April 16, 2014

Odds and ends

Back in the day, TV networks used to fill their summer schedules with anthologies bearing such names as Summer Playhouse.  What they were was not a return to the days of Golden Age dramas; instead, they were a clearinghouse for networks to air unsold pilots.  Few of the episodes provided anything more than light entertainment, and most provided ample evidence of why they hadn't been picked up by anyone.

Today's column is a bit of a thrown-together collection of odds and ends, but that's where its similarity to Summer Playhouse ends - after all, we're talking about quality here!

First off, reader John, who asked a question about The Untouchables a few weeks ago, adds this wonderful footnote:
Gotta tell ya this story. In  Utica N. Y. in the early 70's there were two TV stations, WKTV 2  (NBC) & WUTR 20 (ABC). WKTV totally dominated the market, you know, a V vs a U. WUTR bought the Untouchables for $20 an episode - as opposed to nowdays 5 -8  Thousand $ an episode for Wheel of Fortune or Jepordy. For the first time WUTR beat WKTV in the ratings but only for the first half hour.  Still # 1 in the 2nd  half hour but took a sizable drop. Utica had a  heavily Italian population at the time. One of the local radio talk show host said it was because in the first half hour the Italians were winning!
Love that story!

And now a question from reader Erika, who writes:
I have a recording of my father-in-law Brian Reade talking about Aubrey Beardsley  on NBC TV. It's date is 1967 and it also features Vyvyan Holland, son of Oscar Wilde. It was given to Brian Reade by Tony Janak.

I am proposing to make an illustrated recording of this with some family and collected images.  Since you seem to know 'all about TV' I wonder if you foresee any legal problems with circulating this?
My first thought was that as long as it was being shared privately and not being produced for public sale, she was probably OK.  However, aside from a pre-law minor, I’m no expert in this area – anyone with some better ideas?  Please let me know either in the comments or via email.

And now for some quick hits:

Be sure and check out Comfort TV's article on "The Subversive Genius of Rocky and Bullwinkle," one of my favorite cartoons.  David is always well worth reading, and this is no exception.

Cult TV Blog has an interesting look at another of those 60s British series, Police Surgeon.  No, not the awful 70s syndicated version from Canada that was the plague of many a local station - this is the one that is widely seen as precursor to the fabulous Avengers.

Gotta run for now - back later this week!

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Thanks for writing! Drive safely!