November 10, 2023

Around the dial

Automobiles have long been a major part of American culture, and with them, the service station. We think of them as gas stations now because we serve ourselves, but back in the day, "service" meant something, and David looks back at those days at Comfort TV, and the role service stations have played on television.
I've made mention before of how local movie shows used to have titles, such as The Late Show or, as we see here at the Broadcast Archives, Armchair Theater. They also used to have hosts, and as this ad reminds us, it's important to create a good title and have a good, personable emcee. "TV, after all, is a very intimate medium."

At Cult TV Blog, John continues his series on Seventies television with the 1972 series Villains, a show which faced the then-challenging premise of creating a series about a group of antiheroes: thieves who rob a bank, are imprisoned, and escape. Nowadays we're accustomed to antiheroes; we might even be conditioned to expect them. But back then, I don't think it was so easy.

It's time to return to The Avengers at The View from the Junkyard, as Roger and Mike review "Never, Never Say Die," a Steed/Mrs. Peel episode made memorable by an electrifying performance from the great Christopher Lee. I reviewed this episode myself a couple of years ago; see what our erstwhile critics say here, and compare notes. 

Travalanche has three posts on shows from the classic era, and they're all worth reading: the many shows sponsored by Chevrolet, including but not limited to Dinah Shore; The Patti Page Oldsmobile Show, starring (surprise!) singer Patti Page; and, in a break from the automotive business, The Ed Wynn Show, starring the Perfect Fool himself.

At A Shroud of Thoughts, Terence pays tribute to a handful of figures who've passed on in the last few weeks, and doesn't it seem as if we've been saying that a lot this year? He remembers the work of Richard Moll here, and a trio of familiar faces here, including Matthew Perry of Friends. I must confess that I've never, ever seen a moment of Friends, and while I don't feel as if I've missed anything, I'm well aware of Matthew Perry's talent, and the outpouring of emotion in the wake of his death testifies to the impact he made on viewers throughout his career. TV  


  1. The Brits loved antiheroes, especially in sitcoms. The most popular American sitcom in the UK (at least at one time) was The Phil Silvers Show. They were showing reruns of it well into the 1990s. It also inspired British 'Bilko'-like characters in shows like Only Fools and Horses. Elements of the show even made their way into Red Dwarf. Antiheroes wouldn't make their way into American sitcoms until All in the Family.

    1. Good insight. Bilko would be considered a saint today compared to some of today's antiheroes!


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