Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Ed Wood Wednesdays: Crossroads of West Pico (Guest Author: James Pontolillo)

Ed Wood associate Don Nagel (pictured, lower right) figures in this sordid story.



A montage of nighttime scenes showing the hustle and bustle of life in the big city. Cars and trucks rushing about. Lit up storefronts casting their ruddy glow out into the night. And everywhere people. People... all going somewhere... all with their own thoughts... their own ideas... all with their own personalities.


We see CRISWELL, wearing a dark suit and evening coat, standing in profile to the camera as he browses through magazines at a news kiosk. Holding the most recent issue of Weird Tales, he turns and looks straight into the camera.

                            I am Criswell. For years, I have told the almost
                            unbelievable, related the unreal and showed it
                            to be more than a fact. Now I tell a tale of the
                            entertainment industry, so astounding that some of
                            you may faint. This is a story of those in the twilight
                            time. Once human, now actors, in a void between
                            the employed and the unemployed. Actors to be
                            pitied, actors to be despised. A night with the
                            thespians, the thespians reborn from the innermost
                            depths of Hollywood.


                                                            CRISWELL (Voice Over)
                            It is said on clear nights, beneath the cold light of the
                            moon, howl the dog and the wolf, and creeping things
                            crawl out of the slime. It is then that thespians cavort
                            in all their radiance.

                            My friends, it is 10 PM on the evening of March 15, 1949
                            and a full moon is overhead as we stand on West Pico
                            Blvd in Los Angeles. Two young men – marginally employed
                            actors and friends since high school – are moments away
                            from a date with destiny. If I am not pleased with tonight's
                            entertainment, I shall banish their souls to everlasting


Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Ed Wood Wednesdays, week 176: Bye Bye Broadie (1968)

You'd never guess the plot of this book by its cover. Or its title, for that matter.

In the turbulent year of 1968, Los Angeles adult publishing giant Pendulum launched a series of highly unusual books it called Pendulum Pictorials. Listing for $1.75 apiece, these volumes interspersed text and photos to tell wild, action-packed stories rife with sex and sadism. The publisher claimed that the Pictorials were adaptations of feature films, but the (black-and-white) photos in them were obviously staged and the alleged movies did not exist.

Mrs. Grundy closes in for the kill.
In all, six Pendulum Pictorials came out that year. Two of those, Bye Bye Broadie and Raped in the Grass, were credited to Edward D. Wood, Jr., Pendulum's best-known and most prolific author. As for the other four, I highly suspect that Eddie either wrote or cowrote these under assumed names. While some Woodologists disagree—even getting testy about it—the authorship of Broadie and Raped is undisputed. All you have to do is look at the covers.

I've had the text from the Pendulum Pictorials for a while now, but I never felt like I could review these books fairly until I saw the photographs that were supposed to accompany the words. Recently, reader Dennis Smithers, Jr. kindly shared with me the images from Bye Bye Broadie, the first book in the Pendulum Pictorials series and one of the strangest erotic works I have encountered anywhere. So now is the time to talk about it.

Folks, this is one inexplicable book, even in the topsy-turvy world of Ed Wood. Let's start with the title, apparently a pun on the 1960 stage musical and 1963 film Bye Bye Birdie.  Whatever its inspiration may be, the name Bye Bye Broadie does not describe any aspect of Wood's story, nor are there any obvious or hidden parallels between Birdie and Broadie, apart from the fact that they both feature characters who are school-age girls. Never is the word "broad," let alone "broadie," uttered by any character. Meanwhile, the cover photo is so generic—merely a man and woman embracing on a lawn—that the prospective customer would have no idea what he was getting for his $1.75.

So what did readers get from Bye Bye Broadie, apart from the "80 photos" promised by the cover?

Well, what we have here is the surreal, almost free-associative story of an unnamed peeper and self-admitted rapist who spies on the students at an all-girl boarding school owned by the man-hating Mrs. Grundy. This is the kind of school where the students regularly enjoy frolicking semi-nude on the front lawn and are not discouraged from doing so. In other words, this place could only exist in the imaginations of horny middle-aged men. Male staff members typically only last a week or so, for reasons you might imagine.

