Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ride the Supertrain

The internet is an amazing thing. It has everything that we need. Or, rather, it has everything that we want. Or, rather, it has everything that could possibly waste our time, including an extensive fan site for the 1979 NBC television show Supertrain. The series centered on a fictional oversized luxury train, featuring a disco and a swimming pool, that traveled from New York to Los Angeles in only thirty-six hours—which would have been a great idea if the airplane had never been invented. (Warning: Supertrain is not to be confused with Supertramp.)

I never watched Supertrain. In fact, until recently I had only the vaguest idea of its existence. Then, a few weeks ago, the title showed up unbidden in my mind, and I decided to see if the show had been real, or just a joke concocted in the tradition of Manimal and Cop Rock. That's where the magic of the internet came in. From available information, the show sounds awful, but it sounds awful in a fascinating, unique, Seventies way.

I am fascinated with the Seventies for a variety of reasons. For years I have wanted to write an essay about the Seventies, but I have never had the energy to do so, so for now I have to settle for writing about Supertrain.

I like to think that somewhere, somehow, it is still 1979, and Supertrain rolls on in the darkness of the heartland, the rhythms of the engine blending with the drumbeats from the onboard disco, down an improbable route to the continent's edge, through air soupy with polyester and malaise.

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