Saturday, July 30, 2011


On August 1, 1981,at 12:01AM EDT, a disenfranchised generation of adolescent rock fans found a vibrant, new voice and a vivid,new vision for celebrating the music they loved, and they found it by punching a button on their parent's cable box.

From the electronic haze,emerged "MTV-MUSIC TELEVISION."

It was the first ,24 hour, television channel ever devoted to airing the kinetic music young people listened to on vinyl, on cassette and on the radio. MTV also to showcased the musical artists to whom this audience was devoted, including some of those controversial performers whose work wasn't always welcome on AM or FM rock stations.

Commissioned by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment,and with a format designed by Robert W.Pitman , who became the C.E.O. of the music network,at its launch, MTV featured five Video Jockeys to interact with the audience, as Disc Jockeys did on radio stations. They were Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn, J.J. Jackson and Nina Blackwood.

It is almost impossible to chronicle MTV's electrifying history. From ground breaking, global coverage of the LIVE AID Concert in 1985, to embracing HIP Hop on YO!MTV RAPS!,MTV became a herculean force in rock music and youth culture.

It captured the passion and the power of the music. It overcame American television's barriers of tradition and cynicism. MTV went on to conquer the conventions of mass media around the world.

The debut of THE REAL WORLD launched the reality genre in TV,while MTV's various attempts at producing comedy and game shows launched talents like Jon Stewart,Julie Brown and Colin Quinn.

Some shows, like THE JERSEY SHORE, created controversy. Others, like TRL LIVE created careers for young performers like Brittany Spears and Justin Timberlake. MTV UNPLUGGED showed young viewers that innovative music and honest performance by a talented musician are more important than the Hollywood production values and the dramatic narratives that typified music videos.

ROCK THE VOTE is an initiative that has engaged and focused millions of young people to participate in the electoral and democratic processes.

The channel has pretty much abandoned it's mission of being the place you turn to watch music videos, 25/7. Reality shows abound. The sense of rebellion that radiated from the screen in the late 1980's through the 1990's seems to be a bit subdued.

But the 'Moon Man" logo endures,as it should.MTV's place in television history is undeniable. Video didn't kill the radio star,as the Buggles posited in the very first video shown on MTV, but it change they way we all listen to ...and watch ... the music we love.

Posted , below, from the DALEKENBUCK YOU TUBE SITE, Here is the very first ten minutes of MTV's debut, with links to the rest of it's first hour.Enjoy!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011


For a man whose creative reputation is rooted in light, wholesome, family entertainment,Walt Disney has always been a lightning rod for the darkest of urban myths.

I don't know if he was cryogenically frozen in death, was a fascist in life , or treated employees with an inhuman and icy dispassion.I would hope he was above the aberrant and abhorrent behavior attributed to him.

But,there are plenty of blogs to explore his politics and persona. This one is designed to examine his role in network television at its nascent stage.

In that environment, he's best described as a pioneer and a video visionary.

In 1954, ABC-TV was a network in search of an audience.

Any audience.

ABC enjoyed occasional spikes in viewership, thanks to fan-favorites like THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET and THE LONE RANGER, but the alphabet net wasn't in the same league with CBS AND NBC.

ABC-TV executives needed a hit and they were willing to pay a significant premium to get one.

They knew that the expertise to create top-rated programs resided in the Hollywood creative community. They approached major studio heads looking for partnerships that yielded hit TV shows. But the almost all of the movie moguls, from Mayer to Warner, viewed TV as a dangerous competitor. Their answer was a resounding "no."

Except for one major film producer.

In 1954,Walt Disney was a show business entrepreneur in search of financing for his most ambitious project.It wasn't to fund one of his hallmark,animated movies, like Fantasia. It wasn't to develop a new animated character, like the beloved Mickey Mouse or Daffy Duck. It wasn't even to support his more recent foray into live action films, like his grand scale, all-star adaptation of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.

