Friday, May 22, 2009

And why did we love public access again?

Classic Manhattan public access is sorely underrepresented on YouTube, but occasionally some clips show up that remind us of the reasons that access was such an addictive pleasure back in the day (“the day” being the 1970s through the 1990s). You can find such pleasures in the great postings of Coca Crystal, but also here in this edited-down rendition of an episode of Richard H. Roffman and Friends.

The Roffman show seemed like a motlier version of Joe Franklin. The reason for this was that Roffman charged the guests on his local radio and cable-access shows (so much for the “friends” idea). The result was that you got a whole-hearted plug, but also had a short (very short) segment on the air, and then that was it. Here you have everyone from a local fashion designer (Roffman urging her “let’s go, c’mon!”) to vanity-press authors to a jello wrestler and the president of a Bing Crosby fan club. The uniquely talented Jim Grasso steals the show, however (hear the stifled laughter).

This condensation of the episode makes yer head spin, in several ways. There are few shows like this on TV anymore (and the remaining ones are all on access). Dig the vintage opening disclaimer from a wary Manhattan Cable:

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