Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Podcast Tuesday: "Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear"

John Hart and Henry Winkler on Happy Days.

"It was before my time" is one of my least-favorite excuses for being ignorant. When you think about it, virtually everything is before your time. Even if we limit ourselves to just human history, that's about 200,000 years. The average lifespan in America is only about 77 years -- a mere blip on the radar. That means we've missed 99.999% of what humans have done. Why do we insist on limiting ourselves to the 0.001% that happens right in front of us during our exceedingly brief lives? The past has been recorded in many, many ways. We owe ourselves to find out about it while we're here.

Sure, much of human history has gone unrecorded or has vanished with time, but here's the miracle of popular culture: the memorable, noteworthy stuff (movies, TV shows, pop songs) tends to be archived and preserved for future generations. Much of it gets rereleased and re-rereleased and re-re-rereleased over a span of decades, well beyond the lifespan of its original creators. In the past, we had to rely upon physical media -- books, records, tapes, etc. -- but in more recent decades, we've been busy uploading all this stuff to the internet for instantaneous streaming. The past is more accessible than ever. Take advantage of it.

I'm saying all this stuff because, this week on These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast, we're reviewing "Hi Yo Fonzie, Away!" In this episode from 1982, Fonzie (Henry Winkler) finally meets his idol, the Lone Ranger (John Hart). Forty years ago, this mattered. Two major pop culture characters were being brought together in the same space at the same time.

Today, despite the many hours of media he has generated (mainly radio shows and TV episodes), the Lone Ranger is in danger of disappearing from the public consciousness simply because he isn't "relevant" anymore. (God, I hate that idiotic and much-abused word.) If people today know him at all, it's from his disastrous 2013 movie. That film didn't do well at the box office, so we consigned the Lone Ranger to the junkheap of history. Who knows? Fonzie himself may join him someday.

Before all that happens, refresh your memory by listening to the latest episode of These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast. It's available right now. Just click that play button below.