11/7/08

TV PARTY TONIGHT!

tv

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.
5-6--Three Stooges
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...




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9 comments:

  1. So much I could comment on--as you were a Pacific Standard Time kid, I guess you didn't get the full taste of CBS' TV Hall Of Fame Saturday Night:

    8:00 All In The Family
    8:30 MASH
    9:00 Mary Tyler Moore
    9:30 Bob Newhart Show
    10:00 Carol Burnett

    If you lived in the Pittsburgh area, you stayed up to 11:30, turned the channel to 11, and watched Chller Theater, hosted by "Chilly" Billy Cardille, ably assisted by the lovely Terminal Stare.

    No, what I wanted to contribute is that my daughter Phoebe, who is eight years old, is continuing the family tradition of treasuring old television. When she was five, she was completely obsessed with The Brady Bunch, so that she not only watched every episode on DVD, but had Brady Kids CD's and, yes, Brady Bunch Action Figures, the complete set including Alice. (Tiger and Fluffy sold seperately.)

    Her heroes now are Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Lucille Ball. Every trip to the local library, we come back with an I Love Lucy DVD. Recently she has started to watch the black and white Bewitched on Hulu.com. (Another great site for old TV afficianados--entire episodes of Mary Tyler Moore, Hill Street Blues, Barney Miller, etc.)

    Oh, and when I was her age, I was addicted to My Three Sons. I think I wanted Fred McMurray to be my dad. The first time I watched Double Indemnity, my jaw was on the floor the whole time.

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  2. The channel 5 logo,, I have 3 16mm
    projectors why don't know but they
    are beautiful Just a kid when all
    of these things were on TV.Could go
    for a couple of those meatballs
    right now.
    (Chilly Billy Cardille)
    great name...poetry

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  3. Least Likely To Feature A Black Flag Video On His Website:

    RAYMOND DEFELITTA

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  4. You're right, Dan--I forgot about (or didn't recall) the initial AITF/MASH hour--and I guess I really did manage to stay up late enough to catch most of Carol. Now that I think of it, watching AITF was a darkly complicated subject in out otherwise cultured and open home. Hmmm....

    Re: Black Flag, I'm rather more an Olympian (culture wise) than I act...BF is an old, guilty pleasure of mine (same bin as Cheech and Chong, Howard Stern, Cheap Trick etc.) that I still can reach back to and grab onto a limb of my less developed (and somehow happier) youth. Or in my case, not exactly youth but the need to attempt to experience a youth long after the true youth ship had sailed. Anyway, at some point we've all found ourselves in bars dancing to crappy Motown stuff and actually digging it, right? So forgive me...

    More meatballs (and other ads from the period) coming...

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  5. Rayond's next music documentary:

    "''Tis Cleveland: The Rick Neilson Story".

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  6. THANK YOU FOR THAT!

    Even though I have never seen or heard about the things you describe (live in Greece) I found this post quite...educational!

    Waiting for more!
    Take care :-)

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  7. Marianna, you live in Greece? What brings you to our
    bizarre blog, mixing remnants of our cultural past and glimpses of a movie that isn't finished yet? And what kind of shows did you watch on local Athens TV?

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  8. hi again!

    Well let's see...first of all I found this blog by accident and I can not stop visiting cause I find what you write quite interesting! I love movies and TV and the idea of having someone, like a director, who is involved in the movie making process explaining is great!

    I also bought your movie "the thing about my folks" recently and I am about to watch it so...imagine that :-)

    In the movie you are making now you have Julianna MArgulies (I think that she is a great actress-just love her) and Andy Garcia (wonderfull actor) so what is not to love!!

    I live in Greece in the northern part! I am going to Athens this weekend actually! The things I remember from my past TV watching days are:

    -little house on the prayrie (while eating lunch)
    -I dream about Jeanie (is the title right?)
    -Charlie's Angels (my mum's favorite)
    -Maguiver (growing up)
    and many more.

    In Greece the US TV shows that make it in the market are so few - cause we are a small country. If you are interested in a little greek viewers preference back in the days, I remember a "90210" frenzy for "the young and the restless" and I remember my granny making me watch "bold and the beautiful" with her. In many ways the greek TV market has its ups and downs, we copy a lot, but there are a few fresh and new ideas.

    Anyways I said many things and I must bore you. The truth is that there are many things to be said but the bottom line is that...I thank you for taking the time to update this blog! I love reading it and good luck with the new film.

    Oh and when I get back from Athens I'll send you some pictures...

    Till then,
    Take care!

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  9. Marianna,, not boring at all.
    Plus I have a feeling that when the film comes out on DVD the Directors
    commentaries will be much fun to
    see and hear...ciao

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