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The Fugitive (1st season, 1963-64)

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 The Fugitive (1963-67)
Streaming free at Internet Archive

The 1993 movie with Harrison Ford, The Fugitive, was fun and it's on my rewatch list, but it wasn't as complex, thoughtful, or just plain good as the TV show it was swiped from.

David Janssen played the title role, with a look of eternal indigestion on his dour face. You'd need Pepto-Bismol too, if your wife had died, but instead of being allowed to mourn, you were falsely accused and convicted of killing her.

The jury got it wrong. We know this because the show's narrator vouches for Dr Richard Kimble at the top of every episode, a deep voice telling us that Kimble is innocent, and the real killer was a mysterious one-armed man. It's an iron-clad rule of TV and the movies: A narrator with a deep voice never lies.

After being convicted, Kimble is escorted to death row by Inspector Gerard (Barry Morse), but spared the gas chamber by a lucky train wreck.

Kimble flees into the night, and then he's always on the run, with a different name, a different job in every episode. He never stays in one place for long, and Gerard is always on his tail, only a step and a half behind. 

I was a kid when The Fugitive premiered, but watched when I could, even though it was on past my bedtime. Watched it more in later childhood, in weekday reruns after school.

Which is strange, because there's nothing here that should appeal to children. Maybe I liked Kimble's alienation, never fitting in anywhere, and his natural distrust of strangers and authority. Seems sad that I'd relate to that, so young.

I've never seen the final episode, though, and always wondered how the show ends. With the marvel of the internet, it's easy to find out.

First, I wanted to reacquaint myself with the show's vibe. It was on for four seasons, 30 episodes each, and no way was I watching 120 hours of some 1960s TV show, so I picked a handful of episodes at random.

Guess what, though? The episodes I watched were so dang good, I went back for a few more, and then more, until finally, yeah, I'm watching every episode of The Fugitive, right up to its famous conclusion.

And I can tell you already: This isn't just TV fondly remembered from childhood. It's a great old show! Some of it sucks, sure, but most of it's good, and often it's excellent.

S01E01: "Fear in a Desert City"

In this debut episode, there's no murder, only the same opening recap that started every episode — the narrator explaining that an innocent man had been found guilty, escaped in a train wreck, etc.

Dr Kimble, calling himself 'Lincoln', is tending bar in a Tucson hotel, where the piano player (Sara Miles) is attacked by one of the customers (Brian Kieth). Kimble comes to the lady's rescue and slugs the customer, but he turns out to be the piano player's husband, and well-connected with the local police.

"I guess there isn't a man in the world who doesn't have something he wants to hide."

This touches on two rather adult themes for network TV in 1963 — domestic violence, and crooked cops. There's action, there's drama, there's action-packed drama, and it also establishes that Kimble likes cats, which makes him an even more sympathetic character.

S01E02: "The Witch"

Now Kimble is 'Fowler', handyman in a small Missouri town. He's comes across a little girl who's constantly lying, and accuses Kimble of coming after her, ripping her dress.

It's an icky subject, clumsily tackled and cringeworthy, and somehow witchcraft is involved?

If every episode was this bad I wouldn't be watching, but very few episodes of The Fugitive are this bad.

S01E03: "The Other Side of the Mountain"

Kimble wanders into a nearly-dead West Virginia town, ruined and abandoned after the coal mine shut down. Everyone's short-tempered and eager to fight, including deputy Bruce Dern, so Kimble hightails it to the hills.

There he meets a hillbilly dame (Sandy Dennis) who's always dreamed some man would take her away from the mountain to see the world. Maybe Kimble could be that man?

Unsurprisingly, he's not the man who'll take her away, but in a fine proto-feminist pep talk, he tells her that leaving the mountain and seeing the world doesn't require a man — she can do it alone.

Sounds hokey and it is, but it's also touching, and in the show's trademarked 'epilog' just before the closing credits, she's packing to leave.

S01E04 & E05: "Never Wave Goodbye"

Working for a disabled sailmaker in Santa Barbara, Kimble goes by the name 'Cooper'. The sailmaker's daughter is sweet on 'Cooper', but a co-worker disapproves, and gets suspicious about the newcomer.

Susan Oliver plays the sailmaker's daughter, and Robert Duvall, fresh from To Kill a Mockingbird but now with a German accent, is the troublemaker.

