Joyous news reaches us from the website TV Shows on DVD -- as the breathless, exclamation-pointed headline puts it, "Matt Houston -- Industry Gossip Indicates that the Classic `80s Series is Being Eyed For DVD!"
Because really, what else would Hollywood be gossiping about other than the mere possibility of Matt Houston coming to DVD?
For those who have blocked it from memory, Matt Houston's titular character was a Texas oilman who solved crimes in between doing all his oilman bidness. The series took place in Los Angeles, but it was still full of Houston Pride.
Each week opened with the title sequence above, 75 seconds of so much cheese that watching it could block your arteries. Literally, if someone wanted to spoof terrible `80's crime shows, they would not have to change a single frame of this.
What makes it so terrific? A nearly frame-by-frame analysis:
1. Pornstached hero? Check. The first nano-seconds of this intro foretell what is to come. Not only is our star sporting a feathered haircut and a brushy `stache looking like he's starring in some VHS entitled Sperms of Endearment, but the theme music is appropriately hideous. Cut to our star (make that a stuntman lookalike of our star) carrying a heavily-coiffed stuntman trying to look like a babe, all a good 20 feet or so away from what looks like a perfectly harmless, well-contained stunt fire, and you know you can sit back and enjoy the cheese to come.
2. Squealing tires? Check. A stuntman who is not our star performs an emergency U-turn, complete with mismatched squealing-tire SFX, in an intersection wide enough for an 18-wheeler to safely reverse course quickly.
3. Star with silly name? Check. "Starring Lee Horsley" fills the screen as Lee Horsley appears, looking like nothing so much as SCTV's Joe Flaherty impersonating the star of a bad cop show.
4. World's least-convincing jump through a window? Check. His face carefully kept away from the camera at all times, whoever is filling in for Lee Horsley jumps through a window which breaks in a way that no window ever has or ever will break. Bonus points added for the exasperated, face-palmed "Oh, Matt" reaction shot from the (long-forgotten) female co-star.
5. Black sidekick? Check. Played by a guy with "Lincoln" as his first name? Double-check.
6. Champagne-popping in the presence of what passed for a beautiful girl in the `80s? But of course. Custom dictates there are two ways to play this: Either the male star pops the cork from as near his crotch as the censors allow, or he flinches as the female opens it. Matt Houston went with the flinch.
7. Co-starring a crusty old codger? Yep. If the words "Buddy Ebsen wielding an Uzi" don't get your bad-`80s blood stirring, you are a lost cause.
8. Star shown "in danger" while apparently completely safe? Check. A North by Northwest homage features one of the many bi-planes that clog LA's airspace calmly buzzing Our Hero, who could not more plainly be sitting in front of a screen than if he was Elvis in Speedway. Note how far the steering wheel can move without affecting the direction of the car. They just don't have craftsmanship like that nowadays.
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SHOW ME HOW
9. Star, presumably chasing a perp, leaps toward camera? Got it. Failure to include this shot violated bylaw 3(a) of the Awful `80s Crime-Show Code.
10. Finally, does it include the tough-guy cliche of all time? Yes!!! The macho star flinches as his winsome female companion dabs him delicately with a drop of mercurochrome. There is absolutely no doubt that this scene has come after an extended fight in which Our Hero has taken a half-dozen punches and kicks without so much as blinking an eye.
We have never actually seen an episode of Matt Houston. But we might have to get the DVD just to keep watching this title sequence over and over and over, in HD.
We'll play our Flashdance album while we're doing it, just to complete the mood.