Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Genuine Reality Show

I am listening to the music from what I think is on the top-10 list of “Best TV Documentaries”: Victory At Sea,” broadcast by NBC back when things like this were done and to **** with the ratings.

62,000 feet of war footage taken by military photographers and a superb score by Broadway and Hollywood composer Richard Rodgers, arranged and conducted by Robert Russell Bennett. You don’t get better than that.

The series was last broadcast on A&E (another network that has gone pretty much down the drain) a few years ago, and I never thought to tape it. I saw it either the first time around in 1952, or one of the repeat broadcasts in the early days. The program first ran on Sunday afternoons – not exactly prime time; that’s when you bury things. But when word got out through the press, the audience was huge and it won every major prize in television.

Maybe it’s time a broadcast network picked it up, to be surprised at how many people want something of this quality. You want a reality show? This is reality all right, on the front lines. Nothing scripted here, no stars dancing, no people singing on stage.

Twenty-six weeks of reality, backed with some of the finest, most expressive music you will hear (“The Song of the High Seas” is an almost visible, seasick-inducing trip in the South Pacific.) It’s still available on cd.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I was certainly around for this series original airing, I just learned why my family did not tune in to watch it. We still did not own a television. I think my father thought it a passing fad. Sometimes, I wish he was right.

July 02, 2008 2:58 PM  

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