The plot of this one leans toward ludicrous, with sharks and a rubber raft, but it's still engrossing and enjoyable, like discovering an old noir movie that's not great but not bad.

Memorable moments: Gerard gives a fine soliloquy, explaining his perpetual manhunt. Kimble eludes him with a nimble two-bus transfer in Los Angeles. Gerard is revealed to have a heart. 

S01E06: "Decision in the Ring"

Kimble is 'Miller', towel boy at a Los Angeles boxing club, but with his medical training he's a better cut man than the fighter's cut man.

Boxing dramas don't much interest me unless they're done all fancy and ugly like Rocky, but this is a tidy, well-written drama. James Edwards and Ruby Dee guest star.

S01E07: "Smoke Screen"

Calling himself 'Walker', Kimble is a farm laborer in California. He's the only white worker in the fields, and the boss's orders are translated into Spanish by a co-worker named Paco (Alejandro Rey).

For reasons unknown, Paco hates Kimble, but eventually it's explained — Kimble is white and has soft hands, so he must be with the Border Patrol, trying to find workers who've come to America illegally. At least, that's what he thinks.

"Paco, the police and me are on opposite ends of the pole. I've got more reason to run from the police than you have."

So yeah, this episode is soft on illegal immigration — another reason to love The Fugitive. Watching in the middle of our MAGA nightmare, I literally cheered and applauded more than twice. Fox News would eat this ep alive!

Written by John D F Black, who wrote Ivan Dixon's Trouble Man, and Star Trek's "The Naked Time" (where Sulu fenced and Spock cried and Kirk was unsure of himself). This is the episode where the show started hitting peak Fugitive, and the one that convinced me to watch 'em all.

S01E08: "See Hollywood and Die"

This one's also quite good. As 'Fleming', Kimble is pumping gas and changing oil at a New Mexico service station, when the place is robbed. Kimble and a woman (Brenda Vaccaro from Capricorn One) are taken captive by the robbers as they drive away, and after a few minutes sizing up the situation, Kimble starts outsmarting the baddies from the back seat.

S01E09: "Ticket to Alaska"

Kimble is on a cruise to Alaska when a cop comes aboard, and soon there's trouble, but I have a few questions:

First, in the whole series it's never clear where Kimble gets his money, his clothes, his cab fare and hamburger budget. He takes whatever job will hire him, yeah, but about half the time when Kimble leaves town it's in a hurry, and everything he owns is left behind. He often doesn't have even a change of clothes, and that's gotta hurt on a working man's budget. But in this episode, he's a passenger on a cruise ship to Ketchikan? Those tickets cost serious money, and did, even in 1963.

Second, we're told that crimes at sea are investigated by the captain and his officers, and tried in a courtroom setting aboard the ship. Witnesses are under oath, and the captain is the judge and jury. I've searched the internet for a solid two minutes and couldn't confirm whether that's really the way it works, but I don't like it. If the ship is steaming up the coast, the investigation and trial should take place in the country they were steaming past, which for this ep would be either Canada or the USA.

Written by Oliver Crawford, who wrote Star Trek's outstanding "The Galileo Seven."

S01E10: "Fatso"

With that title for the episode and my own ample girth, I was uncertain, but it didn't make me cringe even once.

Kimble's new buddy is the titular 'Fatso', and everyone taunts him for his weight (though by 2024 standards he's only kinda chubby). It's handled sympathetically, and there's a deep, dark secret at the heart of the plot. Directed by the great Ida Lupino.

"Drive carefully. Do everything carefully, from the moment you wake until you go to sleep at night, if you have a place to sleep. One false move, one little quirk of fate…"

S01E11: "Nightmare at Northoak"

Well, here's a nightmare indeed — this starts with a school bus crashing and bursting into flames, while Kimble ('Porter', the new lumberjack in town) races after it, opens the emergency exit, and gets the kids and driver out safely.

He's a local hero, but got a concussion when the bus exploded. With no insurance, he's 'hospitalized' at the sheriff's home, and for a man like Kimble, that's an unwelcome complication.

It's another very strong episode, a meditation on right and wrong, guilt and innocence, and doing the right thing.

