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: http://greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com/. 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!