Thursday, July 19, 2007

Please Stand By

Tomorrow is the big move! Unfortunately, we won't have an Internet connection until the next day (at least). So, we are essentially off-line for the next day or two.

The picture, by the way, is known as a test pattern. In the days before cable and 24-hour music, news, and movies, broadcast TV stations used to have to sign off for a few hours each night. Many would use test patterns at the very end (and beginning) of their broadcast days.

Of course, the geekier among you may also recall that the phrase "please stand by" was used at the end of the introductory narration of a television program called The Outer Limits (intro here). Okay, two television programs.

Because the first version ran when I was a very small child (1963-1965), I watched it in later syndication, along with The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, and similar shows. These shows are one reason why I love short stories.

Because of the need to be brief, short stories often set aside details that longer forms take for granted. Consider, for example, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. In the filmed version, we never learn the name of man who stars in the episode, nor are we told how he was captured or any other extraneous details. He's simply a man about to be executed, presumably for interfering with the railway. He receives, though, a reprieve when the hanging rope breaks.

I first watched this film in grade school, some 30-odd years ago. At the time, it captivated me. It still captivates me today. You can watch it here, though I don't know how long the link will last. If you've not seen it, it's well worth the half-hour investment.

I think, perhaps, the reasons why it spoke to me as a child are the same as the reasons it speaks to me as an adult. Here is a man who loves his family so much that they are the last images he sees in this life. Melodramatic, perhaps, but melodrama I can identify with.

My life has been filled with much drama...and (as a result) I can appreciate melodrama as an entertainment device and a teaching device.

I'm not sure I can explain the life lesson of Owl Creek. I hope you'll intuit it without my commentary.

JP and I will be back soon. We need to move few things to new digs first. Please be patient while we do so.

Photo credit: RCA Manufacturing Co, Inc. (by way of Broadcasting 101)

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Blogger Shaz said...

Hope everything goes smoothly.
You made me laugh with your comments Honey and I so appreciate your sense of humour you and deb keep me smiling even if its not on the phone. Blowing kisses pass it on to my I mean our girl xx

3:48 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I want pics!

6:25 PM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

I didn't see Owl Creek, but as a child I did see Twilight Zone and I remember that test pattern. Hope the move has gone well!

1:27 PM  
Blogger Whitesnake said...


12:35 PM  

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