TV Cream

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fiftysomething (slight return)

Enough of the grouching. Ten good things about the 1950s:

1) QUATERMASS AND THE PIT
The first two were rubbish, but this, the third in the series, with Andre Morell facing an invasion of the world that had taken root in people’s minds millions of years earlier and was triggered by the excavation of a ship full of giant crickets, is close to perfection.

2) RICHARD DIMBLEBY
Going off the clippage that turns up from time to time on BBC Parliament, this man was the most avuncular and reassuring front man the Corporation has ever employed. Closely followed by…

3) CLIFF MICHELMORE
Specifically as the host of Tonight. Once the rotten ‘Toddler’s Truce’ was ditched, who better to share your beans and toast with?

4) ‘FRANK SINATRA SINGS FOR ONLY THE LONELY’
The front cover depicts the Chairman of the Board dressed up like a Pierrot clown, and looks crap. The album itself, however, is the most perfectly-judged, sustained evocation of solitude and despair you’ll ever hear.

5) LONDON TO BRIGHTON IN THREE-AND-A-HALF MINUTES
Namely that black-and-white film done by the Beeb in 1953 for no reason other than because speeded-up telly was exciting.

6) FAST AND LOOSE
Bob Monkhouse’s first-ever series, and though it’s probably been lost from the archives for eternity, judging by what’s been written about it – the man faking a dead-faint at the end of the first episode to win more time to write the second, blowing off part of Charlie Drake’s ear – it was ace.

7) JIMMY YOUNG HAVING TWO NUMBER ONE HITS
And also being the first UK artist to have two successive chart-toppers. The first is rotten (‘Unchained Melody’) but the second, ‘The Man From Laramie’, is fantastic.

8) DAVID JACOBS
For being a legend and for being everywhere in the second half of the 1950s: Juke Box Jury, Wednesday Magazine, Tell The Truth, Make Up Your Mind, Pick Of The Pops, Dateline London, Lucky Couple, Music Music Music, Television Ice-Time, Focus On Hocus (long overdue a revival), Come Dancing, The Vera Lynn Show, On The Brighter Side…

9) JOVIAL PARTY POLITICAL POSTERS
“Whether you walk
or whether you ride
Whether the weather
smiles or frowns
Vote Labour
when you get inside
And make yours one of
the HAPPY towns!”

10) THE GAGGIA COFFEE MACHINE
Even if you don’t drink the stuff, as a device it’s still wonderful to look at. And above all listen to.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    January 23, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    What a ‘DICK’! The first 2 Quatermasses where rubbish, what high element of bain power did you use to decide that little nugget – pleb!

    • Applemask

      October 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      One of TV Cream’s flaws over 20 years is an apparent discomfort in praising anything without simultaneously tearing something else down, usually something that doesn’t deserve it. So much the better if it doesn’t, in fact.

      It’s not fair to single out TVC, actually – that impulse has been sadly prominent ever since nostalgia became an industry. The whole “d’you remember” genre places the commentator in the centre rather than the work itself. To a greater or lesser extent it’s about the commentator’s own ego. The original material is the sun, the commentator is the moon. That’s as true of my own videos, and YouTube uploads of commercial breaks with verbose descriptions, as it is of Peter Kay humming the Blankety Blank theme on I Love 1979. But the works are almost always – by definition – better, more interesting and of more import and even more worth than the commentator themselves, which mislays the original intention to boost the commentator’s ego. So the commentator takes whatever opportunity they can to tear something, anything surrounding the work down and prove their own worth, if not their own superiority. If it goes against some sort of consensus, so much the better.

      • TV Cream

        October 15, 2017 at 10:43 am

        That’s a very pertinent analysis. Hard to argue with it, Applemask. One might hope more recent inclusions on the site are less prone to what you describe (this entry was written in 2008), but we couldn’t guarantee it.

        • THX 1139

          October 15, 2017 at 1:24 pm

          One thing I learned early on about the internet, no matter how good something is there’s always someone who detests it, and no matter how bad something is there’s always someone who loves it.

          But the best writers and commentators, professional or otherwise, will either nail what the material’s qualities are (good or bad) or make you think about it in a way that has you wondering, or laughing, or respecting. There’s ego in every piece of writing, it’s a matter of finding out whether it’s justified, I suppose – if it’s to slag something off to make the commentator look better in comparison, they’re going about it in the wrong way (see all those “everything wrong with…” YT vids and their ilk). Alas, there’s a lot of that about with the default setting that everything is rubbish.

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