June 30, 2017

Around the dial

We start this week at Vote for Bob Crane, aka The Bob Crane Show Reloaded, where Carol's podcast commemorates the 39th anniversary of Bob Crane's murder by putting his life (and death) in proper perspective.

Honoring the anniversary of another untimely death, The Twilight Zone Vortex discusses the legacy of Rod Serling 42 years after his death. Is it really possible that he and Bob Crane died only three years apart?

Silver Scenes gives us the background to something that I wasn't aware of until fairly recently: the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Foundation, which emerged from a meeting between the star of Wyatt Earp and the legendary humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer.

Comfort TV begins summer by traveling around America through one classic television show representing each state. I'll really be interested to see what David does when he gets to Minnesota (he's going in alpha order) - I'm pretty sure I know which show it'll be, but best to be patient and find out.

Plenty of episode reviews this week: Some Polish American Guy looks at the season two episode "BJ and the Witch" from BJ and the Bear; The Horn Section watches Love That Bob's "Bob and the Ravishing Realtor" and sees a series starting to run out of steam; and Fire Breathing Dimetrodon Time follows The Six Million Dollar Man episode "The Deadly Test";

The Broadcast Archives at the University of Maryland links to an article that looks at the uncertain future for Tumblr and concludes that "There’s No Money in Internet Culture." Hell, I could have told them that.

Martin Grams reviews a couple of books that touch very much on what we talk about; William Fox and the Fox Film Corporation by Merrill T. McCord offers the definitive rundown on the silent movie history of Fox, while David Krell's Our Bums: The Brooklyn Dodgers in History, Memory and Popular Culture is right up my alley, intertwining the team's history with events in popular culture.

They're both going to be at this year's Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, and I got my tickets in the mail from Martin yesterday. Do yourself a favor and check out the website; it's a great idea for a quick vacation! TV  


  1. Yeah, Minnesota is kind of a no-brainer for classic TV - although there was that other series set in Frostbite Falls...

    1. You know, that might actually be a more accurate depiction of us Minnesotans... Although there are a couple of episodes of Route 66 set in Minneapolis that give a wonderful look at the early 60s city, so much of which doesn't exist anymore. But then, Minneapolis isn't Minnesota, not by a long shot!

  2. The Minnesota pick is likely a no-brainer, though LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE actually ran longer and could conceivably be picked.

    In addition to the classic David mentioned, I'd be tempted to give some love to the truly bizarre GET A LIFE.

    Oh, and thanks for the shoutout!

    1. Did I even know that Get a Life was set in Minnesota? I'm not sure I did. I know some people think Police Squad! might have been set here, due to a reference to Wisconsin being across the border, but I still think it's more likely set in Chicago.

      The Nicollet Mall, the main pedestrian avenue in downtown Minneapolis (home of the stores seen in the MTM montage, most of which are now closed) has been under construction for the last three years. It's supposed to be "Substantially complete" in November. The latest images they're using are pictures of MTM tossing a hard hat in the air with the caption "We're Going to Make it After All." I'll still believe it when I see it.

    2. Police Squad! was set in The City.
      One of the things that ZAZ was spoofing here was the way that TV series were always set in sort of "generic" locales, that could be anywhere in the USA.
      Remember that the sign in front of the police station said "The Police Station". I think they also had The Hospital, among other places.
      It was this kind of thinking that led to sitcom towns having names like Springfield or Mayfield or any number of other "nowhere" names that could have been anywhere.
      Similarly, dramas with urban or suburban settings were notoriously nonspecific about geographic details; I've been looking at Highway Patrol lately, and those cops could be in almost any state in the union - which was the whole idea.

  3. Thanks, Mitchell. Serling and Crane did in fact die only three years apart-I thought Crane died before Serling, actually. If anyone is interested there are several segments floating around on YouTube from Serling's 1961 interview on the Bob Crane Show where they discuss the TZ episode "The Shelter" and various other Red Scare era topics.

    1. Great info - thanks, Brian; I'll check that out!

  4. I had a grandson graduate from high school in the small Northern Michigan town of Oscoda, Michigan a couple of years ago. On the graduation program was a long list of organizations who provided scholarship funds for deserving students. It was a delight to see Hugh O'Brian's organization listed among them. Glad Hugh lives on through this effort.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!