How Happy Days went from a good show to bad and became super popular

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Neil Brock, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. John Hermes

    John Hermes Screenwriter

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    I don't like the three-camera technique because it is too much like a stage play with people talking too loud and overacting. Perhaps some people like for exactly that reason, but not me. Plus, there is nothing like a close-up where the camera is actually just a few feet away versus a zoom lens from across the studio. It has a totally involving presence.
     
  2. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    I prefer the era when actors talked loud enough so you could understand them. If anything, I despise the trend of recent decades where mumbling has become the norm in almost everything tune into. I also don't like frequent close-ups and in fact this is why the 50s version of "Dragnet" can at times be unwatchable from my standpoint because of Jack Webb's obsession with tight-close ups (the same scripts on radio "breathe" better and I feel like I'm getting a wider canvas).
    And with sitcoms, the element of natural audience reaction to canned laughter is another plus.
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Wow. That is something my Dad used to say to me about the
    actors of his era.
     
  4. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Cinematographer

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    It really depends on how the program is produced and directed. The Lear productions *do* look and feel like stage productions that just happen to have cameras present. But there are others where this is not so apparent. The Dick Van Dyke Show is a good example. It's possible to get cameras in close and have good micing to closely emulate that single camera presence but it takes more work and blocking to achieve.
    I like the way some British shows have achieved this effect by showing the completed program to a studio audience and recording the laughter. You sort of get the best of both worlds. The intimacy of single camera and the spontaneous laughter of the audience. The primary downside to this technique is the actors get zero audience feedback to better hone their performance.
     
  5. John Hermes

    John Hermes Screenwriter

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    In my opinion, The Dick Van Dyke Show comes nowhere near something like, one of my favorites, Hogan's Heroes, as far as one-camera intimacy. Look at the barracks scenes from HH, with the fine close-ups and sense of being in a real room, with different angles from all over the room. In Dick Van Dyke they are always shooting from the same angle in the living room. In the one-camera shows, they can really go outdoors sometimes, unlike Lucy and Dick Van Dyke. It gets rid of that phony and claustrophobic stage feel. I like the latter two shows a lot, but I don't like three-camera technique.
     
  6. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    In addition to the two fine shows you mention, there were a few other good ones that have been forgotten - Bridget Loves Bernie, The Paul Lynde Show, Girl With Something Extra, The Little People, Adam's Rib.
    Can't argue with your assertion. That does seem to be around the turning point for the irreversible downward slide. Coincidentally, that was the year that the networks started the practice of not giving shows at least a half year to find an audience and they began axing them after only a few episodes.
     
  7. David Weicker

    David Weicker Cinematographer

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    1974, Huh?
    Interesting - that was the year that The Rockford Files premiered.
    And around the corner we had Hill Street Blues, Law And Order, Twin Peaks, Firefly, etc.
    Or for Comedies - Barney Miller, Taxi, Cheers, The Cosby Show, Seinfeld, etc.
    David
     
  8. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    And let's not forget that in 1974, there were people saying how everything was bad today and how 1954 (or 1934 or 1914 or 1894) was when things were good. The complaint was no more true then than it is today.
     
  9. bretmaverick2

    bretmaverick2 Supporting Actor

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    Show was good for its time. But once Ritchie and Potsie looked closer to 40 than they did 20, my interest had evaporated.
     
  10. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TravisR
    And let's not forget that in 1974, there were people saying how everything was bad today and how 1954 (or 1934 or 1914 or 1894) was when things were good. The complaint was no more true then than it is today.
    Actually, I'd say it is the reverse, just as true then as it is now for those that feel that way. It is all subjective and personal opinion.
     
  11. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    ...
     
  12. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    My point is that an era that so many people today see as a golden age was considered to be the nadir of popular culture (or even civilization) by some people that actually lived through that golden age. So if people were wrong when they said "Everything is bad today" back then, isn't possible that it's still not a true statement today either?
     
  13. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TravisR
    My point is that an era that so many people today see as a golden age was considered to be the nadir of popular culture (or even civilization) by some people that actually lived through that golden age. So if people were wrong when they said "Everything is bad today" back then, isn't possible that it's still not a true statement today either?
    My point being that these are not factual statements but just opinions so there is no right or wrong. Just because there are people today saying the golden age of TV is great doesn't take away from those that lived during that period thinking it was bad, nor does it prove that they were wrong for thnking of it that way. Now there is a chance that some of those back then changed their minds over time, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear that they didn't.
    Just looking at this forum you will find advocates for each decade, some growing up through it, while for others it being before their time. The same thing can be said for movies that has a longer history to work from. I don't really see this changing since it is just based on personal taste. What a person likes they will probably always like, and what they don't they probably never will.
    So if your premise is that there will be people that look back upon this decade as producing great TV, I agree that there probably will be. But to say that makes it those that are living through it now wrong for saying it is bad, that i disagree with because this is not quantitative in nature nor is it provable (just opinion).
     