Like so many in post World War II California, Disney needed capital to do a real estate deal. But,this wasn't about constructing tract homes in the San Fernando Valley or a shopping mall in Brentwood. He wanted to build an amusement park which embodied the family values Disney extolled on the silver screen, right in the Golden State.It would also leverage the vast array of Disney cinema characters and growing archive of film titles that had become a part of popular culture.

Disney would bring his rich talents and extensive collection of films, cartoons and original productions to ABC television, if ABC would bring cash to the table. The network did a multi-million dollar deal for Disney to produce a new one hour,family anthology series, called DISNEYLAND and in doing so, provided the financal support that allowed Disney to build and open a theme park that was unlike any that preceded it on the planet.It was also called DISNEYLAND.

From it's premiere episode,DISNEYLAND, the television show, was an immediate hit, debuting in 1954. His relationship with ABC resulted in other popular shows that brought ratings and revenue to the 3rd placed network, while leaving a major impression on the Baby Boom generation. The beloved programs included THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB,DAVY CROCKETT AND ZORRO!.

Along the way , he made stars of Fess Parkey ( Davey Crockett ) , Guy Williams (Zorro ),Annette Funiclello ( Annette ) and a lot of Mouseketeers.

His anthology brought a vital mix of new productions and the best of his classic,cinema catalog to home audiences and lasted on ABC-TV until Disney was lured to NBC-TV in 1961. There,his films and animated shorts could be viewed in LIVING COLOR. WALT DISNEY'S WONDERFUL WORLD OF COLOROR went on to become a Sunday night tradition for years, pushing large ratings for the peacock network and selling legions of color television sets for NBC's parent company RCA.

Less than a year after his television show debuted on ABC-TV, Disney unveiled the real life DISNEYLAND in Anaheim, California.It was an amazing and innovative venue for families to vacation and celebrate American life. The ground-breaking theme park featured space age rides , a railroad and a small fleet of submarines,and when it was opened at 4:30pm EDT on July 17,1955, the star-studded and extravagant ceremony was carried by ABC-TV, in one of the most complex, remote broadcasts attempted to that date.

On that occasion Disney refereed to wondrous resort as the Happiest Place On Earth. As the television show grew,and cash flow with it, the executive suite at ABC-TV may have been the second happiest place on earth.

It seems that in real life as on celluloid,Disney specialized in weaving a happy ending. The series served as a foundation on which ABC could build auidience.Other studios followed. Both MGM and Warner Bros. looked at Disney's success and realized the potential from producing for ABC televison.

As for Walt Disney, DISNEYLAND the television show and the theme park embodied his vision as a filmmaker and his strategy as a entreprenuer.For his company, they were Adventureland,Fanatasyland and Tomorrowland, all rolled together. They provided the financial capital and the promotional propulsion that launched the Disney media empire and decades later allowed Disney's acquisition of ABC-TV, itself.

Here, posted below from the DISNEYTV4ME YOU TUBE SITE, here is the April 4, 1956 episode of DISNEYLAND.Enjoy!!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011


The Fall of 1967 in America preceded the Winter of our discontent.

It was a time of social upheaval and political turbulence. But it was only a prelude to 1968, the year that the very fiber of American culture was tested.

Save the violence that played out on network, evening newscasts at dinner time or the occasional documentary that focused on the political tumult that people confronted at home or those public television,talk programs that examined the determination and capabilities of our enemies, prime time programming was almost oblivious to the real life challenges that caused angst among the viewers.

Private eyes and gentlemen spies were played for satire and sex.Sitcoms focused on the mores of marriage and the amenities of small town life.

Long before the 1971 debut of Norman Lear's, groundbreaking ALL IN THE FAMILY, broadcast networks valued non-controversial programs above all.

In 1967,Tiffany Network executives would famously battle their own SMOTHERS BROS. COMEDY HOUR production team , over content felt to be ,both, lurid and seditious.

But,in the 1960's,the awful truth of America's social and political revolution never really penetrated network television's daytime diet of soap operas, game shows and tv chefs.

In syndication, Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin chatted with the towering figures of politics, arts and literature.But not on the networks, where daytime was still designed to be an idyllic fantasy land for the housewives and children.

