Saturday, June 5, 2010

Golden Age of TV

Peter Graham (according to the internets) said that the Golden Age of Science Fiction is 12. I believe this applies to TV as well. So lately we've been dipping into the golden age on Netflix.

All nostalgia aside, we can all agree that Rocky & Bullwinkle was a classic of modern animation. If you haven't watched it recently, you'll find it holds up very well. The artwork is sketchy and abstract, but always compelling, and the gags are a great blend of broad and sophisticated. It also looks great on a modern big screen TV, even streaming online. Since it came out in 1961, I was younger than 12, but since my father and grandfather were big fans, I guess it's just timeless.

The Avengers was British series, featuring Patrick Macnee as suave upper-class John Steed. He had several female partners, but our favorite was always Diana Rigg as sports-car-driving, mod-leather-wearing, high-kicking Mrs. Emma Peel, from the 1967 season (I was 11). The mysteries and the action scenes don't hold up very well today, but the light humor and sparkling savoir faire more than make up for it.

The Munsters, on the other hand, wasn't that good when it came out, and doesn't look much better now. It had a strong looking cast:
  • Frankensteinish Herman Munster is played by Fred Gwynne, a goofy giant
  • Witchy Lily is played by Yvonne De Carlo, exotic beauty known for sword and sandal camel operas
  • Vampiric Grandpa is played by beloved character actor Al Lewis
However, the show is hampered by an excessively camp and hokey style, and was totally outclassed by its contemporary, The Addams Family.

Great then, great now: Get Smart. Mel Brooks and Buck Henry created a parody of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (itself a parody of James Bond). Don Adams' Max Smart delivers a line like nobody else, and Barbara Feldon is even more beautiful than I remembered. Sadly, it is not available to Watch Instantly. I feel that it is worth getting on disk.


mr. schprock said...

Wait - Get Smart was a parody?

Beveridge D. Spenser said...

It was a parody of a parody - of James Bond, which is pretty silly when you think about it.

mr. schprock said...

Aw, shoot, I knew it was a parody, I was just being a smart ass. But speaking of James Bond, there was a short story written by Richard Connell entitled "The Most Dangerous Game," copyrighted 1924, featuring a super villain named General Zaroff, to which the James Bonds stories owe a great debt. Also there are the Ashenden stories by Somerset Maugham, which Fleming must have read or heard about.