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

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 19 16:33:02 UTC 2016

Thanks, Bill. In the WSJ column (<http://bit.ly/pilotbz>), I cite a June
14, 1952 article in Billboard about "'sad samples' -- those expensive pilot
films produced with hopes for a future series that somehow never seemed to
come to life."


The headline for that article uses "pilot" as a standalone noun: "Sterling
Series Packages Pilots & Recoups Losses."


On Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 12:12 PM, Mullins, Bill CIV (US) <
william.d.mullins18.civ at mail.mil> wrote:
> 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."

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