(Television History and Trivia)




Victor Edward Swanson,


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- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 25 - - -

    Roughly, in the first few weeks of this past March, public television stations around the country were running pledge drives--a "pledge drive" is a time when the operators of a public television station urge viewers to support the station by pledging money or making donations to the station.  Because of a few shows that I saw presented on the Detroit-based public television station, WTVS-TV (Channel 56), during the pledge drive, I was inspired to talk about the shows and talk about shows that have ties to them.  The shows belong to a either an intermittent series called American Soundtrack or an intermittent series called My Music, two series that have been.the brainchild of a man named T.J. Lubinsky, and both series have been used to bring musical performers of the past together to perform their hits, which may have been hits in the 1950s or the 1960s or the 1970s.  Really, I am talking about the shows to clear up confusion, if possible.

    During the pledge drive, WTVS-TV played a program that featured such musical groups or performers as Harvey Faqua and The Moonglows, The Cadillacs, The Mello-Tones, The Diamonds, The Duprees with Johnny Maestro, Tony Middleton & The Willows, William Winfield and The Harptones, and The Regents; actually, WTVS-TV had first shown the program in December 2005.  The name of the show can be hard for a person to determine.  Television listings associated with the Detroit Free Press, for instance, called the show Doo Wop Cavalcade: The Definitive Anthology.  When I saw the beginning of the show, during one showing, I only saw My Music, and when I saw the end of the show, I saw My Music: The Doo Wop Anthology.  If you see the program, you should remember the full title is My Music: The Doo Wop Anthology, but you can think of it as The Doo Wop Anthology.

    The first program in the My Music series was a program that featured such performers as Patti LaBelle,Yvonne Elliman, The Stylistics, Maxine Nightingale, Sister Sledge, and The Commodores and was shown on most public televison stations for the first time in 2004.  In my files, I list the program as My Music: Superstars of Seventies Soul Live.  Since the program originally aired, I have seen television listings and other sources call the program My Music: Superstars of Seventies Soul, My Music: 70s Soul Superstars, and even 70s Soul Superstars.  Each of the titles within this paragraph is the heading for an index card filed in my collection of cards, but the first title is the title that I list as the main title.

    Often My Music presentations are made up of what are called new segments--those purposely made for the productions--and old clips, maybe films made in the 1960s, and, certainly, one presentation that I saw for the first time in March 2005 was made up of new material and old clips.  The program had new segments featuring such performers as Procol Harum, Chuck Negron (formerly of the rock group called The Three Dog Night), Roger McGuinn, Martha Reeves, Eric Burdon & The Animals, Steppenwolf, Scott Mackenzie, and The Association, and had old clips of such performers as The Doors, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and The Moody Blues.  This special I have listed in my files under these titles: My Generation--The '60s Experience, My Music Number 104: The 60s Experience, and 60's Experience.  The titles listed in the previous sentence are all the titles that I have seen used in television listings to describe the program, and I use the first that I list as the main title.

    Let us see what confusion I might clear up in this paragraph.  In August 2005, WTVS-TV aired a program that featured clip performances, such as from Marvin Gaye and The Temptations, and new performances, such from Martha Reeves and The Contours.  Around the time that the program was shown, I saw various television listings that had My Music Number 202: The Motown Sound: The 60's, but the program officially did not have "The Motown Sound: The 60's" anywhere in the title.  The short title of the show as I list it in my files is Motown: The Early Years, and I list the program as having been originally shown under the "My Music" banner.

    In essence, the history of American Music and My Music began in 1999 and, so far, ends this year (at least in relation to programs aired on WTVS-TV).  On December 1, 1999, WTVS-TV aired a program that was informally called Doo Wop 50, and it featured such performers as Jerry Butler, The Cleftones, The Penguins, and The Marcels, and this program was the first American Sountrack presentation.  Other American Soundtrack programs that came later were More Doo Wop 50 (of August 2000), Doo Wop 51 (of December 2000), Rock, Rhythm & Doo Wop (of October 2001), Rhythm and Blues 40: A Soul Spectacular (of March 2002), Red, White & Rock (of August 2002), This Land is Your Land (of November 2002), and This Land is Our Land: The Folk Rock Years II (of December 2003).  Other My Music programs that came after the first were Funky Soul Superstars (of March 2005), and Moments to Remember (of March 2006).

