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Attack of the Killer 3-D Glasses. © 2005 Jerome Holst

Al Holst, Owner of TV ACRES Run for your lives!
They're coming!
We can't stop them.
They're red and blue and
Really, really stupid looking!

Once again, it's sweeps month, and this time around, the powers that be (namely, the NBC TV network) have decided that it's time for TV viewers to put on a pair of silly 3-D glasses.

Why? To watch their upcoming episode of MEDIUM on NBC, of course. The show stars Patricia Arquette as Allison Dubois, a married woman who can see and communicate with the dead. As Count Floyd  of SCTV would say, "EEWW! That's Scary Stuff!"

Although I find the idea of 3-D glasses goofy to the max, I am a fan of the show MEDIUM and I will definitely be watching the program. Who knows. If peer pressure gets too heavy, I might commiserate and plop a pair of 3-D glasses on my nose just to fit in with everyone else. (Want to see me in 3-D glasses? Click Here ).

If you are entertaining the notion of wearing 3-D glasses, you can get a free pair inside TV Guide Magazine (on news stands November 17th). Of course, you may already have a pair of 3-D glasses sitting idle in one of your drawers from the past TV experiments with 3-D. What's that's? There have been other programs with 3-D. Well, sad to say, there have.

3D glasses

The idea of 3-D images have been floating around since the early 1900s. The Brothers Lumiére hosted the very first publicly shown 3-D short (about a minute) in 1903 entitled L'Arrivée du Train that featured the arrival of a train in a railway station. Great entertainment for its time.

A few years later, the first 3-D film to require the audience to wear 3D glasses (red/green anaglyphs) debuted with "The Penman" starring John Mason and Marie Doro which was shown on June 10th. 1915. at the Astor Theatre in New York.

The first 3-D feature film was Power of Love (1922), starring Terry O'Neil and Barbara Bedford about the adventures of a sea captain in 1840s California. Directed by Nat Deverich, the 5-reel melodrama premiered at the Ambassador Hotel Theater, Los Angeles on September 27, 1922.

I wasn't until the 1950s that the 3-D glasses craze began to boom with the release of Bwana Devil (1952) about two-man-eating lions gone amuck in Kenya (remade in 1996 as The Ghost and the Darkness with Val Kilmer).

As each visitor entered the theater, they received a disposable pair of cardboard glasses to view the movie produced by Sidney W. Pink - who produced over fifty 3-D movies.

The following year, Vincent Price starred in House of Wax (1953), the first full-color, stereophonic 3-D movie in which Price played a mad museum curator who liked to make statues out of real people.

3d glasses

The gimmick of the 3-D films is to have images pop out of the screen. So, for instance, if a native warrior in the film threw a spear in the direction of the audience, anyone wearing glasses would flinch or duck because the weapon "appeared" to flying out of the movie right in their faces. You can imagine what a wild lion jumping towards the audience would do.

Since the 1950s, however, films with 3-D formatting have not been able to sustain their initial craze, but, from time to time, the gimmicky genre is reintroduced for public consumption.

The 1980s and 90s produced such lack luster 3-D films as Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, Friday the 13th Part 3, Amityville 3-D, and Jaws 3.

Now, before NBC airs its 3-D MEDIUM episode on November 21st, let's take a look at some other 3-D attempts to have hit the TV screen in previous years.

Oh, and you won't need a pair of 3-D glasses to read the list.

Continued next page >


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