The Many Killers Of The Film Industry: Volume 2 - A Disaster Called Television

from the setting-box-office-records-from-beyond-the-grave...-apparently dept

[Those of you following along will remember the cliffhanger ending of Volume 1, in which it was revealed that "something" would come along and destroy the movie industry with its tiny screen and tinny sound. In this followup, we reveal the true killer of the film industry, which is also one of the many pretenders to the throne.]

A Disaster Called Television
Little did Roger Philco and Francois Magnavox know when they assembled the first "magic picture box" that it would change American society as we knew it, mostly for the worse.

There was no indication during its early broadcasts of test patterns, puppet shows and white men in blackface that the daily life of Americans would soon revolve around it. Instead of gathering around the wireless to watch Dad get drunk and curse the Yankees, the whole family would gather around the tiny screen to watch Elvis from the waist up or catch breaking footage from the moon landing set.

The movie industry understood how serious this new threat could be and stepped hastily over the still-cooling corpse of live theater to denounce the new "tele-vision," which would surely destroy their precious industry. They lamented this turn of events, cursing every new box office record and crying into their stacks of $1000 bills.

Representatives of the "dying" industry called on Congress to do "something" about the "talking picturemajig." How can we get people to sit in front of our 42-foot screens, enjoy our Technicolor and Sensurround when they have 3 inches of black and white power at home, all coming to them in deafening mono?

Congress was too busy watching the National League Championship to be bothered by an outdated industry and their rhetorical questions, no matter how many bribes and high-dollar hookers they waved around. Another blow was struck when forward-thinking Dwight Eisenhower announced his bold plan for America: a television in every house, a car in every garage and an epidemic of childhood obesity.

Disaster? Or Powerful, Distracting New Ally?
The movie industry was premature in its panic. Americans soon proved they had the leisure time for both activities, which could easily be squeezed in between backyard barbecues and conceiving the eventual bankrupters of Social Security.

During the early '50s, the average male enjoyed a 25-hour work week, divided between harassing the typing pool, pounding martinis and hitting the golf course. The remaining time they spent watering the lawn, washing the car, pounding martinis and pounding the wife (mostly in a sexual fashion, but often in a physical fashion).

TV grew and grew, becoming the focal point of American family life. Television producers turned the mirror on the public, reflecting life as they knew it in the form of sitcoms, playing up spousal abuse ("I Love Lucy," "The Honeymooners") and sexless marriages (every other sitcom). They also went after more respected institutions with uncanny accuracy. (See also: "The Andy Griffith Show" and its devastating take on inept law enforcement and artistic whistling, or "Bewitched" and its brilliant satire of the advertising world, long before "Mad Men" made it cool to be casually sexist again.)

As its influence grew, television turned its unblinking eye on other "hot button" topics such as the Korean War ("M*A*S*H*"), teen hoodlums ("Happy Days") and greed (every game show). TV devoured everything in its path over the next 50 years, before going all ouroboros and devouring itself, shitting out show after show containing no actors, no script and starring everyday people like Balloon Boy's dad.

As the airwaves were conquered by Joe Gloryhound and his occasionally-swapped wife, the film industry breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that TV's "tapped-outness" would allow them to continue to collect billions of dollars a year cranking out sequel after sequel. Directors such as Michael Bay were allowed to continue trafficking in explosions and recycled punchlines. All was well in the word, until...

Coming up next:
Post-ellipsis!


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Oct 25th, 2011 @ 1:24pm

    in b4 "You fail at history":

    This is something called SATIRE.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Oct 25th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    To be continued...

    ARRRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!! I hate those. LOL.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    anonymous, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    ah! progress and technology together. what corporation-destroying bastards they are! should be ashamed!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 1:40pm

    @ "The eejit": No, HERE'S SATIRE:

    "the Techdirt blog uses a proven economic framework to analyze and offer insight into news stories about changes in government policy, technology and legal issues that affect companies ability to innovate and grow."

    This piece, like the first part, is just CRAP.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Rich, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 1:45pm

    Re: @ "The eejit": No, HERE'S SATIRE:

    Wow, with such a thorough, thought-provoking argument, how can anyone not see your wisdom.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Re: @ "The eejit": No, HERE'S SATIRE:

    No THAT is Satire! :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 25th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Re: @ "The eejit": No, HERE'S SATIRE:

    Now that was good sarcasm!
    Got the ol' meter calibrated with that one; very nice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: @ "The eejit": No, HERE'S SATIRE:

    That was supposed to be NOW not No

     

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  9.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 25th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Re: @ "The eejit": No, HERE'S SATIRE:

    Your such an uplifting spirit, ootb.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Atkray (profile), Oct 25th, 2011 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: @ "The eejit": No, HERE'S SATIRE:

    Big content did that to him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 2:55pm

    But...MASH was about the Vietnam War...it was set in the Korean war only so the movie could get greenlighted...which then got turned into a....AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH.

    Sorry...had to get that, and all the ellipsis it entailed, out of my system.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: @ "The eejit": No, HERE'S SATIRE:

    @ Atkray (profile), Oct 25th, 2011 @ 2:19pm

    Big content did that to him.

    -----------------

    No, little thieves HERE are the source of my opinions.

     

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  13.  
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    mermaldad (profile), Oct 25th, 2011 @ 3:07pm

    Filled with omissions, half truths, and outright lies...

    ...Oh, I'm sorry, I thought we were talking about the latest attempts to justify PROTECT IP. Nevertheless, I did notice a glaring omission in this article, on the first line, no less.

