Tag Archives: television

Walt Disney’s MultiPlane Camera

An evening pause: This was filmed in 1957, and was almost certainly made to be shown as part of Disney’s weekly television show series for kids that began in 1954 and was one of television’s most popular shows in the 1960s. It describes one of the most important technical developments in animation, developed by Disney, until the arrival of computers.

To repeat: This was made for kids, yet it is thoughtful, entertaining, educational, and quite detailed in the information being conveyed. It treats its young audience with great respect and dignity.

I generally do not watch children’s shows today, but the few that I have seen have generally been quite shallow, overwrought, and would have insulted me, when I was a child. I don’t know if today’s kids would react the same today, because when I was a child Disney’s show was somewhat typical. I expected to be treated with respect. Today’s kids might not have that expectation.

Hat tip Wayne DeVette.

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Kukla, Fran and Ollie – Here We Are Again

A evening pause: Hat tip Jim Mallamace, who writes, “Before there was Shari Lewis; before there were the Muppets, there was Kukla, Fran, and Ollie. An American television staple from 1947 – 1957, Kukla, Fran, and Ollie demonstrated there would be as large an adult audience for puppetry as there was a child audience. Burr Tillstrom voiced all the puppets. Fran Allison was the host. In this video, they sing their theme song ‘Here We Are Again.'”

Do a quick search on youtube and you can find clips of them singing songs from things like The Mikado and doing satire on television advertising. As primitive as it might seem when compared to modern television, this was a children’s show with a whiff of sophistication.

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The Amazing Paul Frees

An evening pause: You have heard his voice, many times. This highlight reel, suggested by Jim Mallamace, includes just a few, all amazingly different:

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion
Boris Badenov
Pillsbury Doughboy
Lion and Mouse
Voyages Through Inner Space
Burgermeister Meisterburger
The Beatles Cartoon
Morocco Mole
Ludwig von Drake

He was a contemporary of Mel Blanc (most famous for providing the voices for Warner Brothers’ cartoons), was as good, but is far less well known.

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R.I.P. Rose Marie

Rose Marie, best known for her role on the Dick Van Dyke show in the 1960s, has passed away at 94.

Diane and I recently rewatched the entire Dick Van Dyke show, and they come off as fresh and as funny as when they were made more than a half century ago. If you want to see adult comedy at its best, not the modern obscene and shallow adolescent humor that dominates today’s culture, you must see this show.

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The Danish National Symphony Orchestra – Star Trek Medley

An evening pause: It is never a bad thing to listen to the music from Star Trek (though I would have preferred a larger percentage of this piece devoted to Alexander Courage’s original score).

Hat tip Willi Kusche.

Readers: If you want to contribute to Behind the Black, you can! I am in need of Evening Pause suggestions. If you haven’t suggested any before and want to now, comment here (without posting the link to your suggestion) and I will contact you!

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Lesley Gore – California Nights

An evening pause: From a very amusing 1967 Batman television episode, with the evil arch villain Catwoman, played by Julie Newmar. Lesley Gore’s lip-syncing isn’t the best, but the overall silliness of the scene, as well and the entire show, makes it is worth watching. The song is nice too. Unfortunately, I can’t find the whole episode, but this search on youtube finds a host of scenes from that classic of campy 1960s television.

Hat tip Diane Zimmerman.

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Prime-time audiences drop by double-digits in 2016

Interesting: The prime-time audiences for all four major networks dropped by double-digits in 2016,

The big four networks’ ratings are all down double-digit percentages for the fall season. Premiere week for new shows in September was down 12 percent compared to last year, and nothing has happened since to reverse the decline. The top-rated prime-time show in November was CBS’ “Big Bang Theory.” The audience size would have made that program the 79th-ranked show 40 years ago, trailing such losers as “Mr. Belvedere.” CBS’ top new offering, “Bull,” opened to moderate success this fall, but since has lost a fourth of its audience. Only “This is Us” on NBC seems to be holding its own among new shows.

Just as the Democratic Party’s obsession with leftwing, identity politics has driven middle America from that party, it appears that the leftwing, urban, coastal culture that dominates both that party and the television business has finally gotten so blatant and heavy-handed that it has driven that same middle America audience away from prime-time. The following quote from the article illustrates this point quite well:

The people producing television programs in Los Angeles and New York are disconnected from the conventional, regular people who live in the rest of the nation. It is increasingly difficult to get traditional people to watch bizarre, trashy and/or violent content that goes over just fine with the snooty, artiste elite in a network programming office. Those network snobs are basically programming shows based on their narrow world view, overlooking the values and interests of millions of people who need to be in the audience if network television is to survive.

Exhibit A for this distorted mindset is ABC’s “The Real O’Neal’s.” The program blatantly ridicules a Catholic family and Catholic practices. The program has attracted small audiences, but that hasn’t kept ABC from forging ahead with its cultural insults. An analysis by the Parents Television Council found the show has an instance of adult content every 43 seconds, more than half involving a 16-year-old character. Sensible Americans don’t consider crudeness and mockery of religion to be entertainment.

The article goes on to describe an additional show under development called “Holy Sh*t,” focused on “a struggling church and their edgy new pastor.” Boy, that’s really gonna resonant with the folks in Peoria.

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It’s the Beatles

An evening pause: Broadcast on December 7, 1963 by the BBC, this excerpt from the 30 minute television show before 2,500 members of The Beatles’ Northern Area Fan Club gives us a glimpse into the craziness that heralded the Beatles arrival on the world scene. The clip includes the last third of the show.

Why do these teenage girls remind me of modern voters attending rallies for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders?

Hat tip Rocco.

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Judy Garland – Somewhere over the rainbow

An evening pause: I posted this performance back on November 23, 2010, had forgotten, and found it again by accident. It bears another viewing. As noted at the youtube link,

Judy Garland only performed “Over The Rainbow” twice during her many television appearances, which spanned 14 years. She performed it on her first TV Special, “Ford Star Jubilee” in the episode called “The Judy Garland Special” in 1955, and sang it to her children on The Christmas Edition of her weekly TV show “The Judy Garland Show” (1963).

Here Judy is dressed up [in the first special] as the tramp character she played when doing a duet with Fred Astaire in the film ‘Easter Parade’.

Watch. It shows why she was both a great singer and a great actress.

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Parks and Recreation – “Thoughts For Your Thoughts”

An evening pause: For anyone who has ever listened to NPR, it will be hard to distinguish the satire here from reality, since the skit so well captures public radio’s often empty-headed blather disguised as profound intellectualism, framed by a strong desire to promote anything the government wants done.

Hat tip to John Harman.

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