Posts Tagged ‘television’
From Brazilian designers 18bis, a very different application of the animation technique– stop motion cut-outs– made famous by South Park: a beautiful dance inspired by Pablo Neruda’s “The Me Bird,”, set to original music.
[TotH to Wall to Watch]
As we contemplate the cornucopia that is construction paper, we might recall that it was on this date in 1962 that Jack Paar said “good night” and signed off of The Tonight Show for the final time. The late night format had been pioneered by Steve Allen, who inaugurated the slot for NBC locally in New in York in 1952, then as a network offer in 1954. It was structured as a traditional variety show (though it ran 105 minutes), and was quickly tag-team hosted by Allen and Ernie Kovacs, who alternated nights. Carried on very few affiliates, it failed to satisfy the network, which switched to a news format in that time slot in January of 1957. The news was even less popular, so in July of the network tacked back, and named Jack Paar the sole host of Tonight.
Paar established the format and tropes that we currently associate with late night shows: the opening monologue, the regular cast of sketch and skit players, the catchphrase (“I kid you not”), the musical guests, and most centrally, the interviews with celebrities– of all walks, but largely entertainers. The toll of doing 105 minutes five nights a week was sufficiently wearing that Paar convinced the network to reduce the length to 90 minutes, and later, to produce only four shows a week (starting the trend of “Best of” Fridays that survived him). The show was a tremendous hit, steadily building carriage and audience; it was Paar who turned The Tonight Show into an entertainment juggernaut. But he salted his guest list with intellectuals (Paar helped William F. Buckley become a celebrity), politicians (Sen. John F. Kennedy initiated the practice of the “Presidential candidate appearance” on Paar’s show; see photo below), even world leaders. Indeed, Paar was the center of a firestorm of criticism for interviewing Fidel Castro in 1959.
Exhausted by demands of the show, Paar left to do a prime time series. His hand-picked successor, who’d been a frequent substitute host during Paar’s vacations, was Johnny Carson.
Recently, The Economist took a look at the fines being levied against corporations found guilty of crimes. Their assessment was rather bleak:
The economics of crime prevention starts with a depressing assumption: executives simply weigh up all their options, including the illegal ones. Given a risk-free opportunity to mis-sell a product, or form a cartel, they will grab it. Most businesspeople are not this calculating, of course, but the assumption of harsh rationality is a useful way to work out how to deter rule-breakers.
In an influential 1968 paper on the economics of crime, Gary Becker of the University of Chicago set out a framework in which criminals weigh up the expected costs and benefits of breaking the law. The expected cost of lawless behaviour is the product of two things: the chance of being caught and the severity of the punishment if caught*…
The always-amazing David McCandliss at Information is Beautiful has put the issue into graphic perspective.
We’ve gathered and visualized the biggest corporate fines of the last seven years, not just as raw amounts, but also as a percentage of each company’s profits. That way you can see for yourself if the punishment was painful or puny…
*Becker had created the model as a framework for considering appropriately-discouraging penalties for malfeasance. He was horrified later to learn that it was being taught by business school colleagues as a decision aid.
As we contemplate crime and punishment, we might recall that it was on this date in 1950 that the first television show with a recorded “laugh track” (The Harry McCune Show) aired in the U.S.
It was 80 years ago (more specifically, 80 years ago last month) that the BBC conducted its first experimental broadcast. In grateful commemoration, Paste has created a list of its favorite BBC TV series. Like any “best of” list it begs for bickering (e.g., while Jools Holland’s wonderful series is included, the honoree of this post’s title is not); but then, that’s the fun– and there’s not a ringer in the bunch.
Check them out– and then add your own– at “The 16 Best BBC TV Shows.”
As we acknowledge our Anglophilia, we might recall that this was not a banner date for British-American relations in 1774: in response to Parliament’s enactment of the Coercive Acts in the American colonies, the first session of the Continental Congress convened at Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia.
Colonists had gathered before to protest the Stamp Act (1765) and the Tea Act (1773); indeed, the “Tea Party” (and related acts of violent protest)– “Intolerable Acts” as they were called by Parliament– precipitated the Coercive Acts, which closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops. The Continental Congress was called to consider a united American resistance to the British… and so it did.
From our old friend Dante Shepherd, “Defining words that aren’t real. Yet.” E.g…
Head-bashery (noun): like head-banging, but done by someone with no energy and rhythm; in effect, pathetic head-banging.
Juxtapolitician (noun): a political figure who automatically denounces the stance, proposal, beliefs, or achievements of his/her political opposite, just because he/she is the political opposite.
Meanderthal (noun): one who has failed the driver’s exam multiple times.
Lots more experimental lexicography at The Oxford English Fictionary…
As we noodle new nouns, we might send consoling thoughts to Philo T. Farnsworth; he was born on this date in 1908. As a Utah schoolboy, Farnsworth began to develop the design of the electronic system that became, in 1927, the world’s first all-electronic television system. In 1931, RCA’s David Sarnoff tried to acquire Farnsworth’s patents, with the stipulation that the inventor join RCA as an employee. When Farnsworth refused, Sarnoff backed a rival technology, sued Farnsworth, and used his considerable political clout to have the RCA system declared the standard.