September 30, 2019

What's on TV? Monday, October 3, 1966

This week's listings come from the Minnesota State Edition, but for the sake of brevity—both in the space and in the effort—we're concentrating on the Twin Cities, Duluth, and a couple of outlying areas. Some interesting things of note, although I'm sure this will drive Mike Doran crazy: WTCN showing Fellini's , an interesting choice for a local movie package; a rare sighting of The Tammy Grimes Show on KCMT (only four episodes were aired); a slightly less-rare sighting of The Jean Arthur Show on CBS (cancelled after twelve episodes); and one of our eternal questions: why is KSTP's M Squad, starring Lee Marvin as a tough cop, classified as "Police" while Felony Squad, starring Howard Duff, Dennis Cole and Ben Alexander as a trio of tough cops, is called "Drama"? As with the number of licks needed to reach the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Roll Pop, the world may never know.

September 28, 2019

This week in TV Guide: October 1, 1966

For the first time, the stain of the 1960s—Vietnam—graces the cover of this week's TV Guide.

Neil Hickey, TV Guide's New York Bureau Chief and author of some of the best news features published by the magazine, presents the first of a four-part series on how—and how well—television is covering its first war. It is a war "exorbitantly more demanding, both mentally and physically, than anything those earlier newsmen faced in Europe or the Pacific." It's a guerrilla war, replete with everything from jungle disease to ambush land mines and booby traps, field telephones that barely work, and as one correspondent puts it, "pushing the cause of journalistic profanity to new horizons." As NBC's David Burrington puts it, "There are so many imponderables and ironies here that it's sometimes difficult, if not downright impossible, to explain what's happening in terms that an American audience will understand."

Cameramen lug their equipment around in temperatures approaching 130, walking over 17 km only to find that an outpost had already been wiped out or a Vietcong squad disappeared, and wind up with less than a hundred feet of footage. Newsmen tell the story of a press conference called by Buddhist leaders in Danang, in a room with 35 dead bodies piled up in the corner. Soon, it became apparent that there would be no press conference, that the newsmen themselves were being held as hostages. They were able to escape in the ensuing firefight between government and rebel forces. Other times journalists aren't so lucky, and though none have been killed yet, several have suffered serious wounds. ABC's Lou Cioffi speaks for many when he says, "You begin wondering when the law of averages will catch up with you. I'm scared all the time, but I'm more scared now than when I first came out here. TV has nothing in its history to prepare it for this kind of story."

So why does the network correspondent put himself through such hell? After all, they've all volunteered; no newsman is ever assigned to Vietnam. "Let's be truthful," a young journalist says. "We're all war profiteers. We know that if we prove ourselves here we can short-cut our careers by five to 10 years. Here in Vietnam you can get your face on the network news three or four times a week. That's more than you can do in the United States. It's risky, but it's money in the bank." CBS' John Flynn adds, "This is where it's happening, and I see no reason to be anywhere else." And soldiers like having the newsmen around, at least at this point; "To them," an ABC newsman says, "it means somebody really cares about what they're doing. They'll share their last C-ration with you, and tie down your poncho tent properly so it doesn't blow away. I have never felt more appreciated, nor more humble." That comment about "somebody really caring"—for some reason, that makes me tremendously sad. Is that Vietnam in a nutshell, or what?

As I mentioned, this is part one of a four-part series; next week's will deal with the battle between the networks for ratings and exclusives. Looking at the glorified fan-mag that TV Guide has become today, it is difficult to imagine the magazine could come up with anything this serious, this newsworthy, nor would they want to. But to the TV Guide of this era, television was a serious business, covering serious news, and deserved to be written about and covered in a serious manner. For that matter, it's hard to imagine any of today's celebrity-driven newsmagazines (or is that "news" magazines?) producing a story as substantial as this. My, times have changed, haven't they?

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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: Ed's scheduled guests are Jimmy Durante; Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, who appear in segments from the filmed version of Prokofiev's ballet "Romeo and Juliet"; comic Alan King; singer Connie Francis; Gwen Verdon and cast members from "Sweet Charity," who perform "The Big Brass Band"; ventriloquist Arthur Worsley; and the winners of the New York Harvest Moon Ball dance contest.

Palace: Elizabeth Montgomery of Bewitched makes her debut as a Palace hostess and her first network appearance as a song-and-dance gal. Guests: singer Vic Damone; comics Paul Lynde and Jackie Mason; the Baja Marimba Band; Pat Anthony's tigers; and two acrobatic acts, Sensational Parker and the Three Robertes.

This is actually a pretty strong week for both shows, but Ed has, I think, just a little more class. Nureyev and Dame Margo were two of the most famous ballet dancers of the time, and their appearance—even on film—would have been a highlight for many people who wouldn't get to see them otherwise. Durante and King are always funny, and Gwen Verdon likely danced up a storm. No backing into it this week: Sullivan's the clear winner.

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Throughout the 60s and early 70s, TV Guide's weekly reviews were written by the witty and acerbic Cleveland Amory. Whenever we get the chance, we'll look at Cleve's latest take on the series of the era. 

Judith Crist once referred to Shane as the movie that established the tropes all future Westerns would follow, and that level of greatness—for Shane is truly a great Western—helps explain Cleveland Amory's apprehension this week as he prepares to review the television version, starring David Carradine in the role that Alan Ladd made famous, that of the lone gunman with a past.

Fear not, though, for "from the moment we saw the opening shot and heard that wonderful Shane theme song, we were a gone critter—I mean critic." In adapting the movie into a weekly series, certain accommodations have had to be made—for one thing, Shane leaves at the end of the movie, but here we can look forward to having him every week. That's tied in to another significant change from the movie, which featured Van Heflin as the family patriarch; here, the wife (Jill Ireland) is now a widow, which means that not only do we have Shane, but she might eventually have him as well. Maybe not, though; as Amory says, "It's not Peyton Place, but it's got possibilities."

Carradine is no Alan Ladd, but that's not to say that he's worse—just different. He is, as Amory puts it, of the "modern, psychological school of acting," which means "you're going to be more interested in his 'why' than in his 'what.'" Once you get used to that, he says, "you're going to be more and more positive about him." Ireland is no Jean Arthur either; she may be "a little too far over on the Calamity Jane side for our taste—but she cries hard." Bert Freed is an upgrade on Jack Palance's memorable villain, in that he's tampered the character to make him suitable for weekly appearances. In fact, so good is this series that Amory doesn't even mind Christopher Shea, whom we know and love as the voice of Linus in the Peanuts specials. When he asks, "Why do the geeth go thouth, Thane?" Amory says, "the way it all gets to you is thomething."

