Criminal Minds: "Amplification"

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Jeff of Earth-J said:

Two summers ago we were dong this Irwin Allen thing. We watched all of Lost in Space, then all of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (I thought). The plan was to move on to Land of the Giants next, but when we returned from vacation our interests had moved elsewhere. I has been some time since I discovered that we had actually stopped a season shy of completing Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, so we're watching season four now. At it's best, Voyage falls between Star Trek and Lost in Space on the spectrum, but season four is much closer to Lost in Space. If our purpose holds, we'll move on to Land of the Giants next. 

I recently ran across an episode of Land of the Giants I haven't seen since I was a kid. It's the one guest-starring retired boxer Sugar Ray Robinson as a retired boxer turned nightclub owner who's got loan sharks leaning on him to pay up. The loan sharks want Sugar Ray to get back into the ring, but he wants to make a go of it as a trumpet player, hoping a good gig will turn his fortunes around. 

It so happens that Dan has been teaching Barry how to play jazz trumpet, and Sugar Ray thinks this new style of music -- which doesn't exist in the giants' world -- is the ticket to make his club a success. There's some back-and-forth with various members of the Spindrift team captured and others rescuing them, as there always is in a Land of the Giants episode.

Ultimately, Don gives Sugar Ray some jazz trumpet lessons, and also tells him about using a mute -- a device that goes in the trumpet's bell to dampen the sound. Don also makes a tape for Sugar Ray to practice with, Sugar Ray appears on TV and is a big hit, they all go their separate ways, and all is well.

It was interesting only because of the nostalgia of seeing something I haven't seen since I was a kid. I watched the next episode a week later and found it dull.

I didn't mention it on the previous page, but I've been watching Lost in Space, too. I started with season three, finished that and moved backwards to season two. I haven't yet decided whether or not to watch season one after that, but it wasn't my intention to watch any but three. We have seven episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea left to watch, after which we will move on to Land of the Giants. In addition, we watched the last episode of season six of Deep Space Nine just last night.

After years of somehow avoiding it, Downton Abbey crept into our house during the pandemic. We're on the final episodes and.... A season seven revival gets announced. I enjoyed the first season and the cast is excellent (Maggie Smith, I suspect, is incapable of giving a bad performance), but I find a little of the series goes a very long way with me. My wife, on the other hand, really likes it.

THE LONE RANGER: I grew up watching The Lone Ranger on television. All throughout elementary school, I watched it from 6:30-7:00A on KPLR Channel 11 before I went to school. [By junior high I had pretty much memorized the episodes and switched to Lassie reruns (i.e., "Jeff's collie" and "Timmy & Lassie") on KDNL Channel 30 during that time slot.] For my 10th birthday, one of the gifts I received was a vinyl album of the radio show "Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy" which opened me up to radio episodes of the Lone Ranger on vinyl and cassette. 

"The Legend of the  Lone Lone Ranger" (1981) spurred (pun intended) Pinnacle Books to release some of Fran Stiker's novels in paperback. (There were 12 I knew of, but the release of the series got only as far as 8; I later found out there were 18.) More recently, I have collected replica editions of all eight pulp magazines (six of volume one, two of volume two), all originally published in 1937. NOTE: The only duplication between the magazine and the novels is that magazine v1, #4 ("Valley of Shadows") was reprinted as book #2 ("The Lone Ranger and the Mystery Ranch"). I still have not yet located books #9-18. But I digress.

It distresses me that, in light of events of 2020 (particularly the racism of the Texas Rangers), that many anti-Lone Ranger memes have surfaced on the internet. There are many aspects of The Lone Ranger that would not be considered "PC" today, and I can tell you two of them. First, the Lone Ranger (and others) consistently referred to Tonto as his "Indian freind." Watching the episodes, as I did, during that early morning time slot, meant that I was bombarded by a bunch of PSAs. One of a particular series of spots I remember was aired by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In it, a little boy tells his grandfather that one of his friends told him that he was prejudiced. the grandfather asked, "Who is Bobby?" (or whatever his name was). The boy responds, "Bobby is my Jewish friend," and the grandfather concludes, "Then you are prejudiced, because Bobby is your Jewish friend, not you friend." That spot had an impact on me, in juxtaposition with The Lone Ranger

But (not to make excuses here), I believe The Lone Ranger was a product of its time. I think the intentions behind it were good, even though their way of expressing it was not what we would call "PC" today. My second example is from one of the later, color episodes. I haven't seen this one in decades, but here's how I remember it. There was a Klan-like group of citizens organizing a boycott against a Chinese laundry. the Lone Ranger disguises himself as a Swede and opens a competing laundry (for reasons I forget), and the townsfolk begin taking their laundry to him.

The scene of the episode I remember most is one of the Lone Ranger and Tonto observing a group of children, black and white, maybe others, playing together. The Lone Ranger remarks something to the effect of, "You see, Tonto? The children have to be taught prejudice. They don't know there's a difference." Even when I was in junior high school I knew that what he should have said was, "They know there's no difference." That's the right message, but a clumsy way to say it. Remember that when you see an anti-Lone Ranger meme on the internet.

