Angry Ward Wednesday: Super ’70s Flashback and Flashforward

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BRONX, NY – A couple of weeks ago my brother suggested I do a column that mentions a bunch of stuff we watched on TV in our youth and somehow tie it into sports. When I told him that I had done this many times before, he wasn’t having it. What can I say, the guy likes his 1970s nostalgia. Since I don’t have any other good ideas, I’ll serve it up and try to make it work. Here goes.

The Magic Garden. This kids show on WPIX starred two women named Carole and Paula and a squirrel puppet named Sherlock, who was a pain in the a$$, if you ask me. Anyway, it was squeaky clean fun with stories and songs and guitar strumming aplenty. Unlike this Garden, there has been very little magic coming out the one at New York’s 4 Penn Plaza run by James Dolan. He’s more annoying than Sherlock and his guitar playing sucks.

It’s 10 o’clock, Do You Know Where Your Children Are? This nightly public service announcement on Channel 5 was kinda creepy, but also kinda effective, especially for boozy parents who had no earthly idea what time it was or even how many kids they had. Speaking of missing persons, has anyone seen Yoenis Cespedes or Jed Lowrie lately?

The 4:30 Movie. An ABC Channel 7 staple, the 4:30 movie was always good post-homework viewing, especially when they had their theme weeks like War Week and (the best) Ape Week. Speaking of apes, like King Kong falling off the Empire State Building, recently-retired Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski says playing in the NFL was bringing him down. That was a reach. Let’s move on.

PIX! PIX! PIX! There was nothing like watching clueless kids scream these words into a telephone as they attempted to throw touchdown passes in Intellivision Football or other equally terrible game on WPIX 11. You could win prizes and, if you woke up at like 5 am to find out the PIX Pal of the Day, you could win even more. I think Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is gonna throw a lot of PIX! PIX! PIX! this year.

 

The Benny Hill Show. Half naked women, terrible jokes, and smacking old bald guys around on the back of their heads, The Benny Hill show was pure magic for adolescent boys and grown men alike. People throw the word “genius” around on humorless f**ks like Bill Belichick all the time, but he’s just some pud who knows football. Benny Hill? He was a genius.

The Life of Riley. My brother loved watching reruns of this show which starred William Bendix as hapless Dad Chester A. Riley. His famous catch phrase always being, “What a revoltin’ development this is.” Colts fans think that Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement is a revoltin’ development, but who cares? The guy is smart enough to know when to walk away from the meat grinder that is the NFL. Hope he lives the idiomatic “life of Riley” in retirement.

Me? I’m never retiring, because I never get paid. Come back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz, who I’m not even sure was alive in the 1970s.

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Wednesday: Angry Ward, who has admirers at the NY Times, is the quintessential angry sports fan but one exception... he's flat-out funny. And the angrier he gets, the more amusing his work becomes. Psychiatrists say, "Angry Ward's 'anger' is a direct result of "Bronx/Mets syndrome: growing up in the Bronx as a Mets fan." As if that weren't enough, his Minnesota North Stars abandoned him for Dallas, forcing him to embrace The Wild the way conservatives embrace Mitt Romney. While the Vikings tease him incessantly with flirtations of success, the Golden State Warriors, "Don't have a enough short, white angry guys but I don't dislike them... that much." A-Dubya is MTM's longest-tenured indentured servant, its Larry David and quite simply, The Franchise.

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