Thursday, June 01, 2006

And So It Begins: March 12, 1955

Possibly the most interesting feature to be found in old issues of TV Guide are the "Teletype" pages. Usually there were two of these: one datelined from New York and the other from Hollywood, each containing one- or two-sentence news items. Here's where viewers were first informed about pilots, productions and purchases that might impact their future viewing habits. It's fun to look at some of these knowing that what followed turned out to be a medium-changing boon... or an earth-shattering bust.

I'll attempt to showcase the best (or most notorious) of these news bites about twice a month. Here's the first selection:

The cartoons sold by Warner Brothers were the b&w Looney Tunes titles, produced from 1930-1943. Although only two "latter-day" characters - Porky Pig and Daffy Duck - ever starred in any of these Tunes, it wouldn't be long before the rest of Warner's pre-1948 cartoon library made it to the home tube... and the baby boomer's world would never be the same. This marks the moment when Porky, Daffy, Bugs, Tweety, Sylvester, Wile E., Speedy and the rest transitioned from theatrical filler to a necessary part of daily life.

As for the Paramount shorts, the Popeye cartoons would be withheld from the first TV sale, to U.M.&M. Corporation. It would be another two years before the Sailor Man took TV by storm, just as he did the kiddie matinees of the 1930's.


Rob G. said...

That last line should read "About 200 Paramount short subjects are going into public domain hell where every cheap jack video company will recycle them in scratchy, faded 16mm prints until the end of time."

Anonymous said...

I miss the Teletype page of TV Guide. It was usually where you found out a show was being cancelled, or you'd learn about something big. It was on that yellow page that I first read the Walton's house would catch fire, that NBC was planning to air "Rescue from Gilligan's Island," and so on.

It would be nice if the new TV Guide would reinstate that page.

Anonymous said...

I just miss TV Guide, period. They drove a good thing into the ground.

In its current format, I'll never read it again.