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“Where do left and right meet? At the truth.”

Politically Incorrect was an American late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002, first on Comedy Central and then on ABC. Four guests (usually including at least one comedian) would debate topics across the political spectrum in what Maher once described as “The McLaughlin Group on acid.” Of the 1300+ episodes produced, 190 can be viewed on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 23, 2014 - 66 comments

"You shouldn't dream your film, you should make it!" ~ Spielberg

Filmmaker IQ offers an extensive variety of free online courses, articles and tutorial videos for aspiring filmmakers. Their image gallery is also fun to browse through. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 27, 2014 - 8 comments

"You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment."

The recent Netflix House of Cards series starring Kevin Spacey was a remake of a very popular British political thriller of the same name that aired during the 90's. The show begins by tracking the dark political machinations and skullduggery of an urbane Chief Whip of the Conservative Party, who is conspiring to become Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher's resignation. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 11, 2013 - 91 comments

Robert Dudley is HOT

Horrible Histories, the historical sketch show on the BBC inspired by the books of the same name, has been featured previously on Metafilter. Not mentioned, however, were the real gems of the show, Historical Desktops [MLYT]: [more inside]
posted by primer_dimer on Dec 20, 2012 - 10 comments

Black Bart Endures

The early '90's t-shirt merchandising hysteria that accompanied The Simpsons' series premiere ignited an even larger bootleg "black Bart" social response that continues to resonate.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Dec 12, 2012 - 41 comments

I didn’t dream up the helicopter. My memory is Jerry said a helicopter.

It may be the most notorious Thanksgiving promotion of all time. It is the 40th best television episode of all time. It's available in (semi-)entirety on HULU. And the classic TV blog offers an oral history. Happy thanksgiving, and, as God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.
posted by Bunny Ultramod on Nov 21, 2012 - 102 comments

Medicine Wheel / Wagon Wheel

In 2005, Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks produced a 6 episode miniseries that spanned the period of expansion of the United States into the American West, from 1825 to 1890. Through fictional and historical characters, the series used two primary symbols--the wagon wheel and the Lakota medicine wheel -- to join the story of two families: one Native American, one White settlers, as they witnessed many of the 19th century's pivotal historical milestones. The award-winning Into The West can now be seen in its entirety on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 20, 2012 - 12 comments

This post is just in time for the annual spaghetti harvest.

In the late 1970s the UK's Anglia Television ran a respected weekly documentary series: Science Report. But when the show was cancelled in 1977, the producers decided to channel Orson Welles in their final episode. The result was Alternative 3. Over the course of the hour, the audience would learn that a Science Report investigation into the UK "brain drain" had uncovered shocking revelations: man-made pollution had resulted in catastrophic climate change, the Earth would soon be rendered uninhabitable, and a secret American / Soviet joint plan was in place to establish colonies on the Moon and Mars. The show ended with footage of a US/Soviet Mars landing from May 22, 1962. After Alternative 3 aired, thousands of panicked viewers phoned the production company and demanded to know how long they had left to change planets. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 20, 2012 - 22 comments

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale...

In 1984, The Voyage of the Mimi set sail on PBS, exploring the ocean off the coast of Massachusetts to study humpback whales. The educational series was made up of thirteen episodes intended to teach middle schoolers about science and math. The first fifteen minutes of each episode were a fictional adventure starring a young Ben Affleck. The second 15 minutes were an "expedition documentary" that would explore the scientific concepts behind the show's plot points. A sequel with the same format, The Second Voyage of the Mimi aired in 1988, and featured the crew of the Mimi exploring Mayan ruins in Mexico. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 9, 2012 - 36 comments

2, 12, 1, 9, 4: Big Money. No Whammies.

