November 12, 2018

What's on TV? Monday, November 16, 1964

Today is full of things we don't normally see in the listings. There's The Les Crane Show, for instance, which is an ABC program but runs on WCCO, the CBS affiliate, in Minneapolis. (You'll remember that KMSP, the ABC affiliate in MSP, often delayed Joey Bishop and Dick Cavett). And then there's 90 Bristol Court, the 90-minute sitcom that is actually comprised of three separate titles; Karen, Harris Against the World, and Tom, Dick and Mary. Interesting that TV Guide chose to list all three of them under the umbrella title, isn't it? There's Many Happy Returns, the CBS sitcom with the wonderful character actor John McGiver. (Who, according to the always-reliable Wikipedia, did the very first "Do you know me?" American Express commercial. Did you know that?) Robert Goulet's on I've Got a Secret, and I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do with his variety special on CBS later in the week. Anyway, there's plenty more to see here, so enjoy!

November 10, 2018

This week in TV Guide: November 14, 1964

We had high hopes that "The Man Women Love to Hate" would be someone we recognized, someone notorious, the kind of villain that television can be so good at creating and perpetuating. Imagine our disappointment, then, to find out that the hated man in question is nothing more than a local television personality and newspaper columnist, "Count Marco," although it must be said that, in the great tradition of wrestling heavies, for example, Count Marco comes by his hated status honestly. What more can one say about a man whose rise to prominence has come from referring to women as "slobs, pigs and cattle."

The Count hosts his own half-hour morning show, five days a week, on WGO in San Francisco and KABC in Los Angeles. It's a live show; viewers can call in with questions for Marco and.or his guests. What gets to people (mostly women, given that the show airs at 8:30 a.m.), I'd guess, is the self-assuredness with which Marco handles himself. "If I say it, it must be so," is one of his catchphrases, and he's often heard telling women that they should be shining their husbands' shoes. "For some reason this represents slavery to women," he says when asked about the ire his statement raises. Of course, there have always been chauvinists on television, and they often generate ratings because of their very outrageousness, but it's also a sign of the times when an unidentified woman says, in response to the Count's antics, "Sure he's right, but we hate him for drumming it into us."

We also learn, from the Count, that "fat dames look lousy" in slacks, that women who appear in public with rollers in their hair* "should be arrested and held without bail," and that divorce "is always the fault of the ex-wife." Wince-inducing to our modern ears, and although I'm always cautioning people to read statements not based on today's mores but on those of the time, even then these weren't exactly universal sentiments.

*You youngsters can Google that if you're not sure what that means.

In the midst of Robert De Roos' article, we learn that the Count (real name: Marco Spinelli) is not from Italy, but Pittsburgh; that he is "scared stiff" most of the time, especially when women chase and attack him on the streets, that he was once married but is now a widower, and that one of his latest products is a "fanny paddle" so one can slap women on the fanny. He's also planning a "Pig of the Month" contest, "in which a picture of a woman in slacks, taken from the rear, will be displayed each day. Viewers will then vote for Pig of the Month. She will be awarded a ham. If she identifies herself."

The tone of the article is light, breezy, making it obvious that this is all in good fun even if the author doesn't necessarily approve of the Count's antics (De Roos keeps himself fairly objective). As Carl Nolte put it in that obituary I linked to above, "It was all a put-on, of course. Women occasionally stopped Mr. Spinelli in the street and slapped his face. Impostors turned up at restaurants and bars around town. Time magazine called him "a voice from the sewer." But people talked about Count Marco, and that was the point."

Today, of course, this kind of show could never happen. No station would dare show it, no company would dare sponsor it, nobody would dare admit they watched it. The Count himself would probably have been murdered by someone, or at least accosted in a far more violent manner than being hit by a purse. It's likely for the best. But the world is so much more serious now, isn't it?

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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: Sammy Davis Jr. headlines the show, performing numbers from his Broadway musical "Golden Boy." Other guests are comedians Jackie Vernon and Charlie Drake; singer Kaye Stevens; ventriloquist Jay Nemeth; Peter and Gordon, British vocal-instrumental duo; the Hoganas acrobatic trio; Xavier and his Marionettes; Kessler Twins, singer-dancers; and Brizio the Clown.

