November 30, 2018

Around the dial

Stephen Hillenburg, creator of SpongeBob SquarePants, one of the most delightfully bizarre, surrealistic, laugh-out-loud cartoons ever to make it to television, died earlier this week from ALS. He was only 57. Among the many tributes paid to him was this article from The Ringer, in which the staff discuss some of the show's greatest moments. For me, it would undoubtedly be the one in which SpongeBob and Patrick wind up crew members for the Flying Dutchman. "You're good, you're good, keep moving, you're good."

Speaking of favorite episodes, at Classic Film and TV Café Rick has his own list: the five best Monty Python skits. Classics, each and every one, but I'd have to include "Deja Vu" and "The Spanish Inquisition" as part of my own list, not to mention "Philosopher Football." (Which I've mentioned before, so I guess it is to mention.)

The richness of Dave Garroway's time at Today extends to the people who surrounded him during those years (or, considering Garroway's influence over the show, it would probably be more accurate to call them the people with whom Garroway surrounded himself). As Jodie points out at Garroway at Large, that includes the fascinating Beryl Pfizer, who had quite a time during and after her stint on Today. It's yet another glimpse into the complexities of Garroway.

Things wrapped up early at the Blog last week, it being Thanksgiving and all, which meant I missed Jack's latest "Hitchcock Project" installment at bare-bones e-zine. I intend to rectify that now, by looking at "The Jokester," the grimly satisfying fourth season episode brilliantly adapted by Bernard C. Schoenfeld. As usual, it has an ending that's pure Hitchcock.

OK, so The Third Man is treading into movie territory (unless you're talking about the television version with Michael Rennie), but I figure I first saw it on TV, so I'm going to count it anyway, since The Last Drive-In writes about it this week. It features one of the great all-time movie quotes, spoken (and perhaps written) so memorably by Orson Welles: "Like the fella says, in Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love—they had five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." 

At Cult TV Blog, John takes a first look at one of the legendary shows in British television: the police drama Target. John calls it "a visual delight" of images of the '70s; I hope he writes more about it; I'm looking forward to reading about it.

The recent death of Stan Lee prompts David at Comfort TV to reminisce about classic television's checkered treatment of the Marvel universe. Let's just say that this is one situation where, compared to the spectacular superhero movies of today, older isn't necessarily better.

Finally, the Broadcasting Archives at the University of Maryland links to this article at Advertising Week on the history of the NBC peacock. TV  

November 28, 2018

Looking for the perfect holiday gift? How about "The Electronic Mirror"!

Still hunting for that perfect gift? Or, like the people on the Black Friday commercials, are you thinking about a little treat for yourself? Allow me to suggest The Electronic Mirror: What Classic TV Tells Us About Who We Were and Who We Are (and Everything In-Between). After all, you wouldn't be here if you didn't already like classic television, right? So why not take advantage of it?

The Electronic Mirror looks at how classic TV acts as a time capsule, telling us how life used to be, and in many cases how things got the way they are today. Not only does it feature many of your favorite shows and stars, it also places them in context, explaining their meaning and significance. As Carol Ford (Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography) says, "You won't watch TV the same way again!"  Best of all, you'll have fun along the way. If you like It's About TV!, you'll love The Electronic Mirror. And at $12.95 (plus shipping, unless you're a Prime member) it won't break the bank.

The link above takes you to the Amazon link, but The Electronic Mirror is also available at Barnes &, as well as many other online retailers. And if you really want to make it a special gift, how about a signed copy? After you've placed your order, just send me an email (the address is on the sidebar) with your address, telling me who it's for and how you'd like it signed, and I'll send you a bookplate that you can insert in your copy. Don't be shy; I won't bite!

I'm very proud of The Electronic Mirror, and I'm confident you and your favorite classic TV fan will enjoy this trip through television history. Order now, in time for your gift-giving! TV  

November 26, 2018

What's on TV? Friday, November 29, 1968

Well, here we are, the day after Thanksgiving. (Kind of funny to write that, since Thanksgiving was actually four days ago, in real time. Ah, the perils of the digital world.) As I mentioned on Saturday, one of the highlights of the day is ABC's annual cartoon festival, four hours of cartoons from the Saturday morning lineup. I always enjoyed this greatly, even though I didn't usually watch it; it was part of the fun of seeing shows outside of when you were used to seeing them. You get to thinking that tomorrow's Sunday, because today feels like Saturday. Then you wake up tomorrow, and—it's only Saturday! What a deal! (TVParty! remembers those day-after-Thanksgiving cartoon festivals here.)

Today's listings are from New York City—have fun!

November 24, 2018

This week in TV Guide: November 23, 1968

Doesn't it seem as if we just celebrated Thanksgiving here last week? Well, I did warn you this was coming, so if you've had your fill of turkey, feel free to skip skip over that, but stay for the rest.

And this week, "the rest" means Marya Mannes' provocative article on the lack of women in television news. Oh, there's Pauline Frederick, NBC's UN correspondent; Marlene Sanders, who has the afternoon news update on ABC; Liz Trotta, reporting from Vietnam for NBC; and Mannes herself, who had her own show on WNEW in 1959 and has been a frequent radio and television commentator since.*

*It's interesting that Barbara Walters isn't included in this group, but then , even though she's now co-host of Today with Hugh Downs, she isn't apparently taken seriously as a journalist. 

"[I]t is a fact," Mannes writes, "that the only national television female of real authority is Julia Child." That's because women are supposed to be experts on food; nobody cares that she doesn't look like Raquel Welch; "in fact, quite properly, they care for her more because she is, simply, herself." But put a woman behind the news desk and the situation changes quickly. For starters, "she should look young and smooth-faced, and who can be that after 20 or 30 years of training, involvement and experience?"* As one network executive says, who "wants to look at a middle-aged dame, especially if she's bright?" Such a one would be likely to remind men of their mothers, wives, or mothers-in-law, "always talking or laying down the law."

*See Fox News, for example, although to their credit, (a) they aren't the only ones with attractive women anchoring the news, and (b) some of their reporters are not only quite good, they're also quite experience. Nonetheless, if the shoe fits,...

