Michael Macrone
Articles & Essays

Video Week: Hither and Yon

by Mike Macrone and The Mad Peck

Washingtube

Word from the White House has it that the president wants to cut back on televised-in-prime-time press conferences. After sampling the latest fiasco (July 28), we're sure as hell not surprised that the rapidly wilting Mr. Reagan wants out of the kitchen.

But even slower than the commander-in-chief’s chef-d’oeuvre of mangled English and mental gapping was the follow-up on Channel 6: Blind Ambition, Pt. 2. This stiff TV adaptation of John Dean’s self-serving “memoir” proves once again that, stranger than fiction though it may be, Washington’s dirty laundry is slim on entertainment.

Bored Youth

When are grown-ups going to learn? Our contact at Morality in Media of Massachusetts has alerted us to delinquent shenanigans in Detroit, where clever youngsters have had “no trouble in finding a way to unlock the so-called ‘lock boxes’ on cable TV sets.” It’s obviously child’s play to break in to Motown’s choice X-rated fare. But worse, young-uns in NYC are free to “turn to a basic cable TV channel during weekends, watch lesbian orgies, rape scenes, naked dancers and obtain ‘call girl’ telephone numbers.” All due righteous outrage notwithstanding, it seems to us that the hot stuff on cable at least keeps the kids off the streets. Tube sucking is certainly preferable to token sucking, that latest crime craze in the Big Apple: bored youth stuff subway turnstile slots with cardboard tokens and return later to suck out the genuine items, which they sell back at face value.

Dialing the Devil

More on the public threat front: As Proctor & Gamble battle it out with fundamentalist bible-slappers over an allegedly reversed “666” in their emblem (hold it up to a mirror!), our own Channel 6 is inviting similar wrath and suspicion on their Dialing for Dollars Special Summer Vacation Call (weeknights at 7). As we write, the payoff stands at a sinister $666. Has George Allen sold his soul to the devil? Only your “Rolling Stones Station” knows for sure.

From Benny to Beaver

This Friday (August 6) at 4:30 p.m., Channel 25 is airing the piece de resistance of the Leave it to Beaver canon. “In the Soup” adds actual physical jeopardy to the usual mental trauma as the Beav falls into a giant billboard soup bowl. This episode, from the feisty latter days of the series, is a tribute to Jack Benny’s memorable The Horn Blows at Midnight, in which Benny also lands in the soup in a big way. The Beaver bunch definitely put on a budget-busting production, with honest-to-gosh props and everything.

Well-Tanned Young Boys in Undershorts

Back in the primitive era (pre-cable), America’s youth could still enjoy heartwarming relationships with its animal friends. Sure, we’ve got E.T., but if you want the genuine article, Florida-style, don’t miss the film Flipper, coming your way Friday at 8 p.m. on Channel 25. This gem from 1963 predates the eponymous series, and stars our kid Luke Halpin and Chuck “The Rifleman” Connors as his dad. The TV show, currently in cynication (also on Ch. 25) at [glug] 6 a.m., ran from 1964–68 with Halpin, a new brother, and “Suzie” as Flipper. TV Guide calls it charming; we might add “sweet.”

Don’t Dare Miss

Tonight’s episode of Richard Simmons (7 p.m., Ch. 10), as guest Dr. Michael Freilich talks hemorrhoids, or the follow-up Real People (laugh-a-minute) on the same station, featuring a bit on the “human TV”; or Thursday’s People’s Court (7:30 p.m., Ch. 25), on which a case involving a hand-painted bedspread is resolved; or, when that segment’s breathed its last, the concurrent P.M. Magazine on Ch. 3—included: an anti-snoring device.

Egg On Our Face

Well, last week your favorite local pull-out TV critics went 99/100 of the way in supplying the most complete background on the film adaptations of Raymond Chandler. If we’d diverted a smidgen of the Video Week profits Allan Klibe’s way, that local detective-fiction buff could have helped us out. We wouldn’t hawe had to say that Philip Marlowe had been portrayed by “no fewer than six” screen actors; we could have said “exactly seven.” As it turns out, the Montgomery who starred in The Brasher Dubloon was George, not Robert as reported. However, Robert did appear in Lady in the Lake, so that fact and the rest of them are square. But boy, our faces are redder than our eyes are after watching too much TV, which is always.

– 30 –

First published in the alternative weekly The NewPaper (August 4, 1982)

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