July 20, 2019

This week in TV Guide: July 21, 1956

On the cover this week are Bill Lundigan and Mary Costa, the commercial spokespersons for the Chrysler Corporation, currently sponsors of the shows Climax! and Shower of Stars. Remember, this is a time when the sponsor, not the network, wields the most clout; many times, the sponsor buys the airtime and then puts a show in that spot. This would change following the Quiz Show Scandal, but for now sponsors loom large, and there are few gigs better-paying or offering more visibility than serving as the face of the product on its commercials.

In less than two years, Bill Lundiganex-Marine, ex-radio announcer, ex-movie star—has logged over 100,000 miles traveling on behalf of Chrysler, and has met more than a half-million people. He and Costa, who often travel as a team, have appeared at "auto shows, dealer conventions, company dances, board meetings and other institutions designed to move the merchandise." All this has made him so well-known, so familiar to viewers, that when he goes on vacation, Chrysler has to explain to the public that he'd be back soon.

Before you start thinking this is a step down for Lundigan and Costa, keep in mind this is essentially the same job that Ronald Reagan performed for General Electric, touring the country for the company, speaking to employees and appearing at civic events. That wound up working out pretty well for him, didn't it? Interestingly, this article notes that although Lundigan's price for a starring role has tripled since he started working for Chrysler, he's only done one movie, a training film for auto salesmen, in the last two years. "So far," he says, "I haven't been in Hollywood long enough to make a picture."

Later, Bill Lundigan will star in the single-season series Men into Space, one of the first shows to take a realistic look at space travel. Mary Costa will move on to the Metropolitan Opera, as well as appear on countless variety shows over the years, but might be best known as the voice of Princess Aurora in Disney's Sleeping Beauty. And we know what happened to Ronald Reagan.

t  t  t

On this week's aforementioned Climax, a story of danger in the Orient - "The Man Who Lost His Head," with a very strong cast: Debra Paget, John Ericson, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, and Peter Lorre.

t  t  t

On Sunday afternoon, CBS's You Are There presents "The Fight at the O.K. Corral," reported by Walter Cronkite and staff. You Are There was a great way of introducing people, especially young viewers, into historical events by covering them as if they were occurring today, with analysis, interviews, and the like.

The cast includes Robert Bray, John Larch, and John Anderson as the Earps, DeForest Kelley as Ike Clanton, and Arthur Rease and Ernest Baldwin as the McLowrys. When I read this to my wife, she immediately commented, "So 'Spectre of the Gun' wasn't DeForest Kelley's first trip to the OK Corral!" No, it wasn't—but talk about missed opportunities! In that classic Star Trek episode, Bones plays not Ike Clanton, but Tom McLowry. I suppose Kirk, as the captian, has to play Ike, leader of the Clantonsbut still, wouldn't it have been great for Kelley to revisit the same role in a different show twelve years later? Quick quiz: how many actors have played the same historical character in multiple series?

That's followed, on NBC, by Ford Theatre, with Edward G. Robinson in "A Set of Values." And on CBS, it's Four Star Playhouse, this week featuring Dick Powell in "Success Story." A very big lineup of stars, indeed.

t  t  t

Starting in 1956, Steve Allen helmed his own NBC variety show which, at the beginning, aired opposite that of Ed Sullivan. It didn't run as long as Ed's, of course, but then Allen said his goal was never to conquer Ed, but to coexist with him, which he did for several seasons. Let's see who gets the best of the contest this week.

Sullivan: Ed's guests include: the Ames Brothers, singing quartet; veteran song-and-dance man Ted Lewis; T.C. Jones, impersonator now performing in the Broadway musical "New Faces"; operatic soprano Elaine Malbin; comedian Larry Daniels; and the Fredonis, acrobatic team.

Allen: Comedienne Judy Holliday, comic Buddy Hackett and the singing Four Lads are Steve's guests tonight. In a special remote from Birdland, a jazz spot in New York City, we see Count Basie and his band perform.

Well. Ted Lewis was very well-known in his day; after all, you don't get the moniker "Mr. Entertainment" for nothing. And of course the best-known of the Ames brothers was Ed, who went on to great fame as a solo singing act and as an actor in Daniel Boone, and even greater fame as a tomahawk thrower on The Tonight Show. But let's get real: Judy Holliday was an Academy Award winner, Buddy Hackett had a great stand-up career, and Count Basie! I think that's more than enough to give Allen the edge this week.

Incidentally, according to the TV Teletype, CBS and NBC are "at loggerheads" about Steverino's recent ratings victory over Ed, 20.2 to 14.8. CBS claims it was because people were excited to see Elvis Presley's "new look" on the Allen show, while NBC counters that viewers are tired of watching "tired old film clips" on Sullivan, and want something "more concrete." That appearance by Elvis, on the July 1 show, is something of a story in itself, often referred to as Elvis's most embarrassing moment on television, with the centerpiece being Presley, dressed in tuxedo (the "new look"), singing "Hound Dog" to a live basset hound.

Allen had seen Presley in his TV debut on the Dorsey Brothers show, and had been impressed by "the way he conducted himself, the way he put a song over." He booked Elvis for his new weekly series (in fact, July 1 was only Allen's second show), but always denied that he, or the network, had ordered Presley to tone down his gyrations. (Ed Sullivan, who would profit from Elvis as much as anyone, had described that first TV appearance as "unfit for family viewing.") He also denied that the skit was intended to make fun of Presley and his music. Nonetheless, many who saw it would view the skit as just that, an attempt to neuter and belittle the future King. Said Elvis, "It was the most ridiculous appearance I ever did and I regret ever doing it." (You can read more about it here.)

I think that in this case, CBS is right; the audience did tune in to see Elvis. But was it really all that bad? Here's the video; you decide for yourself.

t  t  t

In sports, this week's programming consists mostly of baseball and boxing (nothing earth-shattering), so the real action is off the field. ABC will be covering the College All-Star football game, pitting the NFL champion Cleveland Browns against a team of the year's best college all-stars, on August 10. Meanwhile, NBC has locked up the television rights to both the World Series and the baseball All-Star Game for another five years, with Gillette paying $3.25 million per year for radio and TV rights.* Next year, NBC adds its Saturday Game of the Week to its TV coverage. Finally, CBS will introduce the National Hockey League to American network television for the first time, televising ten Saturday afternoon games from January through March of next season.

