Runs (24:51) & is nothing special, but it probably won't kill you.Once upon a time, before A&E had grown into the network that brings us "Hoarders" and "Storage Wars," it was a highbrow cable channel. A&E stood for "arts and entertainment" and showed things like operas and symphonies. In its most nascent form, it was Alpha Repertory Television Service, or ARTS.
An evening of ARTS programming in 1981 included "an organ recital from Notre Dame Cathedral; an essay on the painter Edouard Manet; a ballet tribute to the sculptor Alexander Calder; a profile of Ernest Hemingway, narrated by Anthony Burgess, and a short film starring the mime Marcel Marceau."
Perhaps mime was a little quiet for TV. By 1982 the channel had livened things up by adding a talk show called "Nightcap," hosted by one of the greatest listeners of the 20th century: Studs Terkel. His co-host was Calvin Trillin, who even then had been writing for the New Yorker for decades. In some ways, the show was so stereotypically highbrow -- an oriental rug, subtle classical music introduction and soporific announcer -- that it might be mistaken for a "Saturday Night Live" sketch.
Not so when Terkel and Trillin hosted a trio of science fiction writers: Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison and Gene Wolfe. That's partly because of Asimov's out-of-this-world sideburns -- or are they mutton chops? But mostly because Ellison is in top rapid-fire, pugilistic form.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Asimov, Ellison, Terkel, Trillin & Wolfe
By M. Bouffant at 02:22
In case your monthly limit of fine reading has been reached, we'll share someone else's memories. (30 yrs. ago no one imagined 1980s telebision would be remembered as quality fare.)