S01E12: "Glass Tightrope"

Under the name 'Carson', Kimble is making deliveries from a department store, as the store's general manager quarrels with another man in the parking lot. In dialogue so subtle that audiences might've missed it in '63, it's unmistakable that the two men are gay lovers. I accidentally outed them, sorry, when I shouted it at my cat: "Holy crap, they're gay!" 

As their argument get heated, the GM slugs the other man, who hits his head as he falls, and dies. It's an accidental killing, but Kimble was in the parking lot and saw it all. When a bum is picked up and charged with murdering the dead man, will Kimble keep quiet and let another innocent man face murder charges?

Leslie Nielsen and Ed Binns are the guest stars, in another episode well-directed by Ida Lupino.

S01E13: "Terror at High Point"

Going by the name 'Beaumont', Kimble is the timekeeper at a giant construction project. A dull-witted boy has been hired for menial work, but gets taunted by a few of the redneck workers.

You've seen this morality play a zillion times on TV and in the movies, but not with a cool scene of runaway heavy equipment, and not with Jack Klugman, Elizabeth Allen, James Best, and Buck Taylor.

S01E14: "The Girl from Little Egypt"

Doc Kimble, tonight called 'Browning', is hit by a car in San Francisco. Hospitalized, he floats in and out of consciousness, having flashbacks to his marriage, the night his wife was murdered, the one-armed man, the trial that sentenced him to death, his escape after the train wreck, etc.

It helps flesh out his backstory, but mostly this is about a young woman's affair with an older man, with Kimble there to act as guidance counselor. Pamela Tiffin (State Fair) and Ed Nelson (Peyton Place) guest star.

S01E15: "Home is the Hunted"

Kimble goes to Stafford, Indiana — the town where he grew up, where a thousand people know him.

This is a strong episode, and offers more background on Kimble and his family. There are also some startlingly stylish camera shots, and a few lines each for Bill Mumy, Clint Howard, and James B Sikking. 

S01E16: "The Garden House"

This is a horsey episode, and not horses for cowboys, but equestrian riding horses for rich people. Kimble is tending the horses, and gallops into trouble. 

Not much is more yawn-inspiring than anyone on TV or in a movie strapping into polo gear, but as directed by Ida Lupino, this is better than you'd expect for a story about rich people and equestrian riding.

S01E17: "Come Watch Me Die"

There's been a killing, a suspect has been arrested, and the suspect and four witnesses need to be taken to a hearing at the county seat. A new guy in town, farm mechanic Ben Rogers, is asked to drive them there, but before the suspect can be placed in his custody, Rogers needs to be deputized.

'Rogers', though, is actually Richard Kimble, so this time, The Fugitive wears a badge. Gotta laugh out loud at the look on Kimble's face after taking the deputy's oath. 

This one snaps, crackles, and pops. Guest stars Bruce Dern, Diane Ladd, and John Anderson (Cotton Comes to Harlem, The Fortune Cookie, Ride the High Country). Directed by Laslo Benedek (Death of a Salesman, The Night Visitor).

S01E18: "Where the Action Is"

Kimble is the lifeguard at a Reno casino's hotel pool. Telly Savalas owns the joint, and his daughter is a wild woman who's nothing but trouble.

I've never much cared for Savalas, always hammy and cocky, but he's exactly right in this. Joanna Frank (Say Anything) is badass and bodacious as his floozy daughter. The end of the episode is a bit much and with too many violins, but it's still a winner. 

And does that valet look familiar? He's Harry Dean Stanton, and the stripper is played by 'Beverly Hills'. Directed by James Sheldon (Gidget Grows Up, McDuff the Talking Dog).

S01E19: "Search in a Windy City"

A newspaper columnist (Pat Hingle) says he believes Kimble is innocent, and wants to help him find the elusive one-armed man. The columnist's wife is an alcoholic, which becomes yet another adult topic handled rather well for the time.

By the end, this one's thrilling.

S01E20: "Bloodline"

Tonight Kimble is 'Lindsay', handyman at a kennel where something's not right with the dogs. It's an OK episode, but nothing special. Cute dogs, though.

S01E21: "Rat in a Corner"

Under the alias 'Dan Crowley', Kimble is clerking at a liquor store, when a tough guy walks in to rob the place.

There's more to this story, lots more, and it's excellent, but let's say only two words: Warren Oates.

