Cue Card Catalog

The New York Times visits the Museum of Television and Radio: "Browsing the collection is a little like poking through a grandmother's attic, not always finding every last heirloom but stumbling on odd treasures and long-forgotten memories." That pretty much says it all. A few years ago, we went to the Beverly Hills location of the museum and had a blast. I ended up watching a 1969 episode of The Hollywood Palace hosted by Diana Ross & The Supremes with guests Ethel Waters and Stevie Wonder, complete with groovy old cigarette commercials. Real cool.

Shiny Discs of Gold

One Man's Flight of Fancy is an interesting Newsweek story on the birth of the DVD revolution and how a cottage industry was the making of one visionary executive. News to me - DVD sales account for an astonishing 53% of Hollywood's profits.

Hoedown on Channel 379

Lately we've been noticing something called RFD-TV in the hinterlands of our satellite channel lineup. In between more prosaic fare like Equine Special and I Love Trains, this rural-oriented network is playing cool old country music teevee shows from the '60s and '70s. I'm especially liking The Porter Wagoner Show and its Nudie suits, cheap-o sets, Dolly Parton in her mile-hile haired youth, and the world's corniest old coot comedian. I caught an episode of The Wilburn Brothers Show with special guest Loretta Lynn, brimming with country sunshine 35 years before Van Lear Rose. Nifty!

Smile Darn Ya Smile

TV tip: Turner Classic Movies is showing the 1975 comedy Smile this Tuesday at 2:15 a.m. EST. Very funny movie about a beauty pageant in sun-baked California (I even made a mix CD inspired by it). The cast is outstanding. Some of the people who played the teenaged contestants: Annette O'Toole (future Oscar nominee for A Mighty Wind), Joan Prather (would play the oldest son's girlfriend/fiancee/wife on Eight Is Enough), Colleen Camp (Valley Girl and a gajillion other movies), Melanie Griffith (celebrity/plastic surgery victim), Denise Nickerson (Violet from Willy Wonka), and a buch of other girls who were not professional actors but properly exuded that "generic '70s California girl" vibe. I've also heard this movie will get a DVD release in August.

Another reason to love TCM - the Looney Tunes in Hollywood film festival. On June 18, ten Warner Bros. cartoons will be paired with the films they parodied - such as Roughly Speaking (which Joyce Compton appears very briefly in) and its animated counterpart, Roughly Squeaking. Should be fun.

Chewing Gum for the Eyes

Via TV Tattle - Kill Your Television Before It Kills You, an angry Pop Matters editorial on the depths of TV trash, focusing on two of the worst - The Swan and I Want a Famous Face.

It's tempting to think our vid-culture's at an all-time low, but is that really so true? There's a lot of junk out there -- but when it comes down to it, I'm willing to take the good with the bad. Scanning over the programs we TiVo'd recently, it's really amazing how much great stuff is on the tube, week after week. In our case, it's not the media-grabbing shows, either. A fascinating PBS documentary on Henry Luce. Another one on the Golden Gate Bridge. Two James Cagney pre-Code pictures - Taxi and Picture Snatcher - on Turner Classic Movies. Twin A&E and VH1 specials on the perils of child stardom, epitomizing each network's unique spin on the subject (A&E's take was overlong, plushly produced and focused on touchy-feely issues; VH1's was fizzy and fast-paced, dwelling on scandal and tragedy). The hilarious episode of Carol Burnett where she parodies Joan Crawford in "Torcy Song". Marge battling a gambling addiction on The Simpsons, circa 1994. The goo-backs' invading South Park. The consistently brilliant CBS Sunday Morning. And lots of other stuff.

Television. I think I'll keep it.

Come On Down

The Price Is Right. I associate this show with two things - 1. childhood summers, and 2. adulthood unemployment. Lately I've been watching some of the show under the auspices of #2, but it isn't pretty. Bob Barker, bless his heart, is starting to look like a slowly melting wax statue of himself. The contestants have gotten simutaneously more obnoxious and slovenly. Honestly, they all dress like they just rolled out of bed. And they're dumb, too -- always staring at the audience, mouths open, for the right thing to say. Gone forever are the days when most TPIR contestants were savvy housewives who could instantly rattle off the retail prices of Turtle Wax, Rice-A-Roni, and Odor Eaters. But it is fun to watch Bob as he loses his patience with frat boys and sorority gals who could pass as his great-grandchildren. And I love how they haven't changed many of the games and music cues since the '70s - like the "new car" music. Man, I love the "new car" music.

