...a forgotten term in today's tangled mass of cables, digital signals, and optic fiber instant imaging. UHF
, which stands for Ultra High Frequency.
These days you can go the the mall, drop 20-30 bucks and get most of the TV series we watched when we were young. The ones that reran on local small market stations on the VHF and UHF "dials". With boxed sets, there's no commercials, no static when mom runs the vacuum, and no grainy 16 mm prints washing out the lush colors predominate in the 60s TV palette.
We don't have to record them with an audio cassette player now...they're perfectly recorded, in stereo, and neatly digitized on a disc for easy storage. No need to snap pictures with the Polaroid camera off the TV screen for a still...DVDs have perfect freeze frame capabilities and our computers can grab an image, and file it away for future reference.
So why bring up UHF you ask? Because in this day and age of DVD markets flooded with ever single series or obscure movie we ever saw, I noticed that the actual TV content is HORRIBLE. When a title is licensed for one avenue or the other, the other avenues suffer until their time comes.
i.e.-If you have a movie out in the theatres...say "Cars", you won't be putting it out on DVD at the same time because people will just buy the discs, stay at home and by pass the releasing studio denying them their wonderful profits. It's not because it's "not ready"...too many orders folks...no, it's called profit. Shake the rubes at the box office, shake 'em again in Walmart and Best Buy, shake'm again on cable....shake'm one more time when they decide to release a double disc set with crap they had from the beginning of production. Oh...and shake them one last time, saying "this is the last time this will be available on DVD" (Thank you Lucas and Disney).
So...if everything is on DVD...what's on TV? Mostly crap...reality shows, people in their swim suits eating bugs 'n sh*t...hack judges making or breaking people's singing dreams...and cops being followed around with a camera while trying to do their job.
BUT...there has been a glimmer of hope that has peeked out recently. Since the last resort for TV series is just reruns and DVD box sets, it seems the DVDs have run their course on many titles. There's is a slow reselling back to TV.
Monty Python's Flying Circus (which started here in Dallas.. FYI!) has been notorious for abandoning it's PBS roots as far back as the early 80s. It's first leap was cable, soon it ran to VHS and stayed there with an outrageous price tag for years. All the while PBS is giving us "Are You Being Served?" out the ying yang, and we're having to pay for a series that we adopted and saved from oblivion.
Well...how the mighty have "silly walked". Local PBS ch 13, the original home of Monty Python (circa 1974), has been showing Python again late on Saturday nights. From what I can see...which are boxed sets of the entire series sitting in Half Priced Books stores for a fraction of their asking price of $200...the sales have dropped off a bit. There are the odd PBS commercials, but other than that, it's over son. Now Python can get back on PBS and stay there. They've milked just about everything they can, in that department. UHF
....the subject of the post.
We have a local UHF station ch 52, that, since it's inception, has continued to impress me. If anybody knows the program director, tell him I owe him a beer. Early on 52 was showing "Addams Family" and "Mr. Ed"...recently they've gotten major marks for showing "the A-Team", "Kojack", "Magnum PI" and the capper..."The Twilight Zone". If I'm not mistaken, all of these are on DVD now...so why are they on UHF stations? These are the "small market" stations that don't really pose a threat to a tired DVD release. Basically, the license holders are double dipping and are hoping you don't notice. You buy the box set of Twilight Zone at Best Buy and get home to see it's on at 10:30 after "Married with Children"!
On the I
channel, I've seen "Kung Fu", Green Acres", and "The Monkees". All on DVD...all double dipping. I'm hoping this is a trend.
Maybe now, TV will come back home and we can enjoy the effect of turning on a TV and seeing our favorite shows blaring into the room..like they use to. Maybe it can wash the image of Simon's smirking pie hole from the air waves and replace it with Telly Savalas' catch phrase, "who loves ya baby"?
I'm wondering if I should go back to Half Price Books and buy a box set of Monty Python?
Naw, I think I'll save the $60 and tape it....on my cassette recorder.