Mannes makes an interesting argument that television is, after all, entertainment; therefore, why aren't more women in news? The exceptions to the rule—public affairs programs such as WNBC's For Women Only (which, Mannes notes, is a stupid name for the show) are shown in the morning, which means housewives can watch—but what about prime time? Mannes acknowledges that there's still a "deep-seated resentment" to career women, which, interestingly, she says is"quite understandable in the case of militant females who bulldoze their opinions with strident voices, contorted faces and guerrilla tactics." Even worse, perhaps, are "those silken-voiced, super-groomed ladies who use the guise of femininity to conceal a vaulting and implacable ambition."

What Mannes looks forward to is the time when it won't matter if the news is presented "by a man or a woman, or whether, if a woman, she is young or not young, neither a fashion model nor a Playboy centerfold." (Again, see Fox.) By their very nature, Mannes says, women have a lot to offer in terms of special and different insights. "I believe that women have a special way of looking at things and feeling about them that men by their very nature often lack." If nothing else, adding more women to television news would provide viewers with more variety, which can be quite refreshing.

What will it be, she asks network executives in conclusion. "Could it be that you are more concerned with public acceptance—than with the public interest? Could it be that because you are men, you see only your own image?"

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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: Tentatively scheduled guests: Eddie Albert; singers Nancy Wilson and Dusty Springfield; and comedians Rodney Dangerfield, and Morecambe and Wise.

Palace: Co-hosts Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca welcome singers Lou Rawls and Jane Morgan, singer-dancer Chita Rivera, the rocking Bee Gees and trapeze artist Galina Adaskina from the Moscow State Circus.

We're alerted in the small print that the possibility of a musicians' strike hovers over the Sullivan show; if the strike isn't settled, a rerun will air instead. And perhaps that accounts for the confusion over who actually appears on this episode. After consulting with, it appears that Dusty Springfield and Nancy Wilson did in fact appear on November 24, but they were actually joined by The Kessler Twins, The Doodletown Pipers, Jackie Mason, Burns & Schreiber, Morey Amsterdam, The Muppets, and Italian magician Silvan. As confirmation, here's Dusty Springfield with her classic rendition of "Son of a Preacher Man."

Now, Sullivan's show is live, so the lineup is always subject to change. It's usually a packed show as well, whereas the lineup from TV Guide looks a little skimpy. So it could be that this kind of thing happens all the time. Does that mean I should check every week to see how accurate TV Guide is? I could, but that seams like taking some of the fun out of browsing through these issues. I know there are times when I do a great deal of outside research in order to enhance the content, but still... Anyway, if any of you out there have strong feelings about it one way or the other, just let me know. Otherwise, this is probably the exception rather than the rule.

Now, where were we? That's right—I was going to say something about Palace. Well, it's an OK show; with the original Sullivan lineup, I think I was going to give Ed a slight edge. And I think between Dusty, Morey Amsterdam, and the Muppets, I still will. It's not a landslide, but Sullivan still carries the day.

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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. 

One of the trends that Cleveland Amory finds annoying is this habit, now in vogue, of using the series star's real first name as the first name of the character they play in the series. Doris Day, for example, plays Doris Martin in her series, and Lucille Ball, the star of Here's Lucy, plays Lucy Carter. "We object to this trend," Amory says, "and since Lucy started it all in I Love Lucy, we hold her strictly responsible. After all, it's hard enough to believe in these half-baked half-hours without also assailing us with half-truths." He also doesn't like how husbands are disappearing from television; we've gone from smart husbands and dumb wives to dumb husbands and smart wives, and now there are no husbands at all, unless they happen to be single parents.

This is a roundabout way of getting to the subject of this week's review, which just happens to be the aforementioned Here's Lucy, and the fact that Cleve gets bogged down in such minutiae at the outset means he's trying to put off an actual review for as long as possible. The reason? "[W]hile we loved I Love Lucy, we can't even make friends with this show. It's the old Lucy all right, and she does her zany darnedest to make you give a darn. But the trouble is you don't."

Even with Gale Gordon as the always-popular boss doing the slow burn, even though Lucy herself has her moments, the show just doesn't work. "The trouble comes first—and we must speak plainly here—with the fact that Miss ball has inserted into her show her two real children—Lucie Desiree and Desi Arnaz Jr. And since neither of them is ready, this was a mistake." Second, the scripts just aren't very good, even if the idea behind them is amusing. Now, given that the show wound up running for six seasons, it could be that it got better over time, or perhaps Cleve was just in a bad mood when he wrote this, or maybe it really wasn't that good a show, and it was just the popularity of Lucy that carried it through 144 episodes. I guess everyone's entitled to their own opinion. But given that it's Thanksgiving week, I guess we can't be too surprised that Amory would come up with a turkey to review.

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As we've seen in the past, Thanksgiving week is a great time for the networks to roll out specials, and this week is no exception.

Saturday it's the first holiday cartoon of the year, the debut of the Rankin-Bass special The Mouse on the Mayflower (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC), with Tennessee Ernie Ford both narrating and starring as William Mouse, who travels to the New World with the Pilgrims and mingles with such names from American history as John Alden, Miles Standish, Priscilla Mullens, and William Bradford.

On Sunday, America's sweetheart, Olympic and World figure skating champion Peggy Fleming, stars in her first TV special (9:00 p.m., NBC), with Gene Kelly, Richard Harris, Spanky and Our Gang, and members of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. Traditionally figure skaters had always been associated with classical music to this time, and I think perhaps this was her way of linking skating with contemporary music.

Monday brings Frank Sinatra's annual November special; this year's show, Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing (9:00 p.m.), is on CBS instead of NBC, although the special was taped at NBC's studios. (Because, Dick Hobson mentions in this week's Sinatra article, Frank apparently prefers it that way.) Frank's guests are Diahann Carroll and the 5th Dimension (left), in "an hour of songs—swinging, spiritual, soul and psychedelic." I have to admit how painful this sounds, especially when compared to the Sinatra specials of the previous three years. Hobson's article alludes to this as well; Sinatra acknowledges that for the last few years, "I felt left out. I wondered what was going to happen to people like me. I couldn't compromise with the New Sound. I just sat on the side lines waiting it out." He's optimistic about the future, saying that many of today's songs are already standards, although I wonder if he really means it; he says that "the young songwriters are more ballady than even Rodgers and Hart. I don't feel like such an outsider."

60 Minutes isn't an entertainment program, and it's not yet a weekly series, but Tuesday's special episode (10:00 p.m., CBS) presents a discussion of Pope Paul VI's controversial encyclical on birth control, Humane vitae, released in July of this year. If you  weren't alive in those years, it's difficult to explain just how controversial, how much of a thunderbolt, this letter was. Suffice it to say that books can, and have, been written on it, and a television website is not the place for another one to be written.