DVDs of Note

Time to look at forthcoming DVDs of note. MGM is planning to release the two Thunderbirds theatrical releases, Thunderbirds Are Go! and Thunderbird 6, as a two disc set with lotsa extras. This comes out in July. Creepy marionette fun!
My pal Eric alerted me to forthcoming Wonder Woman: Season One set. I think this was the year it took place during World War II. After that, the show was updated to the '70s, with the explanation that Lyle Waggoner was playing his own son from season one -- or something like that. And look, it has a commentary from Lynda Carter.
The one I'm most looking forward to is Walt Disney Treasures: On the Front Lines, which finally comes out next month after a long delay. This set focuses on the Disney studio's output during the war effort. Highlights include the feature film Victory Through Air Power and the Oscar-winning Donald Duck short Der Fuehrer's Face. Expect lots of interesting propaganda rarely seen since the 1940s.

Another Dead Person

Bob Ross, painter of "happy little trees" and host of an ultra-cheezy PBS show, is still dead. But his legacy lives on overseas with many devotees of his calming instruction style. This is equal parts disturbing and hilarious (via The Morning News).

Variety Nights

nandj.gif Photos and a story about Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson's forthcoming ABC variety show. Producers have compared Nick and Jessica to Sonny and Cher - and even though N&J aren't nearly as talented, they do share a certain cheeseball appeal.

I'm looking forward to this show, strangely enough. Mostly it's because I'm fascinated with variety shows. They seriously get a bad rap. They're expensive to produce, date badly, and are rarely shown in repeats due to expensive music clearance fees. The last time one of the networks earnestly tried to revive the format was Dolly Parton's show Dolly, which lasted one season (on ABC, no less) in 1987-88. It was scheduled on Sunday nights opposite '60 Minutes' and people stayed away in droves. Not even Dolly duetting with Hulk Hogan on "Headlock on My Heart" could grab viewers. Talk about a show that belongs in a lavish DVD set.

The Pitts

Has everybody seen the MTV train wreck known as I Want A Famous Face by now? Specifically the one with the pathetic twins who wanted to look like Brad Pitt? Oh. My. God. What deluded morons. All they needed was a good sized tube of Clearasil (personality transplants wouldn't hurt, either). In fact, I thought the brothers looked worse after their makeovers - weirdly feminine and fake.

The worst part was that these guys were from Phoenix! Actually, it looks like the show was taped in nearby Scottsdale and Paradise Valley (at least that's where the Less Than Zero teen party was) - which is definitely not Phoenix. I recognized Rolf's hair salon. Rolf is a local celebrity, known for sculpting TV anchorwoman-like hairdos onto Scottdale's most prominent trophy wives. It figures he was there to give the Pittalikes girly blonde tresses.

This episode proves why we never venture over to that side of town. Most people there are all fakey-fakey and image concious and thinking they're stylish when they aren't. Blecch.

Impossible Mission

More retro videogames - the Game Show Network (or, should I say, GSN) will be showing Video Game Invasion, a two hour special on the history of videogaming. It will premiere this Sunday night.
The new GSN logo, by the way, is an utterly generic misfire. Take a look ---

gsnoldnew2.gif

Didn't this already happen with AMC? Whimsy, fun and distinctiveness replaced with bland austerity. I like simple logos, but this example doesn't say anything about the network or what it represents. At least there's still room for interesting logos in cableland - like Spike TV's, which ironically looks like it belongs on a feminine hygiene product.

Brilliance, Thy Name Is Simpsons

Flanders' wife: "I've been going to Bible classes. They're teaching me to be more judgmental."
Quotable quotes galore at Subtly Simpsons (spotted at blogdex).

TiVo Guide

The NYT recently had a fascinating article on the TiVo remote control design and how it came to be (tip 'o the hat to Christopher).
Headline in this week's Onion: William Katt Programs Own Name Into TiVo.

Not Now, Lidsville Is On

Set the TiVo. Tonight, TV Land is showing four hours of Sid and Marty Krofft shows. I'm particularly looking forward to Electra Woman and Dyna Girl and its memorable theme song - "Electra Woman and DYYNAA GIRRLLL!!!"

It's Just Wrong

Spot-on: Why American Idol Sucks (via TV Tattle). I liked the observation that one Idol loser "could be a huge hit maker in some parallel universe where Ella Fitzgerald and Yma Sumac are bigger icons than Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston."

