Once upon a time, television became the greatest invention to ever make its mark upon domestic society since indoor plumbing. This source of communication were all of the rage. All of a sudden, it was quite possible to become entertained and informed while viewing moving pictures with sound right in one’s living room. (In the first two decades of television’s existence–generally from the middle 1940’s throughout the 1960s, TV sets were usually confined to the living room of a household.) There were many reasons why this device was the be all to end all, but perhaps the greatest advantage of having a TV set was the fact that all programming presented was offered for free. Outside of purchasing the set itself, paying for the electricity to power up the device, and perhaps holding the costs for an outdoor antenna in order to receive a clear signal, no fees were ever giving or implied to the user(s) of the television set. In other words, once the machine, power, and aerial was all paid for, any signal coming over the set was given for gratis.
That’s how it was said and done for the next thirty years. Then around the 1980’s, cable TV started to make its mark in many communities throughout the nation. Although cable has been around since the early days of TV, most of what was offered back then were retransmissions of distant over the air signals that was not possible or practical to pick up via a household rooftop antenna. Such places where cable was offered were in small rural communities that were located in isolated places, far from bigger cities or towns where TV signals were transmitted. However, when cable began to make its mark in big cities as well as smaller bedroom suburban communities, there were more than just over the air signals to watch. There were dedicated channels offering programming that catered to a special audience, from kid’s shows seen on Nickelodeon, sporting events as well as sports news on the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (aka ESPN), to variety offerings (mostly reruns of former prime time programming, movies, and occasional sports) on WGN from Chicago, WTBS from Atlanta, or WOR from New York, and so on. The cost for such programming? On the average (c.1982), a lineup of 36 channels set one back around $18.95 per month. If one wanted to receive channels showing uncut and uninterrupted movies with an occasional special or two, then for an additional $5.95 per month, one can receive Home Box Office (HBO), Showtime, or The Movie Channel. Those channels were all commercial free, and its movies of recent vintage (as recent as one year old) were shown uncut and uncensored. If a movie’s dialogue has cussing in them, then the cussing remained intact!
Before long, cable TV grew from novelty to a way of life. By the start of the 21st century, the majority of TV homes had access to receive programming from cable companies or satellite providers. Very few households solely relied upon an over the air antenna. Unless one wanted to live with only ten or so channels received through an antenna, TV was no longer free, nor was it cheap. (Average cost was around $70.00 per month for 60-80 channels–pay services not included!
Thanks to the internet, it’s now possible to watch selected programming over the ‘net through streaming services, offering these shows sans costs. Of course, there are ads imbedded within the programming, but one can view such shows via any electronic device that has a screen attached at home or on the road!
But is cable/satellite subscriptions worth the costs? According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin.com, nearly half (45%) of domestic adults responding believe that paying for cable TV is a waste of money, although 81% of them continue to hold on to their subscriptions. On the other hand, 11% of respondents said they have previously subscribed to such services but no longer keep them. 8% said they never subscribed to a cable or a satellite service.
And there is a generation gab involved with it comes to watching or paying for service. Younger consumers (Millenniums) are less likely to watch TV by way of cable/satellite, since what is offered via streaming caters to that group. Older folks (age 50+) are the biggest consumers of cable programming whiling viewing such on a traditional TV set. Even though this demographic is the group that were weaned on tractional TV, many of them have flat screen high def devices to view them, although there are a few that watch TV via a standard tube device!
Even though cable/satellite costs as much as $100.00 per month or more, there are reasons why folks won’t let go of their service. According to the survey, 43% of adults said they won’t cancel their pay TV services specifically because they wouldn’t be able to watch sports programming. Fourteen percent said they would cut the cord if there were alternative ways to watch sports broadcasts. Some sports are available via streaming, but since there is more money involved between the major leagues and TV programming services, it isn’t likely that a lot of sporting events will be offered via the internet.
However, the report discovered that the emergence of other cheaper alternatives would motivate little over half (56%) of subscribers to end their subscription service. 55% cited the expense as a reason to quit. Other reasons to be cable free? Not watching TV enough (27%), alternative ways to watch live broadcasts (17%) and only watching a few of the total channels provided (17%).