    I have talked about American Soundtrack and My Music because you may wish to buy copies of the programs in DVD form, and I thought I should give you an idea of what titles you sort of have to look for, but, then again, my presentation may not help--for instance, during one showing of My Music: The Doo Wop Anthology on WTVS-TV, which was on March  11, 2006, the DVD that was being offered to people who pledged up to at least a certain amount was Doo Wop Vocal Group Greats.

    Let me now talk about related matters.  Public television stations have aired a number of similar music programs that were not tied to either American Soundtrack or My Music, and some of the programs have been A Night Out with...The Funk Brothers (of 2005), California Dreamin': The Songs of the Mamas and the Papas (of 2005), Get Down Tonight: The Disco Explosion (of 2004), which had such performers as KC & The Sunshine Band, Frankie Valli, Leo Sayer, Bonnie Pointer, and The Hues Corporation.  If you have recently seen or see in the near future Rock 'N' Roll Forever: Ed Sullivan's Greatest Hits, you might have the idea in your mind the program was designed to be shown fisrt on public television stations; however, the program was first shown on CBS-TV on November 10, 1999.  If T.J. Lubinsky were looking to expand his horizons and do something different for public television stations, he might think about putting together a program with new performances and old clip performances of "long songs" of the rock era, circa the late 1960s and early 1970s, and some of the songs that could make up such a program could be "Love, Peace and Happiness" (the long version done by The Chambers Brothers), "Closer to Home/I'm Your Captain" (put together by Detroit-based Grand Funk Railroad), "Get Ready" (the long version put together by Rare Earth), "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" (the long version put together by Iron Butterfly), and "Starship Trooper" (performed by Yes), and some other groups that might have material that could fit the program, if a song must be at least six-minutes long or maybe no shorter than five-minutes long, are Argent, Chicago Transit Authority, The Doors, Steely Dan, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.  (Do you remember the long songs put together by Starcastle in the 1970s?)  Consider this: I think the special program could be called such names as Long Songs of the Classic Rock Era or From the Classic Rock Era--Long Songs.  Wow, it seems I have created a television show!

    Okay, it seems you have been waiting and waiting to hear about the "ratings grabber" that never came--the theme of a question posed to you about Brigette Bardot in the previous edition of T.H.A.T.  Remember: NBC-TV aired a special featuring Brigette Bardot on December 31, 1967, and before the special--which was entitled Bardot--was aired, NBC-TV had done something to the program.  Here is what NBC-TV did: From the original version, as it had been shown in France, NBC-TV removed or edited out a few moments of the opening (about 15 seconds), because the few moments showed Brigette Bardot with her arms crossed across her nude breasts.  ["N.B.C. Shows Special on Bridgette Bardot." The New York Times, 4 December 1968, p. 95.]  Would NBC-TV or any network do the same type of editing today?

    The broadcast television networks seems to be adopting the idea of regularly using "off-time starts" during prime time (the idea of which I first talked about in T.H.A.T. #14, which was published on May 10, 2005).  Since March 2005, ABC-TV and NBC-TV have been using the off-time-start idea more than any of the other broadcast television networks, but other broadcast television networks have been using the idea more and more each week.  (There is no reason to talk about cable channels using the off-time-start idea, since cable channels have been using the off-time-start idea for decades, and it is commonplace for cable channels to use off-time starts.)  Did you noticed two broadcast television networks used the off-time-start idea on the same night recently, creating a "first" in broadcast television network history?  On March 22, 2006, Fox TV started airing Unanimous at 9:32 p.m., and ABC-TV began running The Evidence at 10:01 p.m., so this date goes down in history as a "first" (two broadcast networks using the off-time-start idea on the same night).  Today, if you look in television-listings publications, you should notice three broadcast networks used the off-time-start idea on March 29, 2006, and that became another "first" in broadcast television network history; Fox TV began to run Unanimous at 9:32 p.m., and ABC-TV began to run The Evidence at 10:01 p.m., and NBC-TV began to run Heist at 10:01 p.m.  If you look in television-listings publications, you will see that March 29 was another day in which it seems three television networks used the off-time-start idea in prime time, and what you will see is Fox TV was going to start running Unanimous at 9:32 p.m., and ABC-TV was gong to start running The Evidence at 10:01 p.m., and NBC-TV was going to start running Heist at 10:01 p.m.; however, what happened is NBC-TV ran Heist from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and ran Law & Order from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (so, it seems, NBC-TV changed the evening schedule after it had told the publishers of television-listings publications about what it was going to do), and ABC-TV did not start running The Evidence till 10:05 p.m. (at least in the Detroit area).  And that passes along a bit of television history and more information about stuff that is probably irritating viewers.

