December 30, 2013

The day in TV: January 1, 1964

You have to think that people are hoping January 1, 1964 signals a beginning to a better year. In fact, I think 1963 was for most a harbinger of bad things to come. By 1968 there will have been more high-profile assassinations, more deaths in Vietnam, more violence at home and abroad. The national culture will be virtually unrecognizable from what it is on this day.   And yet, even though it's only been 39 days since the death of JFK, this week's cover wants to put us in a mood to celebrate.  So let's forget what we know about the future, and look at the first full day of 1964.

KTCA, Channel 2 (Educ.)
05:30p   Kindergarten
06:00p   To Be Announced
06:30p   General Science
07:00p   Inquiry
07:30p   Inquiring Mind
08:00p   Conversational Spanish
08:30p   Carleton College
09:00p   See the West (debut)
09:30p   Word Power (debut)
10:00p   Profile
10:30p   To Be Announced

Good to see KTCA's sticking with its educational programming, and even introducing some new shows!  By contrast, I think this New Year's most PBS stations will be broadcasting the New Year's Gala from Vienna.

WCCO, Channel 4 (CBS)

07:00a   Siegfried, Axel, Clancy
08:00a   Captain Kangaroo
09:00a   News (local)
09:15a   What’s New
09:25a   Dr. Reuben K. Youngdahl
09:30a   I Love Lucy
10:00a   Cotton Bowl Parade (special)
10:45a   Tournament of Roses (special) (color)
12:45p   Cotton Bowl – Navy vs. Texas (special)
03:30p   Best of Groucho
04:00p   Around the Town
04:30p   Axel and Deputy Dawg
05:00p   Clancy and Company
05:30p   CBS News (Walter Cronkite)
06:00p   News (local)
06:15p   Sports (local)
06:20p   Spotlight
06:25p   Weather (local)
06:30p   Years of Crisis (special)
07:30p   Tell It to the Camera
08:00p   The Beverly Hillbillies
08:30p   Dick Van Dyke
09:00p   Danny Kaye
10:00p   News (local)
10:15p   Weather (local)
10:20p   Sports (local)
10:30p   Steve Allen (Steve and Jayne interviews at opening of “The Cardinal”)
12:00a   Movie – “It! The Terror from Beyond Space”
12:30a   News (local) (time approximate)

Kind of sad to see reference to the Cotton Bowl parade here.  For many years that was a warm-up to the network's coverage of the Rose parade.  Whether or not it's true, the story I'd always heard was that when the Cotton Bowl game moved from CBS to NBC for a short-lived alliance in the 90s, the network declined to pick up the parade as well - they didn't need it to fill out their programming.  Without a network home, the parade itself folded.  A brief revival a few years ago didn't take.  Chris Schenkel and Pat Summerall call the parade, and will be part of CBS' coverage of the game later in the day.  The network's announcing team for the Rose parade is lovely Bess Myerson and GE Theater host Ronald Reagan - wonder what ever happened to that guy?

The Cardinal, the opening night of which is being covered on Steve Allen's show, was a big-budget movie spectacle based on the best-selling novel of the same name.  It's actually not a bad story, fairly sympathetic to the Catholic Church and the people involved with it.  Tom Tryon, who starred, went on to a bigger career as a novelist.  The great director John Huston did not direct The Cardinal (Otto Preminger did), but instead did a rare acting turn in a small supporting role, and was good enough to snag a Best Supporting Actor nomination,

KSTP, Channel 5 (NBC)

06:30a   Film Feature
07:00a   Today (Tennessee Williams, Judith Crist, Richard Watts, Maurice Dolbeir, McHenry Boatwright)
09:00a   Say When
09:25a   NBC News (Edwin Newman)
09:30a   Word for Word (color)
10:00a   Concentration
10:30a   Rose Parade (special) (color)
12:45p   Sugar Bowl – Alabama vs. Mississippi (special) (color)
03:45p   Rose Bowl – Illinois vs. Washington (special) (color)
06:30p   The Virginian (color)
08:00p   Espionage
09:00p   The Eleventh Hour
10:00p   News (local) (color)
10:15p   Weather (local) (color)
10:20p   Sports (local) (color)
10:30p   Johnny Carson (Corbett Mnoica, Sam Levenson, Anna Moffo, Ken Carson)
12:00a   News and Sports (local) (color)

No, I'm not sure why Channel 4 lists the "Tournament of Roses" while Channel 5 has "Rose Parade."  To make things more confusing, the ad for NBC's coverage calls it the "Tournament of Roses Parade."  Oh well.  The ad also promises "Well-Known Surprise Guests," which - according to the listing on the opposite page - include James Franciscus, Bill Dana, Abby Dalton and Whitney Blake - NBC stars all.  There goes the surprise, I guess.  NBC's hosts are Arthur Godfrey and Betty White - Betty a real parade expert,as she's also host of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade (with Lorne Greene) from 1962-1971.

Quick story about The Eleventh Hour, a psychiatric medical drama that aired for a couple of seasons.  Just as NBC and ABC had competing doctor shows - Dr. Kildare and Ben Casey - they also had competing psychiatrist shows spun off from those hit series.  NBC had The Eleventh Hour, while ABC countered with Breaking Point.  Wendell Corey was the original star of Eleventh Hour, but was replaced for the second season by Ralph Bellamy - who admitted that the show was on too late in the night for he and his wife to watch.  They generally watched Breaking Point instead.

