May 29, 2012

We now return control to your computer keyboard

As I was saying…”

-  Jack Paar’s first words after returning to The Tonight Show following his month-long walkout over a joke NBC had censored as being in bad taste.

***

T he story is that during a climactic moment late in the 1958 NFL Championship Game between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants, as the Colts were driving for the winning touchdown in the first title game ever to go to sudden-death overtime, the jumping up and down of the excited fans in ankee Stadium jarred loose an NBC television cable, which in turn caused TV sets across the country to abruptly go dark.  The network was frantic:  they had no idea how long it might take to rectify the problem – and how much of the game they might miss.  In these days before television controlled sports, they could hardly ask the referee to stop the game while the technicians worked to restore the coverage.

Marshalling all of his resourcefulness, an employee from NBC did the only thing he could think of: he ran out on the field.  The officials promptly stopped play, while police took off in hot pursuit of this apparently drunk fan who had suddenly staggered out of the stands.  The delay worked: while the game was held up, NBC resolved the problem, and the picture returned just as the Colts came out of the huddle following the delay (although this may be slightly romanticized; various reports suggest NBC missed the first play after the delay), allowing all of America (or at least everyone watching the game, an audience that had grown as the game had gone on) got to see Alan Ameche bull his way over the goal line for the touchdown that would win the championship for the Colts and cement the game’s legendary status as thegreatest ever played.

***

And so, having discussed a brief history of famous television delays, we come to the recent, checkered past of this blog.

As you may recall, sometime in early April, regular pieces on the blog ceased to appear.  Oh, there was a long story on the Titanic, and a couple other short bits, but nothing substantial save a brief notice describing technical difficulties. 

It was nothing quite as simple as a disconnected cable; it was, rather, a virus (educated guess) that, somehow, rendered access to Blogger impossible – or at least incredibly difficult.  Putting up the piece on the Titanic was, in its way, as challenging as it must have been for that ship’s radiomen to send out the distress signal using the rapidly dwindling power supply.  It was a deeply frustrating situation, compounded by a concurrent (and perhaps related) loss of wireless capability.  The solution was slow in coming, which meant that the drunk would have to run on the field for awhile longer.

Happily, if expensively, this problem has now been rectified.  The field has been cleared, the host is back in the studio, and as this post demonstrates, It’s About TV (and its parent site, Our Word) is back on the air. 

You might think that in the interim I’d stockpiled dozens of fascinating bits that I could share with you (and I know you’re out there) as soon as coverage had returned.  Alas, such is not the case.  I do have, as you will see shortly, an obituary of Mike Wallace that has been long delayed but not forgotten, and as I write this I’m looking at a pile of TV Guides that are begging to be explored.

So I would expect that in the next week or two we’ll get ramped back up to regular speed.  And in the meantime, for those of you who noticed our absence, thanks for sticking with us.

We now resume our regular programming, already in progress.

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