Friday, March 13, 2009

RTN: Digital TV Nostalgia

Retro Television Network
RTN, the Retro Television Network, is one of the fun things that I discovered once I got my converter box to be able to continue receiving broadcast television. The Wal-Mart store where I work announced to all the Associates that the switch to digital from analog was going to happen, and there would be government-issued coupons to mediate the cost of the boxes.

I don't watch enough television to justify paying for cable - not even for basic cable! - but I do still watch some. So I followed the instructions the Store Manager gave us, went to the government website, and ordered the coupons - two of them, since I have two TVs - and they came in the mail fairly soon. No, I didn't wait until the last minute and whine that there wasn't enough time. Losers!

Meanwhile the local stations have already added some digital stations, so, for example, our PBS station, which is on channel 3, now has four stations: 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, and 3.4! Some of the programming is interesting, some is a bore - do we really need all day programming of the Florida Legislature?

Anyway, a few weeks back I found one local station was no longer airing yet another digital weather channel - good Lord! How many weather channels do ya need? - but had added the RTN channel. The Retro Television Network! Cool Beans!

Now, the website is one of the crappier efforts I've seen, but the broadcast offerings are nostalgia to the Nth degree!

Among the things I found was Adam-12, Dragnet, Kojak (Who loves ya, Baby?), and a lot more. But two shows brought back some fun memories: The Rockford Files, and Magnum, PI. Those two had recurring guest stars who I fell in love with. Okay, so they're TV crushes, but so what?

Garner and CorbettThe Rockford Files, which starred James Garner, was a funny, action-filled series following the exploits of an ex-con Private Investigator named James Rockford. It turns out that this very successful TV series cheated Garner out of his share of the profits by the use of funny accounting. A shame, and the idiots who played games with the numbers should have been jailed. But I digress, as is my wont.

Beth DavenportOne of the recurring characters on The Rockford Files was the attorney Beth Davenport, played by the lovely Gretchen Corbett. Corbett appeared in 32 episodes of the Rockford Files, even though some were merely for a scene or two. Corbett was lovely, smart, talented, and I got a crush on her!

As Wiki reports:
"... Corbett joined the series as a recurring regular to portray his beleaguered lawyer and sometime lover. Corbett left the series at the end of the fourth season over a salary dispute, though Corbett herself was not looking for more money: the dispute was between the show's producers and Universal (who owned Corbett's contract as a contract player). Corbett went on to do quite a bit of other television, eventually returning to play Davenport again in the Rockford Files TV movies of the 1990s."
Funny how the money boys at the production company were messing with the books very early on, huh?

Gretchen circa 2007Gretchen Corbett has done films, TV, and theater, and this image from around 2007 shows she's still smokin'! Can you blame me for having a crush on her?

Anyway, I watch some Rockford Files, now, and get some nostalgic jollies. It's better fare than a lot of televised programs these days!

Gretchen Corbett as Beth Davenport
Some lawyer Cheesecake!

Selleck and LloydAlong with The Rockford Files there's Magnum, PI, which starred Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, former Naval Intelligence officer turned Private Investigator. Takes place in Hawaii, so there's a lot of pretty scenery, with loads of action, and some very smart, funny dialogue. And there's also the recurring character of Assistant District Attorney Carol Baldwin. Baldwin is played by Kathleen Lloyd (the original Baldwin was played by Maureen McCormick) in 21 episodes. Actually 20, as Lloyd's first appearance on the show was as Bridget Archer. Anyway, Kathleen Lloyd is one of those actresses who remind you of the Girl Next Door one moment, and raise your blood pressure the next.

Assistant DA BaldwinBoth of these shows had something interesting: smart, successful, pretty women as recurring characters. Nothing sleazy about them. And they were possible love interests to the main characters. Lloyd had a recurring role in quite a few shows through the years. But it was on the Magnum, PI show that I fell in love with her. And can you blame me? Look at her! What does that smile say to you?

Kathleen LloydOh, my! I always wished she'd been used more often in the show. Her character has this tough lawyer front, but then Lloyd imbues Baldwin with such a sweetness 'out of the office' that you are simply in love with her. Well, I was, anyway!

Both shows - The Rockford Files, and Magnum, PI had a long list of familiar faces appearing in guest roles, and some new faces that went on to some success after the shows. And, of course, many actresses of great beauty adorned these productions week after week.

But for me, these two lovely actresses were my only TV crushes. *sigh*

Ain't they beautiful?

Resist her? Lloyd's smile
Corbett guests on Magnum, PI


Anonymous said...

I like nastalgia, but I do not watch time or have enough time to watch TV, not then nor now. However, I have enjoyed this very entertaining essay.

camojack said...

What about all the free streaming video of television shows on the 'Net?

benning said...

Zeeva: Thanks for stopping by!

Camo: I don't mind the videos you can access online, but watching a vid on the computer just ain't quite the same, y'know?

Gayle said...

Almost everything worth watching was made 20 years ago or more, Benning. I loved these shows you posted about.

I very rarely rent new movies from Net Flix unless they are recommended by someone who has the same values I have. Most of the stuff Hollyweird puts out is trash.

camojack said...

It all depends upon the computer setup...

Brooke said...

Magnum! Kewl!!!

benning said...

Gayle: I'm with you! I'll pick up an old film rather than a new one. But I do like some of the action flicks. LOL

Camo: Maybe if I had a 32" monitor ... ;)

Brooke: Last week they aired the final two episodes, which I had missed. Whoo-Hoo! :D

joni said...

Ok is it just me or do those women (even the half-naked one) look NORMAL?

The women of those tv shows didn't have the fake this and false that (and you know what I mean!) They were natural! My son loves Adam 12 and Beverly Hillbillies, and is a new fan of I dream of Jeannie!

Well we had those on some channel BEFORE the switchover,but he chooses then tv shows to now tv shows! (I must be doing something right???)

And the HDTV is nothing without a GOOD ANTENNA!!! UGH!!!

:-) I had to visit :-)


Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this. These were some of my favorite shows. Change is not always for the best. :-)

If it ain't broke why fix it. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. They sure bet the heck out of all these new reality shows. Yuk!

The men were handsome, the woman were beautiful and sexy with out being slutty. They were, well as joni put it normal, natural, women.

:-) Have a wonderful day.

Anonymous said...

FYI - It was Patty McCormack, not Maureen, who was the original Carol Baldwin.

Bill said...

The picture of Gretchen Corbett in a bikini is from a Columbo episode

Anonymous said...

Funny, you should say that! I totally agree with you on Kathleen Lloyd matters! I just discovered her myself - discovered a soft spot for those series of the 80's - and fell for Ms Lloyd right on the spot!

She is such a looker and a helluvan actress!!!
And even though it's not the 80's she looks as gorgeous as anytime! Like the white hair. :) Adore her!


chumleyfabersham said...

Had a huge crush on Gretchen Corbett. Rockford and Magnum were the two best shows ever!

Unknown Hollywood said...

The images of Corbett in the bikini is from a "Columbo" episode quest starring Robert Conrad. Maybe his secretary or girlfriend. I've seen these pix associated with Rockford but it never happened.