Throwback Thursday and Power Corrupts

I used to be a member of a union. I made a couple of commercials (one TV and one radio) for a local bank; they and the ad agency liked me enough so that they wanted me to do more. In fact, I continued to make commercials for the bank even after I moved to the other side of the country. Anyway, I was not allowed to make more than two commercials without joining the union. (Even though only one relevant union existed at the time, I will refrain from naming them explicitly.)

If any of the commercials aired even once in any 13-week block of the year, then I received a residual check. The money was good especially considering how little time it took for me to record any of the commercials. However, at least half of the checks I received were not for me, but for someone with whom I shared a last name. Literally dozens of calls to the union local office never corrected the problem. My compensation was controlled by the union local where I had originally lived and not where I was living after I moved. When I stopped making commercials (the bank was purchased by a larger one) and the residuals ended I ceased paying union dues.

This article from Automotive News is titled, “6th ex-UAW official pleads guilty.” Here is the beginning of the article:

 

“A former high-ranking UAW official in the union’s General Motors department pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of conspiracy and fraud.”

“Jeffery Pietrzyk, who was an assistant to former UAW-GM Department Vice President Joe Ashton, is the 10th person to plead guilty as a result of an ongoing federal probe into misuse of union funds. Six of the 10 are former UAW officials.”

“Prosecutors said Pietrzyk conspired with other union officials to take bribes and kickbacks related to vendor contracts for watches, backpacks, jackets and other items. The UAW said it has changed its purchasing procedures since the contracts Pietrzyk was involved with were awarded.”

 

I can’t believe I have to write this, but UAW is the United Auto Workers union. It boggles my mind how anyone has blind and complete faith in any institution of people, be it unions, governments or private companies. Power corrupts.

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See the source image

 

OK, why did I show this portrait of Bonanza from TV Guide? Fifty-five years ago this month (or 1964 for those of you who are bad at math) was the beginning of the 1964-65 TV season. For the first time in over a decade NBC would have the highest-rated show for an entire season and that show was Bonanza. I have never watched an episode, by the way.

Only a numbers nerd like me would find the Nielsen ratings interesting. As I have written before I considered writing a book in which I would reveal the most popular prime-time TV shows in history based on an analysis of the ratings. I would not have been able to simply use an “unadjusted” rating, however. Why? OK…

 

1964-65 Rating
Bonanza 36.3
Bewitched 31.0
Gomer Pyle, USMC 30.7
The Andy Griffith Show 28.3
The Fugitive 27.9
   
   
2004-05 Rating
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 16.5
American Idol-Tuesday 15.7
American Idol-Wednesday 15.3
Desperate Housewives 14.5
CSI: Miami 12.4

 

The average rating that pushed CSI to the top of the Nielsens in 2004-05 would not have made the top 30 in 1964-65. Using methodology I used in my books about the greatest baseball and football teams of all time, I was going to use standard deviations from the mean as a way to be able to compare shows from different eras. No one in the publishing business with whom I spoke thought the book was a good idea so I didn’t pursue it. Courtesy of someone at Nielsen I had collected data on TV ratings from 1960 (when the rating methodology was significantly changed) through about 2005.

I can tell you, as I believe I have before, that for one season the most popular TV show was the last season of Seinfeld, with a rating more than four standard deviations above the average for that year. When NBC executives tried to convince Jerry Seinfeld to do one more season (at a reported $5 million per episode) one of their points was to ask him if he wasn’t curious about how much higher the ratings could go. He answered that the only way to know if you’ve hit the top is when the ratings start to decline.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#PowerCorrupts

#Bonanza

#NielsenRatings

#Seinfeld

#disaffectedmusings

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Happy 30th, Seinfeld

Yesterday TBS aired a Seinfeld marathon in honor of the 30th anniversary (!) of the first airing of the series pilot. While Seinfeld is not my favorite TV show ever or even my favorite sitcom I do/did enjoy watching it and appreciate its significance.

I think that while the show itself had moments that were brilliant its legacy is not of brilliance. The show’s internal motto of “No hugging, No learning” has spawned a whole class of humorless alleged sitcoms about stupid people saying and doing stupid things. These shows know some of the words to Seinfeld, but none of the music. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David are intelligent people and Seinfeld was usually an intelligent show even if it was about unintelligent (and selfish) people.

A tangent: I was once considering writing a book on the most successful US TV shows based on analysis of Nielsen ratings. I would have used methodology similar to that which I used in the books I wrote/co-wrote about the greatest football/baseball teams of all time. In this analysis the last season of Seinfeld was the highest rated TV show for one season of any show for the entire period to be covered in the book, from 1960 through 2004. Talk about going out on top…of course, more people may have watched when it was revealed that it would be the last season.

From wired.com a picture of the cast of Seinfeld:

 

See the source image

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The oppressively humid weather we’re experiencing here now (yesterday the dew point was 76° at one point, feh!) really makes me long for drier climes. Ah yes, I remember:

 

 

If we lived out there I wonder if I could get a part-time/consulting job with Barrett-Jackson. Oh, the picture was taken in Scottsdale, Arizona in January, 2019.

A picture of a car sold at that auction, a most fetching 2002 Maserati GT Sport Coupe:

 

2002 MASERATI M128 GT SPORT COUPE - Side Profile - 227390

 

The car hammered for $17,000 meaning the buyer paid $18,700 all in. Hey, Jerry Seinfeld maybe you should be collecting these instead of German cars.

 

#Seinfeld

#ScottsdaleArizona

#BarrettJackson

#2002MaseratiGTSportCoupe

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.