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The Scully Box

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Gillian Anderson is much shorter than David Duchovny -- estimates of their actual heights vary, but there's roughly a 10" height difference there. So when the pair costarred on The X-Files, filming conversations posed a problem; getting both of their heads in a standing shot would have had Anderson talking into Duchovny's chest (perhaps not the worst fate in the world, but not great TV). The solution is delightful: the Scully Box, which is a variant of the typical apple box. Anderson stood on a specially-designed box that elevated her just enough to have a TV-normal conversation with Duchovny. Have a look:

Prior to the Scully Box, the norm for this sort of task was an apple box, a wooden box of predictable dimensions: 8"x20"x12". (There are also half-apple and quarter-apple sizes, for less demanding applications.) According to TV Tropes, the Scully Box is sized at "an 'apple' and a half," and could be stacked or laid out in a path (you don't want to stack typical apple boxes or have actors walk far on them, as they're not particularly stable). To my eye, the "half" apple is just extra length, not height or width -- but I'm not a TV professional. Also according to TV Tropes, the Scully Box was made of aluminum covered in carpeting, which is a far cry from the typical plain wood of an apple box.

Some reports say that Gillian Anderson called it the "Gilly Board," which is kind of adorable. Here's a snippet of an interview with US Magazine reprinted on Anderson's "official" website, in which the Scully Box or Gilly Board is discussed, but not named. Note how Anderson seems to contradict herself (emphasis added):

US: You walk very tall. Do you ever forget that you're only 5 feet two?

GILLIAN: It depends on how I feel about myself in a given moment. Sometimes I forget I'm short. Sometimes I totally feel how short I am.

US: Like when you have to stand on a box to do a scene with David Duchovny?

GILLIAN: I don't have to stand on a box. Sometimes when we're in a situation walking side by side, like up to a door to pull out our badges and say we're from the FBI, I have to step up onto something so that we're on the same level. I mean, I don't walk on boxes or have boxes attached to my feet. It's funny: Sometimes I forget I'm on the box. Like, I'll have this very serious moment in a very serious scene and I'll turn to the camera and fall right off the box.

(Via The Beautiful Chaotic.)

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Amazon
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entertainment
The 10 Best TV Shows on Amazon Prime Right Now
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Amazon

If you’re a subscriber to Amazon Prime, you’re entitled to free expedited shipping, free Kindle downloads, and lots of other perks. But some customers are perfectly content to relegate their use of the service to the company’s considerable streaming video options.

If you’ve already explored their extensive library of HBO classics like The Sopranos and The Wire, don’t worry—there’s plenty of binge-watching left. Check out our picks for 10 of the best TV shows on Amazon Prime right now.

1. HANNIBAL (2013-2015)

At first glance, Bryan Fuller’s (Pushing Daisies) take on the Thomas Harris novels featuring the gastronomic perversions of Hannibal Lecter seems like a can’t-win: How does anyone improve on The Silence of the Lambs and Anthony Hopkins’s portrayal of the diabolical psychiatrist? By not trying. Mads Mikkelsen’s Lecter is a study in composure; FBI agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is the one who seems to be coming unhinged. While Fuller has time to explore the finer details of Harris’s novels, he also has the temerity to diverge from them. Hannibal’s brief three-season run is a tragedy, but what’s here is appetizing.

2. GOLIATH (2016-)

David E. Kelley (The Practice) wrote this eight-episode limited series about a downtrodden lawyer (Billy Bob Thornton) who brushes up against his former law firm when he tackles an accidental death case that turns into a sprawling conspiracy. Thornton won a Golden Globe for his performance; William Hurt should've won something for his portrayal as the diabolical firm co-founder who keeps pulling Thornton's strings from afar. A second season is set to premiere in 2018.

3. THE AMERICANS (2013-)

If Stranger Things stimulated your appetite for ‘80s paranoia, FX’s The Americans—about two Soviet spies (Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell) embedding themselves in suburban America—is bound to satisfy. As Russell and Rhys navigate a complex marriage that may be as phony as their birth certificates, their allegiance to Russia is constantly tested. Prime has the first four seasons, with the recently-aired fifth season due soon; the show's sixth and final season will air in 2018.

4. SIX FEET UNDER (2001-2005)

A celebration of life under the watch of death: Alan Ball’s Six Feet Under chronicles the Fishers, proprietors of a Los Angeles funeral home who struggle to carry on following the abrupt death of their patriarch. Darkly humorous and emotionally charged, it’s also got one of the most talked-about (and gut-wrenching) finales in television history.

5. JUSTIFIED (2010-2015)

Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) makes his intentions clear in the opening moments of episode one: If he draws his weapon, he’s shooting to kill. That’s more or less what transpires in six seasons of this FX series, which ambles along like a modern-day Western but is transformed by the lyrical dialogue inspired by novelist Elmore Leonard. And like any good white hat, Givens needs his foil. He gets it in the form of Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), who stole the show on another FX series, The Shield, and does the same here. When the two finally face off after years of circling, it’s nothing you’ll have seen coming.

6. CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2000-)

“Social assassin” Larry David is returning from a six-year sabbatical for a ninth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm in October. In the meantime, you can relive every awkward moment from the first decade of his loosely-improvised show. Ambling through Los Angeles, the selfish, abrasive David rarely encounters a situation he can’t make worse.

7. OZ (1997-2003)

Oz, HBO’s first hour-long drama, set the stage for a Golden Age of television, pulling no punches in its depiction of the fictional Oswald State Correctional Facility and its cast of scheming, volatile prisoners trying to survive in an experimental ward. Twenty years later, it might still be the most boundary-pushing series ever to air. 

8. MAD DOGS (2015-2016)

An Amazon original limited series that flew under the radar, Mad Dogs plays like a travelogue for a trip you never want to take. Friends gather in Belize at the behest of a friend (Billy Zane), whose connections with the country’s criminal element wind up being problematic for everyone involved.  

9. MR. SHOW WITH BOB AND DAVID  (1995-1998)

Bob Odenkirk and David Cross’s HBO series mixes surrealism with intricate plotting to produce some of the most inventive sketch comedy on television. If you don't believe us, check out "Pre-Taped Call-in Show" from the 10th episode of season three.

10. THE JOY OF PAINTING (1986-1994)

Happy trees and clouds await viewers of legendary painting instructor Bob Ross, whose canvases beam into your living rooms like digital Prozac.

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History
Disneyland Opened Today in 1955
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YouTube // Surf's Up Studios

On July 17, 1955, Disneyland opened to the public, complete with a 90-minute live TV special aired on ABC. With hordes of press on location, the affair was a media circus. For people attending the park in person, the launch was a real mess, as thousands of people crashed the party using counterfeit tickets.

Despite the launch troubles in person, the TV coverage was great fun, and it was cohosted by Ronald Reagan alongside Art Linkletter and Bob Cumming. It was a major television event, and you can tell from watching it that such a big show had a lot of moving parts—at one point Linkletter introduces Davy Crockett as "Cinderella." The special aired 61 years ago today, and in a minor coincidence, Reagan accepted the Republican nomination for US President on the same date in 1980. Anyway, strap on your Mickey Mouse wristwatch and go back to 1955 for a wild ride:

(If you'd like to save a copy for later viewing, the Internet Archive lets you download the whole special.)

In 1990, Disney held a 35-year anniversary bash. Here's some TV coverage (again featuring Reagan) from that event, including a sort of blooper/highlight reel of the 1955 event starting just past the 2:00 mark.

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