July 9, 2016

This week in TV Guide: July 10, 1965

This week's TV Guide comes to you courtesy of reader Jon Hobden, who graciously provided this issue on loan from his collection so we could take a look at two of the most popular families on television: the Munsters and the Kings.

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.

It all started back in the big band era with the six King Sisters (Yvonne, Alyce, Donna, Luise, Maxine, and Marilyn). The sisters ended the act after World War II, but soon they were back at it, first on NBC with a local series, and more recently with their current series.* The family has now expanded to include not only the Sisters, but the King Cousins, whose most famous member will be Tina Cole, aka Robbie Douglas' wife on My Three Sons.

*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.

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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.

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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.

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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?)




  1. Mitchell,
    Thanks for a great look back at this issue. I loved the SHINDIG! to HULLABALOO comparison, in a way like "Sullivan vs. The Palace" but only for a short time. You didn't mention it here, but HULLABALOO was aired on Tuesday nights in summer reruns. It had premiered in January in the 8:30 - 9:30 PM ET time slot, as THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. moved from Tuesday night to 8 - 9 PM, replacing 2 of the 3 elements of 90 BRISTOL COURT, HARRIS AGAINST THE WORLD and TOM, DICK AND MARY. HULLABALOO summer reruns were on later, presumably because its teen audience could stay up later to watch it during summer vacation. That fall 1965 HULLABALOO was cut to 1/2 hour and moved to Monday nights at 7:30 PM ET, replacing the last remaining element of 90 BRISTOL COURT, KAREN.
    THE FLINTSTONES certainly followed the fads of the time with "SHINROCK". It's funny seeing Wilma & Betty acting like a couple of teenagers while they watched it. For some reason its version of ABC broadcast SHINROCK in color, thousands of years before the invention of television, while the real ABC only ever broadcast SHINDIG! in B&W. ABC expanded SHINDIG! to 2 weekly broadcasts that fall, cancelling both of them in January 1966 and after some program shuffling replaced them w/ ABC's biggest fad of the mid-1960s, BATMAN. Apparently THE FLINTSTONE's writers didn't have to be too creative naming people from the past, just attaching -stone or maybe -rock to their last names. I imagine THE FLINTSTONES, for its last season had an episode or 2 dealing w/ the secret agent/spy craze of the time, having Fred & Barney go on a top secret mission of great importance to their nation, maybe with The Great Gazoo.
    Among other features in the national section of this magazine are a look at SNI (Sports Network Incorporated), which produced regional sports telecasts, and an article by noted author John Gregory Dunne, brother of Dominick Dunne, who rented his Portuguese Bend, CA house out to Universal Studios for a day, named "The Day the Nazis Landed". There is also a picture feature about an art studio where several actors, including Pat Carroll, Richard Deacon, & Joe Flynn take classes. For this particular class they're all sketching past Living Doll and future Catwoman, Julie Newmar, who signed up for the same art class as the others but was convinced, for this class anyway, to "step around to the other side of the easel" and pose.

    1. Not the series, but the feature film A MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE turned Fred into a secret agent...

  2. Disney while the nature programs often seem contrived and occasionally brutal
    They were 'reality television' decades before the term came into vogue. Much of what they filmed was scripted and staged. The most famous example being the mass suicide of Lemmings. That was typical of nature films of that era, the reason you hear ''why didn't they use the tranquiler gun?'' such as when that kid got into the gorilla enclosure is mainly due to Wild Kingdom which gave people the impression that it was common, routine, safe and harmless.
    Here's the truth: The animal was 'scouted' and photographed before the film shoot, the Veterinarian could get a good idea of the species, age, general health and weight of the animal. The tranquilizer is prepared with that specific animal in mind - too much 'dope' and it could OD the animal (or leave it vulnerable for too long), not enough and the animal wakes up too soon, which can be dangerous to both the animal and the people around it.
    Now you know why they don't ''just grab the dart gun''.

  3. ''What Walt Disney would think of his company today, we can only wonder.''
    My guess? He'd be disgusted by it. Remember those ''beach movies''? Walt hated 'em, and hated Annette being turned into a (tame by today's standards) sex symbol in them.
    Compare that to the parade of sleaze such as Lohan, Aguilara, Spears and Cyrus.

    1. Walt's influence over Annette made her insist AIP have her look tame by 1960's standards--note she never wore an actual bikini, but demure one and two piece suits.

  4. Walt's deal with NBC made it clear cartoons would not dominate the WORLD, as he didn't want to appeal only to children.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!