One Of The 55

Spread the love

Fifty-five million.

Even in our jaded, stream-lachious times, that double-nickle number is high when it comes to considering how many people tuned in to “Brian’s Song,” back in 1971 when the now iconic TV-movie appeared on network television. I was just watching a Billy Dee Williams interview on “CBS Sunday Morning” and they mentioned the actor’s role in this made-for-T.V. movie which I do indeed recall watching, after its first airing, told it was a must-see, but a sure tear-jerker. I shan’t champion the movie, which features James Cann in the lead role, or what it stirred to see the love two men–one black, one white–had for each other, shown to so many viewers at that time in US culture. It is a great film and worth watching.

No, what I am reminded of, as I often am (some would say too often as I am constantly accused of living in the past) is how great TV watching was way back when. Not just the shows. Debates could rage until the end of time over was/is TV the great wasteland, as the famous quote notes. What shows back then made an impact, what were simply frivolous and whether all we shouldn’t ever hope for anything but the frivolous from such populist entertainment. But that’s not my point here.

My point here is way back when, we, those of us who remember, those who like me, wish in our deepest of hearts for these times once again, watching TV had a meaning that one cannot now understand in the à la carte streaming we all enjoy presently. In the Brian Song times, one couldn’t call up what one wanted when one wanted it. One did not have the deluge of too many choices. There was not the onslaught of properties bastardized from their original source material, creating shadows of their former selves or worse, the creator’s intentions. We can’t enjoy ‘water-cooler’ discussions (and most people under a certain age won’t even know what that term means) around the office or in school come a Monday where if you watched this or that program you would have a discussion about it with this or that group of friends. We no longer feel a sense of community knowing we might be one of 55mill all watching the same show across the continent at the same time.

I realize I am no longer part of the world as I once was (even if I ever really was). And I don’t care. Most of what passes by me, I don’t give a donkey dingus about (have at your politics, AI, religion, music, social media; you wanted the world as it is, you got it!). I just really miss those great days of television viewing, probably more than I do the shows.

55 million.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *