May 22, 1958: Earliest Known Color Videotaping


The things you find on the internet!  The earliest color videotaping that has survived was performed on May 22, 1958 and featured President Eisenhower dedicating the color television studio of NBC.

Published in: on May 22, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on May 22, 1958: Earliest Known Color Videotaping  
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Valley Forge


I don’t recall this TV movie, but it was broadcast on December 3, 1975 when I was finishing up the first semester of my Freshman year at the University of Illinois.  This would have been during finals, and doubtless I had other things on my mind than watching television at the time.  Hard to believe this is all almost forty-six years in the rare view mirror.  Days can pass slowly, but the decades seem to careen by.

Published in: on August 15, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Valley Forge  
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The Special Courage of Captain Pratt

The things you find on the internet.  In 1963-1964 CBS ran a series called The Great Adventure, dramatizing in each episode an event in American history.  The above episode aired on February 14, 1964 and featured a dramatization of the actions of Captain Richard Henry Pratt, an Army officer in the 19th century who championed the assimilation of Indians into mainstream American culture.  The founder of Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Pratt was once viewed as a hero who spent much of his life championing the entry of Indians into mainstream American life through assimilation, an ardent foe of racial segregation.  With the rise of Identity Politics he is often now depicted as engaging in cultural genocide against Indians.  He was neither the savior of the Indian nor a demon, but rather a man of his time and place doing his best, within the confines of his culture, for people quite alien to him.

The television show, as they all in time become, is now a time capsule from the time in which it was produced.  The period commercials give the feel for a day now 56 years in the past.

Published in: on October 26, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Special Courage of Captain Pratt  
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The Man in the High Castle Season Three: October 5, 2018

Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

Ecclesiastes 12:5


Well that took a while.  I have eagerly anticipated Season Three of the Amazon Prime Series The Man in the High Castle, and it will finally premiere on October 5, 2018.

The late Philip K. Dick, paranoid, left-leaning, mentally ill and drug abuser, was nevertheless a science fiction writer of pure genius.  His book The Man in the High Castle (1962) introduced me as a boy to the genre of alternate history, with his unforgettable evocation of a United States divided by the victorious Axis powers of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.  One of the main plot devices in the book is a novel The Grasshopper Lies Heavy which posits an alternate reality in which the Allies won World War II.  Like most of Dick’s work, the book suggests that the dividing line between alternate realities can be very thin.

Dick’s novel brings out the contingency of history, a factor overlooked by many people.  History is what has occurred.  While we are living it, making our contribution to what will be the history of our times, we understand that what will be is the result of many factors and predicting the future is a fool’s game.  The past seems rock solid by comparison.  Understanding however the events and circumstances that shaped the past, and also comprehending that different paths could easily have been followed, gives us a different view of the past and the present.    It is one thing to go through life with the philosophy that “what will be, will be” and quite another to appreciate that the future depends upon what we and our contemporaries do now.

Published in: on August 7, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Man in the High Castle Season Three: October 5, 2018  
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Captain Z-RO and Christopher Columbus


The things you find on the internet!  From 1955 the first episode of the Captain Z-RO show featuring the time traveling explorer going back to 1492 and the discovery of the New World by Columbus.  Obvious low production values, but it holds up well compared to the appalling drek that mostly makes up TV fare today.

Published in: on October 11, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Captain Z-RO and Christopher Columbus  
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Alfred Hitchcock and the Jesuit



(I posted this at The American Catholic, and I thought the film mavens of Almost Chosen People might find it interesting.)


When I was a kid I loved watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents, known in its last four years as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.  His sardonic wit and macabre sense of humor I found vastly appealing and no doubt had an impact on my own developing sense of humor.  Hitchcock was a Catholic, although some have claimed that he became estranged from the Faith later in life.  Father Mark Henninger in The Wall Street Journal relates his own encounter with Hitchcock shortly before his death.

At the time, I was a graduate student in philosophy at UCLA, and I was (and remain) a Jesuit priest. A fellow priest, Tom Sullivan, who knew Hitchcock, said one Thursday that the next day he was going over to hear Hitchcock’s confession. Tom asked whether on Saturday afternoon I would accompany him to celebrate a Mass in Hitchcock’s house.

I was dumbfounded, but of course said yes. On that Saturday, when we found Hitchcock asleep in the living room, Tom gently shook him. Hitchcock awoke, looked up and kissed Tom’s hand, thanking him.

Tom said, “Hitch, this is Mark Henninger, a young priest from Cleveland.”

“Cleveland?” Hitchcock said. “Disgraceful!”

After we chatted for a while, we all crossed from the living room through a breezeway to his study, and there, with his wife, Alma, we celebrated a quiet Mass. Across from me were the bound volumes of his movie scripts, “The Birds,” “Psycho,” “North by Northwest” and others—a great distraction. Hitchcock had been away from the church for some time, and he answered the responses in Latin the old way. But the most remarkable sight was that after receiving communion, he silently cried, tears rolling down his huge cheeks. (more…)

Published in: on August 19, 2016 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Alfred Hitchcock and the Jesuit  
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Pride of Peoria

“A Paris reporter asked TV-Comedian Milton Berle how he felt about the Bishop Fulton Sheen program which is on a competing channel with his own show. Said Berle: We’re known as Uncle Miltie and Uncle Fultie now. It doesn’t make any difference if we’re in competition. It’s a pleasure to have him opposite me. After all, we’re both using old material.

Bishop Sheen would repeat the remark on his show with a smile.  Actually Uncle Miltie was seething.  “Mr. Television” was having his head handed to him in the ratings by a Catholic Bishop!  Who was this guy? (more…)

Published in: on March 18, 2012 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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Garrow’s Law

As faithful readers of this blog know, for my sins no doubt, I am an attorney.  Not having quite enough of the Law during my working hours, I am always on the lookout for good entertainment about lawyers and the law.  One of the best I have encountered in many a moon is a BBC series called Garrow’s Law.  This is a heavily fictionalized account of the trials, I know I should have resisted that, and tribulations of William Garrow, an Old Bailey, the chief criminal court of London, barrister, who on raw legal talent rose from nothing to become Solicitor General of England and Wales, Attorney General for England and Wales, a Judge, and a Privy Counselor.  He originated the phrase presumption of innocence, and first came to notice as a trail blazing defense counsel in regard to the rules of evidence such as the rule against hear say. (more…)

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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An Evening With Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton

The things you find on youtube!  On the whole I think the actors do a creditable job, but I can imagine how the shades of Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton would react to all this.  First, I can’t accept Hamilton wishing to appear with Jefferson and Madison, two of his political adversaries.  Second, the idea of statesmen giving answers to any questions posed by every Tom, Dick and Harriet in public would have struck them as extremely undignified and dangerous.  Third, the concept of the public learning about their lives by actors in a performance rather than by study and quiet reflection would cause them to declaim on how standards of education had fallen off from their time.  All of them would have been fascinated by the technology of television however.   The past is truly a different country and our clumsy attempts to resurrect it  are just that.

Published in: on December 6, 2009 at 8:40 am  Comments Off on An Evening With Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton  
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