KMSP, Channel 9 (Ind.)

07:40a   Chapel of the Air
07:45a   Breakfast With Grandpa Ken
09:00a   Romper Room (Miss Betty)
09:55a   ABC News (Lois Leppart)
10:00a   The Price is Right
10:30a   Object Is
11:00a   Mummers Parade (special) (color)
12:30p   Orange Bowl – Auburn vs. Nebraska (special)
03:30p   Trailmaster (joined in progress)
04:00p   Adventures in Paradise
05:00p   News (local)
05:15p   ABC News (Ron Cochran)
05:30p   Leave It to Beaver
06:00p   The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
06:30p   The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
07:00p   Patty Duke
07:30p   The Farmer’s Daughter
08:00p   Ben Casey
09:00p   Channing
10:00p   News, Weather, Sports (local)
10:30p   Robert Taylor’s Detectives
11:30p   Target: Corrupters
12:30a   News (local)
12:35a   Sen. Eugene McCarthy

ABC carried the Rose parade from time to time, but not this year.  You can find some clips of the Auburn-Nebraska Orange Bowl game on YouTube.  It's the last time the game will be played during the day; next year it will become the first prime-time bowl game, and in the process moves from ABC to NBC.  That gives NBC the murderer's row of bowl games that I remember so well from my own youth - the Sugar, Rose and Orange.  It lasts until ABC spirits away the Sugar in 1970.  Now, of course, all these games are on ESPN - along with about 30 other games.

Channing, also known as The Young and the Bold, sounds as if it belongs during the daytime, doesn't it?  It's a drama set at a fictional Channing college, and only ran one season.  The supporting cast was pretty good - I mean, how bad can a series be if it has Suzanne Pleshette as a co-ed?  Leslie Nielsen, Keir Dullea, Marion Ross, Dawn Wells, Joey Heatherton and Leo G. Carroll were also listed as regulars, and it's not a good sign when your entire cast is better known for other shows they appeared in.

WTCN, Channel 11 (ABC)

10:45a   Kukla and Ollie
11:00a   En France
11:30a   Dateline: Minnesota
11:55a   Tricks for Treats
12:00p   Lunch With Casey
01:00p   Movie – “The Travelling Saleswoman”
02:45p   Lee Phillip
03:00p   December Bride
03:30p   Robin Hood
04:00p   Beetle and Pete
04:30p   Mickey Mouse Club
05:00p   Superman
05:30p   The Lone Ranger
06:00p   Whirlybirds
06:30p   Bold Journey
07:00p   Expedition!
07:30p   Stoney Burke
08:30p   Desilu Playhouse
09:30p   News (local)
09:45p   Weather (local)
09:50p   Sports (local)
10:00p   Movie – “The Desert Song”
12:15a   Burns and Allen

Stoney Burke hadn't been off the air that long before it was picked up in syndication by WTCN.  That happened with a number of their shows over the years - Run For Your Life, The Invaders and such.  I suppose it made sense to get them on the air while people still remembered them.  On the other hand, Burns and Allen had been around forever.

I mentioned a while back that, which had a terrific classic TV message board, had gone belly-up.  The good news is that it's been replaced by a new board, Radio Insight Community - I'm now posting this feature over there each week, and there are a lot of other good topics being discussed as well.  It's well worth a trip to check it out!


  1. Hello again.

    I can't add much to this, since I don't have the Chicago edition for that week.

    I can make a correction, about Channing, the ABC show about a college - one of the "fourteen new television programs of conspicuous excellence" that the network introduced that fall.
    All those people you listed weren't regulars; they were the guest stars who appeared on various episodes. The stars of Channing were Jason Evers as a youngish professor and Henry Jones as the dean.
    Channing was ABC's "school show", to match up with NBC's Mr. Novak, although that latter was about high school.
    This conforms with the match-ups of Kildare/Casey and Breaking Point/Eleventh Hour that you noted above.

    Imay have mentioned this in an earlier comment, but syndication of old shows worked differently in these earlier times.
    Any series that had a network run of any length at all could be resold to local stations back then.
    The practice of stripping (running shows five days a week) hadn't taken hold yet; this would force stations to concentrate on long-running series as fodder for their schedules.
    Before that, a local station with many hours to fill - or a network station with fringe time slots before and after prime time - could buy and use any number of different series, even those with only half a season's worth of episodes in the set.
    Stoney Burke, the example you cited, had been a "bubble" show in its single season on ABC. When the network dropped it, there was sufficient interest among local outlets to sell it for at least a year or so, on a weekly basis. A few years later, when stripping kicked in, this wouldn't be the case; one season's output wouldn't carry over a daily scheduling.

    This is all I have at the moment; more when/if my memory permits.

  2. TV Trivia: The 90 minutes between 11 A.M. and 12:30 P.M. Central time (12 Noon-1:30 P.M. Eastern time) on January 1st, 1964 represented the first time all three television networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) carried programming in color at the same time.

    I believe it wasn't until January 1st, 1965 (again, with parade coverage) that all three networks again were simultaneously broadcasting color programs.

    Of course, starting in September of 1965, there would be lots of times when all three networks were broadcasting programs in color at the same time.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!