Saturday, June 24, 2006

THE HAT SQUAD: AARON SPELLING (PART ONE)

In his blog "I Am A Child Of Television" (link to the left), Brent McKee said it best today:

In an industry where the phrase "industry giant" is used as commonly as balloons at political conventions, Aaron Spelling truly deserved that description.

In fact, considering how much of the Toobworld landscape was created and shaped by Aaron Spelling, I might be tempted to call him a god of the TV Universe... if I wasn't afraid of the consequences.

It's almost hard to believe that he never produced a science fiction series, although the TV movie "The Last Child" could be considered his contribution to the genre. ('The Kindred: The Embraced', "Crowhaven Farm" and "Satan's School For Girls" are his contributions to the sub-genre of horror.)

But primetime soaps, family dramas, medical shows, cop shows, Westerns, and even a sitcom ('At Ease') all bore the Spelling stamp over the years.

It's always easy and popular to throw the brickbats at the high and the mighty. With many of his productions, the targets became easier as the years passed and we saw how ridiculous and camp some of the plotlines and characters were in those shows. But there's no denying how popular they were in their time, giving pop culture some of its enduring touchstones.

Sure there have been people in real life who have been confined to "plastic bubbles" because they needed a sterile environment in which to survive. But would there have been the Jake Gyllenhaal movie and a popular guest character on 'Seinfeld' had there not been the TV movie with John Travolta to inspire them?

Use the phrase "Donna Martin Graduates!" and people will know what the reference is.

And then there's his invaluable contributions to "Jiggle TV", especially those fleeting few seconds from the 'Charlie's Angels' episode "Angels In Chains".

Thank you, sir..

I see Aaron Spelling as a combination of P.T. Barnum, for giving the people what they wanted, and Isaac Asimov, for his incredible output.

It's such a massive list of credits, that I've had to break it down into several posts. The others will follow tomorrow when I have more time.....

BCnU......
Tele-Toby

"All that remains is recognition of a man."
The President
"The Prisoner"

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, Aaron Spelling managed a couple of fantasy series--Charmed (which has just wrapped up) and All Souls (which IMDB calls sci-fi in its categorization), and he does have one TV-movie which is science fiction--The Power Within, part of the 1970s tendency to have super-powered characters who then fight crime. In all three of these cases, he was exec. producer, but they definitely speak to his ability to hit everything.

--Hugh

Toby said...

'Charmed' was sitting there right at the top of the IMDb.com list and I forgot it as a perfect example of his forays into fantasy, the overall category in which science fiction is a part.

And I remembered 'The Power Within' as a comic book superhero kind of tale - which probably blinded me to thinking of it as science fiction, but yeah, it does qualify.

'The Power Within' was one of those attempts to force Art Hindle on the TV audience - kind of the Christopher Gorham of his day.