John E. Carr ’84

Ready for Prime Time

It took John Carr 14 months to write his first two books, Don’t Touch That Dial! and And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor.

Established authors may bristle, as it often takes them that much time to develop a plot. Yet for Carr, a journalism major and self-described pop culture addict, writing these satirical tributes to classic television shows and commercials of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s came naturally: “I won’t say that it wasn’t hard work, but it flowed for me because I have a passion for it.”

Carr’s love for programming from yesteryear stems from his childhood when family friendly sitcoms dominated the airwaves.: “It was a simpler time. The American family had one TV in the family room, where everyone would gather for the ‘family hour.’

“My books generate discussion. As we get older, we like to reminisce about this age of innocence when television was in its infancy. Reading about these times moves us to share experiences about a gentler time.”

While the subject matter of these books will resonate with Baby Boomers, Carr thinks all generations will enjoy his works. Cable channels like TV Land have spawned new legions of fans.

Carr attributes the popularity of this programming to the high quality of the script writing: “The writers had serious talent. Think of the fantastic interaction between M*A*S*H characters Hawkeye and B.J. Where is the creativity today? Reality TV doesn’t compare to the quality of programming, and crime shows just rehash what’s in the newspaper.”

Carr hopes that his books, in addition to spurring a stroll down memory lane, will foster an appreciation for the ingenuity of yesterday’s writers and producers.

Carr’s trip back in time continues with a DVD supplement to his books. Based on characters and images in Don’t Touch That Dial! and And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor, it is scheduled for release after Thanksgiving. For more information, check

—Maria V. Caliri ’86, M.B.A. ‘92