June 10, 2022

Around the dial

It's kind of a light week in the blogosphere; I hope that means more people are out there enjoying themselves instead of sitting in front of a computer like I am. (And since I am, that means you're stuck with me.) But this does give me the opportunity to make an observation before we get to the rest of the week's news.

You'll recall that on Wednesday, I reprinted a story from a few years ago looking at radio and television coverage of the assassination and funeral of Robert F. Kennedy. It was, I thought, a measured story, and with the exception of a mention that one didn't have to agree with Kennedy to appreciate the tragic nature of his death, a story that was totally apolitical. There was, in fact, a wealth of information about how radio and television networks reacted to the event (even though Mike Doran didn't agree with Broadcasting magazine's description of The Flying Nun episode*)enough that nobody could possibly have disagreed with its inclusion on a television website. 

*Just kidding, Mike. We kid because we care.

I was, therefore, dismayed to see some of the comments that were directed at the story in one of the classic television Facebook groups to which I belong. (I won't share the name because I don't want to cast aspersions on the mostly serious people who contribute to it.) The comments weren't directed at me, so I've no personal bone to pick.

No, what bothered me was that the conversation immediately turned to who was responsible for Kennedy's death, and whether or not it was part of a conspiracy. "J. Edgar Hoover," one person suggested. His assertion was challenged by someone else. A third commentor piped in with "Mr. Green Jeans," the name of one of Captain Kangaroo's friends. 

For some reason, I had a flash of true anger reading this, and I'm a man who doesn't get that angry that often anymore. I replied to one and all that I didn't want to regret having posted the story, but unless they stuck to the topic of the broadcast coverage—which was, after all, what the group was about in the first place—I wouldn't blame the administrator for pulling it. Not only that, there was something so—so juvenile about it all. I swear, these people were like the kids you went to school with who would titter when someone mentioned the word "breast" or "intercourse" or any other word subject to a double entendre. The comments could have come straight from an episode of Bevis and Butthead. They're why we can't have nice things.

There were, fortunately, more comments that were of a serious bent, many from people who remembered the pain themselves; one had seen Kennedy speak during the campaign with her now-husband. 

There have been very few moments on this website when we've had bad comments, and most of those I've deleted. (Including spam, although I may have missed a chance at $14 million dollars, I'm not sure.) I haven't had to do it much, though, because the comments we get here are of a uniformly high quality, knowledgeable in the extreme, educational, thoughtful, and funny. I couldn't ask for a better readership. A bigger one, perhaps, but not a better one. Perhaps I don't mention that often enough; perhaps it takes the bad apple to remind one that the rest of the crop is pretty good.

And now to our regular programming.

You all know them. In fact, I may be one of them. They're the most annoying people on television, the most demanding, the most energetic—whatever, they're the people that are only tolerable on television, and David has them at Comfort TV.

Ah, "The General." The episode of The Prisoner I've been meaning to write about for months, and still haven't gotten around to. But don't wait for me: it's the latest episode that gets John's thoughtful Prisoner in the Asylum treatment at Cult TV Blog. And yes, when we get this back on the schedule, John, I'll share my thoughts. Need to get through Danger Man again first. 

At Classic Film & TV Cafe, Rick looks at In Like Flint, the sequel to James Coburn's Our Man Flint, which puts Coburn squarely in the race for the coolest secret agent around. We've got both of those movies in our collection, and the hotline sound is the ringtone on my phone. Call me sometime and I'll show you.

Linda Lawson, who appeared in many the television episode in the 1950s and '60s, and made a comeback in the '90s, died last month, aged 86. Her career receives a proper remembrance by Terence at A Shroud of Thoughts.

Tomorrow would have been Judy Garland's 100th birthday, and as a fellow native of Minnesota, I think it's well worth commemorating, as Aurora does at Once Upon a Screen. Can you think of many other stars as big as she was, who have been dead for as long as she has, who are just now reaching 100? TV  


  1. This is why we can't have nice things is so true. Years ago I had a Yahoo group and my experience of moderating that is that the only way to facilitate a sensible conversation online is ruthlessly to dictate the tone of the conversation. It's easy on a blog because it 'belongs' to you and you can truthfully tell people that if they want a platform they can start their own.

  2. Love that still of Professor Farnsworth from the Futurama "Space Pilot 3000" episode! Still a fan of that show!!!


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!