Friday, July 19, 2019

FRIDAY'S "FORGOTTEN" BOOKS AND MORE: the links to the reviews: 19 July 2019

This week's books and more, unfairly (or sometimes fairly) neglected, or simply those the reviewers below think you might find of some interest (or, infrequently, you should be warned away from); certainly, most weeks we have a few not at all forgotten titles...if I've missed your review or someone else's, please let me know in comments. 

Brad Bigelow: Businessmen as Lovers by Rosemary Tonks

Les Blatt: And Four to Go by Rex Stout 

Elgin Bleecker: JFK's recommended reading list 

Joachim Boaz: Hegira by Greg Bear 

Brian Busby: The Damned and the Destroyed by Kenneth Orvis

Jason Cavallaro: Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi 

Steve Carper: July 20, 2019: Life in the 21st Century by Arthur C. Clarke

Martin Edwards: Mystery on the 'Queen Mary' by Bruce Graeme

Peter Enfantino and Jack Seabrook: Warren Horror  Comics, May/June 1967, edited by Archie Goodwin

Will Errickson: Seeing Red by David J. Schow; help IDing horror fiction half-remembered 

José Ignacio Escribano: The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin 

Curtis Evans: The Four Tragedies of Memworth by Ernest Hamilton and Ronald Knox's ten rules for crime fiction; the insensitivities of Golden Age crime fiction 

Olman Feelyus: Deadly Welcome by John D. MacDonald; The Reflection of Evil (aka Death of a Fox) by "Jan Roffman" (Margaret Summerton) 

Paul Fraser: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November-December 2014, edited by Gordon Van Gelder 

Barry Gardner: Vanishing Act by Thomas Parry

John Grant: Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen (translated by Don Bartlett); All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe (translated by Alfred Birnbaum) 

Lauren Groff: "The Empress's Ring" by Nancy Hale

Aubrey Hamilton: The Shape of Fear by "Hugh Pentecost" (Judson Pentecost Phillips); The Verge Practice by Barry Maitland; Compelling Evidence by Steve Martini 

Rich Horton: The Best Shorter Fiction in SF So Far;  Cory Doctorow short fiction; Esther Friesner short fiction; Robert Sheckley short fiction; Matthew Johnson short fiction

Jerry House: Zero Cool by "John Lange" (Michael Crichton); Three to Conquer by Eric Frank Russell 

Kate Jackson: 120 Rue de la Gare by Léo Malet (translated by Peter Hudson)

Tracy K: Pearls Before Swine by Margery Allingham 

Colman Keane: What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg 

George Kelley: The Triumph of the Spider Monkey by Joyce Carol Oates 

Joe Kenney: Cocaine by Marc Olden; Lynch Town by Warren/W. B. Murphy

Rob Kitchin: The Blood Spilt by Åsa Larsson, translated by Marlaine Delargy 

Kate Laity: Edith's Diary by Patricia Highsmith

B. V. Lawson: A Night at the Cemetery and Other Stories of Crime and Suspense by Anton Chekhov (edited and translated by Peter Sekerin) 

Evan Lewis: "Coonskin Davy Crockett", Dead-Eye Western Comics, June-July 1951, edited by Edward Cronin 

Steve Lewis: Goodbye, Nanny Gray by Susannah Stacey; "Murder Twist" by Thomas Walsh, Ace-High Detective Stories, August 1936, edited by Kenneth White; Too Close to the Edge by Susan Dunlap 

James McGlothlin: The Best of Robert Bloch among other Bloch volumes

John F. Norris: The Djinn by Graham Masterton

John O'Neill: The Year's Best SF 9 edited by Brian Aldiss and Harry Harrison

Matt Paust: The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman 

James Reasoner: John Severin's Billy the Kid by Joe Gill and John Severin 

Richard Robinson: Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein 

Gerard Saylor: Cripple Creek by James Sallis 

Jack Seabrook: "Anyone for Murder?" by Jack Ritchie, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, January 1964, edited by Richard Decker

Steven H Silver: Rendevous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke 

Kerrie Smith: Crimson Lake by Candice Fox 

Kevin Tipple: The Philadelphia Quarry by Howard Owen

"TomCat": The Case with Nine Solutions by "J. J. Connington" (Albert W. Stuart) 

Prashant Trikannad: Memory Man by David Baldacci

Al Tucher: The Greatest Slump of All Time by David Carkeet 

David Vineyard: Dames Don't Care by Peter Cheyney

Thomas Wickersham: Peregrine by William Bayer

A. J. Wright: Marie Bankhead Owen's works; Fannie Flagg

Friday, July 12, 2019

FRIDAY'S "FORGOTTEN" BOOKS AND MORE: the links to the reviews: 12 July 2019

This week's books and more, unfairly (or sometimes fairly) neglected, or simply those the reviewers below think you might find of some interest (or, infrequently, you should be warned away from); certainly, most weeks we have a few not at all forgotten titles...if I've missed your review or someone else's, please let me know in comments. Another week with more major crime-fiction writers, among others, than usual...