The book's story focuses on four eager young pupils: Joni, Barbee, Mary, and (you guessed it) Shirley. When the shirtless peeper approaches the girls in the middle of some topless roughhousing, they respond too eagerly to his advances and begin erotically mauling him. The overwhelmed man can hardly breathe. Remember the female-on-male gang rape scenes from The Violent Years (1956) and Fugitive Girls (1974)? Ed Wood must have spent some time dwelling on scenarios like that.

Suddenly, old Mrs. Grundy shows up and bludgeons the intruder to death with her cane. She then forces her students to help her dispose of the body in a nearby pet cemetery. She says that if the girls don't help, she'll write "toilet letters" to their parents, disclosing all of their bad deeds. Then things really get strange, not to mention supernatural! Not to spoil too much, but the girls may have buried the peeper prematurely. The ending reminded me a bit of the shocking final scene from Carrie (1976), with a bloody hand reaching up from the grave.

Similar moments from Bye Bye Broadie (left) and Carrie (right).

To pad out the narrative, Ed Wood employs a technique he has used elsewhere in his writing, such as the 1972 novel The Only House. Namely, he gives all the characters—the peeper, Mrs. Grundy, and all four schoolgirls—lengthy flashbacks and/or internal monologues that interrupt the main story for pages at a time. Without these frequent asides, the plot of Bye Bye Broadie would be thin indeed. As it is, Eddie takes the time to really get to know his six characters. Some of this material feels like it may have been plundered from other stories or even unfinished novels that Ed was working on at the time.

Perhaps the most egregious padding involves the character Barbee. We are told that she worked as a nurses' aid at a local hospital over the summer. Because of her medical training, it is her responsibility to determine that the peeper is actually dead after Mrs. Grundy's initial attack. Later, we are told about her previous relationship with a "young doctor" that quickly took a turn into S&M territory, with the man asserting his dominance over Barbee. None of this material fits comfortably into Bye Bye Broadie, particularly the detail that Barbee had "a small apartment in a rough section of town." Isn't she supposed to be a teenage girl who lives at the school? This entire flashback seems to have been airlifted in from another story entirely.

Some of the flashbacks are more germane to the story, especially the passages related to Mrs. Grundy. We learn about what the headmistress' childhood was like, how she came to hate men, and what happened to the late Mr. Grundy. It's all quite interesting, though hardly erotic. And then there is the story of Shirley and her first fateful sexual encounter in the Texas badlands. Shirley's flashback bears a remarkable resemblance to the incident that starts the novel Sex Salvation (1975), with her young paramour being bitten by a rattlesnake. It's also worth noting that Shirley is Bye Bye Broadie's resident angora enthusiast. (It had to be someone.)

Even if Ed's name were not on the cover, Bye Bye Broadie would be easy to identify as his work. This is Wood at his Woodiest, wallowing in all four of his major obsessions: sex, death, booze, and women's clothing. His trademark ellipses are here in force, as are many of his favorite words, like "lovely," "youthful," "lowered," "thrill," "jollies," "soft," and "pink." Best of all, Eddie does not let things like coherence, plausibility, or continuity get in his way. As I indicated earlier, he veers away from the main storyline whenever he damned well feels like it. If you like your Ed Wood unrestrained—and I do—Bye Bye Broadie is your kind of book. My only caveats are the casual references to rape and the implied pedophilia (the schoolgirls are called "little more than kids"), but Ed gets these out of the way early in the story.

The peeper is buried, but only up to his neck.
So that's the textual portion of the book. But what about the visual portion? Having now seen the pictures from Bye Bye Broadie, I have to ask that old chicken-and-egg question about which came first. For a project like this, I guess it makes more sense to take the pictures first and then have a writer base a story on them, but how did anyone think to take these particular photos without at least an outline as a starting point?

We start out fairly normally, with some generic-looking snapshots of an ordinary, dark-haired guy canoodling with some vaguely hippie-ish, half-undressed young women in some sunny outdoor setting. There is nothing to suggest that the man is a desperate rapist, nor is it obvious that the women are supposed to be students or that any of this is happening at a school. The women appear to be in their early-to-mid-twenties, well past their boarding school years.

Then Mrs. Grundy shows up and starts walloping everyone in sight with her cane. The photographer makes a point to keep the headmistress' face out of frame or in shadows, so we never get a good look at her. This is definitely for the best, since Ed's text makes such a point of how homely and sexually unappealing the character is. For all I know, it may be a man in drag portraying Mrs. Grundy. The girls are supposed to react with utter horror at the headmistress' violent outburst, but the models are often seen laughing and smiling in these pictures.