It's not crucial to the plot, but Kimble's boss is a genuine ass. A lesser TV show would either punish the character or he'd be revealed to have a 'heart of gold', but not here. Dude starts as an ass, he's an ass all the way through, and he's an ass at the end.

Also, for the first time, someone immediately recognizes Kimble from his wanted posters at the post office — an occupational hazard of being on the run.

S01E22 & E23: "Angels Travel on Lonely Roads"

You need a nun? Oh, we've got a nun, and she's not just any nun, she's a two-episode nun.

Doc Kimble is on a mission from God, accompanying Sister Veronica across the mountains, and Jesus is riding with them (not literally, but still). 

"Sister, faith is a wonderful thing, but there is also reality."

I should hate this like God hates common sense, but as scripted by Al C Ward and played by Eileen Heckart, Sister Veronica overcomes my hardened impatience with faith and believers. To my jumbo-size surprise, this is one of the season's best stories.

Ward's entire career was writing hundreds of episodes of dozens of TV dramas, plus adapting Japan's original Godzilla into Raymond Burr's Godzilla: King of the Monsters!  

Heckart should be familiar to movie buffs from her fine work in Butterflies Are Free, Bus Stop, Hot Spell, Somebody Up There Likes Me, The Trip to Bountiful, Up the Down Staircase, etc.

S01E24: "Flight from the Final Demon"

Kimble, working as a masseuse, doesn't know that the naked chubby man he's rubbing down is the sheriff (Carroll O'Connor). Then the sheriff thinks Kimble looks familiar, and soon figures out who he is from the wanted posters.

Ed Nelson (you'll know him from everything, including episode 14) plays another masseuse, a buddy of Kimble who has good intentions but not a lot of smarts.

S01E25: "Taps for a Dead War"

Under the name 'Davies', Kimble is running a roller rink, which is cool to see (are there still roller rinks?).

Anything else would be telling too much, but I can tell you that this one's good. Tim O'Connor (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century) and Lee Grant are the special guest stars.

And OK, I can tell you that I cried a little.

S01E26: "Somebody to Remember"

Going by the name 'Sherman', Kimble is a warehouse worker who's developed a close friendship with his boss, Gus. They're close enough that Gus has figured out 'Sherman' is Kimble, the notorious fugitive.

It's an unusual episode, but dandy.

S01E27: "Never Stop Running"

A sorta doltish ex-pro football player (Claude Akins) kidnaps the son of the team's owner, but the boy is hemophiliac (a bleeder), so Kimble gets kidnapped too, to keep the child alive until the ransom is paid.

It's a solid story, surprisingly under-hyped and low-key.

S01E28: "The Homecoming"

Calling himself 'Benton', Kimble is at a Georgia plantation, which immediately made me say, "Uh, oh." The lady of the mansion is the luminescent Gloria Grahame, new stepmother to a college-age daughter who screams every time she hears a dog bark.

This is drivel, and I hope it's the worst episode of The Fugitive. The story pretends to be Hitchcock by way of Tennessee Williams, has nothing to do with Kimble, he's never in any peril, and Grahame does an atrocious Southern accent.

S01E29: "Storm Center"

In wildly windy weather, a pretty blonde wants to rent a boat from 'Phelps', at a pier in the Florida Keys. 'Phelps' tells her there's a hurricane coming, to which she replies, "You're not afraid of a little wind, are you, Dr Kimble?" She's recognized him, and she has a gun, so they're going out on the water as the hurricane hits.

The storm effects are better than Gilligan's Island, but the bulk of this episode has the dame and the doctor talking and talking while they're huddled in a house that might blow down. It's possible I'd binged one too many episodes before turning in, but this one never seemed very give-a-hoot-worthy.

S01E30: "The End Game"

In an intricate opening sequence, we follow an ordinary photograph taken on a small town street, as it's snapped, developed, then discarded in the trash because it's unflattering. Later, though, it's dropped by the trash collector, picked up by a curious stranger, and carried to the counter in a hotel, where a passing patrolman recognizes Kimble in the photo's background.

Soon Gerard is in town, holding a board-game-size blow-up of the photo, and his clue-connection work is better than Sherlock Holmes. From the shadows in the photo, from Kimble's lunch pail and clean work clothes, Gerard ascertains enough to start closing in.

