Monday, May 02, 2016

Cult-TV Theme Watch: Guitars

A guitar is a stringed musical instrument that can be played via strumming or plucking. A guitar may be acoustical, or electric.

And a guitar is also the go-to-instrument for cult-television characters throughout history.

For example, young Will Robinson (Bill Mumy) -- space pioneer -- plays a guitar and sings Greensleeves in an early episode of Lost in Space (1965-1968), “There Were Giants in the Earth.”

One of the most haunting episodes of The Twilight Zone (1959-1964), similarly, involves a folk guitarist, Floyd Burney (Gary Crosby), in “Come Wander with Me.” He becomes trapped in a never ending song with ever more disturbing new verses.

In Space: 1999’s (1975-1977) “Black Sun,” the buttoned-down Main Mission Controller, Paul Morrow (Prentis Hancock) reveals an artistic side when he is seen in his quarters quietly strumming a guitar.  Tanya (Suzanne Rocquette) asks to share the music with him.

A guitar also shows up in the short-lived Otherworld (1985). In this series about an alternate world, a teenagers from a suburban American family, the Sterlings, introduce rock-and-roll to the other world, in “Rock and Roll Suicide.” Trace (Tony O’Dell) is the duo’s guitarist.

One of the twentieth century sleepers awakened in the 25th century and brought aboard the Enterprise-D in the Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) episode “The Neutral Zone” is a country-western singer, and thanks to Data (Brent Spiner), ends up with a guitar to pluck.

Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan), a band member from Drive Shaft, ends up -- mysteriously – with his guitar while stranded on the island of Lost (2004 – 2011).

Young, doomed Beth (Emily Kinney) on The Walking Dead (2010 - ) is seen to play a guitar on at least one occasion during the AMC series’ run, though a guitar also ends up in Glen (Steven Yeun’s) hands on more than one occasion, early in the series catalog.

Other cult-TV guitar players include Will Marshall (Wesley Eure) in the Land of the Lost (1974-1977), Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Greg Brady (Barry Williams) on The Brady Bunch (1969-1973) and Keith Partridge (David Cassidy) on The Partridge Family (1971-1974).

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