Palace:  Host Victor Borge welcomes Alice Faye (Mrs. Phil Harris) in one of her infrequent appearances on TV. Also on the bill are pop singer Nancy Wilson, the Swingle Sisters, French vocal group; Japanese comic Pat Morita; the tap-dancing Nicholas Brothers; bicyclist Rih Aruso; and De Mille, a 15-year-old high-wire performer

This is a terrific week on both counts. You know I'm going to give bonus points for Sammy Davis Jr., who would have gotten a fair amount of time doing songs from Golden Boy, one of the grittiest musicals Broadway had ever seen to that time, and a project written especially for Davis. With Jackie Vernon and Kaye Stevens, that makes for a pretty potent show. On the other hand, look at The Palace—Borge, who's always hilarious, plus Alice Faye (who's very funny in the OTR show she co-starred in with Phil Harris), Pat Morita long before Happy Days and The Karate Kid, and Nancy Wilson. The big winner is the viewer, since these shows aren't on at the same time. The verdict: Push.

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.Throughout the 60s and early 70s, TV Guide's weekly reviews were written by the witty and acerbic Cleveland Amory. Whenever we get the chance, we'll look at Cleve's latest take on the series of the era. 

Slattery's People, the subject of Cleveland Amory's admiration this week, is that rarity, a series about a heroic state legislator fighting for the underdog. I remember it as a project similar to a  proposed series called The Power that would have starred Raymond Burr and probably caused Perry Mason to hang it up a year or so earlier. Burr called it the best pilot he'd ever read, but apparently there's only a limited space available for stories about heroic legislators, and so Slattery's People it was.

Amory has nothing but praise for this series—"we have yet to see a bad [episode]," he says—and, if it served no other purpose, it put to an end "Dick" Crenna, whom viewers remembered from Our Miss Brooks and The Real McCoys, and replaced him with "Richard" Crenna, an actor of gravity and skill; it would be this Crenna that would prevail in a career that would last until 2003. In an era when shows like The Defenders and East Side/West Side, we shouldn't be surprised that television would take a chance on a topic like this. Even now, notes Amory, the show is suffering from tepid ratings;
'Slattery's people have been too few," quite possibly because of the show's chief virtue, "its uncompromising unconformity." The scripts are first-rate, the performances are excellent, and the issues are real.

Were it not for these old issues of TV Guide, and my predilection for leaving through Brooks' and Marsh's TV directories, I might never have heard of Slattery's People; I don't recall it going into widespread syndication, although you can correct me if you remember it happening. There are a handful of episodes on YouTube (albeit of varying video quality), but I suspect this show just isn't what people would want to see on DVD; after all, look what happened to The Defenders. In addition the way people feel about politics nowadays, I'm not even sure The West Wing could make it. Plus, a political drama will invariably require choosing sides, which means you risk alienating half your audience, since we apparently can't agree on anything anymore. I suppose that's too bad, although one always runs the risk of sending a message when a bit of entertainment is all that's called for. The Beverly Hillbillies turned out to be much more to people's liking, and to CBS's as well, which is probably why the Hillbillies ran for nine seasons and Slattery's People only for one. But isn't it a shame that we didn't, and don't, live in a TV world where there's room for both?

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On Saturday, Notre Dame clashes with Michigan State in the Game of the Week (NBC, 12:15 p.m CT), a precursor to their 1966 Game of the Century. This season, it's #1 Notre Dame driving toward the national championship in legendary coach Ara Parseghian's first season, led by quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte. The Fighting Irish defeat the Spartans 34-7, and next week they'll get by Iowa 28-0, but the following week, in the final game of the season against USC in Los Angeles, they give up a 17-0 halftime lead and lose in heartbreaking fashion, 21-17. It's against this backdrop that people will have to judge Parseghian's decision to accept that 10-10 tie with Michigan State in 1966. Later that night (CBS, 7:30 p.m.), it's a rerun of "Once upon a Mattress," the off-Broadway musical that made a star of Carol Burnett, that's a sign of things to come.

