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Author Topic: The 70's: Those Terrible Teens!  (Read 4351 times)
Raffine
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« on: September 07, 2007, 06:48:28 PM »

Lester 1/2's thread about THE BABY somehow got me thinking about teens in the movies and on TV during the 1970's.

During the 30's and 40's teenagers in the movies got to solve mysteries, ride around in cool jalopies, pig out at soda fountains, and put on spontaneous musicals. The 50's found movie teens dancing to rock n' roll, speeding around in hot rods and on motorcycles, and defeating monsters and aliens. The 60's were one long beach party for teenagers.

But when the 70's rolled around teenagers almost completely disappeared from movies, other than a few ill-fated romances (LOVE STORY, SUMMER OF '42) until late in the decade, when they became fodder for killer sharks (JAWS 2) or homicidal maniacs (HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH). About the only teenager allowed to have any fun in a 70's movie was Ron Howard, and he was in his twenties by then.

On TV teens fared even worse. Sit-com teenagers couldn't have innocent adventures like Wally Cleaver, Dobie Gillis and Gidget because all their spare time was taken up by "Very Special Episodes" dealing with drugs, racial discrimination, booze, gangs, sex, abortions, and getting their hair to look like Leif Garrett's. 70's TV teens not plagued by these problems either lived in 1880's Missouri or 1930's West Virginia. I would include the Brady's house, but they had to deal with Greg's smoking and Jan's paranoid schizophrenia.

But nothing could beat those 'message' made-for-TV movies that put teens through all sorts of hell be it drugs, mental illness,  pregnancy, bed-wetting, or having to live in a silly-looking bubble. Parents were usually encouraged to make their kids watch these so they'd be too horrified and paranoid to leave their rooms before the age of 21. Looking back, these 'serious' films seem like the bastard grandkids of those 30's exploitation 'educational' films like REFFER MADNESS and CHILD BRIDE.

Some of the worst (best!) were:
GO ASK ALICE (1973)
BORN INNOCENT (1974) Linda Blair!
BAD RONALD (1974)
SARAH T: PORTRAIT OF A TEENAGE ALCOHOLIC (1975) Linda Blair, part II!
THE LONELIEST RUNNER (1975) Lance Kerwin! (?)
JAMES AT 15 (1977) Kerwin again.
DAWN: PORTRAIT OF A TEENAGE RUNAWAY (1976) Eve Plumb!
THE BOY IN THE PLASTIC BUBBLE (1976) John Travolta!
There's probably more.

And, naturally, all those 'After School Specials'.

Luckily for teens, ANIMAL HOUSE, PORKY'S, and FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH came along and made it fashionable for teenagers to enjoy themselves in the movies again...

Anyone else have any thoughts or memories about this, particularly those TV movies?

Our mom usually made us watch 'em, and we'd all wind up being embarassed.
I still remember that toilet plunger scene from BORN INNOCENT!





« Last Edit: September 07, 2007, 07:19:16 PM by Raffine » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2007, 06:58:38 PM »

Maybe it was backlash from all those darn beach party movies of the 60's?  Having watched all those grinning and dancing idiots for just about a full decade, society decided to repay them with sharks and crazy people armed with sharp things.

Speaking of teens having fun in the 80's, don't forget "Midnight Madness!"
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Raffine
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2007, 07:08:20 PM »

Quote
Maybe it was backlash from all those darn beach party movies of the 60's?  Having watched all those grinning and dancing idiots for just about a full decade, society decided to repay them with sharks and crazy people armed with sharp things.

A thought: those movies from the 40's, 50's, 60's, and later, the 80's were largely made for teen audiences. Did teens stay home and smoke dope instead of going to the movies during the 70's, or were they only going to BILLY JACK movies?

You'd think somebody would have been making movies specifically for this huge audience during that time. I think A.I.P. was mostly making blaxploitation movies during the early to mid 70's.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2007, 07:22:21 PM by Raffine » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2007, 04:05:25 AM »

 Interesting topic!!! I never really thought about it...! Your right! Teens wern't featured too much in our day...
Ah! Teens with weird powers get revenge- like CARRIE, or possessed by Satan, or both...like JENNIFER---

   [youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk8H0fK4Fdo

  Or they were all sex crazed...as this kid was for Angie Dickenson in PRETTY MAIDS ALL in a ROW (1971)----

  [youtube=425,350]
Small | Large


  ...and,of course...Cheerleader movies!!! One of my very favorites of that genre-SATAN"S CHEERLEADERS!!!---

   [youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcKVf6rsYts

 On TV...hmmm Earl Hamner (from the WALTON's) did APPLES WAY too...Ronny Cox was in it,as a nice Dad. I was shocked when later I saw him in the BEAST WITHIN and ROBO COP!

 Of course...they all had rock groups...like the PARTRIDGE FAMILY! How come me and my brothers and sisters didn't have a cool rock band? We just had rock fights with the neighbors down the street...!
« Last Edit: September 08, 2007, 04:22:25 AM by RCMerchant » Logged

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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2007, 03:59:39 PM »

I can't think of many films to match the thread's subject, except for "Alexander," w/ Leigh McCloseky as Alexander Duncan, which would come out the year after "Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway" was shown on television. Actually, the subtitle for "Alexander" was "The Other Side of Dawn."
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2007, 09:12:45 PM »

And let's not forget Sweet Hostage with the terminally troubled Linda Blair and Martin Sheen as a philosopher pedophile.  Ah, who am I kidding?  I watched for Linda, all right?  I didn't know why at the time, but it just made me feel all warm and tingly to watch her.  Now that I understand, she doesn't look as good.  Oh, cruel Fate!!!


Also, Susan Dey as a poor innocent child forced into a crime in Cage Without A Key.  Ah, those ultra short institutional dresses she wore!!

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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2007, 06:19:24 AM »

And let's not forget Sweet Hostage with the terminally troubled Linda Blair and Martin Sheen as a philosopher pedophile.
What about THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE with the terminally troubled Jodie Foster and Martin Sheen as a philosopher pedophile?

I'm pretty sure that was the only exploitation film I've seen and I'm not hankering to see more.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2007, 06:20:57 AM by Mr. Briggs Inc. » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2007, 08:32:20 AM »

I guess you had Happy Days, of course that was about teens from the '50s.  And Ron Howard showed up in quite a few car movies like Eat My Dust.  Oh man, I loved those car movies  TeddyR Other than that, I can only remember Eight is Enough and James at 15. 

Kind of interesting the way kids watched a lot of TV in the '70s even though the shows didn't specifically pander to them.  Nowadays the TV people seem to think that if there aren't a load of kids in the cast, no kids will watch the show, but all of us who grew up in that era were perfectly happy watching older people in shows.   I have a lot of fond memories of TV in the '70s, and even though I love the '80s with all my heart, good god did TV ever suck in that decade.  Just one retarded and all-too-often "special" sitcom after another after another. 
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