Huge exception to an old rule

This is a completely trivial criticism of an old obscure TV show, but it seems to be what I need to write today. Maybe there’s a reason, maybe not.

The show was ‘Man of the World’, one of many British James Bond imitators. Other shows in this genre gave us remarkably accurate dramatizations of facts that can’t be shown now, like this absolutely perfect picture of a psychopath.

‘Man of the World’ went the opposite way, with a remarkably stupid depiction of basic scientific method. Every radio and TV detective and cop show, from the ’30s onward, managed an accurate and USEFUL dramatization of scam-spotting methods. Not this one.

This episode was about an attention-seeking father who exploited his daughter’s talents, trying to make her famous as a mindreader. The protagonist was a reporter who was supposedly trying to spot the scam. He consulted a psychiatrist who was supposedly an expert.

Starting here, we see a “controlled” experiment with the daughter inside an isolation booth to avoid sound cues. The father was doing most of the writing and card-picking. Obvious error #1. When you suspect a partner act, you want to exclude one of the partners. Then the psych threw some dice while the father was watching the dice AND FACING THE DAUGHTER. Obvious error #2. Any card-player would recognize this form of cheating. Then the psych wrote some numbers on paper, while hiding the paper itself behind a barrier. But the numbers were huge, involving elbow and shoulder motions that were easy to see. He invited the reporter to write some numbers, and again he wrote huge numbers instead of miniature fingers-only numbers. Obvious error #3.

I’m inclined to assume that old entertainment got the facts of life right, but this is one huge exception to the rule.