Michael Macrone
Articles & Essays
The NewPaper, July 7, 1982

TV Tidbits

by Mike Macrone and The Mad Peck

Network Sundays are a true bastion of unassailable maledom, what with the unbroken hours of sports, sports, sports. And here in Reagan’s America, things have only gotten worse.

ABC’s American Sportsman (Sundays, 3:30 p.m., Channel 5) seems to be lapsing into a distastefully solemn flag waving rut. One recent episode featured a gee-wow gush over the new U.S. Air Force, followed by a pseudo-environmentalist lament over the plight of the African elephant. (Martin Sheen, guest host, delighted to one playful pachyderm’s waving its trunk in his crotch. We’ve heard rumors that the Great Communicator is hosting Sheen in the Oval Office for bone-up sessions on Vietnam.) Meanwhile, the Democratic donkeys were hugging it up in Philadelphia, and we could only imagine card-carriers in the National Rifle Association sweating at the palms.

Over at NBC, SportsWorld flashed images from Hungary of various Cubans, Bulgarians and Russians “going for the world’s record” in weight-pumping. Apparently, the free world’s “creeping pacifism” is widening gaps not only in land-based missiles, but also in virility.

CBS offers only limp competition, strapping itself with the intolerably wimpy Brent Musburger, whose idea of thrills is ranking major-league attendance figures. Highlights on CBS Sports Sunday included the likes of 15 km. road racing, which critics would agree is about their speed.

“Happy sports?” Us, we’ll take war games.

The Opportunity of the Summer

Those of you lucky enough to have a tube nearby at 11:30 weekday mornings are in store for a truly major boon. Starting tomorrow (July 8), your “Three Stooges Station,” Channel 38, begins a run of Bewitched, starting with the very first program from 1964. Bewitched was, of course, the earliest and longest-running “sublimated sex farce.”

On Monday, July 12, you'll be treated to that classic fourth episode, “Mother Meets What’s-His-Name.” Armchair sociologists will appreciate this first broaching of nearly-explicit lesbianism on network TV. The hint is that Darren Stevens is a latter-day Dagwood Bumstead whose sexual liberation (via magic Blondie) calls down the wrath of the “sisterhood of the broomstick.”

Illustration by Mike Macrone

Bed Wars

Speaking of horizontal dancing, it hasn’t escaped our attention that Spectrorest recently produced the first PG-rated bed commercial. Most of us picked up on the kinky possibilities of adjustable beds long ago, but the spot in question is one big step closer to pointing out that a “magic bed” might be good for more than a good sleep. Here’s the scenario in a nutshell: the guy with the flat bed is glumly partnerless. He calls the golden toll-free number to rap with a Spectrorest “counsellor,” is mailed their “special cassette” and booklet, puts in his order, and presto! He couldn't be happier, with his finger on the remote control, adjusting right along with a new-found sweetie.

Take it from us, this New England version of the hot tub, with “body massage,” is hot.

A Big So-Long …

to Boston comic Lenny Clarke, whose Lenny Clarke’s Late Show on Channel 38 has gone to that great Hollywood Square in the sky. Unfortunately, local experts agree, Lenny’s bad movies, which ran Friday nights at 11:30 and then midnight (times approximate after baseball), just weren’t bad enough.

Clarke was in the solid tradition of wacky bad-movie hosts, à la the phenomenal “Ghoul,” who terrorized syndication in the early-to-mid-1970s. Lenny did offer something distinctive, even if his films were above-par. He came on not as a geek, but as the wise guy ’round town, whose motto was “If you watch this show, tell your friends; if your friends watch this show—get new friends.” Clarke is to be commended for the adventurousness of his between-break bits, which often featured video experimentation and competent guest comics. Channel 38 plans on offering a show of similar format starting in September.

We wish them, and Lenny Clarke, a firm “good luck.”

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

The days of “Aw, I could do better, but who’d lemme” whining may be coming to an end, thanks to the miracle of cable TV.

A little-publicized public-access law requires cable networks to train the public in producing video for local broadcast. Rhode Island Cable Television is going above and beyond the call of duty—though they don’t go on-line until August, they’ve already trained over 200 Joes-off-the-street.

A quick ring (273-2288) will get you into one of RICT’s three weekly training sessions. Two classes (three hours total), both free, and you’re on your way. How’s that for putting the means of production in the hands of the masses?

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First published in the Providence, RI alternative weekly The NewPaper (July 7, 1982)

TV Tidbits

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