That Wacky Redhead

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Brainbin, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Asharella Socialistic Vmpr Bi Witch Girl

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    LOL

    Ah, the power of being the creator of the thread and the time line! :)

    ::changing tactics::

    Please? please? pretty please with sugar on top of it? (real island cane sugar too, none of that high fructose corn syrup stuff.)
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  2. NCW8 Sir Albert Bromley-Penguin

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    As noted, in the UK The Brady Bunch wasn't broadcast nationally while Hogan's Heroes was. In the Seventies, ITV made their own sitcom about a patchwork family - ... And Mother Makes Five. This was a sequel of ... And Mother Makes Three which starred Wendy Craig as a widow bringing up two sons. As such I don't think that the lack of The Brady Bunch ITTL will butterfly it away.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
  3. Clorox23 Well-Known Member

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    Now we've entered the 1980s...

    So, about the Rubik's Cube...
     
  4. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

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    Ironic, considering that Sweden didn't even fight in World War II :p I guess it makes sense, though; The Brady Bunch is a very "American" show, and Hogan's Heroes is obviously much more "European" - and I'm not just referring to the setting. And just which television shows become popular in foreign markets has always been a game of chance.

    That just proves that Filmation had a better syndication deal than Sherwood Schwartz - which is actually very impressive, considering how much money he made between The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island. Then again, surely there's some reason that Filmation remained afloat for so long, despite such inferior product, even notwithstanding their virtually non-existent animation costs and absurdly low overhead. There's more than one way to turn a profit, after all.

    In Canada, we take the absence of high fructose corn syrup in our sweets as a matter of course, so you'll have to do better than that, I'm afraid :cool:

    It does seem a logical sequel series. But I wonder, even if The Brady Bunch wasn't an influence IOTL, perhaps Yours, Mine, and Ours might have been?

    Would you like me to mention that before or after the leg-warmers? :D

    ---

    I'd also like to announce that I've also started posting That Wacky Redhead to counter-factual.net, another, smaller alternate history forum, with a membership that overlaps substantially with this one. You can find the thread here - you don't need to register to read it. I'm gradually re-posting all of my old updates there, tweaking them for spelling, grammar, and clarity as needed, as I can no longer edit my oldest posts here on this thread. (I'm doing my best to avoid adding any new information until the time actually comes to start my revisions, after having actually finished writing the whole thing first :eek:). I also tweaked the formatting slightly, introducing one minor change which I hope to apply to the timeline as a whole - splitting it into multiple parts, of approximately equal length. You'll see that Part I is called "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (well, what else could I call it? :p) and it will last from 1966 to 1971 - a year which, you may recall, saw momentous changes for the television industry.

    (And don't worry, I've still been plotting that which I have yet to write, as well. The 1980-81 overview is already shaping up to be incredibly significant...)
     
  5. NCW8 Sir Albert Bromley-Penguin

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    Never under-estimate the demand for cheap cartoons.


    Or possibly the book Who Gets the Drumstick ? (published 1965 while the film was still in the middle of production problems).

    It's worth noting that the Redway family in ... And Mother Makes Five is not as large as the Bradys, not to mention the Beardsleys, so you don't get humour from the need for the parents to manage a large rabble of children. There might be some influence in that both Sally Harrison and David Redway were portrayed as widowed rather than divorced. However, that also might be due to the social conservatism of Seventies sitcoms where divorce was usually portrayed as a temporary seperation rather than as something permanent.

    For example, the sitcom My Wife Next Door dealt with a divorcing couple who both decide to move away to make a fresh start - and end up living in neighbouring cottages. The series ended with them deciding to get back together again.

    Anyway, I thought that you'd appreciate ... And Mother Makes Five as it featured Patricia Routledge in a supporting role.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
  6. LordInsane Supporter of the Alliance

    Indeed so. And I suppose that SVT felt that they could always produce their own family sitcom if they wanted to, whereas war sitcoms had the issue that, well, as you say Sweden hadn't been at war for a long time!
     
  7. THE OBSERVER Independent Progressive

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    How much longer until we find out the verdict of "The Trial of the Century"?
     
  8. CaptainCrowbar Active Member

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    We haven't even heard what the trial was about or who was trying who yet, have we? If we did I missed it.
     
  9. stevep Member

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    CaptainCrowbar

    Oh its some minor thing in the US. Something to do with licencing rights for a fringe film with a bit of cult following, or something along those lines. Some bod by the name of Mucus or something like that is involved.:p At least unless I've totally misreading what Brainbin has been saying.

