" Turn-On " What survives?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by WLL, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. WLL

    WLL Popery Of Mopery Thread Starter

    IK, if the famesmd/infamous Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In knock-off, TURN-ON, does not qualify for the " Unsold Pilots "...what about here:eek:? I'm PROUD! that I saw it!:edthumbs: It reportedly got pulled off of at least one ABC affiliate before the first episode had finished due to its naughtiness (for 1969(, so it can truly said to have been, at least in part, cancelled before it was finished:yikes:!
    I remember at the time reading in TV GUIDE that 7 or so episodes had been shot. Do any - including the aired premiere - survive:confused:?
  2. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Detroit Mi USA
    From an earlier thread on worst TV shows.

    Turn On.
    A half hour comedy show by the producers from Laugh In. I watched the entire run at one sitting on its first run. The only show i can think of cancelled after one airing. Tim Conway was only the guest host for this bomb.

    From wiki
    Turn-On - Wikipedia

    Conway has stated that Turn-On was canceled midway through its only episode, so that the party the cast and crew held for its premiere as the show aired across the United States also marked its cancellation. Cleveland's WEWS-TV stopped the episode before it finished (after "11 minutes", according to Conway). The station sent ABC network management an angry telegram: "If your naughty little boys have to write dirty words on the walls, please don't use our walls. Turn On is turned off, as far as WEWS is concerned." Denver, Colorado's KBTV did not air the episode, stating that after previewing it "We have decided, without hesitation, that it would be offensive to a major segment of the audience"; Portland, Oregon's KATU and Seattle, Washington's KOMO-TV also decided to not show the episode. Viewers of Little Rock, Arkansas's KATV, which disliked the show but decided to air it, "jam[med] the station's switchboard" with complaints.

    Turn-On was not officially cancelled for several days, but WEWS, KBTV, and KATV told ABC that they would not air the show again, and Bristol-Myers ordered Schlatter and Friendly to end production. ABC received 369 calls of complaint during the show, compared to 20 supporting it.

    You will never get that half hour back.
    Here is a sort of transcript. Remember these were almost all blackouts with a couple of short sketches