On Wednesday, Bob Hope is at USC (9:00 p.m., NBC), with his guests Glen Campbell, Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66, singer Barbara McNair, and dancer Juliet Prowse. There'll also be an appearance by Heisman Trophy contender O.J. Simpson (insert obvious joke here). Caution if the musician's strike is still on, previously recorded segments will be substituted.*

*About that strike: it began on October 30, 1968, and ran for 28 days. This news item from Billboard says that the strike ended on November 28 (which would have been Thanksgiving). According to the terms of the settlement, made retroactive to August 1, staff musicians received an increase to $280.70 per week. An AP story dated December 7 says that "Bob Hope's Chrysler TV special taped numbers at U. S. C. to recorded music during the network musicians strike; Eddie Fisher sang from his own recordings — and had to use cue cards." Did this also happen in Dusty Springfield's performance on Sullivan? (Minus the cue cards, of course.) The Sinatra special mentioned above was taped in August.

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The Thanksgiving Day festivities begin at 9:00 a.m. on CBS, with the "Thanksgiving Parade of Parades," three hours of parades from New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Charlotte, and Toronto. I shan't wax on about this the way I usually do, for which I'm sure you're grateful; this year, Kukla, Fran, and Ollie host from New York. NBC's coverage of the Macy's parade begins at 10:00 a.m. and runs for two hours (they don't have the hour-long prelude of musical acts as they do today), hosted by the longtime duo of Lorne Greene and Betty White. And if you're interested, Joe Franklin's show over at WOR (10:00 a.m.) features Johnny Marks, composer of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

The football action today is fast and furious, beginning at 12:15 on CBS, with the Philadelphia Eagles traveling to Detroit for the Lions' Thanksgiving Day game. I remember this game well; it was a terrible game, played in a driving rainstorm, with absolutely no incentive for either team to win. Sam Baker kicked four field goals for the Eagles, one in each quarter, as they defeated the Lions 12-0 for their first win of the season. (They'd win again the following week, in the process losing the chance to draft O.J. Simpson with the number one pick.} It was two weeks later, incidentally, that the famous incident occurred where Eagles fans booed Santa and pelted him with snowballs at halftime of their season-ending game against Minnesota. (You can read about both games here.) Man, what a season—even when the Eagles won, they lost.

At 1:30 on NBC, the AFL kicks off its doubleheader action with the Kansas City Chiefs, the league's own Thanksgiving Day traditional hosts, taking on the Houston Oilers. That game is followed at 4:15 by the second game, the Buffalo Bills facing the Raiders in Oakland. The Bills had the good sense to lose that game, 13-10; by finishing 1-12-1, they edged out the Eagles at 2-12 and won the Simpson lottery. The NFL finishes its own doubleheader at 6:00 p.m. on CBS with those old rivals, the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, facing off once again in Dallas. (2018 will be the ninth time the two have played on Thanksgiving.) And if college football is more your style, you won't be left out; ABC has the traditional Turkey Day game (3:00 p.m.) between Texas A&M and Texas, from Austin. If you don't like football, might I suggest WNEW's The King Family Thanksgiving special at 3:30 p.m.? It probably goes well with the pumpkin pie.

And for those living in New York, there's WPIX's legendary Thanksgiving Day Jamboree (2:30 p.m.) with "Officer" Joe Bolton and Carol Corbett, and including Speed Racer, The Three Stooges, and Superman. It's preceded by high school football (Xavier vs. Fordham, in color) and Laurel & Hardy's classic March of the Wooden Soldiers. What fun!

Have I ever talked here about Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory? Yes, I can see that I have. Anyway, this year the less-heralded sequel, The Thanksgiving Visitor, appears, appropriately enough, on Thanksgiving night (7:30 p.m., ABC), with Geraldine Page reprising her role as Sookie, Capote's spinster cousin. I can't say anything about this since I've neither read the story nor seen the special—I guess I don't do tender and sensitive—but if you want to give it a try and let me know how it is, you can see it starting here.

On Friday, ABC presents four hours of cartoons usually seen on Saturday mornings. I think, however, we'll read more about that in the TV listings piece on Monday—what do you think?

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Some quick notes, as I am wont to do, from the Teletype and elsewhere: John Forsythe is slated to play a widower with three children in the new CBS sitcom When in Rome. When it debuts next fall, it's called To Rome with Love and runs for two seasons. Likewise for Nanny Will Do, a pilot about "an English girl working in an American household," which becomes ABC's much-loved Nanny and the Professor, starring the much-loved Juliet Mills. And then Joseph Campanella, fresh off his single season on Mannix, is an attorney in The Whole World is Watching, with Burl Ives and James Farentino. Right—The Bold Ones. In the "nothing's new" department: Indiana Senator Birch Bayh is on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, discussing his plan to abolish the Electoral College in favor of direct popular vote for the presidency.

And finally, a message from the Editor in "As We See It": don't blame us; blame Pete Rozelle instead.

It's all about Rozelle, the commissioner of the National Football League, and his idea to add a Monday night game to the television schedule. It's a bold idea, but nobody's quite sure whether or not it's going to fly. As Merrill Panitt points out, "football ratings are relatively low and the need to bounce high-rated shows for 14 Monday nights to make way for more football" might not be all that appealing to the networks. CBS already pays upwards of $23 million on the NFL; since NBC only pays $8.5 million to the AFL, they would seem to have the inside track on the new games. Then there's ABC, which doesn't have any pro football at all, only the college games on Saturday. And if none of them seem interested, there's always Howard Hughes and his Sports Network, which Rozelle says he'll be happy to deal with.

Of course, Rozelle's dream did become a reality, and then some—in addition to Monday nights, we also have Sunday nights and Thursday nights, and while TV ratings have slipped dramatically over the past few years, the NFL is still the most dependable product out there; virtually every one of the year's highest-rated programs is a football game.

Well, you can't say you weren't warned. TV  

November 23, 2018

Around the dial

It's a good crop of links on tap this week— not a turkey among them.

Comfort TV gets us off to a good start, as David reviews the most unconvincing Indians of classic television. They're also some of the funniest portrayals; ah, I'm glad that at least part of my life was spent in a "gleefully unenlightened era."

