October 6, 2018

This week in TV Guide: October 7, 1967

There's every reason to be excited about this year's World Series. The National League champions, the St. Louis Cardinals, are a powerful team favored by the experts. They're facing the Cinderella Boston Red Sox, they of "The Impossible Dream," who came out on top in a frantic four-team battle for the American League pennant that was called "The Great Race".

As we join the Series in St. Louis for Game 3 on Saturday, the Cards and Sox have split the first two games; St. Louis' Bob Gibson stops Boston in Game 1, and Boston's Jim Lonborg carries a no-hitter into the eighth inning before giving up a two-out single in an eventual 5-0 Red Sox victory. Things only get better from here; St. Louis wins Games 3 and 4 over the weekend and seem poised to wrap things up at home, but Boston rebounds with a win in Game 5 (Lonborg again), and Game 6 back in Boston. It all boils down to Game 7, Thursday at 11:30 a.m. CT on NBC, and the difference is Gibson, pitching on three days' rest, against Lonborg, trying to come back with only two days' rest. The Cardinals score two in the third inning and two in the fifth, and when it's all said and done, the Cardinals emerge with a 7-2 win, and their second World Series title of the '60s.

St. Louis will be back in the Series again next year, this time facing the Detroit Tigers, one of the teams that had lost out to Boston in 1967. Again St. Louis races out to a 3-1 lead; again, they miss an opportunity to clinch with a win in Game 5, again Gibson goes into Game 7 facing a Tigers pitcher going on only two days' rest. But this time the pitcher is Mickey Lolich, and the Tigers triumph where the Red Sox failed, winning the game 4-1. But that's a story for another day, and another TV Guide.

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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..

Ed Sullivan: Ed's scheduled guests are comedians Jack E. Leonard, Joan Rivers, and Wayne and Shuster; singers Jimmy Dean, Lana Cantrell and the Young Americans; the Muppets puppets; and Gosha the bear from the Moscow State Circus.

The Palace: Milton Berle hosts an all-comedy show with guests Kaye Ballard, Joe Besser, Irving Benson, Prof. Irwin Corey and the Bottoms Up troupe.

There's a note that if the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) strike against ABC is ongoing, this episode of Palace will be replaced with a rerun hosted by Phil Silvers, and perhaps that's what we should have wished for. To tell the truth (and maybe we should be watching that), neither of these shows does much for me. However, I don't like to use the push too often, so for the sake of selecting a winner, I'll note that Ed has Jimmy Dean and the Muppets, and I could live with Wayne and Shuster, so on the basis that this show isn't as bad, I'll give the nod to Sullivan.

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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. 

They might not have dominated television the way they once did, but in 1967 there's still room to debut a new Western series, and CBS has gone all-in with Cimarron Strip, a 90-minute extravaganza starring former Oscar nominee Stuart Whitman as Marshal Jim Crown. You know the old saying, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression?" I think this applies to Amory's opinion of Cimarron Strip; after having seen the first episode, he remarks that "they have killed everything in sight except (a) the hero and (b) the time." It only goes downhill from there.

Of our hero the Marshal, he says that "Even if at the beginning of the show you love him, and at the middle of the show you still like him, the trouble is, by the end of the show you feel married to him." It doesn't help, of course, that his dialogue consists of lines such as "I'll bet you a steak and a beer." Also, the show is 90 minutes long—have we mentioned that yet?—which means "he can't do anything too fast—even think." It's not that they haven't tried to give him some depth; he does have a past, which according to Cleve is a bad thing. "No man with the present and future he's got on this show should have to have a bad past too."

He's not helped by his co-stars either, played by Randy Boone, Percy Herbert, and Jill Townsend. If it were left to the four of them, including Jim, "there would be no show at all." Townsend's character unintentionally plays comic relief, and the chief contributions of Herbert, playing a Scotsman is to repeatedly ask for a drink, Amory's there is that "he does this because he knows what's coming."

As with other 90-minute Westerns such as Wagon Train and The Virginian, Cimarron Strip depends on guest stars, but even they wear thin. Face it, there's just no hope for this series; in the second episode, one character says, "You talk like my foot's asleep." Amory's reply applies to the entire series: "We still don't believe it, but we think we heard it."

