The Christine McGlade Fansite
Welcome to the Tributes page, where we'll be featuring occasional written tributes to Christine, including "The Christine Chronicles," the initial installments of which can be found below.
If there are any aspiring wordsmiths out there who would like to submit something for this department, please contact us at the e-mail address provided on the contact page. We can't pay you, of course, since The Christine McGlade Fansite is a purely non-commercial enterprise. So don't knock yourself out...or, if you do, knock yourself out for Christine, not for cash.
More tributes to come as they're written. In the meantime, here's a photo of Christine herself, hard at work on a novel (or perhaps a TV script), from 1984's Literature episode.
A Night to Remember...or, Christine on 92nd StreetGod, we wish we could have been there. But we're so glad we got to see it.
We're all kind of walking on air right now, so forgive us if the words don't come too easily or if we don't always know how to say what we want to - because there's so much that we want to.
There were too many wonderful moments to count. The memory of Mathew Klickstein, who has become a good friend to The Christine McGlade Fansite over these past several months, walking onto the stage and marveling at the size of the audience before him - even taking its picture, as though to convince himself that this was actually happening - will stick with us for a very long time. So will the memory of Roger Price's delightful introductory film (we threw a few virtual high-fives, we have to confess, when he went off the reservation a bit and tweaked Nickelodeon for making a trademark of green slime and not paying him any royalties); of Carole Hay's beautiful voice; of Alasdair Gillis's beatific smile; and of Emily Rosenthal's delightful tale of how she, a fan of fifteen, came in 1986 to write an episode of "You Can't Do That on Television" - not to mention the nice moment between Emily and Alasdair, who was seated to her left, when she spoke of her opportunity to visit the set of her favorite show and described it as a "dream come true."
But of course - as is always the case - it was Christine who rendered us speechless.
For starters, she was simply breathtaking. We had thought we were prepared; we had seen a few recent photos of her that were published via social media, and we knew she was as lovely as she'd ever been, if not even more so. But still photos and images (and this is the inherent limitation of a site like ours, or just about any Internet site) don't tell half the story, and there aren't superlatives enough to do justice to how glorious she truly looked. We could go on and on about all the physical details: the way she walked across the stage, the way she sat, the way she talked, the way she listened, the way she laughed, the way she smiled, the way she held her microphone, her boots, her earrings, her bracelet, her rings - not to mention the now-grey hair which (despite her own apparent insecurities about it) suits her so perfectly. (And indeed we have gone on and on about all these things, and more: in fact, for the first hour after she walked off the stage, that was just about all that we did. For some idea of why, take a look at these photos.)
But for as wonderful as all that was, there was something else that made it twice as wonderful - and this is the part that's a little bit hard to explain, but we'll try. It had been some years now since Christine had spoken publicly about "You Can't Do That on Television." No one among us has ever supposed that this was by design - after all, she had appeared at both SlimeCon reunion conventions; she kept a delightful though short-lived blog about the show in 2007; and from time to time she's responded to YCDTOTV-related comments (including a couple of ours) either in the "comments" section of her blog or via social media - nor would we ever think of demanding more from someone who has already given us so much, and who has since moved on to other interests and endeavors. Our point is simply that we had all come to accept - to a man, to a woman - that what there had been in the past was all that there would be, from now on.
We would have lived with that, without complaint or question. But the moment she stepped on the stage tonight, we realized how much we'd been missing her - how great a gap her absence from our TV screens (and/or computer monitors) had left in our lives, and how rewarding and refreshing and joyous it was to see her again: not in still pictures, and not as she looked thirty-some years ago (gorgeous though she was) - but up close, in action, in the here (or there) and now. As we said when we started this project, some months ago: "there's still no one lovelier on the small screen." We would modify that to read "any screen, big or small" - but other than that, we stand behind our words. Tonight proved, if any proof was needed, that it's truer now than ever before. Tonight, as we celebrate the show (or shows) we loved so much in childhood, we must acknowledge that it isn't just nostalgia (or middle-aged crankiness) that makes us shake our heads and sigh and say, "they don't make 'em like they used to." It's more that Christine set, and continues to set, such a high standard that no one who's come along since can live up to it - not in our eyes, anyway - and even a brief glimpse of her is enough to remind us of everything she has to offer that no one else can.