I've noted in the past the relative merits of the hour-long Twilight Zone episodes, and this week The Twilight Zone Vortex looks at one of that format's best episodes, "Death Ship," with an outstanding cast including Jack Klugman, Ross Martin, and Fredrick Beir. Jordan mentions how this episode echoes Ray Bradbury's famous story "Mars Is Heaven!", which I've heard on the radio, but I'd never considered the similarities before.

If you're in the mood for some Christmas television (and who isn't, at this time of year?), Christmas TV History is the place to be, as Joanna tells us what various broadcast and cable stations have in mind for the season; she also provides links to their full schedules.

At Classic Film and TV Café, Rick uses the first season of Route 66 to examine the output of one of classic television's greatest writers, Sterling Silliphant. I've written about him quite a bit too, and while I think he can be a bit strident from time to time, he's also the author of some of the most literate work on television.

In "Mad Men" Meets "Today," Jodie at Garroway at Large gives us a unique backstage look at the selling aspect of the show. In particular, we get to see how Dave Garroway was, in the words of his colleague Jack Lescoulie, one of the two best commercial spokesmen on television.

I really don't know how I feel about colorizing old TV episodes. Colorizing The Twilight Zone, for example, would be an abomination. Other series are in black-and-white simply because that's the way it was back then. Television Obscurities gives us the schedule for the latest I Love Lucy and Dick Van Dyke colorizations, both appearing on CBS.

Martin Grams has a rundown on this year's Williamsburg Nostalgia Fest, which sounds like it was a lot of fun. Bernie Kopell and Robert Fuller were there (they were a lot of fun at MANC a couple of years ago), as well as some tremendous vendors. I wonder if they'd be interested in an author of a classic TV book?

Here's hoping you all had a terrific Thanksgiving. Let the holidays commence! TV  

November 21, 2018

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 26, 1959

For Thanksgiving Eve, let's take a look at this rare kinescope of the 1959 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as broadcast on NBC. The host is Bill Wendell, who was Ernie Kovacs' announcer on his NBC show, and went on to greater fame as the announcer for David Letterman's show, while Gene Rayburn provides the commentary from street level.

You'll notice it's only one hour; far shorter than today's bloated, performance-filled version. I love the parade, but I can't watch it without my thumb on the remote, ready at a moment's notice to switch over to Chicago or Detroit when the action lags. I've actually come to prefer the online streaming of America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit (you should be able to click on that link Thursday morning if you want to see it), which seems to have far more of the parade and far less of the singers lip-syncing to their latest hit. I wouldn't know what to do without them, though.

Regardless of how you feel about the parades (Mike Doran is not a fan, as I recall), please accept my best wishes for a very Happy Thanksgiving, one of the best days of the year! TV  

November 19, 2018

What's on TV? Tuesday, November 21, 1978

Here we are in Thanksgiving week, although since I gave that a pretty good rundown on Saturday, I think I'll skip the listings for the actual date. Instead, we'll take a look at Tuesday in the Twin Cities. As you can see, things have changed from some of the earlier TV Guides we've looked at lately; KTCA now has a normal broadcasting day; they also have most of the shows for children, those having disappeared from local broadcast stations. Game shows and soaps are still around, though—the wretched talk shows and judge shows that we're inundated with today haven't overrun us yet. Let's take a look at what else is on.

November 17, 2018

This week in TV Guide: November 18, 1978

As you know, I'm a sucker for holidays, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas (although New Year's isn't bad either). We have one of those in this week's issue, and one of the nice things about Thanksgiving is that since the date moves around, there's always a chance we'll get to look at it being celebrated in back-to-back issues—as, in fact, will be the case this week and next.

This is one of the old-fashioned Thanksgiving issues, as is apparent from the very beginning, with William Conrad anchoring CBS's All-American Thanksgiving Day Parades (8:00 a.m. CT). He always did this from a studio with a warm, welcoming scenecrackling fireplace, decorations, comfy wingback chair. It was very inviting. No wonder I have fond memories of those years. These were the years when CBS covered the parades in Detroit, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Honolulu in addition to New York. A pity they don't do that anymore, although the Detroit parade is syndicated as well as streamed online. NBC is, of course, home of the Macy's parade, and this year Ed McMahon is the host (8:00 a.m.), with a host of singing stars doing their best to sync to the songs being played over the speakers. I'd check that parade out from time to time, but CBS was the home for me.

What's Thanksgiving without football? NBC's game, beginning at 11:30 a.m. is Detroit's Turkey Day contest, this year against Denver. That's followed at 2:30 p.m. by those two old rivals, Washington and Dallas, facing off on CBS. No college action, alas; it's one of the fallow periods, before cable TV brought college games back to Thanksgiving.

I always enjoyed the other special programs that were on, even though I'd be too busy watching football to care about them. For instance, Channel 4 has an animated version of Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" on Famous Classic Tales at 11:00 a.m., followed at 12:30 p.m. by a Family Sports Special with figure skating from Central Park and highlights of the Moscow Circus, the Calgary Stampede, and women's gymnastics. Channel 11 presents the feature-length Hey There, It's Yogi Bear at 1:00 p.m.—it was originally made in 1964. WTCN's "Movie of the Month" is John Wayne in Hatari. (7:00 p.m.) And at 8:00 p.m. Channel 5 has part one of Howard Fast's The Immigrants, in what looks to me like an Operation Prime Time production.

One of the highlights of the day after Thanksgiving used to be ABC's cartoon festival, in which the regular Saturday morning lineup would feature on Friday morning and early afternoon. I don't know when they stopped doing that, or if it was merely an interruption in 1978, but there's no sign of it this year. ABC counters with college football at noon—once again traditional rivals, this time Pitt and Penn State. Donnie and Marie offer some Thanksgiving leftovers with their Thanksgiving program, accompanied by Cindy Williams, Seals & Crofts, and Lorne Greene—a varied lineup, to be sure.

I dunno—the parades still hit the mark, but compared to what we've seen in the past (and may see again in next week's issue), it's not as bit a television event day as it used to be. Or maybe it's just that you can't go home again, even if home is merely in your memories. As someone once said, I don't live in the past—I just vacation there.

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Thanksgiving week has always been one the sweeps weeks, when networks pulled out a raft of specials, and this year is no exception, with the programming providing a blend of special broadcasts and special episodes.

