The Super Bowl Halftime Show Used To Be A Bizarre, Cultish Nightmare

For the past decade or so, America has gotten used to having PG 13- (and R-) rated musical acts perform during the Super Bowl’s Half Time show.

They’re not always to everyone’s musical tastes, and the shows can occasionally fall flat.

It was used to be worse.

So, so much worse.

The principal culprit was a group called Up With People. Formed in 1965 as part of the bygone global Moral Rearmament Movement, the travelling song-and-dance troupe was said by some to have a “creepy-weird cultish” and can best be described as what would have happened if a secular Ned Flanders’ entire family had a picnic on the 50 yard line.

Despite barely qualifying as such, this was the halftime show entertainment four times between 1976 and 1986.

Here they are performing in 1976. It is unbelievable.

Six years later, they continued to haunt America’s dreams.

The UWP reign of terror ended the year The Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl. There are no coincidences in life.

1985 featured the Air Force’s “Tops In Blue” and a guy flying in a jet pack. Yes, those are U.S. Air Force enlistees riding a unicycle and jumping on a trampoline.

Disney has been the other major Halftime Show producer, having put on six. Here’s their 1987 performance.

Finally things started getting a bit more mainstream — but no less awful. Here’s an ageing, be-jhericurled Chubby Checker lipsynching to “Let’s Twist Again” while members of the USC and SDSU marching bands dance and play around him.

It took until 1993 — 26 years after the first Super Bowl was played, before things got awesome (shout out to Jennifer Batten):

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