Channing (1963–1964)

Freedom Is a Lovesome Thing God Wot 

Channing was an interesting, well reviewed, but little known tv series from TV's "New Frontier " era. The much praised but now little -viewed shows of that era featured unusual heroes who ... See full synopsis »
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Cast

Episode cast overview:
Henry Jones ... Dean Fred Baker
Jason Evers ... Professor Joseph Howe
Agnes Moorehead ... Professor Amelia Webster
James Earl Jones ... Dr. Peter Cooke
Leon Bibb Leon Bibb ... Rob Ramsay
Willard Sage ... Reed Jackson
Jeff Cooper ... Professor Gray
Evelyn Scott Evelyn Scott ... Ruth Cunningham
Barbara Werle ... Lydia Jackson
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Storyline

Channing was an interesting, well reviewed, but little known tv series from TV's "New Frontier " era. The much praised but now little -viewed shows of that era featured unusual heroes who grappled with the issues of the day. There were shows built around Psychiatrists ( The Eleventh Hour), Social workers, (EastSide/ West Side), drifters ( Route 66), High school English teachers( Mr. Novak), and state legislators. ( Slattery's People.) All of these shows attracted passionate, if in most cases, small followings. Almost none of them are rerun, almost none are available on DVD. One such show was Channing.

Channing was almost unique among serious TV dramas was that it was set in a liberal arts college. Having lived in that envirionment, ( for many years) I can testify that it is , in fact a much more interesting- and dramatic world than most outsiders think. Unfortunatey, it is also a pretty high-brow world, and the typical TV viewers is NOT highbrow. Channing tried to make gripping TV ...

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Genres:

Drama

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Details

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 March 1964 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Betford Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
The Brainy Show That Died: Racial-and sexual- politics on Campus.
1 December 2011 | by coop-16See all my reviews

A fan of Agnes Moorehead put this episode on YouTube, and i just watched it. I will say that while this episode impressed me, it also made me realize why Channing wasn't a hit and has been quietly forgotten. First, the impressive parts. Intlligent, powerful acting. Agnes Moorehead was at her best as a brilliant Math professor. A lesser actress would have portrayed her as just another bitter spinster. Moorehead brought layers of meaning to her performance. James Earl Jones, then starting out his career was superb as a conflicted Black economist and intellectual. Leon Bibb, better known as a folk-singer, was also very good as the student whose future they clash over. The script was edgy ( the "n" word appeared ), provocative,( the racial and sexual tension was palpable.) and erudite ( References to John Kenneth Galbraith, Charles Sanders Pierce, and non-euclidean geometry, among other things.)

So, with all this going for it, why wasn't the show a hit? First of all, unlike most of the new frontier dramas, the focus was less on a character than on an institution- Channing College. Slattery's People had Slattery. Mr. Novak had Mr. Novak, Ben Casey had...well you get the idea. Even though Channing starred two excellent actors indeed in Jason Evers and Henry Jones, they were peripheral figures in this episode. Instead, the focus was on Channing itself, and all the men and women who taught and studied there. So, a lack of clear focus on the central characters may have been a factor. Another, of course, was that the show was just too erudite for the typical TV viewer. In another place, I mentioned that Jason Evers starred both in The Brain that Didn't Die and in A Brainy Show That Died. That might be an appropriate epitaph for Channing


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