Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jane's Top Ten Most Memorable TV Moments

Everybody loves a top ten list, so we're going to try to include a few here on the Nose from time to time. They tend to be very subjective, and sometimes even contentious, so I'm hoping that this one and subsequent lists will get people fired up enough so that they will actually leave comments. Nose fans out there in cyber-land, you may not know this but Lisa and I absolutely live for your posted comments, so keep 'em coming!

Jane's Most Memorable TV Moments:

10. The Beatles appear on the Ed Sullivan Show:
I am going to start with an episode that I did not see in real time, but have seen it repeated so many times that I feel like I must have been there. The mass hysteria, the hyperventilating and heaving teenage bosoms. The mirthless Mr. Sullivan who seemed relieved that these boys were actually "nice lads" and not the menacing Rolling Stones. There was so much going on, one forgets the actual performance that birthed the greatest rock band in world history.

9. MTV is Launched: With the Buggles singing, "Video Killed the Radio Star" in 1981, this cable TV network was officially born and a collective shriek of terrified broadcast TV, radio and recording industry executives was heard round the world. OK, that last part it not true, but it should have been. Cable TV and MTV started a revolution that fragmented television viewing, and changed the model for delivering music to the masses. Many businesses have never recovered.

8. Final Episode of M*A*S*H: After more than a decade on the air, America said goodbye to a program that was so deeply engaging, the characters felt like friends and family. The fact that this series maintained its suburb quality and innovation through all those many years, made it even harder to to face the end. The two hour finale which aired in 1983 attracted over 105 million viewers and is still (per Nielsen) considered one of the highest rated TV programs of all time.

7. "Roots", the ABC Miniseries: Most people can't even remember what this kind of mass, pre-cable, television was like. I'll tell you what it was like. "Roots" was the amazing ABC miniseries from Alex Haley's best selling novel about the saga of an African American family, starting with their original ancestor Kunta Kinte, who was brought to America in chains. During the week long prime time event, if you walked into any neighborhood and peaked into American living rooms, you would see folks watching Roots. It received over 37 Emmy nominations in 1977.

6. I Love Lucy: LA At Last: Of course we must include our muse and Blogger namesake! In this greatest of all Lucy episodes, the famous four-some has made it to Hollywood where Lucy and Ethyl promptly head to the Brown Derby to see movie stars. Of course, Lucy ends up dumping a whole bowl of spaghetti onto William Holden. Back at their apartment, Lucy is horrified to find that Ricky has invited Mr. Holden over for a visit. Lucy dons a fake nose made out of putty so he won't recognize her as the nut case from the Brown Derby (scripted). She lights a cigarette and the nose catches on fire (scripted). She calmly reaches for her coffee cup, and dunks the nose into it to extinguish the flame (not scripted...pure Lucille Ball improve). Ricky's shocked reaction was genuine and it added to the hilarity of the moment.

5. Final Episode of Six Feet Under: I think this HBO series is one of the finest ever made, and it is my hands down favorite. It is also the only television series to accurately capture the complexity and utter weirdness of living in contemporary Los Angeles. I loved it beyond reason and the last episode with all of the characters aging and meeting their demise with Sia singing "Breathe Me" in the background was profound and heart breaking. I could watch it a thousand times.

4. President' Reagan's Eulogy for the Challenger Astronauts: The President helped a nation mourn the loss of the crew of the Challenger space shuttle, in a beautiful eulogy partially written by Reagan's most talented speech writer (Peggy Noonan). I watched it with my co-workers at work at KTTV in Los Angeles and we cried like babies. Especially when he read the poem "High Flight"
"And while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space...
...put out my hand, and touched the face of God."

. David Bowie Sings on The Bing Crosby Christmas Special: An entirely unexpected television event from the 1970's and I was lucky enough to see it as it happened. I knew immediately it would become an instant classic, and that is exactly what happened. Posting the video here on the Nose. It is still awesome to see the aging crooner and the young glam rocker sing a Christmas medley that never ever gets old.

2. 9-11: I was up so early that morning in Los Angeles, I actually saw the second plane hit the tower in real time. It has been over 6 years since that September morning in 2001 and I still can't think about it without feeling the horror. This tragedy was (and is) considered the most recorded catastrophic event in history, as thousands of home video cameras in addition to broadcast and cable news captured the nightmare as it happened.

