Friday, February 14, 2020

Harlan Ellison on CBC's "90 Minutes Live" (1978)

When I was a teen I would watch a short-lived series titled 90 Minutes Live. On the 10-inch Sony television upstairs I would tune in to the CBC, specifically CBLT, Toronto. I joined the live-to-air programme very early in its run, which began in early 1976.

Writer Harlan Ellison died in 2018 but he lives on in many video segments on YouTube. (ThankYube.) The above show I did not see when it aired.

Host Peter Gzowski keeps Ellison on his toes. The pipe-smoking scribe was very opinionated and he was not afraid to lob incendiary material.

On Close Encounters of the Third Kind: "Well, it's a nice little nineteen-fifties flying saucer flick."

He explains why he was not enamoured of the hit flick. The good-natured host points out his guest's downplaying of CE3K and gets an answer emitting more sparks:

"I don't dislike it quite as much as Star Wars, which is the pits." (Cue a few people in the audience.)

Ellison elaborates on what his beef is:

"We spend ninety percent of our day in an incredible lemming-like pursuit of entertainment."

Gzowski: "But I watch Starsky and Hutch." (I laughed out loud.)

The two men seem to be having a lot of fun. And it's fun to watch.


Jon said...

What an odd comparison. I thought that 50s flying saucer flicks generally went, "Commie alien spacemen try to invade Washington but we blow them away. Good thing the government was on the job!"

Simon St. Laurent said...

I think he's speaking about surface similarities.

The original release version wasn't great. I've heard that Spielberg has since re-cut the film, improving it.