August 5, 2022

Around the dial

Xirst of all, happy birthday to George Jetson, who was born in this year back in 1962. OK, we don't know the exact date, but we do know that the cartoon debuted in 1962, that it was set one hundred years in the future, and that it was established early on that George was 40 years old. Thus, 2022. I'm not entirely sure how it was determined that he was born on July 31, but now that it's on the internet, it has to be true. Right?

One thing on which everyone seems to agree, whether they're on the internet or not, is Vin Scully, who died this week, aged 94. If you've ever listened to a baseball game on the radio or seen it on TV, you've heard Vin Scully. He also called the Rose Parade (with Elizabeth Montgomery!), hosted a game show, and broadcast football (it's his voice on the famous Montana-to-Clark pass), golf, and a host of other things. But it was baseball that suited his personality best, the melodic gentleness of his voice. When I was in California on a business trip once, I heard him call a game with no color commentator. It was just nine innings of him, and even though I was over baseball by then, I didn't particularly want this game to end. At The RingerBryan Curtis and Michael Baumann look at the man and what he meant to listeners.

My favorite memory of Vin Scully comes not from baseball, though, nor even from "The Catch," but from his call when journeyman golfer Ed Sneed came to the 18th hole needing to make a short putt to win the 1979 Masters. 

It was Scully's essential humanity that allowed him to view athletes as human beings, and to empathize with them. His anguished call couldn't have been any more heartfelt if he'd missed the putt himself, and to identify with both viewers and participants is rare indeed. Yes, one of the last big-game announcers. 

At Cult TV Blog, John continues his series on Birmingham on TV; this week, it's the Cold War miniseries The Game, which is only seven years old but takes the viewer back much further, to the ideological battles of the 1970s. John has some very good insight into different kinds of games that we all find ourselves in. Good TV should make you think that way.

Rick's latest "Seven Things to Know" series at Classic Film & TV Cafe looks at Buddy Ebsen, and tells you some things you might not know about a very talented man; one who could play Jed Clampett, yes, and fatherly (but shrewd) Barnaby Jones, but he was also a song-and-dance man who would have been the original Tin Man had he not had an allergic reaction. He was a very, very good actor.

The Broadcast Archives have a photo of what might have been one of the first guides to movies on television, complete with ratings. Are you surprised that it dates all the way back to 1958, or are you wondering why it took that long?

And in case you haven't caught up yet, at Christmas TV History Joanna has a complete recap to all the posts in her Christmas in July "It's a Wonderful Summer" series. Well worth going back to any that you might have missed.

It isn't often that I have a viewing connection to all of Terence's remembrances at A Shroud of Thoughts, but it's four times the case this week. Pat Carroll was a television mainstay during my childhood; I wouldn't describe myself as a particular fan of hers, but I knew who she was, I recognized her by name or sight, and I'm afraid not enough people can say the same today. Bernard Cribbins was warm and likeable in the rebooted Doctor Who as Wilfrid Mott, the grandfather of The Doctor's companion Donna Noble, and he was in so much more. Nichelle Nichols was Uhura on Star Trek, and while I don't mean to diminish her wonderful career (Martin Luther King Jr. urged her to stay on the show because she was a role model for what blacks could be), very few actors can ever have the role of a lifetime that she did. And David Warner—well, it's hard to know where to start, but I'll choose Twin Peaks, a great show even greater with him in it, and the made-for-TV A Christmas Carol (the George C. Scott version) where he played against type as a warm, sensitive Bob Cratchit, and, in doing so, I go so far as to say he made the character his own. There have been many very good Cratchits, but none better than his. 

And then there's Vin Scully. 

Perhaps, after I'm retired, we'll be able travel more, as we did in going to Liberty Aviation a couple of weeks ago. And when that happens, one of the places we may wind up is Serlingfest, a celebration of Rod Serling, in Binghamton, New York. In the meantime, at Shadow & Substance Paul has the lineup for this year's fest, and see if you don't feel the same way. It's just too bad it isn't walking distance. . . TV  


  1. Anyone describing me as insightful gains the official Cult TV Blog seal of approval. Strangely my favourite of David Warner's roles isn't a TV one, it's as Steel in the Big Finish audio Sapphire and Steel plays. He has a whole layer of brusqueness and lack of sympathy that David McCallum just couldn't achieve.

    1. I'll have to check that out. I thought McCallum was interesting in that role, but I'd really enjoy listening to how Warner takes it.

      By the way, is there a Seal of Approval badge I can use on the blog?

    2. Well you've got comments from me already! You could have the official portrait if you wanted it, but I don't think you do. 😁

  2. Vin Scully's voice is also used in Meat Loaf's Paradise by the Dashboard Light.

    1. That's right--I'd forgotten about that!

    2. I think both of you are mistaken. It was Phil Rizzuto who did Paradise by the Dashboard Light, not Vin Scully.

    3. Back from YouTube:
      Paradise by the Dashboard Light play-by-play - that's Phil Rizzuto.
      The giveaway is "Holy Cow!"
      Also, Rizzuto spoke quite a bit faster than Vin Scully did.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!