VHS Rewind! – Whiz Kids (1983)
I don’t think it will come to many as much of a surprise for my fondness for the tv show, Whiz Kids which originally aired for a very brief 8 months from October 5, 1983 to June 2, 1984. In those 8 months, 18 episodes aired and I loved the show, I loved it so much that even recorded many of the episodes on a now lost BetaMax collection of tapes.
When Whiz Kids first aired I was 10, was really into the BASIC programming language, creating my own games, learning about BBS systems using my 300 baud modem for my Commodore 64. I quickly outgrew the Commodore and received an IBM PC which I would use for many years. I owned (and still do) many computers, Apple II, Apple IIC, Apple IIGS, TRS-80, Commodore 128, Atari 400 and 800, etc etc – right now I am writing this on a Windows 10 machine powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 processor with 32gb of RAM, Navi RX 5000 video card, liquid cooling and many other little amazing things that allow me to edit all of my podcasts, video and anything else needed. Why am I going off on this tangent? Well, because I have been interested in computers since I was in 2nd grade, Whiz Kids came around at a time when I wanted to learn more about what a computer could do and the show absolutely fed my dopey head with fun ideas. I will always appreciate Whiz Kids and Matthew Labyorteaux’s role as Richie Adler. My goal in life at 10 was to own a RALF computer which was a Frankenstein-type of monstrosity with an IMSAI PCS 80/30 computer at the heart but what I really wanted was all those cool blinking lights. I think the desire to own such a complicated machine birthed my love of vintage modular HIFI stereo equipment, recording devices from 1960’s and 70’s, my collection of vintage synthesizers, guitars, amps and a lot more that my wife will one day try to get me to part with. I only hope I can convince my son to fall in love with these items so they don’t end up in a garage sale (my 1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom for $65 is a fear).
Today, my recording setup is not unlike RALF, I use a Mackie digital mixer, Focusrite Scarlett audio interface, Shure SM7B microphone – I have XLR cables routed everywhere and other wires aplenty and I would never have it any other way! When I fire up my recording computer and get on the line with Chris, Kim, Leah or one of the many people who take the time to discuss all of these wonderful shows with me, I feel RALF is alive in my setup, I might not have the Intel 8080 processor from the IMSAI powering my Mac but deep within the Intel i7’s multi-cores is the power behind RALF.
I am now officially rambling so I am just going to conclude with this, Whiz Kids left an impression on me and was very important to my development and perhaps it even taught me to WANT things! I will always cherish this light-hearted crime drama about nerdy hackers in southern California. It’s a sweet and worthwhile show.