TV PARTY TONIGHT!
To my amusement, I see that I touched a chord with a few readers by referencing my 70's era television viewing habits. Amazing how that decade's youth (like myself and a few of you who wrote in) can remember whole blocks of programming times--I somehow suspect the same isn't true of television addicts in later decades, once the seasons got less defined and shows started getting pulled early or rescheduled at the whim of panicked network executives.
Mr. Fisher's recitation of his no doubt beloved Friday night lineup brings back memories to me--I was never able to stay up to quite the finish of "The Odd Couple", however. Then there were Saturday night's on CBS--Mary Tyler Moore (8 to 8:30), Bob Newhart (8:30-9:00) capped by the one hour variety blast of Carol Burnett. Again, the final musical number usually got dozed through, but I remember always waking up for the last song, viz:
Once I got interested in movies, however, nightly network programming grew a lot less interesting to me. Various channels offered an Eight O'clock Movie and one could (and I did) get a real cinematic education in this way--albeit one slanted heavily toward the Crosby/Hope school of auteurism. For made-for-television programming, I turned instead to daytime reruns of old classics. This is what my television schedule looked like on a normal schoolday, circa 1975/76.
3PM-Ozzie and Harriet
3:30--Father Knows Best
4 to 5--quick rush through homework.
6-7--Our Gang (while eating dinner)
7-7:30--I Love Lucy
7:30-8--quick rush through remaining homework, pajamas, tooth brushing
8-10--Eight O'Clock movie (KTLA Channel 5 or KHJ "Million Dollar Movie").
Generally I was passed out by half past nine. Only years later did I find out that Fred MacMurray shot Barbara Stanwyck at the end of "Double Indemnity". By the way, as I grew older (and my taste declined) I gave up "Our Gang" (or "The Little Rascals" as they had been re-baptized for television) for:
6PM--The Partridge Family
6:30--The Brady Bunch
But it was the movie shows that had, by then, claimed my heart and mind. And the introductions to these movie shows were quite as important to me as the movies themselves. This Channel 5 logo is immediately followed by the weirdly chilling MCA logo--which for many years I didn't understand the purpose of. Eventually I learned that Paramount had stupidly sold the television air rights to all their movies made pre-1945 (I believe that date's correct) to Universal. Thus MCA, which owned Universal, put their logo prior to the Paramount logo on these films for TV usage.
Next is "Screen Gems". I'm still not clear what business this company had with sticking their logo on so many old films of the past (they seemed to have bought the TV rights again to, among many others, all the Three Stooges movies). This logo will forever be associated with my impending dinner time, as the Stooges went off the air just as dinner was flying in...
And none of this frankly nostalgic and meaningless reminiscence would be complete without the" Gone With The Wind"
themed opening of the Million Dollar Movie.
Then there were the commercials. Unlike commercials now--which are so ear-splitting, confusingly edited or simply unfunny, the commericals of the day had repeat characters, charming concepts and sometimes even actors who you might have spotted in a movie made twenty years earlier. As a "taste" of things to come...
Youtube, it turns out, is packed with old commercials. Perfect for the shrinking attention span left to most of us who grew up, glazed and hypnotized, watching a cool six hours of TV a day. We'll get to more of them next time (this weekend?) Until then, I'll leave you with the inevitable...
Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 2:56 PM