(Television History and Trivia)




Victor Edward Swanson,


    The material provided on this page is a service of Victor Swanson and The Hologlobe Press.  The material may be used freely by a person, if the person does not use the material for commercial purposes.  The material may be used by persons employed in the media, such as staffers of radio stations, but persons employed in the media must announce that the material has been taken from the Web site of The Hologlobe Press, the main Internet address to which is www.hologlobepress.com.  Of course, the material is provided for fun.

- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 49 - - -

    On Sunday, April 20, 2008, I did something that you probably have never done or have never attempted to do, epecially if you are a person who is younger than forty years of age.  A television set--a somewhat big-screen analog-based television set--was, without warning, shutting off while being used and not turning back on after mysteriously shutting down.  I took the set off the television stand that it was on, opened up the set, and looked around inside the set.  I found the problem, and the problem was a connection on one of the "boards" within the set--there was a "cold solder"/loose connection.  I made the proper repair.  Yes, I made a repair to an "analog"-based television set, though the full-digital television age comes on February 17, 2008 (I have made repairs to analog-based television sets in the past, one repair of which involved putting in a new capacitor in to one of my television sets).  Through the work of April 20, 2008, I saved the person who owned the set money, since a repair shop was not used and since I sort of blocked the person from heading out to a store and spending $1,000 or up to at least $2,000 on a new television set to replace the current set (which has a lot of life left in it).

    It is time to talk about money.  On Friday, April 4, 2008, I saw a syndicated program on WMYD-TV, Channel 20, in Detroit at 9:00 a.m., and the haf-hour program was called Countdown to DTV: Are You Ready?.  The host was Isaac Gron, and the program was a presentation of Park Hill Entertainment and Suite Sixteen.  You should understand the program was about the transition from the anaglog television age to the digital television age.  During the program, it was stated that the switch to digital is affecting 69-million television sets.  Look at some figures.  If 69-million sets need converter boxes and, I will pretend, if a convert box costs $40.00, then the total cost for 69 million converter boxes is $2,760,000,000.  If only half of the sets will get converter boxes and if half will be replaced by sets costing at least $150.00, then the cost to upgrade will cost $6,555,000,000 ($5,175,000,000 plus $1,380,000,000).  Some people will buy a television  set costing more than $500, and some people will buy a set costing well over $1,000.  Wow!  Look at the money!  (It must be noted that a person who gets two of those $40.00-save-you-money coupons to buy up to two converters will only spend from $10 to about $30 to get each converter associated with a coupon, but, somehow, all the converters put in the marketplace are being paid for fully by some individual or some entity, and converters that do not get bought in association with coupons can cost up to $70.00 it seems.)

    Let me talk about a program called Get Ready for Digital TV.  I saw this program broadcast by a television station known to people in at least the northern half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan as "TV 7 and 4,"  and the program was shown on Sunday, April 20, 2008, at 11:35 p.m. (for thirty minutes).  (Oh, I watched the program on the television set that I had repaired about seven hours earlier.)  The host of the program was David Usery, and the program came from the NBC Digital Media Division.  The television station is an affiliate of NBC-TV, by the way.  The program talked about the forthcoming fully digital television age and a bit about converter boxes, and it noted that about "20-million" television sets are used with antennas (of some type).  If only 20-million sets will need converter boxes, then the cost to have the television sets outfitted with converter boxes (if each converter box costs $20) will be $400,000,000.

    I believe more television sets are going to be affected by the forthcoming digital age than that indicated by the program put together by the NBC Digital Media Division.

    I wonder how many television sets are really going to be affected by the switch to the digital-only television broadcast system.

    Both Get Ready for Digital TV and Countdown to DTV: Are You Ready? made no mention about how many VHS-type tape recorders used today are going to be affected by the transition from analog to digital, and, as the owner of the repaired television set notes--Get Ready for Digital TV did not address what the differences are in the converter boxes being put in the marketplace.  There seems to be differences since the costs of converter boxes vary, and I can report that Countdown to DTV: Are You Ready? did not talk about the differences in converter boxes, and, as far as I am concerned, both Get Ready for Digital TV and Countdown to DTV: Are You Ready? failed to give viewers useful information about tape machines and converter boxes (and that was bad reporting)

    I wonder how many VHS-type tape machines are being used in the country, right now..

    Warning!  Warning!  Warning!  Do not buy a digital-to-analog television-converter box till you read the next edition of T.H.A.T.

    Monk and Psych--these two series are a part of television programming practices that I talked a bit about in T.H.A.T. #47, which was published on March 10, 2008, and the particular programming practice involving Monk and Psych is one type of practice that shows television is not as good as it used to be and shows that a hundreds-of-channels universe is really not as good as some people might promote that it is.  On July 12, 2000, Monk began to be shown on the USA cable channel on a weekly basis, and since that date, several "seasons" of the series have been shown on USA.  In addition, it was on August 13, 2002, that ABC-TV began to run episodes of Monk on a weekly basis, and ABC-TV gave the series a short run, and this run took place while the show was yet a USA staple.  Look what has happened recently.  NBC-TV began to carry Monk on a weekly basis, and, officially, the series began to be carried by NBC-TV on April 6, 2008.  The series has now aired on three networks, two of which are yet considered "broadcast networks."  I say that too much product is jumping from cable to broadcast television and from broadcast television to cable and that series are being used on too many outlets.  Monk is only one of the series that have run on more than one network.  Psych, which features such actors as James Roday and Dule Hill, made a debut on USA on July 7, 2006, and then, for example, the series began a short run on NBC-TV in August 2007, and it was on April 6, 2008, that Psych began to be shown again on NBC-TV.