    Steve
     
  10. Maltaran Well-Known Member

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    Apr 12, 2011
    George Lucas is suing Paramount over Hollywood accounting (since they kept the merchandising rights TTL, so he had to settle for a percentage of the profits, and Paramount says there are none).
     
  11. NCW8 Sir Albert Bromley-Penguin

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    It's a shame that the case isn't being brought against Twentieth Century Fox, then it would really deserve that title.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
  12. THE OBSERVER Independent Progressive

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    New England
    LOL Steve!
     
  13. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

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    Ladies and gentlemen, it is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that I commemorate the milestone of That Wacky Redhead reaching 400,000 views! It is only the tenth timeline on the After 1900 Forum to reach that auspicious threshold. I wish to extend my eternal gratitude to each and every one of my viewers over this past year, six months, seven days, and fifteen hours, whether you only clicked on my thread once, never to return, or whether you've become a regular, and read every new update more than once. That goes double for anyone who posted a comment. I can't speak for any of my fellow authors, but I for one always love to see someone reacting to what I post - whether it be compliments, analysis, predictions, digressions, or even criticisms. But most of all, I want to thank you all for vindicating the shot in the dark I made, that dreary November day when I decided (having given up the ghost on my NaNoWriMo project yet again) to make some amends for past transgressions and feed one particularly stubborn plot bunny. It's given me more confidence in my writing, and reassurance that hey, I'm not the only one who has such... peculiar interests. And it's given me the opportunity to form some pretty great friendships. I don't want to single anyone out (I'm saving that for the very end), but I'm pretty sure most of you know who you are.

    So! With all that said, progress continues apace on the next update, which will be ready for your consumption by the end of this month. It's actually quite tightly integrated with the update that immediately follows it, so expect that one in pretty short order thereafter. The next one after that is a trifle which I can probably knock out in a few days, and then we'll all bear witness to the Trial of the Century... but first, as always, for my responses to your latest replies.

    How very true. The 1970s were something of a heyday for the very pioneers of limited animation (Hanna-Barbera), after all. And all the good animation studios (Warner Bros., UPA, MGM, and the rest) had all closed or were moribund, with the exception of Disney, which still atrophied a great deal through the Me Decade.

    Ah, but does she play a character anything like Mrs B, I wonder? I know she's had an incredibly varied and successful career, but still.

    Now that would be funny, actually, a sitcom set during the Napoleonic Wars. It would need a Swiss character, of course, so that he and the Swedish lead could commiserate over how warlike they both are :p And have the lead be torn over his longtime Finnish love interest and a Norwegian woman who suddenly enters his life...

    Any attempt to answer your question directly would result in spoilers. Therefore, I have no comment :cool:

    To answer your question, CaptainCrowbar, it's mostly what Steve and Maltaran said. Though both of them made a rather glaring omission in that George and Marcia Lucas are suing Paramount (you can read the details are here and here). Remember, this isn't OTL, and we aren't going to suddenly pretend she never existed ;)

    20th Century Fox is actually in a pretty bad way ITTL. I've robbed them of two major OTL hits (M*A*S*H in 1970, and then of course Star Wars in 1977), making it much harder for them to recover from their late-1960s doldrums (which they only survived because they were coasting from The Sound of Music). In fact, since MGM is better off ITTL, I'd probably describe Fox as the weak link of the seven major studios through the 1970s. Of course, as IOTL, such weakness could result in a buyout by an enterprising mogul...
     
  14. Dan1988 Thinks he's going off his nut

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    ^^ Izzy Asper? :p

    (IIRC, it was around the late 1970s that Global started up, initially as a regional network for southern Ontario, whilst Izzy Asper brought CKND in Winnipeg into existence and in the 1980s expanded Global to be a cross-Canada network. Imagine what fortunes the Aspers would get by buying out 20th Century Fox whilst expanding Global at the same time. CanWest Global USA?)
     
  15. Pyro Yer Foxy/Platypus Enthusiast

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    Paramount's possession of the merchandizing rights to ITTL's Star Wars actually made me wonder about the comic book adaptation and how it saved Marvel OTL. I was just thinking about how the lack of the lack of a blockbuster Star Wars in Drew's Rumsfeldia TL led to the company's demise and wondered if Marvel got the license ITTL.
     