I should point out that the photographs in Bye Bye Broadie are pretty sparing in their use of nudity. We see some bare breasts and bottoms but no genitals. And there is no male nudity whatsoever, let alone any explicit sex. If this were a movie (and the book's introduction claims Broadie is being made by a nonexistent company called Image 4), it would likely get an R rating. Even Ed's text is cleaner than usual, avoiding most of the harsh profanities that appear in his adult work.

As the story progresses, we get some photographs of the girls carrying the peeper's body around. He does not look dead so much as dazed. His eyes are wide open in some shots and closed in others. The photographer has bothered to slather some stage blood on the man's face and chest. How this is supposed to arouse the reader, I have no idea. Eventually, they throw him into a pit and bury him up to his neck. This basically aligns with Ed Wood's text, as does the peeper's unexpected revival. Once again, the girls look more amused than horrified. They all seem to be having fun on a nice, sunny afternoon.

The Pendulum Pictorials experiment was brief. Six books were released in 1968, but the series does not seem to have continued after that. I'm not sure if they were a commercial success or not. It seems like, if these titles had been big moneymakers, publisher Bernie Bloom would have kept making them. If so, Ed Wood would have certainly been a major part of the franchise. Do you think it's possible that Eddie himself was somehow involved in the Bye Bye Broadie photoshoot, even "directing" it as if he were making a real movie? That's quite an intriguing thought. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Podcast Tuesday: "Happy Days Jumps the Bunny"

Anson Williams and Henry Winkler on Happy Days.

"Fonzie's Spots" is, hands down, the most mysterious episode of Happy Days. A clip from it, featuring Chachi (Scott Baio) and Roger (Ted McGinley) hitting each other in the face with pies, was part of the opening credits for all of Season 11. This suggests that the episode was in the can as early as September 1983. But the full episode wouldn't reach American audiences for quite a while!

Interestingly, the episode began airing in England as early as January 1984. There are records of "Fonzie's Spots" playing in Liverpool, Lincolnshire, Devon, and several other places during the first few months of 1984. By April, it had even reached Australia. But it still hadn't aired in America. Was ABC intentionally shelving this one?

As I stated last week, the eleventh and final season of Happy Days was a scheduling nightmare. The show premiered new episodes from September 1983 to January 1984 but then disappeared from the ABC schedule altogether during February and March. Finally, in late April, the show returned for a brief three-week run, culminating in the intended series finale, "Passages."

After "Passages" aired on May 8, 1984, there were five Happy Days episodes that had not yet been broadcast in America. ABC burned off four of them ("So How Was Your Weekend," "Low Notes," "School Dazed," and "Good News, Bad News") in June and July 1984. That left one additional episode: the notorious "Fonzie's Spots." As far as I can tell, ABC never aired this one in prime time. It may well have premiered in syndication.

Why did ABC not want to broadcast "Fonzie's Spots"? What was it about this episode that they wished to hide from viewers? Find out the shocking truth on this week's installment of These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Ed Wood Wednesdays, week 175: Young, Black and Gay (1968)

Is this Ed Wood's most incendiary novel?

Nowadays, we would probably demand that the author of a book called Young, Black and Gay be at least two of those adjectives. But I guess authenticity wasn't as important back in 1968, when Edward D. Wood, Jr. penned a novel with that bold title for a company called P.E.C., which published it as part of its French Line imprint with the catalog number FL-38.

I'd say the author of this novel was zero for three. At 44, Ed Wood wasn't terribly young when he wrote Young, Black and Gay. He was decidedly not Black either. As for being gay, while Eddie's sexuality was labyrinthine to say the least, I would never be comfortable calling him strictly homosexual. If you've read A Fuller Life (2008), the autobiography of Eddie's live-in lover and leading lady Dolores Fuller,  you'll know just what I mean. In that book, Dolores is quite candid in describing her intense physical relationship with Ed. 

Was Ed Wood qualified to write this?
So maybe Ed wasn't the most qualified author for Young, Black and Gay (hereafter YB&G), but he must have taken some pride in his work since this is one of the novels he wrote under his own name. It comes from what I'd call the most productive era of Ed Wood's life: 1968 to 1972. (If you want to expand that from 1967 to 1973, I wouldn't argue.) Simply put, Eddie was writing like a madman during these years, churning out books, articles, and film scripts at a pace that is superhuman. And yet, most of this material (including YB&G) is highly indicative of Eddie's signature style. Hurried though he was, Ed Wood usually found time to work his own obsessions, kinks, and quirks into what he wrote.