Inevitabilities of Life

On Cops, whenever they go inside somebody's house, they always have wood paneling.

Remotely Diverting

I'm going to keep an eye on Too Much Free Time - a collaborative TV weblog from Freakgirl, Johnny and Max. Nice job, people! This will join the hundred or so other TV-related websites that I check regularly. TV Tattle is the king, of course - possibly the best single-subject weblog around (they need to update their logo, however!). Also, lurking the reader forums at TV Barn and Television Without Pity are becoming dangerously addictive activities for me lately.

All this TV reading is odd, since 'The Simpsons' is the only prime-time network show that we watch on a regular basis. Not that we're TV deprived, however. Lately, we've been getting into Cops. You can't flip through the channels without finding at least one 'Cops' running, they're everywhere. Out of curiosity, we counted up the number of 'Cops' repeats broadcast in a week - and it was something like 110!

Another show I dig: VH1's Bands Reunited. Could've been cheesy, turned out fascinating. In the two installments I saw (Berlin and Romeo Void) the participants seemed humbled and even surprised that someone wanted a reunion, and the resulting concerts are happy occasions. '80s music freaks rejoice!

Black and White and Start All Over

Mark Evanier brings distressing news: The Game Show Network is changing its 'Black & White Overnight' lineup of wonderful vintage game shows. To Tell the Truth will have its last showing Friday, and What's My Line? will be gone soon after. The network is undergoing a younger, hipper image change - so it's bye bye to classy Arline Francis in her blindfold, hello to flash-and-trash programming geared toward ADD afflicted videogamers.

Viewing Ideas

Most Impressive DVDs of 2003. I added lots of items to my Netflix queue after reading this.

'Tis the Season

In honor of getting my holiday shopping done - The Top 11 Xmas Specials (via Quiddity) and Robot Johnny's Festive Favorites of memorable yuletide movies and TV. My own favorites would include the Simpsons' 1989 Christmas pilot (the one that started it all); the Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special (anything with Cher, Frankie and Annette, Charro and the Del Rubio Triplets can't be bad); Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (Santa subverts the hierarchy! Power to the people!); plus the evergreens Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

CBAndSnoopy.gif One thing about A Charlie Brown Christmas has always intrigued me. What's up with the symmetrically dancing twins?? I know, one has to keep in mind that the special was made in 1964 and includes some strip characters that have since faded into obscurity - such as Shermy, Patty, Violet and Freida. But the twins are a complete mystery. Who are they, and how did they crash the cloistered Peanuts social circle for this one TV special?

Una Merkel Day at TCM

unamerkel.gif Man, I love Turner Classic Movies. Sure, one can fault them for sometimes including more recent films on their schedule ('Top Gun' a classic? Hmph.), but why carp when they still devote entire blocks of films to some semiforgotten movie actor. For example, early tomorrow morning they are having an Una Merkel film festival. Ms. Merkel had a long career (Elvis Presley's Spinout was her final film), but she's best remembered as the snappy gal pal or wisecracking sidekick in numerous pre-Code comedies. For prime Merkel, check out 42nd Street. The part with her and Ginger Rogers eating bananas on a train while singing "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" probably would've given Sigmund Freud a heart attack.

There She Was

As part of their "Awards Shows" fest, the Trio channel will be broadcasting a pair of vintage Miss America pageants - from 1983 (when Vanessa Williams won) and 1958 (when Mary Ann Mobley won). They start on Monday and repeat throughout the month. Call me dorky, but I'm excited about this!

Eva Gabor's Faboo Apartment

Fashion designers comment on classic TV scenes - funny, but too short! I wanna read these people dishing about everything on the TV Land schedule. Via TV Tattle.

From Sleeper Hit to So Over

Season two of 'Queer Eye' has just started. Two installments have aired already. Last week it was David Bowie; this week, Moby. Besides being turned into pop star lookalikes, both subjects looked suitably awful in the 'before' sequences. But they also had loving wives and indistinct kiddies to impress, too-huge suburban homes, steady jobs, lots of friends, etc. In other words, boooring. It's always more interesting when they have a pathetic single guy with a dinky, trashed apartment to makeover. And the Fab 5 are becoming alarmingly campy and cartoonish. I smell a "Jump the Shark" moment coming soon.

