Monday, March 28, 2016

Vinyl

WKRP in Cincinnati (1978 - 82) has been lost to us. A late-60s spirit fighting the crest of pre-Reaganism, the show premiered only weeks after the California passage of Proposition 13 -- the tolling bell of our Big Dark to come (a Big Dark now lasting almost 40 years). Reagan would, literally, kill it. Episodes considered outrageous by members of The Administration caused complaints to be made personally to the always whorish Bill Paley. CBS immediately gave WKRP's skulduggery the ax.

And CBS is still giving it the ax. The first season DVD release was beheaded: "Music rights are too expensive" say the Viacom Vampires, especially for a politically progressive series set inside a small rock-and-roll radio station. Most songs were eliminated or replaced by synthesizer versions. Because of a fan boycott, there have been, and will be, no more releases. Good for the fans.

The Reaganistas went particularly bananas over "Who is Gordon Sims?" -- featuring the great Tim Reid. (Reid's strangled-in-its-crib masterpiece Frank's Place [1987 - 88] has also been disappeared due to "music clearance" issues.) Through the looking-glass: "Who is Gordon Sims?" is a peek into a moment when one could get and keep a job without feeling like the FBI was closing in.

(Due to some fine people on the internet, the episode is restored, complete, with original sound and songs.)