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It's not my intent to turn this into an all-sports edition, and I don't want to get too local here for you non-Minnesotans, but there's a deceptively simple listing on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. on WTCN, Channel 11. "North Star Hockey." It's even a bit clumsy, compared to listings for other sports—"Pro Football," for example, or "World Series."

Maybe we shouldn't be surprised, though, for Wednesday night is the inaugural regular season game for the Minnesota North Stars, one of the six new expansion teams in the National Hockey League. It may not have been the first game telecast; there might have been a pre-season game or two shown, but still, it represents a landmark occasion for what we've come to call—thanks to a marketing guru, no doubt—the "State of Hockey." The North Stars became one of the most beloved, and frustrating, franchises in the state. The meager crowds which sometimes attended the play were less reflective of interest in the team and more an expression of disgust at the team's performance, or often, that of the ownership. The team was abused twice; once when a previous ownership group was allowed to take half of the team with them to San Jose to start a new expansion team, and finally The Great Betrayal, when the league let a criminal owner move the franchise to Dallas. Neither of these things would have happened in a truly professional league (and we wonder why hockey still remains fourth of the four major sports in the United States), and the bitterness still runs deep; I lived for four years in Dallas, and never once in those four years did I root for the Stars. I don't even watch hockey anymore, a sport I used to love, but again that's another story.

That first game gave us a glimpse of what the North Stars would be like, though. They tied the St. Louis Blues, 2-2; the Blues would come to be their great rival through the years, and in the Stanley Cup semifinals that season the North Stars and Blues would go seven games, with the Blues winning 2-1 in double overtime while North Stars announcer Frank Buetel said the teams and fans were "climbing cardiac hill." The Stars never did win the Stanley Cup while they were here, and the Wild have been the local team for almost twenty years now, but there's only one first year.

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Saturday's Jackie Gleason Show (6:30 p.m., CBS) is a Honeymooners musical, with Ralph finding himself in a typical situation: needing to raise cash because he just lost $500 of the Loyal Order of Raccoons' money. Later on Petticoat Junction (8:30 p.m., CBS), it's a big, big day in Hooterville, as Kate's given Steve permission to propose to Betty Jo. Only problem is, everyone else in town knows about it before she does. And that's why I don't live in a small town.

Sunday gets off to an interesting start, with Lamp unto My Feet and Look Up and Live being preempted for an Experimental Theater presentation, "Road Signs on a Merry-Go-Round." (9:00 a.m., CBS) I've written about television and existentialism before, but this really defines it, as "an allegorical husband and wife" roam the streets of New York searching for the meaning in life through the thoughts of three philosopher-theologians: Martin Buber, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. All three of these men are contemporary to the times, familiar if not household names; Bonhoeffer was a martyr in World War II, Chardin had died only twelve years before, and Buber only two years ago.

Bing and Mary Frances
Bob Hope and Danny Thomas both lent their names to NBC drama anthologies in the '60s which featured big-name guest stars. On Monday night at 8:00 p.m., Thomas welcomes Bing Crosby, playing a rare straight-dramatic role as a fading film star, in "The Demon Under the Bed." George Maharis co-stars as the photographer who follows Crosby around, trying to capture the "core" of the former star as he faces an operation to save his voice, and possibly his career. Joan Collins is Crosby's ex-wife, and eight-year-old Mary Frances Crosby makes her TV acting debut as Crosby's on-screen daughter.

Tuesday night Don Rickles plays a physical fitness instructor on I Dream of Jeannie (6:30 p.m., NBC) who's raised Jeannie's ire by working Tony and Roger to a frazzle. Side note: the orderly in the episode is played by David Soul. He's one of a number of guest stars that stand out tonight; Barbara Feldon is Jerry Lewis' guest (7:00 p.m., NBC), while Russell Johnson finds himself in the middle of The Invaders (7:30 p.m., ABC), and Vincent Gardenia and Charles Grodin are on N.Y.P.D. (8:30 p.m., ABC). At 9:00 p.m. on CBS, Harry Reasoner goes on a tour of "Barry Goldwater's Arizona" with the former presidential candidate, looking at Phoenix, Sun City, the Grand Canyon, and Indian reservations, among other things.

