April 9, 2013

A day in the week

I thought I'd do something different for this week's Tuesday essay.  Those of you who come from the Radio Discussions.com board know that every week I post a link to the newest "This Week in TV Guide" piece, along with a random day of TV listings from that week.  Today we're going to try an expanded version of this for those of you who don't frequent Radio Discussions (and, by the way, why don't you?), with an additional day's worth of listings from Saturday's issue, along with some added personal commentary that might help put things in perspective.

Ready?  Let's give this a try, with the listings for Minneapolis-St. Paul for Wednesday, April 8, 1970.  This is an issue that, for some long-forgotten reason, was part of my personal collection (as opposed to one I acquired later on), which means that my nine-year-old self looked through these listings compulsively.  And remember, stations reserve the right to make last-minute changes.


KTCA, Channel 2 (NET)
08:30a
Classroom (until 3:00p)
03:00p
Management: A Joint Venture
03:30p
TBA
03:45p
Teaching Spanish
04:00p
Profiles of Progress
04:15p
The Friendly Giant
04:30p
Sesame Street
05:30p
Misterogers' Neighborhood
06:00p
Irish Diary
06:30p
Supervisory Practices
07:00p
Minnesota Meets the Challenge
08:00p
Law Night
08:30p
Urban Partners in the ‘70s
09:00p
Students Search for Religion
10:00p
NET Festival


Throughout the 60s, KTCA's affiliation had been shown only as "Educational," but by 1970 they were part of NET (National Educational Television), forerunner of today's PBS.  And you'll notice that their programming is, for the most part, purely educational, with some even broadcast from city classrooms.  Two of NET/PBS' earliest mainstays can be seen here - Sesame Street and Misterogers' Neighborhood.  In fact, one of the few places you can see the old NET logo is on very old repeats of Misterogers, during the end credits.  Later, of course, you'd know the show by its more familiar name: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.  At the time I was a bit old for both of these shows, and besides I'd already cast my lot with Captain Kangaroo.



Channel 4, WCCO (CBS)
06:00a
Sunrise Semester – Iranian Culture
06:30a
Siegfried and his Flying Saucer
07:00a
Clancy and Carmen
07:30a
Clancy and Willie
08:00a
Captain Kangaroo
09:00a
‘Morning
09:30a
The Beverly Hillbillies
10:00a
Andy Griffith
10:30a
Love of Life
11:00a
Where the Heart Is
11:25a
Live Today
11:30a
Search for Tomorrow
12:00p
News (local)
12:30p
As the World Turns
01:00p
Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing
01:30p
Guiding Light
02:00p
The Secret Storm
02:30p
The Edge of Night
03:00p
Gomer Pyle, USMC
03:30p
Lucille Ball
04:00p
Mike Douglas
05:30p
CBS News (Walter Cronkite)
06:00p
News (local)
06:30p
Hee Haw
07:30p
The Beverly Hillbillies
08:00p
Medical Center
09:00p
Hawaii Five-O
10:00p
News (local)
10:45p
Merv Griffin
12:15a
News (local)
12:25a
Movie – “The Frightened City”

Siegfried wasn't a character from a Wagner opera, but he was the "host" of an early morning cartoon show.  Actually, host is generous - he was nothing more than a non-animated line drawing, exiting from and entering a flying saucer.  Hey, kids are easily entertained!  The feature I remember most from Siegfried was a character called "Wallace the Weather Bear," another non-animated cartoon character, who would appear on slides giving the forecast for the day. The "Hi" and "Lo" were standard viewing for grade school kids who might be called on in class to repeat them.  (Weather was a big part of growing up in Minnesota.)

In fact, with the exception of Sunrise Semester, all the programming up to 9am is for kids.  It used to be that after-school TV was for kids as well, but by this time that's been replaced by series reruns and Mike Douglas.  That kind of change is one of the more noticeable things one sees as the 60s transition to the 70s.

You can see, with both Hee Haw and The Beverly Hillbillies in the lineup, it isn't quite time for CBS' rural purge. The presence of a show like Hawaii Five-O, however, would suggest that the purge isn't long in coming.

KSTP, Channel 5 (NBC)
06:30a
Minnesota Today
07:00a
Today
09:00a
It Takes Two
09:25a
NBC News (Nancy Dickerson)
09:30a
Concentration
10:00a
Sale of the Century
10:30a
Hollywood Squares
11:00a
Jeopardy
11:30a
Who, What or Where Game 
11:55a
NBC News (Floyd Kalbur)
12:00p
Dial 5
12:30p
Life With Linkletter
01:00p
Days of Our Lives
01:30p
The Doctors
02:00p
Another World/Bay City
02:30p
Bright Promise
03:00p
Another World/Somerset
03:30p
Movie – “The Jackpot”
05:30p
NBC News (Huntley/ Brinkley)
06:00p
News (local)
06:30p
The Virginian
08:00p
Kraft Music Hall
09:00p
Then Came Bronson
10:00p
News (local)
10:30p
Johnny Carson
12:00a
David Frost

Dial 5, with Jim Hutton and Jane Johnston, was a staple of local programming on Channel 5.  Jim Hutton (not that Jim) also hosted Dialing for Dollars when that was a stand-alone show.  I'm not sure, but it's likely it was still around as a feature on this show.  Nobody from there ever called our home, at least as far as I'm aware.  Of course, whenever I hear Dialing for Dollars, I think of this:


Life With Linkletter starred tArt and his son Jack.  I don't know if this was an NBC or a syndicated series; perhaps one of our readers can enlighten us.  Art had, of course, been a longtime staple of CBS' daytime schedule.  Another World was, as I've mentioned elsewhere, one of my mother's favorite soaps.  It wasn't until rereading this issue that I remembered the time when NBC split it into two separate, but connected, shows. 

