Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stay Tuned for more Exciting Adventures !

As a member in good standing of the baby-boomer generation I grew up with the beginnings of television. Radio and movies were starting to be replaced by this new medium. Families instead of gathering around the big console radio were now gathering around this big console with a tiny screen. The picture was usually small, snowy and flipped around sometimes but it was a picture all the same. At first some stations did not start broadcasting until afternoon since that was when the network feeds began and these stations did not have any other programming.

Show like Milton Berle, Your Show of Shows with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, Phil Silvers, Ozzie and Harriot. Westerns and variety and game shows and drama and science fiction and family sitcoms that were totally non-dysfunctional - like how realistic is that. Some of the first educational TV shows like Ding Dong School and Watch Mr. Wizard - my favorite of course.

Until the advent of television and even sometime after if you wanted to actually see the news you had to go to the movies. And even the movies themselves were being broadcast on television. The special effects - and some were quire good - we pretty obviously special effects. You could tell easily that there was no way anyone could actually do any of those things. If Superman ever flown as fast as he was supposed to be flying, his cape would have been ripped right off of his body - along with most of his clothes. And the westerns were just as bad. It was entertainment and an escape from the problems of the day.

As an aside the one industry that did very well during the Great Depression was the entertainment industry. Especially the movies. People wanted and needed to have an escape from the conditions of the time. So much so the my grandfather, who worked to Western Electric Sound, was sent to Australia and New Zealand to install sound systems in their silent movie theaters.

The industry evolved along with the technology and it's ability to create bigger and better and more realistic images on the large screen as well as small improved at a very rapid pace. Especially with the advances in computer technology. To the point where being able to tell what was real and what was staged became more and more difficult to do. And now we can have the large screen right in our living rooms.

With thousands of digitally clear and detailed channels to choose from, movies with unbelievable effects, video games and reality TV. Reality TV ??!! I always thought those terms where a contradiction.

An interesting side note. Our time in front the the screen is at an all time high. Yet the incidence of obesity has also increased. I connection maybe. Add to that computers, the internet and DVD as well as the good old movie house and we have escapism run wild.

With it becoming more and more difficult to determine what is real and what is not in what you are watching, is it any wonder that there are some many people who believe every word uttered by TVs talking heads is the unvarnished truth ? What happens when somebody decides that to improve viewership of those Reality Based they need only add some unreality ? What happens when politicians figure this out ?

The technology to do this has existed for quite a while and is improving every day.

Will we become a bizarre mixture of Orwell and Huxley with some Rod Serling thrown in for good measure ?

schizo·phre·nia : Any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances.

Cross posted at dagblog.


Amike said...

I'm actually a proto-boomer, or whatever they call us born too late to be a depression baby and too early to be a result of the national Yippee! following world war II. I remember seeing the newsreels at the movies, but I don't remember whether they appeared before or after the cartoons.

I'm not sure if there's a Clockwork Orange in our future, or whether your trio has it (maybe a little Moe, Larry, and Curly will be it?

But the degree to which choice is liberating we're about the most liberated people ever. Then the question becomes do we make our own choices or do we let others make them for us-- I'm speaking net neutrality here, partly, but also whether we let the news aggregating sites do the cherry picking for us so we can read summaries (or not--maybe just the headlines) and not click through to see what there is for ourselves.

BTW-- Tons of those old newsreels are available online, free. A lot of them are here:

and more are here: from where you can go back to newsreelarchive's website. Also the internet archive is a cool place. Aaargh the semester is in full swing, and I can't help myself. Sorry about that.


I love this medium C. Just love it.

They will make all attempts at capitalizing it.

But unless they are able to over write the copyright laws we have everything ever written up until 1930 or so. ha

And advertisers wish to make money on the 'free sites' so what the hell?