December 28, 2018

Around the dial

Well, it's the final spin around the dial for 2018, and this seems to be an appropriate time to look at David's latest at Comfort TV, in which he reflects on "things you can only see on classic TV." For example, pay phones and phone boots. It's certainly evocative for me, since I fit into that demographic that remembers when things like this were real. Another example of how the cultural archaeologist has to consider classic TV when trying to understand the past.

Speaking of evocative, at Garroway at Large Jodie shares with us something that Dave Garroway's daughter Paris shared with her: a card that her father liked to send out. So simple and yet, as Jodie says, so appropriate to this time of the year.

The Broadcast Archives at the University of Maryland shows us a title slide that used to be a staple of local stations everywhere: the late show. I suppose in most ways watching movies on television is better now than it was then, with the movies now generally shown uncut and without commercial interruption. And yet there was just something charming about those times, back when late night TV meant more than infomercials and talk show hosts who barely know how to keep up a conversation.

"Maverick Mondays" have returned to The Horn Section, and this week Hal looks at "The Maverick Line," a tale that stars both James Garner and Jack Kelly, and features a typically fanciful story that includes characters such as Atherton Flaygur, Rumsey Plumb and Shotgun Sparks. Ah, as Mason Adams would saywith names like that it has to be good.

I suspect that at least one of you caught part of the A Christmas Story marathons running on TBS and TNT on Christmas, but how many of you are familiar with director Bob Clark's other Christmas movie? At The Last Drive In, read about Black Christmas, a very different Yuletide story.

Winter is the perfect time for the Rock Hudson-helmed flick Avalanche, described by The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the "100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made." Find out what makes it bad—and what makes it enjoyable—by reading Rick's review at Classic Film and TV Café.

At Television Obscurities, it's your turn to share your memories of color TV. I still remember my first encounter with color television, other than that in the homes of friends. It was in my grandparents' apartment, which was fortunately just downstairs from ours, and I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen, even though it gave me a headache the first time I watched a football game on it. (Vikings vs. Bears at Wrigley Field.) Back then it was great that technology could still surprise and please.

Television's New Frontier: the 1960s turns the spotlight on Leave it to Beaver, the series that—contrary to those who scoff at the world of classic TV—"demonstrated a remarkable true-to-life depiction of children's perspective on growing up," It's never been a favorite of mine, but I've never ridiculed anyone who loves it, nor would I.

Finally, because it's Christmas, I thought I'd include this link from Silver Screen to a 1963 film from British Pathé entitled "Christmas is for All." a look at London's Christmas light displays. Did they do this in the big city when you were growing up? They sure did in Minneapolis, back when I was growing up. They still do it in some of the smaller cities and towns around the country. It still pains me that cities like Minneapolis don't do it anymore. Are they afraid of offending people, or is the budget just not there anymore? Either way, I hate things that change when they don't have to, don't you? TV  

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