Sunday, October 08, 2006

Give These Guys Some Love

What was I just saying about how, every time I take a vacation outside of the United States, something seems to go wrong at home? Well, only two months after its reincarnation as a Web site, Television Chronicles, which celebrates vintage TV programming, is already facing trouble.

“As was the case with the original print incarnation,” writes publisher Bill Groves, “I’ve been gratified by the many good wishes I’ve received, and it’s fair to say we--once again--are a ‘critical success.’ However, as the saying goes, ‘that and a nickel ...’” Groves explains that he had originally intended to augment existing material from the print version of TVC with new material developed by writers knowledgeable about TV history. “This, of course, was predicated on the assumption that there would be some sort of income from the venture,” Groves says. And that’s evidently where the problem lies: “To date, there have literally been only a handful of sales [generated by on-site advertising], and the commissions have not even added up to enough to hit the minimum amount for the affiliate programs to cut us a check.”

At this point, Groves is weighing whether to scale back the scope of his site or maybe charge a subscription fee for its use. Neither of those options is good, not when Television Chronicles is turning out articles that deserve to be read by more people, not fewer. A couple of months ago, I wrote in The Rap Sheet about a piece TV historian Ed Robertson had done on The Magician, a vastly underappreciated 1973-1974 NBC mystery series starring Bill Bixby as a troubleshooting illusionist. And the latest issue of TVC contains stories about not one, but three more crime-related classics: Bearcats!, a 1971 “post-Western” series starring Rod Taylor and Dennis Cole as freelance adventures who drove about the American Southwest in a 1914 Stutz Bearcat, solving crimes and putting down malcontents; Colonel March of Scotland Yard (1956), starring Boris Karloff; and The New Adventures of Charlie Chan (1957), starring J. Carrol Naish.

Click here to drop a note of support to publisher Groves. And while you’re roaming around the Television Chronicles site, pick up a couple of DVDs or books on offer, just to be sure that more commission bucks will flow in to pay for interesting TV history coverage in the future.

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