*With most proceeds going to the Baseball Players Pension Fund. Times have changed, as we say so often.

We also learn from the Teletype that "TV has arrived." Proof is that Budd Schulberg is doing a "TV exposé story" for the big screen, starring Andy Griffith. The name of that movie? A Face in the Crowd, of course.

t  t  t

And now to the classy part of the programming week. On Monday night, Producers' Showcase presents a color broadcast of Rosalinda (7:00 p.m., NBC), an adaptation of Johann Strauss's operetta Die Fledermaus, starring the great Cyril Ritchard, Jean Fenn, and Lois Hunt. Now, I admit that Fledermaus isn't particularly my cup of tea, but I think it makes for a great evening of light entertainment on television. And, of course, anything with Ritchard (Captain Hook in Peter Pan) is worth watching.

Later on Monday, a special episode of ABC's Voice of Firestone (7:30 p.m.) presents three top winners of the "Metropolitan [Opera] Auditions of the Air." As it happens, this is one of the last years for the Auditions of the Air; the Met has since replaced them with the National Council Auditions. But there were some pretty distinguished winners in the past, including Robert Merrill and Regina Resnik. Of the three winners, none had a more distinguished career than Carlotta Ordassy, who sang nearly 800 performances over a twenty-year career at the Met.

Another worthy show is Fred Waring's 40th anniversary show, at 10:00 p.m. Tuesday on NBC. Unless you're into the Time-Life type of Christmas albums, you might not remember Fred Waring*, but in the years before and after World War II, Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians was one of the most popular singing groups in America, in the fashion (though not the style) of Mitch Miller and Ray Coniff. Here's a sample:

*Fun fact: Fred Warning was also the George Foreman of his time, investing in and promoting a very popular kitchen gadget: the Waring Blender.

Again, I'm not sure I'd say this was my style, and I don't know that anyone would go for this kind of music today, but that's not the point—the point is that television today is poorer for not having musical programs such as this. Unless you count the screaming divas on shows like The Voice. Which I don't.

t  t  t

Finally, every once in a while we'll run across an issue that gives us more information about movie programs that have an overall title—you know, like NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies. Some of these may have been local programs, while others were syndicated packages, but whatever the reason, many of these programs have wonderful titles - as we see this week.

For example, there's Family Playhouse, which airs on both WLW-T (Cincinnati) and WLW-D (Dayton). I'll admit this one is kind of confusing, seeing as how they air at 11:15 and 11:30 p.m. respectively, a time when most of the family tends to be in bed. A more neutral title, not to mention one that just makes you feel happy, is Bluebird Theater, on WLW-C in Columbus at 11:15 p.m. Armchair Theater, at 10:45 p.m. on WBNS in Columbus, is pretty descriptive: unless you're already in bed, that's probably where you're watching the movie. But then you should be watching Home Theater, at 11:20 p.m.

Some titles are more descriptive: on weekdays at 4:30 pm, WKRC in Cincinnati has Ladies' Home Theater - try getting a title like that on the air today. WTVN in Columbus has Midday Movie at 12:30 p.m.—very descriptive, even if midday is technically noon—which is when WCPO in Cincinnati has Movie Matinee. Seems things would have worked better if they'd just switched titles. WTVN has Early Home Theater at 9:30 p.m., which really isn't all that early, unless you compare it to Evening Theater on WHIO in Dayton at 11:50 p.m.; more like night than evening.

Then there are the programs that have a number in them, such as Theater Five, but you never know if the number in the title refers to the channel number or the time of day. Thus, we're understandably thrown for a brief loop when WLW-C, Channel 4, has Theater Five on at five. At least WBNS, also known as Channel 10, covers its bases with Channel Ten Theater, Saturday night at 10:30 p.m. If only they could have moved the start time up by a half hour, there wouldn't be any confusion at all.

Finally, there's truth in advertising. Hollywood Theater, on WCPO, isn't from Hollywood at all, or at least not on Tuesday night: the 11:00 p.m. feature is Genghis Khan, made in the Philippines. And Million Dollar Theater, which appears in one form or another in many markets but here happens to be on WKRC, begs the question as to whether these movies are really worth a million.

Great titles, huh? Do you remember any from your area? TV  

July 19, 2019

Around the dial

Seeing as how we're celebrating the 50th anniversary of man's first steps on the moon, it seems appropriate to start with Jordan's review at The Twilight Zone Vortex of the fourth-season episode, "The Parallel," a mediocre yet intriguing story of bad things that can happen to you if you fly into space.

Britain's newspaper The Sun isn't necessarily the most family-friendly source you can find, but this week it offers this fascinating story of how the BBC almost missed Neil Armstrong's giant leap for mankind.

At bare-bones e-zine, Jack's Hitchcock Project on writer Arthur A. Ross takes us to the ninth-season episode "Anyone for Murder?" a droll look at marital murder for-hire with Barry Nelson, Patricia Breslin, Edward Andrews, and Richard Dawson.

It's F Troop Friday at The Horn Section, and for our viewing pleasure, Hal looks at "The Girl From Philadelphia," featuring a rare siting of former No Time for Sergeants co-star Laurie Sibbald, as well as an appearance by former Tammy star Linda Marshall.

At Cult TV Blog, John travels to the land of The X-Files and looks at "The Erlenmeyer Flask," one of the show's all-time great episodes; the first-season finale, and the end of the character known and loved as "Deep Throat."

Two of my favorite personalities celebrate birthdays on the same day this week, as covered by two of my favorite people: Carol celebrates Bob Crane's birthday at Bob Crane Life & Legacy, while Jodie honors the Old Tiger, Dave Garroway, at Garroway at Large.

At Television's New Frontier: The 1960s, we're introduced to the 1961 Australian Western series Whiplash, starring Peter Graves, based more or less on a true story, which was syndicated in the United States and other countries.

One more moon story for the week: the July 15, 1989 TV Guide features Isaac Asimov discussing what he'd do on the moon. That plus a story on Sesame Street, the highlights from TV 30 years ago,  and much more at Television ObscuritiesTV  

July 17, 2019

TV Guide and Apollo 11

Imagine if television cameras had been present when Columbus sailed for the New World? Or when Lewis and Clark set off on their expedition? Or when Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic? That is only the beginning of what it was like when man set foot on the moon, and this time we were all present, thanks to television. In recognition of the 50th anniversary of this most monumental of events, I hand things over once again to Tom Rednour for this illustrated guide to TV Guide's coverage of Apollo 11.

by Tom Rednour

Practically every TV Guide and space memorabilia collector has the July 19, 1969 issue that featured Neil & Buzz on the moon. Excellent issue, with feature articles by Neil Hickey and Walter Cronkite. But what programs aired before the mission and what follow-up shows aired after the mission? Well, I'm here to tell you!

TV Guide helped us to watch the space race, live in living rooms across the US (see my "TV Guide and the space race" on this website). The magazine also prepared us for the historic landing on the moon by letting us know of special programming before the mission got under way. Unless noted, all items are from New York Metro editions.

July 15, 2019

What's on TV? Saturday, July 11, 1964

Today's July 11—7/11. Should be a lucky day, right? Actually, there wasn't a lot to choose from this week, with the convention coverage dominating the weeknight schedule. There's still a lot of political programming today, with ABC devoting three separate half-hours to convention prep. There's plenty more to the day, though, including Wide World of Sports coverage of Champagne Tony Lema's victory in the British Open. The listings are from the Twin Cities.

July 13, 2019

This week in TV Guide: July 11, 1964

Why, in the name of all that is good and holy, I would want to spoil a lovely summer day by writing about politics is beyond me. But here we are, about to embark on a TV Guide review that's going to be probably 80% politics.

There's a difference though, unless I'm fooling myself (which is entirely possible), because this issue originates from a lost world, a world featuring the glamour and status of the network anchorman, and the importance to the political process of the presidential nominating convention.

The cover story is the Republican National Convention at San Francisco's Cow Palace, where the GOP meets to choose a candidate to face Lyndon Johnson in November. Television is there to provide gavel-to-gavel coverage of the convention, one of the last of the great knock-down, drag-out brawls that not only made conventions so entertaining, but also demonstrates why political parties no longer hold them. Oh, they still call them conventions, but you and I both know they’re really just week-long political infomercials.

The five men on the cover: Walter Cronkite, who within a decade will be the most trusted man in American; Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, whom NBC bills in their convention ads as the “San Francisco Giants”; and ABC’s new team of Howard K. Smith and Edward P. Morgan, trying to bring credibility—and sex appeal—to the network’s news division. And it's interesting to see the esteem with which the news anchors are treated. TV news is still, at this point, in something of its infancy—CBS and NBC only went to half-hour newscasts a few months before, and ABC won’t follow suit until 1967. The news anchors of the time are portrayed as serious and authoritative, likely because of the emotional connection they made with viewers during the assassination and its aftermath.

Most historians say that television came of age with its coverage of the Kennedy assassination, and the five men here can all testify to that. Huntley and Brinkley dominated that coverage, ratings-wise, with more people watching NBC than CBS and ABC combined,* and NBC comes to the convention as the network to beat, so to speak. Cronkite, whose announcement of Kennedy’s death has since become the iconic image of the event, is not yet the revered institution he will become; in fact, so thoroughly is CBS trounced by NBC in the GOP convention ratings that Uncle Walter will be replaced by Robert Trout and Roger Mudd for the Democratic convention the following month. Smith and Morgan were the prime anchors for ABC’s coverage of JFK's funeral, and won enough critical (and viewer) approval that the network teamed them up for the '64 conventions (even though Ron Cochran continues to anchor the network’s evening news until 1965).

*Since hardly anyone watched ABC news, the battle between NBC and CBS was actually much closer than this statement might indicate.

All three networks will be providing start-to-finish coverage, beginning with the opening session at noon (CT) Monday and continuing through Tuesday’s speech by former President Eisenhower, Wednesday’s nominating and balloting for president, and Thursday’s veep nomination and acceptance speeches.* In addition, there’s plenty of pre-convention coverage, programs that would be unthinkable today except on C-SPAN (I won't even include the cable news networks in this): each network has a preview show Sunday evening, and ABC has several convention-related shows on Saturday and Sunday, including an appearance by Eisenhower on the children’s show Discovery ’64, where he’ll explain the role of the convention in the democratic process.

*Interesting thing here: the convention was originally scheduled to end on Friday, rather than Thursday. The difference was that in the original plan, the nominating speeches and demonstrations would take place on Wednesday, but the balloting itself would be on Thursday. That didn’t happen; it appears the schedule itself had been modified prior to the start of the convention, probably because the chance of multiple ballots had pretty much disappeared by the start of the festivities. Fortunately, TV Guide provides us with an alternate schedule of programming for Friday in case the convention’s already over.

The convention itself is a riotous affair, with more entertainment value than probably the last ten conventions combined. The eventual nominee, Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, has more than enough delegates to win, barring any kind of last-minute turnaround. The platform fight, mostly over the civil rights plank, is particularly nasty; when Goldwater's bitter arch-rival, New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, takes to the podium to support a liberal plank denouncing “extremism,” he's shouted down by the delegates* (a grinning Rockefeller taunts them, like a kid prodding a lion with a stick, which produces great theater and proves Rocky’s point about the extremism of the Goldwater delegates). Rockefeller’s surrogate, Pennsylvania governor William Scranton, puts himself up as a last-minute candidate, though he has no hope of winning.

*Rockefeller's personal life (he was divorced and remarried) was a point of contention with conservative GOP voters; one delegate, according to Theodore H. White, taunted Rocky during this demonstration by shouting, "You lousy lover!" 

This new, more conservative GOP also expresses its distrust of the news media—increasingly personified by television. For many, Huntley and Brinkley, the top dogs in the news game, epitomized the liberal bias of the eastern media establishment. “You know,” one delegate was overheard to say, “these nighttime news shows sound to me like they’re being broadcast from Moscow.” When Eisenhower, in his speech, referred to “sensation-seeking columnists and commentators” seeking to divide the GOP, the delegates roared their approval, shaking their fists at the commentators in their booths. One of the unquestionable highlights of the television coverage was the arrest of NBC floor reporter John Chancellor for blocking the aisle; as you can see in the video, his colleagues expressed grave concern for his welfare.