On May 19, 1984, an unemployed ice cream truck driver named Michael Larson went on Press Your Luck and over the course of two episodes, took home more money than had ever been won in the history of television: $110,237 -- to the shock of the show’s producers and host, the late Peter Tomarken. How did he do it? The show’s game board had only 5 patterns of 18 squares, and Mr. Larson had memorized them all. After the show, CBS tried to disqualify him but couldn’t, because Larson hadn’t done anything illegal. But they did refuse to allow those episodes to be aired in syndication. So, they didn’t re-air until 2003, when the Game Show Network produced a Tomarken-hosted documentary about Mr. Larson’s incredible win: Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 3, 2012 - 42 comments

The Victorian Kitchen Garden & a metric butt-ton of historical reconstruction series

The Victorian Kitchen Garden is a 13-part TV series that aired in 1987 on BBC2. It follows the month-by-month restoration of the Victorian walled kitchen garden at the Chilton Foliat estate in Wiltshire, England. Almost all the episodes are available to watch online. (via hark, a vagrant) It had three sequels - The Victorian Kitchen, The Victorian Flower Garden, and The Wartime Kitchen and Garden - and inspired more recent historical reconstruction programs: Tales From the Green Valley, A Tudor Feast at Christmas, Victorian Farm, Victorian Farm Christmas, Victorian Pharmacy, and Edwardian Farm. (Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm previously.) [more inside]
posted by flex on Feb 26, 2012 - 29 comments

New! And Improved! Buy Now! Half off! Limited time offer! Fortified with 11 vitamins and minerals!

Melt your brain into goo on an overdose of crass 80s consumerism and TV without the TV shows at 80sCommercialVault. Superbowl 19 commercials. Commercials from Jaws. Saturday morning commercials. Daytime / evening commercials. [more inside]
posted by loquacious on Oct 30, 2011 - 11 comments

"Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders" (1979)

Your NFL team probably has cheerleaders. But this team's cheerleaders had a movie made about them. And because they're from a place where they like to do things big, when that movie was broadcast, it was viewed on 60% of the televisions in use at the time. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Sep 8, 2011 - 78 comments

"With television you just sit, watch, listen. The thinking is done for you."

Gawker's John Cook yesterday published an exclusive report on a trove of documents from the Nixon Presidential Library tracing the development of Fox News to a 1970 internal memo annotated by then-consultant Roger Ailes. Part of a 318-page cache of similar documents, the memo -- "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News" -- called for the creation of a strongly pro-Nixon news outlet operated from the White House which would disseminate partisan news packages free of charge to local affiliates across the country. By coordinating release of these targeted reports with allied politicians and duping opponents into hostile interviews, Ailes hoped to bypass the "prejudices of network news" -- a desire which led him to advocate for some unexpected political policies at the time, from campaign finance reform to anti-poverty efforts. The report comes as Fox is waging an aggressive two-front PR war with perceived ideological enemies -- calling on viewers to file IRS complaints against Media Matters' tax-exempt status for their dogged fact-checking of the network, while on-air hosts launched a campaign to label Jon Stewart "racist" after he called out their record of falsehoods following a critical interview with Chris Wallace (previously).
posted by Rhaomi on Jul 1, 2011 - 92 comments

A Short Vision

"Just last week you read about the H-bomb being dropped. Now two great English writers, two very imaginative writers — I’m gonna tell you if you have youngsters in the living room tell them not to be alarmed at this ‘cause it’s a fantasy, the whole thing is animated — but two English writers, Joan and Peter Foldes, wrote a thing which they called ‘A Short Vision’ in which they wondered what might happen to the animal population of the world if an H-bomb were dropped. It’s produced by George K. Arthur and I’d like you to see it. It is grim, but I think we can all stand it to realize that in war there is no winner." [via]
posted by brundlefly on Jun 27, 2011 - 13 comments

We Have Cameras

Eyes of a Generation is a "virtual museum of television cameras, and the broadcast history they captured," curated by actor and radio DJ Bobby F. Ellerbee. The site has hundreds of photos of cameras and of television sets backstage. It also includes vintage articles and a neat look at how the moon backdrop on the Conan set works. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 10, 2011 - 5 comments

Culling and surrender

The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going To Miss Almost Everything. The vast majority of the world's books, music, films, television and art, you will never see. It's just numbers.
posted by crossoverman on Apr 18, 2011 - 89 comments

What do you mean, 'We hired a dog'?

