Al Gore’s creation of the Internet in 1981 prompted a cultural and sociological revolution of a magnitude never before or since witnessed by modern man. Never before had a single individual created such an involving and extensive database of constructive and divergent knowledge. Available to anyone with a phone line, the internet allowed commoners to indulge in the wonders of animated dancing babies, “instant” long distance communications, Ebay bidding for fifty cent “Alf” pogs, and copious, nay, infinite amounts of pornography. Truly, the reverberations of this gargantuan upheaval in contemporary culture are still being felt today, even though Al Gore has long since sunk to dismal levels of disdain with the masses.
One of the several uses of the internet is the “database”. Automated calculating apparatus, or “computers”, are capable of storing massive amounts of "information." Thanks to Al Gore’s invention, this information can be made accessible to anyone, using the "internet." Some of the most useful internet-cataloged information is pop culture trivia. Before the internet, there was no way for your average Joe to download the theme from “Nightrider”, or to figure out the name of the actor who played William Shatner’s rookie partner in the hokey 80’s cop drama “T.J. Hooker”.
Recently my own explorations of the bountiful "world-wide-net" (WWW) turned up an incredible archive. The treasure trove of data I uncovered was indeed pop culture, but of a different sort. Archived at http://www.commietv.red/, I found an astounding collection of television programs created in the former CCCP. Intrigued with the idea of witnessing broadcasts that had never before been seen in the west, I explored the archive in its entirety. I share with you now a synopsis of my findings.
One of the most intriguing shows was entitled “The Six Million Ruble Comrade”. The introduction played at the beginning of each episode describes the premise of the show:
“Col. Stezlaus Arshinskoi was Mother Russia’s most superior test pilot, until western capitalist saboteurs caused a horrible crash in which Col. Arshinskoi nearly perished. But no amount of bourgeois interference could stop our superior Communist know how. We had the power to rebuild him. Now, as a cooperative of different working parts, Col. Arshinskoi is Russia’s most advanced communist, working to ferret out evil entrepreneurial interferences across the globe. He is, the bionic, Six Million Ruble Comrade!”
This action packed sci-fi drama of global espionage and adventure featured the B-grade Russian actor Leonev Majorski as Col. Stezlaus Arshinskoi, the ‘bionic comrade'. Reconstructed using only premium grade Russian cast iron and birchwood parts, the nuclear powered bionic Stezlaus Arshinskoi has the acceleration of a Russian locomotive, and the dependable durability and fine finish of white Russian birch. All across the great motherland he fights for party justice.
For those seeking a more light hearted romantic adventure, I ran across a show entitled “The State Certified Marital Relations Boat”. In this tender and jovial sea bound romp, good denizens of Mother Russia enjoy a love filled state sponsored vacation on the “Marital Relations” vessel, Admiral Ludzlaus, as it sails ‘round the tropical waters of the Barents Sea. Yes, love is in the air, and the sea. Passengers and crewmen alike find partnership and ensure the production of future communists to safeguard great Russia’s future.
In the comedy genre, there is the CCCP classic “Gorbachev’s Island”. The plot involved the stranding of seven devout party members on a deserted island. They quickly organize their new commune, create a perfect socialist society, and live happily ever after, all the while delivering laughs by the minute.
A more edgy show was entitled “Siamko”. Often considered “a show about nothing”, Siamko featured the classic standup comedy of Jereme Siamko. His brilliant observational comedy was the best in Russia. The following is a classic Siamko bit:
“So, what’s the deal with the Hvale ironworks? They produce a new model Moscavik every year, but, did you ever notice, you can only receive a proper deal at twelve kopeks on the ruble!”
Finally, there was “All in the Commune”, which was considered the most controversial and important comedy of the Soviet era. Its main character, Arkhelyi Budek, is a devout party member of extreme Stalinist views. In each episode, his devout opinions clash with the more moderate views of his family. In the end, of course, Arkhelyi is proven absolutely correct, and all traces of state outlawed individualism are eradicated.
There is much more classic communist television to enjoy, of course, and I hope your own personal journey across the Al Gore super highway that is the ‘web’ will deliver you to countless hours of enjoyment. If you have a limited or non-existent internet connection, you can find out all about communist television by tuning in to your local CBC station.