May 25, 2018

Around the dial

Aee that picture up there? Now that's the house I would have liked to have grown up in! Anyway, on to this week's highlights.

At Thrilling Days of Yesterday, Ivan has a truly captivating review of the latest 3-disc set of the 1960s Jackie Gleason Show, put out by Time-Life. I'm old enough to remember this iteration of the Gleason show, though I was young enough at the time that not much of it stuck in my memory. Ivan captures the spirit of the show in his review, though - go read it and see if it makes you want to buy the set.

Inner Toob has the latest on the remake of Magnum, P.I., with Jay Hernandez in the Sellick role. Now, I know what you're thinking - I'm going to rag on another remake of a classic series because I live in the past and can't stand updating the old shows. Well, that's partly right, I'll grant you that. But this typifies the laziness that I see infiltrating television everywhere (and that's nothing new, either) - I mean, what is the point? For those with fond memories of the old show (and I wasn't really a fan, by the way, although I didn't dislike it), why ruin them? And if you're changing enough that you're not going to attract the old fans, then why remake it in the first place? Aren't there enough places in the world to set a private detective drama? Or doesn't the new Hawaii Five-0 pay for the studio?

In a similar vein, Comfort TV asks the question: can new episodes of classic television shows work? Most often they don't (remember the remake of Family Affair? I didn't think so), but on occasion, as with the new Will & Grace and Roseanne, they can strike paydirt. I think it helps to have members of the original cast, but as I said above, I'm leery about something like this unless it can give you something the original couldn't, or didn't, have. The key, as David says, is that "the new episodes [stay] true to what made the source material successful, with no self-awareness, no casting or scripts based on 21st century sensibilities, and no winking at the audience."

"The Day of the Bullet." an atmospheric Stanley Ellin story of two young friends and the divergent paths their lives take, is the latest episode of The Hitchcock Project at bare-bones e-zine. As usual, Jack does a terrific job of taking us through the original short story and how it was adapted into one of the classics of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. 

The Twilight Zone Vortex is back with a a look at another issue of the old Twilight Zone Magazine. This time it's the 1981 Halloween edition, with book reviews by Theodore Sturgeon, Gahan Wilson's review of the movie Dragonslayer, the continuing episode guide by Marc Scott Zicree, a classic TZ screenplay from Rod Serling, and more!

Cult TV Blog takes a rare, but not unprecedented, look across the pond at American TV - this time, it's "Miracle Man," an episode from The X-Files. As was the case with Ivan's Gleason review, John really captures the essential nature of this episode - I think any great review is one that makes you want to see the episode, or read the book, or go out and watch the movie, and that's what this does. It's also nice to see a non-American's perspective of this episode and some of its provocative themes.

The great Clint Walker, star of Cheyenne, died earlier this week at the age of 90. He was a towering presence on television - tall, handsome, with a rich, deep voice. I read somewhere a comment from a man who remembered his girlfriend thinking that Walker was the most handsome man ever; the man didn't resent it because Walker was his hero, too. That's the kind of guy Clint Walker was. A Shroud of Thought has a fine appreciation of his life and career.

Although Roger Moore is The Saint, at least for my money, you can't not like the radio version of Leslie Charteris' famous character, played by the always suave Vincent Price. The Saint on the Radio is one of two new books by Ian Dickerson reviewed this week by Martin Grams; the other is Who Is The Falcoln?, referring to the movie series about Michael Arlen's "gentleman detective" played by George Sanders.

At the always-interesting Garroway at Large, Jodie reports progress on her biography of Dave Garroway, and gives us a fascinating look at the "what-ifs" - books that were never written, people who have since died, programs that no longer exist - that would have given us even more insight into the always interesting, often enigmatic Garroway. Another reason we should all be pack rats. TV  


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!