March 3, 2012
This week in TV Guide: February 25, 1967
On second thought, looking through the pages of this issue, I can perhaps understand why I don't have anything for the first part of March - because there's nothing on. March Madness was only a glimmer in the eye of some as-yet born television marketer; the NCAA finals weren't even on network television in 1967.
In the headlines: "Night Falls on Panel-Quiz Shows" tells us that time's up for What's My Line?, I've Got a Secret and To Tell the Truth, CBS' triumverate of celebrity panel shows. The reason: "favorite fare of older viewers, and TV is determinedly for the younger ones, who presumably are more acquisitive." It is a similar mindset, I believe, that leads to CBS' "Rural Purge" that takes out still-popular programs such as Hee Haw, Green Acres, and Mayberry RFD. With Candid Camera likely to also come to an end at the end of the 67 season, Ed Sullivan would be the last remaining prime time entertainment show broadcast from New York.
But probably the best thing about this issue is something I know I always look for in TV Guide - a fashion shoot.
Meredith MacRae, who at the time was one of the three daughers in Petticoat Junction (she was the third actress to play Billie Jo Bradley, following Jeannine Riley and Gunilla Hutton). Her mother, Sheila MacRae, was playing Ralph Kramden's wife Alice in Jackie Gleason's revival of The Honeymooners. Her father, Gordon MacRae, was a great musical star of the 50s, in Oklahoma and Carousel. Great voice. At this time, Meredith is 23, and surely a welcome andidote to the cover shot of the cackling Phyllis Diller.
These fashion shoots pop up in TV Guide from time to time - I can recall at least three more, with model Salome Jens, newscaster Nancy Dickerson (boy, how times have changed!), and Oscar nominee Julie Harris. Culturally, this is kind of a mixed bag - today you can find actresses as sex symbols in all kinds of magazines, but there's something about a fashion layout in a non-fashion magazine that still seems a little - well, not sexist exactly, but certainly dated. Yes, that's the term I'm looking for - dated. I don't remember running across any fashion shoots featuring male actors of the day, but at this time it's still OK to admire female pulchritude without feeling like a total cad.
And you know - that's not necessarily a bad thing.