September 5, 2013

Around the dial

Time once again to take a spin around the dial and see what else is worth reading.

First, greetings to readers coming here from Uniwatch. Thanks to Paul for linking to Tuesday's article, and I hope those of you new to the site will make a habit of coming back. The blog is generally updated three times a week (Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday), with Saturday's "This Week in TV Guide" feature being the highlight of the week.*

*In my opinion, anyway; some of you may beg to differ.

And for regular readers, what do you think of the redesign? I like it myself, though I still need to make a few tweaks. We'll see how long it lasts; I may hang on to it for awhile, or I could change it again to something a little more serious-minded. Any thoughts out there?

On Saturday, the TV Guide feature will be looking at the fall preview issue from 1973, which puts me in mind for Billy Ingram's rundown of the new 1964 season over at TVParty!*. In contrast to what you'll be reading about on Saturday, the new season in 1964 was full of future hits: Bewitched, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Gilligan's Island, Gomer Pyle, The Addams Family, The Munsters - not a bad year for newcomers.

*As always, in the interests of full disclosure, I've written in the past (and hopefully the future) for TVParty!

The Onion's AV Club has been reviewing Saturday Night Live's first season, and this week's piece is a look back at Desi Arnez' guest-hosting gig in February of 1975. I never saw the classic first season of SNL live; our enlightened KCMT chose instead to run local movies in the Saturday late-night spot, which meant we also missed anything else (such as the Indiana-UCLA basketball game) that NBC might run in that timespot. Don't get me started... Anyway, as Phil Dyess-Nugent writes, there was something impressive about seeing a living, breathing TV legend (a "dinosaur," as he puts it, not unkindly) years after the fact, as if time stands still for the moment.

I believe I've mentioned this in the past, but Joanna Wilson's Christmas TV History is one of my favorite sites - not surprising since Christmas and television are two of my favorite things.* And this week Joanna looks back at Christmas With the King Family, from 1967. The King Family was a moderate success in the 60s with their own variety show, built somewhat along the lines of the Lawrence Welk prototype, though perhaps a bit more modern (if no less wholesome). This show is such a great example of the Christmas variety show genre; I'd watch it even though I've never been a big fan of the King Family. It's also great to see the show in brilliant, videotaped color; the public domain clips I've seen were in B&W, and it loses a lot in the translation.

*Stop me if I start channeling any more of The Sound of Music.

Finally, Kinescope HD has a nice write-up on the late David Frost. David Frost was, in some respects, Jon Stewart before there was a Jon Stewart. As part of the groundbreaking British series That Was The Week That Was, Frost was a pioneer in the satirical television program that sought to mock current events under the guise of sober analysis. Frost later became a talk show host, but of course achieved his greatest fame for his series of interviews with former President Richard Nixon. Eat your heart out, Stewart!

That's it for a somewhat abbreviated roundup today - see you back here on Saturday! TV  

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