SPECIAL ISSUE: AMERICAN COMMERCIAL TV
Mork and Mindy is watched by more Americans than have seen any movie in a theater. And yet television produces more film per year than Hollywood does. Those are two good reasons for devoting an issue of FILM COMMENT to the tube. Another was to see what a dozen or so good writers, who first professed love is film, had to say about a medium that everybody looks at but few think about out loud—or in print.
FILM COMMENT is grateful to the staff of the Museum of Broadcasting for helping our writers and editors find old TV shows and elusive credits.
TV DRAMA: THEN AND NOW
The live, one-hour dramas of the Fifties—TV’s Golden Age—are fondly remembered, but how do they hold up today? Michael Kerbel looked at two dozen of them, and reports. And Tom Allen looks back at the best TV movies.
TV COMEDY: THEN AND NOW
Make ‘em laugh—that’s what TV has done best for thirty years, from Caesar and Coca to Laverne and Shirley. Peter W. Kaplan considers Fifties TV comedy, and Richard Corliss looks at the Norman Lear and MTM shows.
BACKSTAIRS AT THE HOTHOUSE
A well-meant conference on docudrama almost turned into a fistfight at the Ojai Corral. Frank Rich, a participant, lived to tell about it.
MOMENTS TO REMEMBER
Paul Slansky recalls 20 of TV’s own Dubious Achievements.
THE GREATEST SHOW ON TV
In 1953, TV held out a new promise—and the Ford 50th Anniversary show delivered on it. By Peter Kaplan.
DIARY OF A MAD TVIEWER
Is TV the opium of the middle class? Then Janet Maslin has a novel way of breaking the habit: OD-ing.
SEX STARS OF THE 70’S
It’s the New Look in TV newsfolk: high cheekbones and a face you can believe in. By Richard Corliss.
By Mark O’Donnell.
They may be the best thing on TV, but how are they made, and what are they really selling? Dan Yakir finds out from the “filmmakers,” and Tom Figenshu identifies six “character types” in TV ads—from Uptown Macho to Beyond Gorgeous.
THE CREDITS YOU NEVER READ
Who wrote the best sitcoms? Directed the best TV movies? Now you know.
THE GREAT CARSONI
Roger Ebert on Mr. Late Night.
SPORTS ON TV
All those big men jostling inside that tiny box—it’s not the same, and not so good. By Cary Schneider.
In which Lou Grant proves there is life after WJM. By Richard Jameson.
Dallas resides deep in the heart of melodrama. Dave Kehr approves.
TIME TO LEAVE THE ROOM
Bonnie Franklin ... Richard Dawson ... bare breasts ... ulp, scuz me. By Dan Menaker; drawing by Arnie Levin.
Gilbert Adair on Eduardo de Gregorio’s memorable new film.
William K. Everson reviews Kevin Brownlow’s monument to the early documentarians. Donald Lyons considers three star biographies.
Amos Vogel on film-video museums.