Thursday, October 06, 2005

Jumping the Shark

I posted this in one of my OTR groups. Thought I'd repost it here to see what other feedback I get.
I stumbled upon the other day which isa fan discussion site of when particular television shows "jumpedthe shark," or started a decline in quality from which they neverrecovered. For instance, many fans of Cheers think the show jumpedthe shark when Rebecca replaced Diane and Woody replaced thedeceased Coach. This doesn't mean the shows was no good after that,just that it was not consistently as good as before the cast change.I thought it would be fun to do this with some OTR shows. Here aremy initial "jumping the shark" contributions:
1. Johnny Dollar - I'm not a big fan of the show but I think manylisteners would say the show hit its peak with Bob Bailey and wasnever quite as good as after he left.
2. Dennis Day - One of my favorites but at some point Dennis stopsworking at Mr. Willoughby's store. The show was good through thewhole run but that was an element I really enjoyed early on.
3. Avenger - This is a show that never jumped the shark in that itwas never good enough to decline in quality.
4. Shadow - I haven't listened to enough of these shows to pinpointthe moment it started going down hill, but by the forties it waspretty formulaic.
5. Fibber McGee & Molly - Haven't listend to all the shows but Istopped listening some time after Bill Thompson left. His charactersadded so much to the show and afterwards it seemed to settle into avery predictable pattern that got tedious without his contributions.Maybe it picked up in later years.
6. Some shows never jumped the shark; i.e., they were goodthroughout their entire run. I suggest Gunsmoke might be one suchshow, though I haven't listened to the later seasons yet.
7. Amos 'n Andy - When it went to a weekly sitcom format. Though not many of the daily 15-minute eps survive, I've really enjoyed the ones I've come across. Great characters, great story development, and an understated comedy that is underappreciated by OTR fans.


At 6:47 AM, Blogger Harry "broadcastellan" Heuser said...

A great question. I've been thinking about this for a week now; I guess I tend to listen to episodes out of sequence or just don't sample enough. What came to mind, eventually, was Chandu the Magician. When the program changed from serial to episodic format, it really lost whatever magic it had. The scripts for the final episodes, beginning with "Rocket Sabotage (26 July 1950) are so obviously recycled from other crime and espionage thrillers that Chandu's powers are no longer in demand. A sad ending to his charming adventures.

At 8:19 PM, Blogger Rob Bates said...

Phil Harris Alice Faye, when the original writers leave and Remley's name gets changed to Elliot Lewis.


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