The Greg Brady Project

Welcome to the official Barry Williams' blog

My friends call me Barry. From time to time I also hear the name Greg. Yeah, as in Greg Brady. The Brady Bunch represents a fun time in my life. But it’s only part of the story. There’s more to say and that’s what The Greg Brady Project is all about – a place to say it. So, I’ve invited some friends to join me and share their perspectives on the Brady’s, the 70′s and just about everything else. Now, I’m inviting you…

08 Mar
Bob Hunt

The Cost of Convenience

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | No comments

‘Rescue from Gilligan’s Island’
The televisual event of the century…or at least I thought so.

Rise up, children of the digital age! Break free from your iPods, erase your TIVOs, avert your weary eyes from YouTube! For once there was a time when young people lived in a strange and analog land, where there was no such thing as media on demand. Consumers lived only in the present, unable to reproduce their favorite entertainment for later viewing. Subjected to the whims of broadcasters and distributors, they were forced to experience content at the moment it was presented (yes, it’s true!), with no promise that it would ever be repeated. A nightmare, you presume? Not necessarily.

For all of the convenience of today’s media storage options – and don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we have them – their very existence comes at a subtle but certain price. Never again will we know the anxieties and joys of transitory media. For example, let’s say you missed a pithy comment from one of the political debates, and now everyone’s giving their two cents about it around the proverbial water cooler. No problem, as the remark in question is doubtless a YouTube search away. That movie everyone’s talking about? If it’s not on DVD now, it will be soon. But back in the analog days, if you missed something, it was gone. That was the “anxiety” part of it.

Yet, in a peculiar way, it was also a joy. I can recall the almost palpable excitement that I would feel as I anticipated the annual presentation of a gem like A Charlie Brown Christmas. It was the sort of thing that would be talked about during recess, a general alert spread among the students: miss it tonight, and you have to wait until next year. The same was true for the hyped-up yearly TV broadcast of The Wizard of Oz. At a time when VCRs were far from common, it was a rare opportunity to gather the family around the set to share a beloved classic.

Not that this ephemeral nature of things didn’t make life difficult sometimes, and occasionally shameful. I confess to being embarrassingly indulged by my parents following a row that concerned the premiere airing of Rescue From Gilligan’s Island. It happened to be scheduled for the very same night on which our extended family was renting a hall in celebration of my grandfather’s birthday. I balked at their demand that I attend the party in lieu of watching what surely would be one of the most important events in the history of television. I mean, come on, Mom, the castaways are finally going to be rescued! Don’t you understand?! Ultimately they relented and allowed me to tote along a portable set. I am not proud to recall that I spent a good portion of that family gathering sitting in a hallway, marooned on Gilligan’s Island.

Ah, the agony and ecstasy of bygone media delivery. You poor kids of today have no idea.

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