Wan Hu, forget about me. As you walk on by, will you call out my name? La. La la la laaa. La la la laaa. La la la lala la lala la La. La la la la. La la la la. La la la lala la lala la La...
Ok. That was a terrible Simple Minds joke. It was cheap, unfunny, and totally has nothing to do whatsoever to do with todays post.
See, this was a trick. Yesterday I ended by saying I wasn't doing a Wan Hu post. But then, I start off with, what appears to be, a Wan Hu post. But it's not! I am fooling you into thinking it is!
Hahahaha! I'm so clever.
So, this begs the question, 'What is today's post about?'.
Todays post is about two cases of absolute stupidity. Well, one case of stupidity, and one of just plain misfortune.
The first takes place at the 1972 Olympic games. American sprinters Eddie Hart and Rey Robinson were the favorites to win gold and silver. After winning their first races in the morning, their coach looked at the schedule and saw they had some time off before the quarterfinals. So, they took it easy and went for a stroll. While walking through the Olympic Village, they saw a race about to start on a TV. They stopped to watch as they thought it was a replay from that morning.
That is, until they noticed Hart had an N/A next to his name. This wasn't a replay. It was live. The quarterfinals were being run now, not later.
Despite their efforts to reach the track before the races were over, they didn't make it. They went home without medals. Everyone blamed the coach, Stan Wright, until the US Olympic Committee finally admitted the race time had been changed since the schedule had been handed out, and they had neglected to inform Wright.
So, this wasn't a case of stupidity, it was just stupid. And it was unfortunate for Hart and Robinson who never qualified for the Olympics again.
This next tale is a tale of stupidity. The year is 1982. For most people, TV consists of the three major networks and maybe a local station or two. So, viewer choice was very limited. Because of this, the networks tried to produce shows that the public wanted to watch. Shows like Dynasty, Dallas, The A-Team and Simon & Simon were the leaders. ABC and CBS were smugly at the top while NBC languished a distant third in the ratings.
When a comedian went to the head of ABC, Lewis Erlicht, with a proposal for a show, Erlicht hesitated. The show being proposed was a sitcom, and the only sitcom that was doing even remotely well was Three's Company. To make it worse, the comedian wanted a full commitment from the network. He wanted a guarantee the show would air without having to submit a script or a pilot.
Erlicht thought the show, about a couple, a doctor and a lawyer, and their children, lacked the needed 'hook' to capture the viewers, even with a big time comic as the star. He also felt that Americans just wouldn't believe the premise of a wealthy, upper middle class, African American family. So he passed.
The comic, believing he had a hit, went to NBC. Sensing nothing to lose, NBC decided to go with the show, and in 1984, The Cosby Show debuted, and was the number 3 show for the season. And for the next five years, it was number 1. The show revitalized NBC, and the sitcom. It spawned a phenomenon NBC called 'Must See TV'. It also paved the way for more sitcoms like, Family Ties, Cheers, Night Court, Wings, Friends, and Seinfeld. (To be fair, Family Ties and Cheers had already debuted before Cosby, but were unpopular and facing cancelation until they were aired after Cosby)
So, Erlicht blew what was, for several years, the biggest cash cow on TV. Even as cable gained popularity, Cosby kept people on NBC. And 'The Cosby Effect' was realized. A supremely popular show can make a lesser quality show popular, just by placing it after the popular one. (A different World, anyone? After Cosby went off the air, ADW went from a top 20 show in Cosbys last season to barely registering in it's final two seasons after Cosby left. Turns out, the public didn't really like it, and coupled with changes, the show quickly tanked.)
So, there you go. On unfortunate incident, and one really stupid decision. And no Wan Hu.
Now, wouldn't it be funny if tomorrows post was on Wan Hu?