  16. THE OBSERVER Independent Progressive

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    New England
    You're welcome Brainbin. I might utilize your assistance with a TL one day.
     
  17. NCW8 Sir Albert Bromley-Penguin

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    Possibly a younger Mrs B. Judge for yourself - she appears about 8 minutes in.

    Well there is Warhorses of Letters. Though something like Revolting People set during the Napoleonic Wars would be closer to what you describe.

    That's interesting. If it were purchased by some-one other than Rupert Murdoch, then Fox TV could have a very different character ITTL, assuming that it even exists.

    Cheers.
    Nigel.
     
  18. NCW8 Sir Albert Bromley-Penguin

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    Including (as you've already said) re-use of animation from previous shows. A large number of scenes in The Brady Kids (especially those featuring the kids playing in a band) were copied from The Archies. At least The Archies managed to produce a number one hit in both the US and UK.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
  19. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

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    The British Empire
    Two Small Steps Forward, One Giant Leap Back

    It was no surprise that the space program, being so integral to the legacy of Camelot, suffered considerable setbacks in the 1970s; just as President Humphrey seemed intent on running his prestigious and ill-fated predecessor’s rarefied reputation into the ground metaphorically, it often appeared that President Reagan would be happier to do the job rather more literally. The cuts to the bloated government expenditures that had been allocated during the Great Society years had to come from somewhere, and with Moonshot Lunacy having faded considerably since its days in the limelight, NASA was a prime target. It didn’t help that so many of the personnel attached to that agency had military backgrounds; Reagan felt they would be put to better use bolstering US defences, which had atrophied during the détente. In all, funding for NASA would be slashed by nearly one-half through the first term of his Presidency – from approximately 2% of the federal budget in 1975 to a mere 1.25% thereof by 1980. [1]

    The largest single expenditure cut by the Reagan administration was the plan for a successor series of lunar missions which were to follow the Apollo Program (the last of which had discovered water ice on the Lunar South Pole in 1974). Development plans for longer-term, semi-permanent lunar bases (which were to be assembled on-site through the use of robotic cargo landers and remotely-operated rovers) were nearly complete when Reagan pulled the plug on the project – codenamed Artemis, after the twin sister of the god Apollo, from Greek mythology – in the budget for FY 1977. These bases would have involved multiple launches of lunar modules, similar to those used in the Apollo missions, but modified to serve as taxis or cargo landers. In addition, mobile pressurized habitats, with a great deal more creature comforts than the cramped and short-term “crash pads” used by the Apollo astronauts, would have been constructed to allow for an extended roving range, and more thorough surveys of the specific base sites. Missions could therefore be much lengthier in duration than previously. The eventual objective of the Artemis program was to introduce even larger, and more advanced, landers which could support crews on the lunar surface for months at a time, for permanent “moon bases”. Indeed, the water ice discovered by Apollo 20 would be able to sustain life, provide oxygen, and perhaps even fuel for reusable spacecraft (which could then take off from lunar launch sites), enabling the potential base to become (at least partially) self-sustaining. The name for the program would live on in the popular Star Trek: The Next Voyage miniseries, released in 1978, which saw the newly-promoted Captain Sulu commanding a vessel named the USS Artemis, NCC-1966 (which, perhaps fittingly, would prove the instrument of his demise). The potent symbolism of this gesture by President Reagan (scuttling the possibility of an immediate follow-up to what was perhaps the crowning achievement of the succession of Democratic administrations which had preceded his own rise to power) was, surprisingly enough, the only major blow suffered by the NASA coffers in the late 1970s, though it would obviously deal a devastating blow to morale within the agency, and among enthusiasts of space exploration and travel. It didn’t help that there proved a decided lack of new blood during these lean years; the 1975 cohort of astronauts selected by NASA (eight people all told, including the first black female astronaut, Dr. Julia Plymouth) would be the last to join the organization until the 1980s. [2] However, minority involvement and interest in space exploration was at an all-time high, thanks largely to the work of Nichelle Nichols, who had played an active role in the candidate selection for this latest batch of astronauts (an apocryphal urban legend often cited Plymouth as having been personally chosen by Nichols herself).

