July 10, 2014

Around the Dial

I've always been a fan of Raymond Chandler, arguably the greatest of American detective novelists, so it's no surprise that I like Rick's piece at Classic Film and TV Cafe giving us the "Seven Things to Know About Raymond Chandler (in his own words)."   I find his comments about The Big Sleep particularly interesting; I enjoy the movie a lot, but not nearly as much as the book, nor Bogart's other great detective movie, The Maltese Falcon.

David at Comfort TV links to a piece I did last week, touting MeTV's growth among national cable networks, and offers three compelling reasons why this is so.  I like them all, and absolutely agree with #3 - the window to a long-past culture is something I've always valued in classic television.  Route 66 and Naked City, thanks to their location shooting, are the best of numerous examples of how America has evolved over the years.  There's no better - nor more entertaining - travelogue around.

Cult TV Blog continues with his series on the use of allegory in The Prisoner.  There's some really good stuff in this analysis, and I suspect it will make both fans and first-timers of The Prisoner want to check the episodes out.  It should also make you ask why today's television, in its supposed Golden Age, can't do something like this.

Stephen Bowie, who blogs at Classic TV History Blog, has a very good piece at The Onion's AV Club on The Andy Griffith Show, and why it developed into, along with The Dick Van Dyke Show, "the essential sitcom of the early ’60s."  I have to confess that though I watched this show faithfully as a kid, it hasn't worn well with me, and I don't see it much today.  I know a lot of people who still love it, though, and its place in TV history is undeniable.

I mention in the upcoming TV Guide review that there wasn't a whole lot on television that was specifically connected to the 4th of July, and Television Obscurities' review of TV schedules on the Fourth generally reinforces that.  I'd agree that your best bet for holiday-themed entertainment back then probably came from the variety shows of the day, such as Lawrence Welk, but for a few years NBC carried the Stars and Stripes show from Oklahoma City.  Nowadays, since the Boston Pops are no longer regulars on the tube, you're pretty much left with PBS' A Capital Fourth.

I referenced Naked City earlier, and Television's New Frontier: the 1960s has a very good review of that series, including its history and a look at the stars that made it one of the best serious cop shows of the time.  It took a few episodes for Naked City to grow on me (Sterling Sillilphant can have that effect on anyone), but I've come to greatly appreciate the show's portrayal of secondary characters and guest stars, without overlooking the police work that always brings the story together.

Finally, "Christmas in July" continues at Christmas TV History.  I won't link to any specific entry, but they're all wonderful, presenting a real cross-section of Christmas TV memories that have made the time very special for a lot of people.

That's all for today - see you back for another trip to the TV Guide archives on Saturday!

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