I suppose we could categorize this novel as one of Ed Wood's "Black" books and file it alongside Black Myth (1971, written under the pseudonym Dick Trent), Toni: Black Tigress (1969), and the two Rocky Alley novels, Watts... The Difference (1966) and Watts... After (1967). And indeed, YB&G has much in common with them, stylistically and thematically, even referencing the Watts riots. But what this novel really reminded me of was Ed's 1967 book Drag Trade, his rambling treatise on transvestism and crime. If you took one of the (manufactured) case studies from that book and expanded it to novel-length, you'd get YB&G.

What we have here is the turbulent, violence-plagued story of Charles Sttanze (yes, that's how his last name is spelled for some reason), a young Black man who grows up in abject Southern poverty in a world that seems little changed from the days of antebellum slavery. He and his family pick cotton and live together in a foul-smelling, barely-furnished shack. Charles learns about the facts of life very early, since his parents unashamedly make love in front of their children. His sisters go naked at home on hot days, so he's well-acquainted with female anatomy.

Charles' life takes a turn when, as a teenager, he meets a field worker named Clyde. Initially rivals, Charles and Clyde are thrown into confinement together after getting into a fistfight and soon embark upon an intense homosexual relationship. Under Clyde's tutelage, Charles develops a female alter ego named Charlene. (Compare this to the case of Charles/Charlotte in Drag Trade.) Eventually, our protagonist identifies as female and uses the name Charlene exclusively. And here, Ed Wood does something subtly revolutionary. After a few chapters, he consistently refers to his main character as Charlene and switches the character's pronouns from he/him to she/her. And this is in 1968!

But let's not go overboard praising Ed Wood for his progressive politics. Charles/Charlene is a largely negative character, and there is little doubt that YB&G is tainted by Wood's own deeply-ingrained racism. Once he escapes from his family, the work-averse Charles embarks upon a life of petty crime and spends much of his time in jail.  He begins a relationship with a white cellmate named Bobert, and when Bobert is killed by another white prisoner, Rance (one of Ed's favorite character names), our hero switches allegiances without too much hesitation. His only real complaint is that Rance is a quickie artist (another major sin in the Wood-iverse).

Once on the outside and living completely as a woman, Charlene reunites with Rance, and together, they form a sort of interracial, transgender Bonnie-and-Clyde-type duo, robbing liquor stores and killing whenever they need to. Ultimately, they arrive in Los Angeles and plan a big-time caper that will finally bring in some real money. But this job will require bringing in a third party, possibly jeopardizing the special chemistry between Charlene and Rance. It doesn't help that the experienced crook that Rance recruits, Moe, is a crude, ill-tempered, mean-spirited brute who immediately antagonizes Charlene.

Saks on Wilshire: Charlene's happy place.
Meanwhile, Charlene starts frequenting a Black gay bar called the Joint Affair and meets a mysterious man named Jeff, who represents a Black Power group known only as "the organization." This is the same name Ed Wood gave to a very similar group in Toni: Black Tigress, and his views on the subject of Black Power are identical in both novels. Charlene seems to have no particular political ideas but is drawn to Jeff because she likes the way he talks. Like all Black organizers in Ed Wood novels, Jeff is selfish and untrustworthy, but our protagonist barely seems to notice his flaws. In the latter stages of the book, Charlene bounces back and forth between Rance and Jeff until YB&G reaches its violent apotheosis.

If Wood depicts his Black characters like Charlene and Jeff negatively, does that mean the novel's white characters are the true heroes? Nope. All through the novel, Charlene is plagued by racist vigilantes, many of them members of the Ku Klux Klan, and Wood depicts these characters as violent, cruel, and hateful. Arguably, the book's most shocking passage comes when the KKK kidnaps and tortures a fairly benign Black character, a genial ex-con turned flophouse owner. They even nail the man's testicles to a tree trunk. Fearing reprisal, Charlene does nothing to help. So it's safe to say that YB&G depicts a world without heroes. The best one can do here is survive.