Goldwater, in his acceptance speech on Thursday night, utters one of politics' most famous lines (or infamous, depending on how you look at it), telling the delegates that "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." He goes on to a resounding defeat at the hands of LBJ in November (winning less than 40% of the popular vote), surely in part by the negative impression left by television coverage of the convention. The grassroots movement he creates, however, helps to lay the groundwork for the victory of Ronald Reagan 16 years later.*

*As did Reagan's speech on behalf of Goldwater in the final weeks of the campaign.

As both a TV fan and a political junkie, I can only lament the change in conventions from meetings where things actually got done to slick television productions that nobody watches. However, in 1964 the process has already begun; media representatives outnumber delegates by two to one.

t  t  t

Here’s something else you’re not likely to see nowadays. NBC news correspondent Nancy Dickerson appears in a feature on the convention—but if you’re looking for her analysis of the party platform or her predictions for the winners, you’re out of luck. Instead, TV Guide “asked her to model some of the clothes she plans to wear on the convention floor.” There’s a pink-and-white checkered number by Gustave Tassell, a navy silk twill suit with white blouse by Yves St. Laurent, and a two-piece green sleeveless top by Geoffrey Beene.

But then, who's Nancy Dickerson in the long run? After all, she only scooped everyone at the Democratic convention and broke the news that LBJ was going to choose Hubert Humphrey as his running mate.

t  t  t

One thing that hasn’t changed since 1964 is the impact television has on politics. Well, actually to the extent it’s changed, it’s become even more of an impact than it was then. In an article on TV’s influence, political columnist William S. White says “there is no question among old political observers that TV unconsciously worked against Richard Nixon in 1960,” and adds that were it not for the presence of television at the 1960 Democratic Convention, LBJ probably wouldn’t have been chosen by JFK as his running mate.

“The late-night session in Los Angeles that nominated Kennedy showed a succession of urban Democratic bosses . . . at the head of the powerful blocs that put him over. Overnight, there was concern in the Kennedy camp that the country would see this as a heavy-handed urban-boss bulldozer movement flinging all resistance out of its way.” That image had to be softened, and the way to do it was to find someone from the Southwest, a Protestant, with connections to rural and small town America. In other words, Johnson.

White feels that television can do a very good job of covering politics, and that it will be essential for the successful politician to learn how to use TV. But for all the good work that television does, it’s growing influence and efficiency mean the end of an era. “That matchless technical skill which combines the lens and the computer produces the final answers for us—tells us who has in fact won and who has in fact lost—long before the climax really should have been reached and exposed.” That’s about the size of it.

t  t  t

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: On this rerun, Ed’s guests are Duke Ellington and his orchestra and musical comedy performer Liza Minnelli. The Beatles are seen in a segment taped in London on the set of their forthcoming movie. Other guests include French singer Jean Paul Vignon, British comics Morecombe and Wise, and mezzo-soprano Shirley Verrett. Also seen: films of Michelangelo’s Pieta, on display at the New York World’s Fair.

Palace: Host Dale Robertson introduces singers Vic Damone and Jane Morgan; comedian Red Buttons; the Smothers Brothers, comedy folk singers; the Four Amigos, vocal quartet; ventriloquist Russ Lewis; and the Harris Nelson family, a musical comedy act.

Well, I didn’t have to put too much thought into this week’s entry. When this show originally aired, Ed had teased it the previous week by saying, “Next week—The Beatles and the Pieta!” Add in the Duke and Liza with a Z, and even though it’s a repeat it’s still Sullivan who's number one for the week.

t  t  t

Finally, Friday winds up as the only weeknight without convention programming, and undoubtedly the highlight of the night is CBS's Twilight Zone rerun, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (8:30 p.m.), and if you know your TV history, I don't have to tell you this is the episode with William Shatner and the thing on the wing, right? According to Marc Scott Zicree's Twilight Zone Companion, writer Richard Matheson wasn't happy with the gremlin; Jacques Tournier, who had been considered to direct the episode, had wanted a man in a dark body suit covered with sparkle, creating a creature lacking any definite shape or form. Richard Donner directed instead; his concept of the gremlin, felt Matheson, "looked like a teddy bear." Nevertheless, it's still considered one of the most famous and most loved episodes of the series. TV  

July 12, 2019

Around the dial

We'll kick off the week with David's observation at Comfort TV on five classic TV series that should have had a Christmas episode. I really like the idea of a Hogan's Heroes episode, and I love David's idea for The Fugitive—a cliche? No, just the right story.

When I lived in The World's Worst Town™, television was pretty much a wasteland. Circle of Fear was one of the shows we got, and while it might not have been the greatest, it was a badly-needed diversion—so I'm glad to link to RealWeegieMidget's look at it.

Television Obscurities continues the look back at TV Guide 20 years ago, and in the July 8, 1989 issue we have the best and worst of TV. Sadly, when I look at the highlights from the listings, I see a lot of the worst and not much of the best. . .

Too many figures from classic television are passing on, but we'll look at just one: Rip Torn, who's remembered for many reasons, but could be remembered for many more, including some very fine TV work in the 1950s and '60s. Terence covers it at A Shroud of Thoughts.

There's more, I'm sure, but it's late and I've got a headache, and I need to save some of these little grey cells for another TV Guide on Saturday. TV  

July 10, 2019

For your summer reading pleasure!

Just because the Fourth of July has passed, don't think summer is over—as a matter of fact, it's just getting started! And there's no better way to spend those sunny days than with a good beach read—unless it's three of them!

All three of my books are available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever you like to get your books.

The Electronic Mirror

What Classic TV Tells Us About Who We Were and Who We Are (And Everything In-Between!) 

A delightful, thought-provoking collection of essays that looks at TV during its formative years and examines how this most personal form of mass communication reflects the culture of its time, how it has fulfilled (or failed to fulfill) its initial promise, and how TV has—intentionally as well as unintentionally—predicted the future, with sometimes disturbing results. It is a sometimes humorous, occasionally ironic, but always interesting story of how classic television indeed is an “electronic mirror” that explains our past, our present, and everything in-between.

The Car

It begins with the car. But for Winter, an ordinary man living an ordinary life, it will not end until he learns what has happened to the car’s owner and why the car has been left abandoned and ignored on a city street. As Winter’s curiosity turns to obsession, his search for the missing owner intensifies and he finds the car taking him on a journey that he never expected, one of dreams and reality in which nothing–and no one–is what it seems. Not even him.

