COMMENTARY: Reflecting on TV Shows in the Older Days, by Professor Larry Burriss

Sep 21, 2021 at 09:21 am by WGNS

Remember the old TV shows like “The Man from Uncle?” Perhaps you think TV shows today are missing something, or even too computer generated? With this nostalgic look back at TV, here is MTSU Professor Larry Burriss…



Verbatim: I don't know about you, but I think it's time for a break, so I thought we'd take a little stroll down nostalgia, or perhaps that should be "amnesia" lane.

I was watching an old episode of "The Man From Uncle" a couple of weeks ago with my 17 year old, and he was almost rolling on the floor laughing so hard about the unreality of the plot, characters and dialog.  In one particular scene, the hero had been captured and put on a small, two-engine plane in England.  In the next scene, the plane was flying over the Amazon basin, having made the flight from Europe non-stop.

Now, I can remember watching "The Man From Uncle" when I was just a kid, but I don't remember ever dissecting the program to analyze the reality, or unreality, of what was going on.

And you know, I think perhaps we've lost something in our super-sophisticated, computer-generated, special effected television programs and movies.

Just for fun, I checked out the movie "Rodan" a few days ago.  And you know what, that flying reptile does look like a paper-mache pterodactyl.  And I had to chuckle as I watched him sweep away a formation of what were obviously model tanks. 

Back when I first saw "Rodan", I knew it looked fake, but I, and my friends, didn't care.  We were watching the movie for fun, not for social commentary, political awareness or interpersonal growth.  It was simply mindless entertainment.  Chewing gum for the mind.  And it was great.

After the first "Star Wars" movie came out about 1977, I was in a bookstore, and there was a rack full of books proving that "Star Wars" promoted Christian values.  And right beside it was a rack full of books proving that "Star Wars" was satanic.  Even then I thought people ought to lighten up. 

Personally, I thought "Star Wars," which by that time I had seen in a theater some 30 times, was simply a movie that provided a good story and great special effects.

Sometimes I think we take ourselves, and out entertainment, too seriously.  So lighten up.  Don't worry about how Doc Savage managed to dodge all those bullets or how Superman can fly, just enjoy the program.  And maybe we can recapture some of those simpler times and places.

-I'm Larry Burriss.


About Larry Burriss

Larry Burriss, professor of journalism, teaches introductory and media law courses. At the graduate level he teaches quantitative research methods and media law. He holds degrees from The Ohio State University (B.A. in broadcast journalism, M.A. in journalism), the University of Oklahoma (M.A. in human relations), Ohio University (Ph.D. in journalism) and Concord Law School (J.D.). He has worked in print and broadcast news and public relations, and has published extensively in both academic and popular publications. He has won first place in the Tennessee Associated Press Radio Contest nine times. Dr. Burriss' publications and presentations include studies of presidential press conferences, NASA photography, radio news, legal issues related to adolescent use of social networking sites, legal research, and Middle Earth.

Dr. Burriss has served as director of the School of Journalism, dean of the College of Mass Communication and president of the MTSU Faculty Senate. He was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to serve on the Tennessee Board of Regents. He was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and served on active duty in Mali, Somalia, Bosnia, Central America, Europe and the Pentagon.



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