Lights! Camera! Action!
By Jeff Salter
I would NEVER be on what is termed “reality” TV — where I believe (generally) untalented people are placed in preposterous situations (that viewers are supposed to believe are “real”) and then fed lines of dialog. To me these represent the death of whatever was (once upon a time) good about network television programming.
If I were a key figure in a television show, what kind of program would it be? That’s our theme this week and my answer appeared like a bolt of lightning.
Remember that old 1950s TV series where the bewildered husband monitors all the craziness around him and his household and then makes wry comments to the audience? Yeah, the Burns and Allen Show.
Here’s a link to a 1952 episode:
After a lengthy commercial and an opening scene between Gracie and Blanche, George appears (to address the audience) at about the 5:19 mark.
Here’s a link to their pilot episode in 1950, but it has a very slow, long (UN-funny) intro. Doesn’t really get started until about the 5:21 mark.
Evidently George had to explain to TV viewers how this video format show would differ from their popular radio shows.
And here’s some extensive info about the Burns and Allen team, including some nice detail about their TV series:
I share these with you so you can get a grasp of how George Burns broke the “fourth wall” by stepping aside to address the audience, but remaining in character. It fascinated me even as a kid, long before I realized how unusual it was. Later in the series, George would view a scene (typically occurring with Gracie in their home) on the TV set in his upstairs study… and then comment on it to the audience.
Here’s a snip about that fourth wall:
Sometimes I feel like George… staying in the character of me (Jeff) but stepping aside from the craziness and breaking that fourth wall to address the audience.
So… if I were ever in a TV show, I think it would be similar to Burns & Allen — though hopefully not as grainy and presumably not in B&W.
What kind of TV show would YOU likely be featured in? Got a title for it?