February 12, 2021

Around the dial

Idon't generally make a point of offering an extensive commentary on one of this week's links, but I'm going to make an exception for this excellent article by David at Comfort TV in which he discusses how Aspire TV recently censored an episode of Room 222 by blurring an image of a derogatory term scrawled on a locker, a term that they feared some viewers might find objectionable today. What I find objectionable is this quite deliberate campaign to apply today's standards to situations that occurred in the past. 

I've made this point many times, but it's quite dangerous to start down that road; after all, who's to say that something you say or do today might be censored by someone who comes along a few decades later, when society has supposedly become even more "enlightened" than it is today? Besides which, none of us today can know with absolute certainty what we may or may not have done in a different time and environment. I don't want to make too fine a point of this last part, but isn't it funny how some people of a particular political viewpoint find it quite easy to make excuses for a criminal based on the environment in which they may have grown up, but that same person will fail to give that same consideration to someone else because of what they may have said or done in the past, even though that might have been entirely consistent with the environment they grew up in? 

(This is also why I look warily at period pieces made today; no matter how hard they try, or how good their intentions might be, it's almost impossible to replicate the past without filtering it through the sensibilities of the present.) 

Well, down off the soapbox, and I'm sure that after reading Wednesday's entry, some of you might be thinking to yourselves, it's about time! I aim to please, so let's talk about television cameras instead. Every once in a while during a discussion of television's early days, we'll run across the term "compatible color" (and the obvious joke "incompatible color"). However, at Eyes of a Generation, we get a richly illustrated look at RCA's earliest compatible color cameras, which date to the late 1940s.  

I think we can all agree that a story called "The Last Dark Step" doesn't promise much in the way of laughs. In the hands of William Fay, it becomes a clever story of murder and betrayal. You can see it on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and read about it in this piece by Jack at bare-bones e-zone

At Cult TV Blog, John introduces us to the 1972 British series Villains, a show with a simple but unique premise, following a gang of bank robbers individually after they escape prison. It's another series I've not heard of, which shouldn't be surprising considering it wasn't shown over here, but it has two very familiar faces, in Bob Hoskins and Martin Shaw.

Shadow & Substance recalls the pleasant "Eureka!" moment you get when you discover that someone from one of your favorite TV shows also appeared in one of your favorite movies, and you didn't recognize it until now. That someone: Kenneth Haigh, from The Twilight Zone and A Hard Day's Night

Did you ever wonder why a whole season of TV episodes of The Lone Ranger had someone else playing Our Hero? Wonder no more, as Martin Grams tells the true story of why John Hart replaced Clayton Moore for that one season. TV  


  1. Thank you for the kind words, Mitchell. I never anticipated the response to that piece would be so intense.

    1. I'm jealous of the reaction! :) Seriously, it is a terrific piece.


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