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Murder on the Boob Tube

Murder on the Boob Tube

Television has had a long long love affair with death. From Perry Mason to Dragnet, murder on the small screen has had us trapped with suspense on our living room couch. And even today with CSI, Law & Order and a host of shows focused on gruesome goi

Rating: (out of 4 reviews)

List Price: $ 9.99


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4 Responses to “Murder on the Boob Tube”

  1. Lee Goldberg says:

    Review by Lee Goldberg for Murder on the Boob Tube
    I love TV reference books but John William Law’s MURDER ON THE BOOB TUBE is, to put it bluntly, terrible in every way, factually worthless and devoid of any fresh information or thoughtful insights. The listings are superficial and generic to the point of uselessness and riddled with typographical errors and inept sentence structure. Here are some examples from his listing for MANNIX. The typos are his, not mine:

    “The show started off one one path, but changed courses after the first season and never strayed much after that.”

    “With less than spectacular ratings in season one, the changes were hoped to bring new live to the fledgling series.”

    “The showed featured an unsolved MANNIX case and use flashbacks of the original series along with present day Mannix back on the case”

    Here’s another example of Law’s poor writing and proofing skills, this time from his listing for IRONSIDE. Again, the errors and lack of punctuation are his, not mine:

    “While the original series took place in San Francisco, little of the show was actually filmed there with some early location filming of the actors in popular locations and the footage would be intersperse through-out the season.”

    And, finally, here’s an example from his listing for ELLERY QUEEN:

    “At one point there were rumor’s the younger Hutton might reprise his father’s most famous character for a TV movie, but the closest he came was as the star of his own mystery series based on another famous detective when Timothy Hutton starred in A NERO WOLFE MYSTERY in 2001-2002.”

    The author hasn’t done any meaningful research, hasn’t interviewed anybody, and the “rare photos” he touts in the product description are merely amateurishly cropped, black-and-white scans of TV Guide covers. This book, apparently self-published, is an embarrassment that’s not worth $1, much less $14.95.

  2. Sacramento Book Review says:

    Review by Sacramento Book Review for Murder on the Boob Tube
    I was immediately drawn to this book because the cover features a photo of Peter Falk in his classic role, //Columbo//. Not only is this my favorite mystery/detective show, but I have published articles on the subject. Unfortunately, the chapter dealing with the show told me nothing I didn’t already know. Worse, it contained glaring mistakes, such as confusing John Houseman with Ray Milland.

    To say this is not a scholarly work is an understatement. //Murder on the Boob Tube// is a slapdash collection of chapters detailing various television shows that aired between the 1950′s and the 1990′s. There are no interviews with filmmakers, no original research, and the photos alternate between tiny publicity shots and poor reproductions of TV Guide magazine covers. There is certainly some useful information contained within, such as air dates and cast members. And, the author does occasionally impart a nugget of insight, such as in his well written chapter on //Dragnet//. Too bad the rest of the shows discussed didn’t engage the present author in the same manner.

    Reviewed by Bruce Marshall

  3. TGM says:

    Review by TGM for Murder on the Boob Tube
    If you love these shows the book is a good companion piece to them, especially if you are seeing some for the first time or havent seen them in years. And actually there are some pretty rare details in the book contrary to what another reviewer wrote. The back section includes a huge set of shows from the 1940s on, many of which I had never heard of or are not available on video or dvd. Chapters also include the cast lineups as well as some hard to fine airing dates as these shows changed networks and weekday schedules. Photos may not be all that rare, but do add to the stories.

  4. John W. Law says:

    Review by John W. Law for Murder on the Boob Tube
    SAN FRANCISCO, July 2010: Classic television shows finding brand new life on digital downloads, internet broadcasts, cable syndication and DVD box sets. Audiences are being introduced to television history or rediscovering old favorites. And with new versions of shows like Hawaii Five-O and The Rockford Files, murder on the small screen has never been more popular. Now a new book looks back at TV history and our fascination with Murder on the Boob Tube.

    Murder on the Boob Tube: Classic TV Detectives and our Love of Mystery, Murder & Mayhem charts the history of the detective drama and revisits some of the best-loved and most successful shows of the last 50 years. San Francisco writer John William Law offers a chronicle of TV’s golden years with insights and details surrounding the shows, the stars, the networks and the history

    “It’s really amazing how much life these shows seem to have in them,” says Law. “This year alone, Dragnet ’67 is coming to DVD, Barnaby Jones and Ironside both released new series box sets and Ellery Queen is coming to DVD for the first time. And now networks are preparing new versions of both Hawaii Five-O and The Rockford Files. Viewers old and new can’t seem to get enough of these shows.”

    Murder on the Boob Tube looks back at these shows as well as other favorites like Charlie’s Angels, Cannon, McCloud, Columbo, Perry Mason, Streets of San Francisco, Mannix and many more. “While many of the shows seems dated by today’s standards many were breaking rules and pushing limits for their time,” says Law. “Quincy, M.E. couldn’t even show a body on the autopsy table, but today we see graphic dissection of the human corpse on shows like C.S.I. and viewers were captivated by braless crimesolvers so much so after Charlie’s Angels hit the air that its stars landed on Time Magazine.”

    The book offers an introductory look at television’s early years and follows with chapters that chronicle some of the earliest detective dramas to launch the genre as well as a glimpse at many of the new breed of shows that continue the tradition. But the bulk of the book looks back at many of the biggest shows fans continue to be drawn to. “What’s fun is looking back at the casts and even those who producers once intended in many of these iconic roles. Jack Lord wasn’t the first choice for Hawaii Five-O,” says Law. “And neither was Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote. Same goes for stars of shows like Hart to Hart, Columbo, Charlie’s Angels and more.”

    Who was it they hoped to star in these shows? Pick up a copy of the book and find out.

    Published in July 2010, and available in bookstores and through on-line booksellers like, “Murder on the Boob Tube” is packed with photos in a perfect-bound, 236-page paperback book. It’s also available in Kindle eBook format.

    Visit [...] to find out more.

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