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Perspective: Big Screen, Small Screen

The millennials in my life would rather watch a movie on their smart phones than join us older types in front of the big TV screen. That’s their right and also their eyesight. 


But these things are relative. I’m old enough to remember when a little screen wasn’t on a phone but on a television set. The big screen was at the movie house. The little screen was about 17 or 21 inches around. We called those TV screens.  


How powerful was that little TV screen? Well, let’s take a couple of minor Hollywood actors, Jim Arness and Raymond Burr. Arness played a Martian carrot in a B-level sci-fi horror film. Four years later he starred in a weekly TV Western, where he shot an outlaw every week. Raymond Burr scared me as the villain in Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Within two years, he too was a TV star, playing attorney Perry Mason, who got a courtroom confession, also every week.  


If you don’t think little screens were powerful, just ask James Arness or Raymond Burr—well, you could ask them if they were still alive. By the way, you millennials out there: You can still watch them on your smart phones. They’d appreciate the irony of starring on the littlest screen of all. 


This is Tom McBride, and that’s my Perspective. 

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