Come Sunday, and it's an interesting episode of Profiles in Courage (NBC, 3:00 p.m.), the television adaptation of John F. Kennedy's Pulitzer-Prize winning book. This afternoon, the profile is of Mary McDowell, a Brooklyn Latin teacher who in 1917 refuses to sign a loyalty pledge—as a Quaker, she does not believe in violence of any kind, and believes that "her pupils do not rely on her for instruction in patriotism." Considering the hyperpoliticized nature of education today, where even math questions are infused with ideology—well, as I said, it's interesting. In the evening, ABC's Sunday Night Movie presents Birdman of Alcatraz with Burt Lancaster, the moving—if mostly fictional—account of Robert Stroud, the famous bird-raising prisoner.

On Monday, Andy Williams has an all-musical episode (8:00 p.m., NBC), with Shirley Booth, Johnny Mathis, and Morgana King. Later, on the aforementioned Slattery's People (CBS, 9:00 p.m.), Slattery is recruited by the town fathers of Williamton to help get rid of a scientist (Paul Burke) who insists on accepting research projects instead of manufacturing contracts, thus endangering the continuing operation of his plant—the town's only industry. I'm not quite sure how this connects to the state legislature, but I'm sure we'll find out. And Ben Casey (9:00 p.m., ABC) focuses on Dr. Hoffman (Harry Landers) this week, and how his attitude changes to one of disgust after having worked with a great surgeon.

Tuesday, NBC presents a tour of the Louvre, the great French museum, hosted by the great French actor Charles Boyer (9:00 p.m.). It's the first time American television cameras have ever been let into the museum; of course, one of the stops will be the Mona Lisa. (You can see the entire program here in an excellent recordingif you're interested.) At 10:30 p.m., the same time, WKBT, the LaCrosse, Wisconsin CBS affiliate that fits in a good amount of ABC programming (the area doesn't yet have an ABC affiliate) carries last week's Hollywood Palace, which if anything has even more stars than this week's—Bette Davis and Olivia de Haviland do "The Twilight Shore," a dramatic reading; Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks do one of their 2,000-Year-Old-Man sketches; plus singer Monique Van Vooren and the U.S. Olympic gold medal winners.

This coming Sunday, November 22, will be the first anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and while all the networks have memorial programs planned, CBS gets a head start on Wednesday with "The Burden and the Glory of John F. Kennedy" (6:30 p.m.), a look back at the not-quite three years of the JFK administration. At 7:30 p.m. on Channel 11, it's a rare midweek broadcast of Canadian Football, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats taking on the Ottawa Rough Riders in the first game of the two-game total-points Eastern Conference final. Ottawa wins Game 1 30-13, but Hamilton will come back to take the second game 26-8, winning the series 39-38. At 8:30 p.m., CBS has The Cara Williams Show, Cara Williams being the subject of this week's cover. From Leslie Raddatz's article we learn that Cara is tough, has a temper, was once married to John Drew Barrymore, and through it all has managed to maintain her feminine qualities, the ones that served her well in her previous series, Pete and Gladys, and that the network hopes will serve her well in this one as well. They've given her a great timeslot, between Dick Van Dyke and Danny Kaye. Despite this, The Cara Williams Show is one season and out.

Robert Goulet stars Thursday night (CBS, 9:00 p.m.) in a variety hour that combines elements of a backstage documentary, showing Goulet doing an interview, rehearsing, taping a spot for Ed Sullivan's show, and visiting a college campus and a nightclub. His guests include Leslie Caron and Terry-Thomas; Wonder how this experimental kind of show played out? Here's a clip:


One of the things I've noticed in going through these old TV Guides is how, for a man who never starred in a weekly series of his own, Bob Hope was on TV a lot. This Friday (NBC, 7:30 p.m.) it's one of his own comedy specials (airing in place of his Chrysler Theatre anthology) with a typical Hope lineup of babes, hunks, and stars: Stella Stevens and Annette Funicello; Richard Chamberlain and Trini Lopez; and Donald O'Connor. At 8:00 p.m. on ABC, Tony Franciosa stars in Valentine's Day, a single-season sitcom co-starring Jack Soo; he's also the subject of an Arnold Hano profile in which he gives credit to his wife Judy for helping him move away from his volatile, hard-to-work-with reputation of the past. The couple would divorce three years later. He'd credit a later wife for helping him to settle down. And his reputation on studio lots would remain just as bad. TV  

November 9, 2018

Around the dial

This week, a particularly good installment of the Hitchcock Project at bare-bones e-zine, as Jack shows how Bernard C. Schoenfeld's touch resulted in a faithful adaptation of an R.E. Kendall short story, while making one little tweak that packs a wallop.

