First up is Fred Gwynne, also known as Herman Munster on CBS's The Munsters, and before that Officer Muldoon for two seasons on Car 54, Where Are You? For his latest series, it takes Gwynne two hours in the makeup chair to ready the Frankenstein's monster look for which he's famous, and some days he has to drink a gallon of water to make it through the day in the heavy, suffocating costume that adds ten pounds and five inches to his lanky frame.
But while he's the first one to admit complaining and grumbling about the makeup and the time spent in the chair, he is also grateful to be wearing it. "Maybe it's just as simple as a little girl putting things on her face," he says. "Once the makeup is on, you're already playing a role. You don't have to fight much to get into it." Sometimes, though, it requires a little more than makeup: last Thanksgiving he appeared in costume along with Al Lewis (Grandpa) in the Munster Koach during Macy's parade. He was suitably prepared for the cold with a bottle of whisky in a paper bag, from which he would surreptitiously take slugs during the parade. "I had to get bombed so I could say hello to the little kiddies for 40 blocks. By the time time I got to Macy's at 34th Street, I wanted to adopt every child. That was my last parade. Four years is too much."
Fred Gwynne's an interesting man: a graduate of Groton, a painter and cartoonist, and for several years a copywriter for the J. Walter Thompson ad agency (his big client was Ford). Today, however, he's probably best known for one word, uttered in the movie My Cousin Vinny, in which he played Judge Haller. That word is "yute," and while Joe Pesci is the one who said it, I dare you to ever hear it without thinking of Fred Gwynne.
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Considerably larger than the Munster family, which consists of only five members, is the real-life King family, now numbering some 40 members, 35 of whom appear on ABC Saturday nights on The King Family Show.
*After a 1964 appearance on The Hollywood Palace, ABC was reportedly deluged with over 53,000 letters. Well, wouldn't that convince you to give them their own series?
The King Family will continue to provide wholesome entertainment through two different incarnations of their variety show until 1969*, with syndicated holiday specials into the early '70s. The last of the original King Sisters, Marilyn, dies in 2013. They weren't my particular cup of tea, although their Christmas specials are lots of fun, but if you liked its Saturday night partner The Lawrence Welk Show, you'd love The King Family Show.
*The original incarnation ran through 1966; the half-hour version, spotlighting the Cousins, went on the air in 1969 as the replacement for the infamous Turn-On.
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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..
Sullivan: Ed welcomes Rex Harrison, the rock 'n' rolling Dave Clark Five, singer Dolores Gray, folk singer Leon Bibb, singer-impressionist Marilyn Michaels, comedians Alan King and Richard Hearne, and Rolando, a balancing artist.
Palace: Song-and-dance man Donald O'Connor introduces another singer-dancer, Dorothy Provine; tenor Sergio Franchi; comic Shecky Greene; the Haslevs, trampolinists; songstress Morgana King; Victor Julian's dog act; the Martin Granger Puppets; and song impressionist Marilyn Michaels.
This week's shows are both reruns, so we can be certain of the guest lineup. The shows pretty much cancel each other out: Dolores Grey and Morgana King, Alan King and Shecky Greene, Rex Harrison and Donald O'Connor, and Marilyn Michaels and Marilyn Michaels. (Beat) Ed has just a little less of the vaudeville shtick than Palace though, and on that basis I'm giving a very slight edge to Sullivan.
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This week Cleveland Amory is back, and his subject is a big one: Walt Disney. But don't take my word for it: "Frankly, reviewing Walt Disney is like reviewing the Grand Canyon. Including, we might add, the concessions. For Walt is nothing if not commercial. Everything he does seems to be made into a movie and at least one television show - often several - plus an inordinate number of repeats - until, honestly, watching a Disney show you actually lose all track of time. You know you've seen it, but whether as a movie, a television program, a nursery rhyme, you just can't be sure." You can be sure, however, that unlike today's Disney, what Walt produced was family-oriented, often educational, almost always entertaining. Or as Amory describes them, almost always good and, more often than not, great."
