Favorite old shows that hold up and those that don't

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Favorite old shows that hold up and those that don't

Postby Roger Thornhill » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:13 pm

So what do you think?

DVD has enriched my TV viewing, allowing me to catch up on a lot of the old shows I watched in syndication years ago and a lot that I didn't. However, in the sober light of the modern day, some are just not as good as I remember.

Short list of old shows that still impress
* The Honeymooners (Gleason's charisma shines through and he's working with a great group, Art Carney especially)
* Dick Van Dyke Show (the writing is top-notch, the gags brilliant and physical comedy tops)
* Mannix (amazing sport coats and great goofy characters)
* Outer Limits (fun but smart--like good sci-fi should be)
* The Invaders (such great colours and I love the clothes)

Short list of old shows that leave me cold
* Bewitched (love the chemistry and the gags but find the premise bothersome)
* Later seasons of Columbo (as much as I like Falk, he really started to become a character of himself and the great potential of the guest stars is wasted by letting them eat up the scenery. The early seasons are so much better)
* Bannacek (George is great but in every episode the "lost valuable" is in the room hidden behind the wall or on another floor. The scripts are frequently cringe-worthy)

That isn't to say I hate these shows. They still have a place in my heart, but criticism has its place.

Would love to hear other people's thoughts. Agree? Disagree? What other shows are you watching on DVD? [/list]

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Favorite old shows that hold up and those that don't

Postby esl » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:33 am

Here's one that does not hold up: Quincy. The first season or two were good; but then it fell into a cliché of the disease/condition of the week. Typical dialogue went like this:

(Quincy, upon being introduced to some specialist or someone who heads a foundation to cure some obscure medical condition.)

Quincy: This is an impressive facility!
Specialist: Quincy - do you realize that x number of people die each year from this disease?
Quincy: Gosh, I had no idea.
Specialist: That's the problem Quincy. No one knows. It's people like you who can bring awareness to this problem. You've got to help.

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Postby Roger Thornhill » Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:58 am

Did you ever see the infamous "punk rock" episode of Quincy? It's hilarious.

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Postby nichols » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:35 pm

My vote for better with age? Top Cat!
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Postby Slim and Gabby » Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:33 am

Ughghghg, Quincy-punks! Gabby, having been a real punk at he time, finds this one, um, let's just say, fascinating!
The first season of the Flinstones is by far, and easily the best; art, voice characterizations, and writing are top notch. The show was merely adequate after that, once they got the kids, it's unwatchable!
Topper: if you like droll, this show is pretty cool! Admittedly, most people I talk with that aren't at least 60, don't remember the show; being a young-fogy, this is probably my favorite show. Anne Jeffereys and Robbert Sterling are the epitome of suave:

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McHale's Navy, MASH and Hogan's Heroes still leave my head numb...
Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

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Postby Buddies Lounge » Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:25 am

I’ve been picking up 16mm prints of the “Adventures of Ozzie & Harrietâ€￾ on e-bay from time to time, and truly love how many of these episodes still hold up today. Sure there’s some dogs (not all 435 could be winners), but when O&H fired on all cylinders, it’s nothing short of an Atomic-Age “Seinfeldâ€￾ in my view. Great stuff.

“Burke’s Lawâ€￾ is also fun, but “My Three Sonsâ€￾ “Make Room For Daddyâ€￾, “Gilligan’s Islandâ€￾ and sometimes “The Brady Bunchâ€￾ pushes me into the deep end of nausea
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Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet

Postby esl » Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:46 am


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Postby Roger Thornhill » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:53 am

Slim and Gabby, thanks for the Topper referral. I hadn't heard of that one. Will have to check it out.

I've never seen Ozzie and Harriet, but would like to (same goes w/ Burke's Law). I've been a fan of Ricky since hearing that American Dream box set Bear Family put out. Anything related is of interest.

I'm curious as to who formed the original market for those 16mm shows. Were they for social clubs? The home market? I understand that a lot of old horror films were packaged up on 16mm for those Famous Monsters of Filmland readers who would order them from the classifieds. I didn't think that old shows were really aimed at the home market until Columbia had that TV club where you could subscribe to buy individual vhs tapes of I Love Lucy, Columbo, et al.

An interesting precursor to Twilight Zone is One Step Beyond. The sets suggest that the show ran on a rather tight budget but for fans of early sci-fi, it's worth checking out, especially as one can buy the set from Alpha Video for pretty cheap.
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Another one that has dated rather well is Get Smart. I've only watched the first season on DVD but it's a lot of fun. Great clothes and goofy scripts.

How do people rate Dark Shadows? When I found out about the show, I was really enthralled by the concept but having bought the first couple of MPI sets, my interest has somewhat cooled. One has to watch a LOT OF EPISODES before the plat advances in any meaningful way. I like the gothic sets, Barnibus Collins, the theme song, and the whacky beatnik references (one of girls had a wayward, motorcycle-riding boyfriend).
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And for those who are interested, here is the infamous Quincy "punk" clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpYd7bOn52M

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catchy name there dude...