    The guy's name was actually François Magnavoix. The spelling was mangled when he filed for a trademark, and the misspelled name stuck.

    Just wanted to do my part to maintain the high standards of veracity expected on Techdirt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: @ "The eejit": No, HERE'S SATIRE:

    lawn, off, get

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Greevar (profile), Oct 25th, 2011 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re: @ "The eejit": No, HERE'S SATIRE:

    Uplifting like raising your ass to fart, maybe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: @ "The eejit": No, HERE'S SATIRE:

    Well now we know ootb either works for ICE or the TSA. We are all guilty and we haven't had a trial.

     

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  17.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Oct 25th, 2011 @ 4:34pm

    After forty plus years of watching TV

    I think I know how the term "vidiot" came to be. :(

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 6:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: @ "The eejit": No, HERE'S SATIRE:

    you're off your game lately ootb.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Digitari, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 7:19pm

    Re: @ "The eejit": No, HERE'S SATIRE:

    One Man's Crap is another mans IP :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    darryl, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 7:38pm

    Mike, you start with a wrong conclusion and run with it.

    You are trying to convince us that the introduction of new technologies in the entertainment inductries has resulted in a constant flow of complaints and whinning from the industries that tech involves.

    You are saying for example the "film industry" made lots of complaints about the introduction of TV.

    That is simply not true Mike, you are trying to present an alternative and incorrect version of history.

    It is the embracing of those new technologies that has resulted in the continued and massive success of the industries involved.

    Do you honestly believe that the introduction of TV had a negative effect on the Movie industry ? or that at the time there was a big outcry about TV 'destroying' the movie industry.

    Some (wrong) people might of thought that, but it is the companies that said "cool another way to distribute product", made it BIG TIME.

    Mike you have not seemed to work out yet that it is NOT HOW the material is presented, it is WHAT IS PRESENTED

    in other words its CONTENT, no delivery or media that makes the difference.

    And new technologies change how you get your entertainment, but not wht entertainment you get.

    People did not buy TV's because thay wanted to watch MASH, they did not generally 'gather around' to watch it, but they would gather around to watch the NEWS.

    I dont know if you are trying to be sarcastic in these articles Mike, or you are just trying to rewrite history, but either way.

    I really wish you would at least write something that was a slight reflection of reality.

    Just out of interest Mike what percentage of households do you think had TV's in the 1950's ???

    How can you Mike, display such ignorance about an industry that you claim at least 'some' knowledge of?

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Mike, you start with a wrong conclusion and run with it.

    Jesus, will you trolls get glasses for crying out loud!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 9:11pm

    Re: Re: Mike, you start with a wrong conclusion and run with it.

    No more glasses for darryl, if he drinks more he will end up all yellow on a hospital bed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    TaCktiX, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 10:22pm

    Re: Mike, you start with a wrong conclusion and run with it.

    Um...Mike didn't write the article? Check your authors before ranting next time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:47am

    Re: Mike, you start with a wrong conclusion and run with it.

    blablabla darrylrhea's diarrhea again

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:13am

    Re: Mike, you start with a wrong conclusion and run with it.

    Uhh, Peter Cushing wrote this article. just an FYI. ;)

     

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  26.  
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    surfer (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 3:06am

    Re: Mike, you start with a wrong conclusion and run with it.

    all I got from your rant was that it was in double space, probably pasted from word.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 3:16am

    Re: Re: Mike, you start with a wrong conclusion and run with it.

    it HIS freaking web site, Mike wrote it or approved it, and must agree with it.

    all the rest of you, by not addressing the point you are TROLLS !!!..

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    darryl, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 3:28am

    Re: Filled with omissions, half truths, and outright lies...

    and PHILIPS was originally PHILLIPS, but an accountant worked out that they would same millions of dollars if they removed one of the "L's" from the name.

    it would not have been when he was applying for a trademark but when he was registering his business name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    DannyB (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 6:56am

    Re: After forty plus years of watching TV

    > [Television] would change American society as we knew it,
    > mostly for the worse.

    Obviously they never dreamed of YouTube.



    What happens in Vegas, stays in YouTube.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    DannyB (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 7:06am

    The real irony

    Hollywood has lost so much creativity that the biggest movies these days are remakes of 40 year old TV shows.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 7:26am

    Re: Mike, you start with a wrong conclusion and run with it.

    Some (wrong) people might of thought that, but it is the companies that said "cool another way to distribute product", made it BIG TIME.

    So you are saying that what happened in the past (media companies evolved with technology and succeeded) will not happen in the present?

    That is the only conclusion I can gather from you, ootb and the various other ACs who rant and rave at us for pointing out the flaws in ACTA, PROTECT IP and other internet killing bills and treaties.

    If those media companies who embraced television can succeed, why is it that media companies cannot succeed in the age of the internet? We say they can, but the refuse to try.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Mike, you start with a wrong conclusion and run with it.

    But if you actually read darryl's post, he wrote it under the assumption that Mike wrote the article.

    Had darryl criticized Mike for approving the article, then your defense would have merit. Sadly, your defense of darryl's baseless and incorrect rant falls flat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    Jay (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Mike, you start with a wrong conclusion and run with it.

    If those media companies who embraced television can succeed, why is it that media companies cannot succeed in the age of the internet?

    The power of disruptive technology means they can't see the revolution at their feet.

    It's sad to see these companies fight so hard for a decade long gone. I just hope that karma will bite them twice as hard when they realize customers aren't ATMs but have valid concerns in how they consume their entertainment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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