April 24, 2015

Around the dial from the Wild West to the stars!

I'm always interested to read reviews of series I haven't seen yet, whether because they were before my time or simply weren't on my radar when they did air.  At The Horn Section, there's a good review of the 1967 Western series Hondo, which starred Ralph Taeger and aired on ABC.  I've always been intrigued by Westerns from this era; the genre was in its death throws on TV, although stalwarts such as Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The High Chaparral and The Big Valley would continue on.  Nevertheless, relevancy was in the air, and with shows such as Judd for the Defense, The Mod Squad and The Storefront Lawyers either broadcasting or around the corner, it's interesting to see networks continue to turn to the past (often by interjecting allegorical storylines meant to seem relevant) in an effort to create successful programs.

We're living in a new apartment, and I have to admit I'm looking forward to decorating the place for Christmas.  I'm not, however, in a great hurry to hasten along the year, especially since we've been enjoying a very pleasant spring here in Texas.  That doesn't stop me from checking out Joanna Wilson's Christmas TV History, which this week has a great piece on 1966's Green Acres Christmas episode.  I know I watched Green Acres some when I was a lad (although I was never a fan of Eddie Albert), but I have very few memories of specific episodes, this one included, so it's always nice to read about this bizarre and often surrealistic series.

Jack the Ripper continues to fascinate us, doesn't he?  Perhaps its because so many questions remain as to the real identity of the Ripper, perhaps it's the allure of the Dickensian image we have of London during the murders, or maybe there's something more sinister in the subconscious of each one of us.  At Classic Film and TV Cafe, Rick gives us two classic television shows that dared to take on the world of Jack, Thriller and Star Trek.  Notice how many of these types of episodes incorporate time travel in one way or another, either through transporting our protagonists back to London, or whisking the spirit of Jack to our present times.  Either way, it almost always makes for an exciting story.

Speaking of Star Trek (they don't call me the master of segues for nothing), The Flaming Nose pays tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy with a list of favorite Mr. Spock episodes.  There are some wonderful moments in these stories, though I have to admit a personal preference for the moment in "The Trouble With Tribbles" when Spock dryly comments on Kirk's distain for Baris, "He simply could not believe his ears."  Wonderful double-meaning there.

I couldn't possibly pass up this entry at The Last Drive In, since the opening graphic leads off with a plug for the State Fair of Texas, which we all know is the greatest state fair in the land.  It's an exploration of ten tasty television trivia tidbits, reminding us of everything from Lieutenant Columbo's fondness for chili to Officer Bill Gannon's willingness to try almost anything.  Is it a coincidence that I'm writing this at lunchtime?

At Comfort TV, David gives a thumbs-up to Adam-Michael James’s The Bewitched Continuum (which I similarly praised here), and then talks about other episode guides that would make great additions to your television library.  I can only speak first-hand to one of them, Ed Robertson's terrific The Fugitive Recaptured and I'd offer Brenda Scott Royce's Hogan's Heroes: Behind the Scenes at Stalag 13 as one that ought to be checked out,

Catching up on something I should have mentioned earlier, Kliph Nesteroff is back with another great interview at Classic Television Showbiz, this one a witty, insightful chat with Dick Cavett.  While I've always thought that Cavett was a little too-self centered in his interviewing technique, I've come to appreciate over the years that he's also one of the best interviewers that's been on television - certainly heads above any of the chucklefests that pass for talk hows on TV today.  I don't suppose we'd be able to sit still for him today though, do you? TV  


  1. It's interesting that your post featured both "Hondo" and the original "Star Trek", since they both aired head-to-head (in most of the country) during the Fall of 1967 on Fridays at 8:30 P.M. Eastern time ("Hondo" on ABC; "trek" on NBC).

    "Hondo" lasted only sixteen weeks, going off the air at the end of 1967. It got killed in the ratings by both "Star Trek" and CBS's "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.".

  2. Yes, Hondo was a victim of scheduling IMO. It had no chance given the time slot and established competition. Complicating matters for any ABC series at the time: many times up to 10 percent of the ABC affiliates would be airing something different in the regular prime time slot and moving the network offering to another spot.

    I found several 1967 TV guides that showed the week's new episode of Hondo airing on either Saturday or Sunday afternoon on the local ABC affiliate. Kind of ironic to note now, since the show belatedly caught on when TNT started airing it on weekends years later. TNT had to have aired the 17 episodes a dozen times each, maybe more, during the 1990's.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!