Postby copocabana » Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:34 pm


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Postby Skylark » Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:22 pm

The 16mm prints currently circulating were originally printed for syndication to local TV stations. When the shows became available on videotape, the 16mm films were no longer needed, but are prized by many collectors.

I second "The Dick Van Dyke Show." My husband has many on 16mm, and they hold up extremely well. Everything clicks on that show.

Another favorite of ours is "Leave It To Beaver." The behavior of the kids rings true, and Ward's parenting seems like something we could use now. And it's very funny. I just can't get tired of this show. Having debuted the day Sputnik was launched, it is truly the first entirely "space age" television show.

To a slighty lesser extent, "Happy Days," the first two seasons before it was filmed before a live audience. Even the pilot which ended up on "Love American Style" has its own charm. Before big brother Chuck went MIA. We're two prints away from having 16mm prints of all those early episodes. So close!

And they all look even better on the big screen. The Dick Van Dyke episode "Ghost of A. Chantz" got the biggest laughs of anything we've evern shown. 8-)

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Get Smart=yesss

Postby Slim and Gabby » Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:30 pm

I like the Outer Limits, but the pix you are showing looks like some dreaded remake. Be sure they are old enough. Not as good as Twilight Zone, but good.

Get Smart still rocks. It was my fave show as a kid-I was so excited to watch it prime time that I built a "fort" outta stools, pillows, blankets etc. and knocked it all over-including the TV. Lights OUT! It was fixed, but we had to change channels with an oven knob after that. Bake, Broil, and Get Smart.

Other good cop shows- Peter Gunn is cool, but gets old after a bit...HOT girlfriend, cool jazz, but the writing breaks down. I love the old Racket Squad shows- they are on Netflix now: based on true crimes. And hello- Dragnet? We just got a vintage Dragnet BOARD game. HOO! Perry Mason is a bit of a design snob-check out the Lightolier in his office. Raymond Burr said on a talk show that he HATED the faux moderne art behind Perry's desk and lobbied to have it removed. He was vetoed, so he took a pen and "improved" it before each episode. Apparently no one in continuity ever caught on. Della is super cool, as is Paul Drake. And who was his tailor?? a Master.

Ozzie and Harriet are just OK. Love the Beav-and Larry Mondello and Lumpy Rutherford. Gotta echo Slim on Topper-really one of the best shows in writing, acting, all.

Did anyone know Les Paul and Mary Ford had a regular TV show? Not quite a sitcom, but talky in a house at least.
Catch some episodes on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_t ... +ford&aq=f

Man- I never realized she wasn't just kinda along for the ride until I saw those. She is AMAZING. Just a great musician, cute and such a personality. LOVE these.


And cartoons! Real Cartoons! Hard to beat Johnny Quest. Slim is a huge Huck and Yogi fan, but I like Droopy. And old Fleischer bros. Not any good cartoons on TV anymore. BUT it's really fun to do vintage ones with fuzzy slippers, and TV trays on Sat mornings once in a while.

And yes-they are best watched via DVD run through one of Slim's old TVs.

Love the real stuff. We're not even hooked up to cable-we only watch the old stuff and Netflix.

Gabby
Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

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Re: Get Smart=yesss

Postby Roger Thornhill » Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:11 pm


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Postby Roger Thornhill » Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:32 pm

I realized that my last post may have caused some confusion. I meant who prefers the old Dragnet (black and white) to the colour one, both with Jack Webb. I don't mean the rather sad TV series remake of a few years ago.

Oh and Slim and Gabby, the pics are from One Step Beyond. Don't let those terrible frames fool you, One Step Beyond is old, older than Outer Limits and starting the same year as Twilight Zone. However, it isn't fair to compare it to those shows, as it is nowhere near as good, mind. However, for those who like vintage sci-fi, may be worth checking out. Full disclosure--the production values are pretty miserable.

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Postby Buddies Lounge » Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:19 pm

I've been picking up 16mm prints of "M Squad", "Mike Hammer" (late 50's version) and "Burke's Law" prints sometime for under $35 each! These are a lot of fun to run on the big screen for friends and family....every now and then prints show up on e-bay. Like 4 track reel to reel's on your Hi-Fi, nothing beats a well produced 16mm print of your favorite show on the big screen!
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hmmm 16 mm...gahhhh...

Postby Slim and Gabby » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:08 am

Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

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Postby Roger Thornhill » Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:03 pm

Ha. Ha. That's great Gabby! Thanks for the affirmation. My girlfriend loves Emergency, which I think is a total snore-fest. The plotting is unbelievably boring. They ported over Webb's "nothing but the facts" writing to a rescue show and it just doesn't work.

I'm particularly annoyed that there are several seasons of Emergency on DVD but the studios have stalled releasing anything past the first season for Dragnet and Kojak.

What do people think of the shows Gerry and Sylvia Anderson did? I'm really taken with the puppetry. Hard to watch a bunch in a row but one now and again can be fun. And they have such great theme songs! Captain Scarlet being particularly brilliant.

