Pop Culture Roundup: Asterix coin; Gilligan's boat

ITEM! Asterix is featured on a commemorative 2 Euro coin in celebration of the character's 60th anniversary this year. There'll be a new Asterix book out soon, too: "Asterix and the Chieftain's Daughter," available Oct. 24.

ITEM!  The S.S. Minnow on "Gilligan's Island" was reportedly named as an insult to FCC chief Newton N. Minow, who'd referred to American as a "vast wasteland." According to "Gilligan" producer Sherwood Schwartz:
The year [that I began working on Gilligan's Island] was 1963, and the three networks were already beginning to use the dictatorial power Newton Minow, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, had handed to them." Mr. Minow's famous "vast wasteland" speech, in 1961, at the NAB convention, was brought on by the quiz show scandals, payola investigations and the general low esteem in which television was held. Unintentionally, probably, that speech had a far more devastating impact than the conditions he was criticizing. In effect, the chairman of the FCC, speaking for the government, took the position that the networks were responsible for everything they broadcast. The shocking aftermath of that designation of responsibility by Mr. Minow and the FCC gave ABC, CBS, and NBC absolute authority over everything that comes into your living room on network television.

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