austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

To find that I was by the sea

This started as a follow-up sentence to my current reading item and grew out of control. It's an interesting book, but through no fault of its own was written in 1979, so it misses ABC's 1980s slide back into being the Almost Broadcasting Company. Even stranger -- I suppose there just wasn't quite the time to see the perspective -- Aaron Spelling gets two sentences, one him asking a rhetorical question about ratings and the other explaining the context, although The Love Boat and Fantasy Island get mentions too. Quinlan's also none too sure about putting Roone Arledge in charge of ABC News, and whether the network is finally going to commit to news to put something useful on the air for more than a year. And now with Fred Silverman heading up NBC who knows where he'll go in the early 1980s ...

There are also, curiously, some quarter- or third-pages cut out of my copy. From the surviving text they don't seem to have been racy segments. Even if they were pictures hidden outside the bound-pictures section, if they matched context they'd be of ABC executives of the 1970s, which I think only their Moms would really want to clip, and their mothers would have saved the whole book, wouldn't they?

Index-reading makes for utterly unimportant comedy. Dick Clark gets one mention; Peter Jennings two. Paul Harvey gets one mention in a footnote. Happy Days gets two mentions, ``The Fonz'' once separately, and Henry Winkler once more. World War II gets two references, the same as Lawrence Welk or Laverne and Shirley. The Vietnam War gets three mentions; video cassettes four. Watergate, Bob Hope, and Galactica have one reference each. The Clayton Antitrust Act, Barbara Walters, Pat Weaver, and Charlie's Angels each get two, the same as Elvis Presley.

And here's an interesting little point. Paramount the movie company owned half of the Columbia Broadcasting System in the late 1920s, but sold it for cash in the most recent Great Depression. In the late 1930s they bought a share in the DuMont network just big enough to drive Allen B Du Mont crazy and refuse all his expansion efforts. The DuMont network stations more or less turned into Metromedia Broadcasting, which became the nucleus for the Fox Network. In the early 1950s through the spinoff United Paramount Theaters outfit they merged with the American Broadcasting Company, saving it from cash strangulation. And they had their hand in the United Paramount Network and from their re-purchase of CBS in the Morse Code network. You know, go back in time to 1914 and push Adolph Zukor off the El Train and you screw up all the television networks except NBC and the WB.

Trivia: The US Navy's rigid airships Akron and Macon were designated ZRS-4 and ZRS-5 during construction. Source: Searching the Horizon: A History of Ames Research Center, 1940-1976, Elizabeth A Muenger, NASA SP-4304.

Currently Reading: Inside ABC: American Broadcasting Company's Rise to Power, Sterling Quinlan.


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