March 2, 2019

This week in TV Guide: March 6, 1965

As my enforced series of encore presentations continues, we're up to an interesting issue: so interesting, in fact, that I've already encored it once. I promise you, however, that there's even more new in this week's look, along with some features you might recognize from the past.

The brooding visage of David Janssen graces this week's cover.  Janssen is in the second of four seasons playing Dr. Richard Kimble the hero of the hit ABC series The Fugitive. As Arnold Hano notes, Janssen the actor shares many similarities with Kimble the fugitive, among which is a lack of comfort with his surroundings. His friend, novelist Bernard Wolfe, comments that "David is not a fanatically dedicated person. If he were, all this grueling work would have more meaning for him. But he is not dedicated. He has great doubts as to the ultimate aim of it all, as to where it is leading him."

Janssen in fact houses a number of torments: his heavy drinking, which Janssen claims has diminished while doing The Fugitive, but would always remain a part of his life; his ulcer (caused, Janssen wryly notes, by "thinking"); his heavy smoking (two to three packs a day); and the fatigue of his grueling schedule of 14-hour days filming a show in which he is in virtually every scene. When told that executive producer Quinn Martin "speaks grandly of five more years" of The Fugutive, Janssen dully replies, "Five more years? Contractually, I suppose I would have to put in five more years, but—" The Fugitive ran just about the right length of time; David Janssen, who died of a heart attack at age 48, died way too young.

๐Ÿ“บ  ๐Ÿ“บ  ๐Ÿ“บ

Personally, I don't think you need a reason to show a picture of Sophia Loren, but this week we have one. On Saturday, WTCN presents the TV premiere of Two Women, the movie for which Loren won her Oscar for Best Actress. Channel 11 advertised the movie accordingly.


Now, take a good look at that ad.  Notice anything strange about it?  The placement of that "TONIGHT 10 P.M." strip looks just a little suspicious, don't you think?  Especially when compared to the same picture, unedited:


While this picture might be considered somewhat modest today, I'm sure that 1965 Midwest sensibilities might have been offended by the amount of Sophia's cleavage on display. Two Women is an art-house movie (and Loren was the first Best Actress winner in a foreign-language film), so it's likely that many people in the Twin Cities hadn't seen it; Loren's sexpot image was well-known, however, so the station might have thought a little judicious editing was in order.

Alternately, because it probably wasn't seen widely and viewers didn't know what it was about, perhaps the station just wanted to create the impression that there was more to see than meets the eye. Or is that too cynical a thought? I'm just sayin'.

๐Ÿ“บ  ๐Ÿ“บ  ๐Ÿ“บ
.
During the 60s, the Ed Sullivan Show and The Hollywood Palace were the premiere variety shows on television. Whenever they appear in TV Guide together, we'll match them up and see who has the best lineup..

Ed Sullivan: Scheduled guests include singer Ella Fitzgerald; Duke Ellington and his band; singer Rita Pavone; singer-dancer Roy Castle; comics Stiller and Meara; the two Carmenas, balancers; and comedian John Byner.

Hollywood Palace: Host Eddie Fisher welcomes actress-vocalist Connie Stevens, comedian Jack Carter, the Marquis Chimps, the Arirang Korean ballet troupe, comedy pantomimist Ben Wrigley and the Kuban Cossacks, dance team.

This contest was pretty much over at the start. With Ella and Duke headlining the Sullivan show, Palace was already going to have to come up with something big to top it. Eddie Fisher, Connie Stevens and Jack Carter are OK, but the royalty that the Palace needed was already spoken for. Crown Sullivan as winner for the week.

๐Ÿ“บ  ๐Ÿ“บ  ๐Ÿ“บ

Let's see—we've covered Saturday, so what does the rest of the week have? The big movie of the week is a really big one: ABC's Sunday night presentation of Judgment at Nuremberg, starring Spencer Tracy, Oscar winner Maximilian Schell, Burt Lancaster, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland and a cast of thousands. It's a long movie, starting at 8:00 p.m. CT and running for three and one-half hours. And it's a heavy movie—preachy at times, as one might expect from writer Abby Mann and director Stanley Kramer. But less than 20 years after the end of World War II, it's also a portrait of a world still trying to come to grips with the horror of the Holocaust, and a country (Germany) trying to sort out its moral responsibility.

