We're got another example of that this week, and while the viewing choices aren't as widespread as they were in the previous issue, they're still worth looking at. The mailing label on this issue is missing so we can't tell much about that owner (other than that he or she lived in the Twin Cities), but my suspicion is that they liked sports.
The week kicks off on Saturday, and there, in green ink, a box has been drawn around the pre-game show preceding the Minnesota Twins game against the Tigers in Detroit. No surprise there; this is a magic year for the Twins, who lead the American League on the way to their first pennant and appearance in the World Series, where they'll lose a heart-breaking seventh game to Sandy Koufax and the Los Angeles Dodgers.* That's a ways in the distance though, so we'll just enjoy the Twins on their ride to the top.
*Who are on ABC's Saturday Game of the Week, playing the hapless Mets in New York.
The Twins are on again Tuesday night (accompanied by the note "7:30 Twins"), this time in Chicago to play the White Sox. Following that, though, we're plunged into confusion - unless this household has multiple TVs, there might have been a battle over what show to watch. Channel 11's late movie, following the Twins game, is Only the Valiant at 11:30pm. The movie runs two hours, but that doesn't prevent our programmer from also circling the 12:15am movie on Channel 5, Apache Woman. And for good measure, the program following that 11:30 Channel 11 movie, Adventure Theater, is highlighted as well. My guess is that if Only the Valiant was any good, the Channel 11 schedule probably won out. Otherwise, it gets the hook and Apache Woman takes the night.
Unfortunately, even though there's another Twins-Chicago game the following night, and the first of a weekend series against the Yankees on Friday, this is where the notes end. Maybe the owner got sick and didn't get to the rest of the week; perhaps there was a vacation upcoming, with no need to circle shows after Tuesday. Hard to say. But I'm sorry they stopped, whoever they were - it's fun looking back at what I might have watched back then, but even more fun to see the viewing habits of others.
During the 60s, the Ed Sullivan Show and The Hollywood Palace were the premiere variety shows on television. Whenever they appear in TV Guide together, we'll match them up and see who has the best lineup..
Palace: We’re in the rerun zone at the Palace this week, with host Arthur Godfrey welcoming comedian Shelley Berman; songstress Dorothy Collins; singer John Gary; the comedy team of Gaylord and Holiday; Dwight Moore and His Mongrels; juggler Eva Vidos; and the Dalrays, comic acrobats.
Sullivan: Ed's live this week, with comedian Sid Caesar; comics Allen and Rossi; French pop singer Jean Paul Vignon; British rock 'n' roller Tom Jones; comic London Lee; singer Dee Dee Sharpe; the Seekers, folk singers; and the Wychwoods, an illusionist act which uses 14 trained poodles.
Let's see: dog acts? Check. Comedians? Check. Comedy teams? Check. Singers? Check. Each show has ticked the boxes this week, which leaves us to look at the personalities. Shelley Berman can be very funny, Dorothy Collins is easy on the eyes, and John Gary has a smooth voice. On the other hand, Tom Jones is still going strong! Even so, it's not unusual for me to go with The Palace, and that's where the winner is this week.
Oh, and she can still sing a bit, too. What a sad, sad life she led.
Pretentious alert: on Thursday's repeat episode of The Defenders, Jack Klugman stars as a formerly blacklisted actor whose comeback is being threatened by a "vigilante" group trying to get him fired. So we have Klugman, one of the most intense, scene-chewing actors around; we have McCarthyite villians in the "vigilantes" trying to prevent a decent man from earning a living; and we have The Defenders itself, one of the more strident, issues-oriented programs on the air.
I don't say that this wasn't a good episode; regardless of the show's political slant, The Defenders was one of the quality programs of the early 60s, a series that wasn't afraid to take on serious issues. It's their advocacy that often grinds on me. Likewise, Klugman's a man who's very good at intense but doesn't have any other speed, and I think it's a race to see who tires first: the actor or his audience. And we don't need to deny that there were misdeeds done during the blacklist to acknowledge that the anti-Communists make a juicy straw man target. I've never seen The Defenders, I admit; I was too young when it was on originally, it's not out on DVD, and there are very few significant clips online. But if I'd liked The Defenders back then, I probably would have skipped an episode like this, because I wouldn't have wanted to get mad.