And though the glimpse was brief, we think it's safe to say the images will prove indelible. We loved watching her in the full-panel shots, looking across at whoever was speaking, listening intently, encouraging, nodding, smiling, the corners of her mouth turning up imperceptibly, little by little. (We've been mocked for having said so before, but we'll say it again: no one else ever listened so beautifully.) We loved hearing her enthusiastic interjections, her shouts of laughter, her cheers for her fellow panelists - her former colleagues, her friends. More than anything else, we loved the interaction between her and Geoff Darby, very near the end, when she began teasing him - much as she used to tease Kevin or Lisa or Alasdair on the show - about his propensity (and Price's) for laughing at their own jokes, then went into an uproarious impression of Price manically combing his hair when a joke had struck him as especially funny. By the end, she was helpless with laughter as Darby described a sketch from the program's first season - and that was perhaps the greatest of all the great moments from this night. Her laughter - the look on her face when she laughs - is the same as it's always been, and it was absolute heaven to see it and hear it again after all these years. Not for the first time this evening, but more fully than at any other time that came before it, it gave us the sense of teenage/early-twenties Christine - "You Can't Do That on Television" Christine - in perfect coexistence with modern-day, "adult" Christine, and it was incredible.
Just about then, it ended: too soon, and we miss her already. We wanted that moment - that playful exchange with Geoff Darby, that wondrous laughter we've all missed so much - to last; we wanted it to go on for hours. We wanted it to expand and take unforeseen corners and detours, to transmute into further memories and fond recollections; we wanted to watch her relive them before our eyes. But other panels awaited; after all, the "Golden Age" of Nickelodeon encompasses a lot of shows, and time was short. It's always been true that a little of Christine leaves us wanting a lot of Christine, and this time was no exception - but a little of Christine is wonderful nevertheless.
And that brings us again to Mathew Klickstein, to whom we owe a major debt of gratitude for his role in all this. As we mentioned earlier, Christine hadn't spoken (or written) too much about the show in recent years, so we were delighted to hear that Matt had interviewed her for "Slimed!", and beyond delighted when he told us that she'd be appearing tonight at the launch party. To say the least, the odds against such a lucky confluence of events had once been long. What Marc Summers said in his opening comments was true, for all it seemed absurdly obvious to us at first: without Matt, this book would never have been written. What he meant was that other authors weren't lining up to write a book on Nickelodeon's Golden Age, and it's very possible that, even if they had been, they would have been too discouraged to actually do so once the network refused to help in any way. But Matt was on a mission, and he persevered.
We are so glad he did. Thanks to that fact, we and many others were treated tonight to a few precious (virtual) minutes with someone we cherish. Many more will read about her in the book itself - and we're willing to bet that a sizable number of them will discover, or remember, what a treasure she is. For that, we can't thank him enough.
September 27-28, 2013
A Suitable Role Model: The Christine Chronicles, Part TwoMy mother didn't like "You Can't Do That on Television"; in fact I don't think it would be a stretch to say she hated it. She hated the green slime, she hated the water, she hated the constant portrayal of adults as "despicable" (in Les Lye's delightful description, with the emphasis firmly placed on the first syllable), or at best buffoons. As much as anything I think she hated my insistence on its being watched in our house night after night without fail.
There was only one aspect of my favorite TV show on which Mom and I saw eye to eye - but that aspect was critical, because it happened to be my favorite aspect of them all: she liked Christine. "Now there's a suitable role model for a young lady," she said, more than once.
Maybe my mother - who never truly watched the show attentively enough to know anything much about it, other than that she hated it - missed out on Christine's decided tendency toward the subversive: the sting behind the smile, so to speak. Maybe she was just humoring me, knowing that Christine was the one and only element of the show I would not, under any circumstances, have mocked, belittled or criticized. (This, by the way, is an attitude I have carried with me into adulthood - as a few of my fellow adults have discovered the hard way.) Or possibly it was even a subtle form of reverse psychology: a feeling on Mom's part that, if she only praised Christine enough, I would get over my idolization of her, and thus my fascination with the show as a whole. (If this actually was her intent, it emphatically did not succeed.)
But, looking back today, I think I understand what Mom - who was as different from her only daughter as different could possibly be - might have meant when she said what she did, and I've certainly come to agree with her over the years.
Christine was always under siege. Her fellow cast members - for all her solicitude toward them - weren't usually too wonderful to her, and Lye's floor director, Ross Ewich, positively delighted in tormenting her. Even the technicians joined in the fun: she was constantly being doused even if she hadn't said the word "water" (1982's Culture Junk episode, one of the first episodes I ever saw, contains three such examples alone - along with a fourth in which another cast member says the offending word first and escapes unscathed, while Christine alone gets drenched: not an uncommon occurrence in those days), and don't even get me started on the myriad occasions on which a set collapsed beneath her feet (Rip-Offs), or a cannon was shot off within inches of where she was standing (Television; Medicine), or she found herself rolled up in a carpet or stuffed in a trash can (Transportation) - to name only a few of the indignities she suffered. Worse yet, she was constantly being called "fat" (in that same 1982 season, when, after two years of being - to my eyes - just slightly too skinny, she had put on weight and looked positively buoyant, those wigs notwithstanding), or "dog" (this in spite of the fact that we all knew she was gorgeous): two long-running gags I could certainly have lived without, and which paralleled too closely the real-life shaming my friends and I had to endure at that stage of our own lives, from girls and boys alike.
