Nelson Minow, the new Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, offered the following challenge to the National Association of Broadcasters earlier this month (May 9, 1961).
"I invite each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for a day without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland...
...When television is good, nothing -- not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers -- nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse."
He is, of course, stating the obvious. If you park yourself in front of the idiot box all day, your mind will be turned to mush by the soap operas, game shows, inferior anthologies, and the endless commercials (sometimes as many as ten
30-second spots per hour!). But, for the more discriminating, there are about six hours of good TV on any given week. If you like Westerns (and you'd better!), there's Rawhide
, though the latter is much reduced in watchability since James Garner left the cast. You've got Route 66
. Andy Griffith has got a fun show. Dobie Gillis
is still amusing on occasion.
And then you've got Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone
. I'm shed much ink over the fact that this second season hasn't been as good as the first. The last three episodes, however, comprise a solid streak of goodness that I think you'll enjoy if you catch them during the summer reruns (and, as is now tradition, you'll get a one-two review punch with both me and the Young Traveler reporting our thoughts):
(see them at Galactic Journey