September 15, 2023

Around the dial

Well, we're back this week after last week's special report from—where was I again? Oh yeah, the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. (By the way, I'll have a final entry on that next Wednesday.) As is always the case when this feature takes a week off, we've got a full batch of links, so let's get right to it!

We'll start off with my latest appearance on the Dan Schneider Video Interview. This week, we look at the history of special event news coverage, from the death of Stalin to the Gulf War. There's a lot more to this than you might think, and I'd be interested to see what you all think. You can see the entire episode here.

John takes another break from his excellent series at Cult TV Blog on The X-Files and the American Dream for a look at The Avengers, and the early episode "Box of Tricks," a rare Steed-Venus Smith story. I like it not only because he mentions yours truly (thanks, John!) but because he goes deeper into an episode which has received valid criticism but still entertains. 

At Classic Film & TV Café, Rick reviews the 1964 version of Ernest Hemingway's short story The Killers, starring Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager. Most of you probably know it was originally slated to be the first TV movie, but wound up in the theaters due to its violence; like Rick, I quite like this movie. He also reviews Tenebrae, Dario Argent's 1982 giallo thriller, which might be worth a look.

The latest entry in the Hitchcock Project is Allan Gordon's "The Man Who Found the Money," from Hitchcock season six. Jack takes a deep look at this very nasty episode, starring Arthur Hill and Rod Cameron, at bare-bones e-zine.

Much of the appeal to classic television lies in its uncanny ability to revive happy memories of the past, and David demonstrates this at Comfort TV with his fond review of the superb PBS children's show The Electric Company, featuring Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno, Morgan Freeman, and Irene Cara. It's proof that educational television doesn't have to be boring at the same time.

Cult TV Lounge pulls up a blast from the past—an episode of the 1950-51 Dick Tracy TV series, included as a bonus in the box set of Dick Tracy serials. It's an excellent look at the challenges involved in doing a half-hour drama series, and how the writers have to really know what they're doing.

Collider has an interesting article on how the excellent neo-noir movie Experiment in Terror may have influenced David Lynch, especially in the making of Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet. Now, the article doesn't actually quote Lynch as acknowledging this, though I wouldn't doubt it; still, I'm in a kind of prove-it mindset. Nevertheless, it seems hard to refute! 

Not long ago, I posted a review of the 1970s miniseries Captains and the Kings, looking primarily at the striking coincidences between the story's Armagh family and the real-life Kennedys, and author Taylor Caldwell's political message. If you're interested in the ins and outs of the series itself, Paul has an excellent extended look at Drunk TV

At Travalanche, it's a nostalgic look back at the Labor Day tradition that was the Jerry Lewis Telethon, an annual tradition for so many of us around here. Labor Day just isn't the same anymore, sad to say, but that doesn't make it unique.

A View from the Junkyard takes a look at what must be one of the most famous non-cartoonish animated shows, Star Trek: The Animated Series. It really was quite something at the time: a cancelled primetime show making a comback as a Saturday-morning show, feauring the voices of the original cast members; as Mike says, it's essentially season four of the series.

At A Shroud of Thoughts, Terence dips way back into the memory files for NBC Follies, the network's 1973 attempt to revive the variety show genre. The fact that NBC Follies is, as Terence says, "largely forgotten except by television historians and fans of Sammy Davis Jr. and Mickey Rooney," tells you what you need to know about its success. Of course, since he's describing me, I had to link to it. TV  


  1. I watched "Captain and the Kings" at the same time I read Uris' "Trinity." Talk about an Irish overload! It is unfortunate that Trinity wasn't made into a multi episode NBC blockbuster over three nights.


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