Saturday, January 30, 2016

Cutting the Cable Cord, Part 4: Listening to Jack Benny

Jack Benny, Mary Livingstone,
and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson
Since cutting the cable cord, I’ve found numerous other avenues of entertainment. Earlier this week, a visiting friend from Mexico and I spent the entire evening watching GetTV’s variety Monday night including the legendary segment of the The Judy Garland Show with guest star Barbra Streisand and a surprise appearance by Ethel Merman; a Mitzi Gaynor special with fantastic dancing (I recognized several of the dancers from The Carol Burnett Show) and George Hamilton; and a Merv Griffin Show with Carol Channing walking from the St. James Theater where she was starring in Hello, Dolly! to the Little Theater (now the Helen Hayes) where Griffin filmed his talk show. She was leaving Dolly on Broadway to go on tour.

But I find myself most frequently listening to old broadcasts of Jack Benny on YouTube. Benny’s TV show was in daytime reruns when I was a kid. Today hardly anyone under 50 knows who he is and yet along with Bob Hope, he was probably the famous comedian in America. (Arthur Miller mentions him in Death of a Salesman, and Benny said that brief reference in the classic play would be his ticket to immortality. How right he was.) From 1932 to 1955, Benny did a weekly radio show (he started TV in 1950 and did both for five years.) I find it fascinating that an entertainer could have been so big and now only a small cultish figure in the public consciousness. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Political Thoughts

God help us!
GOP candidate Chris Christie recently said parents shouldn't have to worry about sending their kids to school and not having them come back alive. The irony is he was speaking in reference to the San Bernadino shootings by a radical Islamic terrorist couple. He's overlooking the fact that parents have been worried about their children's survival ever since the crazy guy shot up that school in Newtown, Conn. GOP candidates are picking and choosing which mass shootings to be concerned about. If they involve Muslims then it's a real cause for panic. If it's white guys then there's basically nothing we as a society can do about it because that would mean taking away someone's precious gun. You'll notice no one is doing anything about the militant ranchers taking over a government wildlife preserve in Oregon because they didn't like a judge's ruling on their court case. Could it be because these guys are white and Christian? Can you imagine what would happen if they were African-American, Native American, or Muslim?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cutting the Cable Cord Part 3: Default Mode Viewing

Judy Garland guest-starring on The Andy Williams Show
The cable cord is now totally cut and I don't miss it at all. We now have a digital antenna for broadcast channels with Netflix and Amazon for streaming. Almost every show I would have missed from cable will show on the latter two services sooner or later. The same for most broadcast shows since we no longer have a DVR. I did catch all of the last season of the Amazing Race and I have caught up with Big Bang Theory for free on CBS's website.