Amoeblog

Cancelled after one episode -- a look back at very short-lived television shows

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 7, 2015 05:02pm | Post a Comment
CRT Graveyard
CRT Graveyard

While there have been at least six or seven quality television programs, the telecommunication device has for seventy years or so more often been derided for the lack of quality programming. Whereas US forces regularly play awful music to tortured captives, no one with even the tiniest remaining shred of humanity would force even the worst villain to watch Access Hollywood or Extra so how bad, then, must a show be to be cancelled after a single episode?

Watching Television in the 1950s


Of course, television is valued by network executives less for its artistic quality than its ability to sell advertising space, which is why we have Big Brother. What then would result in the plug being pulled after just once episode? Let's have a look.

*****

FUN AND FORTUNE (6 June, 1949)

Fun and Fortune was a game show hosted for its only episode by Jack Lescoulie. The object of the show was for contestants to identify a mystery item concealed by a curtain after being given four clues. It certainly sounds no better or worse than most game shows that came before. Perhaps ABC execs, then in their second year of television broadcasting, were merely hoping that something better would come along in its wake. 

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California Fool's Gold Guide to Ice Skating in Los Angeles

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 29, 2014 11:32pm | Post a Comment
Outside of the high mountains and high desert, we don't typically get a lot of ice and snow in the Chaparral-dominated landscape of Southern California. For some this is all the necessary proof that there are no seasons in California -- and most certainly no winter.

Winter in Southern California desert

In reality, all climates have their own sorts of seasons and the short days and long nights should be a dead giveaway that it's no longer summer, even if you don't have frostbite. Additionally, the heavy rain and blooming buckwheat, California pipelines, manzanitas, snowberries, and Toyon should clue in the reasonably sensitive (or those cursed with allergies) that both change and pollen are in the air. Unless you subsist on a diet of junk food you should also hopefully notice the proliferation of blood oranges, cardoons, kumquats, leeks, mushrooms, pomelosradicchiorutabaga, satsumas, and sweet potatoes, which are hopefully making their way from gardens, orchards, and markets to your dining room table. If you've looked up anytime in the past few weeks, you've surely noticed the millions of geese, mallards, pintails, teals, and wigeons flying overhead on their way to wintering grounds in the Central Valley. Out in the ocean, you might notice gray whales arriving off the coast.

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California Fool's Gold's Guide to Los Angeles's Revival Cinemas

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 22, 2014 10:34am | Post a Comment
 
Hollywood Cinerama, Los Angeles, 2003.
Hollywood Cinerama, Los Angeles, 2003 (image credit: Hiroshi Sugimoto)

No city on Earth is more closely associated with motion pictures than Los Angeles. 10% of all movie theaters in the entire country are located in California and Los Angeles County is home to over 100 of them. Although most of Los Angeles's theaters, like those throughout the country, showcase only the latest Hollywood product, there are also specialty theaters which show art films, adult films, classic films, experimental films, foreign films, independent films, revival films, &c. I've previously written about Southern California's drive-in theaters (For Ozoners Only) and overlooked commercial foreign language cinemas (Los Angeles's Secret, Foreign Language Movie Theater Scene). This is my guide to the repertory cinemas or revival houses. 

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Exodus shocker -- the latest Hollywood Bible cartoon isn't very realistic

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 17, 2014 09:06am | Post a Comment

The other day I found out that some people are outraged by the casting in a Hollywood film -- in this case Ridley Scott's latest effort, Exodus: Days of Future Past (or whatever its full title is). They're apparently so upset that they're boycotting it, which is something I do with all but one or two Hollywood films every year although I refer to it simply as not paying to see it.

The problem that the boycotters have, it seems, is that Exodus is almost completely historically inaccurate (It's safe to guess that most of the Egyptian and Jewish characters are most portrayed by Anglo-Saxons and presumably speak Modern (if pretentious) English with a modern British accent, or approximation of one. Without having watched a trailer I'd guess that there aren't a lot of apparently Middle Eastern Africans portraying Middle Eastern Africans and the actual actors of African descent are used entirely for background color and supporting roles). 

Apparently these scandalized and offended won't-be viewers have never seen a Hollywood film before... or assumed that they'd somehow completely change their raison d'etre. Even at Hollywood's artistic peak in the 1930s, racial sensitivity and historical accuracy were not exactly hallmarks of Hollywood films -- making loads of money was, and that's what they did and they did it well. At one point Hollywood made loads of money with elaborately choreographed, brilliantly scored, escapist musicals. Nowadays Hollywood makes loads of money with loud CGI superhero cartoons. Sometimes -- rarely -- art slips through the cracks. Much more often big, dumb-looking movies like Exodus get released that look rather like the big, dumb movies that Hollywood was mostly pumped out for the last 90 years.

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One album wonders: The Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 8, 2014 08:16am | Post a Comment
The Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (1977)

Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

In the early 1980s, when I was in elementary school, I remember asking my father what mental illness was. This was the era of deinstitutionalization, when most of the nation's mental institutions were emptied onto the streets which were at the same time flooded with AIDS and crack. Not surprisingly, most popular entertainment was decidedly escapist in nature.

Hey Hey were the Sex Pistols
Hey hey we're the Pistols!

I probably asked my father because I assumed he was an authority on the subject, him being a psychiatrist at the VA and also himself clearly not right in the head. To answer my question he briefly told me about the Sex Pistols, specifically their seemingly innocuous use of safety pins in fashion. I didn't come away from our conversation with even a better understanding of mental illness but I imagined that the Sex Pistols must be a very frightening bunch indeed to exemplify insanity in that insane era where our society's inevitable and impending doom was guaranteed -- probably because of satanic cults, child abductionHalloween poisoningssubliminal messages, Dungeons & Dragons, or Sigue Sigue Sputnik

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