July 14, 2017

Around the dial

First of all, a personal note. I was cleaning out the comments section this week, deleting some that were obviously spam (either that, or I've got a huge following in the Middle East and India), which meant I got a chance to catch up with some replies, so if you've left a comment in the last two or three weeks, I might have added something. It does remind me, however, of how tremendously grateful I am to all of you for taking time to read and comment on this blog. I've said this before and I'll probably say it again, but I'm humbled by the kind things you say - really, by the fact that you read this at all. It's come a long way in the last few years, and I owe that to you, the readers, as well as the bloggers below and on the sidebar, with whom I share a terrific community of classic TV fans. Now, doesn't that make you feel as if you really owe it to me, as well as to yourselves, to buy my book when it comes out?

Enough with the sentiment! Let's get to the hard facts of the week in classic television. And we'll start off with Comfort TV, which makes it to Minnesota in the countdown of "50 States, 50 Classic Moments." And after that cruel, vicious, unwarranted attack I made against Iowa last week, I should point out in fairness that David's article spotlights the poster boy for television news in the Twin Cities: Ted Baxter.

On Saturday, yours truly appeared in Christmas TV History's annual "Christmas in July" series, answering some wonderful questions about my favorite Christmas television. Many thanks to Joanna for hosting this each year and generously inviting all of us to participate. Keep reading; there are many more good answers to come!

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear brings back one of Art Linkletter's signature programs - the 40s radio series and 50s TV series People Are Funny, which was of the same genre as Truth or Consequences. I don't think I've ever actually seen or heard an episode of the program, but I know it well enough that I recognize it in the very funny Bugs Bunny TV spoof "People Are Bunny," in which Bugs and Daffy wind up on the show "People Are Phony." You can guess how that turns out.

Classic TV and Film CafĂ© highlights what is, indeed, some perfect summer viewing: the 60s NBC series Dr. Kildare, starring Richard Chamberlain and Raymond Massey. Kildare is always coupled with ABC's similar doctor series Ben Casey (although Kildare had a long life on radio and in the movies), just as each series spun off its own psychiatric drama - The Eleventh Hour from Kildare, Breaking Point from Casey. I was never a big fan either of Vince Edwards or the Casey character, so I'll go along with Rick's endorsement of Doc Kildare.

Yes, Richard Roundtree is Shaft, as Once Upon a Screen reminds us, not only on the big screen but on television as well. It's a story that still holds up very well, transcending its genre every bit as much as Raymond Chandler did with Marlowe. I thought the remake with Samuel L. Jackson was a lot of fun, but he's still only second best.

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