KMSP, Channel 9 (ABC)
07:30a
News and Views
08:00a
Dennis the Menace
08:30a
Grandpa Ken
09:00a
Romper Room (Miss Karen)
09:30a
McHale’s Navy
10:00a
Bewitched
10:30a
That Girl
11:00a
Best of Everything
11:30a
World Apart
12:00p
All My Children
12:30p
Let’s Make a Deal
01:00p
Newlywed Game
01:30p
Dating Game
02:00p
General Hospital
02:30p
One Life to Live
03:00p
Dark Shadows
03:30p
Peyton Place
04:00p
Steve Allen
05:00p
ABC News (Reynolds/Smith)
05:30p
To Tell the Trugh
06:00p
Truth or Consequences
06:30p
Nanny and the Professor
07:00p
The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
07:30p
Room 222
08:00p
Johnny Cash
09:00p
Engelbert Humperdinck
10:00p
News (local)
10:30p
Dick Cavett
12:00a
Movie – “The Light Touch”

I'm always struck by how TV was before it became 24/7.  Channel 9 doesn't come on until 7:30; nowadays, by that time I've already eaten, caught a half-hour of sports, and headed for work.  I mentioned in Saturday's post that ABC was really into the variety show format, and you can see here that they even try to make a TV star out of Engelbert Humperdinck.  It didn't really work, though.

ABC News went through a lot of anchor combinations prior to World News Tonight.  This was, I thought, one of the better ones, with Frank Reynolds and Howard K. Smith.  Reynolds caught some flack from the Nixon White House for his liberal leanings; he was eventually replaced by Harry Reasoner when he jumped from CBS.  When World News Tonight started, though, Reynolds was back in the anchor chair.  Interesting fact - Reynolds covered Ronald Reagan's campaign in 1976, and from what I understand the families became quite close.  When Reynolds died, the Reagans attended the funeral.  Perhaps Reynolds had moderated in his politics, or maybe the two men just liked each other.  Too bad that doesn't happen more in politics today.

WTCN, Channel 11 (Ind.)
06:55a
News (local)
07:00a
Casey and Roundhouse
08:00a
Dave Lee
08:30a
Hobo Kelly
09:00a
News (local)
09:30a
Jack LaLanne
10:00a
Debbie Drake
10:30a
Joan Rivers
11:00a
Girl Talk
11:30a
The Galloping Gourmet
12:00p
Lunch With Casey
01:00p
Movie – “A Life in the Balance”
02:50p
Fashions in Sewing
03:00p
He Said! She Said!
03:30p
Beat the Clock
04:00p
The Addams Family
04:30p
The Flintstones
05:00p
Gilligan’s Island
05:30p
Star Trek
06:30p
Perry Mason
07:30p
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
08:00p
The Alcoa Hour – “Cowboy”
09:00p
Tightrope
09:30p
News (local)
10:00p
Felony Squad
10:30p
Movie – “Voice in the Mirror”
12:30a
News (local)

Casey Jones (Roger Awsumb) was an icon on Twin Cities' kids television, and here he has two shows with his sidekick, Roundhouse Rodney (Lynn Dwyer).  Follow that link to the Lunch With Casey site; you can learn a lot cooler stuff than I have room for here.

Channel 11 is a pretty traditional independent station of the time, with a mix of syndicated programming, reruns and movies, and a lot of sports during the appropriate seasons (it was the station of Twins baseball, North Stars hockey, University of Minnesota hockey and basketball, plus the high school tournaments).  Boy, I remember a lot of these shows - besides Casey, I watched Graham Kerr's Galloping Gourmet, Virginia Graham on Girl Talk, even Jack LaLanne.  I don't remember seeing Debbie Drake, however; I've been told that if I had seen her, I would have remembered.  Maybe I was just too young...


The 1pm movie would have been hosted by Mel Jass, another local legend.  I never liked him when I was watching him back then; I do miss him, though.

KTCI, Channel 17 (NET)
09:00a
Sesame Street
11:15a
Classroom (until 3:30p)
07:00p
Conversations With James Day
07:30p
Book Beat
08:00p
International Magazine
09:00p
Soul!
 
Channel 17, the second educational channel, was started in 1965.  KTCA and KTCI were sister stations, run by the same organization - Twin Cities Public Television.  It's never really succeeded in having its own identity, alternating between playing repeats of Channel 2 programming (for those who missed it the first time) and being an outlet for local or alternative PBS shows.  I'm not quite sure which category it fits into right now.

