Friday, February 27, 2015


Back in the late sixties, early seventies NBC ran several series that were more movie of the week than the usual TV episodes. They ran ninety minutes, which is why they didn't get repeated very much. The first one out of the barn was The Name of the Game. A series built around a publishing empire with a rotating cast of leads.

To be honest I don't remember many of the story lines, heck that was forty years ago. But a fragment of one has always stuck with me. Lead character passes out in a freeway rest area and "wakes up" nearly fifty years in the future to face a Los Angeles forced underground by lethal levels of pollution and environmental degradation. By accident I learned that the script was written by Philip Wylie and directed by Steven Spielburg. As it happens Wylie fleshed out his script and wrote a novel. It's battered and a bit crumbly around the edges but I was able to locate a paperback.

This is 1971. Before the EPA. 1971 and the story was taking on global warming, acid rain, smog, pollution affecting the lives of our rivers and oceans. 1971!!!!!! And the polluters, taking their lead from the tobacco companies, are still able to block any meaningful reductions. Oh yes, the rivers like the Cuyahoga aren't bursting into flames every few years. The worst of the smog has been reduced. But gas mileage still sucks for too many vehicles. And God help anyone who suggests that the great American consumer has the right to buy the biggest, baddest rig he can is a pinko, commie, socialist, anti capitalist traitor.

Blue Bloods isn't too bad. So far they've taken on choke holds, potential corruption, single parents trying to raise their kids, but what else is out there? Fifty versions of CSI, NCIS, and so called reality TV that has nothing to do with reality. Heck, I first learned about the ban on Chinese owning land in California watching the Big Valley. Same with the Molly McGuires and attempts to form a union and keep it from being broken before it gets off the ground. Any chances of Norma Ray being made today? Yeah right.

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