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Fashion News

Exactly What You'd Expect
Lots of gorgeous, beautiful footage of flapper ladies in glorious, though rarely well-preserved, Two-Strip Technicolor. No plot at all in what is really a 1920s promotional/advertising short. However, that hardly matters, since it's only 5 minutes long and has good editing that makes the film more visually interesting than some other films of this genre. Featuring a few stars dedicated film-historians will know (and at least one they probably won't). It's filmed outdoors too, allowing for excellent lighting. Certainly recommend for anyone who likes silent-era color/colour footage, and anyone who is interested in the era (late 1920s). Can be found on DVD if you search hard enough.

Ding Dong School

A Masterpiece of Television
What can be said about "Ding Dong School", which hasn't already been said? Well, this show is so awesome, I bet that even Goku would like it. Broadcast on NBC-TV for several years in the Fabulous 1950's, a time of hope and prosperity, "Ding Dong School" gave millions of young kids the life-lessons needed to grow up on the right path. Truly, no murderer ever watched this fifties gem. Filmed on a set the size of a modern day bathroom (maybe smaller), "Ding Dong School" didn't need fancy sets or cheesy theme muzak, it was just the host, Miss Frances, talking directing to the audience, demonstrating how to do simple things like playing with a small cloth, or blowing bubbles. She also read poetry on the show, which may explain why Baby Boomers can actually read, unlike a certain later generation who uses fake words like "rulz" and "dis". The commercials were always for healthy food, which helped the host gain critical acclaim. Overall, I'd say "Ding Dong School" is a true masterpiece of television, a wonderful show which is almost as good as another masterpiece of TV, "The Jack Benny Show".

Dollar a Second

How can I write ten lines on a show like this?
But I'll try. Hoth Jan Murray is friendly and appealing, he has a warmth which makes the viewer feel happy. Sponsors included a wine company whose name I can't be bothered to remember. Segment from un-dated kinescope: Contestant must say the answers one question after they are asked. Seriously. Actually, this game show is pretty cool, an interesting premise, there should be a revival of it. Another segment, after failing to say "STOP" before the buzzer goes off, a man must crawl up slippery steps with the help of his wife. BUT, they are both clearly enjoyable themselves, they are doing it for FUN. Also, I appears only a few episodes were preserved, I've seen one ABC-TV episode, and I know that an archive has an DuMont-TV episode. Overall, a fun show from the early days of TV.

Inside Detective

Gritty 1950's Crime Drama with Comic "At Home" Scenes
The DuMont Television Network. A cheap, low-budget but fun network, whose cheaply produced shows kick the ass of many "Big budget" programs made years later. "Rocky King, Detective", also known as "Inside Detective", is a true DuMont Network classic, airing from 1950 to 1954. DuMont ceased broadcasting in 1956. I have recently seen kinescopes of 4 episodes, three with Roscoe Karns, one with his son as Roscoe was sick. These were treasures are among the finest examples I have ever seen of early television. Episode starts: Rocky walks down long hall-way, lights up a cigarette, to which the announcer says "Rocky King, Detective. An Exciting fight against crime!". However, the show was never sponsored by a tobacco company. Scene starts: Rocky is talking to his wife, when he hears the phone ring. A man claims that a guy recently put on death row is innocent, and that he (the guy on the phone) is the REAL murderer! OK, a cliché plot for an episode, but the writing is good, and the cast is strong. Plus, the critics at the time liked it, and it did run for 5 seasons. What's really remarkable, though, is how the series combines gritty crime drama with comedic scenes at home, which at the time was an unusual technique. Overall, a DuMont Network classic.

School House

Not as bad as claimed
When people list really BAD shows from the early days of television, this show usually gets mentioned. Even the usually excellent book "The Forgotten Network" pans this show. I don't understand why though. I recently viewed the sole surviving recording of this short-lived program, and it ain't bad. Episode includes: A nice "modern dancer", a couple of OK comedy sketches, an excellent Jazz musical performance ("I've always liked ragtime" - "It ain't called ragtime anymore, it's bebop!"), a fun DuMont Television Set commercial (Wally Cox flubs his lines) and a cute comedy song sung by a female singer. Certainly not great TV, but honestly I don't see how it's THAT bad. The series was set in a classroom, and yes, it's extremely uneven, but, parts of the episode were VERY enjoyable. Not at all a "massive turkey" as often claimed, I do wish this series had lasted longer, and that more episodes were preserved. Of course, greater things laid ahead during the next couple of years for The DuMont Network...

The Morey Amsterdam Show

Classic stuff from the DuMont Network
What more could you really want? Morey Amsterdam starts the show by telling a joke, then sings a jazzy comedy song in his slightly wobbly singing voice. Then, a man and woman do a novelty dance number that spoofs photography. Morey tells a few more jokes, then does a sketch with Art Carney spoofing television shows on the air at that time. Then, a young attractive female singer performs the jazzy "You Lucky People" with her sweet, lovely vocals. Then, Morey Amsterdam, Art Carney and several other people spoof ballet! Thus, the show ends. Episode aired during early 1950. This show comes from an era when TV was new and exciting, and full of optimism. Two of the cast members, Morey & Art, later found fame on later series on other networks. The whole show is set in New York City night club, and is very hip. This is a true joy to watch and sinc emany of the episodes are known to survive, somebody should repeat the program along with other forgotten classics from the years before the "reality TV" nonsense.

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