This is the last episode of
“The Marvin Kitman Show.”
“The Marvin Kitman Show” is now officially cancelled, It began running on Dec. 7, 1969, a day that will live in infamy in the opinion of the television industry. And now after 32 years and 6,641 performances, it’s over. The series is not going on hiatus, that legendary Greek island in the Mediterranean where so many other shows go to vacation amongst the friendly Hiatians.on its way to the Big Ozone Zone in the Sky, Like many other quality shows, however, it is coming back as a kind of a TV movie-of-the week. It will appear with a new name from time to time. But that I mean, and to be even more specific, every Sunday.
The title of the new show is “Sundays with Marvin.”
It leaves the air today having set a number of records. Not only did it outlast many of the shows I used to write about-- Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Dick Cavett’s come to mind -- it is the longest running, or jogging, TV show in newspaper history. The Executive Producer also has made the history books as the longest sitting TV critic on one couch in history .
Both records are now in the process of being certified by the Guinness Book of World Records’ people for inclusion in their next volume, alongside such other cultural achievements as “Most Glasses Balanced on the Chin” (80 pint glasses, by Terry Cole of London England).
As this is the last show, a few words of reflection will not be inappropriate.
“The Marvin Kitman Show” had great impact on TV. Thanks to my 5,786 columns, television is as good as it is . For nay Sayers, consider it could have been a lot worse.
It is especially gratifying that so many of my loyal readers have risen through the ranks in TV. Robert Iger, now President and COO of the Walt Disney Company and Les Moonves, now running CBS, both of Oceanside are among the many who read my column while in knee pants. To cite but one of my readers making the shows there is Judd Apatow, Class of 1985 at Syosett H.S. who did the brilliant “Freak and Geeks” last season for NBC and this fall is creator/executive producer of “Undeclared” on Fox.
Jerry Seinfield. Billy Crystal. Howard Stern. Bill O’Reilly. They all grew up and were influenced by reading “The Marvin Kitman Show.”
Some of the best valet attendants parking Rolls Royce’ Corniches on Rodeo Drive today are my readers .The mail room of William Morris is filled with my readers waiting to step over, or on, somebody to get to the next rung in the ladder inspired by my insights into the creative possibilities.
Still, after 32 years, there are times when I must admit having felt like Sisyphus rather than Mr. Chips. Showing what still can be done with this most sad underutilized of all the mediums has been a labor like the mythological Greek god who was pushing that rock up the hill one season only to have it roll down the next. As the myth was explained to me in a Clift Notes translation: “rock rolls up, rock rolls down.” TV is the rock and roll of the arts.
I am happy to have been able to write about the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and left a record. Future historians will never believe it. My columns will be the Rosetta Stone explaining what these clowns really did.
And now in the few moments I have left before they strike the sets, I want to thank my first editor, Dave Laventhol, now the publisher of CJR (Columbia Journalism Review), and Bill Moyers, the former publisher here who turned to a life of crime as a public television documentary-maker and icon, for hiring me .
I want to thank Newsday for finding the space to run my thoughts, when they could have had room for more storm window and cyclone fence ads
I want to thank the Times Mirror for not firing me for all of my negative columns blaming television on Los Angeles. I was the one who discovered that the IQ level of creative people from New York dropped two points per thousand feet flying into LAX.
And for the Tribune Company for merging, saving the paper from extinction. In gratitude I root for the Chicago Cubs, instead of the Mets, and my VCR is set on Central Standard Time.
I want to thank my readers for putting up with all my idiosyncrasies, like my perverse interest in quality TV shows, my petty obsession with comedies that are funny and dramas that are taut and gripping. Not to mention my silly insistence on originality surprises and uniqueness. What a pain it must have been to have read the same thing over and over again. about what was wrong with 29 clones of “Friends.”
I want to thank the networks, without whom none of this truly would have been possible. I told them how to fix it, but they never did quite learn. As a result I could go on writing about them for another 32 years and never be totally wrong or irrelevant.
I want to thank all of my incredibly reliably informed sources at the networks and elsewhere in the industry who made me sound so smart.
I also want to thank my unreliably informed sources and my reliably uninformed sources who sometimes gave me wrong steers. Nobody is perfect. I may have not been right all the time. But, remember, in the land of the blind the one-eyed is king
I want to thank all the talent on the shows for being such good sports and not suing me for all the opionated things I may have said about them, even though it was all meant in good fun. I was only doing my job. It’s a rotten job and somebody had to do it..
I also want to thank all my readers who made appearances on the show over the years. Their observations and witty remarks made the show what it was and so much fun to do over the years
I want to thank the typesetters, the guys who run the presses, the delivery truck drivers, the news dealers who sell the papers.
I better stop before this sounds like an Emmy acceptance speech.
But before I go, I want to assure the many worried readers who have sent me e-mails and letters worrying about the erratic schedule the column seemed to be on this past month or two. No, I am not retiring. I’m not a retiring kind of guy. Neither am I quitting. And I won't stop writing about these people until they get it right.
A personnel note: The last distinguished critic I admired who retired was Jack Gould of the New York Times. We knew he was losing it in the 1960’s when he kept writing that what was wrong with TV is there wasn’t enough opera on Ch .13. When last heard from my hero had retired to Connecticut where he was said to have had a second career as a TV repairman.
I still don’t know how to set the clock on my VCR.
Stay tuned for Sundays with
same space, same day. See you next week.
And that’s a wrap.
To e-mail Marvin Kitman from now on :
E-mail Marvin at:
E-mail webmaster at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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