But here's the thing: through it all, Christine always endured. Yes, her shoulders might slump at the injustice and unfairness of it all; yes, her head might bow in temporary anguish or embarrassment when she came under fire from water or slime - but she always bounced back; she always landed on her feet...and she almost always seemed to be standing a little bit taller the next time you saw her. She seemed to understand, in a way not consciously apparent to me at the time, that she was standing tall on behalf of others besides just herself.
Other kids? Other women and girls? Or other put-upon humans in general - "the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones and worse," of whom Bob Dylan sang? Yes, the answer is almost certainly "yes" - to all of these, and more. She stood tall on behalf of us all.
I will leave it to the sociologists and the advocacy groups to debate who has it harder than whom in this day and age, and to try to determine who has it the hardest of all. I can speak only from personal experience - that of being a woman in late-twentieth and early-twenty-first century North America - and I can only tell you that it isn't always easy. There are lots of slings and arrows along your path, and entirely too much slime (green and otherwise) to suppose you can elude it all. The best you can do is endure - and, if possible, stand tall.
Christine showed me how. Her example has helped guide me ever since I can remember. She was a suitable role model for a young lady indeed.
September 13-15, 2013
To Christine on the Occasion of Her Birthday Birthdays are, of course, an occasion for commemorating a person's birth, as well as celebrating who that person is. In the case of a public figure, this can be tricky, because the picture, where fans are concerned, is necessarily incomplete. Undoubtedly Christine - who has accomplished so much that has nothing to do with "You Can't Do That on Television" or its various spin-offs - is seen in many diverse ways by many different people, and there are facets of her that her TV fans will never know or even fathom: regardless of how closely she portrayed "herself" onscreen. We can speak with authority only of who she is in our eyes...but that's a great deal.
When we call Christine "the most beautiful woman on television," we mean it sincerely - but we don't mean it simply in terms of appearance. True beauty is more than mere attractiveness (however pronounced); it also encompasses approachability, sincerity, style, warmth, passion, radiance, sense of connection, compassion, humanity, empathy, decency - you name it. True beauty is a world unto itself, and it enhances the worlds and the lives of those with whom it comes in contact.
For those of us fortunate enough to have come to "know" (and, in some small way, to love) her over these past thirty-some years, through the medium of television, a world without Christine McGlade - Christine McGlade as we know her, that is - seems downright unimaginable: infinitely less beautiful and not nearly as much fun. Because she came into our lives, our world is a more joyous place, and it always will be.
And so, Christine - for these reasons and so many others - all of us at The Christine McGlade Fansite, and all of your fans far and wide, want to wish you the most joyous of birthdays, and a very happy and successful year to come. To paraphrase the title of a classic song, we're glad there is you.
-ALL OF THE ABOVE
August 25, 2013
"Hey, look, that's Christine under there!"...or, "No, no, Christine, don't look into the watermark!"...or, yet again, The "New" '79s
Christine, we have always believed, would be beautiful under any conditions: a theory that's been amply put to the test by the "new" 1979 episodes of "You Can't Do That on Television" recently posted to You Tube. Perhaps you'll have heard about this (since it's kicked up a bit of a row, so to speak), and we can confirm that it's true: her face is stamped throughout with a big ugly watermark, which reads "Property of Roger Price." (We presume this refers to the episodes, and not to Christine herself, since the other cast members are stamped with it too, as are the musical "guests," the disco dancers, the kids telling jokes, and even the blank screen...but let's leave them aside for the moment, and focus, as we're wont to do, on Christine.)We at The Christine McGlade Fansite do not endorse big ugly watermarks, naturally, and have been proudly watermark-free since our inception. But rest assured: nothing, not even a big ugly watermark, can diminish Christine's loveliness. In fact, we think it's safe to say that the six or eight letters of said watermark that cover her face at any given moment of any given episode (and they're not always the same six or eight letters, since the watermark's designers apparently couldn't come up with a way to make it follow her around from spot to spot) are invariably by far the most attractive. These six or eight letters, whatever they happen to be ("ERTY on the forehead, and "R PRI" on the lips and chin, appears to be an oft-recurring combination), seem to draw a certain energy, a certain radiance, what Paul McCartney called "a certain softness," from Christine, and are made almost lovely themselves by their imposed association with her."Adorable" has been the word most often used to refer to Christine in these newly-rediscovered episodes, and, unlike big ugly watermarks, we at The Christine McGlade Fansite endorse this description wholeheartedly. In the very first episode (cleverly titled "Episode 