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September 8, 2012

The subway incident, 1964
Posted by Teresa at 12:35 PM * 48 comments

Entry: Subway Incident, from Dr. Gafia’s Fan Terms:

It was in the early a.m., after a meeting of the New York Fanoclasts, just a few days after a young woman named Kitty Genovese had been knifed repeatedly outside her apartment in Long Island. To her screams of terror and pleas for help, her neighbors had locked their doors and closed their windows, doing nothing because they Didn’t Want To Get Involved — so her attacker, initially run off by her screams, had been able to keep coming back until he killed her.

Dave Van Arnam had been particularly vehement in his condemnation of “those scumbags who pass for human beings” at that Fanoclast meeting. On their way home, Dave, Earl Evers, Mike McInerney, Steve Stiles, rich brown and perhaps others were all in a subway station as a train pulled in, and a knife-wielding man inside one of the cars was seen chasing a terrified woman.

Dave stepped in, simultaneously shielding the woman with his body and holding the man at bay by threatening him with his balled up fist. Van Arnam kept the door of the car open with his shoulder until the motorman — who simply wanted to leave — called the police. Earl Evers kept the man with the knife wondering by going into a low karate crouch and sidling around behind him, while the rest tried to look like they would back Dave up.

After the police came and took the man away, everyone urged Dave to write up the incident. He started doing so the following week but always digressed before telling the full story — this is probably the only place it’s been told in this detail — in his fanzine First Draft.

I was struck by the entry on the Subway Incident this morning when I was leafing through Dr. Gafia’s Fan Terms. This is a story about a story that didn’t happen.

The mythic version of Kitty Genovese’s murder, inaccurate but unforgettable, is the story by Martin Gansberg that ran two weeks later in the New York Times: Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police. Gansberg reported that many of the neighbors in Genovese’s highrise saw or heard the attacks, but did nothing because they “didn’t want to get involved.” Her attacker stabbed her, then was driven off by her screams. When no one responded, he returned, stabbed her repeatedly, and raped her as she lay dying.

Since rich brown’s account of the subway incident quotes a line from Gansberg’s story, I think it took place a few days after the story was published, rather than a few days after the murder — not that that makes much difference. The story of Kitty Genovese that mattered was the one that happened inside everyone’s head, as they wondered what it said about human beings, American society, and the loneliness and alienation of cities. It’s been reverberating ever since.

We don’t know anything about the knife-wielding man on the subway. Maybe he was a copycat made bold by Gansberg’s story. Maybe he’d have been waving knives at women anyway. What’s easy to see, though, is that if he had knifed the woman, and if the motorman had pulled out of the station rather than calling the police, news reports of the incident so soon after Kitty Genovese’s death would have been seen as confirming every dark, ugly, alienating speculation stirred up by Genovese’s murder. That would have been a different universe.

Only that didn’t happen, because a bunch of Fanoclastsunlikely heroes — saw what was happening, and succeeded in obstructing the crime and obfuscating the situation until the police arrived.

You could make jokes about the fannish martial arts of obstruction and obfuscation, but it worked, and it was the right thing to do; and because they did it, we live in a slightly better world.

Comments on The subway incident, 1964:
#1 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 02:01 PM:

It's a better world for the woman who wasn't knifed, but if Science Fiction has taught us anything, it's that if a time traveller had intervened the way the Fanoclasts did, that they would have enabled some entirely unpredictable secondary effect to cause thermonuclear war/a new Hitler/an invasion of anthropophagous alien overlords.

So perhaps todays Republican party would be a gang of kitten-kissing avuncular public-service-dedicated gentlefolk if it weren't for those darned Fanoclasts in 1964.

#2 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 02:36 PM:

(Niall, I know you were being humorous. Please forgive me for going off into serious pondering here.)

But we wouldn't be able to tell what the effects of our actions might be in the future, being limited as (presumably) all of us are to the old-fashioned method of time travel, where we go through time at a rate of 1:1. Well, OK, we could make a decent try at predicting one effect: the life of the woman who wasn't knifed was, at least in the short term and probably in the long term, a lot better.

