January 9, 2014

Around the dial

S ome good stuff on tap this week!

First, another fun post from Cult TV touching on another of my Top 10, Doctor Who.  I remember many years ago, when the adventures of William Hartnell's First Doctor came ashore - it took me awhile to warm to him, but there was a moment (I don't remember the serial) when he became the Doctor we all know and love. People who grew up with Doctor Who from the start might not have had that same experience as we did, since we'd already absorbed three or four Doctors and knew what the character was supposed to be like, but when Hartnell becomes that character - great stuff.

(Oh, and John - yes, it's wrong to feel sorry for the Daleks.  Very wrong...)

Keeping in the sci-fi vein, Rick at Classic Film and TV Cafe gives us "Seven Things to Know About Lost in Space."  I have to admit that, although I watched a lot of TV growing up, Lost in Space was never a show that I got into (neither was Star Trek, for that matter).  Don't know why, but while I know what the series is about and who the characters are, I don't have any memories of having watched it as a kid.  I do admit a fondness for The Robot, though.  And by the way, please don't tell me that I'm the only one who was terribly - distracted - by that picture of Elke Sommer that Rick has on the sidebar.  You can bet his interview with her next week will show up when we go around the dial again...

TV When I Was Born has a very good story on East Side/West Side, one of the grittiest (and perhaps most depressing) network series from the 60s.  I saw some of the series a few years ago when it was rebroadcast on Trio; it's another show I didn't see growing up, although somehow (perhaps reading my favorite old TV Guide) I was well familiar with the title.  Tough stuff, and of course George C. Scott is brilliant.  But then, he could make reading the phone book interesting - if he was interested in it himself, that is.

How Sweet It Was talks this week about Letter to Loretta, which was the original name of The Loretta Young Show.  That's a series that shows up constantly in the TV Guides of the 60s, having a long run in daytime television as well as prime time.  I've got a few episodes of the series on DVD; it's been hard for me to appreciate it - maybe I haven't seen a good cross-section of stories yet.  But there's no complaining about Loretta Young herself, who was always a class act onscreen - you can understand why Cary Grant's angel is so tempted in The Bishop's Wife, can't you?

For the last few weeks of 2013, I spent a lot of time looking back at the TV Guides of 50 years ago - it was kind of nice to be able to do that for several weeks, particularly since the calendars for 1963 and 2013 were identical. (November 22 was a Friday, Christmas was a Wednesday, etc.)  In that spirit, Comfort TV gives us a look at television shows turning 50 in 2014.  Bewitched, Gilligan's Island, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Underdog - thanks, David, for making me feel very old...

I started with Doctor Who, so why don't we end the same way?  From a couple of weeks ago, Joanna Wilson at Christmas TV History has a great story about Peter Capaldi, the new Doctor, and the Oscar-winning short film he made back in 1996, Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life.  Yes, it's every bit as bizarre as it sounds; you have to check it out when you get a chance.  It sounds as if Joanna and I have more than a love of Christmas shows in common; I think we're both looking forward to seeing Capaldi's take as the new Doctor.  Any man who can come up with an idea like this should have some interesting things to add to Doctor Who!

Great week, isn't it?  And we'll be back on Saturday with another dip into TV Guide of the 1970s.

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