1970s Television on DVD

Did you know we have hundreds of old television shows on DVD here at the AADL?
If you'd like to revisit the 1970s, head to your closest library and check out our selection: Fight crime with Charlie's Angels and Columbo. Laugh along with Mary Hartman, Taxi, Soap, MASH, The Odd Couple and the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Visit other families with The Brady Bunch, The Waltons, Good Times, All in the Family, Sanford and Son and What's Happening. Children of the 70s will enjoy rewatching Saturday Morning Cartoons and The Muppet Show.
All of these shows and many many more can be browsed here.
farrah fawcettfarrah fawcett

1960s TV Action, Adventure and Other Worlds on DVD

Did you know we have hundreds of old television shows on DVD here at the AADL?
If you are a fan of action and adventure shows from the 1960s, head to your closest library and check out our selection. For a classic western, watch Clint Eastwood in Rawhide. Try The Invaders if you have concerns about alien invasion. For more on space, the final frontier, check out the original Star Trek series. Fans of secret agents will enjoy Mission Impossible (this was Leonard Nimoy's show after his run on Star Trek!) and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. For a police drama, check out The Mod Squad. For a gothic soap opera with vampires and the like, look for the campy cult classic Dark Shadows. We also have lots of old Twilight Zone episodes on DVD for fans of watching ordinary people finding themselves in extraordinary situations.

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1960s TV Comedy on DVD

Did you know we have hundreds of old television shows on DVD here at the AADL?
If you are a fan of classic comedy from the 1960s, head to your closest library and check out our selection: Return to Mayberry with The Andy Griffith Show, leave Manhattan for Hooterville with the cast of Green Acres, revisit life with a genie in your home in I Dream of Jeannie, see legends of comedy on The Dick Cavett Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, or laugh along with the characters of The Dick Van Dyke show, The Archie Show, Gilligan's Island, Hogan's Heroes, My Three Sons, and Get Smart.
All of these shows and many many more can be browsed here.

andy griffith showandy griffith show

1950s Television on DVD

Did you know we have hundreds of old television shows on DVD here at the AADL?
If you are a fan of classics from the 1950s, head to your closest library and check out our selection: Return to "ideal" American family life with the Nelson family in The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, revisit the Red Skelton comedy/variety show, watch Lassie and Superman save the day, make your own decisions about the controversial Amos 'n Andy Show, laugh along with I Love Lucy, watch Perry Mason and Peter Gunn fight crime, watch the comedy of Jackie Gleason and friends in The Honeymooners, or experience the dramas, mysteries and thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
All of these shows and many many more can be browsed here.

1950sTV1950sTV

Phil Harris, Captain of the Cornelia Marie, has died

Captain PhilCaptain Phil
It was announced this morning that Phil Harris, captain of the Cornelia Marie, died yesterday. The Cornelia Marie is one of the founding ships on the Discovery reality series Deadliest Catch. The show documents what is generally regarded to be the deadliest job in the world: crab fishing in the Bering Sea.

In the few episodes of the show that I have seen, Captain Harris stood out as a family man. Not only did he treat his two sons - who sailed with him - with the kind of kid gloves a brown bear might use on its cubs, he also showed genuine and constant concern for the fleet as a whole. He was committed to the life at sea perhaps to a fault, being known for consuming mainly Red Bull and tobacco products, and measuring his sleep in minutes rather than hours or nights, all so that he could maintain a vigilant watch over the dangerous work of his crew.

Harris suffered a stroke in late January. He briefly recovered enough to speak with friends and family. He was 53 years old.

Kurt Wallander TV series based on the books

Henning Mankell is a Swedish all-star when it comes to writing crime fiction. His best-selling books featuring Inspector Kurt Wallander have been wooing readers for years. BBC aired a TV series featuring Sidetracked, Firewall, and One Step Behind - all based on the books of the same name- back in May. The first three are available on one DVD at AADL. Three more episodes of the Wallander TV series are set to air on BBC sometime soon. I look forward to more, as I really enjoyed these three episodes!

It’s interesting to see how Kurt Wallander is portrayed live in person, and by Kenneth Branagh no less. If you’ve been wondering what all the fuss is about regarding Scandinavian fiction, give the DVD a whirl. It may just encourage you to read Mankell’s books, or perhaps those by Asa Larsson, Kjell Eriksson, or Håkan Nesser- all of which are Swedish crime fiction all-stars.

It's good to be short

While perusing the blog of a Harper Collins marketing coordinator (read about it on muffy’s post), I saw that she invited readers to create six-word memoirs, inspired by the book It All Changed In An Instant : More Six-Word Memoirs By Writers Famous & Obscure. This got me thinking about how the new kind of mass communication (that is, personal broadcasting) is all about brevity. 140 characters in Twitter and texting, four-word film reviews, six-word memoirs, or 55 fiction, the personal tale is trending to shortness.