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You'll remember how I've said that TV Guides of this era covered live events with a combination of up-to-the-minute and to-be-announced? Well, this week's edition demonstrates that in spades. The World Series begins Wednesday, with the runaway American League champion Baltimore Orioles taking on—who? At this point, your guess is as good as anyone's, with the Dodgers, Pirates and Giants locked in a three-way battle for the flag. The weak-hitting Dodgers, defending Series champions, are led by Sandy Koufax (in his last season) and Don Drysdale; the slugging Pirates feature future Hall of Famers Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente; and the Giants counter with some stars of their own, namely Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal. Awaiting them, the Orioles have Triple Crown-winner Frank Robinson, slugger Boog Powell, and a pitching staff featuring Dave McNally, Jim Palmer, and Stu Miller.

Because of the uncertainty surrounding the National League winner, who will also host the first two games of the Series, we don't even know what time the games start: noon CT if it's the Pirates, 2:00 p.m. if the Giants take it, and 3:00 p.m. if the Dodgers come out on top. As it turns out, it's the Dodgers who ultimatelybemerge from the logjam, besting the Giants by a game-and-a-half and the Pirates by three. Little good it does, though: after Baltimore's Moe Drabowsky stops the Dodgers with 6⅔ innings of one-hit, 11-strikeout relief, Orioles hurlers go on to record three straight shutouts (the final two by scores of 1-0), winning the Series in a four-game sweep. I remember this Series with great satisfaction; the Dodgers had beaten the Minnesota Twins the year before, and being a good Minnesotan who also hadn't learned how to be a discerning fan, I thirsted for revenge. The Orioles gave it to me with one of the most powerful pitching performances in Series history: two runs given up in the four games.

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Once again, the Series tops all other sporting events for the week, such as Saturday afternoon's college football match between Missouri and UCLA (3:00 p.m., ABC). UCLA Quarterback Gary Beban, who will win the Heisman Trophy the next season, leads the Bruins to a 9-1 season, losing only to Washington (but staying home for the bowl holidays, thanks to the conference's Rose Bowl-only rule), and this week they take out Mizzou handily, 24-15.

Sunday's NFL games are all over the map, with the Minnesota Vikings playing at home, and thus blacked out within a 75-mile radius. Channel 4, the CBS Minneapolis affiliate, offers an Eastern Division matchup between the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants at 12:15 p.m.; Channels 8 and 12, located in LaCrosse and Mankato, respectively, carry the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers at 12:45 p.m.; and the two stations unaffected by the blackout, in Duluth and Mason City (both Channel 3) carry the Vikings game against the Chicago Bears at 1:15 p.m. It's much easier keeping track of the AFL game—the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs, a preview of the 1966 AFL Championship Game (2:30 p.m., NBC).

In this era before Sunday football doubleheaders, there's actually some time for other sporting events, such as the Canadian Open golf championship (5:00 p.m., CBS). This tournament used to be much bigger than it is today, and the 1966 field included the sport's best: Gene Littler, Jack Nicklaus and Billy Casper. To reinforce the event's stature, a footnote in Sunday's listing mentions that in case of a tie, CBS will provide coverage of the 18-hole playoff on Monday afternoon—a playoff format once seen in all the majors, but now a thing of the past, thanks largely to television.

Not exactly sports-related, but then you can't exactly leave off something on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. called "The National Sports & Physical Fitness Test." It's the latest in CBS' popular series of interactive viewer tests, which have included "The National Driver's Test" and "The National Citizenship Test." I don't have a list of the questions in front of me, only the "official score card" included in the TV Guide; however, the Close-Up promises location shoots from the Air Force Academy, "where cadets eat heartily without gaining an ounce," a New York dance studio, and a California high school with an acclaimed fitness program. Also, for no apparent reason, the program includes clips of Bobby Thomson's famous 1951 home run, and Joe Louis' first-round knockout of Max Schmeling in 1938. Harry Reasoner hosts; I wonder if this had any of the success that the other tests did?

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So if you don't have wall-to-wall sports on television Sunday afternoon, what the heck is on? Well, between the NFL football and Canadian Open, CBS has To Tell The Truth (4:00 p.m.) and Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour (4:30 p.m.); in later years the lineup would include Mister Ed. NBC features G-E College Bowl (live at 1:30 p.m.), with Oklahoma pounding North Dakota State 375-45, and a religion special. ABC's coverage is given over to the affiliates; Minneapolis' Channel 9 has reruns of The Untouchables, Naked City, Thriller, Surfside 6 and The Greatest Show on Earth (1:00 p.m. through 6:00 p.m.)

Sundays were also known as the "graveyard" for public affairs and educational programming, and that's well in evidence this week. There are the venerable Sunday news chat shows; ABC's Issues and Answers (12:30 p.m.) has a debate between the candidates for governor of California, Democratic incumbent Pat Brown* and his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan. Brown, who'd defeated Richard Nixon in 1962, had said that he looked forward to sending Reagan back to Death Valley Days, a show he'd once hosted; Reagan, as we know, goes on to eek out a one-million vote win, garnering a mere 58% of the vote. ABC also has an interview show called Elections 66 (12 noon), with Vice President Hubert Humphrey and former Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater as the guests, and ABC Scope (various times), their weekly Vietnam report. Face the Nation on CBS (11:30 a.m.) has Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen; the venerable Republican senator from Illinois is quizzed on the coming midterm elections. Dirksen's Democratic counterpart from Illinois, Paul Douglas, is the guest on NBC's Meet the Press (12 noon; he's not listed in the TV Guide, but a quick Google search gives us the answer).

*Father of the past governor, Jerry.

There's a heavy concentration of news this particular Sunday, and per the cover story, some of it has to do with Vietnam. In addition to ABC's weekly Scope, NBC has Vietnam Weekly Review (1:00 p.m.); at 2:00 p.m. The Frank McGee Report (which often presented breaking Vietnam news) looks at the rise of neo-Nazis in Germany. NBC also has a special report Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m., "The Agony of Two Cities," looking at racial conflict in Chicago and Cleveland. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. discusses the housing problem in Chicago, as well as violent vs. non-violent protest and the meaning of Black Power.

Channel 11, the Twin Cities' independent station, presents the long-lost standby of the local channel, matinee movies, which in this case is a prime choice indeed: the Academy Award-winning Casablanca at 3:00 p.m., followed by Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes in The Voice of Terror at 5:00. Reruns of Laramie and Sea Hunt and a religion show round out the afternoon.

