November 29, 2017
One in a series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars during 2017, on the subject of our favorite squads.
In my mind’s eye, I see a key, tarnished to dull gunmetal, which hangs from a piece of thick, grayish string long enough to hang around my neck. At the start of the Eighties, I was nine years old, and I don’t remember hearing the term at the time, but I was a “latchkey kid.” I walked a mile home from my suburban school every day, and sometimes — or all the time? — let myself in. I was never alone for too many hours. I never got into trouble.
If trouble came, there were people in the TV who could help — detectives, especially helpful if science could unravel the intrigue. They were “The Bloodhound Gang,” a show-within-a-show, namely the PBS children’s science show, 3-2-1 Contact.
The theme song — because every detective show-within-a-show must have one — has stuck with me indelibly. Whenever there’s trouble, we’re there on the double / We’re the Bloodhound Gang. The three “child” actors — two of whom were adults, and one of whom also starred in The Warriors, and would die of AIDS in 1986, canceling the series — worked at a detective agency. Every episode begins with a phone ringing in the office, a glass-doored holdover from film noir. “Bloodhound Detective Agency. Whenever there’s trouble, we’re there on the double. Mister Bloodhound isn’t here.”
MISTER BLOODHOUND WAS NEVER THERE! That was the stroke of genius that empowered an army of latchkey kids across the nation. If you’ve got the crime, we’ve got the time / We’re the Bloodhound Gang.
We’ll protect the elderly from being swindled at the sale of a rock chunk that supposedly flew off a white dwarf, aided by a compass fashioned from a sewing needle, a glass of water, and a slice of wine cork. We’ll keep a greedy lawyer from siphoning off the estate of a bird aficionado, because a quick call to the Audubon Society confirms that passenger pigeons are long extinct! These child detectives roam the parks and mean streets of early Eighties NYC (with its street names sanitized to things like “East Maple”), and they regularly come into contact with muscle men and ex-cons, who sometimes sneer hard-boiled alibis, like: “I give tennis lessons to clucks and gum-chewers.” No shots are ever fired, even when the police are summoned to finish the job.
Minor characters, perhaps, the Bloodhound Gang, but they livened up lonely afternoons with a sense of the madcap adventures that awaited me one day in the big city. And they convinced me I might be able to function in the adult world sooner than I thought… even if my only equipment was a door key.
#SQUADGOALS: Annie Nocenti on THE WILD BUNCH | Alice Boone on PRETTY LITTLE LIARS | Gordon Dahlquist on BOWIE’S BAND | Rob Wringham on THE HOME GUARD | Jennifer Krasinski on WATERSHIP DOWN RABBITS | Annalee Newitz on ROBIN HOOD’S MERRY PALS | Adrienne Crew on THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP | Mark Kingwell on THE HONG KONG CAVALIERS | Adam McGovern on KAMANDI’S FAMILY | John Overholt on THE CLUB | Greg Rowland on THE VULTURE SQUADRON | Sara Ryan on BETSY, TACY & TIB | Chelsey Johnson on VI ÄR BÄST! | Brian Berger on THE JOHN FORD STOCK COMPANY | Sherri Wasserman on THE WARRIORS | Jessamyn West on FAREYNIKTE PARTIZANER ORGANIZATSYE | Josh Glenn on DADA | Matthew De Abaitua on THE TIME | Mandy Keifetz on THE FOUNDING FATHERS | William Nericcio on ZOOT SUIT PACHUCOS | Deb Chachra on FIREFLY CREW | Matthew Battles on THE ANIMAL FAMILY | Ingrid Schorr on THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS | Joe Alterio on THE USUAL GANG OF IDIOTS | Dan Reines on THE BREAKFAST CLUB | Rob Walker on LES TROIS INSÉPARABLES | Devin McKinney on 1975 RED SOX | Steph Burt on DAMAGE CONTROL | Elina Shatkin on THE HOLOGRAMS | Chris Spurgeon on THE ALKALI METALS | Carl Wilson on NEW YORK SCHOOL POETS | Barbara Bogaev on THE MOD SQUAD | Franklin Bruno on THE AACM | Judith Zissman on THE FUTURIANS | Mimi Zeiger on ARCHIGRAM | Jacob Mikanowski on THE RATBASTARDS | Lynn Peril on THE DALY SISTERS | Anindita Basu Sempere on MEG MURRY’S FAMILY | Libi Rose on THE ENIAC TEAM | Gary Panter on THE TRIBE OF HIPPIES | Peter Doyle on CORNEL WILDE BOYS | Ken Layne on THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG | Molly Wright Steenson on BAUHAUS | Katie Hennessey on BEAT POETS | Mimi Lipson on THE RUNAWAYS | Jordan Ellenberg on BOURBAKI | Michael Campochiaro on THE SUICIDE SQUAD | Deborah Wassertzug on THE BLOODHOUND GANG | Colin Dickey on ACÉPHALE | Douglas Wolk on SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY | David Smay on THE MYSTIC KNIGHTS OF THE OINGO BOINGO | Karinne Keithley Syers on BLACKLIPS PERFORMANCE CULT.
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