(Television History and Trivia)




Victor Edward Swanson


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- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 51 - - -

    Okay, let me begin with some fun speculation.  I publish Internet-only publications called Michigan Travel Tips (the link to the catalog page for which is Travel), and the edition published at the same time as this edition of T.H.A.T. is Michigan Travel Tips #51 (which can be reached through this link: Travel #51).  That edition of Michigan Travel Tips has some tourism statistics.  For instance, it notes that the traffic is down at the famous Mackinac Bridge, which is at the Straits of Mackinac, over that of last year.  I wonder if the reason for that is more people have been staying home and watching television, especially the high-definition programs and channels that are being offered viewers.  Hey, bikini gals, put down the remotes and go back to the beaches!  (Where I have been recently, the bikini-gal traffic is down, too.  Ugh!)

      The previous edition of T.H.A.T. had much information about the my looking at digital-to-analog converter boxes for analog-based television sets, but the previous edition had nothing about my thoughts about high-definition television sets with digital tuners contained within, but now I have some thoughts about such sets as a  true opening paragraph to this edition of T.H.A.T.   Around 1946, the television age really got going in the U.S.A. (though the television as a thing had been under development or in use for several decades previously), and, in 1953, the federal government finally approved a "color" standard for the country.  It was not till the mid-1960s that the push (such as by RCA and its unit NBC-TV) really started to make color television sets commonplace in the country.  When color television was being pushed, I was excited, since it was so wonderful to see programs in color, and during the next few decades, people seemed to like color television sets more over black-and-white television sets, which is why the black-and-white televison sets all but disappeared from stores (I still have some black-and-white television sets, one of which was bought in the 1990s--a Watchman unit made by Sony).  Since the late 1990s, the digital-television age has been coming, but the big push to made it commonplace has only been taking place recently.  When I was looking at digital-to-analog converter boxes, I did look at models of new television sets that were High-Definition Television sets (or HDTV sets).  I am not impressed with HDTV, but I did not see HDTV sets set up next to analog sets (which have only 525 lines on the screen to make up images); that is, I do not have the same enthusiam for HDTV coming as I had for "color" coming, and the reason could be because I am so aware of how much programming is not worth seeing today and how the networks are repeating so much programming or sharing so much programs with sister networks.  I  am not against HDTV, but HDTV--in this day and age--is over blown.

    Let me look at the broadcast networks for a moment to show you how useful it is to have a HDTV television set today.  A lot of the networks are airing reality programs, video-clips shows using video clips sent in by viewers), wrestling programs, game shows, and magazine shows (such as Dateline NBC and 20/20, the latter of which is a product of ABC-TV), all of which, I say, really do not get improved by being shown in high definition.  Here is what happened for the week of Monday, May 26, 2008, through Sunday, June 1, 2008, and I am only looking at the prime-time schedules and using ABC-TV, CBS-TV, The CW, NBC-TV, Fox, and MyNetworkTV in the discussion.  In total, there were 106 hours of programming.  The reality shows made up 17 hours of programming, and some of those shows were The Bachelorette (covering two hours), Wife Swap (one hour), Super Nanny (one hour), Hell's Kitchen (one hour), Decision House (one hour), and Farmer Wants a Wife (two hours).  The magazine shows used up 11.5 hours, and some of those those were Dateline NBC (five-point-five hours) and 20/20.  To me, the first 28.5 hours of programming that I have listed are not better served up in high definition (or do make me want to rush out a spend $1,000 or more on a new television set).  Games shows used 11.5 hours, and some of the shows were Don't Forget the Lyrics! (one hour) and The Price is Right Million Dollar Spectacular (one hour).  There is no gain by seeing game shows in high definition.  I have used up 40 hours in my survey.  I made an "other" category," and it had eight hours of time (the shows were Vacation Swap, Scripps Howard Spelling Bee, Impossible Magic, and Most Outrageous Moments, the last of which used up four hours of time).  I am up to 48 hours of time.  An awards show used two hours.  I am up to 50 hours.  Now, I reach the point where it can be debated whether or not high definition is helpful.  The sitcom category had such shows as How I Met Your Mother and According to Jim, and the category used 11 hours of time.  The count is at 61 hours.  The drama department had 26 hours of programming, and some of  the hours were used by  the same series (more than one episode of some series were shown), and some of the programs were The Unit (two one-hour shows), Numb3rs (two one-hour shows), Reaper (one hour), and Gossip Girl (one hour).  The count is at 87 hours. Certainly, people like to see movies in the high-definition format, but the broadcast networks used only nine hours for movies (I will not discuss whether or not the movies were worth watching either in standard format or high-definition format).  The count is now 96 hours.  My final category is "sports," which used ten hours (covering hockey, wrestling, and extreme-sports fighting).  And I have reached 106 hours.

    Another reason that I am not impress with HDTV today is television is not fun or likeable as it was in the 1960s when color television was being pushed.  When color broadcasting was coming in big, here were some of  the programs that people were enjoying: The Andy Griffith Show, Batman, The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, The Big Valley, Bonanza, Combat, The Carol Burnett Show, The Dean Martin Show, Dragnet, The Ed Sullivan Show, Family Affair, The F.B.I., The Flintstones, Flipper, F Troop, Get Smart, Gilligan's Island, Green Acres, Gunsmoke, Hogan's Heroes, I Dream of Jeannie, Ironside, I Spy, Lost in Space, The Lucy Show, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., McHale's Navy, Mission: Impossible, My Three Sons, Petticoat Junction, The Red Skelton Hour, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Star Trek, That Girl, The Time Tunnel, The Virginian, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Wagon Train.  Many of the programs are yet enjoyed on cable channels or DVDs today.

