A Night From The Sixties

Eric Burdon was next… Hold on… That can’t be Eric Burdon. It looks like someone from my folks condo… and not one of the younger residents.

It’s nearly 1:00 AM. While gorging myself on fruit, I sat down to watch a little TV.

Click. Click. Click. What’s the average length of time a man spends on any – click – channel?

CPTV, Connecticut’s public television network is running a special with music of the sixties. Hey, that’s my era. I put down the remote.

I’d like to tell you what it is I’m watching, but CPTV is officially listed as “Off the air.” Go figure?

As a vintage clip of the Loving Spoonful ended, the very laid back female announcer read some over-written overly dramatic copy. I think it’s Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and Papas,

The Zombies came on, performing “Tell Her No.” Nice job. One of the guys looks a little old, but they sound good.

Eric Burdon was next… Hold on… That can’t be Eric Burdon. It looks like someone from my folks’ condo… and not one of the younger residents.

He doesn’t look burned out (and you could almost understand that). He just looks old!

Quick, to Wikipedia. You’re kidding? That’s what I’ll look like in nine years? Shoot me now!

The next act, The We Five (interestingly enough, with at least seven on stage), old too! Is there an epidemic?

The lead singer, a very middle aged woman whose name I never knew, had a hair color never seen in nature and certainly not available north of Orlando.

A vintage clip of Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction was next, and then Jackie DeShannon.

Hallelujah. She looks great! She’s not a twenty year old, but she’s trim and pretty with great legs and that amazing voice.

Jackie – you’re still a babe.

As it turns out, this is a pledge break special, used by local PBS stations to raise money. Regular PBS programming… Nova, Frontline, Bill Moyers, The News Hour and Nightly Business Report, no longer pay the freight. That’s a shame.

When the commercial networks do this, run unusual programming just for ratings purposes, it’s called stunting. The sad truth is, there’s little difference between this and a late night infomercial, except the CDs being shilled here are priced much higher.

I don’t know where PBS’ place is in today’s channel lineup. I don’t think they know either.

Begging for cash is demeaning.

Woody Allen

Now that I’ve had a DVR for a while, I can safely say I do use it. The ease, relative to a VCR, is certainly incentive to use it. There are some shows I tape every time they air – John Stewart, Boston Legal, Nova and 60 Minutes&#185. Other times I’ll see something that catches my eye and quickly hit the button to schedule a recording.

That’s how I got the Woody Allen documentary “A Life in Film” on Turner Classic Movies that I recorded this weekend and watched last night. The interview was conducted by Richard Schickel, film critic and historian.

The documentary is very simple with Allen sitting throughout. No other voices, no off camera questions, are heard. Clips from his films were used throughout to illustrate Woody’s points.

I have been a big Allen fan for… can this possibly be… over thirty years. I knew his work, but he was under my radar in the sixties. The same goes for What’s Up Tiger Lily and Casino Royale. I knew they were there but didn’t see them until much later.

It was Bananas that first attracted me and Sleeper which cinched the deal. From then on, I couldn’t get enough.

I remember going to see Love and Death in 1975. I went on opening night in Center City Philadelphia with my friend Harvey Holiday. Neither of us liked the movie, but we went back the next night to make sure. It was better the second night. The problem wasn’t Allen as much as it was me!

In last night’s documentary, Allen gave credit to Bob Hope for much of his physical persona in the earlier movies. The clips bore that out. But, though Woody Allen said he paled in comparison to Bob Hope, I’m not so sure.

What most interested me was the ability to hear Allen talk about his work… his art… in terms of an occupation. It was fascinating, because I think he analyzes and tears about everything he does, before, during and after.

Obviously, there has been controversy in Allen’s recent adult life. He is married to the adopted daughter of his former wife (see note below). It’s tough not to see characters like Mariel Hemingway in Manhattan and wonder if life imitates art.

There is just not enough of this type of show on television. I was glad I taped it and didn’t have to stay up through the middle of the night to see it air ‘live.’

&#185 – Recording 60 Minutes is a royal pain. Because the show follows football its start time is fluid, to say the least. I wish my DVR would be able to follow schedule changes and adjust accordingly. As long as they’re at it, I’d like to program it over the Internet as well.