Today is the birthday of Bobby Sherman (b. 1943). Sherman is one of the last of a long line of old school teen heart throbs that goes back in a way to Rudy Vallee, leading through Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley and their many imitators, and truly ends shortly after Sherman with (in my opinion) David Cassidy. The dividing line, to my mind, is the presence of screaming girls — hysteria. For whatever reason the new breed of rock/ pop stars, starting with guys like Marc Bolan and David Bowie, didn’t inspire shrieking and peeing in the seats. By then that was apparently deemed uncool for even the 13 year old girls who were the rank and file of bubble gum fans. Even bubble gum itself (the music, not the confection) became a thing of the past. And for good reason. By the early 70s, it was just straight up corporate product, a sort of Orwellian approximation of real pop music. While I distinctly remember Sherman all over the covers of magazines, and on posters on the walls of older female cousins, to this day I can not tell you ANY of his popular songs. He apparently had several top 40 hits. I just sampled a few on youtube — all were markedly undistinguished and none rang a bell from my past. It was pablum.
But he was a good-looking guy, and was a fair light comic actor. It was for this reason he was cast as the youngest brother in the Bolt family in the western series Here Come the Brides (1968-1970). Largely inspired by Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the show is set in a remote northwestern logging camp, where a number of brides are trucked in for the convenience of the lonely men, all under the supervision of none other than Joan Blondell. Other series regulars included David Soul (later of Starsky and Hutch) and Bridget Hanley, a very recognizable character actress of the era. I recently went back and watched a bunch of episodes as research for my westerns book, and dim memories of watching the show from my earliest childhood bubbled up. It’s a pretty inoffensive show, somewhat treacly — and needless to say, not too much in line with the modern women’s movement. Sherman’s character was notable for having a stuttering problem. And he sang the theme song “Seattle” which had earlier been a hit for Perry Como:
I’m virtually the same age as you so, needless to say, I love your Forgotten Shows feature. Wondering if you happened to catch one of the three episodes of Van Dyke and Company in the mid-1970s. Mixed in with some fairly standard mime sketches were truly weird bits of variety show deconstruction that were a decade ahead of their time. I think it was Andy Kaufman’s prime time debut, just to give you an idea.
Yup! although I’d love a refresher…usually getting to see ’em again helps it come flooding back