In Hondo-speak, that wallop would be called whoopass, and there's some to be had over at The Horn Section, as Hal reviews Hondo's twelfth episode, "Hondo and the Ghost of Ed Dow." By the way, I had no idea that Hondo, which ran a grand total of 17 episodes, was on TNT for ten years.

At Garroway at Large, Jodie looks back at Election Night 1960, a marathon of waiting and watching and waiting into the morning hours, as the Kennedy-Nixon deadlock drags on. But the real highlight is when tonight becomes Today, so to speak, and a certain Garroway makes an appearance.

Meanwhile, Jordan at The Twilight Zone Vortex presents a terrific list of a dozen TZ episodes that show how heavily the series was influenced by film noir. I really enjoy lists like this; they serve to remind me how great some of these episodes really are.

It's snowing here in Minneapolis as I write this, which makes the beach picture at Some Polish American Guy even more inviting. It's "The Two Million Dollar Hustle," the final episode of B.J. and the Bear. Don't let the moment pass without checking it out. Good Gravy!

Cult TV Blog travels back in time to 1966 and the Doctor Who story "The Smugglers." It's actually a reconstruction, the original being one of the infamous "lost episodes" that invariably add an aura of mystery to the story. I don't watch the new Who anymore, but I wonder: in years to come, will people look back on current episodes with the same affection that they have for those that have been rediscovered or reconstructed? Something about the thrill of the hunt.

Television's New Frontier: the 1960s looks at Gunsmoke in the year 1961, a year marked by change—most important, the show's expansion from 30 minutes to an hour. Was it the right thing to do? Read it and judge for yourself. But isn't that what you always do anyway? TV  

November 5, 2018

What's on TV? Wednesday, November 6, 1968

How many people, I wonder, stayed up all night watching the election returns, waiting to see who the next president was going to be—or if there was going to be a new president, at least without the House of Representatives becoming involved? Well, did you stay up all night in 2000 or 2004? I didn't even watch them, but I suspect I would have back in 1968, or at least if I didn't have to be in school that morning. I offer these listings from the Day After, with the proviso that election coverage probably continues. Our TV Guide covers New York City and the surrounding areas.

November 3, 2018

This week in TV Guide: November 2, 1968

Well, it's almost upon us. In one of the most tumultuous years in this country's history, one of the most tumultuous election campaigns in this country's history is just about over, and two questions remain outstanding: who will win, and will independent candidate George Wallace win enough electoral votes to throw the election into the House of Representatives. And, has been the case throughout this year, television will be on hand to cover whatever happens.

It is, writes Neil Hickey, minute for minute the most expensive television program in history, with the networks collectively budgeting $8 to $10 million for Election Night. The cost includes new computers—better, stronger, and faster; or, at least faster and more sophisticated. So much so, in fact, that we get a brief description of what a "nanosecond" is, as opposed to the poky milliseconds of the 1964 computers. The computers, along with the key precincts that each network uses (9,000 to 10,000 between the three), will be used in hopes of the small edge, the little advantage that can give a network the bragging (and publicity) rights that come with being the first to project the winner.

The trick, or one of them at least, is not to let projections infringe on the rights of those who haven't yet had the chance to vote. In Tennessee, for example, some poles close as early as 4:00 p.m, while those in Memphis remain open until 8:00 p.m. "We could project the Tennessee results long before the Memphis polls close," says ABC's John Thompson, "but we won't." The question remains, though: what happens if projections from states in the East, Midwest and South have settled the question before voters in the West have had a chance to weigh in? Nobody's really sure, since it hasn't happened before; logic dictates there has to be some effect, but sociologists insist there there really isn't. It might not matter in 1968, since Nixon's victory over Humphrey isn't declared until mid-morning Wednesday, but the question becomes real in 1980, when the network call Ronald Reagan's landslide victory over Jimmy Carter very early in the evening, and Carter concedes to Reagan well before Western polls have closed. So decisive is Reagan's victory that the early projection makes no difference in the presidential race, but serious questions are asked as to whether or not the news discouraged enough people from voting that it cost Democrats control of the U.S. Senate.