Brad Bigelow: Letters from an Actor by William Redfield

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

1956/58...National Educational Television (NET) and NTA Film Network (NTA) begin promoting themselves as US television's "fourth network"s...

As the faltering DuMont Network and the even less robust Paramount Television Network dwindled into nothing much in 1956, National Educational Television (NET) in 1958, after creation in 1952, began to make more effort to produce programming for national audiences that would draw more enthusiastic viewership, as Carolyn Brooks notes below, and in 1956 National Telefilm Associates unveiled their attempt to fill the vacuum left by the closures of Dumont and Paramount's networks, the NTA Film Network. NTA would continue operations as a small and often secondary-affiliation network until 1962, then giving up on providing full slates-worth of programming, and would continue as a syndicator for several decades, rebranded after 1982 as the revived Republic Pictures (and would eventually be liquidated in 20oo); NET, as noted below, would continue to serve as the primary US television public broadcasting network till the Ford Foundation and the new Corporation for Public Broadcasting put PBS forth as the new, less controversial public network and forced NET to merge with WNDT in New York (which, at time of sale in 1962 to public broadcasting interests in NYC, had been WNTA, the anchor station of the NTA Film Network), then re-dubbed WNET.

Repetitiously, this lays out most of the network IDs the YouTuber had found over the years, including a late one from NET as production unit, after the forced merger with WNDT/WNET--skipping ahead recommended:
The National Educational Television Center (NET) played the dominant role in building the structure on which the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) rests. Funded primarily by Ford Foundation grants, NET was established in 1952 to assist in the creation and maintenance of an educational television service complementary to the entertainment-centered services available through commercial stations. NET initially was designed to function simply as an "exchange center," most of whose programming would be produced at the grassroots level by member stations. This strategy failed to attract a substantial audience because programming produced by the affiliates tended to be overly academic and of poor quality.
By 1958, NET's programming had acquired a well-deserved reputation as dull, plodding, and pedantic. NET officials recognized that if it was to survive and move beyond its "university of the air" status, NET needed strong leadership and a new program philosophy. They hired the station manager of WQED Pittsburgh, John F. White, to take over the presidency of NET. An extremely ambitious proponent of the educational television movement, White believed that the system would grow and thrive only if NET provided strong national leadership. Consequently, White saw his task as that of transforming NET into a centralized network comparable to the three commercial networks. First, he moved NET headquarters from Ann Arbor, Michigan to New York City, where it could be associated more closely with its commercial counterparts. Next, he declared his organization to be the "Fourth Network," and attempted to develop program strategies aimed at making this claim a reality. No longer relying primarily on material produced by affiliated stations, NET officials now sought high quality programming obtained from a variety of sources including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and other international television organizations.
In 1964, the Ford Foundation decided to substantially increase their support of NET through a $6 million yearly grant. They believed that only a well-financed, centralized program service would bring national attention to noncommercial television and expand audiences for each local station. The terms of the grant allowed NET to produce and distribute a five-hour, weekly package divided into the broad categories of cultural and public affairs programming. The freedom provided by this funding generated a period of creative risk-taking between 1964 and 1968. Their cultural programming included adult drama such as NET Playhouse as well as children's shows like Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. But it was through public affairs programming that NET hoped to emphasize its unique status as the "alternative network." Cognizant that the intense ratings war between the three commercial networks had led to a decline in public affairs programming, NET strove to gain a reputation for filling the vacuum left in this area after 1963. NET producers and directors including Alvin Perlmutter, Jack Willis and Morton Silverstein began to film hard-hitting documentaries rarely found on commercial television. Offered under the series title NET Journal, programs likeThe Poor Pay More, Black Like Me, Appalachia: Rich Land, Poor People, and Inside North Vietnam explored controversial issues and often took editorial stands. Although NET Journal received positive responses from media critics, many of NET's affiliates, particularly those in the South, grew to resent what they perceived as its "East Coast Liberalism."
Despite the fact that John White and his staff believed that NET had been making progress in increasing the national audience for noncommercial television, the Ford Foundation did not share this conviction and began to re-evaluate their level of commitment. Between 1953 and 1966, they had invested over $130 million in NET, its affiliated stations and related endeavors. In spite of this substantial contribution, there was a constant need for additional funding. As Ford looked for ways to withdraw its support, educational broadcasters began to look to the government for financial assistance. Government involvement in this issue led to the passage of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, the subsequent creation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and the eventual demise of NET.
Having been at the center of the educational television movement for 15 years, NET believed it would continue as the distributor of the national network schedule. The CPB initially supported NET's role by allowing NET to serve as the "public television network" between 1967 and 1969. But, in 1969, the CPB announced its decision to create a whole new entity, the Public Broadcasting Service, to take over network operations. The CPB's decision lay not only in its awareness that NET had alienated a majority of the affiliated stations, but also in its belief that a hopeless conflict of interest would have resulted if NET continued to serve as a principal production center while at the same time exercising control over program distribution. With the creation of PBS in 1969, NET's position became tenuous. NET continued to produce and schedule programming, now aired on PBS, including the well-received BBC productions, The Forsyte Saga and Civilization. But NET's refusal to end its commitment to the production of hard-hitting controversial documentaries such as Who Invited US? and Banks and the Poor led to public clashes between NET and PBS over program content. PBS wanted to curb NET's controversial role in the system and create a new image for public television, particularly since NET documentaries inflamed the Nixon Administration and imperiled funding. In order to neutralize NET, the CPB and Ford Foundation threatened to cut NET's program grants unless NET merged with New York's public television outlet, WNDT. Lacking allies, NET acquiesced to the proposed alliance in late 1970 and its role as a network was lost. The final result was WNET Channel 13.
The legacy that NET left behind included the development of a national system of public television stations and a history of innovative programming. As a testament to this legacy, two children's shows that made their debut on NET, Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, continue today as PBS icons.
-Carolyn N. Brooks