Network Awesome has compiled a short history of some of Jim Henson's early muppet work, including his infamously dark Wilson's Coffee commercials: (on YouTube) 1, 2, 3 and the IBM Muppet Show. (Who among us hasn't woken up in the morning and wanted to eat their coffee machine? (Previously) (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 4, 2011 - 21 comments

Captain Video! Electronic wizard! Master of time and space! Guardian of the safety of the world!

Captain Video and his Video Rangers was a television series that was staple of the DuMont Television Network. The series first aired in the middle of Golden Age of Science Fiction, and with an initial air date in 1949, it was the first science fiction television series in the United States, complete with futuristic gadgets. The series was aimed at children, with public service announcements for kids, the a special ring (or three). Recorded and broadcast live five to six days a week, the series had a run of thousands of episodes, though most are now considered lost. 24 episodes are in the UCLA Film and Television archive, and a few episodes have made their way into public domain compilations, and online (three random episodes episodes on Internet Archive; and same three episodes on YouTube). Continue in for more on the good Captain, and the network he called home. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 21, 2011 - 19 comments

"...we had no idea…"

The contraption was "created from a mishmash of lenses and computer parts and an old Super 8 movie camera." It was the size of a toaster, ran off "sixteen nickel cadmium batteries, a highly temperamental new type of CCD imaging area array, an a/d converter implementation stolen from a digital voltmeter" and took 23 seconds to record an image to cassette tape. But when Steve Sasson and his team of Kodak technicians presented the world's first digital camera to the public in 1975, they were asked: 'Why would anyone ever want to view his or her pictures on a TV?' [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 29, 2010 - 56 comments

Dr. Zworykin's Secret Experimental RCA Photos

The Personal Photographs of Dr. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin, Television Pioneer. The screen images are time exposure photographs of the picture on the kinescope in the monitoring rack in the main control room. Some were taken with stationary frames of moving picture film projected upon the iconoscope by a standard moving picture machine. Others are actually the pictures transmitted with the iconoscope camera in the studio and outdoors.
posted by tellurian on May 3, 2010 - 9 comments

They have cameras. And lions. And penguins. And sharks. And...

Wild Film History is a guide to over 100 years of wildlife filmmaking, highlighting landmark films (1959's Serengeti Darf Nicht Sterben, aka Serengeti Shall Not Die - Clip 1, Clip 2) as well as historical relics (1910's The Birth of a Flower - Clip). Check out the links on the Key Events page for an overview of how the genre developed. The site also features biographies and oral history interviews with pioneers (mostly U.K.-based) in the industry. A project of Wildscreen.
posted by amyms on May 1, 2010 - 6 comments

"A vicious little pup like you"

When "The Dark, Dark Hours" episode of General Electric Theater aired live from Hollywood on December 12, 1954, Ronald Reagan and James Dean were just two actors yet to find the roles that would define them.The Atlantic has a six-minute video clip and some background.
posted by The Mouthchew on Apr 27, 2010 - 6 comments

Veteran character actor Robert Culp has passed away

"Those of us who are the firstborn always dream of that imaginary brother or sister who will be their protector, the buffer, the one to take the blows. I'm a firstborn, and Bob was the answer to my dreams. He was the big brother that all of us wish for." ~ Bill Cosby on his I-Spy co-star Robert Culp (79), who died of a heart attack yesterday after a fall outside his Hollywood Hills home [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 25, 2010 - 39 comments

More Madness

The Footnotes of Mad Men explores and discusses the historic events, themes, and cultural mores of the show.
posted by mattdidthat on Sep 15, 2009 - 33 comments