And I'll tell you something else. I met and spoke to Clayton Moore on two separate occasions. That movie I mentioned above legally stopped him from wearing the mask and billing himself in public appearances as "The Lone Ranger." He had taken to wearing a pair of large, black sunglasses and referring to himself as "The Man Who Portayed the Lone Ranger." Also appalled by the fact a Lone Ranger movie would be rated anything other than "G" (it was rated "PG"), he called for a boycott of the film. I am proud to say I have not seen that movie to this day and never intend to. 

Anyway, he addressed the stereotype of Tonto speaking in broken English, an explanation I absolutely believe. both Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels approached the producers about giving Tonto a more realistic speech pattern, reasoning that even if Tonto spoke that way to begin with, he had been riding with Kimo Sabe long enough for the Ranger to have given him some pointers. Initially, the Lone rAnger started out on radio, and Tonto's broken English was a cue to the show's young listeners that he was an Indian. But now he's on TV and young viewers can see he's an Indian. Whay not give him more realistic dialogue? 

The answer is as American as the Almighty Dollar. Many (if not most) of the TV show's plots were adapted from radio scripts. Because writers were paid by the word, it would have cost the show money to rewrite Tonto's dialogue. 

A couple of days ago, we somehow ended up on some cable channel running a Lone Ranger episode. I asked Tracy to set our DVR to record some. This channel must air quite a few, because after only a couple of days, we have dozens (which is why I'm posting about it here). Tracy used to watch The Lone Ranger, too, about a decade after I did, in daycare, so it's nostalgic for both of us. Just don't buy into any of those anti-Lone Ranger internet memes.

THE CHANGING OF THE DISCS:

LAND OF THE GIANTS has replaced Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea in rotation. I have never seen LotG before, but I have my own theory as to what to expect of this fourth Irwin Allen TV series. So far we have watched only the first three episodes.

ULTRAMAN X has replaced Ultraman Ace in rotation. X is a (relatively) "new" one and Ace is a classic. After two (long) seasons of Ace, I'm ready for something different. It will be another few days before I have enough of a handle on X to write about it in more depth. 

BONANZA: We're still watching the Lone Ranger, Land of the Giants and Ultraman X, but now we've folded Bonanza into the mix. while watching The Lone ranger a few weeks ago, we saw an ad for an upcoming noon-to-midnight Bonanza marathon and I asked Tracy to record it. Unfortunately, she forgot, but we've since been picking up episodes from various channels whenever they air and we have most of seasons one and two, as well as nine through twelve. I have watched Bonanza from time to time throughout my life, but i couldn't tell you which seasons. I remember many of the episodes quite well. Looking forward to watching more.

Speaking of The Lone Ranger, I freaked Tracy out a little when I told her the final season was in color. I watched every day before school throughout elementary school, whereas she watched every day at daycare about ten years later (but the TV may have been a black & white set). Anyway, we skipped ahead to the first of the color episodes and blew her mind. Oh, I remember! The color of the Ranger's outfit came up in conversation one day and she asked me what made me think it was blue.

Regarding black-and-white TVs, I never saw a Star Trek TOS episode in color until recent years. I graduated high school in 1966 just before the first episode of the show debuted. Shortly after it debuted, I started working the job that would become my career. Color programs were few at first and color TV’s cost significantly more back then. Unless you were rich, you didn’t replace a working TV and we weren’t rich. I got my first color TV when I got my first apartment following my Army stint, at which point Star Trek TOS was no longer on TV.

We watched Bonanza (first run) every week in its first several seasons. Even though this was nothing like bingeing today, I noticed a pattern.  Ben and his three sons (later two) seemed to take turns finding the love of their life each week. By the end of the episode (they always reset everything) the woman in question would (because of fatality or a less upsetting reason) be permanently unavailable. It was a tag team effort between the four (later three) of them.

I used to watch The Wizard of Oz every year; it was a ritual. I don't remember which year I stopped watching it (seems to me we got our first color TV around 1975), but I do remember wathing it color for the first time when i was 16 years years old. When Dorothy stepped from sepia-tone to color, I daresay I couldn't have been less shocked (quite possibly more) than theater audiences in 1938.

Alternate title for Bonanza: "My Three Sons"

"...(seems to me we got our first color TV around 1975), but I do remember wathing it color for the first time when i was 16 years years old."

It also seems to me the last time I watched it aired (berfore seeing in in color), I watched it on my sister's portable b&w set in her bedroom because my folks wanted to watch something else (or because I just wanted a bit of privacy).

I never missed The Wizard of Oz  when it was on TV.  Now I own it on disk and could watch it whenever I want, and haven't watched it in ages.

I like the convenience of owning copies of my favorite films, but I miss the "Oh, wow, this is on!" experience.

Mark Evanier coined a term ("video redundancy") for when you watch something as you are flipping through channels when you already own it on VHS/DVD and could theoretically watch it any time.

Have you ever watched The Wizard of Oz with the volume down and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon playing in the background? It is AMAZING how well it works if you get it synched up correctly. A former roommate of mine first told me about it. I called him up (while in an "altered state of consciousness")to tell him how well it had worked, but he wasn't home. Unfortunately, I didn't explain the urgency in my voice, and he ended up waking me up when he got home and called me back in the "wee small hours" of the morning. Unfortunately, I have been unable to synch it up quite as well as I did (accidentally?) that first time. If anyone's interested, I suggest you Google exactly when to cue the album.

A few years back, TCM ran Dark Side of the Moon in the second audio channel of an airing of The Wizard of Oz.

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