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From time to time we've seen the frustrations that writers have had working with the Production Code, that arbiter of content that governs how certain moral issues should be presented. This week, TV Guide takes on the question of what should be done to produce a movie code that "makes sense in view of contemporary standards." The Editors' conclusion: "It isn't easy."

Things to come.
For starters, it's becoming increasingly clear that movies and television present separate challenges. As the editorial puts it, "while you can forbid youngsters to enter a theater, you can't keep all of them from seeing an 'adult' movie on TV." And yet you can't allow the needs of television to control what paying customers in movie theaters can see. And speaking of that audience, while there's been a relaxation of moral restrictions lately, "puritan standards still control the thinking, if not the actions, of most Americans."

And then there's the foreign audience to think about. Nudity and bedroom scenes are as commonplace in European movies as violence is in American ones, and "Europeans aren't exactly titillated by a sheepish Rock Hudson trying, unsuccessfully, to hold hands in a crowded restaurant with a well-corseted Doris Day."

The answer, according to the Editors, is that the movie code shouldn't worry about television and concentrate on theaters only. Most movies, they point out, can be adapted to run on television*, and the ones that can't will probably recoup any advertising losses through European distribution. "The important thing is that such a code, run by administrators empowered to interpret its provisions, will make it possible for creative men to treat any subject tastefully."

*Which in itself was the source of no little controversy.

Is that what we wound up with? My suspicion is that the code Hollywood wound up with included the Ratings System that, with subsequent changes, we've come to know and love (or hate). Television, itself under increasing pressure from the government, came up with its own ratings system, not to mention the V-Chip. But whether it be movies or television, I'm not sure that the word "tasteful" is the first that would come to mind. . .  TV  

September 27, 2019

Around the dial

No prattling on from me this week; we'll just get right to it.

At bare-bones e-zine, the Hitchcock Project moves on, with Jack introducing us to the works of Bill S. Ballinger—specifically, the 1959 episode "Dry Run," with Robert Vaughn, Walter Matthau, and David White. Quite a cast, wouldn't you say?

Speaking as we were of Hitchcock, at Classic Film and TV Café Rick has a list of his choices for Hitch's best movies. Try not to get dizzy looking at these titles, a reminder of how great, and how successful, Hitchcock was as a director.

If you've ever thought that The Brady Bunch was a live-action comic strip, here's your confirmation: The Secret Sanctum of Captain Video takes a look at the Brady Bunch comic book story "T.V. or Not T.V.," a cautionary tale of "television and its' effect on the newly-blended family!" Ooh. . .

At Comfort TV, David has a look back at highlights from the career of Sherry Jackson and her journey from a child star on The Danny Thomas Show to her very grown-up guest roles in the 1960s and beyond: everything from Star Trek to Lost in Space to Charlie's Angels.

Now, this is the kind of thing I'm a sucker for: nearly three hours of retro television introductions, courtesy of The Last Drive In. It was videos like this that got me into watching the FredFlix channel at YouTube, many, many pleasant hours ago.

It's time once again for Hondo at The Horn Section, and this time Hal's watching "Hondo and the Apache Trail," the follow-up to "Hondo and the Apache Kid," with guest appearances by Nick Adams and Annette Funicello.

This would have been about the time that I wrote about our experiences at this year's Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, but as you know, real life intervened this year. Never fear, however, for Carol has her own write-up at Bob Crane: Life & Legacy.

Now, which Doctor Who story was "The Macra Terror"? Ah yes, now I remember. At Cult TV Blog, John takes a closer look at the reconstructed story, with animation filling in the gaps where the original footage was unavailable. (Thanks, BBC.) Time for me to start watching again, perhaps.

Do you remember The Baileys of Balboa? Television Obscurities does, so take a trip back (including the links provided in the story) to learn more about this single-season sitcom, starring Paul Ford and John Dehner, which premiered 55 years ago. Has it really been that long? TV 

September 25, 2019

It's never too early

In case it's escaped your attention, next week marks the beginning of October, and everyone knows that once this milestone has passed, it's only a quick jump to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Talk about being caught unaware.

Fortunately, you can avoid the holiday rush and get your shopping done earlier, with a gift that's perfect for your friends, family, and loved ones: one of my books!

Naturally, most of you will be most interested in The Electronic Mirror: What Classic TV Tells Us About Who We Were and Who We Are (and everything in-between), my book of essays on the relationship between classic television shows and our popular culture. If you like It's About TV!, I can promise you'll love The Electronic Mirror.

That takes care of you (make sure to ask someone special to buy it for you!), but what about your friends who aren't TV buffs, hard as that may be to believe? For the fiction-lover on your list, try out my two novels, The Collaborator and The Car. The Collaborator is a tense, theater-of-the-mind story of conflict in today's Catholic Church; while The Car takes you on an existential mystery about dreams and reality and what it means to leave your mark on the world.

All three books are available at Amazon, as well as other online retailers; find out more about them here. The Collaborator is also available in a Kindle edition, and I'm hoping to have the same for The Car shortly. (I'll let you know!) If you want a personally signed copy, just drop me an email with your name, address, and what you'd like inscribed, and I'll send you an autographed bookplate.

I'm not here to B.S. you; I wouldn't recommend these books, even though I did write them, if I didn't think you'd enjoy. So get an early start on your holiday shopping and buy your copies today! TV  

September 23, 2019

What's on TV? Tuesday, September 24, 1968

There's a lot to like about today's listings. We've got the debut of shows like 60 Minutes, The Mod Squad, and The Doris Day Show, we've got a legendary duo of horror actors on The Red Skelton Hour, and, of course, we have celebrity-driven game shows. Look at David Susskind on Personality; I wonder how he felt about that? On the one hand, the man loved being on TV, being the focus of attention, and he was nothing if not a self-promoter, and yet he was embarrassed that his organization, Talent Associates, produced shows like Supermarket Sweep. He probably found a way to rationalize it all. Oh, and isn't that kind of cool that Dave Garroway is guest-hosting Dick Cavett's morning show? Kind of turns back the clock a bit, doesn't it?

In case you hadn't guessed, the listings are from the Minnesota State Edition.

September 21, 2019

This week in TV Guide: September 21, 1968

In last week's review, we looked at the 1963 Fall Preview; we don't have the 1968 Fall Preview here, but with most of the new shows starting this week, we probably ought to look at ones you undoubtedly recognize.

NBC, "The Full Color Network," kicks off Saturday with the premiere of Adam-12, the new police series from Jack Webb, starring Martin Milner as a veteran cop breaking in new partner Kent McCord (6:30 p.m. CT). Later Saturday, it's The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, based on the movie classic with Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison; the TV version has Hope Lange and Edward Mulhare (and we can't forget Charles Nelson Reilly). Sunday, ABC presents the new Irwin Allen adventure series Land of the Giants (6:00 p.m.), which takes place in a 1983 that was not quite like real life—no suborbital flights to London on the schedule yet.