At the top of the table on Wednesday is Barbra Streisand in one of her famous CBS specials (9:00 p.m.), this one presenting a salute to vaudeville, with Jason Robards, Lee Allen, John Bubbles, and 12-year-old singer Susan Alpern. If, like me, you're not a fan of the nose that roars, you might be drawn to other entertainment. In that case, Parley Baer, who played Chester on the radio version of Gunsmoke and the mayor on Andy Griffith, is a guest on The Second Hundred Years (7:30 p.m., ABC). and George Burns hosts the Kraft Music Hall (8:00 p.m., NBC) in a return to "Tin Pan Alley," with Dionne Warwick, Nancy Ames, Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66, and—Dick Cavett? Yep, he's just a comedian at this point, not a talk-show host.

On Thursday, we get a look at why Cleveland Amory was so down on Cimarron Strip (CBS, 6:30 p.m.), as "Marshal Crown must prevent a showdown between an old Indian chief and the flamboyant star of a Wild West show." Better to watch Batman at the same time on ABC (which may be another explanation as to why the show doesn't last), with tonight's guest villains the Penguin (Burgess Meredith) and Lola Lasagne (Ethel Merman). F. Lee Bailey's short-lived talk show Good Company (9:00 p.m., ABC) features the famed barrister interviewing Patricia Neal and her husband, Roald Dahl. And Dean Martin's guests tonight (same time, NBC) are George Gobel, Stanley Holloway, Jack Gilford, and Deano's daughter Gail.

Wrapping up the week (Friday), Off to See the Wizard (6:30 p.m., ABC) features an original musical, "Who's Afraid of Mother Goose?" and when they boast of an all-star cast, they aren't kidding—try Maureen O'Hara, Frankie Avalon, Nancy Sinatra, Margaret Hamilton, Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, Dick Shawn, and Joanie Sommers. If that isn't enough star power for you, try The Bell Telephone Hour (9:00 p.m., NBC), which goes "On the Road with Duke Ellington."

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I shouldn't leave without noting this week's feature on Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss, who play He & She, the sophisticated comedy that was perhaps just a bit ahead of its time: a couple of years later, after Mary Tyler Moore's series had become a success, I think this would have been one as well. I've always been inclined to like both Dick and Paula, but I think the most impressive thing about them is that they were married in 1961, and they remain married today. To each other, which is the really impressive part. And then there's the cover tease about That Girl, which is mostly concerned with the show's trip to Philadelphia for some location shooting, and the impression one comes away with is that Ted Bessell is very funny and very charming, and has quite an eye for American history.


If I'm not mistaken, doesn't that look like Yvonne Craig? If so, she's just a month into playing Batgirl. TV  


  1. Replies
    1. The reason the Blues got to the Stanley Cup Finals the 1st year was simple(and this is NOT a knock on the Blues) is the way the NHL was set up that year. ALL six expansion teams were placed into the Western Division and since the Stanley Cup Playoffs were set up by division for the 1st two rounds the team that won their 1st 2 series would reach the Finals and would likely be beaten badly by the established Eastern Divsion team. That was NOT like last year where Vegas made the finals as a 1st year team

    2. True. The majority of the 1967 NHL "Expansion" teams featured castoffs from other teams, along with many career minor leaguers who finally had their chance at the big time. The Blues were fortunate. Coached by now-legendary Scotty Bowman, tagging veteran Glenn Hall from the Blackhawks in Goal, along with pulling Hall of Famer Jacques Plante from the minors; veterans such as Jean-Guy Talbot from the Montreal Canadiens, Al Arbour from the Toronto Maple Leafs, along with tough guys The Plager Brothers from the minors. What's forgotten is that while the Blues lost each Final between 1968 and 1970 in Four Straight, many of those games were decided by one goal against extremely strong teams.

      In 1967, the Draft lacked the same importance as today since most players had been under contract to their teams from an early age. Not like today.