    Skits aired on the program
    Two policemen say, "Let us spray," before spraying cans of mace at the camera.
    A firing squad prepares to shoot an attractive woman when the squad leader says, "Excuse me, miss, but in this case we are the ones with one final request." (This skit was recycled in Schlatter's revival of Laugh-In in 1978, with no complaints.)
    A bikini-wearing Teresa Graves lounges on a park bench surrounded by cardboard bushes. She exclaims, "I feel so guilty - I mean, lying here and all." Pause. "I should be out *shopping* somewhere!"
    An armed hijacker tells an ersatz Superman: "OK buddy, take me to Cuba."
    Chuck McCann, dressed as a cop, prowls around cardboard bushes with his nightstick while singing, "Hello, young lovers, wherever you are ..."
    "The Body Politic", shown three times during the episode, featured a buxom, reclining blonde (Maura McGiveney) saying things like "Mr. Nixon, as President, now becomes the titular head of the Republican Party."
    McGiveny asks Tim Conway if he loves her. Conway gets offended, telling her that he just met her and, for all he knows, she could be a "a pot-smoking, jaded, wild-eyed, radical dropout." When McGiveny tells him that she's just that, he says, "I love you!"
    A sleazy TV pitchman (Robert Staats) promotes a breakfast cereal "soaked in mescaline."
    The same pitchman appears in a second spoof commercial selling women's shoes, though he is gradually revealed to be a foot fetishist.
    A diagram of a swastika is displayed as a narrator says, "You are now looking at the table at the Paris peace accords agreed to by General Ky."
    Several homosexual-themed messages scrolling across the screen, including "God Save the Queens", "Free Oscar Wilde" and "The Amsterdam Levee is a dike".
    A pregnant woman singing "I Got Rhythm" (alluding to the rhythm method of birth control).
    A vending machine dispensing the birth control pill, with an anxious young woman putting coins into it and then feverishly shaking the broken machine (some ABC affiliates cut the show off after this sketch).
    A draft-dodger holding a sign reading Sweden.
    Conway, dressed in a samurai outfit and speaking mock Japanese, is revealed to be university president/politician S.I. Hayakawa.
    A black man, face-to-face with a white man, says, "Mom always did like you best!" (an allusion to a popular catchphrase of The Smothers Brothers)
    One cop, played by Chuck McCann, asks a second, "You want to take some of this pornographic literature home with you tonight?" The colleague replies, "I don't even have a pornograph!" McCann then rips up a skin magazine and begins eating the pieces.
    A commercial spoof shows Conway touting a masculine deodorant while lifting weights and working out. "When I'm all through, I smell like a lady," he concludes and is shown in drag.
    In another commercial parody, Conway is shown wearing a tuxedo, and heavy eye mascara.
    A sequence (the show's longest) with the word sex flashing on and off in pulsating colors while Conway and Bonnie Boland leer at each other.[3] Various stock photographs are displayed during the sequence, including one of Pope Paul VI.
    Conway as spokesman for "Citizens Action Committee of America," a group with the acronym CACA.
    The black programmer shown programming the computer supposedly generating the show says he dreamed he was a duck in Lester Maddox's bathtub. "I migrated," he says.
    A young woman in cap and gown is shown lobbing a hand grenade.
    Two men (Hamilton Camp and Chuck McCann) are standing at a globe. "Tell me," one says to the other, "where is the capital of South Vietnam?" The second man spins the globe and points, "Mostly over here, in Swiss bank accounts."
    A Catholic nun asks a priest, "Father, can I have the car tonight?" The priest replies, "Just as long as you don't get in the habit."
    Conway tells Graves, "I was so damned angry when I found out my kids were popping pills, I went out and got drunk."
    One message scrolled across the screen: "Israel Uber Alles."
    A recurring series of skits with Conway as a marriage counselor in session with an African American husband and an Asian wife. The last state laws against interracial marriages had been struck down only two years earlier.
    Two men in Stetson hats defend the principles of Southern womanhood. One then says to the other, "Come on, big beauty," and they hold hands and walk out effeminately.
    A white Southern hotel guest phones the main desk about the Gideon Bible which states "'Moses married an Ethiopian woman' ... in the Atlanta Hilton!?!"
    A puppet snake says, "Remember, folks, I could have given Eve the apple and the Pill!"
    goodiesguy, MrSka57, Gumboo and 3 others like this.
  3. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Detroit Mi USA
    OK I was a very precocious 13 year old and was reading at college level since 4th grade. I was heavy into the Smothers and Laugh In. You are right. It made no sense. It wasn't funny. At all. It went out of its way to be offensive to as many people as possible. My reaction was "Hah? What the hell was THAT?".
  4. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Turn On producer George Schlatter says the sponsor paid for all episodes that were filmed, on the condition that they never be shown publicly.

    Not much is known about the show other than the first episode (w/Tim Conway). Thanks to a TV Guide ad we know that Robert Culp and his then wife France Nuyen were to host the second, but of course it never aired. As far as the other episodes that were produced (3? 4?), AFAIK Schlatter has never said anything.
  5. James Slattery

    James Slattery Forum Resident

    Long Island
    The first 2 episodes exist at the Paley Center. Never heard of any of the others residing anyplace else. What I heard is that they may have been in various stages of completion.
    goodiesguy, Vidiot and team2 like this.
  6. Grant

    Grant Senior Member

    United States
    Gotta remember that at that time in history, the idea was to not shock, but to bring reality to TV. Comedy was a new way to do that, to get people to laugh, and really think about our social and political absurdities. As with The Smothers Brothers, it was too much for the public to take (that and the show being full of stupid, uninspired one-liners).

