Q: What was television’s biggest flop? -- S.G.L., Pueblo, Colo.
A: Most students of television history would probably say it was “Turn-On,” a show created by the producers of “Laugh-In.” It aired on Feb. 5, 1969. Before the half-hour show was over, most ABC affiliates had been swamped with complaint calls, and a few had even stopped airing it. The show was considered overly risque. NBC and CBS rejected the show early on, but ABC picked it up.
“Turn-On” featured Tim Conway in a series of skits. Some sources say it was canceled the same day it aired, while others say it took two or three days before the program was dropped officially.
Q: Who was Jethro Tull of the band Jethro Tull? -- R.L., Levelland, Texas
A: One of the co-founders of the band, Ian Anderson, explains that in the early days, the band was not very good. In order to get rebooked at clubs, it changed its name every week. The band was finally asked to return after playing a gig with the name Jethro Tull. Anderson says he is not really fond of the name and is embarrassed about it because it’s not an original name. The original Jethro Tull was an 18th-century agriculturalist and inventor.
Q: What was movie detective Dirty Harry’s badge number? -- W.D., Reno, Nev.
A: Harry Callahan had badge No. 2211. “Dirty Harry,” starring Clint Eastwood as the titular character, was released in 1971 and had four sequels.
Q: Has the Oscar changed much since it was originally designed? -- L.O., Roseville, Calif.
A: MGM’s art director, Cedric Gibbons, designed the Oscar statuette in 1928. The only change that has been made since then is a higher pedestal, which happened in the 1940s.