We've already looked at Tuesday with our quiz show piece from Saturday, so let's skip to Wednesday. I know that it wasn't until 1963 that CBS and NBC expanded their evening news programs from 15 minutes to a half hour, but I have to admit I never gave a lot of thought to what went into the other 15 minutes in that time block. Oftentimes we see local stations such as WCCO schedule their own news program into the spare time, but it also makes a perfect place for a network to put a 15 minute music show. That's what NBC does, with tonight's premiere of The Xavier Cugat Show (6:30 CT), which features his fourth wife, singer Abbe Lane, performing hit tunes with Cugat's orchestra. The show airs twice-weekly - Friday is the other night, while the quiz show You Should Know fills the spot on Monday, Jonathan Winters hosts his variety show on Tuesday, and Dinah Shore appears on Thursday. Today, Xavier Cugat is best-known for his fifth and final wife - Charo.
A couple of socially relevant dramas make up Thursday night's offerings. On CBS' Climax, Richard Boone stars in "Don't Ever Come Back," the story of townspeople trying to come to terms with the fact that a man once convicted of murder, one they all thought was guilty, is returning a free man after 18 years in prison - now that someone else has confessed to the crime. That's followed by Playhouse 90 and "The Blackwell Story," the Blackwell in question being Elizabeth Blackwell (Joanne Dru), who in 1849 became America's first woman doctor. It seems as if the townspeople had a problem with her as well, although they're certainly not the same townspeople, and it's likely not the same town either.
An article in an upcoming TV Guide (you'll read about it in April, I believe) asks why so many big-screen stars fail to fill up the small screen. One of those could well be Gene Kelly, who was larger-than-life in movie musicals (although still not as good as Fred Astaire), but never really succeeded in a TV series of his own. This Friday he makes his television dramatic debut in "The Life You Save," an episode of Schlitz Playhouse on CBS. And while the description sounds as if it would qualify as a light drama ("Tom T. Triplet is an engaging one-armed tramp*, a man who has been to a lot of places and seen a lot of things..."), it is still a headline occasion when a movie star of Kelly's status makes a television appearance.
*He wasn't so engaging when he traveled to Stafford, Indiana and murdered Helen Kimble, apparently.
her 2013 obituary put it, "She was usually cast as the leading lady’s best friend or — if there was a man involved — worst enemy."
*As proof that there's no such thing as coincidence, Gertie is also the name of Perry Mason's receptionist.
Although her star looks bright in this issue, she never really has that one movie that makes her name, that one shot at a TV series that catapults her to fame. Instead, she retires from acting in the early '60s, becoming a novelist and real estate agent.
Finally, this week's review features a cartoon character that most of you will recognize, even if you're not aware of it. The review is of CBS' animated series The Gerald McBoing-Boing Show, based on the children's story by Dr. Seuss, which tells the story of a child who can't speak, but can only make sound effects. There were four McBoing-Boing cartoons made for theaters, one of which was nominated for an Oscar for best animated short, before the series debuted in 1956. The review is a very favorable one, praising not only the cartoon's ground-breaking modernistic animation, but the stories, "most of which point a moral in amusing but nonetheless significant terms."
|Gerald on his own show(left), with Mr. Magoo (right)|
My suspicion is that the same people who think the two animated characters are one and the same also think that Number 6 is John Drake.