December 29, 2023

Around the dial

Up first for this last "Around the Dial" of the Spyear is Jack's Hitchcock Project at bare-bones e-zine, where we're up to Thomas Grant's second contribution to the series, "Hooked," airing in 1960 and starring Robert Horton and Anne Francis, with a terrific twist ending.

At Cult TV Blog, John looks at The Avengers episode "Quick-Quick Slow Death," and just as Jack often compares the TV version of a story with the original source material, John looks at the episode from two different angles: the television broadcast, and a version aired on the South African Springbok Radio. Interesting comparison.

The View from the Junkyard travels to Avengers territory as well, with Roger and Mike comparing notes on "Return of the Cybernauts," a sequel to the hugely popular original Cybernauts story; the show's favorite villains are back with a cautionary message about the growth of technology. See what the two of them have to say.

Last week I linked to Variety's 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time list, which I managed to avoid reading. If you're curious, though, head over to Comfort TV, where David's done the heavy lifting so you don't have to. Hint: it's what you'd expect, with a few pleasant surprises along the way. Unpleasant ones as well: no room for Gunsmoke or Perry Mason, but Sex and the City at #6? Bite me.

Speaking of "Bite Me," if you're a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, you'll recognize that phrase. And for those fans, you'll enjoy Jeffrey Blehar's appreciation of the series at the unlikely site of National Review. Over the many years of this feature, I've linked to both National Review and The Atlantic, which I think says something for my open-mindedness.

And since we're on the subject of favorites, Christmas is, indeed, the most wonderful time of the year, and one of my favorite specials from the Yuletide season is the 1966 edition of The Andy Williams Christmas Show. You can both see it and read about it in this Christmas present from the Metzinger Sisters at Silver Scenes.

At Drunk TV, Paul has moved on to season four of Mister Ed, and it's a return to form for the series, with the season featuring some of the show's best episodes (including the epic "Leo Durocher Meets Mister Ed"), along with a new supporting cast for Ed, Wilbur, and Carol. This was one of those after-school shows for me when I was in grade school, along with Gilligan's Island.

The Horn Section is back, and with it comes F Troop. This week, Hal gives us part one of a more in-depth look at how F Troop did in the ratings during the 1965-66 season. Did it really only place 40th in the ratings for the season, or does it deserve more credit than that? Inquiring minds want to know, and Hal has an answer.

At The Classic TV History Blog, Stephen Bowie interviews director Robert Butler about his experiences directing the first episode of Shane, the 1966 series starring David Carradine that was an ill-fated attempt to continue the story of the legendary movie of the same name. It's a sidebar to this piece from last month, which has more on the background of the series

Tom Smothers died a couple of days ago, aged 86, and not surprisingly, we have a couple of remembrances of the man who formed one half of the influential comedy team; this one from Travalanche, and this one from Terence at A Shroud of Thoughts. I have never pretended to be a fan of the Smothers Brothers; neither, however, have I ever denied their influence and impact.

At Shadow & Substance, Paul has the details on this year's Twilight Zone marathon on Syfy. Well, actually, it would be next year's marathon as well, wouldn't it? It starts on Saturday, December 30, and runs through the early hours of Tuesday, January 2. I'm going to stick to my continuing rewatch of the series on DVD, but this is still a great thing to have.

Before we close, I want to take a moment to thank all of these bloggers, many of whom I know, for their contributions to classic television history over the past year—and to simply providing entertaining reads. Let's do it again next year! TV  


  1. Many thanks for the shout-out Mitchell and Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks, Mitchell, and Happy New Year!

  3. Yeah, I never got the appeal of the Smothers brothers either.
    I know my parents never liked them, but that was no great surprise. They loved watching Bonanza on Sunday nights. Being a kid, I never noticed.
    Looking back as an adult I think there was a lot of myth and hype about the show. They were always at the bottom of the top 20 Nielsen ratings at the time. Bonanza was kicking their butts. I always wondered if it was an attempt to get publicity and attention for a struggling show.
    As far as their comedy, I never found it to be all that compelling. It didn't "grab" me. You can't nail down what 'funny' is, it's different for each person. Not being one to join bandwagons, I never got on theirs.

  4. Thanks for the sites to peruse. Here's to a great 2024!


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!