Saturday, February 18, 2006

Television and "Our World"

Welcome to "Better Living Through Television." Pretty audacious statement, huh? Ironically, I belong to a club and a mailing list that celebrate Old-Time Radio, and many members of both would like nothing more than to toss a brick through the old "idiot box." I'm tempted myself, when I see what passes for TV programming today.

So, let's go back in time. In the coming days, I hope to showcase that which made television the preeminent form of entertainment... in my home, at least. And I hope you'll chime in with your own memories.

First, I must mention that this blog would not exist if not for John McElwee's Greenbriar Picture Shows: It's a fascinating, eclectic site, and not just for the cinemaphile. What Mr. McElwee does for old movies, I hope to accomplish for old TV. Thanks for the inspiration, John!

Now, on with the show!

One of the first claims made for television was that it would bring the world closer together: every nation would be able to see how every other nation lived, thus reducing ignorance and promoting unity. Lovely thought. Shows like "See it Now" tried to accomplish this goal, but they didn't exactly burn up the ratings. We in the U.S. were more entranced with the idea of watching Milton Berle in a dress than in how or what our global neighbors were doing with their lives.

In the summer of 1967, TV tried again with the program shown above. Most of us have heard of this pioneering program, mostly due to its one lasting aspect: The Beatles' on-the-spot recording of "All You Need is Love." But in reading this TV Guide description, the whole thing sounds fascinating. If anyone out there has a kinescope of the entire program - not just that famous 5+ minutes from Abbey Road - I'd love to know about it!


Mister X said...

I just love reading Michael's writings about the Adventures of Superman! He has a great style, his research is impeccable, and his articles are always interesting!!

Mister X

John said...


Excellent stuff! I always liked that building...and NEED to go by there and see it in person. As much as I like the 'daily planet' from the 2nd season on...there's something very special about that building...


Evil Colonel said...

Regarding "Our World", the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation showed a brief non-Beatles excerpt in its 50th anniversary miniseries a few years ago.

A colleague of mine remembers watching the show. He said there were the segments from various countries that trotted out various educational tidbits, etc. Then it was England's turn, and there were the Beatles! To him, that moment said it all about Swingin' England in the 1960's.