The Collaborator

In a provocative story that reflects today’s headlines, the Catholic Church is at a crossroads, beset by scandal, controversy and shrinking congregations. A wildly popular new Pontiff promises reforms designed to focus on inclusion, social justice and modernization. He is opposed by the powerful Prefect, a Cardinal dedicated to preserving the traditional teaching of the Church, who fears the Pontiff’s plans will destroy the Church. Their inevitable confrontation is brought to a head by a Journalist’s investigation that uncovers a story of ambition, loss, deceit and more. This disturbing story takes readers from the backstage politics of the Vatican to the world of dictators and rebels, and is sure to stir controversy on both sides of the debate.

Follow the link here to order from Amazon; if you're shopping another site, entering my name and/or the name of the book should take you there. Enjoy! TV  

July 8, 2019

What's on TV? Friday, July 12, 1968

Here's something I haven't done for a long time: every channel from the Minnesota State Edition. Usually I'll edit it down because of the sheer number of stations; it takes too long, or takes up too much space. I don't usually include the stations from Iowa and Wisconsin unless we're looking at a very old issue, before KCMT and WDIO and some of the others. But this is a holiday weekend, so I figured—why not?

Now that I've given you too much information about what happens behind the scenes, let's just get right to it, because there's plenty to look at.

July 6, 2019

This week in TV Guide: July 6, 1968

I think if you were to look up the word "vivacious" in the dictionary, you might find a picture something like this week's cover. Barbara Eden just jumps off the page, doesn't she? I can imagine someone opening up their mailbox on Thursday or Friday, seeing this, and saying to themselves, "well, hello there!" It's a compliment to two things: Gene Howard's photograph (and the excellent color choreography), and Barbara Eden's personality. I was never a big fan of Jeannie myself, but I don't know anyone who didn't—and doesn't—find her charming.

Inside, Dwight Whitney's story touches on the famous "navel" controversy (executive producer Sidney Sheldon says, "I'm not playing navels. I'm playing boy-meets-girl. What makes Jeannie sexy is that she doesn't play sex."); points out that Jeannie is the only TV show "in which an attractive unmarried girl has the free run of a bachelor's apartment"; looks at the subtly masochistic undercurrent of Tony and Jeannie's "master-slave" relationship (it "seems better suited to the Marquis de Sade"); and presents Eden as "an extraordinary combination of glamorpot and lady," a sex symbol "packaged in propriety" Her self-doubt of her own talent is pure, says Whitney, which helps make the whole scenario acceptable to conservative viewers.

Eden's journey to Jeannie has taken her through bad movies and bad television shows to the stardom that is well-earned. She helped save Larry Hagman's job after he clashed with producers early on in the series' run, and her good-natured humor keeps everything together. She's been married for ten years to fellow actor Michael Ansara, who is proud of his wife's success while at the same time wishing he had a series of his own (he was formerly on Broken Arrow). Ansara is portrayed as very much of a traditionalist when it comes to the family (Eden believes the man should be the dominant figure), and you have to wonder if that inequality plays a role in their divorce in 1974.

And what does she think about all this fuss over her navel? "No reason to fight with anybody. What's to fight about? Argue with a genie in a bottle?"

t  t  t

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: Guests: Yul Brynner, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, the rocking Doors, comedians Flip Wilson and Rodney Dangerfield, singers Alice and Ellen Kessler, and the Skating Bredos.

Palace: Phyllis Diller is hostess for a beach party at the Palace. Guests: comedian Phil Harris; Frankie Avalon and actress Annette Funicello, who have appeared in beach-party movies; the rocking 5th Dimension; the Herculeans, balancing act; and a seal act.

A pair of reruns this week, and pretty good lineups at that. The difference comes down to head-to-head performance: the Doors perform "Light My Fire" and "People Are Strange," while the 5th Dimension counters with "Up, Up and Away" and "California, My Way." Advantage: Sullivan. Yul Brynner vs. Phyllis Diller? Advantage: Sullivan. Steve and Eydie or Frankie and Annette? Advantage: Push. Rodney Dangerfield and Flip Wilson, or Phil Harris? Advantage: Palace. (If it was just Dangerfield, it would be a push.) The Kessler Twins and the Skating Bredos or the Herculeans and a seal? Advantage: Sullivan. Tale of the tape: Sullivan wins the decision.

t  t  t

When A Hard Day's Night originally aired on NBC in October 1967, the network ran this opening in place of the Peacock:

The movie, which presents the Beatles in what Judith Crist calls "their freshest, zaniest and most charming," is rerun on Saturday Night at the Movies (8:00 p.m. CT). It's part of a very British night of television, starting with dueling spy dramas at 6:30 p.m.: NBC's The Saint finds Simon Templar in Geneva, investigating the "mysterious disappearance" of a Russian scientist who was trying to defect to the West." Meanwhile, over on CBS, it's one of the most chilling episodes of The Prisoner: "Number Six is drugged and physically transformed. He awakens to find that he has a new appearance and a new identity. Only his mind tells him who he really is—and there is an exact double of his former self to refute that idea at every turn." It's a terrific episode.

Sunday, an NBC news special, "The New American Catholic" (3:30 p.m.), examines the post-Vatican II Church, updated to "make it relevant to 20th-century man." Features include a parish without a church building that spends its funds on programs for slum dwellers; an order of nuns that's given up the convent to work outside the church; and priests involved in civil rights, liturgical changes, and democratization of the Church. Considering how Mass attendance has plummeted since then, we know just how successful these programs were in making the Church more relevant, right? Right?

Among the summer reruns on Monday, there's some originality, starting with the British import The Champions (7:00 p.m., NBC), the cult sci-fi spy thriller starring Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo, and William Gaunt, and featuring many familiar faces to fans of British TV. Following that, at 8:00 p.m. NBC has one of those anthology series comprised of failed pilots; this one, Comedy Playhouse, is hosted by Monty Hall. Another one, CBS's Premiere (9:00 p.m.), has Burt Reynolds as a crusading undercover magazine writer.

In baseball, 1968 was known as "The Year of the Pitcher," with record low ERAs for hurlers, and record low batting averages for hitters; nothing demonstrates this better, or with more deadly effect, than the 39th All-Star Game (7:00 p.m. Tuesday, NBC). This is the first All-Star game ever played indoors, at the Houston Astrodome; it's also the first nighttime All-Star game since 1944. Willie Mays come home from third base on a double play in the first inning to put the Nationals ahead, 1-0—and, well, that's it. It's the first 1-0 game in All-Star history; I'm not sure how many people managed to stay awake until the end.

