May 1, 2015

It's time to go Around the Dial!

Before I get to this week's highlights, I have an email from a reader asking for information.  Since I'm stumped, I pass this along to my enlightened readers to see if they can help.  Mr. D. Witt (I presume it's Mr.) asks,

I have a very dim childhood memory of a 70's TV skit that nobody else I've asked can remember.  Since you seem extremely knowledgeable on this subject I'm hoping you'll have the answer.  Here's the basic info...

- American prime time comedy (and probably variety) show on sometime between 1970 -1972.

- Sketch about a couple living in a underwater house. ( I'm sure it was a reoccurring sketch)

-The set looked like a normal suburban home living room, but there was real water outside the large picture window. The audience would see the husband swim past the window dressed in a business suit.  When entering, he would open and close the front door real fast so not to let the water rush in.

- I think his wife would complain about living in a house that was underwater, but he bought the home because it was such a great deal. Although being about 5 years old when I watched this, I simply like to see the rush of water when the front door was opened.

Thank you for your time.

What about it - ring any bells with anyone?  The premise sounds to me like something Ernie Kovacs would do, but the timeframe is wrong (unless this was presented as a retrospective or something).  If you've got any ideas, let me know!

Ever since I correctly identified Beulah in a Trivial Pursuit game as the first sitcom to star a black actress, I've been saddled with the reputation as someone who knows about the most obscure of television shows.  To a certain extent that's true*, and so I always enjoy reading about someone who shares this, er, hobby.  At Classic Film and TV Cafe, Rick gives us a list of seven obscure shows that, for some reason, he's heard of.  Got to admit that I'd forgotten about Q.E.D., but I did remember the other six.

*This does beg the question as to how much important information I've misplaced because of all the useless trivia I remember.

Some great episode recaps available: bare-bones e-zine continues an ongoing look at Hitchcock adaptations of Roald Dahl works with the sixth-season episode "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat", while at The Horn Section, Hal looks at the 1958 episode of Love That Bob! entitled "Bob Gives S.R.O. Performance."  I love these reviews where I feel as if I've seen the episode, especially if it's from a series I haven't seen before.  Meanwhile, Television's New Frontier: the 1960s takes a closer look at the series Checkmate; I had high hopes for this series when I had the opportunity to watch a few episodes, but I found it falling short too many times for my liking.

Not a television piece per se, but ImagineMDD has a thoughtful reflection on actors who were able to humanize even the most unlikable characters, particularly Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney.  In my ongoing attack on modern police prodecurals, I've found that shows from the classic era - the ones that didn't spend so much time with the personal lives of their quirkbots - often gave far deeper portrayals of their perps, and these actors are able to do the same thing with the great depth of their performances.

At Classic Television Showbiz, Kliph has another of his excellent interviews, this one with George Schlatter, executive producer of Laugh-In among his many contributions to television.  I was really impressed with Schlatter reading his responses to Kliph (despite his politics!), and asking some great questions himself.  I envy Kliph, a man who's heard more and will likely forget more than I'll ever know!

A typically nice piece by Andrew at The Lucky Strike Papers takes a fond look back at "the other Ray Charles," the conductor whose name pops up a lot in my old TV Guides.  In addition to the death of Ray Charles, Andrew also notes the passing of Milton DeLugg, which really feels like the end of an era to me.  I'll take this time to repeat what I've often said: the people who make an impression won't be around forever, so if you're so inclined, don't be afraid to let them know how you feel.

Catching up from last week (since my piece here will probably be posted before his new one goes up), Television Obscurities continues a year in TV Guide with a look at April 24, 1965.  One of the articles is "Why Cable TV is Mushrooming"; I love reading these stories where you can see how far back the roots of our current situation go, and compare the predictions with the reality.

That's it for now - see ya back here tomorrow!

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