The Magician

A little over a decade ago, in the final days of Bill Bixby’s life when he on the cover of many tabloids and weeklies (“Bill’s Heroic Battle Against Cancer!”), I was standing in in line at the supermarket behind a woman and her young daughter. The mother pointed to Bixby’s picture on one of the magazines and said “Do you see that man? When I was a your age I had the biggest crush on him. He was on a show called The Courtship Eddie’s Father, and couldn’t wait to grow up and marry him.”

Although I don’t make a habit of talking to strangers in the grocery store, I couldn’t resist saying, “It’s probably best you didn’t — he had one heck of a temper. You wouldn’t have liked him when he was angry.”

To which the woman deadpanned: “That’s not the Bill I loved.”

(I was reminded of this story by a recent discussion on “TV Crushes” at a site I frequent. For the record, the earliest crush I recall having was on Caroline Ellis, who played Joy on The Bugaloos. I distinctly remember my eight year-old heart racing whenever I watched the show.)


  1. “I distinctly remember my eight year-old heart racing whenever I watched the show.”

    Hey, um, Matthew? I think that was probably the 3 bowls of lucky charms you were eating.

  2. Seriously, Matt? After seeing that picture of Caroline Ellis (never saw the Bugaloos), I can certainly see why you’d have your heart fluttering.

  3. I was thinking it was Ali McGraw (from the Winds of War miniseries … I never saw Love Story), until out of nowhere I was reminded of a harrowing incident in the second grade when I told my best friend that I thought Snow White (yes, the animated cartoon character) was “kinda cute.” He told my entire second grade class and I resumed a normal emotional life in college.

  4. Who was the girl who played ‘Cello on ‘FAME’?

    There was some serious yearning for her in my household.

    Come to think of it, I still have a thing for cellistas. And redheads. And donuts. And beer. One at a time, or all at once.

  5. I think my first celebrity crush was on Jessica Lang when I saw her in King Kong (the 1976 version). It was, at least, my first glimpse of celebrity boobies.

  6. My first TV crush was Chuck Wagner as Automan.

  7. People, let me tell you ’bout my best friend…

  8. Oh, Buck Rogers… I never forgot you.

  9. My first and biggest TV crush ever was on Jon Erik-Hexum. The hunky time traveler on Voyagers. May God rest his soul.

  10. And while you were admiring Buck, the male viewership was admiring Erin Gray as Wilma Deering.

  11. I think my first huge crush was Shaun Cassidy. I had the door poster, album, and all the Tiger Beat issues. He was so dreamy. ;-)

  12. Ah, yes.

    Lori Singer

    Fame. Cello. 1982.

  13. I must have been five or six…watching Star Trek. I told my mom that Capt. Krik “makes my toes tingle”. She still likes to bring that up.

  14. That would be Capt. Kirk.

  15. Pamelyn Ferdin. She always played smart girls, and she was about my age.

    Speaking of “The Magician,” though — loved that show. Alway enjoyed Bill Bixby, anyway.

  16. MacGyver, the perfect guy. He’s extremely intellegent, dry sense of humor, thinks fast on his feet, is cool under pressure, cute, and looks good with his shirt off. And he likes hockey.

    I used to have a crush on Starbuck from the old Battlestar Galactica series. Someone told me that they brought the series back on Sci-Fi and the character is now played by a woman. Heresy!! Blasphemy!! No wonder I got rid of my cable…

  17. Speaking of Capt. Krik, did you ever notice that facial hair in Star Trek = villainy? All of the Klingons had those terrible Ming-the-Merciless-style mustaches. All those Prime-Directive-fearing Vulcans were clean shaven.

    Remember that one episode when Krik went into this strange parallel universe, and the evil Krik had this sinister device that could disintegrate people? (“Oh. Right,” you say. “*That* one.”) You could spot the evil Mr. Spock in that episode thanks to his stylish goatee.

    Man, I would have loved to be a special effects guy on that series. It always seemed so thrown together at the last minute.

    “We need an alien race, here, people! Okay, you — tear a sleeve off that shirt, and give this guy big eyebrows. There — totally believable!”

    That said, it remains vastly better than Deep Space Nine.

    “No, no — the Bajorans have *two* nose ridges. The Slabardians have *three*.”

    Yes, I am purposely misspelling Krik. I find it kind of funny.

    “Bones, massage this thing out of my neck for me.”
    “Yes Capt. Krik.”

  18. Bobby Sherman *sigh*

    I still recall those tight pants he was wearing in the poster on my wall.

    “Julie, Julie, Julie do you love me?”

    Oh Bobby, I’m not Julie, but I DO LOVE YOU!!

    You handsome devil, you.

  19. Actually, now that you mention it, Evil Goateed Spock was pretty hot.

    But my first *real* TV crush was Pete Duel on “Alias Smith and Jones.” I’m afraid I have a clearer memory of hearing about his suicide than I do of the day Kennedy got shot.

    (, he’s the dark-haired one.)

  20. I suppose I’m showing my (lack of) age here, but my first TV crush was Blaze Berdahl on the PBS mystery-slash-anagram show Ghostwriter. Cute, literate, and praise Allah she’s got a twin sister!

  21. Yeah, Starbuck – that was his name. I loved him in a totally inappropriate way for an 8-year-old. And at the same time, I had a nice chaste love for the kid in Battlestar Gallactica, the one with the pet robotic mutt. What was his name?

  22. my high school didn’t allow facial hair. the only explanation i ever heard was that they didn’t want the younger guys who couldn’t grow a mustache to feel insecure. that never washed with me, but maybe we’ve uncovered the real reason.

    I always preferred Picard to Kirk, and Riker to either.

  23. Don’t leave us hanging — did you challenge the system by growing a moustache?

    Kitty’s a pretty odd name for a guy.

  24. Hey, 40-something’s!

    Can I hear some love for Elizabeth Walton (Kami Cotler)?

    And don’t even get me started on Mary Ingalls (Melissa Sue Anderson) from Little House…

  25. No! You can’t have Joy! She’s TOTALLY mine!

    The Bugaloos!
    The Bugaloos!
    They’re in the air and everywhere.

  26. Thanks, guys! Now I’m here at my desk, & can’t get the theme from The Courtship of Eddie’s Father out of my stinking head!!
    Ohh, the humanity…

  27. For me, it was Julie Newmar as Catwoman.

  28. Karen Allen, Raiders of the Lost Ark; Jennifer Connelly, Labyrinth. Not sure which one was first.

  29. My first TV crush, swear-to-dog, was Speed Racer (, the badly-animated driver of the Mach 5. OH, those dreamy anime eyes! I had even scrawled on a notebook “I love Speed” and then helpfully noted in my six-year-old scrawl “(cartoon caricter)” underneath. Likely my hippee parentage led me to be preternaturally aware that the first phrase alone might lead to some raised eyebrows.

  30. Daisy Duke.

  31. That Courtship of Eddie’s Father movie is really uncomfortable to watch, what with Opie making the moves on his dad and all.

  32. Jennifer Connelly, Labyrinth . . . .my what a change by the time she appeared in the Rocketeer! Yoiks!

  33. And then there was Anne from the “Anne of Green Gables” PBS series. Must have been the red hair. And, in a similar vein and, for that matter, look, there was Capt. Stuebing’s daughter from “The Love Boat.” I think that maybe they just looked a little bit more approachable than, say, Farrah Fawcett.