Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Flying Fickle Finger of Fate

on March 27, 2023

When the pilot for Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In premiered on TV on September 9, 1967, the Vietnam War raged in full gear, the Civil Rights Movement continued to explode, and the country was split by conflict and political divide. A forerunner of Saturday Night Live, Laugh-In used provocative satire and humor to comment on current affairs. The show featured well-known actors and actresses like Henry Gibson, Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, and Richard Dawson. Sets used bright colors and mod art, reflecting the hippie culture of the time. Popular slang, like “Sock it to Me,” peppered the show. Strange characters, bold costumes, and mind-blowing music enthralled the audience so the show emerged again as a series on January 22, 1968, and ran until May 14, 1973.

There were no social media then and people frowned at curse words. Laugh-In compensated by inventing the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate award. Every week the hosts, Rowan and Martin, awarded some entity this award, which was the equivalent of giving the finger to unpopular governments, public officials, organizations, celebrities, and corporations. The first award was given on September 16, 1968. Over the years, winners included the Pentagon, the U.S. Congress, and the National Security Agency.

(Rowan and Martin awarding the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate to Soviet Russia.)

Dawn Pisturino

March 27, 2023

Copyright 2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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30 responses to “Flying Fickle Finger of Fate

  1. Timothy Price says:

    I loved Laugh-in. They could give the FFFF to Putin today.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. revruss1220 says:

    Ah, yes I remember it well. Thanks for that trip down memory lane.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. philsblog01 says:

    I never was much of a TV person, wheter it was sitcoms or series. But this is one show I did watch on and off. And it was a great show, and also very influential.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. markone1blog says:

    Although I was just 11 at the time (and never saw the award version of the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate), I do remember it being made reference to. However, I assumed a different finger would come into play.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. markone1blog says:

    My favorite was Artie Johnson and his schtick “Very interesting, but not funny.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ivor20 says:

    Even in Australia Laugh-In was very popular and source of many conversations during office breaks …

    Liked by 1 person

  7. nolchafox says:

    I loved Laugh-In! Funnier and better commentary than anything we have now.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. spwilcen says:

    Wide access to color television debuted during my service tour. First I saw of it was Batman through the window of a ready room as I marched past pulling guard duty outside. Not much later, on home assignment, I experienced Rowan and Martin as I decompressed atop a stool in the NCO Club stag bar. Batman? Don’t remember so much. Rowan and Martin? Oh yeah. Buying the whole of God, mother, and apple pie, you can guess where my sympathies rested, but R&M [if one was so inclined] made one listen and think; I began to understand the flower children’s culture. Thanks for this trip back, and realization once again, that I know who I am, and why I am who I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. StonerGypsy says:

    I wasnโ€™t around for this but Iโ€™m sure going to find all of it to watch! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ‘ˆ๐Ÿพ๐ŸคŒ๐Ÿพ

    Liked by 1 person

  10. utahan15 says:

    sock it to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dadaism on prime time! A brilliant show!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Michele Lee says:

    Silly show! Needed comic relief for the times. I suppose that is true all the time!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. In 1967 we didn’t own a t.v. (we had a band) but later on I saw past episodes and found their show delightful and very humorous!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. jai says:

    Loved itโ€ฆand its country cousin, Hee Haw.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. kvbclarke says:

    What fun to remember these guys.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. balladeer says:

    Wow! Like a whole different planet.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Layla Todd says:

    There is nothing like satire to open our eyes to the world through a healthy dose of humor! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Dave says:

    I wasnโ€™t around to watch this! But I enjoy the American ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ political satire, hilarious! ๐Ÿ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

  19. matt says:

    “Over the years, winners included the Pentagon, the U.S. Congress, and the National Security Agency.”

    All of whom still need to be frequent recipients of said finger.

    Liked by 1 person

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