While waiting for the latest episode of True Blood I started to think about what I used to watch on cable when I was a youngin’. I don’t remember the exact day that my mother got cable but it changed my life forever.
Before then the highlight of my t.v. viewing was limited to before and after school cartoons (remember Captain Chesapeake?! Haha) on weekdays and Cosby on Thursday. The weekend started with Friday Night Videos. And of course Saturday morning was strictly cartoon time followed by Kung Fu Theatre, WWF or G.L.O.W, the V103 video show(hosted by Frank Ski, Randy Dennis, Sandy Malorie or Lorenzo “Ice Tea” Thomas), and Soul Train. But cable, glorious cable, let me know there was life outside of VHF and UHF. All hail old cable:
B.E.T. – The old Black Entertainment Television had other great shows (Teen Summit rocked!) but who am I kidding? BET was known for music videos! Video Vibrations with the Alvin “unseen VJ” Jones, Video Soul with Donnie Simpson and Rap City with the Chris “The Mayor” Thomas… Dam, I took these shows for granted. Video Vibrations would play a good variety of videos from the Deale to Oaktown’s 357 but the most fun was seeing who would be the featured artist for the Monday Music Marathon. It was so serious for me that I recorded every minute of VV’s “Rap Week”. Fun memory: They got different rappers of the time to do ‘a drop’ for Rap Week (basically saying “This is _____ and you’re watching Rap Week …) A clip medley of rappers big and small doing the drop was shown and it ended with Kid-N-Play singing a hilarious version of BET’s theme show. “B…E…T… We’re coming on for youuuuu/ We’re coming on for you!” lol Only special people actually remember that BET had a theme song and commercial. Little known fact: VV’s Rap Week was such a success that it lead to BET creating Rap City.
Video Soul was a more mature show with videos and sit-down interviews. I remember taping the episodes when The Boys(*faint*), Janet Jackson, Prince and Bobby Brown were sitting on the long black leather couch chatting with “the old guy with the pretty guys”, I mean Donnie Simpson. haha
Rap City…* whew * I don’t have enough time to talk about the impact this show had on me…The ORIGINAL Rap City that is! It didn’t matter what was going on outside or what afterschool activities there were, I had to be in the house to catch Rap City. The old Rap City was just Chris Thomas sitting on a bench bouncing his shoulder (the Mayor dance) in between doing impersonations of Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby. lol What that had to do with Rap City, I didn’t know and I honestly didn’t care.
Being a music lover I watched my fair share of MTV also. Remember when MTV actually played mostly music videos?! Of course, Yo! MTV Raps was my favorite show but there were some other notable shows that I loved. Dial MTV usually played good Pop stuff because it was all of the top requested videos. The funniest show for me was Club MTV with Downtown Julie Brown. It wasn’t a comedy show but it was comical to me to see the dorky dance moves and crazy clothing. Sometime I wish the game show Remote Control was still on because I would have surely tried out to be a contestant.
There is absolutely no way I could mention BET and MTV without mentioning the Jukebox Network aka The Box *bow heavily * “The Jukebox-Music You Control”. Concept: A numbered list of videos scrolling across the screen, see a title you like, call a pay-pre-call number, punch in the number of the video you want to see and, bam, it’ll play. Ok, it wasn’t quite bam! it’ll play, it was more like wait un hour or two for everyone else’s videos to play and maybe you’ll see yours. Not only was it 24/7 but the The Box also showed videos that the tight wads at BET and MTV banned like “Justify My Love” – Madonna, and who could forget “Pop That Coochie” – 2 Live Crew, which was #1 like forever on the weekly Box Tops list.
Ok, we need to bring it back to the PG-side…My second favorite programming besides music videos was Nickelodeon! I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that wanted to be a contestant on Double Dare or that wondered what green slime was made of. Not that smooth green slime I’m talking about the green slime with chunks (eww) in it like they used on the show You Can’t Do That On Television. Long before we were bombarded by Spongebob all day I was glued to Danger Mouse, Today’s Special and later Ren and Stimpy and Rugrats. And before we could log into iCarly, Clarissa explained it all!
Hmmm… This is a good lead-in to my next memories of old cable. As a young adolescent, cable gave me more than enough exposure to the wide world of sex. My sweet clueless mother initially ordered cable service with all of the channels, I mean ALL of the channels. Wooowww! Hello Playboy Channel, which didn’t have programming until after 8pm, and Cinemax After Dark, which began Friday night at midnight I think. For those that didn’t have the pleasure of experiencing neither, it was basically the soft porn that’s now shown on HBO Zone and Real Sex. Being the slick kid that I was, I’d go in the living room and turn the t.v. down to volume to one while in sneak mode. LOL I’m my young dumb mind I was a smooth criminal but it was quite obvious that I was watching something I wasn’t supposed to be watching. So obvious that one time my mother yelled “Jaye! What are you watching?!” in that pissed-off-mama-that-knows-what’s-up voice… you know what my reply was? My replied was “Umm, L.A. Law”. LMAO! LA Law, the drama show about lawyers that starred Blair Underwood. *smh* Yeah, the show was cool but I definitely wasn’t watching that! Shortly after my mother got rid of all the channels because it was too expensive…so she said. Hahaha Honorable mention: The Spice Channel. We never had the actual channel so it was always scrambled up but sometimes there would be a glitch and you could see a little action. lol
I have to jet so I can squeeze in 5 or 6 hours of sleep but I HAVE to shout out the coolest thing to ever come out the Lifetime Network…SUPERMARKET SWEEP!
That was the show were you got points for product knowledge and at the end you had to run around a market with shopping carts for a time shopping spree. The highest total wins. (All the smart contestants knew to go straight to the meat section!) Does it get any better than that? lol … P.S. Someone asked me if I’ll be posting most of my blogs on Sundays. Well, it just happens that Sunday is usually the only day I can really sit down and put one together so I guess so. That’s not etched in stone though. Tell ya what. Just SUBSCRIBE to this blog and won’t have to guess if a new one has been posted. 😉