In my reflections on this disastrous day, I think we can say that we have seen television at some of its finest hours and some of its worst hours.
When I was a kid glued to radio and television admiring the fantastic communicative abilities of Arthur Godfrey. I remember him mentioning on one of his daily talk shows, I don’t remember whether it was his morning radio show, morning television show or his evening prime time shows. He made a prediction, and he was not a thought reader, he didn’t have any powers of ESP. He envisioned a day in television coming when many of the shows would be on tape and be recorded and he saw the down side of such. “My Dear Listeners”…. He said. You will be watching a comedy show and suddenly the program will be interrupted because of a disaster, perhaps an assassination, perhaps an unbelievable accident but whatever the tragedy once the bulletin passed you will suddenly find the program back on the air and hear laughter. What a discord, what an abomination of the art of communication.
I would have thought when I turned on to some of the night time comedy hours that this would not have had to happen. Since in each of these cases, the shows were taped after the disaster had taken place, the host, writers and staff were well aware of the tragedy hanging over the nation. Shows could have been readily modified and turned it into some discussion or format that would void laughter and other such discord. One could not imagine and it did not happen… Hours after JFK was assassinated, I know stations shut down comedy – it just would have been a macabre service.
In the days of Steve Allen, Jack Parr, Johnny Carson, such would not have been the case. They would have simply shifted and had guests on that could comment and reflect and respect what was on the minds of the viewers.
Yours Truly was disappointed that such did not take place on April 16, 2007.