    But, little did the public know that Norman Lear was busy working on getting Archie Bunker on the air to address the realities of the day. Once his show premiered on CBS a year later, no one complained. What a dif'rence a year makes.
    McLover likes this.
  7. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    Yet, the sponsor agreed to sponsor the program at first, then, riiiiight...? They thought they were riding a zeitgeist, then they just turned...hippie-critical.
  8. OldSoul

    OldSoul Shattered

    Vallejo, CA
    Sounds horrible.
    Solaris likes this.
  9. So, two complete episodes exist? I wonder if there’s a snowball’s chance that they’ll ever be made available - posted online or the like.
  10. James Slattery

    James Slattery Forum Resident

    Long Island
    They are available. Go to the Paley Center in either NY or LA.
  11. Spiny Norman

    Spiny Norman Well-Known Member

    It's a bit far. :(

    Meanwhile, chances are that whatever was shocking back then, won't move any eyebrows today.

    Still want to see it myself, just not sure if that's just me and if it would draw a crowd.
    dlokazip and Dudley Morris like this.
  12. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    wow... what was good for 69 should have been good for 2019...how sad those PC rats have corrupted our way of life...how did they get so strong? It's sickening...and I'm sorry if some may disagree with my opinion but this really bothers me...we went BACKWARDS? how? when? why? and where?
    showtaper likes this.
  13. JFS3

    JFS3 Senior Member

    Here's an interview with George Schlatter from 2010 where's he speaks favorably about Turn-On, and how he'd like for it to be finally seen by the public:

    Although he doesn't explicitly state just how many episodes were produced/survived, it sounds as if there is more than just the two known episodes (all of which have (presumably) been sitting unseen in a warehouse somewhere in LA for the past fifty years).
    goodiesguy, dlokazip and Vidiot like this.
  14. team2

    team2 Forum Resident

    TN (By Way of NY)
    I've always wanted see this just out of pure curiosity.
    goodiesguy and dlokazip like this.
  15. Spiny Norman

    Spiny Norman Well-Known Member

    A clip was used in a UK show about trash TV several years ago, but sadly that did not lead to any bootlegs. :(
  16. elaterium

    elaterium Forum Resident

    I saw the premiere and remember thinking it was garbage. It tried desperately to be hip but totally missed the boat. Wasn’t funny at all. I recall that they showed the credits gradually throughout the entire show. It was as if it was over just as it began.
    mbd40 likes this.
  17. elaterium

    elaterium Forum Resident

    It’s on YouTube.
  18. elaterium

    elaterium Forum Resident

    I was 14. Had the same reaction.
    JamieC likes this.
  19. Flippikat

    Flippikat Forum Resident

    All I can find is a few brief clips & some interviews about it. :(

    It kinda sounds like the comedy of unease that the likes of Tim & Eric do, so yeah.. maybe a little ahead of it's time.

    I wonder who has the rights to all this, and if they've considered selling to a streaming service a) to get it out there & b) maybe recoup a little from it? It's infamy would be a pretty good selling point...
  20. Spiny Norman

    Spiny Norman Well-Known Member

    No, there's nothing on youtube, except for the brief excerpt from a UK documentary. There is some channel that managed to fill one hour chatting about a program they don't have and can't show. But at least they warn in advance.

    It's not totally impossible. A never-repeated Munsters special briefly appeared on archive.org before it was quickly removed. No-one had saved a download, so in the end that cat got back into the bag!
    But in this case - I don't think so.
    Ignatius likes this.
  21. elaterium

    elaterium Forum Resident

    I watched it a year or so ago. It must’ve been taken down.
  22. Spiny Norman

    Spiny Norman Well-Known Member

    I searched for it before that.
    Next time, download the video!
  23. elaterium

    elaterium Forum Resident

    Hmmm, I can’t have been imagining it. Anyway, I understand the curiosity but you’re not missing much.
  24. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Should really take better care of himself

    Part of the reason Lear got away with All In The Family is that the bigots didn't realize they were being parodied.
  25. Spiny Norman

    Spiny Norman Well-Known Member

    Well, don't take this personal, but it's possible that you're mistaken. It would have been noticed. It's not impossible but simply unlikely that no-one else would have spotted it and gone on social media.

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