Now Playing: THE WHITE SHADOW
I watched an old WHITE SHADOW tonight that guest-starred the Harlem Globetrotters, and it reminded me just how famous they were during the 1970's. Not only did they have several TV series of their own, but they also performed occasionally in taped bits on ABC's WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS and CBS' SPORTS SPECTACULAR. Players like Meadowlark Lemon, Geese Ausbie, Curley Neal, Marques Haynes and Sweet Lou Dunbar were practically household names...actually Lemon was, appearing as a solo act outside of the Globetrotters (I also thought it was cool that Meadowlark and Geese have the same birthday as me).
I really remember the guys from THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS POPCORN MACHINE, which was a Saturday-morning live-action comedy/variety series with skits, blackouts and, of course, basketball. I wish I recalled it clearer, but my memories are that it was a lot of fun, and I certainly have memories of "playing" Globetrotters under the hoop. Although we weren't exactly as good at fast dribbling or passing behind the back.
The Globetrotters also "starred" in two Saturday-morning cartoons, one in which they solved mysteries Scooby Doo-style and another in which they turned into superheroes. They also played themselves in what may possibly be the worst film ever made: THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS ON GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. I wish I were kidding, but I ain't. The castaways had turned the island into a resort by this time, and megalomaniacs Martin Landau and Barbara Bain (funny how this film doesn't come up in interviews with the Oscar-winning Landau) created basketball-playing robots to help them conquer the world or something like that. I remember Gilligan and the Skipper joining the Globetrotters on the court to school the super basketball robots. I've seen a lot of bad TV, but I can't think of anything worse off the top of my head.
Here's about 3 1/2 minutes of old-school Globetrotter highlights. I just saw some of this schtick on the WHITE SHADOW episode. Pretty cool.