Picks and Pans Review: Saturday Morning Tv
Gary H. Grossman
Here's a book to wallow in for anyone who remembers the days when watching TV was an event, not a habit—when you leaped out of bed on Saturday morning and weren't disappointed even by the test pattern on a 12-inch Dumont. Grossman, 33, is a free-lance writer-producer and a former TV critic. More important, he's an alumnus of the Howdy Doody Peanut Gallery. He has, if anything, overresearched this book, down to digging up premiums offered by NBC's Rootle Kazootie in the 1950s. He also did many original interviews, with everyone from Claude Kirchner, the ringmaster always upstaged on Super Circus by Mary Martline, to Cliff Robertson, who as a young actor starred in Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers. (Robertson recalls trying to get the show's producers to use actors blacklisted because of Cold War politics.) Grossman denounces the current, cartoon-dominated Saturday-morning programming. Only those who remember such stinkers as Ramar of the Jungle, Lash of the West and Smilin' Ed's Gang as well as the more charming My Friend Flicka, Mr. Wizard and Sky King are qualified to debate the point. (Dell, $12.95)
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