Monday belongs to CBS; first, it's Lucille Ball's new sitcom, Here's Lucy (7:30 p.m.), followed by Mayberry R.F.D. (8:00 p.m.), the reconstituted Andy Griffith Show, and while Ken Berry is the star going forward, the debut episode bids a last, long farewell to the past as Sheriff Andy finally ties the knot with Helen Crump, with Don Knotts returning as best man. I imagine a few tears were shed during that episode.

Tuesday's probably the most significant night of the week, staring with ABC's breakout hit of the season, The Mod Squad (6:30 p.m.), which opens with a 90-minute "world premiere" pilot about "a trio of youthful offenders who infiltrate the crime scene." NBC has the debut of Julia (7:30 p.m.), the first weekly series to star a black woman since Beulah in the 1950s, with Diahann Carroll interviewing for a job with the "cantankerous" Dr. Chesney, played by Lloyd Nolan. Over at CBS, Doris Day makes her long-anticipated TV series debut with The Doris Day Show, which has some trouble settling on a format but still runs for five seasons; at 9:00 p.m. it's the inaugural episode of a new magazine series: 60 Minutes, with Mike Wallace and Harry Reasoner, which starts out alternating with The CBS News Hour but eventually finds a home on Sunday nights, where it remains to this day.

Some of you may have fond memories of Wednesday's Here Come the Brides (ABC, 6:30 p.m.), with David Soul responsible for bringing the aforementioned brides to Seattle. ay, but on Thursday (CBS, 7:00 p.m.) one of the longest-running police dramas begins its 12-season run: Hawaii Five-O, with Jack Lord (whose hair didn't move in 12 seasons either), whose beat is "the whole state" of Hawaii. And Friday sees the 90-minute The Name of the Game (7:30 p.m.), a wheel show with rotating stars Tony Franciosa, Gene Barry, and Robert Stack.

Let's add to all of this some of the returning favorites. CBS brings back Lassie, The Ed Sullivan Show, Mission: Impossible, Gunsmoke, Carol Burnett, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, The Wild Wild West, The Jackie Gleason Show, My Three Sons, Hogan's Heroes, and Mannix. NBC has Get Smart, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, Walt Disney, Bonanza, I Dream of Jeannie, Laugh-In, The Virginian, Daniel Boone, Ironside, Dragnet, and Star Trek. And ABC renews The FBI, Peyton Place, The Big Valley, The Flying Nun, Bewitched, That Girl, The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, Lawrence Welk, and The Hollywood Palace. And that's leaving some shows out, both new and returning, for which some of you might have a great affection.

The point is that this is one of the most memorable televisions seasons of the era, with a number of shows that do more than just bridge the gap into transition of the 1970s; Hawaii Five-O airs its last episode in 1980, and 60 Minutes—well, just tune in tomorrow night and you'll see how that's going. I know there are some of you out there who think the word "iconic" is overused, but taken as it is, to mean something that is "widely recognized and well-established," there's no question that the fall of 1968 sees more than its share of iconic television shows. Look at how many of them have been released in DVDin large part due to public demand, rather that simply a rote release as we have today, whether people want them or not. Between broadcast, cable, and streaming, we've got probably ten times the number of television programs available for viewing today: are there that many iconic programs among them?

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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: From Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Ed's guests are actor-folk singer Theodore Bikel, who performs a scene from Fiddler on the Roof; Liza Minnelli; comedians Jack Carter, and Allen and Rossi; the 5th Dimension; the McGuire Sisters; and the Canestrellis, trampoline act.

Palace: Don "Get Smart" Adams hosts an hour of music and comedy, with singers Nancy Sinatra, Lee Hazelwood, Hal Frazier, and the King Family; comedians Kaye Ballard of The Mothers-in-Law and Joey Forman; and heavyweight boxer Jerry Quarry and his sister Diana in a vocal duet.

Even before I got to Jerry Quarry's name, the Palace had the feel of a boxing night: Frazier (as in Joe), King (as in Don), and Forman (as in George, with an e in his last name). I was hoping there might somewhere be a clip of Quarry and his sister, but my (admittedly brief) search didn't turn anything up.

Never mind, though; we have fun with the Palace, but it's really a fine lineup. Not as good as Sullivan's, though; Bikel is a very good actor who's also a singer; Liza Minnelli is a very good singer who's also an actor, the 5th Dimension is hot, and the McGuire Sisters make sure your parents don't feel left out. It's a good contest, but Sullivan wins by a knockout.

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One of the things that used to be fun about the opening of the fall season, in addition to checking out all the new shows and getting to see new episodes of the old ones, is how the networks used to roll out big-ticket movies and specials, as a sampling of what's in store for the rest of the year. This week, as you may have figured out with that prologue (although it could just be another case of me blithering), is no exception.

Our first example comes right away, as NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies debuts Becket (8:00 p.m.), the Oscar-nominated film based on the Jean Anouilh play, starring Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole star in the towering story of the conflict between church and state, Beckett. Judith Crist calls it "that rare thing, a spectacular of content and character, faithful to its source and a powerful and fascinating film in its own right." It's even better than that: magnificent in scope, an example of how victory can be found even in death. as good as (but not better than) T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral. Shows what you can do when your story is timeless, as the truth always is.

Sunday presents dueling features: Anthony Quinn stars in the sprawling Zorba the Greek on ABC's Sunday Night Movie (8:00 p.m.) Crist appreciates the "brilliant" performance of Quinn, as well as Lila Kedrova's Supporting Actress Oscar-winning turn as the aging cocotte reliving the glories of her past. You might not be in the mood for Zorba though, in which case you'll probably welcome Vladimir Horowitz, arguably the world's greatest pianist, in a recital from Carnegie Hall in New York taped last February and shown here without commercial interruption. (8:00 p.m., CBS)

Returning shows like to make a splash as well, with special guests and storylines. Monday night (CBS, 9:00 p.m.), Carol Burnett begins her second season, with Jim Nabors, Carol's traditional opening night good luck charm for the entire run of the series. Tuesday, Red Skelton kicks off his 18th season (CBS, 7:30 p.m.), with Boris Karloff and Vincent Price on hand for the fun. Wednesday brings us Bob Hope's first comedy special of the season (NBC, 8:00 p.m.), an hour-long spoof of politics with Hope as presidential candidate Gaylord Goodfellow, who like most politicians is fond of making promises: in this case, marriage proposals to Carroll Baker, Vikki Carr, Cyd Charisse, Angie Dickinson, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Jill St. John. Thursday, Ironside's season premiere (NBC, 6:30 p.m.) is a two-hour special that presents the Chief with an opportunity: due to a spinal injury during a robbery, he has the possibility of an operation that may enable him to walk againor it could kill him. Friday, Harvey Korman makes a rare dramatic—of sorts—appearance as a scheming diplomat (is there any other kind?) on the season opener of The Wild Wild West (CBS, 6:30 p.m.), and Robert Stack makes his debut on The Name of the Game (NBC, 7:30 p.m.), with a guest cast including Joan Hackett, Victor Jory, Ruth Roman, Joseph Campanella, and Jack Carter.

