Sunday, January 15, 2012

Making me feel old again

I was watching the football on TV today, and there was an advertisment for a film coming out in March or April called 21 Jump Street. The ad certainly brought back memories: I remember the original TV show 21 Jump Street, which was one of the first "hits" for the then-fledgling Fox network, or as close to a hit as they had back in those days.

It's also a bit odd to see 80s shows being made into movies, as the 80s seem to be a bit of an overlooked decade in my opinion. I've posted a lot about how the older Baby Boomers (roughly the ones born in the first half of the boom) still sit in a lot of executive positions and seem to have a lot of cultural power, and that one of the results of this is how we get so many references to stuff from the 1960s. To be sure, we've seen Hollywood make movies out of The Dukes of Hazzard and The A-Team, and now 21 Jump Street, but they've also decided to keep remaking Mission Impossible movies. And when somebody does make a movie about a conservative icon from the 80s, such as The Iron Lady, the shrieking from those who fought on the 80s left is amazing. For all her faults, she was far less bad than murderous 60s revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, but making movies about him is radical chic.

But I'm getting too much into politics. When I saw the 21 Jump Street ad, I began to wonder what was the first TV show to be turned into a movie. There was a Dragnet movie in the 1950s, and it had already been a TV show, but it was also a radio show which got its genesis with the movie He Walked By Night. Episodes of TV shows such as The Man From UNCLE were cobbled together into movies in the late 1960s, but I don't know how much nostalgia there was until the Baby Boomers started getting nostalgic.

On the other hand, turning movies into TV shows seems to have been going on for a long time, and may or may not have much to do with nostalgia. Gidget and Peyton Place (which of course was originally a book) were turned into TV shows in the mid-1960s, and The Naked City came even a few years before that. I think it's not uncommon for Hollywood to try to cash in on a successful property by selling it through multiple media; after all, look at how many comic strips have been turned into movies going back to the early 1940s if not earlier (the entire Blondie and Dick Tracy series).

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