Says Gerard to another cop, as they stand in front of a map planning the manhunt, "Don't you think even now, he's imagining us standing in front of a map, wondering about his best chance of escape?"

Kimble, meanwhile, meets a floozy (cue the saxophone) who's seen his face on TV at a bar only minutes earlier. "Everybody but the Marines is looking for you," she says. "Front view, right side, left side — man, they made a commercial out of you."

The script has Kimble and Gerard going head-to-head even though they're blocks apart, Kimble walking past "Dragnet for killer!" headlines in a news box, Gerard deducing that Kimble is likeliest to do whatever seems least likely.

The police here are bullies, snippy and demeaning with non-cops, even with good citizens who come forward to offer evidence. One such citizen walks away from Gerard muttering, "You know something? After meeting you, I hope he makes it."

With guest stars John McGiver, John Fiedler, Joseph Campanella, Chick Hearn, and a smidgen of Stuart Margolin, this is a dang delightful episode. It's stuffed with kooky but believable characters, clever dialogue, clues that add up, tension that starts tense but gets tenser, and about a dozen loud belly laughs.

When it ended, I watched it again.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

That's the first season, and I'll definitely be back for more. The Fugitive was quality TV for its time, and still is — even exceptional, often. 

More than that, it's a show that had something to say. Week after week, Kimble rarely, perhaps never escapes by his wits alone — there's always someone who helps a little or a lot. Without such help, I think Gerard would've caught Kimble in the first episode. The implied moral is, we need each other. United we stand, divided we fall.

And fresh from the obedient 1950s, The Fugitive showed millions of viewers every week that American justice is not infallible, the death penalty is wrong, cops aren't always the good guys, and authority needs a skeptical eye.

By early- to mid-60s standards, especially on commercial television, this show was subversive as hell.

4/20/2024   

29 comments:

  1. Thanks, Doug, for undertaking a serious look at a fine television show. You're also taking a look at American television as Hollywood was just coming out of the Hollywood Communist scandal. I suppose Rod Serling and a few other producers led the way by knowingly participating in "front writing" to support writers who were libeled (and slandered) by McCarthy and thousands of others who used faux Communist influence in Hollywood for political and personal gain. But shows like The Fugitive employed so many extras (including extra writers and scene directors) nobody could have counted all the fake Communists who picked up some welcome employment on this show.

    Also, Ida Lupino was in her 40s by the time The Fugitive was produced, and, as one of the brightest ex-vamps in Hollywood, would have been looking for meaningful work in middle age. I knew the Columbo guys employed her some, but I'm glad to hear she was also employed on The Fugitive.

    I suppose movie freaks distain television as a lowbrow medium, and there was a time that would have been true. After watching some of the great shows of the 60s and on into the 00s, (The Twilight Zone, East Side West Side, Homicide: Life on the Street, so many more) and some of the more recent shows that dwarf the crap movies are offering (Sopranos, The Wire, Justified, Larry Sanders, also so many more) that television is where a lot of real cinema artists are going. I suppose it's all movin' pictures.

    Thanks again for finding roses among the weeds. The Fugitive was an attempt, mostly successful, to bring movie-level writing and acting (and directing) to television.

    Among all your public services this (a critical look at top notch television programs) could become your most significant contribution. Of course the other stuff is great. That's what lets you get away with attempting to understand "the kids' medium".

    Thanks again.

    John

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  2. And thank you for giving us all of Kimble's aliases. At first I thought it was too much detail, then it became almost essential to know. It really conveys the near-impossibility of Kimble's position, and the toll this undercover travel had to take on his sense of self.

    John

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  3. I just reread to confirm this and it's true: When you're writing about something for which you have passion, your writing gets better. In some cased, this writing is hot to the touch. You come an inch away from overwriting, but never cross the line. This is really, really, good writing mi amigo.

    John

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  4. Hey, thanks — I didn't expect anyone would give a damn about The Fugitive. It really is a grand show though, and funny you should mention the blacklist, cuz I got curious about exactly that and doublechecked it while writing.

    I wouldn't quite say commercial television is a "lowbrow medium," but it's a lesser entity than the movies. I'm not sure where newfangled noncommercial cable and streaming fits in, but for the either/or of movies and TV, movies are made to sell tickets, and TV is made to sell detergent. Folks gotta choose to see a movie, while television is just flipping channels. There's lots of crap in either medium, and sure, good TV is better than a shitty movie, but an average movie is better than an average TV show. And independent creators, people trying to make genuine art not commerce, aren't allowed on television at all.

