April 19, 2024

Around the dial

Before we get to our usual Friday content, a couple of notes from the mailbag. 

First, reader Gary asks if anyone knows whether or not there are copies of extant episodes of Woody Woodbury's talk show from 1967-68. I'm not aware of any; I've seen a handful of clips on YouTube, and the Woody Woodbury YouTube channel consists of excerpts from his comedy albums. My guess is that the tapes of his show were probably wiped back in the day, but as I'm the first to admit, I'm far from knowing everything, so if anyone out there has any thoughts, just let me know.

I also had a great email from Bill, whose family viewing habits have come to include Petticoat Junction, including the initial black-and-white episodes. "My wife said she used to watch the reruns as a child. However, they were only the color episodes as the first two years in black-and-white were not available for syndication.  So in a way, the first 74 shows were new to her.  For me, it’s gratifying to see my daughter appreciate a classic series.  Until now, with the exception of some of the game shows on Buzzr (Classic Concentration, Password Plus), she has not been interested in anything old-time TV let alone a show filmed in monochrome!  It’s also nice that we can sit down as a family and watch a program that doesn’t disturb or offend." Is this great or what? Aside from validating the worth of B&W programming, it's a throwback to the days when families used to, you know, do things together. Made my day! 

We begin this week's tour around the dial at bare-bones e-zine, where Jack's Hitchcock Project looks at the first of two contributions from the team of Albert E. Lewin and Burt Styler, the fourth-season episode "Cheap is Cheap," with a great starring turn by Jack Benny regular Dennis Day, who turns the tables on convention by being the cheap one in this tale of spousal murder.

John returns to the world of The Avengers this week at Cult TV Blog; he takes on "Double Danger," a first-season episode that no longer exists in video form. No problem for John, as his review is based on the original camera script, which he's read; now it's his turn to share it with us.

Benny Hill actually did have a career before his eponymous sketch comedy series; one example comes to us from the Metzinger Sisters at Silver Scenes, where they review Hill's starring role in the 1956 farce Who Done It?, where he plays a detective trying to smash a plot to destroy England though a weather-making machine. 

After a long break, The Twilight Zone Vortex returns with Jordan's review of the September/October, 1983 issue of The Twilight Zone Magazine, the bulk of which concerns the summer's release of Twilight Zone: The Movie, plus fiction features, interviews with director John Landis and writer Richard Matheson, and more!

TZ also features in A View from the Junkyard, where Mike and Roger butt heads over the 1963 episode "Steel," starring Lee Marvin in a future where boxing has been outlawed, and prizefighters replaced with robots. When his robot-boxer breaks down, Marvin is determined (foolish? Pig-headed?) to take the robot's place in order to get the money to repair it.

At Travalanche, it's a belated tribute to newsman Robert MacNeil, who died on April 12. I always had great respect for MacNeil; his reporting of the Kennedy assassination, his work on Washington Week in Review, his long stint on The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, and his hosting of other specials. He was one of the last of the great reporters of the era.

Television's New Frontier: The 1960s turns his attention to the 1959-60 syndicated dramatic anthology Deadline, featuring Paul Stewart as the host and occasional star of stories that flash back to a time when reporters were "heroes and the guardians of truth and justice." We started watching this a couple of months ago; while it's not great, it's usually pretty good and quite interesting.

Last Tuesday would have been the 100th birthday of the great composer Henry Mancini; among his many hits, Terence at A Shroud of Thoughts singles out perhaps his most influential: the "Peter Gunn Theme." If ever an instrumental theme summed up the coolness of a television show, this is it. 

"While Jim wrestles with the man-eating alligator, you can't afford for your family to wrestle with financial problems after you die. That's why you need insurance from Mutual of Omaha." If you remember Marlin Perkins saying something like this (and who doesn't?), you'll enjoy a review of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom by Paul at Drunk TVTV  

1 comment:

Thanks for writing! Drive safely!