No Way Burgess Meredith’s Disco Dancing

Every once in a while I like to go hunting for old network promos, just to see how they sold their fall lineups. (This is actually the start of midseason, but elaborate midseason promos are rarer.) This time I came across ABC’s promotions for its 1980-1 season, its attempt to recover after some of its key shows suffered big ratings declines the season before. So of course they kicked off their fall launch, and the all-important promotional video for the advertisers, by having all their stars dress up in white and black clothes and disco dance, just as disco was dying. This is probably not the right way to get a network back on track. But on the bright side, they did discover Tom Hanks that fall.

It’s also a reminder of something that puzzled me when I watched Soap reruns in my younger days: why did Dianna Canova (Corinne) disappear from the show? Turns out she left to do another sitcom, I’m a Big Girl Now, for the same production company and the same network — a vehicle for her and producer Tony Thomas’s legendary father, Danny Thomas. Like most shows, it failed and was forgotten.

By fall 1982, the quality of shows on ABC had declined even farther (no more Taxi or Barney Miller or Police Squad!, but plenty of Joanie Loves Chachi) but the jingle is a little less behind the times. However, the sight of Scooby-Doo putting his paw on a young boy’s shoulder and giving him a come-hither signal is so creepy that I can’t believe it wasn’t intentional on some bored animator’s part.

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