On Saturday night, CBS presents "One of the greatest films of all time!,"The Bible (7:00 p.m.), which covers the Book of Genesis; Judith Crist, on the other hand, sees that same movie as "reverential and dull." Oh well. ABC counters that with an evening that includes Battle of the Network Stars (7:00 p.m.) and an episode of Fantasy Island (9:00 p.m.) in which we find out Tatoo's secret fantasy. In the middle of all this, NBC offers a special reuniting Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello in a pilot for a potential sitcot didn't make it, and I don't know whether or not it was any good, but regardless, I think it's too bad it wasn't picked up.

Sunday, The Wonderful World of Disney (6:00 p.m., NBC) expands to 90 minutes to celebrate the 50th birthday of Mickey Mouse, a special featuring "100 superstars" and probably not enough Mickey. NBC, apparently deciding CBS's Bible presentation was too limited in scope, launches part one of the four-part miniseries Greatest Heroes of the Bible; whereas The Bible boasted of an all-star cast of movie stars, Greatest Heroes (7:30 p.m.) is limited to an all-star cast of television celebrities. CBS thinks you'll flip for a Lucille Ball special at the Grand Ole Opry (8:00 p.m.), and ABC wants to blow them both out of the water with the conclusion of the miniseries Pearl (8:00 p.m.).

Bobby Vinton hosts a '50s-themed variety special on Monday (7:00 p.m., CBS) with Fabian, Stockard Channing, Eve Arden, Gale Gordon, Erik Estrada, and Penny Marshall. Tuesday night Dean Martin's first celebrity roast of the season features Suzanne Somers (9:00 p.m., NBC), with Orson Welles and LaWanda Page among the roasters; what they could possibly have to say about Suzanne Somers is beyond my thinking.* Tuesday and Wednesday night (8:00 p.m.) CBS presents not just a movie, but a "movie spectacular"—Harold Robbins' The Pirate, a made-for-TV movie with Franco Nero, Anne Archer, Christopher Lee, and a cast of dozens of made-for-TV stars. What's missing, according to Judith Crist, is class; she calls it "four hours of typical Harold Robbins trashiness," though she adds that "if you share my delight in the perfectly awful, you won't want to miss a minute of it."

*A rare crossover promotion, given that many of the guests, including the honoree herself, are on ABC shows.

Bugs Bunny is "A Connecticut Rabbit in King Arthur's Court" in a CBS special Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. And we already know Steve Martin is a "wild and crazy guy," but tonight he gets to prove it with his first TV special (9:00 p.m., NBC), co-starring Bob Hope, George Burns, Johnny Cash, Milton Berle, and Strother Martin—and if that isn't a guest list that screams "wild and crazy," I don't know what is.

And there you have the week; I'll let you decide if there's a turkey among them.

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I suppose, given how this kind of thing seems to be in the news these days, we ought to take a look at John Weisman's article on how foreign lobbyists try to manipulate U.S. television. (Heaven forbid they ever try to manipulate anything important, like an election.)

For example, the syndicated travel show Journey to Adventure, features a segment on the great tourist destination of Iran, with Iranian ambassador Ardeshir Zahedi talking about the progress in freedom of religion and thought made under the Shah, in an interview with Gunther Less, the show's host and producer. What viewers don't know is that Less is a paid consultant to Iran Air, the Shah's government-owned airline. And then there's how the South African government pays more than $50,000 to an American company to place favorable travelogue pieces on U.S. TV stations. And how the British Information Service sends news spots on Northern Ireland—pieces "promoting the British position in Belfast"—to ABC and NBC for use in their affiliate news service. In short, these governments are paying cash money to manipulate how their countries are seen by American television viewers.

Today producer Michael Krauss calls this a "symbiotic relationship," in that "They need us to get their message across; we need them as the basis for stories." He adds, though, that most of the time, the shows themselves do the approaching, and they're "judicious" in their use of them: "I don't think that we are 'used' that much."

That remains to be seen, according to Weisman. That American company that received $500,000 from South Africa succeeded in "placing 12 of its government-made films on broadcast and cable-TV outlets that showed them to more than 30 million Americans." Over 100 stations used the British Information System's film on how Protestants and Catholics celebrated Christmas in Belfast together. The European Common Market, precursor to the European Union, paid for a journalist to visit the United States on a lecture tour, during the course of which he was interviewed on a number of TV shows, extolling the virtues of the Common Market. And then there's the annual Tchaikovsky musical competition in Moscow. "That is a very positive image for the Russians," says a P.R. consultant who works for foreign nationals. "It shows them to be cultured, genteel people who appreciate good music. And they know that when TV covers the Tchaikovsky, it's taking time away from Soviet dissidents."

Governments have their own favorites, journalists they know will give their side a positive spin. ABC's Steve Bell is often contacted by Arab spokesmen, while Jewish lobbyists prefer CBS's Marvin Kalb and ABC's John Scali, and the PLO likes Peter Jennings. It also helps if those lobbyists have close connections; former Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford works for Algeria, while former senator J. William Fulbright and former Kennedy aid Fred Dutton are paid by Saudi Arabia. In fact, some estimates put the total bill paid by various Arab nations at somewhere around $15 million for their consultants, PR firms, and spokesmen.

The networks deny that these efforts are universally successful. "There are too many people making decisions," according to one producer; says another, "When you become sure that you're being used, you just turn down the story—even if you want it badly." That doesn't stop governments and other special-interest groups from trying, though, particularly at local stations often in need of stories and interviews. "Television," according to an embassy official for a Middle Eastern country, "is a primary battleground for us in an important battle: the fight for America."

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David Brinkley marks the 15th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy with a look back at how television helped hold the nation together during the crisis. For roughly 70 hours, until 1:16 a.m. on Tuesday, November 26, there was nothing else on television; no entertainment, no commercials. "I thought then," Brinkley writes, "that we helped the American people get through a sad and scary time by showing and telling everything there was, by preventing the spread of the frightening rumors always set afloat in times of public stress, by showing the swearing-in of the new President and showing the people that even in a time so horrible, orderly government continued, and by giving the new President Johnson the means to speak reassuring words to a people who desperately needed them." It was, says Brinkley, "the most useful single service in television's history."