    The two Viking probes were launched in 1973, rushed out the door in the wake of the crushing blow to morale caused by the Soviets winning the Race to Mars in 1971. [3] This added to the sheer plethora of launches that year, which might have contributed to the exhaustion of Moonshot Lunacy due to intense over-saturation. It didn’t help that, even under President Johnson, plans for Mars beyond the Mariner probes had been dramatically scaled back. Originally, multiple probes would be launched on a single Saturn V rocket under the name Voyager; subsequently, a different program came to be known as such, and the next phase of the Martian exploration became known as Viking. However, the question of whether life existed on Mars – or if the planet was even viable – had dominated cosmological inquiry in the early 1970s, as the Soviet Mars 3, upon deploying its landing equipment onto the Martian surface, returned inconclusive results with regards to the critical question of life. However, the very nature of the Race to Mars and the expectation of one-upmanship on the part of NASA prevented complex biological instrumentation from being included on the payload of either probe – both of them would conduct primarily geological research; which, granted, could infer whether Mars had once been viable, through analysis of past atmospheric and chemical composition in soil samples that might imply the presence of water or even more direct evidence of past life-forms. The landers would build on past (and present, when including the work of their mother probes) orbital reconnaissance which had worked to measure the atmosphere and extensively photograph the planet’s surface. This allowed for the selection of (mostly) ideal landing places. The Viking 1 probe, upon arriving at Mars, completed its mission with aplomb, though as noted, it could not categorically reject that Mars had ever been viable (though the odds of life currently existing on the present-day world were infinitesimal). Viking 2 was not so fortunate, with the measuring equipment being partially damaged by a rougher-than-expected landing onto the planet. Given the other problems that plagued NASA in this era, it would prove something of a culmination.

    The Skylab orbital space stations continued to operate under Reagan much as they would have under Humphrey; to the Gipper’s eternal chagrin, Skylab B launched in late 1977, with little that he could have done to prevent it (having expended his political capital on terminating the Artemis program). Regular flights by the quartet of space shuttles (the refit Enterprise, Columbia, Discovery, and Atlantis) to service each station allowed for their smooth and efficient operation – though they were very short-lived, with Skylab A seeing only two years of useful service before it was replaced by Skylab B. It did not help that Skylab A (then known, simply, as just “Skylab”) had been heavily damaged during launch, one entire section of solar paneling being effectively destroyed and giving the station a curiously asymmetrical appearance in all photographs. [4] It seemed a potential triumph for Soviet propaganda of the era
    despite their spacecraft appearing notoriously haphazard and jury-rigged in comparison to the American product. However, Yankee ingenuity would ultimately win out, giving NASA a very badly-needed reprieve in the face of backlash from the American public. The first crew (who arrived at Skylab aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia) were able to affect repairs from outside the station, in what observers would describe as the world’s most expensive and remote salvage job. Although the original Skylab was never the same after that, it was able to accomplish everything it had set out to do (with the help of its crews) despite the profound impairment with which it had begun its tenure; a variety of experiments on the effects of long-term spaceflight on the human body were conducted, and the Earth and the Sun were both extensively observed from the unique vantage point of this semi-permanent orbital station. In a blatant attempt to further improve NASA PR, a “classroom in space” was established, in which minor experiments – suggested by actual students – were carried out by astronauts during their downtime from regular missions in order to demonstrate the unique environment of space and engage young learners (a continual challenge through the “generation gap” that defined the 1970s). Skylab B launched without any problems, and it would remain in space for much longer than originally anticipated, as President Reagan refused to authorize any replacement stations in any of his budgets. Skylab B built on the lessons of the first Skylab, integrating that data into more sophisticated and complex modules. The Apollo Telescope Module which had enabled the solar observations made by Skylab A had been eliminated from the design for Skylab B to make room for an expanded laboratory module consuming some of the nearly 50 tons of the Saturn V’s 120-ton capacity that had gone unused on Skylab A. [5] To supply this additional power, the stations solar arrays were extensively upgraded, and the maximum crew complement could be doubled from three to six. The station would also continue to observe the Earth, and prove as a hub for experimentation with X-Rays, Zero-G material processing, and the effects of extended exposure to spaceflight and microgravity on humans and all manner of flora and fauna. The importance of the aforementioned space shuttles could not be overemphasized in assuring the success of these missions; they were able to ferry multiple rosters of crews and the critical cargoes of consumables and experiments necessary to support the station to its fullest potential back and forth in short spans, with optimal efficiency. [56] They were a rousing success, and served as a bittersweet reminder of the lost potential of what might have been a system of regular Earth-to-Moon transportation along similar (though obviously larger-scale) lines.

