Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gaps in the big fabric

Just when you think the internet and YouTube have everything you'd ever want to see, you find gaps. This evening, I found myself wanting to sample Bill Russell hosting SNL back in what turns out to be 1979, where he did a skit called "The Black Shadow" parodying Ken Howard's The White Shadow. Howard plays a liberal white coach who comes to an inner-city (pre hip-hop) high school and coaches a team to an understanding of discipline, manners, and not getting chicks pregnant. He bails them out and plays the father figure.

In the Bill Russell segment, Russell plays a black coach who comes to a suburban high school, where his players teach him the value of discipline, manners, and not getting drunk on cheap ripple. Russell will hear none of it and blames it all on racism. In the classic climactic scene, he turns to his mom -- also black -- and says that she doesn't love him because he's black. It verges on being Chappelle-like.

1 comment:

Steed said...

The White Shadow is a good show that holds up well. It makes me nostalgic for an era when TV shows covered tough and gritty social issues. It's also journalistic rather than sensational or sanctimonious. The kids pop pills. Tough Ken Howard calls them on it. There are some confrontations. Cool tough stuff.