Sunday, January 01, 2006

My own personal TV on Jetblue

I’ve been in San Francisco visiting my mom and other assorted family members. Didn’t watch any television, which is odd, because I usually need it to relax when I go out there. But I didn’t turn it on once. Come to think of it, I did a lot of web surfing. Could it be my internet addiction is infringing on my TV watching time?

Anyway. Last night I took the red eye back to New York on Jetblue. The flight was quite bumpy. I was VERY happy to have my own little personal TV screen to distract me. I watched some reruns of America’s Next Top Model from Cycle 4 and watched Naima win all over again. I really liked Kahlen and had been disappointed she didn’t win, but could see this time around that Naima had more “poise” in the end. After that was over – and the turbulence wasn’t – I watched old shows on the Game Show Network. What luck! I was perfectly happy. I saw an old Beat the Clock, which I haven’t seen in years. I’m sure I must’ve seen it at some point when I was a child, because it seemed familiar somehow, especially that big Sylvania clock that they set to 55 or 60 seconds (how do they decide how long?) when the contestants have to do a challenge.

It was clear that humiliation was alive and well on television way before Fear Factor entered the scene. (And Let’s Make a Deal just flashed through my mind, for that matter. Monty Hall and screaming people dressed up like candy bars…) The highlight on Beat the Clock was a woman who had to tear her husband’s shirt off his body in less than a minute. He was, we were told, a high school principal, and he had a big paunch.

It took on an added poignancy to see these extremely well-mannered couples all dressed up in 50s respectability make fools out of themselves. And the MC did not shut up. I think he was in a total sweat by the end of the show.

After that I saw an old What’s My Line. Dorothy Killgallen was one of the panelists. I have no idea what she did to get her spot on the panel, but she and the other panelists were all childhood memories. Joey Bishop, a person I haven’t thought of in years, made all the jokes. Arlene Francis got all the answers. And there was some playwright guy as the fourth panelist. I’d never heard of him (and don’t remember the name) but was amazed that they even considered a playwright worthy of appearing on a game show panel. Not that game show panels were all that big a deal in those days, but you know what I mean… The highlight on that show was an appearance by Barrie Chase, a dancer who was appearing with Fred Astaire on some television specials at the time. She seemed so gracious and gorgeous and brunette. I wonder what ever happened to her.

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