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Apples and Oranges
Comparing 1950s television programming to 1990s television programming is like comparing apples to oranges. The movie suggests that 1950s viewers would have liked TV better if it was more like the 1990s.
What the movie doesn't tell you is that 1950s TV was different because the 1950s were different. Viewers wanted escape more than reality. Without the birth control pill, the fear of pregnancy was greater. The Civil Rights movement was in its infancy. TV was new. So was Rock and Roll. People were more afraid of Communism and nuclear attack. Kids said prayer in schools. One income families were much more common.
All of these things had changed by the 1990s, and television had to adjust to the times.
Trashing 1950s programming and portraying actors from that era as naive idiots didn't accomplish anything aside from making me mad.
I gave the movie a 5 out of 10 because I enjoyed Don Knotts' performance and the 1950s sets in black and white were a nice change of pace from the movies I normally watch. I also liked the change of attitudes about the past on the part of Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire as a result of their 1950s experience.
I have the movie and watch it occasionally, but always find myself losing interest after Don Knotts is through.
California's Gold (1991)
Great ambassador of California
I am a California native who moved out of state over 30 years ago. An ex-neighbor began sending me Huell Howser videos about 10 years ago and one of the California's Gold episodes invited viewers to write with comments.
My comment to him was that he taught me more about my native state than I ever knew as a resident. I also told him that his rise to prominence was timely because for a while it seemed like news about celebrity court cases and riots was overshadowing the positive things about California.
His stories are not only newsworthy, but are also real gems "everyone else" has overlooked. His genuine delight with the things he uncovers are what makes his shows so good.
It was a great thrill one evening in 1998 that he actually called me here in Lafayette, LA to thank me for my letter. He told me that I sounded homesick. Huell made me homesick!
This guy is part of California's gold!