For the record, Illinois winds up being the pivotal state in the electoral vote. As Broadcasting magazine reports, ABC confidently gives the state, and the election, to Nixon at 8:19 Wednesday morning, while "NBC declared Mr. Nixon the winner at 10:33 a.m., and CBS at 10:45 a.m." By that time, ABC's coverage, which ended at 9:00 a.m., had been over for more than 90 minutes.


United States on SoftBank   United States on SoftBank   United States on SoftBank

Something else I remember from elections of years past that you don't see much anymore is the Election Eve political talk. Hubert Humphrey (and celebrity Democrats*) appear on ABC for a two-hour telethon from 8:30-10:30 p.m. ET, in which viewers will have a chance to call the vice president with questions. They'll also be able to call Richard Nixon on NBC, where he'll be holding court with former Oklahoma football coach Bud Wilkinson from 9:00-11:00 p.m. George Wallace and his running mate Curtis LeMay are on all three networks, having bought a half-hour of time on each.

*Some things never change.

I know it's hard to believe that Americans would sit still for a two-hour political broadcast the night before the election, but it's something else that I get from all this; further evidence of the fragmentation of American culture. I've only voted absentee twice in my life, and each time I had to actually provide proof of why I wouldn't be able to vote on Election Day. There was a good reason why it was called an absentee ballot; Election Day was a serious, almost sacred, opportunity to help determine the course of the country's future. I know, even in 1968 voter turnout was low compared to what it is in other countries; it's always been that way, which perhaps speaks to the relative stability of America. Still, there was something special about the day, the culmination of all the campaigning and drama and emotion that has mounted throughout the summer and fall.

Today, it's called "early voting," and, depending on where in the country you live, you've got a wide window of opportunity and means by which you can cast your vote. There's no sense that everyone's going to the polls at the same time, because they aren't. So if something happens before Election Day but after you've voted, too bad, so sad. And it could, you know—a scandal, a terrorist attack, an economic upturn or downturn, an imprudent comment over a live mike—but if you've already voted, you don't get a do-over. And when they poll early voters to see which way those first returns might be going—well, talk about a possible disincentive to vote. It's the kind of external event that can absolutely have an effect on an election. Why, then, would any candidate bother to spend significant money the night before? Talk about a bad return on investment.

United States on SoftBank   United States on SoftBank   United States on SoftBank

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.

Ed Sullivan: Tentatively scheduled this week: the Beatles (on film) introduce a scene from their new movie "The Yellow Submarine"; Alan King; George Hamilton; singers Connie Francis, and the Checkmates, LTD; comedians Stiller and Meara; dancer Peter Gennaro; and the Anotinettes, tetter-board act.

The Palace: Host Sammy Davis Jr. takes the spotlight for nearly a third of tonight's hour. Joining him are soul singer Aretha Franklin, Spanky and Our Gang, comedian Corbett Monica, Johnnie Whitaker of Family Affair, and the 24-voice Ray Charles Singers.

Interesting week. Ordinarily I'd declare The Palace to be a runaway winner, just because of Sammy. who at the time was one of the greatest all-around entertainers ever. Throw in Aretha, and you've got a powerhouse lineup. Unfortunately, there's Johnnie Whitaker singing "Every Little Boy Can Be President," which is, to me, wince-inducing. So that's a minus. I'm also not a big fan of Spanky and Our Gang, which is another minus. Then again, while I like Alan King and can live with Connie Francis, I don't really care for Stiller and Meara, and I'm not a fan of The Beatles. It's all personal preference, you understand—no claims to anything other than opinion. Still, Sammy and Aretha. So while it's not as decisive as I might have thought, I'm still giving a comfortable edge to The Palace.

United States on SoftBank   United States on SoftBank   United States on SoftBank

.Throughout the 60s and early 70s, TV Guide's weekly reviews were written by the witty and acerbic Cleveland Amory. Whenever we get the chance, we'll look at Cleve's latest take on the series of the era. 

Coming to Darren McGavin's new private detective show The Outsiders (NBC), Cleveland Amory had some reservations—and not the kind of reservations you make when you want to make sure you don't miss the show. For one thing, the private eye who fights for the little guy because he was once jailed for a crime he didn't commit is not particularly original; Amory describes it as "The Fugitive outcast theme combined with every other one-man detective show you can think of."

