April 10, 2020

Around the dial

This week saw the deaths of two of classic television's stars, and I defer to Terence at A Shroud of Thoughts for his remembrances. First: James Drury, also known as The Virginian, one of the biggest westerns of the 1960s—and with a total of 249 episodes at 90 minutes each, I do mean big. With that kind of air to fill, The Virginian had to have a big cast, and James Drury was the one who could hold it together.

And then there's Mrs. Cathy Gale—or Pussy Galore, depending on your tastes—Honor Blackman, who mastered the art of creating chemistry with Patrick Macnee's John Steed on The Avengers. Her episodes weren't as well-known over here as those of Diana Rigg until much later, but you can't truly know or love The Avengers until you've seen her, and after that you'll never forget her. She's much more than those two roles, though, as Terence details.

One of the things I appreciate about Jack's Hitchcock Project summaries at bare•bones e-zine is how, by tracing the roots of many of the stories appearing on Hitchcock, we get a look at the magazines in which those stories originally appeared, a rich collection of mystery and crime magazines that well document a time and genre. This week, the first installment of the works of Morton Fine and David Friedkin gives us "Change of Address" from 1962, and it's a great example of what a talented writer (or writers) can do to flesh out a story when adapting it for television.

The roots of classic television can often be found in the programs from old-time radio, and The Abbott and Costello Program is no exception. Learn more about the show, and enjoy episodes featuring some of the biggest names in Hollywood, over at Once Upon a Screen,

Comfort TV continues to provide comfort in these uncomfortable times, and this week David looks back at some memorable career moments of Cheryl Ladd, starting with her voice work on Josie and the Pussycats. We saw her back when in this edition of TV Guide.

What's in The Twilight Zone Vortex? This week, Jordan goes back to 1963 for a look at James Whitmore's memorable performance in one of the best of the hour-long episodes, and one of Rod Serling's finest scripts, the heartbreaking "On Thursday We Leave For Home."

We'll wrap up for the week by returning to Terence for a look at the creation of one of the landmark shows in television history, Twin Peaks, on the 30th anniversary of its premiere. I feel for those who don't know what TV was like before Twin Peaks; many of the things that you take for granted today owe their existence to that show. I remember watching the premiere, and I can tell you that I'd never seen anything like it before, and I don't think I've seen any show do it as well since. It was, and is, an astonishing moment. Watch it again, and have a piece of pie while you're at it. TV  


  1. It's always sad to say goodbye to classic movie stars who are the golden age of film and television. Thank you for sharing your memories and this remembrance here with us.

  2. Thanks, Mitchell! I also remember the premiere of Twin Peaks, on a Sunday night if memory serves. We had a little baby and got him in his crib just in time to sit down and watch the show. It seemed like the first great TV show in over a decade at the time. Then along came X-Files, Buffy, Angel, etc., and TV was good again.

    1. Jack, I remember it as a Sunday night as well. You're right - it had greatness written all over it, didn't it? The second season was weak at times, but how could anything follow that first season?

  3. Honor Blackman and Patrick Macnee also recorded a song together, called "Kinky Boots"--in those days that meant hip and fashionable. I don't know how it did then, but in the 1990s it became a Top 10 hit in England, providing the inspiration for the title of a movie, which subsequently became a Broadway musical which won several Tony Awards, including for its score composed by pop star Cyndi Lauper.

    Paul Duca


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