Advertising in the public interest

"What if America wasn't America?" That was the question posed by a series of ads broadcast in the wake of the September 11th attacks, ads which depicted a dystopian America bereft of liberty: Library - Diner - Church. Together with more positive ads like Remember Freedom and I Am an American, they encouraged frightened viewers to cherish their freedoms and defend against division and prejudice in the face of terrorism (seven years previously). The campaign was the work of the Ad Council, a non-profit agency that employs the creative muscle of volunteer advertisers to raise awareness for social issues of national importance. Founded during WWII as the War Advertising Council, the organization has been behind some of the most memorable public service campaigns in American history, including Rosie the Riveter, Smokey the Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog, and the Crash Test Dummies. And the Council is still at it today, producing striking, funny, and above all effective PSAs on everything from student invention to global warming to arts education to community service.

Additional resources: A-to-Z index of Ad Council campaigns - Campaigns organized by category - Award-winning campaigns - PSA Central: A free download directory of TV, radio, and print PSAs (registration req'd) - An exhaustive history of the Ad Council [46-page PDF] - YouTube channel - Vimeo channel - Twitter feed
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 11, 2009 - 69 comments

Bimah Me Up

"The special moment when the Kohanim blessed the assembly moved me deeply, for it possessed a great sense of magic and theatricality... I had heard that this indwelling Spirit of God was too powerful, too beautiful, too awesome for any mortal to look upon and survive, and so I obediently covered my face with my hands. But of course, I had to peek."--Leonard Nimoy, I Am Spock

Leonard Nimoy discusses his inspiration for the Vulcan "live long and prosper" hand gesture. Rabbi Yonassan Gershom explains its Jewish origins, and discusses Jewish themes in Star Trek. Via Laughing Squid.
posted by mattdidthat on May 21, 2009 - 47 comments

Museum of the Moving Image

Moving Image Source is devoted to the history of film, television, and digital media. It features original articles by leading critics, authors, and scholars; a calendar that highlights major retrospectives, festivals, and gallery exhibitions at venues around the world; and a regularly updated guide to online research resources. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Dec 30, 2008 - 1 comment

The Archive of American Television

The Archive of American Television "produces extensive video oral history interviews with television legends of all professions and makes them available online. To date, the Archive has completed over 2000 hours of videotaped conversations with over 570 Actors, Producers, Writers, Newscasters, Executives, Directors, Craftspersons, and more. ... The interviews are conducted by reviewing the subject's life and career chronologically. They discuss their childhood, early influences, how their career began, and thoroughly cover their television careers, ending with their thoughts on the industry and legacy."*
posted by not_on_display on Nov 11, 2008 - 9 comments

(Internetworking Frequency, 2.4 gigacycles.)

The Early Television Foundation and Museum Website covers the nascent days of the nation's pastime, with interesting items like mechanical TVs and programming schedules from 1939.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim on Sep 9, 2008 - 11 comments

Swastika Tube

Spiegel TV has tracked down rare Nazi TV footage, complete with everything from bizarre cabaret acts to interviews with people like Albert Speer. Pop culture done by Nazis, the banality of showbiz evil. [more inside]
posted by hortense on Aug 28, 2008 - 29 comments

The Mike Wallace Interview(s)

"My name is Mike Wallace. The cigarette is Philip Morris." Before there was 60 Minutes, there was The Mike Wallace Interview. Thirty minutes with Steve Allen, Frank Lloyd Wright, Kirk Douglas, Pearl Buck, and Salvador Dali, to name just a few.
posted by steef on Apr 4, 2008 - 16 comments

Edward Samuel's Illustrated History of Copyright

Edward Samuel's Illustrated History of Copyright A fascinating illustrated historical tour, looking at how different technologies have shaped how we think about copyright and intellectual property.
posted by carter on Jan 31, 2008 - 4 comments

We Now Conclude Our Broadcast Day

2007 has come to a close and so we now conclude our broadcast day. [more inside]
posted by dhammond on Dec 31, 2007 - 31 comments

Spots Before Your Eyes

Spots Before Your Eyes, an award-winning series of animated shorts promoting tolerance and human relations, produced in the 1950s by the American Jewish Committee (at AJC Archives)
posted by LinusMines on Jan 6, 2007 - 4 comments

The Valve Page

The Valve Page Featuring exceedingly old radios, televisions, and other old electronics from the UK.
posted by Mwongozi on Oct 21, 2005 - 9 comments

Tickets, please.