MST3K Fading Away

In her Test Pattern weblog, Gael reports that repeats of 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' on the SciFi Channel will end in January. Here's the readers' responses. Now the push is on for Comedy Central bring back its own MST3K episodes. It's a noble effort, but I doubt it'll produce results. Comedy Central and SciFi are in a different position now than in the mid '90s - in their attempts to reach broader audiences, there's no longer room for quirky, cultish shows like MST3K. A better bet would be appealing to a funky, upstart network like Trio to air the Comedy Central repeats. Now that would be awesome.

Trashy TV's Enduring Appeal

evilspock.jpg Bad TV can be very therapeutic. Humor me here, there's got to be a reason why I'm glued to VH1 Classic all day. The producers of VH1's Super Secret TV Formulas seem to understand this. If you haven't seen it, the show deals with the cliches of old series television (oversexed hot babes; evil twins; the cute kid brought in to revive a dying show) with b-list celeb soundbites and clips. Basically in the mold of 'I Love the 80s', but with more fun and less snark - and thankfully Hal Sparks is nowhere to be seen. It constantly amazes me what the people on this show dreg up and discuss with startling authority - like the 'Lassie' where the dog gets bumped in the head and spends the rest of the episode in a fog of amnesia. Or the 'Head of the Class' where everyone goes behind the Iron Curtain. You get the idea.

Speaking of crap TV, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that reruns of Tabitha are among my TiVo's season passes. TV Land airs them at around 2 a.m. every weekend. 'Tabitha', you may remember, was the short-lived spinoff of 'Bewitched' in which the title character (played by Lisa Hartman) is all grown up and working at a TV station with Robert Urich. What ended up was a bizarre melding of late '70s jiggle comedy and the supernatural, with crass writing and zero continuity from its parent show. It's really awful. I love it.

Marathon Man

A guy, a Blockbuster, a challenge: $26 a Month / 52 DVDs = 50 Cents a Movie. The mini-reviews are amusing. On Ghost Ship: "The only good part of the film is in the first ten minutes. One person being chopped in half is cool. But, 100 people being chopped in half... YES!"

The Other SNL

Good TV Party article on 'Fridays', ABC's short lived attempt at a 'Saturday Night Live'-type comedy revue. At the age of 12, I used to tune in every week. Oddly, I don't remember much about it - except the time when guest host Andy Kaufman sputtered out an unplanned, rambling speech about the dangers of drug abuse which prevented that night's musical guest from playing. Even though the writing was very hit-or-miss, there must have been something about the cast to keep me watching all the time.

Classroom Kitsch

patriotism.jpg


Remember those cheesy old educational movies they made you watch in grade school? Though my schooling was in the early VHS era, reel-to-reel moldy oldies from the likes of Coronet and Encyclopedia Brittanica still occupied many a bored afternoon back then. I relived some of that goofy "AV Club" mentality by watching the new Educational Archives: Patriotism DVD. This is part of a series that collects edu films dating from the WWII era to the '70s. This patriotism one has a lot of interesting shorts - such as the immortal Duck and Cover and Despotism, which examines how a democracy can tilt into despotism (watch it today and marvel at how despotic our current administration is!).

My faves on this one disc were two animated films. One was a stylized, fast paced cartoon on the Bill of Rights with an all-star cast of voice talents, including Daws Butler and June Foray. The other was a groovy, psychedelic piece made for the Bicentennial celebrations with a rock 'n roll soundtrack. One clever bonus on these DVDs is the option to watch "classroom" style, with the sound of a rickety old movie projecter ticking away in the background.

One caveat: most of the films are in an awful, scratched up state - but that only adds to their clutzy charm. I can't wait to check out the others in the series such as Sex & Drugs and Social Engineering 101.

Created by Maroons, for Maroons

"If these cartoons were ever broadcast into outer space, it's a safe bet that at least one alien race would declare war on the human species, and if that time ever comes, Iíll be rooting for the aliens." Savagely funny CHUD review of the two new Warner Brothers webtoon DVD collections, Stranger Than Fiction and Reality Check (via Cartoon Research).

Castoff Culture

bathradio.jpg Tonight we watched Secondhand Stories on PBS. This would-be series follows two guys as they travel the country in an old ambulance, subsiding only on sales of other people's castoffs. Besides being loads of fun (soundtrack comes entirely from thrifted LPs), the show really delves into the culture and appeal of thrift stores, auctions, garage sales and the like. This is definitely a subject that warrants attention on the tube. Recommended! If you've seen it and want more, go fill out their survey at pbs.org and tell 'em so.

In a similar vein: Heather Champ's photo gallery of castoff items in the streets of SF.