    Similarly, despite their devastation at having lost the chance for Artemis, most of the scientists and engineers within NASA (particularly at JPL), held firm in having made that sacrifice in order to protect the opportunity to launch as many probes as possible, given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to send interplanetary probes on the “Grand Tour”, which would allow them to take advantage of the precise arrangement of the massive gas giant planets to visit all of them on a single set of routes toward the outer reaches of the solar system; in addition to trajectory alterations, the gravity of these Jovian spheres would also provide multiple boosts to their velocities. This would also, eventually, allow these interplanetary probes to become interstellar, as they would be able to traverse the very edges of the solar system (and become the first man-made objects to ever do so) while much of their internal sensory and measurement equipment was still capable of surveying their surroundings. Needless to say, from a financial perspective, creating probes that could perform multiple tasks over the course of their lifetimes was one which appealed even to the more lukewarm elements of the bureaucracy. Most estimates had the six originally planned Voyager probes, which were to launch in the late 1970s, due to leave the solar system in the first decade of the next century. With any luck, their equipment would continue to operate and receive instructions from Earth for several years beyond that point. However, despite attempts by NASA to retain all six probes, they were eventually forced to cut out the non-essentials and produce only four. [7] The first two Voyager probes were launched in 1977, along the Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto grand tour route, by which the two largest of the gas giants would provide gravitational assists that would increase the velocity of the probes and reduce the time needed for them to reach their respective destinations. Both probes reached Jupiter before the decade was out, and proceeded to Saturn in 1980. The first of the Voyager probes to reach Saturnian orbit, Voyager 1, was diverted to investigate Titan, by far the largest of that planet’s moons, about which curious findings had been recorded by terrestrial instruments. Voyager 1 confirmed the presence of a dense atmosphere – Titan was the only known moon in possession of such. Indeed, the atmosphere was so dense that it was impossible to get readings of the surface. From Titan, Voyager 1 followed a trajectory that would lead it out of the Solar System with no further flybys; Voyager 2, however, skipped the moon entirely – there being little value in more obscured sensor readings
    and proceeded as originally planned, directly from Saturn to Pluto, the ninth and last planet in the Solar System (though, perhaps appropriately enough, Pluto would in fact be closer to the Sun than Neptune by the time the probe would arrive due to the planet’s highly elliptical orbit). The next two probes were launched in 1979, following a route which would (once again) see a gravity assist from Jupiter upon arriving in the early 1980s before exploring the outermost Jovian planets, Uranus and Neptune. Plans for the ultimate trajectories of this quartet of probes, upon completing their respective planetary flybys, had not been determined at the time they were launched; one technician at NASA was said to be rooting to aim at least one of them in the direction of a nearby star.

    The media, naturally, played a part throughout the rise and fall of the popular phenomenon. The Final Frontier, which had been available only to Canadians and those cross-border Americans who had access to the CBC feed over antenna in 1972, became a co-production of the CBC and two PBS stations – WNED Buffalo and WGBH Boston – the following year. [8] The 1973 batch of episodes, all of which focused on specific events taking place on the NASA calendar that year (a veritable embarrassment of riches) aired on both the CBC and PBS beginning on October 7, 1973. James Doohan returned as host, and the show continued to be taped from the CBMT studios in Montreal. Professors Bob Davidoff and Ian Mitchell at McGill University remained the primary consultants for the series, though others would be brought aboard on an ad hoc basis. Among these was a Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University named Carl Sagan, who was a passionate advocate for space exploration and had worked closely with NASA since its inception. Though Sagan’s contributions to the series were limited – he admired what the show was trying to accomplish, but was more interested in the “wonders of the universe” which the show often merely glossed over. “The Final Frontier always made me think about taking a glass-bottom boat on a tour of the coral reefs. And instead of spending any time actually looking out at those reefs, and answering questions about how they formed, and how they interact with their ecosystem, our tour guides spent the entire trip talking about how the boat was built and how it’s able to go on these tours,” Sagan would later explain. “The boat might be a marvel of engineering and human ingenuity, and I can certainly respect that, but they’re still missing the bigger picture.” Nevertheless, Sagan maintained amicable relations with the show’s producers, even touring the set in 1974. By this time, the presentation of The Final Frontier had changed a great deal from the rather jury-rigged first season; full video was now a presentation option, and Doohan would even interview guests, usually with some relation to the episode at hand. The season premiere, “Lunar Isolation”, which talked about the engineering feats necessary to sustain habitation on a totally hostile environment, as well as exploring the delicate nature of landing and then safely returning home again, featured Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, as the show’s first guest. (Aldrin, a gregarious personality, had often “represented” the Apollo program within the media from 1969 forward, in contrast to the more withdrawn and reclusive Neil Armstrong). Doohan himself rejoiced in interviewing guests, because he was very much a people person. This added a particular verve to those segments, making the show all the more engaging for audiences. That, coupled with a redesign of the set (making it slightly larger, and replacing the darker colour scheme of the first season with something brighter and livelier – a reversal of the trend towards earth tones and muted colours common to the early 1970s), made the show more visually appealing, as well. Despite being quite possibly the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of Moonshot Lunacy overkill, The Final Frontier was a hit, and a landmark in co-production between the CBC and PBS. Educational television appeared to be at its zenith in this era.

