[Ads-l] pilot, situation comedy (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill CIV (US) william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL
Tue Jul 19 16:12:08 UTC 2016


Ben Zimmer recently wrote in the WSJ about "pilot".  One usage is as a noun, "a test episode of a projected television series used to gauge audience reaction." (perhaps this definition should be extended to include radio?) OED 11.[1f].  The OED has 1955 for this sense.

_Sponsor_ 13 July 1953 p 183 col 3
"As an indication of new show costs, the pilot for ABC's new Danny Thomas situation-comedy film came to a higher tab than I Love Lucy (it was shot at the Desilu studios)."

Note that this cite also antedates "situation comedy," for which the OED has 23 Oct 1953.  The OED definition is limited to serials.

[_Motion Picture News, 13 Apr 1918, p 2248
"The Frank Keenan company is now at work on a situation comedy titled "More Trouble," which is also an adaptation by Jack Cunningham from a magazine story."

_Photoplay, July 1918, p. 82 col 3
"It is a two-reel "situation comedy," "Mr. Briggs Closes the House.""]

_Moving Picture World_ 23 Jan 1926 p 340 col 1
"Another series of two-reelers, already in the making for next season's release by the Stern Brothers, is "The Adventures of Jane," a high-class situation comedy series starring Wanda Wiley."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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