April 13, 2018

Around the dial

For some reason I'm feeling particularly talkative about many of this week's links, and we'll get to them after one of our occasional digressions.

First, a note to any of you who are concerned about secure Internet connections: we now have one, which means you can access the same great content you've come to know and love by going to https://www.itsabouttv.com. No need to change your links, though: the regular http address still works as well, so either way you've got a path to the blog.

Second, we've received a request for information from a reader: Charles Rister writes of his

extreme frustration in trying to locate a particular TV Guide of several years ago.  I have spent hours (retired) searching E-Bay and Google trying to find the TV Guide which listed one of the first commercial television showings of the western Mackenna's Gold, with Gregory Peck. I know the exact time period because I was watching it at an emotional time in my young life.  I believe the time was spring/summer of 1970 (like one of those Saturday Night at the Movies) during the 1970 year.  The movie was released theatrically May 10, 1969 USA. It is possible it was on TV late 1969 but I'm pretty certain it was on TV in the year 1970.  Would you know of or have access to a data base to locate this TV Guide issue in 1970?  

Charles, you're not the only one who wishes TV Guide would do something about a database of their past issues (Jodie Peeler mentions it in her piece, which you'll read about next). I've done a bit of a search and have come up as empty as Charles. Are there any readers out there who can help out? I'm thinking of you, Mike Doran - and how was the weekend, by the way? I meant to answer your comment from last week, and ask you to pass along my best to Max Allen Collins - love his work, and the things he's doing to keep Mickey Spillane's work alive.

At Garroway at Large, Jodie has a really, really good article on Richard Gehman's fascinating two-part TV Guide profile of Dave Garroway. I was able to identify with this in a number of ways; I have the issue that contains the first of the two-parts to the story (and thank you, Jodie, for the gracious shout-out!); I also have the book Changing Channels: America in TV Guide by Glenn Altschuler and David Grossvogel (which, as she points out, is also good; I'll be bringing that with me to Baltimore for my talk at MANC); and I've written before about Gehman's writing style. And don't think I'm saying these things about Jodie's article because she's written for this blog; if she wasn't already a guest contributor before now, I would have asked her after reading this. If you're interested in Garroway, you'll enjoy this; if you're not, I think it will change your mind.

Likewise, there's a good feature over at Comfort TV on the pieces you'll likely never see posted there. I know just what David is talking about; I have my own collection of ideas that seemed pretty good at the time, but wound up never seeing the light of day. I still have high hopes for some of them, though, and I'll join in with the commenter who hoped that David would develop some of these some day in the future.

The Twilight Zone Vortex has a piece on Buck Houghton, the initial producer of the program, and how he was the "unsung hero" of Twilight Zone. I'm familiar with Houghton from having read Marc Scott Zicree's TZ book, and I've become sensitive to seeing his name in other classic shows of the era. It's a good piece that demonstrates how TZ was far from being a one-man (Serling) operation. I think you'll be impressed by him as well.

Ah, John, you're fortunate to have seen "Tunnel of Fear"  (isn't that a great title?), one of the rediscovered early episodes of The Avengers. It teams Patrick Macnee's Steed with Ian Hendry's Dr. Keel. You may be disappointed to see that there's no Mrs. Gale, Mrs. Peel, or Miss King, but to me it proves that without John Steed, there's no Avengers.

It's time for a new cycle in "The Hitchcock Project," Jack's review of Alfred Hitchcock episodes at bare-bones e-zine that tracks the works of a specific author. That's hardly an adequate definition, though, because Jack does more that simply look at the episode; he goes all the way back to the original story's publication (if it's an adaptation) and then examines the differences between the original and the adaptation. And even that description doesn't do it justice, because Jack just captivates you into reading about episodes that you haven't even seen yet, and doing it in such a way that it doesn't ruin the eventual viewing of the episode. The new cycle traces the work of Stanley Ellin, and begins with the season three episode "The Festive Season."

Don't forget: it's Friday the 13th, so let's be careful out there, and I'll be back tomorrow. TV  


  1. Thanks very much, Mitchell. I suggest Charles try the NY Times back issue database and look at the TV listings. He might be able to do a keyword search and find the airing of that movie, then look for that week's TV Guide.

  2. Thanks, Mitchell! Researching the show over the past six years, I noticed that just about everyone involved with the first three seasons seemed to praise Houghton's influence on the series. So I figured he deserved his own post.

  3. More on the Charles question. There used to be an industry reference book called TV Feature Film Source Book that listed feature films in alphabetical order and I think it listed the first and subsequent dates they aired, network, and ratings. If he could find that, it might help. I threw a bunch of them away not long ago, unfortunately.

  4. On a hunch I went into my Newspapers.com account just now to find when "Mackenna's Gold" made its television debut. I found that the movie had a really long theatrical run through 1970 and into 1971. According to a CBS press release that was widely printed on September 22, 1972, the Sept. 29 broadcast of "Mackenna's Gold" on "The CBS Thursday Night Movies" would be "the first television presentation of this film." I found the listings for Sept. 29 that confirm the scheduling of the movie. It was aired again on "The CBS Friday Night Movie" on Jan. 2, 1973, and on another "Friday Night Movie" presentation on March 2, 1973.

    If Charles would like to drop me a note through the Garroway site's contact feature (site linked in my name above) I'd be happy to provide documentation that may help in that TV Guide search.


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