June 21, 2019

Around the dial

Some self-promotion to start the week: I'm back on the Eventually Supertrain podcast this week, talking with Dan Budnik about one of our favorite shows, Bourbon Street Beat. But even if you think you've heard too much from me just by reading this blog, listen for Amy The Conqueror talking about Eerie, Indiana, and Amanda Reyes discussing Masquerade. If you have as much fun listening as I get from doing my segment, you'll have a great time!

At Vox, Todd VanDerWerff has a thoughtful piece on “storytelling bloat,” the consequence of the boom in TV drama due to the demand for programming on streaming services and cable networks. According to VanDerWerff, what we’re seeing is a confluence of TV storytelling and movie storytelling, where three-hour stories are being stretched out to as many as 10 hours.

Today, the kinds of mid-budget movies that used to lure adults into the theater are increasingly consigned to streaming services and cable networks. And because the success of those services often depends on how much time they can get you to spend watching them, they stretch out too many of these stories like taffy if they can.

The cure for storytelling bloat: perhaps a simple return to how television used to operate, letting the characters and their lives evolve over time, done within the framework of episodes featuring self-contained stories. It’s an interesting meditation on what television is, and what it should be; I highly recommend you read it.

Elsewhere, at bare-bones e-zine, Jack has opened a new chapter in his Hitchcock Project with “Three Wives Too Many” (what a great title!), the inaugural Hitchcock script from Arthur A. Ross. We’ll be on the lookout for more Ross stories in the coming weeks.

At The Horn Section, Hal has turned his attention back to Crazy Like a Fox, with the result being a look at the 1985 episode “Is There a Fox in the House?” driven, as usual, by the always-entertaining father-son relationship between the great Jack Warden and John Rubenstein.

I know Dave Garroway was ubiquitous in the early days of television, but hosting a preview of the upcoming college football season called Kickoff 1953? I would like to have seen Matt Lauer do that! Seriously, this is a fun clip from Jodie at Garroway at Large that shows just how versatile the Master Communicator was.

At A Shroud of Thoughts, Terence tells of how Guy Williams almost joined the cast of Bonanza, and what that would have meant not only for the show, but for television history as well. Ah, what might have been.

Joanna is at it again, preparing for this year’s “Christmas in July” party at Christmas TV History. You’re welcome to join in the fun, either my sharing your own answers to this year’s questionnaire (as your faithful scribe will be doing), or just reading what everyone else has to say. It’s all good fun, though.

Donna Mills graces the cover of the June 17, 1989 issue of TV Guide, the latest in Robert’s “A Year in TV Guide” series at Television Obscurities. There’s also a piece on Father Knows Best timed to coincide with CBN’s Father’s Day marathon, plus the week’s programming.

Oh, and that picture at the top? The two men standing are Don Hewitt on the left, and Dr. Frank Stanton, head of CBS, on the right, and they're checking out a monitor prior to the beginning of the first Kennedy- Nixon debate. A dramatic moment, to be sure. TV  


  1. Thank you, Cal! (Rex? What are we calling each other?) The episodes are super fun right now. We cover 1960-1993 on the show. That's a good time. I will be sad when BSB is done.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!