CBS,whose network reached deep into rural America, while NBC cultivated urban viewers and ABC embraced the young audience , believed that a mature, engaging word game, showcasing stars of stage, screen and (CBS)television would score in a big way.

PASSWORD, produced by the Goodson-Todman game show factory,was elegant in its simplicity and fun for people at home,who would participate, just by yelling back at the screen.

Affable and Urbane and The late Allen Ludden was the ideal host for the smart and sophisticated game show.

It was all the better when he was given able support from his radiant wife,the vibrant and versatile Betty White. As you'll see below,their personal and professional chemistry was evident and alluring. NY Giants football legend and iconic sportscaster, Frank Gifford , brought a strong , yet stoic presence to the shows usual,but eclectic mix of stars and everyday people. In the clips below, you'll see a special edition of the show, featuring NFL players and performers from the Ice Follies.

Posted here from the INDY 7888 YOU TUBE site are three clips that
constitute a special,Sunday,Prime Time, episode of PASSWORD. from 10/1/67. Enjoy!!!




Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Have you ever asked yourself what is unique about your life?

In the late 1950's, an accomplished , but unemployed comedy powerhouse was vacationing with his family on New York's Fire Island, and was searching for his next creative project.

A simple question helped to focus his formidable talents:

On what ground do I stand, that no other person occupies?

That thought, and the striking answer, became a comedy credo for the versatile and voluble Carl Reiner.

He knew that only a handful of people on Earth could claim to have been both a witness to, and a collaborator with, a true comedy genius. Reiner cherished the memories of his years as a performer and writer(without portfolio)working with Sid Caesar on NBC-TV's YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS and CAESAR'S HOUR.

From recollections of his kinetic experiences with comic comrades in the writers room at NYC's City Center to the respite he found with his family in his New Rochelle, NY home, came the stuff of which the vaunted DICK VAN DYKE SHOW was concocted. It was an Emmy Award winning, CBS-TV sitcom that turned the stories of Reiner's life, with help from some of televisions most agile writers, like Gary Marshall, Jerry Belson, Bill Persky & Sam Denoff, into a classic television show.

But, long before Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Richard Deacon, Larry Matthews and ,yes, Carl Reiner, stepped before the film cameras on Stage 8 at Desilu Cauhengua Studios, there was a pilot for a sort of Dick Van Dyke Show, but without Dick Van Dyke.

The 30 minute test episode , commissioned by the Tiffany Network, was called HEAD OF THE FAMILY and it starred Carl Reiner as Rob Petrie , commercial spokeswoman/actress Barbara Britton as Laura, NY actress Sylvia Miles as Sally,comedian Morty Gunty as Buddy Sorrell and Gary Morgan as Ritchie.

In this B&W , single camera pilot, Reiner's Rob contended with a son who claimed not to like his Dad, a condescending wife and immature co-workers at the fictional Alan Sturdy Show.

Network executives and test audiences didn't think that Reiner was the right actor to play the lead in comic tales of Reiner's own life.

The show, which was produced in 1959 sat on the shelf, until it was played off,in 1960, by CBS-TV, as part of a comedy-anthology series calledTHE COMEDY SPOT, that served as a summer replacement for the RED SKELTON SHOW.

About a year later, Uber-producer Sheldon Leonard was asked to review the failed program. He re-envisioned ,recast and remounted the show.

Leonard, who was the creative force behind the top-rated,DANNY THOMAS SHOW and it's hit spin-off THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, elected to produce the pilot at Desilu, to leverage their pioneering work with multi-camera, filmed shows that were staged in front of a LIVE, studio audience.

While it struggled in its debut season with a bad time slot, powerful competition, sponsor defection and character development, THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW was a critical success that recruited a large and loyal audience.

It ran from 1961 to 1966 on CBS and can still be seen in syndication, today.

Reiner was lauded as a genius for the substance and the style of a series that retained the ring of comic truth in most human terms. His work set the course for situation comedy that endures.

Here from the QUICKDOWNLOAD YOU TUBE site, here are two clips that constitute the pilot for HEAD OF THE FAMILY. Enjoy!!!!