How would things be different, in 1978? Certainly it would be better technically; video would be in color, there would be no wait for film to be developed or pictures to be broadcast live. But the coverage itself would remain about the same; "It was nearly all live, and since live TV is simultaneous with the event itself, it cannot be any faster." Otherwise, television was able to facilitate a shared experience for the country—"People grieving in private saw others grieving in public." Rumors and fears were debunked, the nation was reassured that the country would go on, JFK was laid to rest with a dignity and solemnity that helped cleanse the wound.

"Chet and I and all of us were sorry for our country," Brinkley concludes, "and proud of television for helping our countrymen share their grief, respond together to sights of tragedy and tragic beauty, and then to go on."

By the way, when you've got a few minutes, read this very good Atlantic article by Andrew Cohen, written for the 50th anniversary, that talks about how to watch TV's coverage of the assassination. It's very perceptive, remarks on many of the same things that I've thought, and points out the little things that are too easily overlooked.

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Mary Tyler Moore's variety show Mary has come and gone (three episodes), and now star and network are getting ready for its successor, The Mary Tyler Moore Comedy Hour, which, according to TV Teletype, will be more like the old Jack Benny Program in that the main character will be named Mary Tyler Moore, host of her own television show, with stories about all the characters and adventures that surround production of that show. In the final analysis the lead character wound up being named Mary McKinnon, but otherwise the gimmick is the same. And it is more successful than Mary; it runs for an entire eleven episodes.

There's also a note about how Kurt Russell will be playing Elvis Presley for an ABC TV-movie. That movie, appropriately titled Elvis, is a triumph: Russell wins accolades (and an Emmy nomination) for what has come to be seen as one of the finest portrayals of Presley, and it marks the first of several collaborations between Russell and director John Carpenter, fresh off working on Halloween.

Hallmark's Hall of Fame Christmas presentation will be Stubby Pringle's Christmas, starring Beau Bridges and Julie Harris. According to multiple online sources, the program was only aired once; despite (or perhaps because of) this, it's built up a loyal following over the years, either from people moved by the one showing, or those who've read the book by Jack Schaefer (who also wrote Shane and Monte Walsh, among other Westerns). The program isn't available commercially, but if you want to see Stubby Pringle's Christmas, you can watch it on YouTube.

Finally, the Letters to the Editor section has people promoting their favorite programs. Tony Hudson of Raleigh, NC finds Vega$ "a refreshing change from the usual TV detective show. The locations are much better, the characters are believable, and the plots are not loaded with cliches." For Enid Mattson and her family, from Rock Springs, Wyoming, it's The Paper Chase: "We find it entertaining, clean and even educational to a certain extent." I'm sure John Houseman, who's profiled in this issue by Arnold Hano, appreciates the comment that "Professor Kingsfield is great!" Holly Graskewicz, of Westbury, NY casts her vote for Grandpa Goes to Washington. "I find it refreshing to be able to fantasize for one short hour a week that somebody out there just might care enough about us 'small potatoes' to do the job for which he or she was elected."

And then there's Barry Mork of Spokane, Washington, who—not surprisingly—likes Mork & Mindy. The whole family watches it, "not only because of the fresh, clean humor and talented acting, but because since it's been on, people no longer misspell or mispronounce our name!" Robert MacKenzie's review this week is of Mork & Mindy as well, and he makes an observation that, in retrospect, is interesting. "I'm told that Williams worries," MacKenzie writes, "—about losing his touch, running out of material—all the things that good comics worry about. I am tempted to say he should quit worrying, but probably he shouldn't. A certain amount of hypertension is probably good for his work." A typical comedian, or a sign of things to come? TV 

November 16, 2018

Around the dial

This week at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, Ivan tells us of being pleasantly surprised by the first season of The High Chaparral on DVD. That's happened to me a few times with various series, and it is indeed a pleasure. A high one, in fact.

Did you ever wonder why Colonel Hogan's German accent was so bad on Hogan's Heroes? Wonder not! Carol comes to the rescue at Bob Crane: Life & Legacy. And you might be surprised at the answer.

Ah, the DVD dress is done! You can read about it (and see it!) at Christmas TV History, as Joanna gives you the details of this massive project.

Garroway at Large commemorates Veterans' Day with Jodie's look back at the career of Lt. Dave Garroway, USNR.

At Comfort TV, David quizzes us on the Eilbacher sisters, Cindy and Lisa. Do you know which is which? Take the test and find out!

Television Obscurities has good news for Burt Reynolds fans: his one-season police series Dan August will be out on DVD next month, just in time for Christmas!

Short but sweet this week; see you back here tomorrow. TV  

November 14, 2018

Les is less (or more)

I mentioned The Les Crane Show in Monday's listings; for all that Les did (or didn't) accomplish in television, this is probably what he's best known for: *his spoken-word recording of Max Ehrmann's poem "Desiderata," for which he won a Grammy in 1971.

*Well, either that or for having been married to Tina Louise.

What other classic TV site is going to give you this kind of class? Where else, I ask you. TV  

November 12, 2018

What's on TV? Monday, November 16, 1964

Today is full of things we don't normally see in the listings. There's The Les Crane Show, for instance, which is an ABC program but runs on WCCO, the CBS affiliate, in Minneapolis. (You'll remember that KMSP, the ABC affiliate in MSP, often delayed Joey Bishop and Dick Cavett). And then there's 90 Bristol Court, the 90-minute sitcom that is actually comprised of three separate titles; Karen, Harris Against the World, and Tom, Dick and Mary. Interesting that TV Guide chose to list all three of them under the umbrella title, isn't it? There's Many Happy Returns, the CBS sitcom with the wonderful character actor John McGiver. (Who, according to the always-reliable Wikipedia, did the very first "Do you know me?" American Express commercial. Did you know that?) Robert Goulet's on I've Got a Secret, and I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do with his variety special on CBS later in the week. Anyway, there's plenty more to see here, so enjoy!

November 10, 2018

This week in TV Guide: November 14, 1964

We had high hopes that "The Man Women Love to Hate" would be someone we recognized, someone notorious, the kind of villain that television can be so good at creating and perpetuating. Imagine our disappointment, then, to find out that the hated man in question is nothing more than a local television personality and newspaper columnist, "Count Marco," although it must be said that, in the great tradition of wrestling heavies, for example, Count Marco comes by his hated status honestly. What more can one say about a man whose rise to prominence has come from referring to women as "slobs, pigs and cattle."

