Rock and Roll Night on PBS


Wow, there’s a bunch of Rock and Roll movies on PBS. How cool is that. No commercials! My Dad was right there is some good stuff every once in a while on Public Television. Wait a second? What the hell is this?

Older Black Gentleman: Hi, we’ll get all you hippies right back to Woodstock in just a moment, but first we need to talk to you for just a moment about what it took to make tonight possible.
Older White Lady (giggling): That’s right Bill. Quality programming like this doesn’t grow on trees, y’know.
Bill (also giggling): That’s right, Margaret. We’re here tonight to make sure that PBS keeps showing you the quality television our country’s freedom depends on. You’d love to see America remain free wouldn’t you Margaret?
Margaret (smiling as widely as any human in the modern history of the world): You big kidder of course we do, and nothing says freedom like good old fashioned Rock and Roll music. Why, I still remember the first time I heard Little Richard. Our Negro housekeeper Emma May would turn on these crazy radio stations that we weren’t allowed to listen to back then.
Bill (a little put off but still smiling) – Yes those were the days alright, but we’re so fortunate to be able to bring you this quality television, and that is why we’re taking just a short break from all that electric excitement.
Margaret: If you want to continue to see rocking good times like Bill Haley and the Comets in Don’t Stop the Rock, The Rolling Stones in Gimme Shelter, The Band in The Last Waltz, or Stevie Wonder in Beach Blanket Bingo then it’s time to hurt yourself in the pocket book just a teensy little bit.
Bill: That’s right. We at PBS don’t sell out our principals by accepting large commercial endorsements. You won’t see barely dressed young woman traipsing across our screens trying to sell you sun tan lotion. We depend on you our loyal viewers to keep the wonder that is public television going. It is largely from your contributions and the wonderful charity of a few select benevolent industrial sponsors like Ford, Chrysler and US Steel that we keep you watching quality programming all year long.
Margaret: And like Mick Jagger said not only will you get the “satisfaction” of keeping good TV alive we have a number of fine thank you gifts to offer for your one year subscription.
Bill: Yes for only a $50 membership contribution you will belong to PBS for one whole year and we’ll send you a copy of that Rock and Roll classic “The Bee Gees live at Central Park.”
Margaret: Oh, Bill I remember how wet I got when I first saw John Travolta dancing in that white suit.
Bill: Well that’s what Rock and Roll is all about Margaret. Rock and Roll is as indelible a part of America as apple pie and large automobiles. Now for a $100 membership. We will send you a copy of Dick Clark’s Rock Roll and Remember. Dick Clark of course the man that made the jungle rhythms palatable once and for all to white America.
Margaret: And can you believe he still looks just like he did when he was a teenager, but even though he’s older he’s still Rocking and Rolling every New Year’s Eve for you kids out there who aren’t old enough to tie one on and hit the town.
Bill: For $500 and c’mon what is $500 in these days of internet millionaires. We will send along a DVD version of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour.
Margaret (giggling uncontrollably): I remember seeing that last year Bill. What were those guys smoking?
Bill: I don’t know Margaret, but what I do know is that we have one of our first $50 member donors on the phone right now. Margaret say hello to Jeff Spicoli from Manhattan Beach.
Margaret: Why hello Jeff welcome to pledge night on PBS.
Jeff: Yeah, hey I saw you had that cool Hendrix documentary on last night and then I realized that the last time you had Rock on your station was exactly a year ago and you guys were begging for money then too.
Bill: Well yes Jeff. Once a year we interrupt our commercial free programming to ask you the viewer to help us bring you quality entertainment. 
Jeff: And then I remembered that the last time you had anything good on was that Stones’ documentary where all those Hell’s Angels went crazy and that was exactly the year before that and you were asking for money then too.
Margaret (still smiling): Just what are you trying to say there Jeff?
Jeff: It finally occurred to me that PBS never has anything good on until they need some money and then they cart out all the movies with the naked hippies and the electric guitars. Every other time I turn your station on it’s like those radio stations shut ins listen to so they don’t god forbid hear anything offensive.
Margaret: Well, no one likes offensiveness, Jeff.
Jeff: I mean every day you guys have orchestras, and boring British people trying to solve ridiculous mysteries, and everyone babbling on and on about how brilliant Charles Dickens was, but then the middle of May comes around and there’s Ted Nugent without his pants on. Who do you guys think your fooling? I turned on Gimme Shelter a couple of months ago thinking I was going to see Keith Richards wailing and all I saw was a bunch of white guys fixing a house. Who wants to see that crap? If you guys like these Rock and Roll movies so much how come every time I switch over to your station I see fat bearded guys and old people dancing ballet?
Bill: Well, we’d love to continue to chat Jeff, but it’s time to get you back to The History of Punk Music: Razor Blades, Mohawks, and Spitting!

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