1. Apollo 11 Lands on the Moon: My number two was the saddest television moment, and my #1 is still the most triumphant. As close to a billion people watched on TV sets around the world, Neil Armstrong walked onto another world and delivered his unforgettable "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" line. I've met many Apollo astronauts over the years, but never Mr. Armstrong who is a recluse. I had the privilege of watching Apollo 11 launch in person when I was a little kid, standing on the beach near Cape Canaveral, Florida with my family. We watched Neil step onto the moon on a tiny black and white TV in our motel room.


Dean Treadway said...

Okay, off the top of my head--the top ten TV moments that I, personally, have witnessed (I don't count things I saw when they were rerun, which would be another list entirely):

10) A man falls between a train and the platform on "Homicide: Life on the Streets"
9) Ken Jennings' incredible winning streak on "Jeopardy"
8) Any late-nite comedy news segment hosted by Bill Tush in the 1970s WTCG days in Atlanta (pre-TBS)
7) The incredible dance once performed by Steve Martin and Gilda Radner on "Saturday Night Live"
6) The musical episode on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer"
5) Eunice tries to get on "The Gong Show" in "The Family" skit that was regularly a part of "The Carol Burnett Show"
4) The final scene of "The Sopranos"
3) The Russians take over the airwaves on "SCTV"
2) Agent Cooper experiences a strange dream involving Laura Palmer and a dancing little person in "Twin Peaks."
1) Archie and Edith say goodbye to Gloria and the Meathead on "All in the Family."

10) Tom Snyder interviews Charles Manson on "Tomorrow"
9) Woody Allen walks out on stage at The Oscars, post 9/11
8) The funeral of Princess Diana
7) An ancient 1970s NBC-produced special on the rising crime rate in America--still one of the scariest shows I've ever seen.
6) Man walks on the moon (only so low down on the list because of my young age at the time)
5) The verdict in the O.J. trial
4) The Watergate hearings and the departure of Richard Nixon
3) The moment Howard Cosell announced on Monday Night Football that John Lennon had been killed
2) The Challenger explosion
1) 9/11/2001

Dean Treadway said...

Ahh, might as well do that other list:

Top 10 "rerun" moments on TV:

10) Any time Crazy Guggenheim would sing on "The Jackie Gleason Show."
9) Andy explains math to Opie on "The Andy Griffith Show." (poooor Horatio...)
8) On "You Bet Your Life," Groucho asks a woman with eight kids why she had so many. She answers "I love my husband." Groucho: "Well I love my cigar, but I take it out once in a while."
7) Lucy and the chocolate factory on "I Love Lucy"
6) Ralph and Ed discuss "poloponies" on "The Honeymooners."
5) Dick Cavett interviews Alfred Hitchcock
4) The documentary episode of "M.A.S.H."
3) Woody Allen interviews Billy Graham on his one-off TV special
2) The Beatles on Ed Sullivan
1) John F. Kennedy's funeral

Jane said...

Dean! Thank you so much for leaving your own excellent Top 10 lists! Lisa has turned me on to your Blog and I love it. Want to know where we can find a video to run in a loop so we too can pretend to shoot readers who do not leave comments. I don't know if you read my Twin Peaks Nose-talgia piece a few weeks ago, but I am glad to see that someone else recalls the dancing dwarf dream sequence. And thanks for the reminder of Woody Allen attending the Academy Awards. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Great television, no doubt about it.

Dean Treadway said...

Thanks, Jane! I need some fans, and Lisa's been in there swingin' for me for years! Glad to have you as a reader, too! You can find that Chuck Norris loop on photobucket, I believe. I just stumbled upon it, luckilly. I might switch it out with something, though. Just to keep things fresh.

Anyway, yeah, it was fun doing those lists! I'm a list kind of guy. All that was off the top of my head, without any research, too. Who knows what I've forgotten. But, then again, if I've forgotten it, it must not be at the top of my list!

Excellent Twin Peaks review a few weeks ago. I did a piece on Fire Walk With Me recently, and it made me think of how much I love the show, even if I am bored often with the romantic dealings on it. (Anytime James, the young soulful rebel, came on screen, I mentally tuned out!)

I'll keep coming back to the Nose for my TV news. I know you and Lisa have great taste! Oh, and I cannot WAIT for "John Adams" to hit DVD!

Anonymous said...

the last Lucy show in the 80s featured a young Jenny Lewis ... unfortunately no Youtube clip yet, but Ms. Rilo Kiley does show up here