Saturday, July 16, 2011

Please stand by

It was bound to happen, I suppose. Yesterday evening, I was flipping through the channels about ten minutes into Three Sons O' Guns. It's not a movie I was particularly intending to watch. It's a good thing I hadn't planned to watch it, as TCM was showing a "Technical difficulties, Please stand by" card. The more interesting thing is that it seemed to date from a previous visual branding of the channel. Currently, the bit just before each movie showing the movie's content rating has a bright greenish-white glow. However, the "technical difficulties" card was in the same style as the previous content ratings screens, that being vintage skyscrapers set at various angles, with a dark blue color scheme.

It seems to me as though technical difficulties are becoming less and less common on television in general, with the one obvious exception being live programming, what with all the remote location shooting beamed live via satellite. Channels have all sorts of glitches in showing the wrong clip, but that's more a case of human error than technical problems. It's also a problem that has been hitting TCM. During the "Arab Images on Film" series, the press release announced that some cartoons that fit the theme were going to air, and Robert Osborne apparently made mention of them in his talks with Professor Shaheen. But the advertised shorts never showed.

In fact, TCM hasn't had cartoons on in years, with a few exceptions. It's a shame, because while Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry are still going to show up on other channels, there are more obscure cartoons such as the Happy Harmonies series, and the stuff produced at Warners before the Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes series came along.

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