Armagideon Time

After we get home from work in the evening, there’s a time frame of roughly an hour where Maura and I are both downstairs feeding the animals and taking care of other immediate concerns. It’s also an ideal window for spinning some records.

The downstairs of our home has an semi-open floorplan. What is spun in the living room is clearly audible in the kitchen, which means that the selections played tend to my mutual favorites or queued up on a “one of hers, one of mine” basis. Our musical tastes aren’t that divergent overall, but where the do diverge the gulf is nigh insurmountable. When I’m browsing for new singles to add to the library, I try to keep an eye out for any of Maura’s favorites we’re currently lacking.

Her influence has particularly shaped the contours of the “oldies” and disco sections of my record collection. For the most part, it’s an unspoken thing based off mental notes taken over the course of twenty-seven years.

And then there are the times when she’ll flat out say “you should find a copy of…,” which was the case with the “Makin’ It” 7-inch single.

The late-phase disco jam was the theme to a short-lived ABC sticom of the same name, a Garden State take on Saturday Night Fever with David Naughton playing a working class stiff with disco dreams. The show only lasted two months (which, despite claims to the contrary, had less to do with the backlash against disco music than with the realities of being a mediocre mid-season replacement) but Naughton’s recording of the theme song managed to become a Top 10 hit.

I’ll always associate the song with a pair of memories separated by two decades. During a round of high school drama club reversals, a friend whispered “I’ve got looks, I’ve got brains, and I’m breaking these chains” to me while some wanna-be thespian haplessly hammed his way through a line read onstage. I broke out into a eye-watering giggle fit which made the drama teacher livid with rage.

The other time was when I was home recovering from a brutal root canal procedure, watching Meatballs on cable for the first time in ages, and realizing that “Makin’ It” had somehow made it onto the soundtrack. (You’ll have to trust me when I say it felt much more profound through a haze of painkillers and two days without sleep.)

Despite (or because of) those memories, I hadn’t considered picking up the 45 until Maura suggested it.

The shipping cost ten times what the (near mint!) single itself set me back…and it was sent out via USPS Media Mail.

Jokes aside, it was a good call on Maura’s part. It’s a fun bit of dance-floor fluff which marries the upbeat schmaltz of a Seventies sitcom theme with the disco chops of the songwriting team behind “I Will Survive” and “Shake Your Groove Thing,” and sung by a dude better known for lycanthropic tourism and carbonation-based cult recruiting.

3 Responses to “Back to Wax #44: No more fakin’ it”

  1. Zeno

    Probably because of the theme song and David Naughton’s later c.v., the memory of this show always stuck in my head despite its short life.

    One odd standout memory for me around this show involved the actress Rebecca Balding, who played Corky Crandall. Sometime in late 1982 there was this syndicated show which purported to be real courtroom proceedings about various crimes, the name of which I have completely forgotten. On this one particular episode I remember watching Rebecca Balding giving weepy testimony from the witness stand, and thinking to myself how can this be a real courtroom when that actress from Makin’ It is very obviously acting on the show?

    It was my first real conscious awareness that television wasn’t always what it said it was supposed to be.

  2. Chris Wuchte

    Seems like every few years, something motivates me to look David Naughton up online to see what happened to him after that 1-2 years where it seemed like someone was dead set on making him a star.

  3. Argh!Sims

    Man, even mentioning this tune caused my old “disco sucks!” teen reflex to kick in. I guess I need to listen to it with my now-ancient ears and hear it as a theme song and pop tune.


    I listened. It’s cute enough.

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