Queer Eye for the Cheapskate

I'm a little red-eyed after reading all 27 pages of the Television Without Pity forum discussing the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy 'Alan' episode. Who could blame them for gabbing so much. It was fascinating show, since it strayed far from the usual Cinderella format in the other episodes. Alan was a tightwad Donald Trump wannabe who never bought his girlfriend a single meal in two years. His apartment furnishings and wardrobe were all castoffs from the Goodwill. His 'before' look was pure Shaggy. Throughout the ep, he belligerently resisted what the Fab 5 were trying to teach - resulting in an uncomfortable party at show's climax. As usual there were a lot of funny moments, but I could sense that the Fab 5 were disappointed and maybe a little icy toward Alan's oafishness.

On the TWoP forum, most posters came to the conclusion that Alan's a big 'ol asswipe. By the time someone dug up this April 2003 magazine profile mentioning that Alan is also an improv comedian, they were in full lynch mob mode. The verdict: he's a famewhore who was only in it for the free stuff.

F.A.B.

A German page of Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet commercials (via Robot Action Boy).

Like Gumby and Ned Flanders Mixed Together

davey.jpg Something to look out for: our local ABC affiliate is showing a special on the history of Davey and Goliath this Friday at something like 4 a.m. I'm not 100% positive this documentary on the campy and pious clay duo will be good, but it's scheduled on the TiVo anyway.

You'll Go Blind

New topic at Professor Barnhardt's Journal - My Favorite TV Shows. Great picks from some very knowledgeable people.

Far from a favorite, tonight we checked out Savage. Trio is airing this 1973 production as part of their fascinating "Brilliant But Cancelled" fest of unsold pilot episodes. Slumming in between Mission: Impossible and Space: 1999, Martin Landau and Barbara Bain star as an investigative reporter and his producer. The pair basically wear a lot of polyester and poke around rooms decorated in muted greens and browns. It looks like it could have been a good series, with a glamorous angle potentially serving as a springboard for a variety of plotlines. Steven Spielberg directed the pilot with the same showy flair he brought to his "Night Gallery" segment with Joan Crawford. Whatever happened to him, anyway?

Please Stand By

Hmmph. I published two blog entries last night, but they completely disappeared! While I figure out where they went, check out this page of neato vintage commercial art from the Ray Patin Studios (via Cartoon Research).

Misty Polyester Memories

An initial impression of VH1's I Love the '70s: snarky, familiar, compulsively watchable, and HAL SPARKS MUST DIE!!! The guy is so hammy, he might as well have "Hormel" tattooed on his forehead. I hate him.
Despite this, I'm planning to watch all ten hours because I can't get enough hearing people talk about Weebles, Farrah hair and Lite Brite.

Your Product Placement Looks Fabulous

The Buysexual Agenda (via Gawker) - funny New York magazine article casts a skeptical eye on 'Queer Eye'.

Stained History

I watched part of Bravo's special "All the President's Movies" last weekend. It was mildly interesting stuff, at times marred by tinny, obnoxious background music. The way they covered Woodrow Wilson's viewing of D.W. Griffith's racist yet influential 'Birth of a Nation' rubbed me the wrong way, however. It seemed very superficial, even smug in taking on a revisionist, politically correct view. The shifting story of 'Birth''s shifting place in the film canon - alternately praised as a masterpiece and damned to hell - would make a great documentary in itself. When it came time to writing about the film for his 'Great Movies' series, Roger Ebert was so taken with its complexities that he split it up - Part I and Part II. He does a great, even-handed job of sorting out the artistry from the controversy.

Hand Job

A savage critique of the Arby's "talking oven mitt" ads (via Max). Arby's took a promising (if strange) concept and botched it with crass humor. hand.gif It goes without saying that the oven mitt is, mascot-wise, the spiritual grandson of the Hamburger Helper Helping Hand (artist's conception at right). You remember the Hand, don't you? Apparently Betty Crocker, which has zero images or mentions of the Hand at their site, would rather forget. I hope they didn't shelve the Hand. That would be a shame, since the Hand is right up there with Tony the Tiger and The Jolly Green Giant in the advertising mascot hall of fame.
Uh, where was I? In a similar vein, Bill "Blather" Barol takes a long, hard look at fast food salads for Slate. Informative and fun!

Queer and Present Danger

Read an intruiging Hollywood Reporter story on the marketing of Bravo's gay-themed shows. The article reveals that, surprise surprise, Bravo is mainly interested in reaching the coveted 18-49 female demographic here. That's right, gay guys, you're outta here, you don't get the glass of pink champagne, buh-bye now.