Speaking of which, Cleve's also concerned about that one man. No boss, no pals, not even any regular gals. (All of a sudden, I'm starting to write like Comden and Green.) "He doesn't have a girl Friday, a man Friday or, for that matter, even a Sergeant Friday." He also takes a beating in every episode, at least three times in every episode, and it's so predictable that "a 3-year-old boy child could have seen it coming."

However, not all is lost. McGavin's low-key performance grows on you as a character, making him much more likable than if he had a more overpowering personality, and in some episodes the interaction between him and the other characters is quite good. It all depends, however, on the quality of the storytelling (isn't that the truth?), and when McGavin is given "some awful out-of-character writing"—well, The Outsider winds up being a 50/50 proposition. "Half the time you'll be pleasantly surprised—and the other half you'll be clouted." I don't know about Cleve's criticism of those "silly and unbelievable" episodes, though. Honestly, you'd think he was hunting vampires or something.

United States on SoftBank   United States on SoftBank   United States on SoftBank

I love the 11:30 p.m. movie on Channel 7, putting on Otto Preminger's Advise and Consent, the ultimate political soap opera, on the Saturday night before the election. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Allen Drury, the movie ups the book's sleaze quotient without conveying the subtitles and inherent nobility of government.* It provides, nonetheless, a good time for all, with an outstanding cast that includes, in addition to the names mentioned in the ad, Walter Pidgeon, Charles Laughton, Peter Lawford, Gene Tierney, and Lew Ayres. It could have included Martin Luther King, Jr. as well; Preminger offered him a role as a senator from Georgia, one which King reportedly seriously considered before declining. When it was pointed out to Preminger that there were, as yet, no black U.S. senators, he dismissively replied that there should be.

*A facade that, at least back then, could be at least plausibly maintained.

It comes one night earlier than the other candidates, but Pat Paulson has his own "last bid for votes" on Sunday's Smothers Brothers (9:00 p.m., CBS), which also features Glen Campbell (singing "Wichita Lineman," the Clinger Sisters (who were semi-regulars on Danny Kaye's variety show), and Leigh French spoofing TV cooking shows.

There's a local note on Monday morning, repeating throughout the week, that Channel 5 (WNEW, the independent channel in NYC) will be presenting the high school class "Regents Prep: American History" at 9:00 a.m. throughout the week, should the New York City teachers still be on strike. Otherwise, Colonel Klink himself, Werner Klemperer, is one of the guests on Steve Allen's program (7:30 p.m., WOR), while Lucille Ball, Eddie Albert, and Nancy Wilson are Carol Burnett's guests at 10:00 p.m on CBS.

Tuesday is dominated by election coverage, of course, which means turning to the independent channels for entertainment. WOR does its best, with Nehemiah Persoff as a gangster on I Spy (6:30 p.m.), Bewitched's Agnes Moorhead with Steve Allen at 7:30 p.m., and the panel of Joanna Barnes, Bert Convy, Arlene Francis, and Nipsey Russell on What's My Line? (9:00 p.m.) Meanwhile, Ben Gazzara might be speaking for all of us politics-weary viewers with Run for Your Life. (8:00 p.m., WPIX)

Bob Hope is back on Wednesday night (9:00 p.m., NBC), shooting a bit in Houston with Barbara Eden and the Apollo 7 astronauts (Schirra, Eisele, and Cunningham), then spoofing the space program with David Janssen, and singing the blues with Ray Charles. Opposite that on ABC's Wednesday Night Movie is a truly odd offering, John Goldfarb, Please Come Home*, with Shirley MacLaine, Peter Ustinov, Richard Crenna, and Jim Backus in the bizarre story of a Middle Eastern potentate whose support for an American military base depends on the State Department convincing the Notre Dame football team to play (and lose to) the kingdom's team. I suppose its main claim to fame is that the University filed suit to prevent the film's release on the grounds that "its name and prestige had been misappropriated and the film would do it 'irreparable harm'." (Although one wonders; if Joe Kuharich wasn't able to accomplish that, how could John Goldfarb?)

*Based, incidentally, on the novel by William Peter Blatty.