The cynic in me might attribute this to what seems to be an increasingly shorter attention span in the human animal, but the English major in me knows there’s more to the (short) story: rigid structure and restraint often help us process and speak about things in a more poignant way. Perhaps one of the most moving examples of this phenomenon is W.S. Merwin’s “Elegy,” which can be found in The Carrier of Ladders or The Second Four Books of Poems. Another amazing example of hard-hitting, extremely short poetry is The Really Short Poems of A.R. Ammons.

Other short things I can suggest? The song “Minimum Wage” on the classic They Might Be Giants album Flood is 46 seconds long and contains two (maybe three) words. Kristin Chenoweth is reportedly 4’11,” and has done quite a bit of fun work in music, television, theater and film. Find her song “Taylor the Latte Boy” on your online vendor of choice or check out Pushing Daisies. The Ann Arbor District Library conducts its own short story contest, and the winning stories are a part of the circulating collection. I haven’t gotten around to watching the Pixar Short Films Collection (v.1), but if the shorts you always get to see at the theater before one of their features are evidence of anything, it’s the beauty of simplicity and diminutiveness.

Arrested Development

"Now the story of a wealthy family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together. It's "Arrested Development."

"Arrested Development", a little-known television series, consisting of only three seasons, aired first in 2003 on FOX.

The series, which also features film actors Jason Bateman, David Cross, Tony Hale, and Will Arnett, was a huge hit among the sarcastic, subtle, and a little off crowd of TV-viewers. Stephen Kelly of PopMatters called it "a laugh-out-loud, deeply quirky, and audacious series that has its own wacky agenda and dares to be delightfully different."

The series, narrated by "Happy Days" great Ron Howard, features a grounded son and father, played by Bateman, who has to keep his family together amidst crisis after crisis. His offbeat relatives, romantic relationships, and job all wreak havoc, episode after episode, and offer hilarious quotes throughout. (For more on these, see the ultimate in "Arrested Development" fan site, The Balboa Observer-Picayune.)

Now, one of its cast members, Michael Cera, is a popular indie and teen film actor, of works such as Juno, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and the new Youth in Revolt, who may be seen as type cast in these movies, due to his role as young George Michael Bluth, the anxious and awkward teen son of Bateman's character.

The show also guest stars many well-known actors, such as Martin Short, Amy Poehler, Charlize Theron, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Liza Minnelli, and even the Fonz.

A movie based on the series is announced, according to IMDb, but is not yet in progress.

The Sword of Orion

SwordSwordIn honor of the upcoming Great Lakes Shipwrecks event, I'm reminded of a maritime disaster referred to in one of my favorite television shows, Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night. In episode 18, Jeremy struggles with the breakup of his family by obsessively researching the literal break up of the Sword of Orion.

The yacht was one of several boats to experience tragedy during the 1998 Sydney-to-Hobart race. 115 Boats began that race, five sank, and six crew were lost. Only 44 boats finished. You can read about it in the detailed and suspenseful book The Proving Ground.

One imagines the Sword of Orion's original owner was paying that useful constellation its due in naming the boat. The AADL offers several books on celestial navigation; it's never too early in the season to learn how to find your way home!

Man of the Decade: Jon Stewart

Jon StewartJon Stewart

It’s halfway through December, which means 2009 is almost over – and so is the first decade of the 2000s. As news programs and magazines reflect on the end of this year and all that’s happened in the past 10 years, I’d like to recognize a man who I think has significantly influenced this decade: Jon Stewart. In 1999, when he took over the hosting job at Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, he was essentially unknown, a comedian who had done stand-up, some appearances on Dave Letterman’s show, and a handful of movies. Now, he is considered, according to an online poll from TIME Magazine, the “most trusted man in news” today. Similarly, The Daily Show itself, during his tenure as host, has gone from being a small show parodying conventional newscasts to an enormously popular show parodying politics and the media. According to the Pew Research Center, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart", despite being a “fake news show”, is actually a primary news source for many young people.

Jon Stewart has won Emmys and Peabody Awards for The Daily Show; hosted the Oscars twice; written a best-selling book (America: the Book); and helped to launch the careers of two other well-known comedians: Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell. Stephen Colbert started out as a correspondent on The Daily Show in 1997 (before Stewart), and gained so much popularity for his segments on the show that he was given his own Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report. Steve Carell joined The Daily Show as a correspondent in 1999; he left to star in the hit TV sitcom The Office, and has since become famous for his movie roles, both small (Anchorman) and large (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Get Smart). I think that Jon Stewart, as host of The Daily Show for the last 10 years, can claim some credit for Colbert and Carell’s current popularity, since his show gave them the platform to launch their solo careers.

As one of the most popular and influential comedians of our time, who has redefined both comedy and politics, Jon Stewart deserves to be considered a Man of the Decade.

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