Once Upon A Time, An “Underdog” Character Fell Into a Pop Culture Void

Yesterday, a good friend of mine posted this meme on Facebook, which was off my pop culture radar:

I wanted to be sure this wasn’t some kind of vaguebook post disguising something super important, so I sent a private message to him in Messenger:

Do you have COVID or do you mean something else by your FB post that I’m not getting?

That’s Rudy Guiliani. Can’t you tell?

Obviously no, though I thought maybe. I wanted to be sure.

A lot of people are posting that. It’s Simon Barsinister from Underdog.

Ah, no wonder. Way too old of a pop culture reference!

Later, he clarifies in a comment saying “I do not have COVID.”

The Internets tell me that “Underdog” aired as a series from 1964 to 1967, with episodes airing in syndication until 1973. Which pretty much all happened before I was born.

As for my friend and trivia teammate? He would’ve been a kid when this show aired, so this would be a very “fresh” pop culture reference for him. His older brother in particular is an even bigger fan of “Underdog.”

This isn’t the first time pop culture references from this era have completely gone over my head. Another pop culture reference that didn’t compute with me was for the “Banana Splits.” We watched a horror parody of this last year and my husband started talking about how he remembered watching the kids’ show.

“What do you mean?” I asked. This was a kids’ show?

I honestly had no idea. Original episodes aired from 1968 to 1970, which OK, that might explain why I didn’t “get” this reference since I hadn’t been born. But it was in SYNDICATION from 1971 to 1982! What the heck was I doing during this time to have missed out on this?

Living in the “sticks,” as it were! Maybe we just didn’t get the channel this was on?

Then there was the “Flip Wilson Incident.” A trivia game in 2018 where we had this as a final trivia question in a pub trivia game:

in 1972, what comedian/actor was named Time Magazine’s “first black superstar?”

Nobody on our team – including the “Underdog” fan – was able to come up with this answer. This prompted me to come up with my own patented meme:

Sure, it’s “kind of” an excuse to not know about a particular pop culture “thing” because you’re not the right age. But there is always an excuse to catch up thanks to the Internet!

Which brings me to my very last pop culture mystery of all – the “Dogpatch” restaurant in Munising, MI. The whole theme is based upon the comic strip “Li’l Abner,” which ran in newspapers from 1934 to 1977. Which basically means it’s becoming an extinct pop culture reference – in that all of the folks who would “get” the reference are older or dead. You can read more about this here: https://wordpress.com/post/hebontheweb.blog/18715

Photo of Dogpatch in Munising, MI from a May, 2019 trip to Michigan’s “Upper Peninsula.” My husband is terrified of this restaurant and would not enter it! I was able to get this exterior shot…

My grandma, whom was born in 1915, got a kick out of visiting this restaurant in the early 1980s! And thanks to my Grandma having passed the knowledge on to me, I knew that “Dogpatch” was based upon the comic strip “Li’l Abner.” And thanks to having been in that restaurant, I know that “vittles” is hillbilly for “food.” Do I know anything else about the comic strip? Well, not really! It’s a bunch of hillbillies and cutely misspelled words (and there’s apparently some really buxom chick whom was probably the inspiration for Daisy Duke from “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Though I did read about a strange creature in the strip called the “Shmoo” (thank you Internets)!

Is it a harp seal? Is it a cow? Is it a sperm reference? is it phallic? Inquiring minds want to know! JK, I honestly don’t care about this… thing – enough to investigate!

On that note, I’m OUTTA here!

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