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Childhood Memories: Part 21 – Best Old TV Series

combat TV vic morrow 1980s

(The dependable Sergeant Saunders with his platoon from the TV hit series, Combat! Image source: Pinterest)

Read the rest of the childhood series here

Lately, I have been watching M*A*S*H (the series) – last seen on national TV in the 1980s (or earlier, I can’t recall) and I must say that I almost missed something rather brilliant. Then again, I was too young to understand the double meaning jokes in M*A*S*H. Now it makes sense to me.

Still, remember the other TV shows back in the 1970s & 1980s?


It was THE World War 2 TV series back then. Who can forget Vic Morrow as the no-nonsense Sergeant Chip Saunders? As far as my Dad was a concern, Combat! was the baseline from which all other World War 2 movies are judged.

Whenever we see some World War 2 movies on TV, my Dad will always say – Combat! was better. That is until he watched Saving Private Ryan and was blown away with the realism of the massacre on the beach.

The story of Combat! was re-told again in another well made TV war series – Tour of Duty (instead of World War 2, it is Vietnam War and Terence Knox played the role of the no-nonsense Sergeant Clayton ‘Zeke’ Anderson).

high chaparral TV childhood TV

(Big John with his second lovely wife, Victoria and his son Blue Boy and his wild crazy brother in law, Manolito running a large ranch deep in Indian country with a small band of brave, loyal men. Image source:

High Chaparral

One of the main attractions of this Western show is the opening theme. We had plenty of Western movies in the early 1980s but this was the series to watch for. My favourite character was Manolito – the kind of uncle that every nephew should have – wild, loose cannon, good with the ladies but always there to back you up any time of the day.

TV Chips Childhood Kawasaki

(Ponch and his trusted retro-looking Kawasaki police bike, flagging down a motorist. Image source: Sun UK)


The show that got me attracted to police bikes and me wanting to be traffic policemen too. Interestingly the CHiPs was using Kawasaki Police bike which looked somewhat similar to our PDRM’s Honda police bikes. There was not much “traffic policing” in the series which was a big disappointment for us.

We would be sitting in anticipation when Officer Francis Poncherello and Officer Jonathan Baker would fire up their bikes and speed along the highway to catch some bad guys or to attend some emergencies. The power of the Kawasakis was awesome!

Macgyver TV Childhood

(There is only one guy who can take the role of Macgyver – Richard Dean Anderson. Image source: Promipool)


All can do but no violence please, hero and one who introduced the concept of “macgyverism”. It was interesting to see what one can do with a little application of knowledge of science, technology and common sense.

Reading into MacGyver Handbook many years later, I realised not all quick fix by MacGyver was workable – it was only made for the fun of the series.

bj and the bear TV truck childhood

(The truck that started the love for huge trucks. Image source: Youtube)

BJ and the Bear

Watching this series – I wished the long trailers in Malaysia were as beautiful as those in the US. Most of the long haul trucks in Malaysia were too bland. Most do not even have a separate cabin for the drivers.

The best coloured long haul truck that I had ever seen was a lonely Goodyear truck in Taiping. It was a standard Mercedes Benz truck (the usual ones that ply down Malaysian roads) but the paintwork was brilliant.

fantasy island TV childhood

(I had always thought the short guy was kind of creepy. Image source:

Fantasy Island

“The plane, the plane” was the call sign of the day in an island where one’s fantasies come true (including one I recall, to be assassinated by a professional hitman). The interesting part of this series was the storyline – there is no limit to one’s fantasies, so content-wise, it was not so boring.

There is always something refreshing every week. I guess the short guy was the main attraction of the show although when we were still small kids, the short guy looked kind of creepy.

a team TV childhood

(In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… the A-Team. Image source: Just Watch)


Very similar to MacGyver but there is more of them here and this time, they are loaded with heavy weapons to the teeth. Memorable characters – scared to fly Mr T, the crazy Murdoch and the black-themed van. Incidentally, a newer version of the A-Team is soon coming to the big screens, starring Liam Neeson as the team leader, Hannibal. That should make the movie more interesting.

Of course, there were more – Stingray, Thunderbirds, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in 21st Century, Star Trek (starred William Shatner), Hawaii-Five O, The Equaliser, TJ Hooker, Dallas, Dynasty, Magnum PI, Airwolf, Knight Rider, Love Boat, Three’s a Company, The Jeffersons, The Cosby Show, Different Strokes and more (too many to be listed here)

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2 thoughts on “Childhood Memories: Part 21 – Best Old TV Series”

  1. How do u get to see M*A*S*H episodes? Is it over YouTube or did u get it on cds? Was my fave TV show those days. CSI Miami is an updated Hawaii Five-O actually – you know, the way only the boss gets to solve the murders etc… Book him, Danno… :-))
    Appreciate ur list of great TV. Thanks.

    1. I got the episodes from one of the forum – need to download from a file hosting site. Google around and you should find couple of sites.

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