We guess at what we should do most of the time. We don't know what happens down the road and around the corner. Sometimes we can overthink ourselves into choice paralysis about that. (Used to happen to me a lot when I was a child and an adolescent.) But we can take our best guess and go with that.

The whole thing reminds me a little bit of a quote from one of Joss Whedon's characters: "If nothing we do in this world matters, then the only thing that matters is what we do." Through a glass dimly, and all that. But what matters is what we do.

Go, Fanoclasts! Obstruction and obfuscation FTW!

#3 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 02:58 PM:

Ghod, that sounds fatuous. Please to ignore.

E,
going up to the workbench to get some sense back into me.

#4 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 03:15 PM:

"...it was the right thing to do..."

It was the only thing to do.

#5 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 03:23 PM:

"It makes a difference to this one," the young man says, flinging another starfish back.

#6 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 03:31 PM:

We do what can, when we can, as we can.

Prophets of a future not our own.

#7 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 04:44 PM:

Actually (IMHO), all of the Fanoclasts people mentioned made the world a little bit better, in ways quite aside from this Incident.

And... errr... ummm... After he'd been living in the LArea for a few months and I'd been associating with him every Thursday evening, I noticed, one evening, that Earl Evers seemed to be acting rather Strangely, and I said, "Hey, Earl, you seem to be acting rather Strangely.;. are you High or something?"

His response was (not in quasi-quotes) "Ummmm.... probably this is the first time you've interacted with me when I was _not_ High." In retrospect, I calculate that he was probably correct. And you are correct, I think, in saying that they did the right thing.

#8 ::: Alan Yee ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 06:00 PM:

Sadly, the mythical version of Kitty Genovese's version is continuing to be perpetuated in sources written by people that should know better. As of two years ago, the recently-updated textbook for my psychology class my first year of college still had the nonsense about how "Absolutely No One Did Anything At All To Help Kitty Genovese."

#9 ::: An Infinitude of Tortoises ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 08:35 PM:

Wow, I'd never known that about Dave Van Arnam -- of whom I've been thinking just recently. Perhaps if I edit my Craigslist ad for his first novel to mention that only a few years after writing it, Dave was heroically defending the innocent from a knife-wielding assailant on the subway, someone will want to buy it....

In any case, this certainly elevates my view of the guy.

#10 ::: Naomi Kritzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 09:12 PM:

I know the real Kitty Genovese story, and (because I am an incorrigible nerd) will tell it to people when they repeat the myth. But I have to admit, this story illustrates that it's a useful myth for motivating people to pay attention, and to be the one who takes action.

#11 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 09:32 PM:

I think of Kitty Genovese as an sfnal thing, because I first heard her story (or rather the myth thereof) from Harlan Ellison at a Star Trek convention in Seattle in the 1970s. (It would be interesting if anyone else reading this was there ...) He was talking about collective amnesia -- things everyone used to know that suddenly no one seemed to know. (His other example was Sweetest Day, one of those Hallmark holidays. I've never heard of that anywhere else, whereas KG I've heard of various places since.)

#12 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 09:56 PM:

Wow. That was the right and decent thing to do. The world is upheld, in the end, by the decent actions of ordinary people.

#13 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 10:04 PM:

I grew up the next neighborhood over from where Kitty Genovese was murdered, and for some reason, many people seemed to think it happened in my neighborhood rather than where it actually took place, so I often had to correct people about that and other aspects of the story.

I was 5ish when she was killed and it was a horror story of my childhood. It was definitely a low point in the city and I remember people being very unsettled (thought I was quite small and may therefore be conflating this with other things). The next time I remember things being that tense in the area was the summer of The Son of Sam, when my father didn't let me walk home alone from my job at the local supermarket--a journey of all of two blocks--even though I did not fit the pattern of his victims and the street was neither isolated nor used as a lovers' lane.

The murder of Kitty Genovese impacted a lot of the young women growing up in NYC in the 60s and 70s, at least judging by conversations among my contemporaries at the time.

#14 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 11:01 PM:

HelenS, Ellison based a story, "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs" on the incident, but I'm not sure at this point which incident — the real one, or the newspaper version of it.