On Monday, Bing Crosby reunites with his old friend Phil Harris on Bing's sitcom (8:30 p.m., ABC); Harris is Bing's former vaudeville partner, who shows up with his new act: a trained crow, who may be responsible for a rash of neighborhood jewelry thefts. Following that, Jerry Lewis doubles as director and star in a rare dramatic role on Ben Casey (9:00 p.m., ABC) He's Dr. Dennis Green, a new resident at County General and an "irrepressible clown" (no surprise there), but Casey takes a dim view of it all, endangering Dr. Green's hopes to go into neurosurgery.

Tuesday kicks off with a special Red Skelton (7:30, CBS) entitled "The Red Skelton Scrapbook," hosted by Ed Wynn and featuring Red performing some of his most famous sketches and pantomimes. At 9:00 p.m., NBC presents a news special, "The Pope and the Vatican," covering the concluding days of the Second Vatican Council and the radical changes (termed aggiornamento, or "bringing up to date") coming to the Catholic Church. Vatican II had its critics even then, but could they have imagined the havoc this would create in the decades to come.

Wednesday night it's the "first annual" Grand Award of Sports (8:30 p.m., ABC), presented live from the New York World's Fair, and hosted by Bing and Kathryn Crosby. The format: "Panels of outstanding sportsmen have selected 20 winners" from a list of 83 nominees representing "the world's top athletes". The nominees included football stars Jim Brown and Johnny Unitas, boxer Cassius Clay, baseball's Sandy Koufax, basketball greats Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson, and hockey stars Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe. At the show's end, one of these winners will be chosen to receive the "Grand Award," presented by former astronaut John Glenn. That picture on the right is from the John H. Glenn archives; it's one of the Grand Awards, presented to Glenn "for his work as chairman of the Grand Award of Sports inaugural telecast." I can't find another listing for the "Grand Award of Sport"; it's my guess that it was either replaced or folded into the Victor Awards, which began (coincidentally?) the very next year, 1966.

Gloria Swanson makes her TV comedy debut Thursday on My Three Sons (7:30 p.m., ABC), playing an old vaudeville friend of Uncle Charley, while another Gloria—Gloria Stewart—guests with her husband Jimmy and their twin daughters on Password (7:30 p.m., CBS). And tonight's Tonight Show (10:30 p.m., NBC) bears some looking into, as Johnny has a scheduled guest lineup that includes Bob Hope, Hedda Hopper, Richard Chamberlain, Carol Lawrence, Barbara Parkins, and Harve Presnell.

A rerun of Have GunWill Travel attracts some interest on Friday (7:30 p.m., WTCN), with Paladin's assignment being to act as Oscar Wilde's bodyguard. John O'Malley plays Wilde. And not to be outdone by Johnny, Jack Paar has a pretty good show himself (9:00 p.m., NBC), with Peggy Lee, plus Mike Nichols and Elaine May.

๐Ÿ“บ  ๐Ÿ“บ  ๐Ÿ“บ

Looking at the TV Teletype, there's a note that on April 11 the ABC program Directions '65 will be telecasting David Amram's Holocaust opera The Final Ingredient, commissioned by the network,*  based on the teleplay by the famed Golden Age writer Reginald Rose. "Set in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, The Final Ingredient relates the story of a group of inmates who attempt to hold a secret Passover Seder inside the camp, and their quest for the final ingredient, which lies just outside the camp walls."  It sounds intriguing; I know Amram's music primarily from his soundtrack for the movie The Manchurian Candidate. As this article points out, ABC conceived of this as a "Passover Opera" that might be presented annually—almost a Jewish counterpart to Menotti's Christmas opera Amahl and the Night Visitors. But it didn't become an annual broadcast, at least as far as I know. It's available for viewing at the Paley Center.

*I'm not positive, but I'm fairly certain this was the final opera commissioned by one of the big three American commercial television networks. After this, it would be up to PBS.

We'll also learn that the Smothers Brothers are guests on Jack Benny's season finale April 16 on NBC; Jack will probably be limiting his appearances next season to hour-long specials, which indeed he does. And if your appetite for awards shows hasn't been sated by the Grand Award of Sports, you'll be glad to know that the Grammys are coming up in a one-hour telecast on NBC May 18, in which most of the winners are expected to perform their Grammy-winning songs.