    But the good times were not bound to last forever. The very notion of PBS was tied to the Great Society championed by Presidents Johnson and then Humphrey, and their stock had plummeted by the mid-1970s. When President Reagan was elected in 1976, budget cuts were the order of the day, and not only to the space program, but also to PBS – partly as an extension of his “private enterprise for the media” platform, which had also resulted in the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine and the Family Viewing Hour. Only libertarians were truly ecstatic with these sweeping reforms; liberals and conservatives were both ambivalent (though obviously they had reservations about very different things). The PBS budget was slashed, putting several shows in danger, in the budget for FY 1977. The Electric Company, always the red-headed stepchild of the Children’s Television Workshop stable compared to the venerable fortunate son that was Sesame Street, was very nearly threatened with cancellation, but at the last minute the show was saved, largely due to changes in cast (the male lead, Morgan Freeman, departed at this time, having finally let his ego get the better of him) and appeals to the CTW from the parents of children (many of whom were Mini-Boomers who were now just getting old enough to transition from Sesame Street to The Electric Company). [9] The advantage of Sesame Street was that the show could quite literally pay for itself through extensive merchandising (and licensing fees from foreign versions, such as Canadian Sesame Street or the UK’s Sesame Square), an advantage not shared by The Electric Company (or, indeed, any other show on PBS). It was therefore agreed that Sesame Street would take major cuts from underwriter funding to become (largely) self-sustaining, and that these would be transferred to The Electric Company, which would, therefore, keep being able to bring viewers the power. Rita Moreno, by far the most well-known of the cast, remained with the show, though she only filmed two days a week with them due to her simultaneous commitments on Broadway. However, other shows, such as The Final Frontier, were not so lucky; the show ended its run in 1977, with 65 episodes produced by the CBC-PBS tandem over five seasons, on top of the original 13 by the CBC alone, for a total of 78. [10] By this time, however, James Doohan had agreed to appear in Star Trek: The Next Voyage, making him one of the very few members of the Star Trek cast to find steady work during the seven-year gap between the original series finale and the mini-series that followed. (Notably, none of them had done so as actors – he had been a presenter, Leonard Nimoy a director, and George Takei a politician).

    Another science series, NOVA, which had premiered in 1974, had (barely) survived the pruning at PBS. But that show had a much broader focus than space (and, indeed, often went out of its way to avoid space, given the presence of The Final Frontier and, later, the backlash against Moonshot Lunacy), and Carl Sagan, despite his relative indifference toward The Final Frontier, was irate at that show’s cancellation. He immediately began lobbying for the production of a new space-related series (though one which would focus on cosmology). Despite his reputation and prestige, proposals went nowhere, until Mr. Fred Rogers, longtime host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, joined forces with him. [11] The two unlikely allies – with diametrically opposed metaphysical perspectives – nonetheless proved an effective tag team, working to set an example of the kind of pluralistic educational offerings they both supported for public television. In the end, a limited series was indeed green-lit, and was to be named Cosmos. Mr. Rogers would be given “special thanks” in each episode; WQED Pittsburgh would produce alongside KCET Los Angeles. Sagan and his co-producers were inspired by British science documentary programs of the late-1970s in establishing the themes and topics for discussion. [12] The thirteen-episode series was budgeted at $6 million, very lavish for public television of the era. And, indeed, Cosmos lived up to the hype for
    “event television”, attracting unprecedented ratings for any program that was not airing on one of the Big Three networks.