    That's just one dude's opinion, of course, but it's mine so it's right.

    Can't dispute at all that when I'm passionate, it makes me write harder. What I ought to do is not write at all when I'm *not* passionate about a topic. Then I'd have a much higher success rate, and be posting here maybe twice weekly.

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  5. I understand the difference between art and commerce, and, in general, art is more interesting. There ARE movie producers and moviemakers willing to lose money for art, but they don't last long without making money. Hell, I don't have cable TV. I get what I get over the web, but there's some pretty good stuff that was TV-sourced and some pretty bad stuff that was movie-sourced. You're too young to remember Playhouse 90 and Kraft Television Theater and all the great 1950s live (and some badly recorded) terrific drama. Rod Serling happens to be one of my heroes (to make money before he found out he was a screenwriter, he was a civilian parachute tester for the Air Force at something like fifty bucks a chute. He was not risk averse in anything he did. The Twilight Zone changed television, but Requiem for a Heavyweight created it. It went downhill from there.

    It's not so easy to separate art from commerce. If Requiem hadn't pulled in a hefty share I likely wouldn't be writing about it now.

    Which brings us to music. Find a serious musician -- somebody who is not just capable, but brilliant on their instrument -- and ask her what kind of music she would be playing if they all payed the same. A huge percentage would say jazz. Carol Kaye, who has played on more records than anyone in the history of music, was a terrific jazz guitarist, but divorced mothers of two don't get to play jazz. She ended up hanging out with Brian Wilson and Phil Spector (in his calmer days) (see also: He's a Rebel) and becoming comfortably affluent by leaving jazz behind to play rock, but she never stopped missing jazz. That's her at the beginning of Sonny and Cher's song "The Beat Goes On". She created the opening on the spot on her Fender Precision Bass, but she'd still rather be jazzing.

    So it is with acting, from the Greeks to your friend Shakespeare, to Playhouse 90: Ya gots ta play da musical cash register at the gate.

    John

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    1. I have never seen Requiem for a Heavyweight, and never known how to spell requiem. Added to the list, grazi, and thanks for Carol Kaye. I've heard of her, but know almost nothing.

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    2. There's a book called The Wrecking Crew that you should read. You care enough about music that it would probably tickle your fancy. Carol has played on about 10,000 songs and a fair number have gotten radio play. She's 89 and can still lay down a nice guitar or bass riff, but mostly doesn't. She was very close to present at the creation of rock and roll. She was a jazz guitarist at the time, but managed to become the top first call bass player in LA. Every once in a while there's a book that's just mostly fun, and very well researched. I recommend this one.

      John

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    3. Love ya man, but I'm more likely to see the movie. It's on my list.

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  6. > television is just flipping channels

    I don't have a channel changer. I have a navigable screen. I can't afford a channel changer, but I'm much happier without one. And the difference out there on the vast (and half-vast) Web is: it's all content. Sometimes I like to see John Wayne in El Dorado. Sometimes I like to hear the Beatles. Sometimes I want to taste Rod Serling's fine television writing. Come and see, come and buy.

    John

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    1. I know nothing of the technology than came after the channel changer. You navigate your TV screen ... with what, a mouse?

      Nobody likes a preacher, so I try not to preach, but I sold the TV after my wife died. She liked watching Judge Judy. I liked watching it with her.

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    2. We use the arrow buttons on a channel changer and the content plays on a television. (It ain't a new TV, but it's digital, so it picks up our I-net signal wirelessly.) Or, I should say, Martha does. We pay for Internet access and happen to have a subscription that gets us to more content. She seems to always find something to watch at dinnertime. She's the TV watcher at other times while I'm making typing errors here.

      John

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    3. What's she found worth watching lately? Is the Foundation TV show worth checking out?

