It was in 1955 that Squaw Valley was selected for the 1960 Games - "a town with no mayor, and a ski resort with just one chairlift, two rope tows, and a fifty-room lodge." In fact, there was only one resident of Squaw Valley, a man named Alexander Cushing, who also happened to head the "group" bidding for the Games. Through an ingenious campaign, Cushing managed to convince first the United States Olympic Committee and then, in a massive upset, the International Olympic Committee, that Squaw Valley was the place for the Games. This was despite the fact that none of the facilities he included in his bid* even existed yet. Had he been unable to pull it off, Cushing probably would have gone down in history as one of the great land swindlers of all time, and we'd be seeing his story on an episode of The FBI.
*Seen in a massive 3,000 pound model of Squaw Valley that Cushing commissioned for the IOC, a model so big that it had to be housed in the U.S. Embassy in Paris, where the final vote was taken.
But pull it off he did. With only four-and-a-half years to get ready, he wasted no time hiring the best people, including famed Olympic course designer Willy Schaeffler, to construct a venue from scratch - everything from freeways, hotels and motels to access roads, bridges and arenas. The result was a huge success, a spectacular resort venue that continues to thrive today, and a Games that scored a host of notable firsts, including the first to be televised.
Which brings us to this week's coverage, seen on CBS Saturday and Sunday. Unquestionably Saturday's highlight is the live broadcast of America's upset gold medal victory in hockey. As would be the case 20 years later, a team comprised of college players, cheered on by a rabid home crowd, takes on and defeats the giants of international hockey: Canada, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. You can see that historic final game, against the Soviets, beginning here, with Bud Palmer doing the play-by-play:
CBS looked at the Games as a news event as much as a sporting one; Walter Cronkite was the anchor for the network's coverage, with Chris Schenkel and event experts joining in. Douglas Edwards filled in for Uncle Walter on the Sunday night late news, which Cronkite helmed until taking over for Edwards on the weekday evening news.
This week's starlet is another destined to make it big, or at least one who has a successful career. It's Shirley Knight. The 23 year-old actress is primarily known for her many guest appearances on TV: G.E. Theater, Playhouse 90, Matinee Theater, Johnny Staccato. She's under contract to Warner Brothers for both television and movies, and says she'll "work every day they'll let me until I'm 65."
And she does work. Later that year she'll appear in her third movie, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, for which she'll get an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In 1962, her fifth movie, Sweet Bird of Youth, will garner her another Supporting Actress nomination. Her TV appearances will net her eight Emmy nominations and three victories. A pretty good career, don't you think? Probably even more successful than they could imagine over at TV Guide.
|SOURCE: BROADCASTING AND CABLE|
If Quinn Martin had any lingering feelings of guilt about cheating the FBI out of proper credit, hopefully he was able to even the score when it came to one of his longest-running hits: The FBI (1965-74).
Martin has other problems with The Untouchables - the estate of Al Capone, the first victim of Ness' squad, is suing Martin for a million bucks for using his likeness for profit without the family's permission. The show faces pushback from Italian-American groups for its negative portrayal of Italian-Americans. Critics claim the show's too violent. But it's a lot easier to take when you're producing a hit. Martin stays with The Untouchables for only a year, but his success and influence in television lasts a lot longer.
Saturday: NBC's World Wide 60 presents the comings and goings of two of the world's more important figures: Dwight D. Eisenhower and Nikita Khrushchev. The American and Soviet leaders are touring the world, vying for influence in various countries. Ike's in the midst of his South American tour and, just finished a trip to Brazil, is headed for Argentina. Khrushchev, meanwhile, is in Asia, visiting India, Burma and Indonesia. NBC continues its coverage of Eisenhower's "Journey to Understanding" with another special on Thursday.
|SOURCE: HADLEY TV GUIDE COLLECTION|
*Even then, prestige shows were stuck opposite popular programs.
Monday: Bing Crosby returns to ABC with another special, this one co-starring Perry Como, dancer-singer Elaine Dunn, singer Sandy Stewart, and Bing's singing sons Philip, Dennis and Lindsay. The Crosby Boys, as they were known professionally, were around in the '50s and '60s, and actually appeared on more than just their dad's shows.
Tuesday: Another one of those daytime specials that used to crop up from time to time. This one, Woman!, runs at 2pm CT on CBS, with Helen Hayes hosting a documentary on the problems of old age. I like the thought that homemakers watching television are capable of appreciating more than just soap operas.
Wednesday: Armstrong Circle Theater presents a drama dealing with two topical issues: drugs and beatniks. "Raid in Beatnik Village" tells the story of cops on the narcotics squad going undercover to bust dope dealers. Juvenile delinquency is a big deal in the '50s and '60s, and although this drama probably would feel dated today (particularly with reference to "narcotics"), I suspect it's a pretty accurate depiction of the societal anxiety around the coming counterculture, something that would become much, much bigger by the end of this decade.
Thursday: Speaking of The Untouchables, tonight's episode is part two of an exciting story pitting Ness and the Untouchables* against the attempted assassination of FDR in 1933. As in real life, Roosevelt escapes unscathed, but Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak is shot and killed. The official story has generally been that Cermak, like Texas Governor John Connelly thirty years later, was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, but there are revisionist historians, including the writer of this episode, suggesting that the mob had a contract out on Cermak, and that he was at least as much of a target as Roosevelt.
*And please tell me why there isn't an alt-rock group out there called Eliot Ness and The Untouchables? Or Tao Jones and The Industrial Averages, for that matter?
|SOURCE: HADLEY TV GUIDE COLLECTION|
Finally, the big news of the week is that Jack Paar has returned! You may remember that back on February 11, the controversial Paar had walked off the set of The Tonight Show during taping, because NBC had censored a story he'd told on the show the night before, having to do with some confusion over the initials W.C. - meaning, depending on the two main characters in the joke, either "Wayside Chapel" or "Water Closet," i.e. bathroom. We wouldn't bat an eye at the story today, but literal bathroom humor was a no-no back then.
To compound the debacle, in place of the censored joke NBC substituted a five-minute news broadcast, right there in the middle of the show. They could have just had the show end five minutes early, I suppose, which might have meant fewer people would have noticed anything was missing. In any event, Paar complained that the amorphous term "censored" was leading people to speculate that Paar had told a story that was genuinely dirty.
Paar's spectacular walkout dominated the headlines for three weeks, until NBC board chairman Robert Sarnoff and president Robert Kintner flew down to Florida, where Paar had decamped to avoid the press. According to TV Guide, the pair "were able to sweet-talk [Paar] back into the fold with an alacrity that bordered on the miraculous." Paar's walkout "lasted just about as long as it takes to get a Florida tan," and Dwight Whitney somewhat cynically speculates that Paar's return will be "one of the most sensational 'comebacks' in entertainment history."
Was it a stunt or not? Paar always insisted that his walkout was on the up-and-up; when he left the show, he said that "there must be a better way to make a living than this." Returning on March 7, he added, "Well, I've looked, and there isn't." TV Guide's letters section presents a cross-section of viewer mail; the editors noted that 78% was pro-Paar, 22% anti-Paar. Interestingly, the listings for Tonight this week have Arlene Francis guest-hosting and Bill Wendell sitting in for Hugh Downs as announcer, while "Monday Jack returns from his vacation." I guess that's one way to put it!