The output produced by Disney falls into four general categories: cartoons, which first made the Disney name but now account for less than other categories; adventure stories; historical programs; and nature shows. That's quite an output for one man, and while the nature programs often seem contrived and occasionally brutal, animal rights activist Amory praises them for "making individual animals not only famous but also lovable." Amory's only criticism, a mild one, is that the TV episodes are often stretched out for three and four parts, when they could easily be wrapped up in two, but it's a small quibble.
Today we know the name Disney as a brand, but it's important to remember that back in 1965 Walt Disney was still very much alive, and very much the boss of his own company. In introducing a recent episode, Disney described Robin Hood as "a mystery man, half truth, half legend." Says Amory in conclusion, "Half truth and half legend is a part too - or maybe even Parts 3 and 4 - of Mr. Disney's appeal, and his appeal too is ageless. For young and for old, ans well as we hope, forever." What Walt Disney would think of his company today, we can only wonder.
While we're in the habit of comparing shows, as we were a minute ago, let's take a look at a couple of the better-known music shows of the time, NBC's Hullabaloo and ABC's Shindig! Both shows showcase the latest in pop music along with folk and rock 'n' roll, and clips from performances on the shows can often be seen on those Time-Life type infomercials for British Invasion and swinging '60s collections.
Hullabaloo airs at 10:00 p.m. (ET), and this week guest host (there was no permanent host) Dean Jones welcomes Leslie Uggams, Gene Pitney, the Astronauts, the Moody Blues, the Youngfolk, and Shani Wallace. Shindig!, on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. and hosted by Jimmy O'Neill, counters with Sammy Jackson, Shelley Fabares, the Beau Brummels, Ian Whitcomb, Bobby Sherman, Terry Black, Billy Preston, and Kelly Garrett.
Here's a clip of the Beau Brummels singing "Just a Little"from that Shindig episode.
And here's another of their TV appearances, so to speak, on - The Flintstones.
Incidentally, according to the TV Teletype, Issues and Answers will be taking an in-depth look at "the new pop music-and-dance craze" on an episode later in the month. And on July 21, one of Shindig!'s special guests will be Patty Duke.
While we're at it, how about a look at sports? ABC's Wide World of Sports has a couple of headline events on Saturday: the final round of the British Open golf championship, taped Friday at Royal Birkdale, and the Firecracker 400 stock car race, taped July 4 at Daytona. In the golf, Peter Thomson wins his fifth Open Championship, with American Tony Lema, the defending champion, finishing in a tie for fifth and former winner Arnold Palmer finishing in 16; meanwhile, A.J. Foyt wins his second consecutive Firecracker 400, with Buddy Baker finishing second. Here's how it looked:
On Tuesday, the sports world focuses on Bloomington, Minnesota, home of the Minnesota Twins, for the 36th Major League Baseball All-Star Game, live on NBC at 1:45 p.m., with Jack Buck and Joe Garagiola behind the mics. Nineteen future Hall of Famers are on the rosters of the two leagues, 13 for the Nationals alone. The Nats jump out to an early lead thanks to a home run by one of those future Hall of Famers, Willie Mays, and hold on to win the game, 6-5.
*1966 will be the last time the All-Star game is scheduled to be played in the afternoon; the 1967 game, played in Anaheim, has a late afternoon start time in order to be shown in prime time on the East Coast, and by 1968 the game is a nighttime fixture.
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Finally, how about a little fashion? This week our star is Jessica Walter, most recently seen as Phyllis Koster, wife to William Shatner's prosecutor David Koster on the single-season CBS legal drama For the People, but here Walter proves she has quite the ability to show off the latest in '60s fashion. Groovy, huh? (Hey David, this should fit in to your Groovy TV Summer, right?)
|SOURCE ALL: HADLEY TV GUIDE COLLECTION|