July 5, 2024

Around the dial

Happy Fifth of July to all of you out there; hopefully, you're joining us with all your digits still intact, because you'll want to make sure you can maneuver your keyboard around the latest news from the week.

At Second Union, Chris looks at the 1983 telemovie Still the Beaver, and the subsequent revival series that ran, first on the Disney Channel and then on TBS, for four seasons from 1983 through 1989. It's a great in-depth look that covers everything you might want to know, including why it's never been released on DVD.

Paul revisits the 1981 miniseries East of Eden at Drunk TV, an adaptation of John Steinbeck's classic that's much more faithful than the iconic 1955 James Dean feature, and includes Jane Seymour (padding her resume as Queen of the Miniseries) as the delightfully evil villain. How does it stack up to the movie in entertainment terms? Read and find out.

Martin Mull died last week, aged 80, leaving behind many happy memories for his fans, and at A Shroud of Thoughts, Terence reviews Mull's long career, from his comedic songwriting in the 1970s to his unforgettable roles in the Mary Hartman universe, to his many appearances guest-starring in television and the movies. You can also read about his many roles in a tribute at Inner Toob.

At Television Obscurities, Robert has an excellent editorial on why YouTube is not suitable for preserving television. This is of particular interest to those of us involved in writing about the history of the medium, and considering how frustrating it can be dealing with the careless way in which the industry itself treats its history. While you're there, look at all of Robert's posts for July 1, as he celebrates "Lost TV Day 2024."

Television's New Frontier: the 1960s dips into the 1962 episodes of Naked City, one of my favorite police dramas. It does a very good job, particularly in the opening paragraphs, of describing what made Naked City different from other police shows of the era, as well as those procedurals we often have to suffer through today.

At Tales from the Junkyard, Roger and Mike compare notes on "Wish You Were Here," an Avengers episode that parodies The Prisoner, if you can believe that. The show may not be on its A game with this one, not that it would have been an easy task in the first place, but, unlike Mike, I still count myself a fan of The Avengers, so I'll give it a mulligan.

I've never seen Anatomy of a Murder in a theater, but I've seen it many times on television, which means I'm counting it here; this week, Rick looks back on it at Classic Film & TV Café and speculates that it might be the greatest courtroom drama ever. If you've never seen it, you'll be doing yourself a favor by checking out Jimmy Stewart's last Oscar-nominated performance.

For the first time in eleven years, John returns to the world of Spyder's Web at Cult TV Blog; the 1972 series tells the story of a secret government espionage unit (always a worthwhile subject), and features among its stars Anthony Ainley, so memorable as The Master on Doctor Who. It is, says John, of a kind with 1960s eccentric TV, which makes it worth a look.

David continues his Comfort TV look at his 50 favorite classic TV characters with Sabrina Duncan, the Charlie's Angel played by Kate Jackson. Though she may have been difficult in real life, there's no questioning the importance of her character to the success of Charlie's Angels; as David says, there was no coming back once she left.

Last week was the fiftieth anniversary of Bob Crane's murder (can it really be that long ago?), and at Bob Crane: Life & Legacy, the team looks back at that date, and takes the time to, once again, correct the malicious and false stories that always appear at these anniversaries. Hard to believe that Bob Crane has now been dead longer than he lived. TV  


  1. I remember seeing Still the Beaver when it first aired in 1983. The movie wasn't much but the tribute to Hugh Beaumont early on will bring a tear to the eye of anyone unless they have a heart of stone. Intermixing new scenes with old and ending at the cemetery is worth the price of admission. A copy of the movie is still on YouTube.
    Which oddly enough leads to the other article on YouTube. Many of these old shows are deteriorating from neglect, much like silent films. 75 to 80 percent of which are lost to history.
    I would hate to think the same would happen to TV history.

  2. I remember watching "Still the Beaver" back in 1983. I didn't like what had been done to his character either, but he was given a chance to recover in the sequel sitcom. I didn't much like Corey Feldman's character in the movie and was glad when he was replaced (I've read it was at Barbara Billingsley's insistance.) for the sitcom.

    Last week was the 46th (not yet 50th) anniversary of Bob Crane's death. The 50th anniversary will happen in 2028 just before the 100th anniversary of his birth. I still remember the shock of hearing about his death while my family members & I were travelling to the US Northeast at that time.

    1. Just three years earlier he did the short-lived Bob Crane Show for MTM.


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