April 15, 2016

Around the dial

I remember, back in the days when one really had to frequent stores specializing in fantasy and/or British TV, reading about The Tomorrow People. I've never seen an episode. Cult TV Blog tells how it took two tries for him to become hooked on the series.

Spin and Marty - where have I heard those names before? That's it - The Mickey Mouse Club. I remember watching what must have been reruns of those when I was little, having the ears and the watch and the Colorforms kit, but I hadn't thought to read more into them than that until reading David's latest at Comfort TV, wherein he asks if they might have something of value for millennials.

For some reason I've seen a number of things about Glen Campbell's variety show from the '60s - maybe it's because of the singer's poor health, maybe it's just nostalgia for a simpler time. For Joanna at Christmas TV History, it's an occasion to recall the 1969 Christmas episode with Andy Griffith, Cher and Paul Lynde (as a stressed-out Santa). Perhaps I ought to watch it this Christmas?

We haven't looked in on Classic TV Showbiz lately, but this week's entry is a good one - a clip from Match Game host Gene Rayburn sitting in for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. I loved the whole concepts of guest hosts on talk shows, because some of them were so unlikely to think of, but were very successful. I wouldn't have imagined Rayburn in the chair, but I wouldn't have imagined what a successful host he was of NBC's Monitor radio program either.

It's time for a new entry on Television's New Frontier: the 1960s, and this one is about one of my favorite shows, The Untouchables. It's a good review of the 1961 season, particularly good when it comes to running down the distinguished list of guest stars: not only the great Bruce Gordon as Frank Nitti, but Oscar Beregi, Neville Brand (as Al Capone), Rip Torn, Gavin McLeod (!), Brian Keith and Joan Blondell. That's just for starters; the show was gifted with a brilliant list of guest.

In the latest look at "The Hitchcock Project," bare-bones e-zine reviews the clever Robert C. Dennis-scripted story "Together," which aired on Alfred Hitchcock Presents in 1958. Having seen this episode on DVD a few weeks ago, I can second Jack's analysis of the story as "an outstanding short film, where a strong, tight script, clever direction and fine acing combine to present a story of suspense." If you have the chance to see it, do so; if not, this will convince you why you should. TV  


  1. I didn't realize until relatively recently that Gene Rayburn is credited by some people with inventing the morning-drive radio show as we know it today around the turn of the 1950s on WNEW in New York, first with Jack Lescoulie and later with Dee Finch. Somebody that visible in the media capital of the country would inevitably end up on TV in the 50s, as Rayburn did.

    My favorite fact about him is that all the time he hosted Match Game in the 70s, he never relocated to Los Angeles. He commuted across the country from his home in Massachusetts.

  2. And, Gene Rayburn hosted both the 1960's and 1970's versions of "Match Game".

    The 1960's version was on NBC and taped in New York, which allowed Gene Rayburn to sub for Johnny without having to travel west.

    I thought that when "Match Game" was revived in 1973 and taped on weekends in Hollywood, Gene tried to do "Monitor" out of a sound booth at NBC in Burbank, then go to Television City to tape a week's worth of "Match Game" shows, but it wasn't too practical and Gene left "Monitor" by the end of 1973.

    Of course, in early 1975, "Monitor" was history.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!