Picks and Pans Review: The Start of Something Big
Me, I'm a sucker for Steve Allen, the host of this hour-long show. His articulate delivery plus those constant throwaways ("You remember World War II, it was in all the papers") keep whatever subject he's narrating alive and buoyant. Based in part on Charles Panati's The Browser's Book of Beginnings: Origins of Everything Under (and Including) the Sun, this unique program does just what it promises. This week's episode chronicles the beginnings of such diverse phenomena as basketball and Barbara Eden. Featured too are interviews with Dynasty's John Forsythe and Linda Evans (then Linda Evanstad), who, as shown in old TV clips, worked together more than 25 years ago on an episode of Bachelor Father. Unfortunately the show is top-heavy with celebrities and how they became adored by others, if not themselves. The show's format works best when it explores something taken for granted, such as a watch. (Did you know the original ones were so large that rich men had watch servants who carried the timepieces?) Tying the many vignettes together is Allen, whose wry comments help keep Something Big from becoming something bland.