August 19, 2022

Around the dial

One of the shows that always fascinated me—not because of the content, necessarily, but that it could get on television in the first place—was the Johns Hopkins Science Review, which aired on DuMont in the early 1950s. The Broadcast Archives links to this 1952 episode, "Television in Great Britain," that looks like a winner.

John's current series at Cult TV Blog is "Television for a Time of Strife," and no matter your feelings on the issues of the day, I think we can all agree that we're in such a time, and television can be a source of relief as well as strife. This week's example: At Last the 1948 Show, with an all-star cast that includes Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Marty Feldman, and Aimi MacDonald.

Talking of televison's ability to provide comfort should, and does, lead us to Comfort TV, where David shares TV memories of the late Olivia Newton-John, and she had several of them, in which she shines even when the material doesn't.

Herbie Pilato looks back at a moment in television history that was decidedly not comfort TV: the Quiz Show Scandal, and its genesis on the show Twenty-One. Assuming that this would still be a scandal today, it's interesting to speculate on how the media might cover it now.

For the 45th anniversary of Elvis Presley's passing, Paul linked to this 2019 article at Drunk TV in which he reviewed the 2005 miniseries Elvis, which promised much and delivered, well, a little less than that. It's always the way, isn't it?

At The Ringer, Keith Phipps looks at Candid Camera as perhaps the first example of what has come to be called "cringe comedy," or what Phipps refers to as "reality TV and the comedy of humiliation." As one early TV critic put it, "For my money, Candid Camera is sadistic, poisonous, anti-human, and sneaky." Find out where it inevitably led.

And in case you missed it, I'm giving away my inventory of The Electronic Mirror. Find out how you can get your free copy (only paying for shipping and handling) hereTV  

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