We all remember the first times… That first time you did anything in your life that was of significance. Well, this is it. My inaugural post!
This embodies a life long dream for me. I’m a thinker, and plodder, and a planner. I talk myself out of things fifty times and usually, just give up. But, not this time, and there’s proof!
So, how did I get here?
I grew up in Torrance, California in Los Angeles county. Beverly Hills and Hollywood were just a quick shot up the 405 freeway, and the entertainment bug bit me early on. As the youngest of three, and the baby, I grew up like an only child. In an effort to amuse myself, I listened to the radio, read volumes, and watched a lot of TV. I realize how different programming was, compared with the present. But, for then, it was terrific. Charlie’s Angels, Six Million Dollar Man./ Bionic Woman, The Love Boat and Fantasy Island… my friends and I loved them all.
I grew up somewhat sheltered, so movies that I could see were usually G or PG rated. I remember lots of Disney movies, and I also spent many a Saturday afternoon watching old movies with Susan Hayward, or Hope and Crosby On the Road pictures, or Abbott and Costello… that really established my love of movies and the total escape that they offer. Then came HBO, Cinemax and Showtime to dominate as the pay-for cable-channels moved to a 24 hour format. So many movies! All there for the watching!
During that time, the networks also were enjoying good ratings with offerings of night-time sudsers with large ensemble casts as Dallas, Knot’s Landing and Dynasty gained popularity. Anyone of a similar age remembers the “who shot J.R.” storyline, and tuning in to see who did, indeed. As I recall, the mystery dragged out for quite some time so that they could milk the ratings then, and ultimately for the series, which ran for a total of 14 seasons.
But, what I remember as a game changer that would impact the future of television drama, was a show called Hill Street Blues. It was nothing like I’d ever seen before on tv… gritty, realistic, sexy, funny, and heartwarming. I would venture to say that this was a front-runner, forging new ground for viewers like none before it. It would certainly influence crime dramas going forward. St. Elsewhere did the same thing for medical series, as M*A*S*H and Cheers did for comedies.
These shows were all so fresh and different, and well done. They were undiscovered territory, and I felt like I was the explorer who found them. You couldn’t help talking about it, and trying to convince others to watch too.
That’s the same feeling of excitement I have in starting this blog. I am thrilled to share my thoughts in this forum, and hope that readers find something relatable here that entertains, encourages, and connects us – through the celluloid.
Your turn: I would love for you to share what show or movie had the greatest influence on you?
Next post: Are the Networks programming themselves out of existence?