which tickets to which shows were available.
I would go down the list and mention The Tonight Show, Wheel of Fortune, etc. And during this one call, I said, Punky Brewster, which had recently debuted on NBC (starring Solei Moon Frye, who is starring in the contemporary reboot for NBC’s Peacock streaming network).
And this one day the person calling-in misunderstood me and said, “LUNKY GOOF?!”
I held back my laughter and replied, “No — PUNKY BREWSTER.”
It was funny because he said, “LUNKY GOOF?!” with the very same inflection that my friend had said, “$5.00?!” about his wedding gift.
Ok — flash forward some thirty years…
I’m watching ng a DVD of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which is my new favorite classic TV show to watch of late.
At the close of the episode, titled, “The Pennies,” Harriet Nelson turns to the camera (for reasons expressed throughout the episode), and lip sinques, “$5.00?!”
There was no sound, and the response had to do with her husband Ozzie spending $5.00 in a relatively exorbitant manner (for the time, which was the 1950s).
But when I saw Harriet say that (again, actually lip-cinque that), I was astounded, as it reminded me of the “$5.00”/Punky Brewster scenario…which I had just was sharing with someone only the night before — which made it all the more freaky.
And there ‘ya go.
Herbie J Pilato is the host and executive producer of Then Again with Herbie J Pilato, a new classic TV talk show now streaming on Amazon Prime and Shout! Factory TV. Herbie J is also the author of several nonfiction books about pop-culture including NBC & ME: My Life As A Page In A Book. For more information, visit www.HerbieJPilato.com.