Oftentimes, people approach me when I am trying to avoid eye contact and say something like: “Hey, Steve, I miss the good old days of simply having three TV channels with high-quality network programming, but I really miss the even better old days of climbing a utility pole at the property line and stealing a neighbor’s cable TV signal to watch Cinemax After Dark. Today’s TV choices, with all the streaming services and whatnot, sure can be overwhelming.”
After sternly correcting them on my name, I congratulate these folks for seeking out the expertise of the interim senior media/technology correspondent for this and many other award-winning publications struggling to stay relevant.
Today’s TV choices can be tough ones, especially with the introduction of new services like Apple TV+, HBO Max and Disney+, just to name a few. That’s why I’ve written the following Q&A to help the average consumer, who may not be an interim senior media/technology correspondent, make the wisest decision when it comes to paying for TV no longer stolen off a utility pole. Here we go.
Q. Hey, Scott. Sorry about calling you Steve the other day. It’s just that you remind me of my second cousin Steve, the one who grew a beard so he could sneak back into Dollar General after being banned from all 127 in the tri-county area. Seems they frown on leaving a store with multiple packs of D batteries and snack cakes stuffed in your underwear four or five times a month. Anyway, do you as an interim senior media/technology correspondent think Disney+ is worth paying extra for? I mean, how much Donald Duck does one fellow need?
A. Absolutely it is, and I can tell you why this add-on service is worth it with two amazing titles from Disney’s bygone era: “Charlie the Lonesome Cougar” and “The Barefoot Executive.”
Q. Do what now? What are these lonesome cougars and barefoot executives of which you speak?
A. Why, my good sir, they appear in two of the most beloved movies of my childhood. Can I first tell you a little story about a fantastic frisky feline of filmdom?
Q. Do I have a choice?
A. No, you don’t. When I was but a wee lad, “Charlie the Lonesome Cougar,” a live-action Disney adventure, hit the silver screen with a thunderous roar, billed in TV and print ads from our Disney overlords as “the fabulous tale of a teen-age mountain lion.” Unlike many of your more ornery post-pubescent cougars, Charlie mauled no one. Instead, he palled around with friendly lumberjacks, cavorted with other real animals in breathtaking scenes of cinematic beauty, and destroyed not one but two kitchens with his lovable highjinxs before (spoiler alert) settling down to live happily ever after on a preserve with a nice lady lion.
This was my absolute favorite live-action, animal-related movie at that point in my childhood until another Disney classic came along a few years later. That epic celluloid treasure was called “The Barefoot Executive,” starring a pre-Snake Plisskin Kurt Russell as a young mail clerk with a pet chimp named Ruffles who could predict which TV shows will be hits, and — in the great tradition of “Citizen Kane” — hilarity ensues. We show it every year at the Monkey Action News Team Christmas party.
Q. So, you had an obsession with cougars until you had an obsession with monkeys thanks to Disney movies?
A. I went back to cougars for a while in my teen years when we had Cinemax After Dark, but yes, that would be an accurate statement.
Q. Thanks for the advice, Steve. Do you want to come over to the house and watch Disney+ sometime?
A. Sure, just as long as I don’t have to climb any more utility poles. Like Charlie and the Barefoot Executive, I’m not as young as I used to be.