Yesterday was the first day of the Television Critics Association press tour, when TV reporters and critics descend upon Beverly Hills to hear about what's to come in the next six or eight months. We'll hear from all the big broadcast networks and most of the big (and not-so-big) cable outlets, but we're starting this year with PBS.
Candidly, not all the critics are showing up for PBS — not all of them write about it very much. It's a shame, though, because yesterday may have been, on the whole, the liveliest day I've ever had at press tour.
Abbott and Costello's famous "Who's on First?" routine still stands as one of the greatest comedy sketches of all time. It was a feat of rapid-fire dialogue, flawless comedic timing and devastating wit.
But could you do it without saying a word?
The answer appears to be yes. After Jerry Seinfeld broke down the classic skit on the MLB Network recently, NPR's Mike Pesca wound up with a peculiar email in his inbox.
It was a link to an American Sign Language (ASL) version of the skit, sent by a friend. It was amazing, Pesca says.
Ernest Hemingway began his second novel, A Farewell to Arms, in 1928. He says, in an introduction to a later edition, that while he was writing the first draft his second son was born, and while he was rewriting the book, his father committed suicide. He goes on to say, with his famous economy, "I was not quite thirty years old when I finished the book and the day it was published was the day the stock market crashed."
Rachel Joyce'snovel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is about a man who very suddenly, with no warning or planning, sets off on a pilgrimage from the very southernmost part of England to the very northernmost part. It's a old-fashioned pilgrimage: He walks all the way, talking to the people he meets, on his way to the bedside of his old friend Queenie, who is dying.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with "P" and the second word starts with "RO." For example: For the clue, "A moving part of an automobile engine," the answer would be a "piston rod."