    Ear-marked as the largest expenditure for NASA was the Solar-Power Satellite prototype, better known to the general public as the test bed for “microwave power”. After considerable time allotted for research and development, sufficient experimentation had been carried out, sufficient engineering review conducted, and sufficient data collected by 1979 to allow it to proceed to flight. Whether the project would survive the whims of President Reagan was the driving question that would put an exclamation mark on energy policy, one of the defining political problems of the 1970s. The Gipper had his own ideas on the matter, but then, so did most everyone else

    ---

    [1] Obviously, these numbers were far more grave IOTL, with NASA already receiving less than 1% of the federal budget by 1975 (as President Nixon was certainly no friend of the organization either, the precipitous drop in funding having occurred in the early 1970s under his administration); nominal funding increased in the Carter years, though the rate continued to decline, due to the rampant stagflation of the era, settling at 0.84% of the federal budget in 1980 (and it would continue to decline from there).

    [2] IOTL, Astronaut Group 8 joined NASA in 1978, with a frankly massive cohort of 35; it was the first since 1969. From that point forward, a new astronaut group has been chosen on a biennial basis. ITTL, eight individuals joined Group 8 in 1973, and a further eight joined Group 9 in 1975. These sixteen astronauts include: the first African-American man and woman in space; the first Asian-American in space; the first Jewish-American in space; the first mother in space; and the first Army astronaut.

    [3] NASA being edged out in the Race to Mars accelerated the schedule for the Viking program, to the detriment of the potential for discoveries by those probes.

    [4] The damage done to Skylab A ITTL is very similar to what befell Skylab IOTL. Simply because we can
    t be having every NASA launch going off without a hitch :p

    [5] Recall that President Humphrey ordered additional Saturn V rockets in 1969, shortly after taking office.

    [6] It should be noted that the space shuttle ITTL does not resemble that of OTL, and instead looks far more like this.

    [7] Of course, just two Voyagers were launched IOTL, one on each Grand Tour route. Sadly, the budget simply would not allow for six, even ITTL.

    [8] Note that WNED serves a market on the Canadian border. IOTL, at present, with the reliance of PBS stations on viewer pledges, it caters extensively to viewers in Southern Ontario (to the point of identifying on-air as serving Buffalo and Toronto), who provide the majority of pledge dollars. WGBH, for its part, serves as a bulwark station for PBS.

    [9] The Electric Company was indeed cancelled in 1977 IOTL, largely because it, unlike Sesame Street, could not be sustained by merchandising revenues (as the show was very lightly merchandised). CTW (since renamed Sesame Workshop IOTL, after its meal ticket) is a not-for-profit corporation, and therefore they have no reason not to use their revenues from Sesame Street to help sustain their expenses. ITTL, since the money coming in through PBS is still higher in absolute terms than IOTL (coupled, of course, with the much larger cohort of children who are the exact target demographic for the show), the show is saved, however narrowly.

    [10] As The Final Frontier fulfills CanCon obligations (and for other reasons which will be made clear in future updates), the CBC will continue to air these 78 episodes (mostly in weekend afternoon and late-night timeslots) for many years to come after its cancellation in 1977. (This is obviously something of a pattern for Doohan ;))

    [11] Yes, Mr. Rogers saved Cosmos ITTL. His activism needed some outlet, given his passionate advocacy for public television. WQED Pittsburgh, his home station, thus participates in the production of Cosmos along with the station primarily responsible for it IOTL: KCET Los Angeles. The co-operative working relationship between Dr. Sagan and Mr. Rogers was, at least in part, consciously formed by both men as a rebuttal to the occasional
    “educational challenges” facing American Party-governed states in this era.

    [12] For various bureaucratic reasons, the BBC has no direct involvement in the making of Cosmos ITTL. The $6 million-per-episode budget is actually slightly lower than IOTL, though it should be noted that this is still an extremely exorbitant figure, considering. In addition, ratings are roughly on par with viewership levels IOTL.

    ---

    Thanks to e of pi, truth is life, and Dan1988 for their guidance and suggestions in the making of this update! Additional thanks to e of pi for helping to revise and edit as well. I hope you all enjoyed another look at the space program in That Wacky Redhead! This marks something of a nadir for the final frontier
    … but will it last, or even worsen? :eek:
     
  20. Dan1988 Thinks he's going off his nut

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    Very nice update, Brainbin. Interesting fate for the space programme, for sure.