Another movie on Thursday night seems to fit the apocalyptic tenor of the times: The World, the Flesh and the Devil (CBS, 9:00 p.m.), starring Harry Belafonte, Inger Stevens, and Mel Ferrer as the only three survivors of a nuclear holocaust, left wandering the deserted streets of Manhattan (right).

One of the things that doesn't seem to get around much anymore is the episode title. Sure, they're on your DVD menu when you pop a disc in the machine, but they don't really have the style of the past, as David noted in this piece at Comfort TV. One of the most unforgettable is this week's Star Trek, "For the World Is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky" (NBC, 10:00 p.m,), but Judd for the Defense comes back with "Weep the Hunter Home" (ABC, 10:00 p.m.). The Name of the Game is more straightforward, or at least less poetic, with "Lola in Lipstick" (NBC, 8:30 p.m), and Felony Squad is downright practical with an episode suitable for a police drama, "The Nowhere Man." (ABC, 8:30 p.m.) I have to admit being disappointed in The Wild Wild West, though—this week's tale (CBS, 7:30 p.m.) tells of a town named Epitaph, and that alone was enough to get my hopes up, until I consulted the episode guide and found out the title is "The Night of the Fugitives." I mean, that might be good enough for Richard Kimble, but...

Now be good and vote on Tuesday, right? TV 

November 2, 2018

Around the dial

At Comfort TV, David has a really interesting take on the benefits of, well, comfort TV. It is not, as some people claim, a way of escaping from reality; rather, it "offered a wealth of opportunities to withdraw from that world and get happily lost for a while somewhere more pleasant." Would that more of today's shows could do that.

Dave Garroway was a man who put his money where his mouth was, as Jodie at Garroway at Large demonstrates with a story of how Garroway fought against bigots assaulting Sarah Vaughan at a 1948 performance.

Steve Crum has a terrific review of Steve Randisi's new book, The Merv Griffin Show: The Inside Story. It's "not a full-scale biography of Merv Griffin," Randisi says. "Rather, it’s the story of the television program bearing his name." It sounds quite interesting.

Martin Grams tells us that The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre, by Outer Limits creator Joseph Stefano, has finally come out on DVD and Blu-Ray. The movie began life as The Haunted, a pilot for CBS; when the show wasn't picked up (for various reasons), it was reedited into a theatrical film. It stars Martin Landau, Judith Anderson, and Janet Baker.

Finally, as you might know, I've been doing comment moderation lately, simply because I've been getting a few spam comments that aren't being picked up by the filter. Depending on how vigilant I am in approving the comments, it sometimes takes longer than it should for them to show up. (Even then, I'm still doing a lousy job of responding.) At any rate, there's one comment that I've lingered over more than the others. I think I'm honored, but on the other hand...
 
We are here to announce to you that your blog has won you a sum of USD $50,000 which you need to claim immediately. The details of these wining will be explained to you when you contact the BLOGGER COMMITTEE. courtesy: BLOGGER COMMITTEE. bloggercommitte.@gmail.com

I mean, it has to be legit, right? I can't think of anyone more deserving of this than me. It's inconceivable that anyone could be playing me for a patsy...  TV  

October 31, 2018

Let's all sing some Pumpkin Carols!

I don't know; perhaps if you're of a certain age - my age, for example - you'll recognize this. I came across this typewritten sheet (which alone may tell you how old it is) in the archives of Thomas Jefferson University, from 1967. It would have been about that year that I first saw this, when I was in grade school.

Nowadays we'd use the term viral, as in "This went viral," but back then things like this were just copied and shared, until more or less everyone everywhere had them. So it's quite possible that this song sheet of Halloween "Pumpkin Carols" is the exact same sheet that we had in school in Minneapolis; and if not the same, then very much like what we had.

Pumpkin Carols, of course, come from the Peanuts cartoon It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and, like A Charlie Brown Christmas, it was popular right away. Hallmark came out with a book of Pumpkin Carols, which I suspect is where this came from, again back in the day where plagiarism wasn't that serious if you didn't profit by it. Anyway, here are some that I remember quite well - do they seem familiar to you? If so, you might want to click on that link above and look at all of them - and maybe get together tonight with your friends and sing some. I'll be looking out the window, waiting for the Carolers to come.

TV