A few things have pinged for me this long holiday weekend. The Decades channel is running a Bob Newhart Show marathon, my childhood library building has been saved from potential demolition and my youngest brother came to town with his growing family! Memories and ideas have flowed through my conversations and I’m going to bounce them off you my fellow film / tv junkies.

An Old Show:

The Bob Newhart Show ran from 1972 – 1978 with Bob, Emily, Howard, Gerry and Carol in a simple format of nothing – something Seinfeld fans will remember as a key ingredient to humorous success. Very simple gags and real life nonsense. Howard’s brother comes to town. Its really that simple. Well written with great timing.

Watching Bob and the gentleness of so many tv shows of the era brings me up full cirlce to two new shows I caught this week: Fear of the Walking Dead (AMC Sunday 9pm) and Public Morals (TNT Tuesday 10pm). My first thought is aren’t we tired and bored of Zombies and crooked cop stories? The response should be ..yes …but funny enough …no.

2 New Shows:

Fear of the Walking Dead – I’m going to go against the grain here and say that it moved too fast. I would have appreciated a few episodes hinting at events and building up anticipation. Seems my fellow ranters disagree and I’m hearing that the show moved too slow with out enough excitement. OH how spoiled we are by Rick and his minions. I’m staying on the fence over a few issues, the jumping off too fast into the down fall is one small thing I can get past, but the collection of unlikable and whiny characters is another I’m going to have to be convinced why I should care at all. The step parent / good teacher / all around nice guy is okay, and naturally I’m a huge fan of Tobais the wimpy geek, but the overbearing yet distant mom and the two bratty kids? yeah…they are characters I will hope to grow into loving to be annoyed by.

Public Morals – A complete and utter delight – but I confess; Its Ed Burns, Michael Rapport, Timothy Hutton, Ruben Santiago- Hudson and Kevin Corrigan plus the clothes and the decor much more than the story line or the premise! Geek out time! Slick, steady and full of guy moments. Girls / Dames / chicks to be used as play things and decoration which I try to look past; its the era and its a guy fueled premise….but seriously ..we could work on making some of the women real characters and not just props for the boys right? (When you watch this show, you know why guys wax all sweet on the sixties)

Libraries: 

The first library I remember is the main Detroit branch on Woodward Ave. So huge, like Scarlett O’hara’s TARA, with the huge white columned entrance and the grand steps. The spiral stairs up to the kids mezzanine. Carrying loads of books home in a cloth bag and while not really reading yet, being pulled in by pictures and adventures. 

Then later when we had moved into a neighborhood with single family homes and big green lawns I was old enough to walk to the library on my own. A small but pretty field stone building with huge slate tiles on the roof and gleaming cooper rain troughs that had turned slightly green from weathering. The musty smell of book dust and the subdued clomp of footsteps on the old wooden floors as I found a nook near one of the big windows to review my selections.

This was the library where I discovered biographies of movie stars. Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, John Wayne and Mickey Rooney. Some were the type co-authored by the movie star and some were ‘unauthorized’ all so thrilling to my pre-teen mind. I remember searching for books on being a Mormon so I could know all about Donny Osmond, and finding what it was like in England because I learned that Cary Grant was born there and Elizabeth Taylor had lived in London.

The building has been empty for a few years after the local high school stopped using it as a cultural center. There was some talk of taking it down but thankfully it has been rescued and designated a historical building. Really a beautiful place with so much to offer, I am hopeful that it can be refurbished while holding on to some of its elegance.

Winter 2010 007

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