The mother of all attack ads

I was 12 years old when I watched Lyndon Johnson’s campaign ad that showed a little girl picking daisies followed by the mushroom cloud of a nuclear blast.  Even at the time, I understood the message:  Don’t vote for that extremist Barry Goldwater!  He will start a nuclear war!

Yes, the ad, if you thought about it was utterably lame (a little girl? daisies?), but it had to have contributed to LBJ’s landslide victory.  Drew Babb analyzes the political commercial, which aired as a paid advertisement one time only on September 7, 1964 (after that, it was endlessly re-run by the three networks who covered the ad itself as a piece of news).  He calls it the “mother of all attack ads.” [Read more...]

Taking Lassie straight to merchandising

The Hollywood studio DreamWorks has the rights to Lassie, the TV show about a heroic collie that is the third longest running TV drama of all time (behind Gunsmoke and Law & Order).  But the studio thinks the character is too old-fashioned for a new TV show or movie.  So the plan is to take Lassie straight to the true goal of making movie heroes these days:  merchandising.

Finding that Lassie is still beloved, she will be making appearances on TV shows, commercials, and a host of Lassie-related products.

Do you agree that Lassie, while still popular, is unable to entertain children today?  That children have to have explosions and superheroes; otherwise, they will be “bored”?   That’s the view expressed after the jump. [Read more...]

Why they cancelled “Longmire”

One of my favorite TV shows has been Longmire, an extremely well-done mystery series centering around a modern-day sheriff on the high plains of Wyoming.  It’s critically-acclaimed and one of the A&E Networks’ top-rated shows.  So the network is cancelling it.  The reason why–even though it is said that we are in a new “Golden Age” of TV drama–tells us much about network TV.  And why TV funded by subscription rather than advertising, such as Netflix and HBO, is coming into its own. [Read more...]

What happened to summer movies?

Summers are usually the season to go to the movies, when studios released their fun pop-corn flicks for the out-of-school and summer vacation crowd.  But what happened to this summer?  I haven’t gone to the movies once because there haven’t been any that I’ve been interested in.

Sure enough, according to the article excerpted after the jump, the summer box office has been a disaster for Hollywood.  One reason given is Netflix and what I have noted as the renaissance of television!

We’re thinking about taking in The Planet of the Apes sequel this weekend.  Is it worth seeing?  Are there any other movies that you would recommend? [Read more...]

Targeted political ads

As you will have noticed, internet advertisers are bombarding you with ads tailored just for you, based on your browsing history and the volumes of data that the marketers have put together about you.  That technology is finding its way to television.  Watch for its use in political advertising.  In his last election, Chris Christie’s campaign bought ads on Friday Night Wrestling after they found that its viewers don’t vote much, but could probably be persuaded to vote for Christie.  And if you have satellite TV, you may be getting ads that your neighbor watching the same program isn’t getting. [Read more...]

Letterman’s replacement will be Stephen Colbert

David Letterman, the late night talk show host on CBS, announced his retirement the other day, as of 2-15.  And now we learn that he will be replaced by satirist Stephen Colbert.   That would mean the end of the Colbert Report on Comedy Central, which has been the bane of conservatives though a very funny bane.  Reportedly, when he takes over Late Night, Colbert will set aside his faux-conservative persona that he used to such withering effect.

I’ve got mixed feelings about this.  What do you think? [Read more...]


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