Sweetest Day has gone away? Good. I never was sure when it was, or why, or what I was supposed to do about it. I wonder when they came up with it.

I remember a book of Hallmark cards from perhaps 1962 — it was a collection of either all their cards, or the ones they thought were funny. They were awful! I couldn't bring myself to buy it out of historical interest, and it was only a buck or so. The closest it came to being funny was a card that said you should only drink on a holiday, and came with a calendar where every day was a holiday. Only none of them was near humorous, they were just drivel like "National Lint Day" or "National Coat Hanger Day." The drawings on the cards were horrid, weak, devoid of substance. MAD did various satires on them, but their cards were never as puerile as the real ones.

Now, if it had been American Greetings, I might have bought it and searched diligently for the work of young Robert Crumb.

#15 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 11:34 PM:

Interesting that the perpetrator who killed Ms. Genovese is still alive, and in prison (having been denied parole; he was involved in several violent episodes after being incarcerated and is likely considered to have a high risk of re-offense despite his age.) For some of us, it's so long ago as to seem another era entirely—you just expect those folk to be dead. (Charles Manson is still alive, too.)

#16 ::: Brad Hicks (@jbradhicks) ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 11:44 PM:

Thanks for the link to the long write-up on the truths of the Genovese incident. I didn't know them, but it doesn't surprise me in the least that the truth is less horrific than we've been told. For reasons I don't really comprehend, there's a permanent market for stories about how no-good humans are, especially stories about how no-good poor and working-class humans are. Heck, almost the entire category of survival horror depends, for its plots, on convincing us that we're worse than we are.

My myth-detector algorithms are twitching a little bit about the Fanoclast subway incident story, though. I don't have a strong need to know the facts, but it seems suspiciously convenient that they would stumble into a violent attack right after a discussion of Gansberg's column, and a little bit outside of my experience of fanac to hear that nobody did anything that was supposed to be helpful but made things worse, not to mention that it's a bit outside of my experience of fandom to have such a high percentage of actual combat-effectives in a group with (as far as I know?) no real-world combat experience. It reads an awful lot like a group confabulated "how we wish we had acted" story. I'm willing to be wrong, I'd be delighted to be wrong -- but if I really needed to know the truth, if I were thinking of passing the story along as truth, I'd be looking for third-party verification, lest I make the opposite of Gansberg's mistake.

#17 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 12:01 AM:

Teresa:

Thanks for remembering that. I haven't thought about that incident in years, although I remember the Phil Ochs song about it.

These days, we have one Fanoclast from that era (Steve), still producing fan artwork, another one from the group (Ted) recording and producing progressive rock, and a third one (Mike), living a quiet life a few miles south of San Francisco. His fanzines are non-obfuscative, as far as I make out. (Mike has always been a good film critic.)

#18 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 12:20 AM:

B. Durbin @15 -- in fact, I was talking to a friend of Charlie Manson's a couple of days ago. He says that Manson never murdered anybody. Pernaps, I replied, but he definitely encouraged others to do it for him....

#19 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 12:44 AM:

Note: Wikipedia is not a reliable source.

#20 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 03:08 AM:

Just to say, there's one bit of the "38 witnesses did nothing" version of the story that rings true. It's the cop saying that people were tired. I've been woken at 3 am by my father, over some medical emergency, and I know how muddled my thinking can be in that situation. And then, after all the noise of the Police and Ambulance, there could easily be a lot of people gawping who would have ignored the initial attack, and likely never been fully aware of it.

I wonder how many shouted arguments those people had previously slept through. I wonder what the normal background noises were, in those apartment blocks in that part of the city, that the residents had learned to ignore, just so they could get enough sleep to stay sane.

I wonder how many of the reporters and wringers-of-hands were used to the silence of suburban life, and didn't know what they were talking about.

#21 ::: heckblazer ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 03:15 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 118:

It wasn't for lack of trying either. Manson did shoot the drug dealer Bernard "Lotsapoppa" Crowe after all.