Entertaining documentary alert: ABC has a couple this week, which shows that not all docs were dry, dull affairs. First off, on Sunday night, is "Assault on Le Mans," the third installment in ABC's "Daring Americans" series, portraying American Grand Prix champion Phil Hill, one of the greatest racing drivers of the 1960s. Hill was the first American, and the only native-born one, to win the World Driving Championship. Now he's at the fabled Le Mans, a race he's won three times in the past. His teammate in the 24-hour race is Bruce McLaren*, as they drive for the upstart American Ford team, taking on the legendary European powers, particularly Ferrari. Hill and McLaren don't win; as a matter of fact, they dropped out after 192 laps. But two years later, Ford would topple mighty Ferrari, the legendary Ford GT taking first, second and third.
*Yes, the same McLaren who formed the car company that continues to race in Formula 1, and manufactures one of the greatest, and most expensive, supercars around.
Then, on Friday night, ABC turns its attention to gambling, as host Terry-Thomas takes a humorous look at "the urge to gamble" in "Everybody's Got a System." The show visits horse racing tracks in Europe, talks to bettors and bookies to learn about the sport's attraction, visits a bingo parlor to see how even small-scale gambling can thrill, and visits the casinos, where Thomas explains his own "system" at the roulette wheel. It seems lightweight, but a fun show, not unlike something you might see on History or A&E today.
Fashion alert: it's time for another starlet to display the latest in haute fashion. This time it's actress Janet Margolin, who will go on to a successful career with appearances in media as varied as Woody Allen movies, a Ghostbusters sequel, and episodes of Columbo and Murder, She Wrote. But never mind that - her mission this week is to show off the newest craze, the Finnish Marimekko, made famous by Jackie Kennedy.
|SOURCE: HADLEY TV GUIDE COLLECTION|
Janet Margolin died of cancer in 1993, not quite 30 years after this issue.
James Arness is so big (besides being 6'7", that is), he even dominates this week's profile of Milburn Stone, who plays Doc on the long-running Gunsmoke. Stone remembers the first few years working with Arness, and he wasn't impressed: "He'd be late or wouldn't show up - never apologize. And once he was there he'd clown around." When Stone couldn't take it any longer, he lit into Arness at a rehearsal, telling him that he didn't belong in the business, and added that "I've read my contract and there's nothing in it that says I have to put diapers on you or wait for you. And if you ever show up late again, buddy, you'll have two things to explain - not only where you were, but where I went!" To Stone's surprise, Arness took the tongue-lashing like a man, telling him that "You're absolutely right." "From that moment on," Stone says, Arness changed, becoming the consummate profession we've read about in TV Guide. "I begain to love that guy. He's a great big wonderful cub bear."
I watched Gunsmoke when I was a kid, primarily because my grandfather did, and although I wouldn't rank it as a favorite it was a memorable show nonetheless. The byplay between the main characters - Matt, Doc, Festus and Kitty, and the obvious chemistry between the actors playing them - is the glue that held the show together, and watching it in reruns today confirms the quality of the program.
As for Stone, he's now making the circuit with Ken Curtis, the former Ripcord star who plays Festus, playing fairs, rodeos and horse shows. Of all the characters on Gunsmoke I think Doc and Festus were my two favorites. Seeing them appear together must have been quite an experience.
I first saw The Rogues a couple of years ago, when we first got MeTV, and I was absolutely charmed by it. It's a show that desperately deserves a commercial DVD release (although you can get copies if you know where to look), and since I only caught maybe half of the episodes, I'd love to see it back on the MeTV schedule. It was better than Leverage, more humorous than The A-Team, and not nearly as complicated as Mission: Impossible. And since it was a series, unlike The Sting, you got to see it every week. It should have run for more than one season, and if you ever get the chance you should give it a try. I will be surprised if my readers aren't as charmed by it as was I.