News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

June 25, 2013

LIZ CIANCONE: TV reality shows have a colorful history

We rarely turn on our television set until time for the evening news, and sometimes we turn it off at the end of that half hour. If I were a male, I would be a curmudgeon.

I especially dislike the so-called “reality shows.” The “stars” may be out in the boondocks, dirty and disheveled, but bet your last dollar there will be a herd of television crewmen and any number of producers and directors within a stone’s throw. If you really wanted off that island, or out of that jungle, there would be no problem.

And then there are the talent-search shows. I was scornful of shrieking vocalists and low-talent performers and then I remembered the talent-search biggie of my youth. Today may have “America’s Got Talent,” but we had “Major Bowes and the Original Amateur Hour.” Of course, the Major had no celebrity panel sitting in judgment of the talent. He alone was the judge and he alone gave the would-be star “the gong,” thereby ending high hopes of a professional career.

In fairness, Frank Sinatra got his start as a winner on the Original Amateur Hour and could be very funny on the experience. The audience was asked to judge his trio (or was it a quartet?) and they won. Then, at the Major’s request, they came back week after week with only a name change. Who knew? We couldn’t actually see them and a week’s hiatus dimmed memory of the voices.

The rest is history when it comes to Sinatra.

I may snicker at modern television, but for really off-the-wall entertainment, few things equal a show out of Chicago some years ago. It starred a piano player and a room full of canaries. The announcer would proclaim, “Live from warehouse 39, it’s Don Artiste and the Hartz Mountain canaries.” How could I make this up?

Don would tinkle the keys of one of the warehoused pianos — for sale — and the birds would twitter along. Some birds seemed to have no sense of timing because they twittered whether or not Don was tinkling. As I recall the program lasted about 30 minutes.

Mom liked to listen because she was convinced that our canary, Mr. Watson, enjoyed the show and liked to sing along.

I might have enjoyed watching that on television — or maybe not.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to opinion@tribstar.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Liz Ciancone
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Raw: Deadly Taiwan Gas Leak Explosion Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Demoted Worker Shoots CEO, Kills Self Family Dispute Cripples Northeast Grocery Chain Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure US, UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire 49ers Open Posh, High-tech Stadium in California
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity