The many fans of this blog. ( Excuse me while I wax sarcastic.) , will know that its author has a thing for classic TV Shows. I have posted about both the sadly obscure (Slattery's People) and the iconic (Route 66).
This brings us to today's rant. To paraphrase Francois Villon, "Where are the shows of yesteryear? There are dozens of superb TV shows with literate, thoughtful, imaginative scripts and fine acting, that languish in vaults, or are only available from bootleggers. The list from the sixties alone beggers belief:
1. The Westerner ( quintessential western, created by Sam Peckinpah starring Brian Keith and the dog from Old Yeller.) 2. Bus Stop. ( fascinating anthology show, starring Rhodes Reason and Martilyn Maxwell.) 3. East Side/West Side ( Powerful gritty show about social workers, starring George C. Scott and Cicely Tyson. 4. The Richard Boone Show ( "Here are the players..and this is the play." Brilliant anthology show starring Richard Boone and a fine ensemble cast.) 5. Channing ( I will describe this in a future post.) 6. The Defenders. ( Yes, the greatest lawyer show of all is NOT available on DVD.), 7.Slattery's People ( No comment ), 8. Ben Casey (Yes, the show that made Saint Elsewhere, Chicago Hope and House possible- and was, dare I say it, it, better than any of them, is NOT available.) 9.The Great Adventure ( I will describe this in a future post as well. ) 10. Profiles In Courage 11. The Name of the Game. 12. Judd For the Defense 13. The Trials of O'Brien. ( The show that replaced Slattery's People on CBS. Its star said years later that it was the best work he ever did on Tv. Who was the star? Fellow named Peter Falk.)
There is more, much more. To just cite the dramas: Mr. Novak, The Nurses, The Eleventh Hour, The Breaking Point, The Lieutenant, Saints and Sinners, Dr. Kildare
And also, less 'heavy' fare is also unavailable. Among the Spy/fantasy shows
Finally, two of the most acclaimed sitcoms ever made are only available from bootleggers
He and She, with Richard Benjamin, Paula Prentiss, and Jack Cassidy
My World and Welcome To It ( pioneering, almost unique, fusion of live action and animation, which managed to combine whimsy and cynicism. William Windom was unforgettable.)
Friends, that is just a list of shows from the sixties.
Postscript: In related news, The Kardashians just signed a multi-millionare dollar pact to produce
reality TV shows starring themselves.