April 12, 2019

Around the dial

Whether or not you remember him (and in an era that seems to lack any sense of the past, that probably includes a lot of people), Charles Van Doren was one of the major figures in television history. His rise to fame following his electrifying appearances on Twenty-One, and the subsequent revelation that he was part of the Quiz Show Scandal, guaranteed that; however, unlike the disgraced celebrities of today (say, Lori Loughlin), Van Doren didn't consult a crisis expert afterward; he accepted the exile that was an inevitable consequence of what he'd done, and remained there, writing books and teaching but otherwise refusing the opportunity to reenter public life. I've always found something dignified about that, even noble in a way. Van Doren died this week at age 93; the Broadcasting Archives at the University of Maryland links to this Washington Post obit. I'd also recommend reading the one and only time Van Doren addressed what happened, when he wrote about it in The New Yorker.

Last week we looked at FredFlix's open letter to MeTV, which contained a kind of wish list for a future broadcasting schedule. Well, he's back this week with a revised schedule, based suggestions from his viewers. I know you'll want to watch it.

This isn't really about television, but I enjoyed it anyway: Ben Lindbergh's essay at The Ringer on how the Cleveland Indians' rally in the movie Major League shouldn't have counted. I include this because if you read it, you'll know something of what it's like watching TV with me.

Part seven of Jack's Hitchcock Project on James P. Cavanagh over at bare-bones e-zine, and it's the third season episode "Sylvia." I must confess that although I've seen this episode, I don't remember it. (Getting old, I guess.) I trust Jack's observation that it's a good one.

Commentary tracks can be one of the simple pleasures of a DVD, although I'll readily admit that I don't make enough use of them. But at Comfort TV, David helps fill in the gaps with three favorite commentary tracks, and one that should have been.

At Bob Crane: Life & Legacy, Carol offers a warm, heartfelt remembrance of Johnny Thompson, "The Great Tomsoni," who died last month. Johnny and his wife, Pam, were part of Carol's Herculean efforts to give people the truth about Bob Crane's life. R.I.P.

Television's New Frontier: the 1960s moves to 1961 to pick up the second half of the second season of Dennis the Menace. Recognizing the popularity of Dennis's long-suffering next-door neighbor, the show could have been renamed The Constant Humiliation of George Wilson. You get the point.

"A Busy Person's Guide to TV" could describe what things are like today, with a myriad number of cable and streaming options for the television aficionado, but in fact it's the cover story of the April 8, 1989 issue of TV Guide. Read all about it at Television ObscuritiesTV  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Mitchell. We recently re-watched "Quiz Show" so I was thinking of Van Doren.


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