    Do you remember these names or actors--Jack Albertson, Nicholas Pryor, Mel Stewart, Joe Namath, Susan Sullivan, Jack Riley, Swoosie Kurtz, Judd Hirsch, Melinda Dillon, David Clennon, Deborah Blatzell, Fred McCarren, and Joanna Kerns?  If you read the previous edition of T.H.A.T., there is a chance you remember the names, because they were listed with a question that I wanted you to answer(the question was posed in the previous edition of T.H.A.T.).  In essence, I wondered if you knew what program that they were in together, and it sort of dealt with "sex" and "marriage."  The name of the program was Marriage is Alive and Well.  The program was a TV-movie of sorts, and it was shown under the NBC Friday Night at the Movies umbrella title on Friday, January 25, 1980.  In essence, the program  was made up of four separate stories, which looked like pilots, and it was the character played by Joe Namath who tied the stories together.

    The previous paragraph answers the regular question of the previous editon of T.H.A.T., but I have another question to answer, which was an extra-credit question that dealt with a local show in which well-known soap-opera characters appeared, and those characters were Holly and Robert.  On April 7, 2008, WTVS-TV, Channel 56, showed two special locally produced programs, and both programs dealt with former Detroit-area television personalities; by the way, I had already written the main structure for T.H.A.T. #48, so I created the "extra-credit question" so that, for the record, I could talk about the two programs now.  At 9:00 p.m., on April 7, 2008, viewers began to see a showing of Motor City Celebrities, which had the subtitle "John Kelly and Marilyn Turner."  I will say that, roughly, the two persons were television news/entertainment personalities on Detroit-area television stations from the early 1960s to the 1990s; both began their careers in Detroit-area television on WJBK-TV (Channel 2) and ended their careers on WXYZ-TV (Channel 7), the station on which they spent most of their time.  As noted in the WTVS-TV-aired program, John Kelly was born on October 7, 1927, and Marilyn Miller was born on February 5, 1931, and she would later become Marilyn Turner (through a first marriage), and John and Marilyn were married on December 27, 1974 (and they are still married).  Generally speaking, the heyday for the two persons was from 1977 to 1995 when they, working as a team, appeared on Kelly & Company, which was a morning weekday talk show.  I was reminded, through the television special, that they appeared in cameos on three soap operas on ABC-TV, the first of which was Loving and the last of which was All My Children.  Now I come to the extra-credit trivia question.  The television special reminded me that John Kelly and Marilyn Turner did camoes in several scenes on General Hospital.  In the mid-1980s, Robert Scorpio and Holly Sutton were two of the main characters on General Hospital, and Robert Scorpio was played by Tristan Rogers, and Holly Sutton was played by Emma Samms.  I now note in my television files, in an odd way, that Emma Samms and Tristan Rogers have appeared in one Detroit-area-produced television show--Motor City Celebrities--particularly the episode about John Kelly and Marilyn Turner, but it must be noted that the two performers were only shown in old clips from General Hospital.  The show about John Kelly and Marilyn Turner showed some credits, and some of the individuals involved in the program were Gordon Castelnero (who was the producer and the director) and Brian Golden (who was the videographer and editor and did lighting work), and persons who appeared in interview segments were John Kelly, Marilyn Turner, Jerry Hodak, Ray Lane, Doris Biscoe, Ellen Stepien, Florine Mark, Lynda Hirsch, and Chris Stepien.  The roughly thirty-minute-long program was followed by another edition of Motor City Celebrities, and the two shows focused on a man named Lou Gordon, who, for one, was the host for a political-themed television talk show called The Lou Gordon Program from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, which was shown on WKBD-TV, and, for the record, two of the persons who worked on the second program were Gordon Castelnero (who was the producer and the director) and Brian Golden (who was the videographer and the editor), and persons who appeared in interview segments were A. Scott Gordon, Joe Babiarz, Deborah L. Gordon, Lois Pincus Cohn, Frank Kelley, Charles Levin, and Amyre Makupson.

    Incidentally, the version of Motor City Celebrities about John Kelly and Marilyn Turner had a audio-video sync problem--the voices did not match the movements of the lips.  Ugh!

    Here is some shallow information about an old local television series, and I present the information to simply note that I know about the information.  Recently, I was given some press-release-like material about a television show that was shown on WWJ-TV, Channel 4, during the 1962-1963 season.  The show was a local show that was shown on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m.  Going by what the pages of paper presented, I can say that the show was called Weekend and the host was Ron Gamble.  That is all that I know about the program, but at least I now know the program did exist.

    It is time for the money question--sort of..  In 1976, early in the heyday of the "mini-series," viewers saw a mini-series movie based on a book by Arthur Hailey.  It was Dean Riesner and Stanford Whitmore who received the "teleplay by" credit for the program.  Some of the characters in the movie were Alex Vandervoort, Roscoe Heyward, Miles Eastin, Margot Bracken, Avril Devereaux, and Edwina Dorsey.  What was the name of this mini-series movie?  That is your question to answer before you see the next edition of T.H.A.T..

Stay well!


copyright c. 2008
Date published: May 10, 2008

The Hologlobe Press
Postal Box 20551
Ferndale, Michigan  48220-0551
The United States of America

To see the next edition of  T.H.A.T.,
    click on: T.H.A.T. #50.
To see the previous edition of T.H.A.T.,
    click on: T.H.A.T. #48.
To see the catalog page for T.H.A.T. editions,
    click on: T.H.A.T..
To go to the main page of The Hologlobe Press,
    click on: www.hologlobepress.com.