July 7, 2023

Around the dial

If you haven't seen my latest podcast appearance, I'm with the great Ken Reid on his show TV Guide Counselor, where we talk about classic shows, the role of TV in American pop culture, and TV Guide (naturally). Plus, I shill for The Electronic Mirror! You can listen to the podcasts here, and you can buy the book here. Do it soon, before my next one comes out.

The temperatures here in Indiana have been close to 90 the last few days, which of course means it's a perfect time to check in with Joanna's Christmas in July at Christmas TV History. The latest is a look at the 1956 Alcoa Hour production of "The Stingiest Man in Town," a musical adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" with Basil Rathbone, Vic Damone, Johnny Desmond, and Patrice Munsel. Thought lost for many years, it turnd up on DVD just a few years ago; of course, it's in our library.

John continues his series on The X-Files and the American Dream at Cult TV Blog, with examinations of "Young at Heart" and "E.B.E." In particular, the link between "E.B.E." and the deconstruction of the Dream is quite interesting.

Where were you on Wednesdays in 1972? A look at Comfort TV might refresh your memory, as David's series on 1970s TV arrives; among the best is NBC's winning lineup of Adam-12, Banacek (as part of the Wednesday Mystery Movie) and Search. On the other hand, CBS counters with The Carol Burnett Show, Medical Center, and Cannon, and ABC features the Wednesday Movie of the Week as its biggest entry. What an interesting night of programming.

Speaking of Movie of the Week, at Drunk TV, Paul reviews the 1975 teleflick Sweet Hostage, a kidnapping drama starring Martin Sheen (in one of his patented psycho roles that he did so well early in his career) and Linda Blair. I have a feeling Paul's review is a bit better than the movie itself.[

At Bob Crane: Life & Legacy, Carol takes on the wretched biopic Auto Focus, and how it completely (and deliberately) distorted Bob Crane's life story. I'm not surewould even make a good fictional story; as one that purports to represent fact, it's a dishonest failure.

All Bones Considered—isn't that a great name for a podcast? It tells the stories of people buried in the Laurel Hill Cemeteries near Philadelphia, two of whom are Dave Garroway and his wife Sarah Lee Lippincott. Jodie links to the episodes at Garroway at Large; spend some time listening to these fascinating stories.

I've been using televised highlights of 1960s and '70s U.S. Open golf tournaments as white noise lately (revisiting my youth, you know), which is a good lead-in to Roger and Mike's take on The Avengers episode "The Thirteenth Hole" at The View from the Junkyard. Is it a birdie or a bogey? Find out what they think.

That episode of The Avengers features Diana Rigg as Mrs. Peel, but at Cult TV Lounge we skip ahead to the Tara King era, with Linda Thorson leading the way in the episode "The Interrogators"and how much better does it get when your guest star is the great Christopher Lee? 

Martin Grams revisits one of the iconic shows of the 1980s: Miami Vice. (And by the way, in addition to being influential, is there any show around that epitomizes a decade the way that one does the Eighties?) See why you might enjoy the return trip, especially the first two seasons.

Last but not least, Maddy recalls the career of the wonderful Eve Arden at Classic Film and TV Corner. Maybe you remember her best for Our Miss Brooks and her later series The Mothers-in-Law, but her film career reads like an index of delightful movies. TV  


  1. Comfort TV mentions Madigan, a show I hadn't seen since I was a kid. Bootleg copies of the series are on YouTube the last time I looked (with foreign subtitles). Nothing to write home about, but not bad. Not to be compared with the 1968 film of the same name. Worth it just to watch Widmark chew up the scenery. Cool Million I loved as a kid, but haven't seen it since. It's probably deteriorating on studio shelf somewhere.

    1. Plus it's always fun to see Richard Widmark playing a good guy. You're right, he can chew with the best of them!

  2. Thank you for another honorific mention!
    You commented that you thought the American dream was over and I've popped over to ask you why and in what way it's over? I've seen other people saying this but I'm interested in what you think. Thanks!

    1. That's a good question. I think most people feel the system is rigged against them, that nobody cares about their interests (i.e. the government doesn't listen), that not only can they not get ahead, they're being prevented from doing so, while a privileged class gets all the breaks. I don't know how many people think that home ownership is possible for them, that their children (if they have them) will have a better life, that they have a sense of neighborhood, that America stands for the things it used to stand - all, I think, key aspects of the American Dream.

      I think, however, that one has to be careful with this that they don't fall into a kind of class warfare, class hatred mentality. It's not easy, because social media really doesn't allow one to escape from it. Nonetheless, I think it's essential, because that kind of hatred can only erode you from inside, just as everything else works against you from outside.

      I've got a new TV Guide piece coming up shortly that kind of touches on this from another angle, in looking at how television so often ignores the "real" America. See what you think!


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!