#22 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 03:55 AM:

Dave @20:

I live in the Haight, in San Francisco, and I've previously lived in much worse neighborhoods, such as West Oakland. You hear a LOT of noises, including quite a few which sound like criminal activity. You can't call these all in to the police or run outside to protect your neighbors; you'd never get any sleep. And most of the time those noises are innocuous; the screaming is someone on drugs, or having a really good time, or just a kid who fell off his skateboard and is already getting medical help. And I couldn't possibly tell you the number of times I've been woken up by what sounded like a gunshot (in West Oakland, it generally was).

Calling 911 under those circumstances results in a conversation a lot like Genovese's neighbors probably had with the police:

"I hear a woman screaming. She said something. I couldn't make it out."

"Can you see her?"

"No. I'm not sure where she is."

"Is she still screaming?"

"No."

"Well, if you hear her again, call us back."

The police have limited manpower (always) and can't investigate every vague report. Especially from a working-class neighborhood known for "domestic disturbances". We like to think that if we'd been there, we would have heard her and done something to intervene, but the truth is that we, like the real police and the real neighbors, would not have known what was happening until it was too late.

And that's why it's still a real horror story. Just not the one Gansberg told.

#23 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 10:56 AM:

1964 was also eight years before the roll out of 9-1-1 as a universal emergency number, and eight years before the roll out of EMS as we now know it (both thanks to Lyndon Johnson for having the idea and Richard Nixon for implementing it). No trained operators with written protocols and decision trees standing by with the power to dispatch resources based on priority.

In 1964 calling the police would involve dialing O for Operator and saying "Please connect me with the police" or looking up the number of the local precinct and talking with whoever was assigned to the desk that night.

I suggest carrying a police whistle attached to your key chain. Those suckers are loud and unusual enough to get attention.

#24 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 01:34 PM:

Jim, 23: ...wait, is that why Emergency! was a show? Because paramedics were new and exciting? (They were exciting to me, but I was young enough to be in my "fire engines are yay!" phase.)

#25 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 01:41 PM:

I probably read the urban-legend version of the KG story in Reader's Digest at some point; I was significantly older when I heard it than I would have been when it happened. Enough older, in fact, that my primary horrified takeaway was the reporting that some people thought he was her husband/boyfriend and therefore had the right to beat her.

#26 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 01:47 PM:

No idea if it's related to growing up in the shadow of the Kitty Genovese story or not, but a couple of decades ago I called 911 because I could hear one of the people who lived downstairs from me beating up the other person in the apartment.

#27 ::: MacAllister ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 02:24 PM:

Melissa Singer @26, I suspect the Kitty Genovese story still informs the decisions many of us make today. Likewise, technology has made a number of things different ( although "different" does not always imply "better", of course).

We had a late-night domestic dispute on our floor that spilled out into the hallway, a couple of years ago -- but nearly every tenant on the floor first called 911 on their cell phones then popped out of their apartments still holding those same cellphones, to record video of the incident to offer to the police, when the cops showed up.

#28 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 03:45 PM:

I've had mixed results calling the police in domestic matters. When I worked as a waitress, we had a couple come in about 1 a.m., apparently after a night out that involved significant alcohol consumption, which was a common pattern in our customers. What was unusual was that they'd left their small child (maybe about 4 years old?) asleep in the car, and when the kid woke up he didn't know where he was or where they were, so he started wandering around the parking lot (next to a busy highway) crying. Another customer brought him inside. I called the cops. They came, shrugged, and went away again.

OTOH, when my across-the-street neighbors got in a yelling, furniture-throwing fight (I could hear but not see them, so I don't know if anyone actually got hurt), the cop I called came over to talk to me afterwards and was literally shaking with adrenaline and/or indignation. His parting words to me were "They were fighting in front of those two kids [ages 3 and 5]. If you EVER hear anything like that again, CALL ME." And he gave me his card. The couple moved away shortly afterwards.

#29 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 05:08 PM:

Lila 28: In many jurisdictions, there's someone more specific to call for child endangerment issues. Usually called something like Child Protective Services. They don't play by the same rules as the cops and take a kid in case s/he might be in danger (usually).

