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Big John, Little John

PHIL SILVERS-LOOKALIKE teaches in your average all-American high school but, thanks to incredibly contrived exploring-in-Florida-drinks-from-fountain-of-youth mix-up (“and that magic water/was the thing that made him shrink” explained painstaking theme), turns sporadically from balding, mid-forties science master into small, same-age-as-pupils-in-class-he’s-teaching kid. Dreamed up by man behind THE BRADY BUNCH and GILLIGAN’S ISLAND. Endless amusement derived from anticipating the moment when “Zap! He’ll change, and rearrange, and he’s Big John again!” Endless for three-year-olds, that is.

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  1. IanW1968

    December 21, 2013 at 11:10 am

    quite good this one. I would have been 8 or 9 when it was on but I still remember an episode where someone had to memorise the answers to a test that was true or false (they’d got the answers from somewhere) and it went T, T, FFT, TTFF, TF. I still sing it to myself.

  2. THX 1139

    September 18, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    “Big John has a problem
    “As you can plainly see
    “One minute he’s 40
    “The next he’s Andy Kaufman.”

    It probably wasn’t Andy Kaufman in the transformation sequence, but it looked a hell of a lot like him. Why was it whenever anyone asked either Big or Little John if their counterpart was around he’d say “Not exactly!” or “He’s pretty close!” or something like that? Why didn’t he just say “No.”?

  3. Damon

    September 19, 2015 at 6:13 am

    “the drink that made him shrink”.

    So, dark brown haired balding despectacled Big John shrank down to Little John with blonde hair. I don’t quite remember the plot here, was Big John’s wife aware that he turned into a little boy? And did she mother Little John? I guess it was a more innocent time but it troubles me a bit. Anyone?

    The kind of sappy ‘honey I’m home’ half hour 70s American schmaltz-fest that puts me in mind of Silver Spoons, that little girl robot thing and The Brady Bunch – with magic and an oft-used video sequence of the transition from big to small and, err, vice versa I assume too but don’t remember.

  4. THX 1139

    September 19, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Yes, John’s wife and teenage son knew about his condition, but nobody else did. They treated him like Big John when he was Little John, though more troubling was the little girl who had a crush on Little John, so he had to keep making excuses to get away from her. I don’t think it’s a high concept anyone thought through.

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