TV Tickets! A great gallery of tickets to TV show tapings, some going back to the 1950s. Includes some fascinating commentary by Mark Evanier.
posted by braun_richard on Jan 31, 2005 - 7 comments

Have you seen this girl?

Carol Hersee playing tic tac toe with a clown is one of the most widely-seen images on television. The demi-famous Test Card F, its history and purpose.
posted by Captaintripps on Jan 28, 2005 - 22 comments

Jodie Dallas LIVES!

If you're in New York City or LA between now and June 27th, the Museum of Television and Radio is presenting "Not That There's Anything Wrong With That --The History of Gay and Lesbian Images on Television" (via the Queer as Folk section of Showtime's site) (Anyone else remember Robert Reed playing a transsexual on Medical Center?)
posted by WolfDaddy on May 11, 2004 - 14 comments

greatest german

Three million Germans have voted post-war Chancellor Konrad Adenauer as the greatest German of all time. Reformation Monk Martin Luther came second, with communist philosopher Karl Marx third. Composer Johann Sebastian Bach and writer Johannes Wolfgang von Goethe were also in the running. Adolf Hitler and other Nazis were excluded from the poll.
posted by stbalbach on Nov 30, 2003 - 16 comments

The Open Video Project

The Open Video Project offers nearly 2,000 videos from various sources and collections, including such gems as 34 reels from the 1930s and 40s in the Digital Himalaya Project, a series of classic television commercials, and, from the Library of Congress, some shorts from the early 1900s, including the popular 2 a.m. in the Subway and A Ballroom Tragedy ("Vaudeville" is a good search term for finding more like this). Also, especially for MeFi, Johnny Learns His Manners.
posted by taz on Oct 12, 2003 - 17 comments

Television History - The First 75 Years

all about TV.
posted by crunchland on Sep 7, 2003 - 9 comments

So I'm watching Dog eat Dog tonight

So I'm watching Dog eat Dog tonight Mostly for the incredibly tasty Brooke Burns. And for the contestant to win, one of the losers had to miss the question "Which 32'd president said 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself?'". Now the guy said he was guessing and answered "Roosevelt", but he didn't clarify, Teddy? or FDR? They said he got it right so the contestant lost. Personally I think a retraction or apology is due.
posted by bitdamaged on Jul 29, 2002 - 20 comments

"You just don't want to hear anyone scream anymore.."

"You just don't want to hear anyone scream anymore.." Blackhawk Down on the History Channel, includes interviews with American soldiers and Somalian militiamen.
posted by dglynn on Jan 21, 2002 - 8 comments

Internet To Be Bigger Than TV - UCLA Report

Internet To Be Bigger Than TV - UCLA Report "For the first time in the history of television, TV usage by children under 14 declined," recalled Cole. "Kids finally found something that was more interesting than TV. It was an epiphany moment for me." Download the report here.
posted by owillis on Oct 25, 2000 - 5 comments

The first episode of 1900 House was really cool,

The first episode of 1900 House was really cool, and I can't wait to watch the rest tonight. The main link (above) is to pbs.org's cool site about the project. And if you're not a fan of "reality TV," but you like history, you might still enjoy the Victorian links page.

Note: I love the Victorian period, but there are other periods that also interest me. It would be REALLY cool to watch a show called "Middle Ages House," but I doubt that will ever be possible. There were so many health and safety issues involved in just going back 100 years. In fact, the producers had to make some concessions for the safety of the family. No network would ever take the insurance risk of placing a family in any sort of authentically reproduced early period.
posted by grumblebee on Jun 13, 2000 - 12 comments

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