  2. CIMARRON STRIP inherited a bad time slot. The season prior, CBS was a very distant third behind DANIEL BOONE (25th) on NBC and the BATMAN/F TROOP combo on ABC (both in the top 40). F TROOP was replaced by THE FLYING NUN (which slightly improved the rating, from 19.1 and 40th to 19.5 and 34th) for the Fall of 1967. DANIEL BOONE still won the time period in 67-68, in 29th place.

    I guess CBS reasoned that they would try a 90 minute western to kick off the night since NBC had great success with THE VIRGINIAN doing that on Wednesdays, but CIMARRON STRIP made little headway. At the season's halfway point, it was between 15.0 and 15.7 for all three half-hours, and in third place in all 3. The competition got even worse for its final half-hour from 7:30-8, ABC's BEWITCHED and NBC's IRONSIDE. BATMAN, incidentally, slid considerably, from the 19.3 rating the season before down to 16.5 at mid-season. It was gone in March.

    1. Both ABC and NBC's Thursday night lineups that season were strong. Some CBS affiliates such as Buffalo, NY's WBEN-TV (now WIVB) ran local programming such as movies in that time slot, trying to recoup some ad revenue in prime time in a weak time slot.

  3. Here & There :

    - A while back, MeTV was rerunning Cimarron Strip on weekends.
    When it was on CBS in first-run, I was a teenager, and was mainly off Westerns.
    However, the years have gone by (this past weekend I was at a 50th anniversary party for my high school graduating class, which is another story), and Cimarron Strip did have the now-legendary Harlan Ellison/Western version of Jack The Ripper, and so I kept an eye out.
    Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! - I actually kind of likedit!
    CBS obviously spent the bread: they gave it to the Gunsmoke team, and put A-list writers and directors to work on the episodes, and engaged name actors to play the roles.
    In the episode from the listings, for example, the old Indian chief was played by Henry Wilcoxon, who spent years as C.B. Demille's right-hand man, while the Wild West Showman was Gene Evans; I saw this show, and these two pros gave their all.
    There was another episode that featured the great Jack Elam as a bounty hunter named Bucklin Moon.
    This was an inside joke of a sort:
    There was a real Bucklin Moon, who was a major editor of pulp Western magazines and paperbacks years before. One of the writers that Mr. Moon helped to get started was Daniel Mainwaring, who went on to a considerable career in both novels and movies.
    Mainwaring wrote this particular script, in which he gave a shout-out to his old editor (people did things like this back then).
    By the bye, the Jack the Ripper show was pretty good too (Harlan hated the direction, but that was Harlan …).

    - I also want to mention Who's Afraid Of Mother Goose?, which was a special that had sat on somebody's shelf for a time, until ABC put it in with Off To See The Wizard.
    I'm a bit surprised that reference books don't mention that this show was one of the final TV performances by the Three Stooges, who played the Three Men in the Tub. They had a cute song, "The S.S. Nowhere", with music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards (a name you may be familiar with).

    - I was never a hockey fan, but my father was (Go Black Hawks!).
    This was when Channel 9 carried road games several times a week in season, with newscaster Lloyd Pettit calling the play ("There's a shot AND A GOAL!!!").
    Ultimately, Arthur Wirtz, the Hawks's owner, ended the deal with Channel 9 and moved the games to over-the-air pay-tv - at which time Dad stopped following hockey cold (pardon the expression).

  4. The Blues making it to the 1968 Stanley Cup finals in their inaugural season wasn't as amazing as one would think.

    When the NHL expanded for the 1967-68 season, they basically doubled the size of the league from 6 to 12. Because the NHL Original Six owners (Boston, NY Rangers, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago and Detroit)didn't want to give up the rivalries, the six expansion teams (Minnesota, Phila, Pittsburgh, St Louis, Los Angeles and the colorful white-skate wearing Oakland Seals) went into their own division with the winner of each division meeting for the Cup. That resulted in the powerhouse Montreal Canadiens meeting the expansion Blues.

    Wasn't exactly a seven game thriller...Montreal dominated the expansion team who came out of the expansion division 4-0 (although two games did go into OT).


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!