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When last we visited Chicago, in the summer of 1968, the Democratic National Convention was in town and the city was aflame with protesters, rioters, tear gas, and actual flames. (Giving new meaning to Chicago as "That Toddlin' Town," one supposes.) This week's Doan Report focuses on the fallout from network coverage of the "Battle of Chicago," in which viewers were treated to scenes of police and protesters clashing in Grant Park, while inside the International Amphitheatre, reporters were being roughed up by Chicago's Finest. After CBS's Dan Rather was popped in the stomach during a scuffle in the aisles, Walter Cronkite angrily replied, "I think we've got a bunch of thugs here, Dan."

The focus, however, is not on the claims of a "police riot," or the treatment of reporters; in fact, the media is quickly becoming the big loser in the whole affair. A federal judge in Chicago has ordered a grand jury to investigate rumors that some of the networks "engaged in an interstate conspiracy to unduly influence the convention by television," while in Washington, Utah Senator Frank Moss wants the "entire question of television influence on Presidential election procedures" investigated; other Congressional inquiries into the fairness of the media's coverage are being proposed. And while the networks have been reluctant to engage in conversations with Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley, many individual stations are volunteering to show what is called "the police version" of the events.

This is, I think, a watershed moment for the media, which may in part explain their doggedness in reporting on Watergate, and their activity to this day. As Godfrey Hodgson writes in his provocative history of the times, America in Our Time: From World War II to Nixon—What Happened and Why, the backlash against media coverage of the Chicago riots was a profound shock to the guardians of the Fifth Estate: "Almost to a man, the journalists had been shocked by what the police did. To their astonishment, the polls showed that a large majority in the country were shocked by the demonstrators, and sympathetic to the police," Hodgson wrote. "Here they were, supposedly experts on the state of public opinion. They had been united, as rarely before, by their anger at Mayor Daley. Now they learned that the great majority of Americans sided with Daley, and against them. It was not only the humiliation of discovering that they had been wrong; there was also alarm at the discovery of their new unpopularity. Bosses and cops, everyone knew, were hated: it seemed that newspapers and television were hated even more." The media caved in to the criticism; their self-confidence rocked, they immediately backpedaled. I think that they were determined to never let that happen again.

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How about a new television set for watching all those new shows? TV Guide's resident technical expert, David Lachenbruch, is back with a look at the 1969 models, and the big news is portability and longer warranties—with prices remaining about the same. The new portables are 14 to 15 inches in diagonal measurement, as opposed to the "big-screen" 23-inch TVs, and they average about $300.00. Don't think that you can't go smaller, though: Sears and Toshiba have models running 11-inches, and Sony's promising one at about 7-inches, for $300 or more. (How big is the picture on our phones?) As far as the warranty, most have doubled to two years in length, important when a new 23-inch replacement tube can cost as much as $200.

A solid-state color console chassis, available from Quasar or RCA, will run you close to $900. Not all sets have incorporated this technology, but it's on the way, as it promises increased reliability. Also here is AFC, or Automatic Frequency Control (also known as Automatic Fine-Tuning Control). Lachenbruch calls this "the most important development in tuning since the introduction of color television." It not only "virtually eliminate[s] the fine-tuning operation, it does a better job by electronics than you could do by eye," also helping to eliminate drift. There's improved technology when it comes to UHF channel selection, as these stations are becoming more and more popular throughout the country; Zenith allows you to pre-tune up to six UHF channels, "making them as easy to tune as VHF."

And Sylvania has come up with the "Scanner Color Slide Theater," which combines your 23-inch color set with a Kodak Carousel automatic slide changer and a cassette tape recorder. Now you can "load your regular 35-millimeter home color slides into the changer and record a taped commentary"; your slides will play on your TV screen, automatically advanced in synch with your commentary." It's a great way to show those vacation slides; your neighbors will be thrilled.

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Finally, in a week that's been top-heavy with programming (sorry, Rowan & Martin! Sorry, Art Carney! Sorry, Anthony Quinn and Fred Rogers!), I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Saturday night features the enigmatic final episode of one of the most enigmatic television series of all time, The Prisoner. (6:30 p.m., CBS) It promises to be, according to the listing, "a razzle-dazzle display of metaphysical observations and quick-silver imagery," and that's an understatement.

Television has never seen anything like it, before or since. Christine Neibert, of Englewood, Ohio, has the last word in this week's Letters section, "And so, as The Prisoner sinks slowly into the murky depths of Situation Sea, we leave the bright land of Imaginative TV, and with a heartfelt farewell to that rare and wonderful No. 6, we can only say, "We knew he was too good to last." We couldn't have said it better. TV  

September 20, 2019

Around the dial

There was always a girlish charm about Phyllis Newman, from the way she had to hold her head up on What's My Line? to keep the mask from falling off during the Mystery Guest segment, to how she always put her glasses on to do the Lightning Round on Password, to her infectious laugh on her many appearances with Johnny Carson. Her very appearance on TV was invariably a delight. But there was more to her than game shows and laughter; she won a Tony Award in 1962, acted on television into the '90s, and survived breast cancer to become an advocate for women's health issues. She was 86 when she died on Sunday, and television seems just a little less fun without her.

Sander Vanocur, who died on Monday at 91, was not bubbly and charming, at least not when he was on-camera. He was the kind of reporter we could sorely use on television news today, serious and literate, part of the glittering assemblage of talent on NBC along with Frank McGee, John Chancellor, and Robert MacNeil (among others) and gave his work a gravitas that represented the seriousness of his beat, from presidential elections (he was one of the panelists on the first Kennedy-Nixon debate) to civil rights to Vietnam. This quote about the growing 24/7 news cycle, from 1991, sums up everything wrong with today's cable news networks: "Now, we have the capacity because of technology to be almost everywhere almost at once, and, because we are there, that in itself becomes significant. And, because everything’s significant, nothing is significant." I was just thinking about him the other day, remembering him on Movies in Time on the History Channel—back, you know, when they actually did history—wondering if he was still around, and now he isn't. You might consider this the next time I start wondering about you.