    And now here is one of those missed-moments paragraph--with other stuff added.  On March 17, 2008, ABC-TV began running a series entitled The Bachelor: London Calling, and the bachelor in this edition of the series was Matt Grant, a guy from England.  I feel bad.  In the edition of T.H.A.T. of April 10, 2008, I talked about the series, and I did not make a mention of who he would ultimately probably choose, though the thought about who he might was in my mind.  I should have mentioned he probably was going to go after the blonde actress from California.  I cannot prove I had her as his likely choice--I did have her as a bad marriage prospect.  Rats!  I should have said something about my guess.  On May 19, 2008, ABC-TV started up another edition of The Bachelorette, and the bachelorette was a gal named DeAnna Pappas.  I only saw the first show of the series (I saw it to get credit notes and see the original 25 guys--the original prospects for DeAnna Pappas).  I thought the best guys were Jeffrey (a math teacher from Orlando, Florida) and Eric (a senior analyst from Boston, Massachusettes).  Remember: I did pass along my thoughts about the best gals of the 25 offered up to Matt Grant--none of which he chose.  Today, I know not if DeAnna Pappas cancelled Eric and Jeffrey.  I do not care whom she chose.  My thought to Eric and Jeffrey is: You should run for the hills and not get chosen.  Gals, my impressions are Eric and Jeffrey are worth taking a look at (my thoughts are based on first impressions and if I had to chose candidates for a daughter).  I wonder if Graham (the pro basketball player), Sean (the martial arts master), Spero (the actor), Jesse (the pro snowboarder), and Ryan (the pro football player) were some of the finalists.

    The Bacheorette--Is it not a series that makes you want to rush out and buy a true high-definition television set?  (That is humor, by the way.)

    Over the next month or so after the week that I used for my survey of time that was used by the broadcast networks (above), new programs made their debuts on the six broadcast television networks.  Let me see if these inspire you to rush out to get a high-definition set to see them.  The series were: The Mole (a reality-type one-hour game show), Fear Itself (a one-hour horror series), Nashville Star (a singing contest), Celebrity Circus (a contest series for celebrities), Swingtown (in essence, a drama about "swingers" and wife swapping), America's Got Talent (a talent contest), MVP: He Shoots, She Scores (a drama series about hockey players), Wipeout (a one-hour game show), I Survived a Japanese Game Show (a one-hour game show), Primetime: The Outsiders (a realty-based series), Primetime: Crime (a reality-based series), The Baby Borrowers (a reality series), Hopkins (a medical-based reality series), Dance Machine (a dance-competition series), Celebrity Family Feud (a game show with celebrities), Flashpoint (a police-based drama), and Big Brother (the tenth version of the reality series).  And, of course, viewers were given Greatest American Dog.

    The last edition of T.H.A.T. focused much on the switch from analog-television broadcasting to digital-television boadcasting, and because it did, I delayed noting something--I report that the first advertisement that I saw on television for a forthcoming fall series was for a series entitled Opportunity Knocks, and the advertisement was shown by ABC-TV on Tuesday, May 20, 2008.

    And I now come to the answer to the trivia question that you were supposed to try to answer before you saw this edition of T.H.A.T.  Remember the question was: "What was the name of the eight-part 1988 television series about television that was hosted by Edwin Newman?"  The answer is Television, and it appeared on PBS from January 25,1988, through March 1, 1988.   The series was a weekly series.

    I have news about The Daily Tribune.  In the previous edition, I talked about the loss of Select TV, the weekly television-program-listing publication that had been offered by The Macomb Daily/Daily Tribune until April 27-May 2, 2008.  In the Daily Tribune for June 15, 2008 (on page one), there was a short bit entitled "Coming Monday."  The bit noted: "The Daily Tribune unveils expanded daily TV listings, adding nine hours of daytime programming with hightlights of talk shows and movies."  It seems readers pressured the newspaper to expand its listings of television programs.  I note that the part of the listings can be useless--if a person does not get the newspaper delivered till 11:00 a.m. in the morning (which does happen), the listings for the day before 11:00 a.m. are useless.  The newspaper should do what the The Detroit News did in the late 1940s--during the early days of television--publish the afternoon and evening listings for the day related to the day on which the newspaper is delivered and published the morning listings for the next day in the same newspaper

    Okay, bikini gals and others, before you head to the beach, see whether or not you can come up with an answer to a trivia question, which will be answered in the next edition of T.H.A.T.   In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, it was commonplace in the summer for broadcast television networks to run "summer-replacement" shows in the time places of regular shows, especially shows with big-name talents or live shows, giving the big-name talents and others a chance to vacation, maybe at the beach with bikini gals.  In the summer of 1966, Dick Martin, who died recently, and Dan Rowan hosted a summer replacement show for The Dean Martin Show.  The question is: What was the name of the summer-replacement show for The Dean Martin Show in the summer of 1966?

Stay well!


copyright c. 2008
Date published: July 10, 2008

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