Sunday, March 10, 2013

In the shadows of television

     In the shadows and backgrounds of television shows there lies a lot of information.  I watch the older shows that were on television past my bedtime as a child or when I had children and slept through most of the 1980s.  Also,  I watch a lot of PBS.  I entreat you to watch your favorite shows over again and this time, don't watch the leading man.  Look at what is going on behind the action. 
     Sometimes, it's a real hoot!  I have seen a lot of cameramen and/or their shadows, some sound cables, and even an old RCA radio transistor someone forgot to pick up.  That isn't the important part, it's just a fun part of looking beyond the hero.
     In programs like Marshall Dillon, which preceded Gunsmoke, the set was decorated with authentic antiques.  Often times you can see a real piece of Victorian art and not a reproduction. But what interests me will always be the kitchen or hearth and how the ladies pulled off the hard work that got done while the men were out shooting up the the west!  

     I find that Dr. Quinn, medicine woman was very careful with its background set dressing and was by their time, not afraid to show women and men at real work while they spoke their lines.  The food served at the campfire of a cattle drive was not all peach pie and yeast bread.  They were served biscuits and a boiled potato and strong hot coffee.  I see a lot of the kitchen utensils I recommend for a post TEOTWAWKI situation.  They display the cast iron cookware and the metal dishes and a single spoon and knife to eat with.

      The single dish, spoon and knife, my Grandma H. told me was all they had on the prairie of 1899.  She was born in 1892 in Minnesota and hated The Little House on the Prairie TV show.  It was never as warm as they made it look and those girls talked back way more than they would have and the chairs rested on the floor in the day time.  That was a particular sore spot with her.  Also, they failed to count everything.  The nails , the fence posts, the dishes everything was accounted for and counted on.  She would go on about how not like the real thing it was and I learned a lot from her in a very short rant!  Still, I like to watch the busy work the actors do in the surroundings set by the pros with warehouses of prep goods at their disposal.  

     I keep putting emphasis on these pre-twentieth century, pre-electric scenes as a possible look ahead to a future without electricity or digital gadgets.  This could come about easily after a good strong solar flare, an EMP burst from an attack or the downfall of society that comes with pandemic.  

      I also watch a lot of Public Broadcast television and Independent Lens. I see people around the world and I listen to their stories.  I also look into the background to watch the fires cooking, the clothes being washed, children drawing brown water from rivers to drink without boiling.  I see how bad a world can be with little law and no money.  I see and learn.  I prep and save. I wait and train.  I plan to survive. 
      So, tonight I suggest to you, watch what's going on behind the hero.  Look into the world of hyperinflation, lack of clean water, electric power and poverty and learn. 

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