February 1, 2019

Around the dial

Ithink most of you can tell that's Lyndon B. Johnson. LBJ was a great television watcher, both before and while he was president; in the Oval Office, he had a console installed with three television screens, so he could watch news coverage on all three networks at the same time. But what is he watching here? The answer at the end.

Since we're in a mystery frame of mind, let's continue with the latest Hitchcock Project at bare-bones e-zine, with Jack continuing his look at the works of James P. Cavanagh. This week it's the season one episode "The Creeper," based on a real-life murder mystery that was unsolved at the time it was originally dramatized for radio.

At The Horn Section, Hal is back to Hondo, with "Hondo and the Death Drive," from December, 1967, a four-star whoopass episode if ever there was one. But as Hal reminds us, "Your lives are meaningless compared to HONDO!"

Most classic TV fans know that the British series Till Death Us Do Part was the model for the American series All in the Family, but as Thrilling Days of Yesterday points out, since Till Death never achieved the mass release in America that, say, Monty Python did, not a lot of people know what that British series was like. Ivan sets out to shed some light on it.

Keeping it all in the (British) family, Cult TV Blog offers a first look at a series that's new to John, Gideon's Way, from 1965. Does it hold up well today? Does it make John want to watch more? Read and find out.

The Broadcasting Archives at the University of Maryland links to this Washington Post article on how the average American has even more ways to stream television. I look at this kind of thing frequently, always wanting to weigh my options, to see what the possibilities are. It always gives me a headache when I do.

One of my favorite shows, Peter Gunn, is the latest subject of Television's New Frontier: the 1960s.  A fascinating look at how the show comes to an end, and the future endeavors of cast and crew.

Continuing his look at 1989, Television Obscurities explores the issue of January 28, 1989, with the stars of Roseanne, Roseanne Barr and John Goodman, on the cover, and a variety of stories guaranteed to take you back 30 years in time.

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So what is LBJ watching? I plucked this picture from Google images, and although there was no description with it, I'm sure you could find one if you looked moderately hard. But even without a description, we know a few things. The man speaking has a longish badge on his left lapel, probably a convention credentials badge. The curtain behind the speaker has stars on it, and the only occasion I can think of that fits the bill is the 1960 Democratic Convention in Los Angeles. Since the Speaker of the House traditionally served as convention chairman back in the day, and since the gentleman on the screen looks bald, I'm prepared to identify him as "Mr. Sam," Sam Rayburn, longtime House Speaker and LBJ's mentor. Which means this picture is probably LBJ in his hotel room, preparing to watch the roll call for president, at which he'll finish second to John F. Kennedy. Look at his expression—I think he knows he's going to lose this vote. Could anyone possibly imagine what the future has in store for him?  TV  


  1. Good detective work, Mitchell. I think you nailed it! Your opening lines made me think of an article to pursue. Maybe you have. Apparently the current POTUS is a BIG TV watcher. As was LBJ. The article idea...TVs in the Oval Office. What does their television watching habits tell us about our Presidents, from Truman on. Would take some research. Your thoughts? Probably been done.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!