This year marks the 65th anniversary when television service began in most parts of the nation (1948), Although times have changed from the TV sets used to watch the programs, the methods that the programs are sent out, to the types of shows itself, TV in general isn’t going away. It’s not “dead” by any ways or means!! It’s gotten better or worse, depending on how one looks at it. In 1948, folks were laughing hysterically watching Uncle Milty wearing an outrageous consume on NBC. In 2013, folks are laughing hysterically watching a cat playing the piano on YouTube. At least none of these choices were seen in 3-D, but that’s for another article at that stands!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Paul Fontana’s black comedy RESURRECTION OF THE ANTS, a tale about a struggling writer’s chance of fame, the woman behind his dreams, and the score he must settle (or else), continues its world premier run at the Hayworth Theatre’s Upper Level stage.
Paul Fontana is George. He’s a writer that’s been living way below his means. He hopes to make it big with his hand penned manuscript The Prisoner and the Ant, a 250+ page novel of a captive held inside of a cell and the relationship that develops with a stray ant. His agent Bob Green (Peter Trencher) thinks his work is utter crap! George has been working on this literary piece for some two years, in spite of the fact that nobody wants to consider his pursuit while he exists in total squalor. He has his “girl” Billie (Amy Main) a former professional dancer that he plans to marry soon. But an opportunity knocks for George and Billie. Seems that George’s elder brother Dean (Ken Arquelio), a producer of cheap reality TV shows (as well as occasional porn) has an offer for the two to star in a new TV series that challenges soon-to-be married couples to share a relationship and the success of their dreams, no matter how far fetched these dreams may appear. But George has his own wolf backing at his door. Seems that he owns a bit of cash to Miguel (Claudio Pinto), a street “loan officer” that tends to shoot first and ask questions later. So will George and Billie become the next reality TV stars? Will his novel ever become published? Will Miguel receive what’s owed to him? And will Dean settle a different kind of score with his younger sibling that’s more of a personal nature than a financial type? It’s yet another slice of real reality in the City of Angles during a long and rather hot summer.
This play holds a lot of quirky comic episodes within, far more than any kind of reality show can ever offer! Paul Fontana (the playwright) portray his character George to a point where one can feel sorry for him, even though all of the conflicts he places himself are of his own making. He’s also too self centered as well, never giving up on his written work even though anyone with an ounce of sense would find his story as total crud! Any Main as Billie supports her man, even though her own goals are just as whacked out as her husband-to be! (She hopes to become a dream interrupter–whatever that is!) Ken Arquelio as Dean sees his younger bro to be a bit of a hopeless case that could use a break, even though what he did to his sibling many years before was something that George never forgot about! And Claudio Pinto as Miguel is a man that doesn’t remove himself out of George’s life-by force or otherwise! Gary Wolf directs a play that holds a load of comical drama and vice versa. Sure, the whole concept is of a humorous nature and isn’t support to be taken seriously; The same form of sobriety as reality shows littering the TV landscape tends to present!
Also featured within the cast is Meeghan Holaway as Shane Francis; Dean’s second in charge at the production company that churns out the reality trash that draws viewer each week, making those same viewers only hungry for more!!
Once thing for sure. This play is indeed one not to “step upon”! It’s very snarly and is worth the effort to trek to the little out of the way theater space, located such a short distance from MacArthur Park off downtown LA. It’s just as real as “unscripted drama”, and just as enjoyable! (Assuming that reality TV is enjoyable as it stands!)
RESURRECTION OF THE ANTS, presented by Autumn Jump Productions, and performs at the Hayworth Theatre’s Upper Level; 2511 Wilshire Blvd. (at Carondelet Street) until July 25th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. For reservations, call (323) 960-4443 or via on line at http://www.plays411.com/Ants
TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
I’m hibernating. Between the rain and going out last night, I have no energy or enthusiasm. Totally wiped. I don’t think I’ve been this exhausted from being ill since I had mono in my 20s. And I am a lousy patient.
Apparently it costs about $2,000.00, and a night in the kitty hospital, to eat a napkin and develop a stinkin’ stomach and intestine obstruction! Cats are brainless. It’s good thing we love him, or he’d be ashes sprinkled on an apple orchard like his dead brother Leo.
Bracing myself to write an email I’d hoped I could avoid.
Hope Floats tonight on Hallmark Movie Chanel. How many times have I watched this???? A lot!
All my WWF (Words w/Friends) turned nic-name on me….who are you people? And who is Pumpkin? 🙂 Any body else having difficulty?
My kindle is broken. 😦
As of July 8th, Tiffi has 1,751 Facebook “friends” and counting!
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