Barnouw, Erik. Tube of Plenty. New York: Oxford University Press, 1975; 2nd Revised Edition 1990.
Blakely, Robert J. To Serve the Public Interest: Educational Broadcasting in the United States. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1979.
Brooks, Carolyn N. Documentary Programming and the Emergence of the National Educational Television Center as a Network, 1958-1972. (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1994.)
Brown, Les. Television: The Business Behind the Box.New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971.
Gibson, George H. Public Broadcasting: The Role of the Federal Government, 1912-1976. (Praeger Special Studies in U.S. Economic, Social and Political Issues). New York: Praeger, 1977.
Koenig, Allen E., and Ruane B. Hill, editors. The Farther Vision: Educational Television Today. Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1967.
Macy, John W., Jr. To Irrigate a Wasteland. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.
Pepper, Robert M. The Formation of the Public Broadcasting Service. New York: Arno, 1979.
Powell, John Walker. Channels of Learning. Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1962.
Stone, David M. Nixon and the Politics of Public Television. New York: Garland, 1985.
Watson, Mary Ann. The Expanding Vista: American Television in the Kennedy Years. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
Wood, Donald Neal. The First Decade of the "Fourth Network": An Historical, Descriptive Analysis of the National Educational Television and Radio Center. (Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan, 1963).

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I like the notion, in the ad above, of a newborn pulled from its mother's womb already diapered, even before the traditional encouragement to start breathing...

From Wikipedia, taken from the same Boxoffice issues as these ads:

The following is a list of NTA Film Network affiliate stations in November 1956.
Ada, OK: KTENGreen Bay-Marinette, WI: WBAY-TVPeoria: WTVH
Allentown-Bethlehem, PA: WGLVHarrisburg: WCMB-TVPhoenix: KPHO-TV
Anchorage: KTVAHattiesburg: WDAM-TVPortland, ME: WCSH
Amarillo, TX: KGNC-TV
Asheville, NC: WLOSHenderson-Las Vegas: KLRJ-TVPortland, OR: KPTV
Atlanta: WAGAHouston: KTRK-TVProvidence: WJAR
Austin, MN: KMMTIndianapolis: WFBM-TVRaleigh-Durham: WTVD
Bakersfield: KERO-TVJackson, MS: WLBTRichmond: WTVR-TV
Bangor, ME: WABI-TVJefferson City, MO: KRCGRoanoke, VA: WDBJ
Birmingham, AL: WBRCJohnstown, PA: WARD-TVRock Island: WHBF-TV
Bismarck ND: KBMB-TVJuneau: KINY-TVRockford, IL: WREX-TV
Carlsbad NM: KAVE-TVKansas City: KMBC-TVSalt Lake City: KSL-TV
Cedar Rapids-Waterloo: KWWLKearney, NE: KHOL-TVSan Angelo, TX: KTXL-TV
Charleston, WV: WCHS-TVKnoxville: WBIR-TVSan Antonio: KENS-TV
Charleston, SC: WUSN-TVWest Lafayette, IN: WFAM-TVSan Diego: XETV
Chattanooga: WDEF-TVLafayette, LA: KLFY-TVSavannah: WSAV-TV
Chicago: WGN-TVLincoln: KOLNSeattle-Tacoma: KTNT-TV
Cincinnati: WKRC-TVLittle Rock-Pine Bluff: KATVSioux City: KTIV
Cleveland: WJW-TVLos Angeles: KTTVSouth Bend-Elkhart, IN: WSJV
Columbus, GA: WDAK-TVLubbock: KDUBSpokane: KREM-TV
Columbus, OH: WTVN-TVMadison: WISC-TVSpringfield, MA: WHYN-TV
Columbus, MS: WCBI-TVMemphis: WMCTSt. Joseph, MO: KFEQ-TV
Dallas-Ft Worth: KFJZ-TVMiami: WGBS-TVSweetwater, TX: KPAR-TV
Decatur, IL: WTVP-TVMilwaukee: WITITampa: WSUN-TV
Decatur, AL: WMSL-TVMinneapolis: WTCN-TVTucson: KVOA
Denver: KTVRMinot: KCJB-TVTulsa-Muskogee: KOTV
Des Moines-Ames: WOI-TVMobile: WALA-TVTwin Falls, ID: KLIX-TV
Dickinson, ND: KDIX-TVMonroe, LA: KNOE-TVWashington: WMAL-TV
Dothan, AL: WTVYMontgomery: WCOV-TVWaterloo-Ft Wayne, IN: WINT
Duluth-Superior: KDAL-TVMuncie: WLBCWatertown, NY: WCNY-TV
Eau Claire: WEAU-TVNashville: WSIX-TVWichita Falls, TX: KSYD-TV
El Paso: KROD-TVNew Jersey-New York: WATV, later WNTAWichita-Hutchinson: KTVH
Fairbanks: KTVFNorfolk: WVEC-TVWilkes Barre-Scranton: WILK-TV
Fargo-Valley City: KXJB-TVOak Hill, WV: WOAY-TVYork, PA: WNOW-TV
Grand Junction: KREX-TVOklahoma City: KGEO
Later affiliates included KOOK-TV in Billings, Montana (c. 1958-1959), KONO-TV in San Antonio (c. 1958–1959), WISH-TV in Indianapolis (c. 1958–1959), and KTVU in San Francisco (c. 1959–1960). The network purchased KMGM-TV in Minneapolis, in September 1957.
And another NTA Film Network trade ad:

And a much later ad for the 5 November 1967 debut of PBL, the Public Broadcast Laboratory, the first live in-pattern series broadcast on NET, from the New York Times courtesy the Television Obscurities blog.

The regularly scheduled programming on Sundays in November 1967 at 8:30-11pm ET/PT would've put PBL up against, on CBS, the second half-hour of The Ed Sullivan Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (probably the greatest audience overlap point) and Mission: Impossible, on NBC the not too fondly-remembered sitcom The Mothers-in-Law, Bonanza and The High Chapparal, and on ABC the second half-hour of The FBI and The ABC Sunday Night Movie...

The next day, Monday 6 November 1967, in the slot that had been The Johnny Gilbert Show on WLWD in Dayton, Ohio on the previous Friday, the replacement for the departing Gilbert was the first episode of The Phil Donahue Show. Donahue's show would go national three years later, distributed by Metromedia (which grew out of the ashes of DuMont's owned and operated stations); Gilbert, who had left to take jobs in New York and then Los Angeles, has been most durably audible for 35 years as the announcer on Jeopardy...the man who intones "This is Jeopardy!" at the very beginning of each episode and introduces the host and contestants, etc. Busy weekend, in some ways.