At Comfort TV, David asks a very good question: why do the creators of today's TV shows feel the need to disdain "fan-friendly" storylines? Is it insecurity, the idea that they need to do "serious" stories, that turns them to plots that they know antagonize the show's fans? It's a good way to lose viewers, but it allows them to starve for their art.

James Franciscus was always an underrated actor, but despite his starring roles as the teacher in the acclaimed Mr. Novak, the blind detective in Longstreet, a season on The Naked City, and an astronaut in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, he never quite achieved that next level of stardom. Rick gives us seven things to know about Franciscus at Classic Film & TV Café.

At Cult TV, John has some spare time for TV (thanks to a bad job experience; brother, I hear you), and this week he shares some of his viewing choices, including The Day of the Triffids and Kojak. Interesting comparison between you and Telly Savalas, John.

Television Obscurities introduces the daily feature TV Guide 365, and here's a look at the listings from Saturday, September 19, 1964. It captures all the things I love about those old issues; the abbreviated titles, the notations of "Debut", "Special", "Return", "Color" and the like, and, of course the program descriptions.

I don't remember how much of a fan I was of Sea Hunt, but I do remember watching it, that there were plenty of merchandising tie-ins (small scuba divers!), and because it was syndicated, it always seems to have been on. Here's a look at the fourth and final season, courtesy of Television's New Frontier: the 1960s. Suddenly, my lungs were aching for air. TV  

September 18, 2019

When news breaks

A few weeks ago, I mentioned how Smithsonian had become my go-to channel for those times when I feel like watching a little TV, but don't have anything particular in mind. Not everything on it captures my interest, but some shows are far more interesting than you might be prepared for, and before you know it you're 45 minutes into a program you were only going to have on for a minute or two before you started working on something, and that something is still sitting in front of you, unworked-on and giving you dirty looks that you don't notice because you're too interested in the TV.

At any rate, one of the series on the channel is called America in Color, and the title pretty much gives it away: rare home movies or colorized footage that gives you an idea of what a particular period in American history looked like to the people who lived through it. As far as colorization goes, I'm ambivalent about it: it should rarely, if ever, be done to movies, because it alters the artistic judgment of the director and often ruins the effectiveness of the movie. (Try watching a colorized noir movie, and you'll see what I mean.) There are times, though, when colorization can bring an entirely new dimension to a piece of footage, especially something of a historical nature. An excellent example of this is Peter Jackson's amazing documentary They Shall Not Grow Old, in which World War I film footage was colorized and restored to extraordinary effect.

But enough of the prologue; one particular episode was all about the 1960s, which included a segment, naturally, on the assassination of President Kennedy. Early in the segment, the narrator, Liev Schreiber, says that "for the first time ever, network television is interrupted" by the "three-shots-were-fired" bulletin. This just didn't sound right to me; networks had covered inaugurations, presidential speeches and press conferences, space shots, the March on Washington, and the like, and unfolding stories had been covered on morning and evening news shows, but these were, to varying degrees, planned events that TV was covering, even if they were interrupting regularly scheduled programming, rather than "breaking news" bulletin as we understand it. It's possible that the episode's writers meant that this was the first instance of continuous coverage of a news story, but it was hard to believe that until 1963, a television program had never been interrupted for an unscheduled, unplanned news bulletin.

In cases like this I look to my go-to news experts for guidance, and one of them, the redoubtable Jodie Peeler of Garroway at Large, came up with some fascinating information. You might remember that last year, Jodie had a terrific story about how The Today Show, in its first month on the air, was presented with the news of the death of Britain's King George VI, one hour before going on the air.*

*How long has Queen Elizabeth been on the throne? Put it this way: Dave Garroway was host of Today.

Well, she said that this claim about the JFK assassination didn't sound right to her either, and after doing some digging she produced this little gem of TV history, which I share with you courtesy of A.R. Hogan. It's an excerpt from an interview that Hogan conducted with former NBC News producer James W. Kitchell, and wouldn't you know it—the subject of news bulletins just happens to come up:

James W. Kitchell: I had been asked to go to Boston because William McAndrew had recently moved to New York, as a vice president and director of news, and I was in broadcast operations. And it was interesting that one of the reasons that took me into the news at NBC—I was a senior supervisor in the evenings of broadcast operation, and there was a rumor that Joseph Stalin had died. And I went to Bill McAndrew, and I said, “Bill, it seems to me that this story, if it’s true, is obvious! Why don't you pre-write the bulletin in the off-hours in the evenings and so forth, and I will be personally responsible for it to get it on the air if it is confirmed, and we get the bulletin that it has happened.” And he agreed. And after that, I never would have suggested that again to pre-write a bulletin! [??] As a result—it was 13 seconds from the time that the bulletin bells rang on the AP wire machine, until we had it on the air in primetime.

A.R. Hogan: That was probably a five-bell story, I would think.

JWK: Yes, it was. It was indeed.

ARH: Thirteen seconds!?

JWK: Yes.

ARH: Wow!

JWK: The bells rang down in the newsroom, and they called me, and we said, “Go!”

ARH: So, you put on a bulletin slide, because you wouldn't I guess have had a flash studio.

JWK: Yeah. It was in [NBC] Broadcast Operations, and there were some pre-arrangements made—I had a slide ready, and so we went. And as I said, the bulletin had been pre-written, so I had the copy. 

Wow, indeed! Joseph Stalin died in 1953, ten years before the JFK assassination, so if this is not the first national news bulletin to interrupt regular programming, at least it shows that the assassination was definitely not the first. And the Stalin bulletin was in primetime, no less.

Now, as I say, it could be that the program was talking about continuous network coverage, in which case the claim is probably right;* I think even the Cuban Missile Crisis was covered through periodic bulletins (you can imagine what it would be like today). The point is, words mean things, and we need to be precise when we use them, especially when we're making grand claims. The JFK story was big enough without having to embellish its historical significance.

*News history buffs will be reminded of the story of Kathy Fiscus, the three-year-old girl who fell down a well in 1949, and how KTLA provided live coverage of the attempted rescue. This was quite likely the first time such continuous coverage had ever been done anywhere, but although the story received national attention, the television coverage itself was local.

