Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Okay . . . You Asked For It!




One of my early TV remembrances was of the show You Asked For It, which ran, first on the DuMont Network and then ABC,  from 1950 to 1959.   


The premise was simple on this, admittedly, low budget show.   Viewers would write in with requests of things they'd like to see on TV.


Now, this was at a time when Television was very new, and as individuals we were far more isolated than we are today.   What might seem rather mundane to us today could actually be very novel to the viewing audience of 50 years ago.


Created by Art Baker, who would host the show until 1958 - and then Jack Smith would host the remaining shows -  You Asked For It was the quintessential live `reality' show of the 1950's.


In retrospect, some of the segments in these shows are just awful. 



And the commercials are, like many from this era, pretty boring.  Thankfully, none of these segments last very long.   Two or three minutes for most. 


After all, how long can you spend watching an Eskimo build an igloo, or the Worlds Tallest Man?



But there are real video gems hidden in these shows that make enduring the less enjoyable segments worth while.  



Some of the highlights include a remarkable musically talented french clown in episode #3,  a demonstration with a python that gets out of hand in episode # 4,  and the TV premier of Jive Pianist Ivory Joe Hunter in episode #1.




(Ivory Joe Hunter)



This is, for the most part, live television (a few filmed segments were used).  Thing can, and do, go wrong.    That is part of the appeal of early television, in my estimation.


They were working without a net.



Here are 5 episodes of You Asked For It.   



Misc episode of 'You Asked For It' #1
Misc episode of the popular 50's TV series "You Asked For It", featuring a Wrestling Chimpanzee, a Jive Pianist, and the secrets of Card Sharks. Also features original commercials.

Misc episode of 'You Asked For It' #2
Another misc episode of the 50's TV series "You Asked For It", featuring a diver and an octopus, a theremin player, special effects demonstations, among others. As this TV series could never be broadcast again, it may be considered "ephemeral TV". This was originally broadcast sometime between 1950 and 1959.

Misc episode of 'You Asked For It' #3
Episode of the 50's TV series "You Asked For It", featuring: A Hindu fakir on a bed of nails, a man shot wearing a bullet proof vest, carnival conmen, and a clown act, plus more. This was broadcast live, and this copy features original commercials for Skippy Peanut Butter.

Misc episode of 'You Asked For It' #4
Misc episode of the 50's TV series "You Asked For It", featuring a America's tallest man(?), largest star sapphire in the world, and a frightning attack by a python, among other things. Not "reality TV" but not quite a documentry either, falling somewhere between the two genres.

"You Asked For It"
Popular television show from the 1950s, where viewers would write in requesting to see various interesting things. With this episode we see a knifethrower, an octopus trapper, a ride on a roller coaster and a speedy dressmaker.

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