You probably already knew that, though.

#30 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 08:32 PM:

TexAnne@24: Yes, exactly. Before that, ambulances were strictly for transportation. In the small town where I grew up, the hearse from the local funeral home served double duty as an ambulance.

#31 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 09:19 PM:

Xopher: yes, I do know that, though I didn't back when I was a waitress. Not that it would have made any difference--at one a.m., nobody but the cops is going to answer the phone. (Years later I worked a stint as a freelance magazine writer and did a story on our local Dept. of Family and Children's Services. Two things I remember from that assignment: the average number of kids per caseload was 65; and the average turnover time for DFACS employees was 2 years.)

#32 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 11:43 PM:

HelenS: PSST Con 2, at the Olympic Hotel. I attended and have the audiotapes that were made and sold at the time. (I always remember how delighted Harlan was when he discovered a guy was "typing with his toes" in the audience.)

#33 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 02:02 AM:

One of those "They do it differently" moments.

In the UK, the "999" emergency number was introduced by the Metropolitan Police in 1937. On the old telephone dials, it was fairly easy to find, but it also avoided disrupting the normal operation of the automatic exchanges of the time, and it was easy to modify the coin-operated telephone boxes so as not to charge for such calls.

It took time to spread across the country. More significantly, it took longer for telephones to be commonplace. Not every residence had them.

So there I was, used to the idea that there was a single telephone number for Fire, Police, and Ambulance. I am used to there being a National Health Service, and not having to worry about medical bills when things go wrong.

And then we got to see Emergency! on TV and what sticks in my mind is the paramedic element: the ambulance crew in radio contact with the hospital and working on a critically ill patient while in transit. I didn't have any sense of the newness of a uniform emergency number.

The paramedic element was new.

Oh, and those American TV shows never mentioned medical bills.

#34 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 11:08 AM:

Jim McDonald @ #23:

911 wasn't rolled out until 1972?!

Now I am astounded (and because of it, I went and checked when Sweden got a unified emergency response number, seems 90 000 was rolled out in december 1956, and was replaced by 112 in 1996).

Interestingly, 999 seems to hae been around even longer.

For anyone looking at 90 000 and going "that looks long to dial", Swedish pulse-dial uses N+1 pulses to signal N (so that's 10 pulses, pause, 1 pulse, pause,...).

#35 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 12:33 PM:

Heck, almost the entire category of survival horror depends, for its plots, on convincing us that we're worse than we are.

Which is why it's inherently a right-wing genre. Now your monster movie is inherently left-wing.

It's "Let's split up" vs. "If we all work together we can beat this thing!"

Or, to put it another way, it's "everyone gets stabbed but the virtuous blonde white girl" vs. the Mexican farmer, the Chinese store owner, the hippy potter, the survivalist gun nut and the layabout handymen teaming up to defeat the graboids.

#36 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 12:39 PM:

#30 GlendaP: You may have just answered a question that I only ever asked in jest: There's a local funeral parlor and ambulance company that have the same, unusual name.

#37 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 12:54 PM:

Bruce@32: awesome! I remember that typing with the toes thing, too. And his picking up the crying baby. I used to have the audio tapes, but I gave them to a friend and then his car was robbed.

I think I was in 7th grade that year. Maybe 8th.

#38 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 03:33 PM:

Not spam, but one of the stranger ghosts in the internet machine.

Gone.

#39 ::: parkrrrr ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 04:42 PM:

Jim's "universal" is a bit short of actual universality, too. I was born in 1971, and I was in high school when my community finally got 911 service. We had a unified number to call for all emergencies, but it was a standard 7-digit number. (Naturally, I still remember that number some twenty-odd years later. I suspect it still works, just in case.) In one small town in the area, it was faster to call the town marshal directly, using only four digits, than to dial the county emergency number.

It wasn't until the advent of computerized switching that we had 911 service. Computerized switching also brought the demise of that small exchange that allowed one to dial local numbers with just four digits.

#40 ::: Wrye ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 01:11 AM:

A ghost, Abi? Anything interesting? An early missive from Skynet?

