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Robo-James' Time Machine: The Kids from C.A.P.E.R.

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Before The Jonas Brothers, before iCarly, before Hannah Montana—yea, even long before Saved by the Bell—there was the Saturday-morning live-action kids’ show. Like any good child of Generation X, I have chunks of my brainsphere better reserved for remembering physics equations and American history instead stuffed with memories of Electra Woman and Dyna-Girl, Lidsville and Shazam! Earlier this year, Will Ferrell tried to monetize this Gen X nostalgia with a big-screen version of Land of the Lost.

No one will ever try to make a movie, successful or otherwise, of The Kids from C.A.P.E.R. I cannot remember exactly what it was about, except that there was crime fighting, secrecy and a character who went nuts when he heard the word “bananas.” I remember that it existed for a short time, debuting on NBC in 1976, the year of the Bicentennial and Swingtown. And I remember that I loved it. Watch with me the credits of The Kids from C.A.P.E.R., reader, and then let us savor the details:

In no particular order:

* Looking back now, I notice pretty quickly that all the “kids” looked about 30 years old.

* I am continually amazed how long credits were back then. You could fit an entire Disney Channel interstitial mini-episode in there. More to the point, you could fit three commercials in there. Good God, did no one need money in 1976? No wonder the economy was in malaise!

* I love the number of scenes that get you ready for excitement by showing a character walking up or down a set of steps. Apparently steps were considered pretty bad-ass back then.

* Oh, Doc! He had the looks—and the brains to catch the crooks! You can tell that he’s got the brains because (1) he walks into a library and (2) he talks on some type of radio/phone the size of a shoebox. Which, in 1976, was like having a jet pack. As for the looks: dig the leisure suit. Day-um!

* The show was produced by Don Kirshner, who was also a producer on The Monkees. And indeed, the Kids produced a full-length LP, to less success. Tell me if you find it on eBay.

* I’m not sure why it’s the character named “Doomsday” who (1) is the animal lover and (2) has a singing voice two octaves lower than everyone else’s. This was probably my first exposure to the concept of irony.