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Late 70’s Flashback: The Doobie Brothers on “What’s Happening!”

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

This week I was reading an article about Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, legendary Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers guitarist and proud owner of the most bitchin’ mustache of the 70’s.  I suddenly flashed back to a long lost memory from childhood when Skunk and the Doobies appeared on the classic “Doobie or Not Doobie” episode of the television show “What’s Happening!”

For me, “What’s Happening!” was one of the most underrated sitcoms of its day.  Raj and Dwayne were cool (hey, hey, hey), but it was the fat people who really stole the show.  Freddie “Re-Run” Stubbs could dance like nobody’s business and his red suspenders were rad.  Then there was Mrs. Thomas, Raj’s mother, who laid down the law and taught the boys important life lessons, usually after they were ratted out by Raj’s little sister Dee.  And who could forget Shirley, the wise cracking waitress  from the local malt shop and her classic line “Shut up, fool”.

“What’s Happening!” was on the air for three years and later had an extended run in syndication, but my most memorable moment came in 1978 when Re-Run was offered  row tickets to a Doobie Brothers concert on the condition that would record a bootleg version of the song..  Unfortunately, his smooth dance moves came back to haunt Re-Run when the bulky cassette deck has was concealing in his pants came crashing to the ground and was confiscated by security.

Later, as police arrested the man who coerced Re-Run into making the unauthorized recording, the Doobie Brothers joined Raj, Dwayne and Re-Run at Rob’s Place.  When they played back the “bootleg” tapes, they discovered that the only audio Re-Run actually recorded was his visit to the popcorn stand.

Relive this classic rockin’ tv moment here,




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