    Once again, I have to talk about TV Guide, since there is some history information to pass along to you again, and I have two main topics to cover, and I have related information to talk about, too.
    The first topic is about covers of editions of TV Guide.  The edition of TV Guide for March 20-26, 2006, had actors Chandra Wilson and T.R. Wright and Grey's Anatomy in the feature spot of the cover, and the edition of TV Guide for May 1-7, 2006, had Ellen Pompeo and Grey's Anatomy in the feature spot of the cover, and that means Grey's Anatomy has had the feature spot on a cover for five editions of TV Guide since the new TV Guide format was adopted in October 2005, and no other show has ever occupied the feature spot on five covers of TV Guide in only about seven months.  (I wonder if producers of shows and executives of networks and such are disappointed in the policy that the managers of TV Guide are taking up--giving one show so much more focus over other shows on covers.  (By the way, even Desperate Housewives has not had such coverage on covers of TV Guide, and you can see more information about this topic was covered in T.H.A.T. #23, which was published on February 10, 2006.)
    The second topic is about my wondering if people in the offices of TV Guide ever talk with each other.  In the March 13-19, 2006, edition of TV Guide, there was a big problem.  Look at the program grid for CBS-TV on Sunday, March 19 (which was on page 86), and look at the listing for the movie that was scheduled to be shown at 9:00 p.m.  The movie that was listed was Time Bomb, which featured actors David Arquette, Richard T. Jones, and Angela Bassett.  Now, look at the highlights listings on page 90, and look at the part that focuses on the movie that was scheduled to air on CBS-TV at 9:00 p.m. (on Sunday).  You will see the movie that was talked about on page 90 was Time Bomb, but it was a movie that featured such actors as Michael Biehn, Patsy Kensit, and Robert Culp.  Even though the two movies had the same name, they were different movies.  The movie that was shown by CBS-TV on Sunday, March 19, was the movie that featured David Arquette.  In the edition of TV Guide for March 27-April 2, 2006, there was also problem, and the problem was related to programming on A&E on Monday evening (March 27); for the 10 o'clock hour, the program grid (on page 60) had two episodes of Airline listed, and the "highlights" page (on page 63) had Rollergirls listed.
    Let me now add a bit more information to the Time Bomb movie problem, and I am only talking about the problem in relation to the Detroit area.  College basketball games were aired on CBS-TV on March 19 before CBS-TV could air Time Bomb (with David Arquette, of course), and the start for the entire evening schedule was delayed by 44 minutes.  While an episode of Cold Case was being shown (which was to be followed by the movie), I saw information in a crawl across the bottom of the screen that said that the "CBS Sunday Movie" was going to start at 9:44 p.m.  At 9:44 p.m., to introduce the movie--before the movie would begin to be shown--CBS-TV ran teaser materal and umbrella-title material, and CBS hinted the movie was being shown under the umbrella title known as CBS Original Movie Presentation at first, and then CBS showed A CBS Original Movie umbrella title, and then CBS showed A World Premiere Movie.  Normally, the movies shown on Sunday evening on CBS-TV exist under the CBS Sunday Movie umbrella title.  It seems CBS-TV could not decide what umbrella title it really wanted to use on March 19.
    Ah, there's more to the Time Bomb story.  The TV-movie that CBS-TV aired on March 19 had the same title as a made-for-TV that NBC-TV had aired on March 25, 1984, under the NBC Sunday Night at the Movies umbrella title.  The two movies did not have the same plot, so the movie of March 19 was not a remake of the older movie.  In the 1984 movie, entitled Time Bomb, people were trying to catch the most-wanted female terrorist in the world, and some of the heroes trying to catch the woman were played by Billy Dee Williams, Joseph Bottoms, and Merlin Olsen.  Who played the most-wanted  terrorist in the world in the 1984 movie entitled Time Bomb?  That is the trivia question for this edition of T.H.A.T., which will be answered in T.H.A.T. #26, which will be the next edition.
    Incidentally, it seems to me the managers of TV Guide are having a hard time deciding in which position the two-page "highlights" section for each day should go--before the two-page grid section pertaining to each day or after the two-page grid section pertaining to each day.  In the March 13-19, edition, they went back to putting the "highlights' section after the grid section, which had been the rule when the managers first issued the new form of TV Guide.  For a short while, they had the "highlights" section before the grid section, which I believe is better than having the "highlights" after the grid section.

Stay well!


copyright c. 2006
Date published: April 10, 2006
Date posted: May 10, 2006

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