Ultimately, though, what I find far more interesting than this question of what was "first" was the story of how the bulletin of Stalin's death came to make it to our home televisions. You never know where a little investigating will take you. Thanks again to Jodie for the sleuthing, and to A.R. for allowing me to share it here. TV  

September 16, 2019

What's on TV? Thursday, September 19, 1963

It's odd, considering this is the Fall Edition, that there are very few new shows premiering this Thursday. So why, you may ask, did I choose to spotlight this day? Partly a random choice, and partly because there are still things to report on in the listings. At any rate, I think you'll like what's on tap. We're looking at the Minneapolis-St. Paul edition.

September 14, 2019

This week in TV Guide: September 14, 1963

Funny thing about the TV Guide's Fall Preview: although I now have a fairly respectable library of back issues, I have relatively few of these, and the ones I do have seem to be from when I was a subscriber in the '70s and '80s, eras I find less interesting to write about. In other words, I kept them for one reason or another, as opposed to buying them later on, after the fact. Those Fall Previews tend to be prized issues, treasured by collectors, and hence the resale values are higher than for ordinary issues. I don't remember where I came up with this one, though I know I didn't pay much above the norm for it; I'm glad I did, though, because although we might not have known it at the time, there are some pretty great shows starting in the fall of 1963.

ABC, for one, can't wait. Reads their double-page ad, "On Sunday night, September 15, 1963, at 6:30, a new television network will be born." Oh, it may go by the same first three letters of the alphabet, but rest assured that it is the new ABC. "These won't be just any shows," the ad promises. "They will be television programs of conspicuous excellence." The new ABC presents 14 new series for 1963, and if we set aside the fact that the high number of new shows is due to the low ratings of the old ones, it's quite a promise. And in fact, although not all of these shows were ratings bonanzas (if you'll pardon the expression, NBC), several of them have cemented their place as fond favorites among classic TV fans.

There's The Outer Limits, for example. The description from the preview section is succinct: "Wild, man." The opening title sequence (you know, "We are controlling transmission . . .") is so spectacular it "makes you want to run and call the TV repairman." The promise is that of a bold series presenting things we haven't seen before, and for a series that ran only a season-and-a-half, it's well-remembered and well-loved. I probably would have given it a shot. Monday, 6:30 p.m. CT, ABC

Mr. Novak is decidedly less dramatic (although there are those who would cite teenagers as alien life forms), but that doesn't mean it doesn't have drama. It features "production slickness; intelligent, sharp writing; and a fine cast, including the veteran Dean Jagger as the high school principal and James Franciscus as Mr. Novak, the beleaguered English teacher"  The show deals with real issues, and it does so without "a lot of cheap rhetoric." "Everyone who has a teenager, is one or knows one, will be able to identify with this." Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., NBC

Then there's the show that's Les Miserables in modern dress, The Fugitive. "Richard Kimble is a doctor convicted of killing his wife. He is innocent. On the way to his execution he escapes after a train wreck. Shifting his identity as he drifts from place to place, he sets out to find his wife's killer, a one-armed man he had seen clearly on the night of the murder. At the same time, he is pursued relentlessly by Gerard, who catches up only now and then, and not long enough to stop the series in mid-track." That about says it, doesn't it? Based on this synopsis, attracted by the idea of an innocent man pursued by the police, I definitely would have tuned in. Tuesday, 9:00 p.m., ABC

Petticoat Junction, from the creator of last year's top show, The Beverly Hillbillies, will have crossover with its kissin' kin, in hopes that "two successes can be made to grow where only one grew before" Bea Benaderet, Cousin Pearl on Hillbillies, is the star, and along with Edgar Buchanan, Smiley Burnett, and Rufe Davis, provide the comedy; "Her shapely daughters provide the action—and what action!" It doesn't do anything for me, but I wouldn't have bet against it. Tuesday, 8:00 p.m., CBS

"Broadway's darling," Patty Duke, is the star of The Patty Duke Show, in the dual role of "a teen-ager who is the daughter of a managing editor of a New York newspaper, and a ditto who is her visiting cousin, daughter of her dad's brother." You can see where this is going, can't you? "Nobody, of course, can tell them apart, and therein lies the tale—the mistaken identity bit is played to the hilt." Would I have been able to get past the eye-roll to appreciate the charisma of the leading lady? Wednesday, 7:00 p.m., ABC

The Danny Kaye Show brings us back to a time when major movie stars were still resistant to television. For years Kaye had been a holdout, content with the occasional (and well-received) appearance, but now that his movie career is diminished, he's decided the time is ripe. "I know all the pitfalls," he says. "If I'm on television every week, I don't know if I can come back to the Ziegfeld Theater and be a sellout." TV Guide thinks the irrepressible Kaye will manage, and so do I. Wednesday, 9:00 p.m., CBS

My introduction to the Muppets came from The Jimmy Dean Show, and Rowlf the Dog, but Dean has a lot more going for him than that. Dean was one of the substitutes on The Tonight Show between the reigns of Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, and "[h]e drew the second highest rating" of the dozen or so guest hosts (behind only Jerry Lewis), which made a weekly variety show a good bet. ABC is hoping that a country music variety show will stand out from the myriad options out there. Thursday, 8:00 p.m., ABC

Kraft Suspense Theatre signals a move for the sponsor away from its longtime variety show, as Perry Como moves from a weekly series to occasional specials (also sponsored by Kraft in this time spot). Back in the days when anthology series were viable and popular on TV, Suspense Theatre featured well-known stars and often tense stories, and I remember it fondly. Thursday, 9:00 p.m., NBC

Less remembered, perhaps, but highly praised at the time, is The Bob Hope Show, known better as Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre. It, too, is a weekly anthology series, punctuated with six Hope comedy specials sprinkled through the year. As for the anthology element, a mix of comedy, mystery and drama, Hope will appear in them "now and then," but mostly he'll act as host. You'd think the Hope name will be enough to carry the series. Friday, 7:30 p.m., NBC

I've written before that I didn't get Burke's Law when I first saw it in reruns, but today it's one of my favorites. Gene Barry plays the role with the perfect combination of comedy and drama, and every episode features a bevy of glamorous female guest stars. "But girls isn't all—there's also a smidgen of action, some crisp dialog and good camera work." Add a very good supporting cast, and this would seem to be just right for an entertaining hour. Friday, 7:30 p.m., ABC

The Farmer's Daughter, based on the Oscar-winning movie of the same name, stars Inger Stevens as Katie Holstrom, "fresh off the Minnesota farm," who goes to work as governess for widowed congressman William Windom. It's so old-fashioned that you actually root for the congressman to get the girl, instead of getting sent to the slammer. Even as a kid I probably would have thought this hokey, but it survived for three seasons, making it into the color era, and it's still fondly remembered today. Friday, 8:30 p.m., ABC

It has been said that CBS originally offered Danny Kaye the 8:00 p.m. slot on Sunday, right after The Ed Sullivan Show. That time period, however, belonged to Bonanza on NBC, and Kaye refused it. That's how Kaye wound up on Wednesday nights, with the Sunday night spot going to another legend making a long-awaited television debut: Judy Garland.