On Wednesday, The Avengers (6:30 p.m., ABC) features a Steed-Mrs. Peel repeat, which gives me a chance to criticize the tasteless letter to the editor praising the reruns as a chance to "get back the Peel instead of the lemon." Granted, Linda Thorson's Tara King takes a bit of getting used-to after the vivacious (there's that word again!) performance of Diana Rigg as Emma Peel, but that's no excuse for a lemon of a letter. Later, Johnny Mathis headlines the Kraft Music Hall (8:00 p.m., NBC), hosted by Ed McMahon, with Jackie Vernon, Harpers Bizarre, Eddie Hazell, and Jackie & Roy.

Thursday is another example of how capricious affiliates can be when it comes to carrying network programming. (It also says something about the relative strength of a preempted show's ratings.) At 6:30 p.m., WCCO takes a pass on CBS's Cimarron Strip in favor of The Iron Man—not with Robert Downey Jr., but the 1951 movie starring Jeff Chandler, Evelyn Keyes, Stephen McNally, and Joyce Holden, in the story of a coal miner who becomes a boxer "and discovers that he has the instincts of a killer."  Meanwhile, KAUS in Austin wipes out a whole swath of ABC programming—The Second Hundred Years, The Flying Nun, Bewitched, and That Girl—to show the musical The Best Things in Life Are Free (6:30 p.m.), with Gordon MacRae, Dan Dailey, and Ernest Borgnine. At 9:00 p.m., KMSP zaps an ABC program of their own, the Time For Americans special "Bias and the Media," in which a panel of white media representatives responds to the charge of racial bias in their reporting, in favor of The Hollywood Palace, which they'd preempted Saturday to show A Certain Smile. I suspect these were better choices for viewers than reruns.

Friday rounds out the week with "The Apple," the Star Trek hippie episode featuring David Soul as one of the hippies (7:30 p.m., NBC). At 8:00 p.m. on CBS's Friday Night Movies, it's Susan Hayward in her Oscar-winning role in 1958's I Want to Live! Late night has Johnny Carson ending the first of a two-week stint in Hollywood, with guests Don Rickles and Phyllis Diller. (10:30 p.m., NBC) KMSP's 10:30 movie (which bumps Joey Bishop's show to Sunday night) is The Big Carnival, better known as Ace in the Hole, Billy Wilder's withering take on the way the press covers—and manufactures—the news, starring Kirk Douglas and Jan Sterling.

t  t  t

Elsewhere, TV Teletype reports that Joan Rivers' new syndicated talk show should be premiering this fall (it did), and that Don Knotts will be returning to Mayberry, R.F.D. this fall as the best man for the wedding of Andy Taylor and Helen Crump (Aneta Corsaut, Andy Griffith's real-life inamorata).

The networks are scrambling to prepare for Pope Paul VI's trip to Colombia, says The Doan Report. The visit is scheduled for August, between the Republican convention in Miami Beach and the Democratic convention in Chicago. Thank heaven for small miracles; the first manned Apollo flight (Apollo 7), originally scheduled for August, has been rescheduled to September. If it hadn't been, says one network staffer, "I think we'd have jumped out the window."

And finally, we haven't featured a recipe for awhile, so since Hollywood Palace had a clambake this week, let's look at TV Guide's sure-fire formula for a clambake at the beach:

Dig a hole in the sand and line it with rocks. Build a kindling fire to heat the rocks to red hot. When hot, cover with wet piece of canvas and top with a layer of wet seaweed. Add scrubbed clams, allowing a dozen per person. Pull back husks on corn to remove silk, replace husks and dip corn in sea water. Allow 1 to 2 ears per person. Push corn into clams. Cover with a thick layer of seaweed. cover closely with another piece of canvas. Hold down the edge of the canvas with rocks to seal tightly. Steam 30 to 35 minutes or until clams open (the time varies with size and quantity of clams). Mix melted butter with lemon juice, ¼ cup lemon juice to each cup butter. When ready to serve, remove top canvas and seaweed. Give each person a portion of clams, an ear of corn, melted butter and lemon juice, a chunk of crusty French or Italian bread, and beer that has been cooled in a net in the ocean or a picnic cooler.

Top things off with icy slices of watermelon, cool bunches of green crapes, ripe peaches and plums. Toast marshmallows or slices of pound cake in the embers of the fire, and serve hot or iced coffee or tea.

As always, if anyone tries it out, let us know how it goes. TV  

July 5, 2019

Around the dial

Inner Toob kicks off the week with a fun piece that links three performances by Carl Betz: on Felony Squad, where he plays defense attorney Clinton Judd in part one of a two-part story, which concludes on his own show, Judd for the Defense, and a third role, that of an "unhinged" prosecutor in—Pat Paulson's Half a Comedy Hour.

The second Alfred Hitchcock script by Arthur A. Ross is the ninth-season story, "The Evil of Adelaide Winters," an episode I haven't seen yet. But Jack has, and he tells us all about it at bare-bones e-zine.

At The Horn Section, Hal's onto "Bullet from the Grave," the wonderfully-named episode of Get Christie Love! with Eric Braeden (who's moved on from Hans Gudegast by this point), who's always good as the bad guy.

I never collected Megos myself—didn't get past G.I. Joe and Major Matt Mason—but David does, and he shares the ten best classic TV Megos at Comfort TV.

Television Obscurities continues the "Year in TV Guide" project with this week's look at the issue of July 1, 1989. I'm always amused by the prices for movies listed in the Video Cassette Report: $89.99 for The Last Temptation of Christ??

Arte Johnson died earlier this week at the age of 90; at A Shroud of Thoughts, Terence remembers the career of the Laugh-In star, who should be known for much more.

Enjoy the long holiday weekend; back tomorrow with another entertaining TV Guide. TV  

July 3, 2019

The CBS Evening News with Arnold Zenker

Back in 2013, when I was writing about the TV Guide issue of April 15, 1967, I tried very hard to find a picture or video or something showing Arnold Zenker anchoring The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough, or maybe there really wasn't anything out there yet; at any rate, last week I stumbled across this while I was looking for something else, and even though it's a couple of years old, I'm not about to pass up the opportunity now that I have it.