As for the shows themselves ... I approached Queer Eye for the Straight Guy with trepidation. The last thing TV needs is more swishy stereotypes. I needn't have worried. Max is correct in that any initial qualms get obliterated by the sheer sense of fun these guys have in carrying out their missions. And the kicker is they actually offer useful advice to the straight men, always keeping their unique lifestyles and personalities in mind. It looks like the "Fab 5" (as they call themselves) took a tip from Trinny and Susanna of the British What Not to Wear in how to offer snappy, constructive criticism without coming across as bitchy.

Fashionista Carson is the show's breakout star with his stinging bon mots. He needs to work on expanding his style horizons, though. On both episodes I saw, he subjected the men with horribly ugly distressed jeans, the kind that look like they had bleach slathered on the front. He also suggested wearing a giant belt buckle as a hip accessory. Eww.

The other guys left varying impressions. Cutie Kyan might be good for a tumble in the hay, but he's not my fave. Far from it. I'm developing a crush on food and wine expert Ted Allen - he of the geeky glasses, lovely voice and adorable crooked smile. He's the only real journalist of the five (a member of the NLGJA), so you know he's intelligent. Plus he can cook a mean flatbread pizza. Oy vey.

We also caught part of the Boy Meets Boy debut a couple of nights ago. Unlike QE, I had basement-level expectations for this one - and they were pretty much met. This show is so, so cheezy. The only redeeming quality was how all the participants room in a fabbo Palm Springs home with retro-tiki decor. But there are too many minuses to count. The main guy has the chiseled features of a Ken doll, and the personality to match. The other guys are just as predictable in their eager accepatance of the standard reality show "types". At the end of each episode, the main guy weeds out the most unsuitable guys for him. According to the first rejects, gay men have no place in this world if they're a) shy; b) still coming out; c) a goofball exhibitionist; or d) black. What a great message to send the youth of America! We were both surprised that the skanky dude with icky hair didn't get the boot. This review hits it on the proverbial head - the gay angle doesn't offer enough interest to differentiate it from all those equally boring "straight" reality shows.

MTV-NUI

"In the age of wall-to-wall goatee and booty, perhaps MTV's retreat from the music video was a sensible decision after all." The Music TV Wars by Joy Press examines how networks MTV2 and Fuse are putting music videos back on the air. The only problem: good music videos are no longer being made.

TV Nirvana

bons.gifI have mixed feelings about Joel Stein's writing (he once did a bland regular column for Entertainment Weekly and now works at Time) but I have to gratefully thank him for putting Battle of the Network Stars back on TV. As part of the Trio channel's "My Trio" feature, Mr. Stein guest programmed several of these campy specials into their lineup. If you're lucky enough to get the network, they're running repeats of the 1976-81 installments every night this week - culminating in a daylong marathon Sunday. What you'll find is pure cheese heaven. I remember watching these every year, rooting for ABC to win. What I don't remember is how unnervingly bizarre they were. As a sporting event they were wimpy at best, yet the events covered with all the gravity of an Olympic decathalon. With the participating TV stars looking downright foolish, jumping through hoops and swinging golf clubs in short shorts, one can see the kernel of reality television as it was developing. It's not much of a leap, after all, from this to Celebrity Mole.
Some observations from the 1977 edition I saw last night:
  • The cringe-inducing smarminess of host Howard Cosell, who never passes up an opportunity to descibe the prettier contestants in various politically incorrect ways.
  • Puffball celebrity profiles from Rona Barrett - like the one where she glowingly talks about the perfect marriage of Farrah Fawcett and Lee Majors.
  • Adrienne Barbeau on the obstacle course. This probably influenced more young men than her entire run on Maude.
  • Robert Conrad, NBC captain, getting pissed off about something. Then getting pissed again. Then getting further pissed.
  • The instant replays had crazy/weird moog music playing under them, and disco instrumentals were played everywhere else.

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Keith Olbermann writes on the president's delayed New Orleans response. Also - Michael Moore's letter to Bush.

Interesting AP article on the gender gap between gay men and lesbians (thx C!).

Washington Post bids a fond farewell to the lowly VHS cassette.

Ephemeraholic is Mr. Bali Hai's collection of vintage bar/alchohol ephemera. Bottom's up!

Michael Musto recounts his varied attempts at landing a regular TV gig. Funny.

Warners is starting a new e-label which will release artists' songs in downloadable clusters instead of entire albums. A new business model?

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