Last week, we did something really cool. We had friends over, ate chili, drank wine and watched the Muppets. Loads and loads of Muppets. We made it to halfway through Season Two, where the budget had clearly increased and big stars like Elton John and Julie Andrews started showing up. Until then, I was left to explain the guest hosts to my fellow Muppet Night co-founders, many of whom were at least a decade younger than me.
“The Muppets actually scared me when I was a kid,” came from LeVar. Which – when you look at them with an older, more experienced eye, seems really reasonable. The Muppets *are* freaky. Really, really, cool freaky – but I can imagine a little kid having some nightmares over them.
I started thinking back to what gave me nightmares. And I have three definitive moments.
1. The Brady Bunch Goes To Hawaii and A Spider Crawls on Peter
The Bradys headed to Hawaii for work/vacation because Dad had to oversee some building (he was an architect if you don’t remember) and Bobby found this small statue that turned out to have bad mojo associated with it. Somehow a tarantula spider – which are NOT native to Hawaii – crawled into Jan’s beach bag – and then out, up and onto Peter while he was sleeping that night. I am getting the heebie jeebies just typing this. Every time I watched this episode, I imagined spiders crawling all over my bed for WEEKS. [I am sure to tonight.]
2. The Six Million Dollar Man Fights Big Foot
I loved the Six Million Dollar Man. I even had his doll where the arm skin rolled up and exposed his bionics, which is seriously creepy in itself when you think about it. This episode was something about an earthquake in California, friends of Steve Austin’s disappear and he goes looking for them. I remember him finding big footprints, and this scary shadow of a big form in the woods throughout the episode. And then the big fight scene! I nearly crawled out of my own skin, not to mention the dolls, when I saw that INSANE LOOKING BEAST.
3. There Is A Burning Clown In The Closet on Fantasy Island
I searched and search for this episode on YouTube, but I do not remember anything about it other than there was a CLOWN BURNING IN A CLOSET. What were they thinking??? In all fairness, Fantasy Island was on after the Love Boat and quite late at that – so what was *I* doing watching this half-spooky half-romance show where everyone went out to an island to fulfill their wildest dreams? But as if Ricardo Montelban and Hervé Villechaize weren’t creepy enough – they had to add a CLOWN? BURNING? IN. A. CLOSET? Please tell me someone else saw this episode besides me.