Musty TV

I was thumbing through my copy of The Complete Directory To Prime Time Network And Cable TV Shows the other night when I stumbled across an entry entitled What A Dummy. If you don’t remember this syndicated gem, let me refresh your memory: A kid find his late uncle’s ventriloquist dummy, Buzz, a dummy who was no dummy, as Buzz could walk and talk.  Wacky hijinks ensued, of course, in the usual sitcom manner. 

Not that I recall this series myself. Even with a memory refreshed and bestirred by the printed word, it sparks not so much as a glint of gray-mattered reminiscence. And, true, as a buff of that vast wasteland of bubble gum for the mind that is TV, very little surprises me anymore. Far sillier premises exist (My Mother, The Car, Bosom Buddies, 60 Minutes just to name a few) but what really startled me is that the show ran 24 episodes! 24 EPISODES!!!! By today’s standards, that’s the equivalent of five years prime time network with a lucrative syndication deal to boot! 

Yet, as incredible as the thought that an idea this dumb made it past the pitching stage, through executives’ infinite tweakings, focus groups, and into a package the production company was willing to submit as their best effort, more remarkable still is the sight that befell me only one page over: 

Yakov Smirnoff’s network series What A Country! lasted two episodes longer. 

Bloody hell. 


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