      Delete
    4. I don't think that's one we get. I assume this is the Asimov stuff. I've read all of the series and reread all but the last which is shit. I'd probably enjoy it. We don't get much fancy stuff, but we did get The Wire and Justified which are both excellent. Somehow we didn't pay to watch the ten episode chess series last year or the year before. I sort of follow international chess even though I play like shit. Actually, Martha thought the chess multiparter was pretty good and I didn't think much of it. Searching For Bobby Fischer is a cute movie that is rewatchable, although I've read the book and they seem unrelated. I'm just rambling because I've had one hour sleep in the last 55 hours or so between helping my Sis and keeping Jack alive. I know I need a small vacation, but it don't look like rain.

      as always,

      John

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    5. Quite a line, man.

      Take a long nap! If I ever get a job, I'm gonna mis my midday naps, but I don't think I'll ever get a job so — no problem!

      The Wire and Justified are among the last two TV shows I watched and liked. For The Wire, only the first season, though. After that it dwindled, or so I was told, and I started falling asleep.

      What's a chess multiparter?

      Once upon the 1970s, I read a great chess novel, of political intrigue in the city where the championship tournament was being held. Don't remember the title or author and I lost the book, and it was self-published so I've never been able to find it again. One of my life's great tragedies. Man, I would love to read that book again.

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    6. "The Queen's Gambit".

      jtb

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    7. That's not the book I'd remembered, but I've heard it's swell.

      Delete
  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEFDwsUXiEA

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    Replies
    1. Well, that's cheerful. Weird enough to get my attention, playing on a loop...

      Delete
    2. I know I said we didn't have a channel changer then said we use the arrows on the channel changer. I meant we don't have cable. And I only assume we have a channel changer. Martha has something small and rectangular over on the couch that she won't let me play with. I suppose it's a channel changer, but we don't really get any channels. Mostly just YouTube and whatever else is free. I need sleep.

      jtb

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  8. Arthur Brown is older than me and still playing (and, I think, still recording). Some of his stuff is art that doesn't appeal to me. But you should listen to the entire album of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (1968). It's hard to describe in words.

    John

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    1. It looks like the whole album is on YouTube. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown is also what he called his "band" for a while. Make sure you play the album by that name if you go there at all.

      jtb

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    2. What happened to Arthur that made him so crazy?

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    3. The music business. He never wanted to work for a living and he had a sort of operatic voice but hated pop and, of course, opera. So he and a few similarly lazy friends formed a few bands sequentially over time and toured and did some recording. He hits a homer once in a while and strikes out too much for the majors, but he's better than most pop and way better than whatever gets played these days.

      John

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    4. Speaking of these days, are we now deciding what constitutes good music based on how many albums and singles sell to 13-year-olds? I was driving home in the middle of the night and there was awful music across the radio dial. I think I heard somebody trying to sing and failing on CONELRAD. What is this shit? And I was exaggerating. I don't actually drive my car. I gauge the windage and point the prow just east of north. I suppose a front end alignment would be in order but I don't have the money and if I took it to a shop they'd impound it on general principles. That's why The Fugitive didn't borrow my car. He'd have been pulled over in the middle of the first episode and sent to his fate. At least he could stop having to think up a new name every week.

      as usual,

      john

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    5. CONELRAD... Now there's a name I've not heard in a long time. I have not listened to radio for even a second since giving up my car. I don't miss it.

      I do miss listening to the ball games on the radio, but they won't let me listen without insulting me every minute, so I don't miss it after all.

      Stay ducked and covered, man.

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    6. "Well, I seen a Cadillac window uptown
      And there was nobody aroun'
      I got into the driver's seat
      And I drove down 42nd Street
      In my Cadillac
      Good car to drive after a war

      Well, I remember seein' some ad
      So I turned on my Conelrad
      But I didn't pay my Con Ed bill
      So the radio didn't work so well
      Turned on my record player
      It was Rock-A-Day, Johnny singin'
      "Tell your Ma, tell your Pa
      Our love's a-gonna grow ooh-wah, ooh-wah"

      . . . snippit from Dylan sort of talk-singin' "Talkin' World War III Blues"

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    7. I be chuckling — of course it was a rock'n'roll reference. :) And of course I didn't get it.

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  9. The Fugitive is one of the best shows from TV's first 50 years. I disagree with your assessment of The Witches, it's thrilling, but the rest of your article captures the show very well, and your analysis at the end is great.

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    Replies
    1. Why thank you? Because it's good manners, that's why.

      Wouldn't the teacher just say, "Betty Sue lies a lot," and that would be that?

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