A friend of mine who does the Eclectic Screening Room zine/blog (http://screening-room.ca/) hosted a mind-boggling screening of educational films here in Toronto. He dug up some of the really obscure ones that don't generally get comped. They're fascinating in that there is often someone dying to be more creative struggling to break free at the centre of these industrial films, usually by way of weird cuts, over-use of effects or out-there plotting. What's particularly nice is that they're generally so short that if you encounter a bad one, wait five minutes and a good one will come up.

Buddies Lounge, didn't Mickey Spillane actually star in Mike Hammer? I might be thinking of one of the movies. EDIT (quick wikipedia check later) He starred in Ring of Fear, as well as an episode of Columbo and some Miller Lite commercials. How about that?

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Postby Slim and Gabby » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:01 am

Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

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Johny Quest

Postby esl » Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:47 am

Loved it as a kid, though I saw it in reruns; not the original broadcasts. I did not realize there were only 24 episodes ever made until I bought the DVD set.

Posting this because this past weekend I had my co-workers (mostly Japanese) and their families over to my apartment. So, after eating, what to do to keep 6 boys ages 5 to 13 occupied while the adults chat. Well - put on Johny Quest. That did it. For the next two-plus hours 6 boys sat pretty still. There was a few times where some would try to imitate the action on screen. So, I now declare (based on this unscientific sample) that Johny Quest holds up not only over time but over different cultures.

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Postby Skylark » Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:01 am

Mickey Spillane starred AS Mike Hammer in "The Girl Hunters." Cool, though the Mike Hammer movie "I, The Jury" is cool for being in 3-D!

Years ago, my husband bought a 16mm industrial film on something like oil exploration. Being a car enthusiast, I think he got it because there was some great Technicolor footage of vintage gas stations. But when we watched it, we were surprised to find that some sequences were done in stop-motion animation produced by George Pal.

That's the fun of collecting 16mm. You find ephemera not available on any home video format. Another similar find was "The Cool Hot Rod," available on home video in black and white. His version is in beautiful glorious Kodachrome!

The later Dragnet's are fun to watch specifically because they don't hold up over time, like all the drug-related episodes. Our addictions are all very legal (though too expensive), but those episodes are a hoot!

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Postby esl » Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:12 pm

As we are talking about old shows; has anyone seen episodes of a show from 1960 or 1961 called "Hong Kong" staring Rod Taylor? Taylor played a foreign correspondent. I think it lasted only one season. There are copies of the show available on the grey market. I am wondering if the show itself is any good.

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Postby I_LUV_POWER!!!! » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:46 pm

I watched the Land of the Lost marathon on Memorial Day weekend, and I actually appreciate more as an adult. Technically it doesn't hold up (but the heart that went into characters like Dopey does), but I still get into the stories.

On the other hand, Sid & Marty Krofft's Lidsville never made the same impression on me as an adult. I still think it's fun, though.

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One for the so-cal folks

Postby Slim and Gabby » Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:09 pm

We had watched the pilot and first couple episodes of..
Emergency....from the early '70's. Last nite we watched season 2 episodes on Netflix. There is a TON of neat old LA architecture in there.

Lots of excavations, building sites and locations shot around town.
Kinda fun to play detective.
Plus it's Jack Webb's final offering. Weird to see that sensibility mixed with dig-it's and other grooovy stabs at 'current' lingo.
Kinda trashy and fun once in a while.

Be ooop BONK....Engine 51, we have a situation.....

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Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

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Postby Slim and Gabby » Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:27 am

The FIRST season of Lost in Space. It was shot in B/W and had some pretty darned good stories, unlike the second which was merely adequate and finally the third was just awful. Dr. Smith, played by Johnathan Harris, was evil in the first five which are considered the best of the best for this show. He gradually became just a fool/clown to foil Will Robinson, Billy Mumy, this is just painful to watch. In later episodes, there is one where the robot falls in love and at one point starts crying?!?!?!?!? "The Great Vegetable Rebellion" is thought by some to be one of the worst things to be shown on the boobtoob. Sometimes you can even catch glimpses of MCM stuff. I have always though the way they dressed in the first season was pretty boss. Being a redhead myself, I think it would have been pretty great to be Will Robinson, what kid wouldn't?
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Slim
Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

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Postby spinsLPs » Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:31 am

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Postby sky » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:06 pm

So about "The Rifleman," Spins, I'm guessing you think that one that holds up.

They were replaying the show daily on the Western channel a couple of years ago, and watched a bunch of them. I still enjoyed them, but it surprised me this time around that they were such heavy-handed morality tales. They were way ahead of their time about tolerance, though. I particularly like the one about the guy who thought he was Abraham Lincoln, which was just fine with Luke.

Dunno about Zorro. I remember liking Sergeant Garcia, but that's about it.

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Postby Roger Thornhill » Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:33 am

Spins, Zorro is looking pretty dejected about shifting that merch. He has that look of quiet despair common to celebrities who pay their rent attending comic book conventions.

Slim, good call on Lost in Space. I used to have a bunch of first season episodes on VHS and remember enjoying them greatly. Aside from how awesome the robot is, I really enjoyed Dr. Smith's character.
"And darkness, as darkness does, fell."


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