August 26, 2016

Around the dial

This is what I've been telling people for years - why I created this blog, in fact: a historian talks about why historians should watch more television, and what it can teach us about our history. It's a job I'm already doing; now, if I could only find a way to get paid for it...

Terry Teachout links to his Wall Street Journal column, in which he reminds all of us why Perry Como mattered. As he points out, Como was one of the most popular singers on television from the late '40s through the '60s, with annual Christmas specials after that. Any chance to catch some of his old shows, and the great (and varied) musical talent that appeared with him, is worth it.

Classic television aficionados are often accused of excessive nostalgia, but it turns out we're not the only one. The New York Times looks at MTV's attempt to appeal to nostalgia for millennials by hearkening back to the Golden Age of music video with MTV Classic - but will it work? Why or why not? Discuss.

At Made for TV Mayhem, Amanda explains why she's been absent for awhile, and what kinds of projects she's currently working on. More power to you - I know how hard that can be. Your absense has been noted, and your presence missed!

Meanwhile, at Comfort TV David offers his opinions on The Defenders following the DVD release of the classic legal drama's first season. I'm still on the fence as to whether or not the show's liberal advocacy will be too much for my conservative senses, but I agree wholeheartedly that it shows how discussing serious issues is not only possible on television, but it can hold people's attention as well.

"The Jungle" isn't one of the great Twilight Zone episodes, but it's far from the worst, either. The Twilight Zone Vortex gives us a comprehensive look at the episode and the Charles Beaumont short story upon which it was based, and shows us how it gives us something to chew on (a pun that won't become clear until after you've read the piece...)

I remember the show Car 54, Where Are You? from my youth, and I must have watched it at some point, but to tell the truth my memories are more of the title than the series itself. Seeing it on MeTV a few years ago didn't slay me with its humor, but as Television's New Frontier: the 1960s reminds us, any series created by Nat "Sergeant Bilko" Hiken has to have a subversive streak in it.

I'm not a big Olympics fan anymore, but I followed the story of NBC's coverage enough to know it left quite a big to be desired, especially when it came to presenting events on tape-delay. Such was not always the case though, as Television Obscurities reminds us with this ad for NBC's coverage of the 1964 Tokyo games. Imagine live coverage of the Opening Ceremonies at 1:00 a.m. TV  


  1. I almost mentioned in my piece 'The Defenders's reputation for liberal dogma, but after watching season 1 I'd guess that really kicked in after the first year. And when the show does advocate, it does so intelligently, with a respectful acknowledgement of opposing views, which is more than I can say for today's indoctrination entertainment.

  2. Weren't NBC's broadcast of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 1964 Summer Olympics actually broadcast in color, but the actual competition was covered in Living Black And White?


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