Lately it feels like whatever remains of my childhood is slowly being flushed down the pop culture toilet. I couldn’t find the words for David Carradine’s death because I was deeply saddened by the news and everyone else in the world seemed to have something to say about it. As I’ve mentioned before, Kung Fu (1972-1975) was one of my favorite television shows when I was a kid, as was Charlie’s Angels (1976-1981) and the Rankin and Bass Jackson 5ive (1971-1973) cartoon. I saw some of these shows in reruns, but that didn’t lessen the impact they had on me. Like a lot of little preteen girls who grew up in the ’70s, I fondly remember that one of my first crushes was on a very young and incredibly cute Michael Jackson and for years I wanted to be a private detective thanks to the influence of Charlie’s Angels.
When I think about being a kid in the ’70s my memories are filled with Kung Fu lunchboxes, Charlie’s Angels’ dolls and Jackson Five records (or The Jacksons as they were called at the time) that my mom ordered from the Columbia Records mail-order club. David Carradine, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson were truly iconic figures of the ’70s (as well as the ’80s in Michael’s case) and thousands of writers will be eulogizing Michael Jackson for years to come. Whatever I have to say today really means nothing in the big scheme of things, but if you grew up with these people on your television, on your lunchboxes and in your toybox, they sort of take on an almost mythological status through the years that’s hard to explain. And yet, here I am trying to explain how their deaths make me feel, but frankly I can’t. It sort of feels like the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus all died within weeks of one another. This feeling isn’t helped by the fact that I recently experienced another death in my own family. June has been a cruel month.
I realize that the ’70s officially came to an end 30 years ago, but today it feels like they’re finally and forever over. At least for the little girl in me who still owns her original Farrah Fawcett doll.
. . . Earlier this year: Bob Wilkins 1932-2009