In my mind, there is a realm where childhood memories are so vague that, as the years pass, I wonder if they even took place at all. Were they real, or composites of things that coalesced into a story, or were they merely products of my imagination? One such example was Chiliwack's 1981 hit, "My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)." I specifically remember this song when it was out, but I never knew its name. So, because the hook was so similar to The Doors' "Touch Me," I simply morphed the two together until I saw the video one day on VH-1 Classic. It confirmed my belief in the song's existence, but also made me wish the song never was.
Another such memory, but from even further back, was a prime-time cartoon called Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, which ran on ABC from 1972-74. Almost 35 years later, all I can remember is that it featured the voice of Tom Bosley and a snippet of the theme song, because my sisters and I used to sing it whenever our mother would give us that particular warning (my girlfriend, on the other hand, remembers the song almost word-for-word).
As it turns out, the show did, in fact, exist, and today, Warner Brothers releases the first season of the Hanna-Barbera show on DVD. The show stars Bosley as Harry Boyle, a 47-year-old Everydad living in the suburbs with his wife, Irma, and their three children, who range from eight to 22 years old. Most of the episodes deal with Harry's attempts to make sense of his children: Chet, a 22-year-old slacker hippie; Alice, a Cosmo-spouting teenager; and Jamie, an 8-year-old who is always looking to profit from a situation. If that's not difficult enough, he also has his über-conservative neighbor, Ralph Kane, to deal with.
So how has the show held up over the years? Not as well as I had hoped, I'm afraid. It's easy to compare Wait Till Your Father Gets Home with the superlative King Of The Hill in its portrayal of a hard-working, middle-class man struggling to deal with changing times. But where King's humor is sly and subversive, Wait employs standard sitcom plots and tired jokes about inflation and "these kids today." It's a Hanna-Barbera show, after all, so even though they're dealing with the issues of the day, like women's liberation, the Generation Gap, and civil rights, it's still done, for the most part, at the level of The Flintstones or The Jetsons. The annoying laugh track, even more pointless when dealing with a cartoon, doesn't help things, either.