Arnold Zenker, for the uninitiated, was the 28-year-old CBS executive who, with no television experience, was forced into temporary duty as the substitute for Walter Cronkite during the AFTRA strike in April of 1967. While Chet Huntley (who famously said he was "a newsman, not a performer"), Frank McGee and Ray Scherer, continued to work at NBC, and producers Daryl Griffin and William Sheehan carried the load at ABC, there was something about Zenker that captured the public's fancy. He became something of a cult hit during the 13 days of the strike, getting more than 3,000 fan letters from the public. He even became the answer to a Jeopardy! question. Scott Pelley interviewed Zenker on the 50th anniversary of his famous stint as an anchor; you can read about it, and see Zenker in action, here.

No wonder the execs worried!
As soon as the strike was over, of course, back behind the camera he went. (Cronkite's opening line upon his return: "This is Walter Cronkite substituting for Arnold Zenker. It's good to be back.") "They laughed and they said 'you're not a journalist, you're a fraud who sat in front of the camera,' and that's when I decided to go to Boston and do the news," he said. Of course, I have my own theory about that; I think that the success of someone like Zenker was a threat to the establishment—it suggested that anyone who was young and reasonably good-looking and could put a couple of sentences together could, with a little training, read the nightly news. That couldn't be allowed, of course. Of course, considering the amount of turnover on the CBS Evening News since Dan Rather left, there might be something to that. What with Bob Schieffer, Katie Couric, Scott Pelley, Anthony Mason, Jeff Glor, and now Norah O'Donnell, they might just as well have called Arnold Zenker. After all, he already has experience. TV  

July 1, 2019

What's on TV? Tuesday, June 27, 1967

Here we are, with spring turning to summer, and it's another day in television land. (As opposed to TV Land™) With the summer schedule, we won't see as much notable television as usual, since the bulk of the broadcast schedule is comprised of reruns and summer tryouts. There are noteworthy things on today, CBS's inquiry into the Warren Report being foremost among them, but even here I'm sure you can find your favorites from days past.

June 29, 2019

This week in TV Guide: June 24, 1967

When a show comes advertised as "A new chapter in television history," you tend to sit up and take notice. Such is Our World, a special airing on NET Sunday afternoon (2:00 p.m. CT). (And when was the last time we led off with a show on public television?)

Our World is billed as "the first live, around-the-world telecast" with participants from five continents taking part. The program is being aired to 30 countries worldwide, thanks to three American and one Soviet satellites. What is it about? Our world's "problems, achievements and prospects for the future." Segments include "This Moment's World," a brief look at the world at the hour of broadcast, "The Hungry World," "The Crowded World," "Aspiration to Excellence," and "The World Beyond." Paul Niven, NET's lead Washington correspondent, is the narrator; less than three years later, he'll die from head injuries after jumping out of a window to escape from a fire that sweeps through his Georgetown townhouse.

The program's best segment is probably "Aspiration to Excellence," which includes a performance by The Beatles, who perform "All You Need is Love" for the first time (with a chorus of "friends," including members of the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Moon and Graham Nash), as well as Maria Callas, Pablo Picasso, Van Cliburn and Leonard Bernstein, and others.

There's an interesting Wikipedia article about this program. The Soviet Union pulled out of production at the last moment, probably in protest over the West's support of Israel in the recent Six-Day War; the missing Soviet satellite was replaced by one from NASA. Despite the Eastern bloc nations pulling out, the show's still transmitted to 24 countries, with an estimated audience of between 400 and 700 million people. The program actually runs a half-hour over it's scheduled running time of two hours.

Below are highlights from the broadcast, which don't include the performance from The Beatles; you'll have to check the video below for that.

*The Beatles performance, as was the rest of the broadcast, was originally in black-and-white; for its use in the 1995 TV special The Beatles Anthology, the Beatles' performance was colorized, We eschew colorized clips, though; we're like TCM that way.

t  t  t

While The Hollywood Palace is on summer break, ABC filled the Saturday night time slog with Piccadilly Palace, a London-based variety show starring the iconic British comedy duo of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, We'll stop in from time to time during the summer months to see who has the best lineup..

Sullivan: Scheduled guests are singers Connie Francis, Ronnie Dove and the Swingle Singers; comedians Henny Youngman, Flip Wilson, and the comedy team of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara; Joaquin Robles' flamenco dancers, who are accompanied by Los Rebeldes, a mariachi band; and Augsberg's Jungle Wonders, a chimpanzee act.

Piccadilly: Guests are singers Bobby Vinton and Georgie Fame. Hosts Morecambe and Wise do a zany impression of an Arabian sheik newly arrived in England, and join the show's writers for a slapstick parody of a pop singing group. Regular: Millicent Martin.

I have to admit neither of this week's lineups do much for me, but you don't come here to see me equivocate, do you? Very well: Piccadilly Palace is not really Hollywood Palace with a British accent; it's more like The Morecambe & Wise Show, so more of the program is built around them. That doesn't give us much to go on. While not all of Ed's guests are to my taste, it's a more substantial lineup, and so I'm giving Sullivan the decision on points.

t  t  t

Piccadilly Palace isn't the only summer replacement on the air this week. There seem to be three basic categories into which summer series fall: they're either trying out for a spot in the fall lineup, keeping the seat warm until the star returns from vacation (usually a variety show), or allowing the network to gather an assortment of failed concepts into an anthology series like Summer Playhouse, thus giving failure a veneer of respectability. (The indispensable FredFlix has a nice video retrospective on these here.)

Is this an idea or what?
The possibilities for fun with this concept are endless. For example: suppose the producers of Gunsmoke, in an attempt to placate star James Arness during the latest round of contract negotiations, decide to give him an extra few weeks off next season? We could be treated to Festus and Doc, where two of Dodge City's most beloved characters get to take over while Marshal Dillon is in the capital or on vacation or sleeping late.

Or take Ed Sullivan. Ed doesn't usually mingle with his guests unless they're someone special. So if you want to give a young comic a trial to see how well they'd do with their own show, why not take performances from various shows during the season and splice in a new host? He or she gets to do their own shtick, maybe a monologue and a skit or something, and then let them introduce the Supremes, or George Carlin, or Bobby Darin. You're guaranteed good performances (because you, as producer and editor, picked them yourself), plus a brand-new host that actually shows some life. I know, probably union rules prohibit it.