Neil Hickey reports on CBS's series The Nurses, which has just been retooled with the addition of a couple of doctors; it's now called The Doctors and the Nurses. The nurses (Zina Bethune and Shirl Conway, left) are now supporting players to the doctors (Joe Campanella and Michael Tolan). According to producer Herb Brodkin, the move was made to improve ratings and dramatic potential; since nurses can't diagnose patients, there just weren't enough stories to carry the show. Says Brodkin, "Part of the problem was that, in making things happen in a story, nurses are handholders."

The Doan Report tells us that Johnny Carson's doing a 15-minute sit-in, in protest of the fact that many NBC affiliates around the country (including those in New York and San Francisco) don't carry the first 15 minutes of Tonight (which at the time ran for an hour and 45 minutes), choosing instead to run a half-hour of local news. For Carson, this meant about half of the nation would miss his monologue, a situation which justifiably caused him some distress—so much so, Carson claims, that it's preventing him from appearing on-air for the first 15 minutes of the program. His "sick-in" lasts for two nights, after which he agrees to discuss things with the network. The short-term solution is that Ed McMahon and bandleader Skitch Henderson vamp for the opening segment, with Johnny coming on at the bottom of the hour to do his monologue. Within a couple of years, that first 15 will be dropped altogether, giving the show a tidy 90 minute running time. That becomes the industry standard for talk shows, until Johnny cuts it back further to one hour in the 1980s. I don't think talk shows have been the same since, and I don't mean that in a positive way. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis-St. Paul, KSTP, currently shows the entire 1:45 show, on a 15-minute delay to follow the 10:00 news.

British satirist and social critic Malcolm Muggerage has a witty, but also very provocative, article on "The British Passion for American Television," and what he has to say might surprise you. I wrote about it at length here.

๐Ÿ“บ  ๐Ÿ“บ  ๐Ÿ“บ

Finally, we'd be real knuckleheads if we didn't pause to note a story on The Three Stooges, who are going strong as ever since their fueled-by-TV comeback. The emotional peak is a moving story about a 12-year-old girl being treated for emotional troubles. The girl spoke and wrote only in numbers, and when she became angry she "cried out numbers ending in 4." The stunned doctors eventually discovered that the numbers she used corresponded to the numbers on Three Stooges trading cards. The cards depicted "moods of violence" that the troubled girl herself was unable to articulate without the emotional release offered by the Stooges; in recounting the story, Moe Howard tears up.

It's interesting to note that although the Stooges (which at this point consist of Moe, Larry Fine, and "Curley Joe" DeRita) don't receive any financial compensation for their old movies, but the features and personal appearances sparked by the renewed interest in the movies more than make up the difference. Ah, the Stooges - loved 'em as a kid, love' em just as much now. TV  

4 comments:

  1. That's interesting about Carson. I didn't know that he protested the fact that many stations aired 30 minute newscasts back then. 30 minutes became the standard because of Johnny, no?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What Carson was protesting was the preemption of his monologue, which had already become the most important part of the show for him.
      Also: Most late local newscasts were still 15 minutes back then.
      NBC News wanted the locals to go to a half-hour, as part of Reuven Frank's campaign to expand the nightly Huntley-Brinkley show to an hour.
      (Local afternoon newscasts were undergoing similar expansions at this same time.)
      This particular turf war has been going on between news and entertainment for years - and still is, comes to that …

      Delete
  2. Nice review, Mitchell, but you need to correct our good doctor's name. Paging Dr. Kimble.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I've done that before! I blame the old comic strip "Scroogie," written by Mike Witte and Tug McGraw for that; in one strip Scroogie, who pitches for a fictional version of the New York Mets (as did McGraw) is lamenting an arm injury and moans, "Who on earth would want a one-armed pitcher?" In the next panel, one of his teammates comes over to him and says, "Scroogie, there's a Dr. Richard Kimball here to see you." That's the way it was spelled in the strip, and I must have subconsciously taken it in. Fixed - thanks!

      Delete

Thanks for writing! Drive safely!