Like Rocky Alley in the Watts books, Charles does wonder why Blacks are so stigmatized in society. After witnessing the Klan attack, he ponders the issue at some length:
Long ago his aged grandmother had told him white was for purity and good. After that he couldn’t help but wonder if that meant black was vile and bad. The few times, after leaving the plantation that he had seen a cowboy movie on some store window television set, he’d always found the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats.
But these thoughts do not occupy Charles' mind for long. After all, there are crimes to commit and money to be made. The character seems to have no moral compass whatsoever.

Earlier, I mentioned Ed Wood's personal obsessions and stylistic quirks. They're all over YB&G, even though this novel is one of his more disciplined long-form works. This book is not laden with Eddie's trademark ellipses, and it lacks the dreamy, free-associative quality of some of Ed's weirdest and most extreme writing. For the most part, he avoids the lengthy flashbacks and philosophical asides that often clutter up (or enhance) his fiction. Who knows? Eddie may have been semi-sober when he spent a day or two typing this book. He tends to stick to the main storyline and keep the plot moving forward.

And yet, all of Eddie's main motifs are present here, including his four principal muses: sex, death, booze, and women's clothing. There is no angora in YB&G, sadly, but there are plenty of sweaters and nightgowns, and seemingly everything Charlene wears is described in excruciating detail. It's treated as a major event when she's finally able to buy an outfit at Saks Fifth Avenue on Wilshire Blvd. And there's plenty of alcohol consumption here, too. In particular, Charlene develops a taste for gin before Jeff angrily informs her, "Gin is a n----r drink!" Not coincidentally, this same exact issue arises in the Watts novels. Ed Wood definitely had some thoughts on the racial implications of drinking gin.

By the way, if you're wondering whether Ed Wood uses the n-word in YB&G, please be aware that this infamous racial slur appears (by my count) 43 times in the text. Four of those are in the very first paragraph, so Ed Wood was clearly looking to shock readers with his use of extremely harsh language. One wonders who the intended audience for this book was. Gay people? Black people? Or straight white men looking for something exotic? Try as I might, I can't imagine anyone finding this book remotely erotic, even though the frequent gay sex scenes are written with Ed's usual passion.

Today, even though it bears the man's own name on the cover, Young, Black and Gay is among the least-known of Ed Wood's novels. As I read it (twice!), I found myself asking if the book could ever find a larger audience if it were reissued today. Frankly, I have grave doubts. The novel's crossdressing angle will make it interesting to fans of Ed's film Glen or Glenda (1953), and Woodologists will find numerous parallels between the two works. But the ugly racism of the book makes it a tough sell to modern readers, especially those outside the cult of diehard Wood fans. It seems destined to remain an obscurity among obscurities.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Podcast Tuesday: "The Good News is That Chachi Has Diabetes"

Scott Baio and Henry Winkler on Happy Days.

Happy Days is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. Believe it or not, it's been half a century since the first episode of Season 1, "All the Way," originally aired on January 15, 1974. Wait, don't most sitcoms debut in September or so? Well, yes. Let me explain.

The first(ish) episode of Happy Days.
Garry Marshall's nostalgic sitcom debuted in January because ABC initially had so little faith in it. Like The Simpsons, Malcolm in the Middle, and All in the Family, Happy Days was a midseason replacement that defied expectations and became a long-running hit. In fact, one of the cast members of All in the Family, Rob Reiner, cowrote "All the Way." That may seem like a random pairing to us (Meathead and Fonzie?), but remember that Rob's father, Carl, was Garry Marshall's mentor and friend and that Rob was married to Garry's sister, Penny, from 1971 to 1981.

Now, a total nerd might claim that Happy Days had its true 50th birthday two years ago, because the earliest pilot for the series ("Love and the Happy Days") aired as an episode of the ABC anthology series Love, American Style on February 25, 1972. The network passed on that pilot, only changing its mind when the movie American Graffiti (1973) and the stage musical Grease became successful. The Happy Days series that ran from 1974 to 1984 was heavily influenced by both Graffiti and Grease and bore only a passing resemblance to the 1972 pilot. That's why I'm fine with calling January 15, 1974 the birthday of Happy Days.

So we know when the show began. But when, exactly, did Happy Days end? That's much trickier to pin down. The eleventh and final season of the show was a total mess in terms of scheduling, bouncing around from night to night and even vanishing from the schedule for weeks. I consulted the invaluable book The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh to make sense of it all.