In case you're interested in why you'd want to watch a conversation with James Day, he was at the time president of NET.  Book Beat, with Chicago Tribune books editor Bob Cromie, was a long-running show on NET/PBS, much remembered by my wife. 

***

And now a final word about kids' TV shows, because I've mentioned a few today.  I never saw the granddaddy of them all, the Mickey Mouse Club, when it was in first-run, but I saw it in reruns, and I had the requisite share of memorabilia - the ears, the watch, the Transogram game.  And again, I must have been too young at the time, because I'm fairly sure I would have remembered seeing Annette.  I was at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago a couple of months ago, and as part of one of their exhibits they were running clips from the show.  Just by looking at the shirts, I was able to pick her out, even if I hadn't been able to read the name on the shirt.  (Think about it for a minute; you'll get it.)  I doubt you'd have found too many people who would have been surprised if you'd told them that Annette Funicello would wind up a star - she had talent, personality, and a likeability that woudn't stop.  And if that weren't enough, by all accounts she was a very nice person as well. You can't really beat that combination, can you?  R.I.P., Annette.

4 comments:

  1. This is mostly going to be about Frank Reynolds, because as a Chicagoan of A Certain Age, I grew up with him.

    I first saw Frank Reynolds as a reporter/anchorman on WBBM-ch2, the CBS station.
    He was in his mid-30s then, but his hair had already started to go gray. In the Fifties,this actually worked in his favor; combined with his deep voice, this gave him "cred" as a serious journalist (that term wasn't in use then, but you get what I mean).
    Reynolds started back in the earliest part of the decade, on WBKB-ch4, the first TV station in Chicago. Around 1953, when CBS took over ch4 and moved it to ch2 (very, very, long story), the first thing they did was make Reynolds the number two news anchor at the station, behind Fahey Flynn (an Irish-uncle type who'd been with CBS Radio for years).
    Ch2 had the largest TV news staff in town for years, with Ch5-NBC close behind. Ch7-ABC didn't even try to compete until around 1960, when they got Alex Dreier to jump from ch5 (Dreier was kind of the Nero Wolfe of news; he later went to Hollywood and had some success as a character actor *but I digress*).
    Anyway, ABC and ch7 followed similar paths in building up their news ops - i.e., stealing news stars from other stations/networks.
    I think it was 1963 when Ch7 announced that Frank Reynolds and Hugh Hill were moving from ch 2 to ch7. It was front-page news in Chicago - and we had four major dailies back then.
    Before long, Frank Reynolds took over as lead anchor, when Alex Dreier made his move to the west coast.
    In 1964, the ABC network plucked Reynolds fron ch7 and sent him to that year's political conventions as a floor correspondent. Not long thereafter, the network assigned him to Washington DC, where he made friends, built points with Capitol Hill and the network, and ultimately became the network anchor around 1968.
    What I've read of Reynolds was that he was an upright, devoutly Catholic man, with a strong moralistic streak to go with his Chicago Democratic beliefs. It's true enough that he didn't much care for the Nixon administration, but that came more from his moralism than from any political convictions; it's well-known that the Nixon team felt the same way about him.
    I'll mention in passing that Howard K. Smith, Reynolds's co-anchor, was also,by his own accounts left-of-center; his sole real point of agreement with Nixon was about the Vietnam War.
    Anyway, flashing ahead to the '80s, it's true that Reynolds got along better with Reagan's family, but this was because Reagan was a far more personable man than Nixon was; Reynolds's political beliefs never "moderated", but neither man made those beliefs the basis for friendship or enmity (unlike today, of course).
    There was a book called (I think) The Evening Stars (can't remember who wrote it *darndarndarndarndarn*), which tells the whole Reynolds story (along with many others about anchors past), with mythology held to a minimum. If you can find a copy, get it and read it.

    About Debbie Drake:
    I mentioned at the top that I'm ten years older than you are.
    It follows that I definitely remember Debbie Drake.
    If you look diligently through your mid-to-late'60s vintage TV GUIDES, you'll likely find some photo layouts of Miss Drake in discreet leotards, showing her stretching skills.

    Over the years, I saw here in Chicago the gradual erosion of local TV. 1970 would be about two-thirds of the way through the process.
    Nowadays, the only "local personalities" any station has are its news anchors - and for many of these folks, the city they happen to be in is merely a way-station on their way up the network ladder. You likely have many stories about news stars you grew up with in Minneapolis who ultimately left the Minnesota nest -
    - like Ron Magers, who I understand was Number One at WCCO in Minn-StPaul for years.
    Ron Magers is currently the main anchor at ch7 here in Chicago - the spot once held by Frank Reynolds.




    ReplyDelete
  2. Does anyone know if Jim Hutton is still alive? After tv Jim worked in radio in Phoenix at a station owned by dick van dyke

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  4. LIFE WITH LINKLETTER was on NBC, after CBS dropped him the previous year.

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And now for something completely different.