The Count hosts his own half-hour morning show, five days a week, on WGO in San Francisco and KABC in Los Angeles. It's a live show; viewers can call in with questions for Marco and.or his guests. What gets to people (mostly women, given that the show airs at 8:30 a.m.), I'd guess, is the self-assuredness with which Marco handles himself. "If I say it, it must be so," is one of his catchphrases, and he's often heard telling women that they should be shining their husbands' shoes. "For some reason this represents slavery to women," he says when asked about the ire his statement raises. Of course, there have always been chauvinists on television, and they often generate ratings because of their very outrageousness, but it's also a sign of the times when an unidentified woman says, in response to the Count's antics, "Sure he's right, but we hate him for drumming it into us."

We also learn, from the Count, that "fat dames look lousy" in slacks, that women who appear in public with rollers in their hair* "should be arrested and held without bail," and that divorce "is always the fault of the ex-wife." Wince-inducing to our modern ears, and although I'm always cautioning people to read statements not based on today's mores but on those of the time, even then these weren't exactly universal sentiments.

*You youngsters can Google that if you're not sure what that means.

In the midst of Robert De Roos' article, we learn that the Count (real name: Marco Spinelli) is not from Italy, but Pittsburgh; that he is "scared stiff" most of the time, especially when women chase and attack him on the streets, that he was once married but is now a widower, and that one of his latest products is a "fanny paddle" so one can slap women on the fanny. He's also planning a "Pig of the Month" contest, "in which a picture of a woman in slacks, taken from the rear, will be displayed each day. Viewers will then vote for Pig of the Month. She will be awarded a ham. If she identifies herself."

The tone of the article is light, breezy, making it obvious that this is all in good fun even if the author doesn't necessarily approve of the Count's antics (De Roos keeps himself fairly objective). As Carl Nolte put it in that obituary I linked to above, "It was all a put-on, of course. Women occasionally stopped Mr. Spinelli in the street and slapped his face. Impostors turned up at restaurants and bars around town. Time magazine called him "a voice from the sewer." But people talked about Count Marco, and that was the point."

Today, of course, this kind of show could never happen. No station would dare show it, no company would dare sponsor it, nobody would dare admit they watched it. The Count himself would probably have been murdered by someone, or at least accosted in a far more violent manner than being hit by a purse. It's likely for the best. But the world is so much more serious now, isn't it?

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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: Sammy Davis Jr. headlines the show, performing numbers from his Broadway musical "Golden Boy." Other guests are comedians Jackie Vernon and Charlie Drake; singer Kaye Stevens; ventriloquist Jay Nemeth; Peter and Gordon, British vocal-instrumental duo; the Hoganas acrobatic trio; Xavier and his Marionettes; Kessler Twins, singer-dancers; and Brizio the Clown.

Palace:  Host Victor Borge welcomes Alice Faye (Mrs. Phil Harris) in one of her infrequent appearances on TV. Also on the bill are pop singer Nancy Wilson, the Swingle Sisters, French vocal group; Japanese comic Pat Morita; the tap-dancing Nicholas Brothers; bicyclist Rih Aruso; and De Mille, a 15-year-old high-wire performer

This is a terrific week on both counts. You know I'm going to give bonus points for Sammy Davis Jr., who would have gotten a fair amount of time doing songs from Golden Boy, one of the grittiest musicals Broadway had ever seen to that time, and a project written especially for Davis. With Jackie Vernon and Kaye Stevens, that makes for a pretty potent show. On the other hand, look at The Palace—Borge, who's always hilarious, plus Alice Faye (who's very funny in the OTR show she co-starred in with Phil Harris), Pat Morita long before Happy Days and The Karate Kid, and Nancy Wilson. The big winner is the viewer, since these shows aren't on at the same time. The verdict: Push.

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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. 

Slattery's People, the subject of Cleveland Amory's admiration this week, is that rarity, a series about a heroic state legislator fighting for the underdog. I remember it as a project similar to a  proposed series called The Power that would have starred Raymond Burr and probably caused Perry Mason to hang it up a year or so earlier. Burr called it the best pilot he'd ever read, but apparently there's only a limited space available for stories about heroic legislators, and so Slattery's People it was.

Amory has nothing but praise for this series—"we have yet to see a bad [episode]," he says—and, if it served no other purpose, it put to an end "Dick" Crenna, whom viewers remembered from Our Miss Brooks and The Real McCoys, and replaced him with "Richard" Crenna, an actor of gravity and skill; it would be this Crenna that would prevail in a career that would last until 2003. In an era when shows like The Defenders and East Side/West Side, we shouldn't be surprised that television would take a chance on a topic like this. Even now, notes Amory, the show is suffering from tepid ratings; "Slattery's people have been too few," quite possibly because of the show's chief virtue, "its uncompromising unconformity." The scripts are first-rate, the performances are excellent, and the issues are real.

Were it not for these old issues of TV Guide, and my predilection for leaving through Brooks' and Marsh's TV directories, I might never have heard of Slattery's People; I don't recall it going into widespread syndication, although you can correct me if you remember it happening. There are a handful of episodes on YouTube (albeit of varying video quality), but I suspect this show just isn't what people would want to see on DVD; after all, look what happened to The Defenders. In addition the way people feel about politics nowadays, I'm not even sure The West Wing could make it. Plus, a political drama will invariably require choosing sides, which means you risk alienating half your audience, since we apparently can't agree on anything anymore. I suppose that's too bad, although one always runs the risk of sending a message when a bit of entertainment is all that's called for. The Beverly Hillbillies turned out to be much more to people's liking, and to CBS's as well, which is probably why the Hillbillies ran for nine seasons and Slattery's People less than two. But isn't it a shame that we didn't, and don't, live in a TV world where there's room for both?

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On Saturday, Notre Dame clashes with Michigan State in the Game of the Week (NBC, 12:15 p.m CT), a precursor to their 1966 Game of the Century. This season, it's #1 Notre Dame driving toward the national championship in legendary coach Ara Parseghian's first season, led by quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte. The Fighting Irish defeat the Spartans 34-7, and next week they'll get by Iowa 28-0, but the following week, in the final game of the season against USC in Los Angeles, they give up a 17-0 halftime lead and lose in heartbreaking fashion, 21-17. It's against this backdrop that people will have to judge Parseghian's decision to accept that 10-10 tie with Michigan State in 1966. Later that night (CBS, 7:30 p.m.), it's a rerun of "Once upon a Mattress," the off-Broadway musical that made a star of Carol Burnett, that's a sign of things to come.