I could go on, but you get the point. In the real world, Away We Go (Saturday, 6:30 p.m. CBS) is the replacement for, as you might have guessed, Jackie Gleason. George Carlin is the host, Buddy Greco and buddy Rich are regulars, and Richard Pryor, Taro Delphi, and the Teddy Neeley Five vocal group are the guests. On Thursday, CBS has reruns of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (6:30 p.m.), Vic Damone substitutes for Dean Martin (9:00 p.m., NBC), with Cliff Arquette, Donna Jean Young, and Victor Julian and his dogs as guests, and Carol Lawrence and Gail Martin on the cast. ABC uses the same timeslot to introduce a series called Summer Focus, taking over for Stage '67, with a rerun of "1776," a look at the early years of the Revolution, narrated by Fredric March. The episode was originally seen on Saga of Western Man in 1963.

Although it's preempted this week by CBS's series on the Warren Report (see below), the series Coronet Blue has already debuted to moderate success; next week, the network premieres the variety show Spotlight as a fill-in for Red Skelton, and introduces the proverbial series of failed comedy pilots. There will be more to come, but while some summer series succeed, and others fail, will any of them be as interesting as Festus & Doc?

t  t  t

It's a mixed sports bag this week; NBC's Game of the Week (Saturday, 1:00 p.m.) the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins, two teams who will spend the season battling for first place in the American League, along with the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox. Because the Twins are involved, the NBC affiliate, KSTP, gets the backup game between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, neither of whom will be battling for the National League pennant. On Wednesday night, the aforementioned Twins and Red Sox square off at Metropolitan Stadium in a rare televised home game (WTCN, 8:00 p.m.) The Cleveland Open is the golf tournament of the week, airing Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. on ABC.

Sunday afternoon, the Chicago Spurs take on the Philadelphia Spartans in a match of the National Professional Soccer League. (1:30 p.m., CBS) Never heard of the NPSL? Back in 1967 there were, if you can believe it, not one but two pro soccer leagues in this country, the other being the United Soccer League. After this season they would merge to form the North American Soccer League (NASL), which will stick around until 1984. Without the Spurs and Spartans, though.

Two other programs of note; Sunday, NBC's Smithsonian (5:30 p.m.) presents "The Flight of the Spirit of St. Louis and the Friendship 7," a look at two men who took solo flights into the future. Glenn appears with NBC newsman Bill Ryan; while Lindbergh is still alive, he does not appear, but his words are voiced by Fredric March. We didn't get this program in the Twin Cities, at least not on this particular date, although it could have been shown at another time. Instead, we're shown a rerun of an episode from NBC's acclaimed Project 20 series, "The Law and the Prophets."

On Thursday night, My Three Sons (7:30 p.m., CBS) presents a witty, lighthearted look at TV's influence on the family, with "Charley imposing a one-week ban on viewing, Steve getting hooked on the late-late show, and Robbie and a cynical coed producing at TV drama dissecting family life." As long as you don't tell me that the drama was called An American Family, we should be just fine.

t  t  t

We haven't looked at one of Hollywood's starlets lately, and so this week Leslie Raddatz turns his gaze upon Sara Lane, currently playing Elizabeth Grainger on NBC's The Virginian. She's not like the average starlet though, Raddatz assures us. For one thing, her shirts actually cover her knees! (Sometimes, at least.) She lives at home with her parents instead of in some swinging apartment, she doesn't have a name like most starlets, "Melody" or "Karen" or "Jill." And she doesn't date other Hollywood stars. Heck, she doesn't even know how to drive.

So how does a girl like this get into showbiz? Thank her father, Rusty Lane, the veteran character actor, and her mother, actress Sara Anderson. She would travel with her parents as they appeared in road company productions of plays like The Desperate Hours. Movie producer William Castle noticed her in a Miss Teen-Age pageant, and gave her a role in I Saw What You Did with Joan Crawford. And, well, the next thing you knew, she was on The Virginian.

I didn't watch The Virginian growing up, so the fact that I hadn't heard of Sara Lane before didn't particularly mean anything to me. She remained on the show until 1970, appearing in over 100 episodes. She did several episodes of The Hollywood Squares in 1969. and a pair of Billy Jack movies in the 1970s, before retiring to run a vineyard with her husband (who, true to form, was not a Hollywood actor). Today, she works with troubled children, and that makes her a star in my book.

t  t  t

Finally, the major news story this week is CBS's four-part series on the Warren Report, which runs Sunday through Wednesday night. By 1967, there was considerable doubt about the validity of the Warren Commission, which had concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin of President Kennedy; several books, most prominently attorney Mark Lane's Rush to Judgment, had been written challenging the findings, while in late 1966, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison had begun the investigation that would result in the indictment of businessman Clay Shaw for conspiracy in the assassination. (Shaw was acquitted, obviously, which was the right verdict.) On top of that, Life Magazine had published color photographs of the famed Zapruder film, with the headline “Did Oswald Act Alone? A Matter of Reasonable Doubt.” The editors questioned the Commission’s conclusions and called for a new investigation.

With this as backdrop, CBS presents its four-hour inquiry into the Report. (Apparently the program was originally scheduled to run for three nights; according to The Doan Report, CBS has uncovered so much "significant" material that they're adding an extra night.) Part one, on Sunday, presents a recreation of the assassination (remember, the actual Zapruder film won't be shown on TV for another few years), to test how quickly and how accurately Mannlicher-Carcano rifles can be fired, and addresses other questions about the investigation. (Did Oswald actually own the murder weapon? What did witnesses to the assassination see?). Parts two and three discuss various conspiracy theories, and the conclusion examines why people doubt the findings. It's a comprehensive look at the Warren Report, which answers a lot of questions (provided, of course, that you're open to being convinced). Alas, I don't know how much it did for those who'd already fallen into the clutch of conspiracy buffs.

I don't know why I was attracted to all this; perhaps I had a vague memory of the assassination, or maybe I was just interested in true crime. My mother had bought several of the Kennedy books as they came out, knowing that I would be interested in them when I was older, and she'd saved the newspapers from that weekend, as well as the TV Guide from the following January that looked at how TV had covered it. Little would I know, as I read through those pages in the years to come, that some day I'd be able to see almost all of it on YouTube. Clearly, for me it was the shape of things to come. TV