August 19, 2014

Around the dial

I'm making up for last week, when obituaries kept me away from taking a spin around the blogosphere. Well, better late than never, I say. Besides, there's plenty to choose from today.

Cult TV Blog takes a week off from his examination of allegory in The Prisoner to take a look at a British series I'd never heard of before, Department S.  He describes Department as a successor to The Avengers, and in fact elements of it reminded him of Danger Man.  That's enough of a recommendation for me; YouTube tells me there are episodes out there, which I now have to check out.

I always enjoy Rick's quizzes at Classic Film and TV Cafe, even though I'm seldom able to get many answers, and this week is no exception - on either count.  This week's edition gives us the names of a pair or trio of films or performers, and our job is to make the connection.  Good fun, but make sure you take your best shot before reading the comments, where readers take their best shots.

The Horn Section reviews a movie that completely baffled me back when it was on TV in the early '70s: Number One, a football drama starring Charlton Heston.  Actually, the movie puzzled me in a couple of ways: first it presented the New Orleans Saints as a past championship team - nice work if you can get it, since at the time the Saints were both new and awful.  My uneducated self just couldn't wrap around that concept, though once I figured out how money works (and how cooperative Saints ownership had been with the filmmakers), I got that part of it.  But what happens to Heston at the end of the movie?  I'm still not sure about that.

At Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, Ivan shares the good news that one of the funniest sitcoms of the '50s, The Phil Silvers Show, is coming to DVD as a complete set.  Silvers is memorable as the ultimate con-artist soldier, Sgt. Ernie Bilko (love that name), the prototype for later characters such as Hogan and McHale (although Bob Crane always insisted on playing Hogan straight, which makes Hogan's Heroes the great show it is).  Sometimes Silvers' act can wear a bit, but if you get to see the episode in which he represents a monkey drafted into the Army - well, you'll never see anything better.

Kinescope HD reminds us of one of the landmark programs of the late '60s - Elvis' comeback special.  I've got the TV Guide issue in which this show appears (one of an occasional series of musical specials sponsored by Singer), but I don't believe I ever saw it in first run - the first time might have been when it was coupled with Elvis' "Aloha From Hawaii" special after he died.  (I do remember that Hawaii concert distinctly.)  It's a reminder of just how dynamic the pre-Vegas King was.

I love Television Obscurities because it features just that - television obscurities.  And this week we get a look at something very obscure - "Dick Cavett's Watergate," a documentary that reviews Cavett's interviews with many of the major players in the Watergate scandal.  It's been 40 years since the resignation of Richard Nixon; being a Nixon fan, that's an anniversary that I've consciously tried to put out of my mind, which may explain why to this day I'm never quite sure exactly what year Nixon resigned.  (A flaw that I would absolutely ridicule in others as evidence of how stupid we are about history.)  What I do remember about that day is working a church rummage sale in the world's worst town with a female classmate of mine whom I liked quite a lot, and who had ambitions in the outside world as great as mine.  As we sat behind the table, hearing on the radio of the rumors preceding that night's speech, she turned to me and said, "Wouldn't it be something if he got up there and said 'I'm never going to resign'?"  Wouldn't it have been, indeed?

OK, I've confused the schedule enough for this week - I'll be back on Thursday with another piece of interest, followed by a new (or is that old) TV Guide on Saturday!

1 comment:

  1. I'd be very interested to hear your impressions of Department S: certainly the fact that it has some real depth is only striking me with repeated viewings.

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