Come Sunday, and it's an interesting episode of Profiles in Courage (NBC, 3:00 p.m.), the television adaptation of John F. Kennedy's Pulitzer-Prize winning book. This afternoon, the profile is of Mary McDowell, a Brooklyn Latin teacher who in 1917 refuses to sign a loyalty pledge—as a Quaker, she does not believe in violence of any kind, and believes that "her pupils do not rely on her for instruction in patriotism." Considering the hyperpoliticized nature of education today, where even math questions are infused with ideology—well, as I said, it's interesting. In the evening, ABC's Sunday Night Movie presents Birdman of Alcatraz with Burt Lancaster, the moving—if mostly fictional—account of Robert Stroud, the famous bird-raising prisoner.

On Monday, Andy Williams has an all-musical episode (8:00 p.m., NBC), with Shirley Booth, Johnny Mathis, and Morgana King. Later, on the aforementioned Slattery's People (CBS, 9:00 p.m.), Slattery is recruited by the town fathers of Williamton to help get rid of a scientist (Paul Burke) who insists on accepting research projects instead of manufacturing contracts, thus endangering the continuing operation of his plant—the town's only industry. I'm not quite sure how this connects to the state legislature, but I'm sure we'll find out. And Ben Casey (9:00 p.m., ABC) focuses on Dr. Hoffman (Harry Landers) this week, and how his attitude changes to one of disgust after having worked with a great surgeon.

Tuesday, NBC presents a tour of the Louvre, the great French museum, hosted by the great French actor Charles Boyer (9:00 p.m.). It's the first time American television cameras have ever been let into the museum; of course, one of the stops will be the Mona Lisa. (You can see the entire program here in an excellent recordingif you're interested.) At 10:30 p.m., the same time, WKBT, the LaCrosse, Wisconsin CBS affiliate that fits in a good amount of ABC programming (the area doesn't yet have an ABC affiliate) carries last week's Hollywood Palace, which if anything has even more stars than this week's—Bette Davis and Olivia de Haviland do "The Twilight Shore," a dramatic reading; Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks do one of their 2,000-Year-Old-Man sketches; plus singer Monique Van Vooren and the U.S. Olympic gold medal winners.

This coming Sunday, November 22, will be the first anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and while all the networks have memorial programs planned, CBS gets a head start on Wednesday with "The Burden and the Glory of John F. Kennedy" (6:30 p.m.), a look back at the not-quite three years of the JFK administration. At 7:30 p.m. on Channel 11, it's a rare midweek broadcast of Canadian Football, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats taking on the Ottawa Rough Riders in the first game of the two-game total-points Eastern Conference final. Ottawa wins Game 1 30-13, but Hamilton will come back to take the second game 26-8, winning the series 39-38. At 8:30 p.m., CBS has The Cara Williams Show, Cara Williams being the subject of this week's cover. From Leslie Raddatz's article we learn that Cara is tough, has a temper, was once married to John Drew Barrymore, and through it all has managed to maintain her feminine qualities, the ones that served her well in her previous series, Pete and Gladys, and that the network hopes will serve her well in this one as well. They've given her a great timeslot, between Dick Van Dyke and Danny Kaye. Despite this, The Cara Williams Show is one season and out.

Robert Goulet stars Thursday night (CBS, 9:00 p.m.) in a variety hour that combines elements of a backstage documentary, showing Goulet doing an interview, rehearsing, taping a spot for Ed Sullivan's show, and visiting a college campus and a nightclub. His guests include Leslie Caron and Terry-Thomas; Wonder how this experimental kind of show played out? Here's a clip:

One of the things I've noticed in going through these old TV Guides is how, for a man who never starred in a weekly series of his own, Bob Hope was on TV a lot. This Friday (NBC, 7:30 p.m.) it's one of his own comedy specials (airing in place of his Chrysler Theatre anthology) with a typical Hope lineup of babes, hunks, and stars: Stella Stevens and Annette Funicello; Richard Chamberlain and Trini Lopez; and Donald O'Connor. At 8:00 p.m. on ABC, Tony Franciosa stars in Valentine's Day, a single-season sitcom co-starring Jack Soo; he's also the subject of an Arnold Hano profile in which he gives credit to his wife Judy for helping him move away from his volatile, hard-to-work-with reputation of the past. The couple would divorce three years later. He'd credit a later wife for helping him to settle down. And his reputation on studio lots would remain just as bad. TV  

November 9, 2018

Around the dial

This week, a particularly good installment of the Hitchcock Project at bare-bones e-zine, as Jack shows how Bernard C. Schoenfeld's touch resulted in a faithful adaptation of an R.E. Kendall short story, while making one little tweak that packs a wallop.

In Hondo-speak, that wallop would be called whoopass, and there's some to be had over at The Horn Section, as Hal reviews Hondo's twelfth episode, "Hondo and the Ghost of Ed Dow." By the way, I had no idea that Hondo, which ran a grand total of 17 episodes, was on TNT for ten years.

At Garroway at Large, Jodie looks back at Election Night 1960, a marathon of waiting and watching and waiting into the morning hours, as the Kennedy-Nixon deadlock drags on. But the real highlight is when tonight becomes Today, so to speak, and a certain Garroway makes an appearance.

Meanwhile, Jordan at The Twilight Zone Vortex presents a terrific list of a dozen TZ episodes that show how heavily the series was influenced by film noir. I really enjoy lists like this; they serve to remind me how great some of these episodes really are.

It's snowing here in Minneapolis as I write this, which makes the beach picture at Some Polish American Guy even more inviting. It's "The Two Million Dollar Hustle," the final episode of B.J. and the Bear. Don't let the moment pass without checking it out. Good Gravy!

Cult TV Blog travels back in time to 1966 and the Doctor Who story "The Smugglers." It's actually a reconstruction, the original being one of the infamous "lost episodes" that invariably add an aura of mystery to the story. I don't watch the new Who anymore, but I wonder: in years to come, will people look back on current episodes with the same affection that they have for those that have been rediscovered or reconstructed? Something about the thrill of the hunt.

Television's New Frontier: the 1960s looks at Gunsmoke in the year 1961, a year marked by change—most important, the show's expansion from 30 minutes to an hour. Was it the right thing to do? Read it and judge for yourself. But isn't that what you always do anyway? TV