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.

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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.

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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.

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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: 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.

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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?"

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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: 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.

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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.

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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.