Monday, June 27, 2016

The Touch Heard Around the World

Whenever politicians or pundits talk about returning to "the good old days", one often tries to determine what they mean. While they may be merely expressing a fondness for the good things that happened way back when, there's often a suspicion that they are secretly expressing a desire to return to a time when a woman gently touching a man was a huge controversy. In 1968, British singer Petula Clark was taking the world by storm. She was so popular that NBC chose to give her an hour long special.


In a show sponsored by Chrysler, Petula would sing her hits with a few friends including black singer Harry Belafonte. The duo planned to sing an anti-war duet, though that would not be the big controversy that arose from this show. You see, at the end of the song, Petula walked up to Harry and touched his arm.


Surely they must have done something else, right? Unfortunately, no. A white woman touching a black man in an innocent manner was enough to stir up controversy. A VP at Chrysler ordered NBC to cut the scene out. Petula's contract, however, gave her full control over the show. She refused to edit the song, even just for the southern states. NBC and Chrysler eventually gave in. The show aired with the scene intact and Chrysler fired the VP. Today it might seem like a petty thing to get upset about. In "the good old days", however, it was a huge controversy.

Friday, June 10, 2016

TV Facts: Gordie Howe is Woodrow

TV Facts: Desilu and Star Trek



Dearest Edna, I must leave you. Why, I cannot say. Where, you cannot know. How I will get there, I haven't decided yet. But one thing I can tell you, any time I hear the wind blow it will whisper the name Edna. And so let us part with a love that will echo through the ages.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The First Simpsons Guest Star- Penny Marshall is Ms. Botz

Long before it became fashionable to provide a guest voice on The Simpsons, getting the big names on the show required the assistance of producer and Hollywood legend James L. Brooks. His first 'get' was Penny Marshall, who would provide the voice of a dastardly babysitter in what was then considered to be the show's first episode- Some Enchanted Evening.


In the episode, it is revealed that Bart Simpson is so terrible to babysitters that Marge and Homer have a hard time hiring one. They unwittingly hire Ms. Botz, the notorious Babysitter Bandit, who plans to steal from them. After the three kids capture her, Homer sets her free, believing she has been the victim of one of Bart's pranks. He becomes a laughingstock when it is revealed that he has aided the escape of the wanted felon.


This first episode was a disaster. The network was not happy with the animation and pulled the show, forcing a costly re-do of the animation. They ended up pushing this episode to the season finale, which led to some chatter about whether the show would prove successful or not. When the show became a phenomenon, Fox's patience with it was richly rewarded.