  14. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Then discussing or debating the quality of anything is pointless because everyone is right and we should close the board down. :) Everyone has their opinions and feelings but people who said "Everything is bad today" back in 1955 (for example) missed out on some great shows that they might have enjoyed if they had given them a chance and if that was the case back then, I think it's true today as well.
     
  15. ScottDombrowski

    ScottDombrowski Second Unit

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    Again with the whole everything sucks now and was so much better in the "golden age!?" Isn't this how things always end up getting nasty and then forcing a moderator to step in? It is, as some have said, personal opinion so saying it multiple times and constantly sneaking in a comment about it probably isn't going to change anyone's mind. This argument is so tiring! Personally, I love a lot of TV series from all eras and wouldn't want to limit myself to only a particular time. There's plenty of good and bad throughout although, again, it's all personal opinion. I don't want to rant about it but it just seems that this keeps popping up here and it's taking the enjoyment out of reading a lot of threads on this forum.
     
  16. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I don't see why a moderator would have to step since it's a simple discussion. I think it's perfectly reasonable for me to disagree when someone makes a blanket statement about how all TV or movies, etc. are bad today. However, you're right about it being tiring and I'll go even farther and say how I know I'll never change anyone's mind. All that being said, I'd like to point out that I've only ever responded and never started an "Everything today is bad" debate.
     
  17. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    The reason moderators have to step in is because any kind of debate or discussion draws in people who aren't articulate enough to make their case intelligently and they start throwing around insults and disparaging those whose opinions differ from theirs. Most here are able to disagree without name calling but there's always a few in any crowd that are incapable of doing so.
     
  18. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    The only thing I'll say in reply is that I never see guys that like older shows going into a modern show thread and saying how horrible new shows are. Typically, those of us who do feel that older shows are generally better (for any variety of reasons) stay in the threads that deal with the older shows. I think you'd have a valid point only if people were going into modern series threads and putting them down. Look at the Mannix thread, as an example. In that thread you've got fans that love that show and have, in no uncertain terms, made it clear they think it's the best show of all time and that no series since it even comes close. And while many would not agree with that thought at least those posters aren't going into modern show threads and saying that. It may be annoying to read, but at least they are staying in that particular thread to do it. I don't think it's that great a show so I'm not apt to go into that thread very often and read. But I'm not going to begrudge them expressing those opinions in the Mannix thread. I'd say the same logic should apply in any older show thread. One should expect, every now and then, to read such comments in those threads. By the same measure, I'd think modern show threads are going to talk up the modern show and you'll not see me in those threads tearing them down and saying how horrible they are compared to the classics. To each his own.

    I don't think what we see in threads like these is all that unique or uncalled for. As long as it's kept civil I believe it's okay. But like everything else, that's subjective too. LOL


    Gary "take care, guys" O.
     
  19. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TravisR
    My point is that an era that so many people today see as a golden age was considered to be the nadir of popular culture (or even civilization) by some people that actually lived through that golden age. So if people were wrong when they said "Everything is bad today" back then, isn't possible that it's still not a true statement today either?
    My point being that these are not factual statements but just opinions so there is no right or wrong. Just because there are people today saying the golden age of TV is great doesn't take away from those that lived during that period thinking it was bad, nor does it prove that they were wrong for thnking of it that way. Now there is a chance that some of those back then changed their minds over time, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear that they didn't.
    Just looking at this forum you will find advocates for each decade, some growing up through it, while for others it being before their time. The same thing can be said for movies that has a longer history to work from. I don't really see this changing since it is just based on personal taste. What a person likes they will probably always like, and what they don't they probably never will.
    So if your premise is that there will be people that look back upon this decade as producing great TV, I agree that there probably will be. But to say that makes it those that are living through it now wrong for saying it is bad, that i disagree with because this is not quantitative in nature nor is it provable (just opinion).
     
  20. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    That's not an argument

    Yes it is

    No it isn't

    Yes it is

    No it isn't, You're just contradicting me!

    No I'm not

    Yes you are

    No I'm not....
     

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