Friday, July 4, 2014

Red, white, blue and spandex

The photo says it all. On the Fourth of July, why not remember stunt show combatants who more or less wore the flag?

Truth be told, I was never much of a fan of American Gladiators. The story about its alleged greatness cautions that the show was not just a pro-wrestling "exhibition of phony athleticism." But sadly, that's what it often looked like to me. Everybody seemed more interested in showing off the buff products of steroids (okay, I don't know for sure) and gym rattiness than in actually competing.

But what the hey, the show was the ultimate muscular development of our little genre's stunt variety. It was pretty much Beat the Clock, except the stunts were more painful and less messy. Of course, you could argue that sports of all sorts are just an elaborate game show of jockiness. But I don't want to get into labored disputes over what is and what is not part of the game show kingdom.

The show's Wikipedia entry mildly surprised me. I didn't realize that the gladiators rumbled and tumbled for seven seasons. The 2008 revival only lasted a few months. Maybe spandex had gone out of style.

UPDATE: TV Guide reports that producer Arthur Smith is trying to sell a third version of the gladiators. "It's a little less red, white and blue. And there's no spandex. Spandex has left the building."


  1. September 9, 2014, will be this shows 25th anniversary.

    It was also one of the last shows to air on KHJ-TV right here in Los Angeles, before it changed to KCAL-TV.

  2. Never really watched the show all that much. Just a glance now and then. I was surprised to find out that it lasted so long.

  3. More like Red White and BOOM! Yesterday, a really great TPIR, Casey. Not only this moment, but the rest of the show was good too!