I’m not and never have been a parent, but I’ve learned enough from a generation of students, relatives and eye-rolling colleagues that dredging up what I might perceive to be the good old days isn’t always the best ice-breaker. To them, it’s the stone age, and hopelessly irrelevant. At least, that’s what they say when I bring it up.
So I won’t try and tell anyone under a certain age that they absolutely MUST find a way to discover content produced before they were born because it was better, or that the fact that I didn’t have anything as user-friendly as a single platform to find it made my discovery process far more challenging and labor intensive a process than they are faced with.
But I will share how it was, and what I found, because you might actually find it a value proposition worth considering. Because do you really think Ted Sarandos and Jeff Bezos invented the concept of video on demand?
Lauren Novak and her followers on DO YOU REMEMBER? clearly don’t, and, here, since she’s clearly closer to your age than am I let her explain:
Do you remember when TVs turned off at midnight? These days, you can watch TV at any time you please. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep, there is always something on. With streaming services, you can choose what to watch too! In the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s TVs actually went static at midnight.
This happened when the transmitter was shut down. Many times, there was some sort of sign off. You might remember the National Anthem being played before the TV went to static. During this time, it cost too much for TV stations to run for small audiences. Generally, the TV came back on around 6 a.m. the next day.
But when UHF television and independent stations signed on, they saw opportunity to service the night owls, shift workers, insomniacs and curious, and defied these norms by keeping the lights on and putting on something decent to watch. They’d make deals with local car dealerships to sponsor and do extended-length spots to hark their lemons because, frankly, who cared? If they unloaded one or two albatrosses off their lots, they considered it a win. And once many cities started receiving overnight ratings via meters, they realized that a lot more people were watching than what was the historic assumption.
Scott Sobel was one of those people. He discovered a lot of decent TV to watch, movies with the likes of Vincent Price and Boris Karloff. A biopic of Jackie Robinson produced long before 42 starring–Jackie Robinson. Intriguing and captivating documentaries that don’t all involve serial killers. And as an adult, he discovered that the rights to many of those shows were available. He aggregated them, formed a distribution company that serviced many of those now more-mature stations for decades and now, like all of us survivors, have turned their attention to online platforms. His is called CineAmerica.
Per its home page:
CineAmerica brings back AMERICAN LATE NITE TV from the 1960s & 1970s- It was the WILD, WILD WEST of LATE NITE offering viewers a mix of the COOL, OFFBEAT & Mainstream Flix of HOLLYWOOD’S Past & Present..Throw in some ORIGINAL DOCS,CLASSICTVExplosion and it was truly MUST WATCH TV from that era in American Television!
And here, you won’t have to endure lengthy commercials from auto dealerships you’d otherwise go out of your way to avoid (unless they happened to be ones from Kendall Toyota in South Florida that would feature bikini models), not to mention all other commercials. Unless, of course, you actually want to watch them. There’s a lengthy reel of retro commercials as part of the portfolio, not to mention the aforementioned films featuring names like Price and Karloff. It’s Halloween month. Don’t tell me you haven’t heard of THEM.
And here’s the best part. For a limited time, CineAmerica will help us provide you with intriguing and timely factoids about Hollywood’s past and present right here, along with a special introductory rate of $1.99/month for unlimited access to the platform. Far less expensive than virtually every other platform out there, all the more so as price increases abound. As the site attests, “cheaper than a cup of coffee!” And at a time when there’s not a heckuva lot of new series dropping on the big boys, I’d at least offer that for less than seven cents a day a fresh set of options isn’t out of one’s price range.
And unlike Boomers like Sobel and myself, you won’t have to stagger out of bed, adjust your rabbit ears, fiddle with a UHF dial to get a grainy picture and suffer through those aforementioned spots. You get the content on demand, at your fingertips, on demand. Just like Sarandos and Bezos envisioned it.
Or, more likely, were inspired by the kind of TV experience that CineAmerica now brings to a device and screen near you.
Check out our factoids. Check out the platform. And please, if possible, see if less than seven cents a day can be found, or you can at least share the opportunity who someone who might just have it. For hundreds of hours of entertainment you’ve probably never seen, we’d both offer it’s worth it.
See? No lectures. Just encouragement.
We’ll leave the hard sell to the likes of Kendall Toyota.
Until next time…