Monday, May 13, 2013


There must not have been much of interest on TV in the three weeks following Birth Of The Beatles. The next item on tape A3 was recorded January 25, 1981, when ABC's Sunday Night Movie was 1974's Murder On The Orient Express.

I'm sure my mom was responsible for this one, and I don't recall ever watching it. With Albert Finney as Poirot and names like Bacall, Gielgud, Bergman, Redgrave, and Connery as the suspects, it looks like something I would enjoy, even though I know the ending. However, it didn't hold my interest at age 9, and by 1983 I had erased the first hour of it with From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making Of A Saga.

Here are the announcements over the closing credits, which give a flavor of the period. The US hostages had been released from Iran January 20th, just as Ronald Reagan was being inaugurated, and Superbowl XV had aired earlier that day on NBC. Local interest was high, with the Oakland Raiders winning, which meant that QB Jim Plunkett presumably got to appear alongside Joan Lunden the following morning:


A few days later (the 27th or 28th based on the news headline), another movie was apparently recorded on A3. All that survives is this snippet, which indicates that the film in question was 1944's On Approval, with the immortal Googie Withers. I can't imagine who would have wanted to tape this, but it would be gone two weeks later when a much better movie came on TV, with only the preceding ephemera surviving.

This 60-second remnant came to fascinate me over the years. First of all, it's from the rarely-viewed (in our household) independent channel 26, KTSF. It had been on the air less than five years at that point, and at nights became a pay-TV movie channel, Super Time (soon changed to Star TV).

The ad seen on my tape touts the channel's February lineup of films such as All That Jazz, Being There, and The Electric Horseman. If you didn't purchase the de-scrambler box (and we didn't), all you would see on the channel at night was a fuzzy black-and-white picture, with a looped audio message telling you how to subscribe.

It's also interesting to me that the news anchor, Rose Shirinian, still works at KTSF, which now caters to the Bay Area's large Asian-American population. But the thing that freaked me out the most was the first 20 seconds of this clip. What is that awful-looking pale brown mud spewing and dripping through those industrial machines? Why does it need a sophisticated bank of lights to monitor it? And more importantly, what movie or TV show would have such disgusting images over the credits?

Now that I can Google the names of the directors, I see it's a travelogue filler, possibly Germany - Wunderbar! or Switzerland - A Peak Experience!, and that they are showing us the precision needed to manufacture Bavarian chocolate or something:


1 comment:

  1. Ha!! Just watched From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making Of A Saga!

    Hey, question....and I don't know where you grew up, I guess you grew up on the West Coast? I grew up on the East Coast, and there was an AMAZING show on UHF - that was briefly syndicated on NBC in an inferior version - called "The Uncle Floyd Show". In fact, John was a fan of it! He turned Bowie on to it, and Bowie actually did a song about the show a few years ago!

    It was right before I got a VCR (as you know, not many people had them!) and though I've been able to get my hands on a few episodes, it's really hard to find. Floyd himself has turned down the Museum of Television & Broadcasting to do a retrospective on his work (he's very bitter)....When stuff is posted on You Tube, it gets taken right down, he's very litigious (though he lets bands that appeared on the show keep the clips up, and a few bits that he himself is not in).

    Anyways....I do have some episodes on VHS's somewhere (that I was able to get from a former cast member)....if you have any, let me know!

    Sorry for the long comment! I just figured if anyone has the great Uncle Floyd Show (the classic version that was done in the 70s and early 80s), you will be the one!!!