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Baa Baa Black Sheep

This post is dedicated to
Vanillafluffy and
MediconDuty, who both have Black Sheep fic on A03. See also 214Squadron, a Tumblr devoted to the show and real-life characters.

Speaking of arrogant men....

I was SO in love with him, and by love I mean in lust as only a fourteen year old with daddy issues can be with a tough-as-nails, love-em and leave-em, arrogant bastard. When he was captain of the NBC team on Battle of the Network Stars and got all huffy and challenged Gabe Kaplan to a race to settle something, I was in a full swoon.

I knew about Wild Wild West and even Hawaiian Eye, but Black Sheep was my first REAL Robert Conrad show after I fell in love with the image in those commercials.

I think I started during the 2nd season, and although I eventually got to see all of it, the first time around, I didn't pick up all the awesome subtext and interesting points of the casting. Equally eventually, I read the book by the real Greg Boyington, which is actually fascinating, in terms of what happened after the period covered by the TV Show (his plane was shot down and he ended up in a Japanese POW camp) and then back in the states (alcoholism, divorce.)

However, the first time around it was just pure lust for Robert Conrad/Greg Boyington. Putting my adolescent wank-fantasies of being along in a tent with Greg on Vella La Cava, there is as I later figured out, so much to appreciate.

The main theme, that Greg is a father figure to the rest of the Black Sheep, is expressed through the casting.

Gutterman-played by James Whitmore Jr. The son of James Whitmore, who among other roles, is the guy who sings "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" with Keenan Wynn in "Kiss Me Kate." I always find it amusing to see how many episodes of all the procedurals I watch, he's gone on to direct, tons of NCIS among them.

Bragg-played by Dirk Blocker, son of Dan Blocker, who played Hoss on Bonanza...and looks EXACTLY like him.

Pruitt-played by Jeb Adams, son of Nick Adams. Nick Adams was also a close friend of Elvis Presley and therefore of Red West, who plays Andy Micklin. They doubled down by almost making his character the son of a famous fighter pilot. Although in retrospect I can ship Greg with almost all of them, I remember actually seeing the most tension between Greg and Jeb for that reason with whole father figure layover.

More fun casting-

Andersen-Played by John Laroquette-LOOKING VERY YOUNG----before he went on to play Dan Fielding on Night Court and shit-load of other stuff, including a House MD appearance.

Boyle-played by Larry Manetti-a few years away from Magnum PI.

As the resident stuffed shirts trying to keep our heroes from winning the war they way they want, Dana Elcar and Simon Oakland.

And in a way, the most interesting person in the cast-Red West as Andy Micklin. Elvis' bodyguard, member of the Memphis Mafia, friend of Elvis, co-writer of Elvis What Happened?, and somehow the complete embodiment of Andy Micklin, and his friendship with Greg is nearly a perfect on-screen friendship. (I will NOT sully it with the B-word.)

So after falling in love with the show, and being obsessed with Robert Conrad in his delicious sexual arrogance, there came the summer of 1978 and while on a teen tour, I drove the poor staff at the Universal Studios tour nuts, begging someone to tell me if the show had been renewed or canceled. Presumably they didn't actually know, since they were just theme park staff and not TV executives or anything. Someone did tell me it had been renewed, presumably just to get me off their case. They lied.

I came home and the new season started...and this was when the TV season was a consistent thing. Everything started in September, everything ended in may. Three channels and PBS. (Hey, kids, get off my lawn.) No BLACK SHEEP. I was not a happy camper. The next thing I saw Robert Conrad in was Centennial, which was a disappointment, because he wasn't being a typical Robert Conrad character, he was being a French-Canadian trapper with a beard and an accent. 14 year old me wasn't impressed. I then went through "A Man Called Sloane" before the height of my Conrad passion ran out, although I'll still always be enamored of James West, Greg Boyington and especially the arrogant bastard with the battery on his shoulder.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 28th, 2013 03:37 pm (UTC)
I remember seeing the later episodes of this show before the earlier ones and being confused and disappointed by the changes. I liked Pruit (who was only added later) and his backstory (too young to actually serve) but not Hutch and some of the others more prevalent in the earlier episodes.

Robert Conrad though. *sighs happily* Wild Wild West reruns are on here and I've been rewatching those. Can never have too much young Robert Conrad on the screen.
Jan. 28th, 2013 06:57 pm (UTC)
The man was sex on two legs and the Jim/Artie chemistry puts 90% of what passes for slash pairings and the b-word to shame.
Jan. 28th, 2013 06:59 pm (UTC)
SERIOUSLY. And you have to appreciate how often he was shirtless in that. Not to mention tied up and shirtless. :)

Although, have you ever really watched it for the stunts? He did them all himself. It's mindboggling sometimes and really, really impressive.
Jan. 28th, 2013 07:02 pm (UTC)
Equally amazing he could move at all, because damn, those were some seriously tight pants the boy was sporting. Yeah, the whole show is a fetishist's dream come true. I wrote some Jim/Artie fics, mostly for MMOM.
Jan. 28th, 2013 07:07 pm (UTC)
It's hysterical that they were specifically designed for him for that show because they needed the high waist so his bellybutton would be covered in shirtless scenes. There was a decency clause on TV back then that refused to allow bellybuttons to be shown (which is also the reason for Barbara Eden's costume to look the way it did in "I Dream of Genie")
Jan. 28th, 2013 07:10 pm (UTC)
0h 60's "morality!" They're worried about the pupick, when the trousers are so painted on, you can pretty much tell which side Jim is dressing on.
Jan. 28th, 2013 07:12 pm (UTC)
Bwhaha, I know! I'll take it though. I love those tight, tight pants.
Jan. 28th, 2013 04:26 pm (UTC)
In the late 80s i had a giant crush on John Larroquette like I do on Hugh now. I must be hardwired to like tall smartassy guys.
Jan. 28th, 2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
I really wish TPTB had been willing to let The John Laroquette show stay with one format and one time slot long enough to find an audience. Also---Major crush on Dan Fielding in all his fabulous sleazinesss.
Jan. 30th, 2013 04:10 pm (UTC)
This sounds like very much my kind of thing. Sad that among the millions of re-runs, this isn't one of them. Of course now I'll find it is, probably.

Dan Blocker was Hoss on Bonanza, not Gunsmoke.

I love John Larroquette in everything I've seen him in, though I don't necessarily like his characters. He's also amazing in Boston Legal, having some amazing chemistry with Candice Bergen. BL is also the only show I think ever did the b-word right and I suspect that's because it did it before the b-word existed.
Jan. 30th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
OMG-Can't believe I screwed that one up. *massive face palm*

As much as I hated the more fan-servicey aspects of "Son of Coma Guy" I thought Hugh and John's work together was awesome. He also gave a good performance as a baddie on White Collar. I would have LOVED to see him on Broadway in How to Succeed, although the book for that is SO problematic in this day and age and doing it period, doesn't solve the problem, because it's not ironic treatment a la Mad Men.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )



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