Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Waiting for 10-10-10

No posting until 10/10/10. Got a lot to do between now and then. And what's supposed to happen on 10/10/10? A few years ago, various souls were atwitter about 06/06/06, some apparently serious and some apparently not. Billy Preston died that day, which I suppose was a bad thing, but it doesn't count as the Apocalypse.

One more thing about Sputnik -- actually the Korabl-Sputnik I satellite, also called "Sputnik IV." Not the basketball with antennae launched in 1957, but a different artificial moon launched in 1960. A part of it crashed into Manitowoc, Wisconsin, in 1962, and apparently there's a small memorial to that fact. If only I'd known that the last time I passed through Manitowoc, I could have looked for it.

The last episode of the fourth season of Mad Men will be Sunday after next. In a burst of enthusiasm for weekly TV programming we haven't felt in at least a decade, Yuriko and I have been watching regularly since the first episode of the season in July. Mostly we haven't been disappointed. In the series' internal chronology, it's now late summer 1965 or maybe even September -- so shouldn't the season finale occur during the Great Northeastern Blackout in November?

At this juncture the Fate of the Agency is on the line, and Being in the Dark would be a good way to orchestrate a cliffhanger end for the season. How could Mad Men resist that? I sound like I'm mocking the show, but not really. Sometimes metaphor pokes through the stories in all-too-obvious ways, but usually not. Then again, the show also does unexpected things, so there's no telling whether the blackout will even be mentioned. Or maybe it will be in the penultimate episode, like the Kennedy assassination was in the third season.

I don't remember hearing about the blackout when it happened, but I certainly heard about it later. Even in fiction: it seems to play a part in the Night Gallery episode that I remember called "Eyes," which starred Joan Crawford and was directed, remarkably enough, by a 23-year-old Steven Spielberg. I had to look up those details; even Joan Crawford would have meant nothing to me as an eight-year-old.

Even more remarkably, the episode is posted here and elsewhere as three separate parts, but who knows for how long. I watched "Eyes" for the first time in 40 years or so this evening, and I can see why it stuck with me. Night Gallery, having the misfortune to dwell in the shadow of The Twilight Zone, is definitely underrated.

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