#41 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 04:55 AM:

Wrye @41:
An early missive from Skynet?

Assuming the secondary Terminator timeline is correct, and Skynet was switched on in April of 2011, that would make it a year and a half old?

Most 18-month olds are obsessed with matters scatological. So I guess it's plausible.

Much more likely to be a human with a hole somewhere in their psyche out of which the good sense leaks. This particular one turns up from time to time all over the web. More sad than upsetting.

#42 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 01:52 PM:

Texanne @24: Yep, Emergency! was important because Los Angeles was one of the first cities to roll out a paramedic service, and the show was actually very important in popularizing the concept and familiarizing people across the country with paramedic capabilities. The TV producers actually worked very closely with the fire department to make sure it was true to life. Of course, it turned out that the show was most popular with schoolage kids for whom "fire engines are yay!" (I was one, too), but heck, them are us now, right?

I stumbled across Emergency! on Netflix earlier this year, and watched several seasons worth. It's actually really interesting watching the changes as new protocols were introduced in the paramedic service and then picked up by the show. For instance, in the first season the paramedics couldn't even start an IV without direct orders from the doc on the radio. By season 3, the practice of "standing orders" had been implemented and the paramedics could act independently in some basic matters. The changes in nursing uniforms are also interesting!

#43 ::: Dave DuPlantis ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 02:23 PM:

And here all I really knew about Emergency! was that it was a TV show and a board game. (I remember the interesting patterns of the roads on the board - two-way vs. one-way roads - and not much else. I suspect that the BoardGameGeek rating is perhaps a little charitable, but for kids who were indeed enthralled by fire engines, it was pretty cool.)

#44 ::: parkrrrr ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 03:18 PM:

The rating for the Emergency! board game on BoardGameGeek isn't really all that charitable. You just have to understand how ratings work on that site. Officially, a rating of 5 means "Average game, nothing really stands out, take it or leave it" while 4 means "Not so good game, slightly boring, it doesn't get me but could be talked into it on occasion." Emergency! is rated 4.59, so it's basically a "I probably wouldn't play it, but I guess I might if you want to." Even Monopoly, which nearly everyone on BoardGameGeek loves to hate, gets a 4.50.

In addition, BoardGameGeek adds a certain number of 5 ratings to the mix before computing the average rating, in an attempt to counter the effect of a small number of early ratings on new games made by motivated people. This pulls the rating closer to the middle. The exact number of such dummy ratings is a closely-guarded secret but is believed to vary somewhat.

#45 ::: Dave DuPlantis ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 03:55 PM:

I think I should have been more explicit. (I tend to be quicker with praise than with criticism; unfortunately it hasn't always been that way.) From what I remember of the game, I think it was right in line with a number of other games based on '70s TV shows: terrible. (We had Land of the Lost also, as well as a number of game-show-based board games. I don't think any of them rated more than 6/10. We did have some better games, but hey, we were kids, and there weren't video games until later.) 4.59, with or without extra 5s, is probably more than it deserves. Once you get past Fire Trucks Cool!, there's really not much left.

#46 ::: Dave DuPlantis has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 03:59 PM:

I didn't know they wanted URLs. I would have left them in otherwise. (I know, it's probably a Word of Power.)

[It was a punctuation issue: an exclamation point immediately followed by a comma. -- Julow Treix, Duty Gnome]

#47 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 10:32 PM:

I don't recall anything about Emergency! except that my youngest sister liked it ("There was this guy, and his arm was caught in a hydraulic press...").

#48 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 06:22 AM:

Harking back to the actual article/post/thing, I havebeen the person (well, one of two, in the specific subway/tube/undeground case) who, when a verbal interaction between a male ad a female was on the verge of changing from verbal to physical, stepped up and said "that is not cool, please refrain from hitting people" (yes, possible double standard there, I have a higher tolerance for people yelling than I do for people hitting).

It eventually ended up with the male left on the platform, the female (and both of us) in the carriage. Most everyone in the carriage applauded us but that made what we did taste like ash. We only did what I would expect, no more, no less. Having it treated as some crazy act of heroism did not make me feel any better.

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