1") she is gawky, geeky, glorious and utterly resplendent in her baby-blue Steve Martin t-shirt ("It's too bad," cracked one anti-watermark wag, "that Steve Martin isn't hosting this episode wearing a Christine McGlade t-shirt, so we could see her face a little better"): by turns coltish and cool, beginning her new and exciting (not to mention unforeseen) adventure in style, and in stride. Talk about bursting onto the scene! Or take Episode 6, in which she appears to become frankly smitten with a Mountie she's been tasked with interviewing, making eyes at him while at the same time we're gaping at her: even rather awkwardly informing him at one point that "I love a man in uniform." This interaction, like her winter boots, her occasional necktie(!), and her childlike propensity for gushing over the giveaway prizes for phone-in contests, wishing she could keep them for her own, had us charmed and delighted as we (sort of) viewed these episodes for the first time. To sum up, a big ugly watermark over the face represents a daunting challenge for a sixteen-year-old goddess in the making. Christine overcomes it with ease in these episodes. We are hardly surprised. To us, it's just more evidence, if more evidence is needed, that the brightest of lights can never be kept hidden under a bushel...or under a big ugly watermark.-THE EDITORSJune 11, 2013 "I Couldn't Stop Movin' When It First Took Hold": The Christine Chronicles, Part OneI've always said that it was almost like an opposite sketch, when my Dad called me in from outside, where I had been playing contentedly, telling me I'd better come in the house, quick, and check out this new show he had run across in the course of his typical Saturday-afternoon channel-flipping.
Of course it wasn't actually "new"; "You Can't Do That on Television" had been on the air for six seasons or so by that time, and the network that offered it here in the States wasn't playing it fair, wasn't giving us all that it might have (for reasons that remain in dispute to this day), but we didn't know that back then, and we probably wouldn't have cared. (Such an innocent time, for a boy and his Dad!) We had opened the door to a new world.
I don't recall which episode it was; nowadays, it seems as if so many people remember their "first" that I can't help but feel a little inadequate in this regard. (In my defense, I came in almost halfway through.) I can only recall what it felt like for me when they cut away from a living-room scene, in which a bummy and scummy and beer-swilling Dad and a scatterbrained Mom were hassling some poor beleaguered kid (oh, how my real-life Dad loved those sketches; he would quote them endlessly at dinnertime), to something called (I later learned) the "link set"...and there she was: Christine McGlade.
I think it was that look of hers I noticed first: that confident, conspiratorial, "we're in this together, you and I" look, that manner she had of confiding in you, of imparting information only you and she might truly understand, of treating you as something like an equal, even though you clearly weren't, you couldn't be, because she was in charge here. She was world-wise, almost an adult, but at the same time she was so clearly, so openly and unabashedly on our side (she would even tip the scales a bit from time to time, if she thought no one was looking), and she made us believe that if we listened to her, if we followed her lead, we would come out all right in the end, more than likely.
Furthermore, she was beautiful. Up to that point in my life, I hadn't been around too many teenage girls or early-twenty-something women; most of those whom I had been around had been baby-sitters. But they weren't on my side, of course, and they sure weren't supposed to be beautiful; they were authority figures, extensions of and proxies for my parents in absentia. Christine, on the other hand, was so gorgeous, at least in part, for seeming so accessible; you almost felt that if you were to stare long enough into those lovely, inscrutable blue eyes, and smile when she smiled, and commiserate with her when she found herself put upon or up against it, she would somehow respond in kind; she would reciprocate. She would take care of you. I had been looking all over for someone like her, even if I'd never known it. I was smitten, transfixed.
I never could call her "Moose," even though that was what everyone else on the show seemed to call her: at least until the latter part of 1984, when she started insisting more strenuously on the nickname's retirement. I was a serious, somewhat formal little boy, not much given to nicknames in any case, and although I appreciated the moniker, which reflected the rough-and-tumble, even slightly boyish air I sensed in her from time to time, to me she was always "Christine": such a beautiful name, one befitting a beautiful woman, and one which I've never once heard, since that day, without being reminded of those bright blue eyes; that wavy-curly dark-brown hair (sometimes dyed or highlighted, and for one full season even artificial); that dry, cool voice; and that sardonic little curl in her upper lip, which everyone among us knew how to interpret. From the moment I laid eyes on her, it was different; my life had been given a shape. She became my role model, my standard, my measuring stick, my ideal: my first crush, the first girl I "noticed," the person I wanted to be like, and be around, more than anyone else in the world. Things would never be the same.
-J.H. (with apologies to Rick Derringer)
Early June, 2013