The plan is for Judy to front an hour-long variety show featuring "some of Hollywood's biggest stars" (including old pal Mickey Rooney), and one star who's "not so big perhaps, but very important: Liza Minelli, Judy's daughter." Just wait a few years, and Liza will be a very, very big star. Yes, Judy was troubled, but CBS never really figured out what to do with this show. It's unfortunate, because the last few shows, which featured Garland (with occasional guests) simply singing, were the best.  Sunday, 8:00 p.m., CBS

My Favorite Martian will probably be your favorite one, too, with Ray Walston, fondly remembered for Damn Yankees, as the titular Martian (complete with antennae), and Bill Bixby as his earthly foil. "It's simply amazing, the way he can become invisible and read minds," says the reviewer, who sounds an awful lot like Cleveland Amory, and viewers found it amazing enough to keep it on the air for three successful seasons. I remember it approvingly. Sunday, 6:30 p.m., CBS

More than half of these shows are available on DVD, either commercially or through the grey market, which might be responsible in part for the perception that the new season contained memorable programs of high quality. There's a reason why these shows made it to DVD, though, and that's because people responded to them. Sometimes it was because of repeated airings in syndication; other times the show's reputation created the demand, with people curious to see programs that they either remembered themselves, or had read about. It is, nevertheless, quite a season, one of several from the early and mid 1960s that simply sparkles. I can't say that it would dominate the ratings today, because viewing habits and tastes have changed so dramatically. I can, however, assert that as far as quality goes, I'll take it against any old year.

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That's not to say, of course, that every show introduced in the fall of 1963 is a hit. The biggest bomb of the season, in fact one of the most infamous disappointments of any television season, is The Jerry Lewis Show, airing Saturday nights at 8:30 p.m. on ABC. The network, in its "New ABC" ad, plugs the show with typical modesty and reserve, referring to the "live, spontaneous two-hour show" as "perhaps the most electrifying two hours in television history." As is often the case, the show wasn't as bad as its reputation, but it did leave a huge crater after the end of its 13-week run.

I'd have to think that Grindl, the sitcom starring Imogene Coca as a temp worker who gets into new adventures each week, is a disappointment for NBC, only lasting one season. Her former partner, Sid Caesar, has a similar run with ABC's The Sid Caesar Show, which alternates with Here's Edie [Adams]; they're both gone at the end of the season. Arrest and Trial is ABC's novel 90-minute program that, in part one, features the arrest of a suspect by detective Ben Gazzara, followed by part two, in which defense attorney Chuck Connors tries to get Gazzara's perp off. One of the stars is guaranteed to lose each week, which isn't exactly the measure of a successful show (although I've seen several episodes and liked them). Over on CBS, viewers will decide over the course of the new season that they like the old Phil Silvers show more than The New Phil Silvers Show. And ABC got Jack Palance to do a weekly series, but The Greatest Show on Earth wasn't the greatest show in the ratings.

Then there are series that, if you'll forgive me, are familiar only to those who, like me, watch compilation videos on YouTube. Channing, Glynis, Espionage, 100 Grand, Temple Houston, The Great Adventure, and Harry's Girls are some of the new shows that, well, just don't leave much of a mark.

East Side/West Side, starring George C. Scott, is a gritty, realistic drama about a social worker and the conditions he finds in the city; it's terrific, but too gritty and realistic for viewers who want something a little less downbeat. The Richard Boone Show is the former Paladin's effort to establish a television repertory company Breaking Point, a psychiatric drama with Paul Richards and Eduard Franz, is a personal favorite of mine, and doesn't get a run as long as it should have; Cleveland Amory will report at the end of the year that he got more complaints about this show's cancellation than any other all season.

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Some of the year's hits aren't new at all; they're just back for another go-round. The Beverly Hillbillies, Hazel, Perry Mason, Daniel Boone, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, McHale's Navy, To Tell the Truth, Combat!, The Red Skelton Show, The Jack Benny Program, The Donna Reed Show, I've Got a Secret, The Jack Paar Program, and Gunsmoke are just some of the shows that viewers liked yesterday, and keep liking today. The Hollywood Palace, which replaces The Jerry Lewis Show in January, stays on the air until 1970. Meanwhile, other favorites reach the end of the line, including The Danny Thomas Show, The Twilight Zone, Sing Along with Mitch, Route 66, and 77 Sunset Strip.

Sometimes the week's news doesn't come from the new fall lineup at all. College football returns to CBS on Saturday morning (11:45 a.m.), with Florida taking on Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The National Football League kicks off the season on Sunday (the American Football League started the previous weekend) as our hometown Minnesota Vikings go to San Francisco to play the 49ers. Our educational station, KTCA, celebrates its fifth anniversary Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m., with a look at "the role of Channel 2 to education here and in the Nation."

On Friday evening, Ingrid Bergman makes a rare television appearance in CBS's drama special Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, a playwright who makes Ingmar Bergman look like Spike Jones; the all-star cast includes Michael Redgrave, Ralph Richardson and Trevor Howard, and with a cast like that, I don't care how depressing the play is.

Sometimes the news isn't what's happening now, but what's coming up. All three networks promise specials from the World's Fair, which opens in New York this spring. CBS plans an hour of music and dance to celebrate the opening of New York's Lincoln Center in September. Andy Williams has a dozen specials on tap this year for NBC, and Bing Crosby has four scheduled with CBS. There are upcoming specials that we've talked about at this site: Tennessee Ernie Ford's The Story of Christmas and NBC Opera Company's new version of Amahl and the Night Visitors. NBC's Project 20 documentary series looks at patriotism in "The Red, White and Blue," a story you'll be reading here sometime next year. And, of course, there will be things that we during the year that we can't even conceive of in September, 1963.

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I realize this has pretty much been a one-topic issue, with a lot of pictures, and I've enjoyed it immensely, far more than any other Fall Preview I've done. It really is remarkable, when you take the time to look back at it, how influential this new season is, as far as the shows that we carry with us in our memories. I have no doubt that someone out there, someone with a collection of both commercial and grey market DVDs, could replicate an entire evening's worth of television from this season—and that, 56 years later, is something that nobody connected with putting together this issue could ever have imagined. What a story that would have been! TV