Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saturtainment: Learning the Ropes (1988)

I regret that I never got to see an episode of Learning the Ropes, a short-lived, syndicated sitcom about a high school teacher/principal, played by former NFL star Lyle Alzado, who moonlights as a professional wrestler. A number of stars from the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) appeared on the show, and the series was, in fact, promoted on NWA programming at the time. No station in my home market was willing to take a chance on the show, and I do not recall TBS, the home of WCW, even finding a consistent space for the show, if they even aired it at all. Here's the open:

As I understand it, Ropes was meant to air on Saturday mornings or afternoons in the markets where it played. As I noted, the series lasted one season. Sadly, Alzado, who played for the Broncos & Raiders in the NFL, passed away a few years later. For what it's worth, Alzado never actually wrestled. Steve "Dr. Death" Williams served as Alzado's "stunt double".

Executive Producer Robert Halmi, Jr., on the other hand, recovered nicely from the failure of Ropes. You might be familiar with his later works, including adaptations of literary classics like "Gulliver's Travels" into made-for-TV movies or miniseries for Hallmark's television arm.

Rating: None.

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