The TV Guide TV Book

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I couldn't find a picture of today's book online so I had to take a picture of the book, and for some reason I couldn't get one without the glare, so please excuse the picture dear readers.

And now on to today's entry:

Happy Father's Day dear readers (even though I'm not even sure if I have any fathers reading my blog, other than my own father of course.) I debated about what to read for Father's Day - I first considered a book on the theme of fatherhood. But then I thought that would be too obvious, so I decided instead to read a book on one of my Dad's favorite subjects: TV.

I started the day by making Campfire Breakfast for my Dad (a breakfast that I think looks disgusting, but he loves it), and then we all went to the Parade of Homes together. So I had a chance to read him random tidbits from today's book and ask him about his favorite TV memories in the car on the way. I asked him to share any memories that would demonstrate to my dear readers just how much he loves TV - and he said, "Well my brother and I used to get up so early on Saturday mornings that the cartoons weren't on yet, so we would sit and watch the test pattern." This really doesn't surprise me coming from a man who will stand and stare in fascination at a commercial that's on mute. He also told me about how he and his brother would fight, back in their pre-remote control days, over who got to be in charge of changing the channels - proving that children really will fight over anything.

Today's book, "Relive all your favorite television moments - from Howdy Doody, Marshal Dillon, and I Love Lucy to Bart Simpson, J.R. Ewing, and Murphy Brown. This book contains all the greatest hits and the biggest flops, the famous "firsts" and the endless feuds, the embarrassing scandals and the glorious heights of television."

When searching for a book about TV to read I ran across today's book and thought it would be perfect because it's filled with TV trivia, just like my Dad who can still remember the names of the penguin and the walrus that were on a cartoon he watched when he was six (Tennessee Tuxedo and Chumly.) The downside to the wealth of TV trivia that lives in his head is that approximately once a month he accidentally lets slip some information about Dallas that happens in a season I haven't gotten to yet. When I was in season three he let slip a few things about season four, and then while in season four he let slip a few things from seasons 5. Since I've grown accustomed to these monthly spoiler slip-ups, it wasn't nearly as jarring for me when I ran across a few tidbits from season six while reading today's book. Some people just have no respect for those of us whose Mother's wouldn't let us watch the show the first time around (that's right I had the meanest Mom on earth, or so I thought, who wouldn't let me watch Dallas when I was four years old.)

Fun facts about TV:

  • Nick at Nite once did a 2 -hour special in honor of the woman who played the back of Patty Duke's head as her body double on The Patty Duke Show. - This little piece of information has definitely substantiated my belief that Nick at Nite is just not as much fun as it used to be. I remember when I was in high school and I spent nearly every day in the summer babysitting for the two kids who lived down the street. We would watch "Block Party Summer" which was filled with amusing commercials(anyone remember the dancing squirrel commercial) and shows that actually were classics. Well the magic has died because there is apparently someone in charge of Nick at Nite now who has no sense of whimsy.

  • There were two different actresses who played Gladys Kravitz on Bewitched. - Now I'm torn, the next time my Mother is watching what the neighbors are doing so intently that she has no idea what's going on in the room she's actually in and I end up saying "Umm Gladys, could you please focus on our conversation," I won't know which Gladys I'm referring to.

  • There were originally plans to do a TV show based on the movie Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. It was in the planning stages in 1954 and then again in 1959, but it never made it past that point. - I feel very sad about that because I love that movie, and I think it would have made a great show. My mind is still trying to wrap itself around the fact that someone decided to green light the show My Mother the Car but The Blandings got passed over. It's a travesty.

  • Mr. Belvedere was originally planned back in 1959, but it didn't make it onto the air until 1985. - So basically the people who created that show are go-getters. I'm certainly glad the show didn't make it onto the air until the 80s because otherwise there might not have been anything good on during that time slot, and I might have had to actually read a book or talk to my family. I don't even like to think about it. And I'm very excited because I managed to stump my Dad with that little piece of TV trivia. Ha Ha, he really shouldn't have gotten so smug when I asked him if he knew there were two Gladys Kravitz and he responded with "Of course."

Overall the book was good but not great. It didn't have nearly as many fun facts or interesting back stories as I had hoped it would, but I did pick up a few interesting piece of TV trivia.

My favorite part of the book was the list of TV Guide Picks of the top 20 Television Shows of the 80s. I disagreed with almost all of their picks, with a few exceptions which I'm sure anyone whose read my blog for more than a month will be able to pick out. But I had fun while reading it trying to come up with my own Top 20 list (but I could only come up with 6.)

Here are TV Guides' picks: 1. The Cosby Show 2. Dallas 3. Hill Street Blues 4. Dynasty 5. Brideshead Revisited 6. Nightline 7. Cheers 8. Moonlighting 9. Miami Vice 10. The Day After 11. Wheel of Fortune 12. Lonesome Dove 13. L.A. Law
14. The Winds of War 15. Saturday Night Live 16. The Golden Girls 17. Tabloid TV
18. The Thorn Birds 19. The Wonder Years 20. St. Elsewhere (Clearly TV Guide couldn't come up with 20 either since they cheated and added in a couple of mini-series.)

Here's my list: 1. Golden Girls 2. Designing Women 3. Dallas 4. The Wonder Years
5. Full House 6. Little House on the Prairie

Tell me about your favorite TV shows dear readers. Or about your favorite TV memories. I would love to hear about it. Or you can share a piece of TV trivia and play "Do I know more about TV than Angie's Dad?"