July 11, 2015

This week in TV Guide: July 13, 1963

I'll be honest with you, as you know I always have been. It's beyond me to find anything of real interest in this week's issue.  We're full bore in the rerun season; the articles have been less than compelling; there's nothing secret, profound or mysterious in the shows.  Where does that leave us, then?  Fear not, for this week we'll take a look at the visual side of TV Guide.

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First off is our starlet of the week - or should we say starlets? We begin with the serious-looking Valora Noland (top; real name Valor Baum), who owes her presence in TV Guide to a number of bit parts in series such as
The Rifleman and Dupont Show of the Week, and was a finalist to play one of the Bradley sister in the upcoming Petticoat Junction.  There's a strange sort of beauty in this picture that draws you in, a questioning look that's equal parts come-hither and keep your distance.  She was out of Hollywood by 1967, voluntarily from what I can see.  I'm guessing her best-known role, which came after this issue, was as Daras in the Star Trek episode "Patterns of Force," where she appeared as a very fetching Nazi.

On the other hand, we have Michele Lee (below), star of Broadway and television, looking both lovely and painfully young.  She appears here in a two-page layout, modeling the latest in both fashion and hairstyle.  She's described in the article as a singer-actress, but her greatest triumph and most memorable role will indeed be as an actress; her long-running role as Karen MacKenzie in CBS' Knots Landing.  Two fun facts: she was once married to actor James Farentino, and she was the only cast member to appear in all 344 episodes of Knots Landing over the show's 14 seasons.

If that isn't enough for you, sandwiched between the two is an article on the "rapid ascendancy" of Paul Lynde.  In the days before he became immortalized as the center square of The Hollywood Squares, he was known as the "Nervous Nellie of the Networks."  He doesn't really have any reason to be nervous; he's already appeared this year with Jackie Gleason, Ed Sullivan and Andy Williams, and he's got three movies on tap: Son of Flubber, Bye Bye Birdie and Under the Yum-Yum Tree.  And yet, according to his own press release, "after two years of psychotherapy, he says, 'If I ever completely lost my nervousness I would be frightened half to death.' "  He's already had one unsuccessful pilot and has another on the way, and he was on and off TV after the Squares, but it is his legacy as the center square for which he'll always be known and loved.  I always thought he would have made a right proper voice for the animated Garfield the Cat.
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I've written about this before, but here's one of those ads for the ubiquitous TV Guide delivery boys.  I've never met one person who received TV Guide via home delivery; have you?


One of the charms of these old TV Guide ads: it's not my scan that's crooked - it's the picture itself.  You'll note that the text is properly aligned, so it's got to be the picture that's askew.  This is the Washington-Baltimore edition by the way, which accounts for the address in Frederick, Maryland.  Interestingly enough, the local address for TV Guide is in Washington, D.C.

I mentioned to you at the outset that the week was dominated by reruns - so much so that one of the special listings in the front of the program section is a guide to first-run shows.  I have never seen a listing like this before; I've seen guides to shows in color, the week's movies, sports and specials, even a guide to religious programming during the Christmas season.  I've even seen listings of reruns, but never a list of shows that weren't reruns.  I do know that some of these issues from different parts of the country seem to have their own quirks (the Metropolitan New York edition, for example, listed the week's movies long before it was done in the Twin Cities), so perhaps this was a local thing.  Anyone else have experience with them?  By the way, most of the first-run shows are summer replacements, news program,s and documentaries.

And speaking of movies, here's a look at the best of the week's offerings, courtesy of that very movie guide I was speaking about.  Imagine that.



Don't think they're all this good, though.

Here's an ad for WBOC in Salisbury, Maryland.  They're one of the rare affiliates of all three networks.  They've just upgraded the strength of their schedule, I think - at this point, only their network listings are carried in the Guide, not local ones.


They're still around, with the same call letters and channel number.  They're strictly a CBS affiliate these days.  I love the mid-century look of this ad; the antennas on top of the house, the TV tube-shaped boxes around the call letters, the random stars with the hand-drawn look.  So different from the slick graphics we see nowadays.

Likewise, WRC is still the same, both channel number and affiliation.  There's no truth to the rumor that the Cousin Cupcake the clown was played by members of Congress; it was DC legend Bob Porter, who's still fondly remembered in the Capital.  And it's in color!  That's because it's an NBC affiliate; because of their tie-in with RCA, most NBC affiliates were out in front on that score.


Speaking of legends, here's a familiar face for you - it's the legendary ABC White House Correspondent Sam Donaldson before he was a network star.  What I want to know is - what about the sideburns?   WTOP is still with CBS, but this time it's the call letters that have changed - it's now WUSA.  (Gauche.)  When they changed their call letters in the '80s after their purchase by Gannett, it affected one of Gannett's other stations - Channel 11, the former WTCN in Minneapolis.  Gannett figured WUSA, which Channel 11 was using, was more appropriate for the Nation's Capital, so Channel 11 became KARE. (Double gauche.)


This week's edition of the Dupont Show presents a existential look at warfare, entitled "The Outpost."  It's got a very strong cast, and sounds pretty intriguing.  I wonder, though, if it's as good as it sounds.  Well, there's one way to find out.



On the other hand, this episode of Dr. Kildare sounds like a killjoy, doesn't it?  But how bad can it be with Suzanne Pleshette?  She was an attractive young woman, but became even more so throughout the years.  She aged very, very well.


Here's an ad for the Westinghouse-owned WJZ, which was an ABC affiliate in 1963 but now belongs to CBS.  Presumably this is a list of all the stars appearing on the station's programs throughout the week - how many of them can you identify?


Finally, it's never too early to start thinking about next week, as TV Guide knows.  As I recall, the new issue went on sale Tuesday or Wednesday, so it gave you a good head start on the week to come.  Unless, that is, you subscribed (as I did starting in the '70s), in which case it came to you in the mail the previous Friday, which means that even before this week's programs started, you already knew what was going to be on next week.  Good thing programs weren't serialized the way they are nowadays.

The star of next week's issue is Dennis Weaver, who's finished up his run (or limp) as Chester in Gunsmoke, is headed for a brief, unsuccessful stop in a series called Kentucky Jones, will make a memorable movie called Duel, and goes on to a signature role as that cowboy lawman in the big city, McCloud.


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And that's it for the week.  Sure, I could go on scanning pages for some time, but I think this has given you a pretty good idea of what the issue was like. It wasn't so bad, was it?  Maybe I should try this again some time - what do you think?

6 comments:

  1. Look a little more closely at that WJZ ad:

    The last line identifies the subject as The Buddy Deane Show, Baltimore's version of American Bandstand - and the basis of John Waters's movie/musical/musical movie Hairspray.
    All those names belong to the local teens who came in day after day after day to try and get on the show - and maybe impress "the Council" enough to get on often.
    John Waters never made it; neither did his friend Glenn Milstead (aka Divine). Years later, they teamed to make the movie, giving them a big box-office revenge.

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    Replies
    1. I don't see a Tracy or an Amber....but an Audi?
      (maybe she should been Miss Auto Show)

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  2. Slight correction on the Sam Donaldson reference. WUSA is still a CBS affiliate.

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  3. Suzanne Pleshette or Michele Lee? Both aged incredibly gracefully. There is no wrong answer.

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  4. Ken Berry had a recurring role in DR. KILDARE?

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Keep those cards and letters coming in!