Happy Days aired (to great success) on Tuesday nights at 8:00 from January 1974 until September 1983, when the veteran series was rudely transplanted to 8:30 to make room for a new sitcom, Just Our Luck. When that show failed miserably, the coveted 8:00 berth went to another freshman series, Foul-Ups, Bleeps & Blunders. Happy Days stayed in the 8:30 slot until January 1984, when it was booted from the schedule altogether so that ABC could cover the Winter Olympics. Even when the Olympics were over, however, Happy Days remained on hiatus. Its old time slot went to yet another new show, Norman Lear's A.K.A. Pablo starring Paul Rodriguez.

Happy Days finally returned to Tuesday nights on ABC from April to May 1984 for a brief run of episodes that included the two-part series finale, "Passages." But ABC had a handful of unaired episodes left over from the hiatus. These ultimately aired on Thursday nights at 8:00 from June to July 1984. According to The Complete Directory, that's where the Happy Days story ends. 

Looking back through old newspapers from 1984, I have concluded that the original run of Happy Days finally came to a halt on July 19, 1984 with the episode "Good News, Bad News" in which Chachi (Scott Baio) discovers he has diabetes. And, in case you haven't guessed by now, that's the very episode we're covering this week on These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast. Is this episode worthy of being the true finale of Happy Days? You know how to find out! (In case you don't, it's by clicking the play button below.) 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The saga of Ed Wood's 1940 high school yearbook photo (Guest Author: James Pontolillo)

A solemn Ed Wood (top row, center) poses for a class photo in 1940.

NOTE: Author James Pontolillo has been diligently researching the early, pre-Hollywood years of writer-director Edward D. Wood, Jr. His goal is to fill in some gaps in the timeline of Wood's life. The following article contains photographs and information that James has discovered while conducting this research. Enjoy. - J.B.

Ed Wood attended Poughkeepsie High School [Figure 1] from September 1940 until early May 1942 when he paused his studies in order to join the U.S. Marine Corps. For unknown reasons, Ed only took part in his 1940 Freshman class photo [Figure 2] and does not appear in his subsequent 1941 and 1942 class photos. 

Unfortunately, the 1940 yearbook staff managed to mix up Ed and two of his classmates when it came to identifying the participating students [Figure 3]. Ed was mislabeled as Thomas Martell, Tony Rinaldi was mislabeled as Ed, and Thomas Martell was mislabeled as Tony Rinaldi. Additional photos of all three men to demonstrate this point and short biographies of Ed's classmates are given here for the first time.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Podcast Tuesday: "Drugs Are Bad, M'kay?"

Marta Kober on Happy Days.

I grew up during wartime, by which I mean the War on Drugs. Remember that dumb thing? I guess the government officially declared "war" (whatever that means) on mind-altering substances in the early 1970s when soldiers were coming home from Vietnam hooked on dope. But the War on Drugs that I remember started in the 1980s, shortly after Ronald Reagan became president. I think we all remember Ron's wife, Nancy, telling us to "just say no" in some famously ineffective PSAs.

I was in elementary school at the time, and I can say that drugs were not a factor in my life at all. We kids were fairly bombarded with antidrug propaganda, but it was not needed in my case. Teachers would say things like, "We know you kids are under a lot of pressure to smoke pot and pop pills." Wanna bet? I certainly wasn't being pressured to do drugs back then. I wouldn't have even known where to get that stuff if I'd wanted it.

By the time I got to high school in the '90s, students were expected to go through a program called Drug Awareness Resistance Education or D.A.R.E. Drugs were still not a factor in my life because I didn't hang around with cool-enough kids. So D.A.R.E. was just kind of a goof to me. One of my favorite moments of my high school years was when our gym teacher asked the class, "Why do you think they call it dope?" and some wiseacre answered, "Because it's dope." Such a great line. I'm ashamed I didn't think of it.

This week on These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast, we're covering the obligatory antidrug episode of Happy Days entitled "School Dazed." The plot has Joanie (Erin Moran), now somehow a full-time teacher at Patton Vocational School, mentoring a troubled young student named Jesse (Marta Kober). Marta pops pills at school, causing Joanie to get all up in her business. Speeches are made. Tears are shed. Lessons are learned. You know the drill.

But is "School Dazed" any fun at all? Or is it just another useless sermon? Find out by listening to our latest episode, which is linked below.