November 21, 2020

This week in TV Guide: November 21, 1970

Let me be among the first to which you all a happy Thanksgiving! Of course, that shouldn't be too difficult, since this year, as was the case 50 years ago, Thanksgiving is still five days away. It's coming, though, and Thanksgiving week has always been a big one when it comes to specials of all kinds, and 1970 is no exception.

Thanksgiving Day on the West Coast starts at 7:30 a.m. PT with my personal favorite of the era, The CBS All-American Thanksgiving Day Parades, three hours of fun featuring CBS personalities announcing four department store-sponsored parades: Macy's in New York, with Peter Graves and Julie Sommars; Gimbels' in Philadelphia, with Harvey Korman and Vicki Lawrence; J.L. Hudson's in Detroit, with New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver and his wife Nancy; and, taped in Toronto,* the Eaton's Santa Claus Parade, with Mike Connors and Amanda Blake. For many years Bob Keeshan and the Captain Kangaroo gang hosted the overall coverage, but I don't know who (if anyone) was doing it by 1970.

When I say that Toronto's parade is on tape, in actuality all four parades are taped for Pacific Coast viewing, since the coverage actually started at 6:00 a.m. PT. If you really want to check out a tape-delay broadcast, go to NBC, where its Macy's coverage doesn't begin until noon—six hours after the fact, because for the first time, NBC has NFL football on Thanksgiving. We'll discuss football later, but because live coverage of the game begins at 9:00 a.m., there's no alternative but to show the parade afterwards. Lorne Greene and Betty White, NBC's longtime team, are back this year, along with Today's Joe Garagiola.

Besides the parades, there's more fun in store for the kids, with carton specials. At 10:30 a.m., CBS has a 90-minute animated adaptation of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, with Orson Bean as the voice of the Connecticut Yankee, which you can see here. At 3:00 p.m. on NBC, it's a repeat of the Rankin-Bass special The Mouse on the Mayflower, with Tennessee Ernie Ford, Eddie Albert, John Gary and Joanie Sommers, and you can see that here.

Thanksgiving night gives us one of the week's biggest plums, the television premiere of the 1955 hit musical Oklahoma—uncut (CBS, 8:00 p.m.). It's no turkey, according to Judith Crist, who asks rhetorically, "what more would one want to top off a feast?" The screen is aglow with Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae "charming" as the embattled love interests, Rod Steiger "properly repulsive" as Jud, the villain trying to steal Shirley, and Gloria Grahame "delicious" as Ado Annie. It's one of the great movie musicals of all time.

It's not the only special on Thursday night though; NBC counters with Festival at Ford's, an all-star musical special in the recently reopened (in 1968) Ford's Theatre, which had remained closed since Lincoln's assassination in 1865, serving as a warehouse and office building until its renovation. While Festival may not be the spectacle that Oklahoma is, it's not short on star power, with Andy Williams as host, and guests Pearl Bailey, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Bobby Gentry, Henry Mancini, The Supremes, Dionne Warwick, and Jimmy Stewart with a tribute to Lincoln.

Quite a day, wouldn't you say? And that doesn't even include the football; we'll get to a big week in sports, along with the rest of a special week, after these words from Cleveland Amory.

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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. 


Youth will be served—if not by America's leaders, at least by America's television networks. We've already had The Young Lawyers, which Cleveland Amory tells us "are really great guys when you get to know them," and now it's ABC's Revolutionary War story The Young Rebels, which is apparently supposed to show us that "the youth of yesterday were no different from the youth of today even if they were a little—well, older." Like today's youth, these young rebels blow things up, only back then it was the British. "The youth, in other words, will not only set you free—they did set you free." In fact, young people back then aren't really any different than they are today. The heroes of The Young Rebels (or, as Amory puts it, "a kind of Mod Squad Spirit of '76") include a student painter whose father doesn't understand him; a pioneer women's libber who's all girl at heart; a freed slave who's now a blacksmith; and his former owner, who looks like Benjamin Franklin. In other words, a little something for everyone.

Sometimes you look at a movie or television show that's so bad, so improbable, that you wonder how it ever got greenlighted, but I can easily see The Young Rebels coming out of a network boardroom., with executives who desperately want to be seen as relevant and, in turn, see young people as another demographic to try and attract. Now, I know this sounds cynical, and heaven forbid that I ever give you that impression; let's just call me cautious. And I'll also admit that I never saw even a single episode of The Young Rebels, which really isn't my fault since it was only on for 15 weeks. It's just that when I read Amory's account of one episode in which General Washington (!) tell our heroes that "General Lafayette wouldn't trust anyone over 30 with a mission like this," I get a little—cautious.

Lafayette, in fact, is one of the characters in The Young Rebels, played by French actor Philippe Forquet; Amory says he's so good that he'd be the star of the show if it weren't for Alex Henteloff as the ersatz Ben Franklin, who is "as good an actor as we have seen this year." It's almost easy to overlook future Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr., as the blacksmith, but he's passionate and true to his cause as well. Unfortunately for this very good cast, they're drafted in service of a show that doesn't keep up its end of the bargain. The British, who are supposed to be the bad guys, "are made so ridiculous that if you can believe them at all, you certainly can't believe them as a real threat." And, of course, there's that line from Washington about being over 30. In fact, he says, the show would be better if it were a little worse, "because then it would be supposed to be funny." It's too bad, because many of the heroes of the Revolution were young; Lafayette was 20, Nathan Hale 21. They're just unfortunate to be in a situation where they only have one role to give for their series.

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Thanksgiving week has traditionally been big for college football, starting with Saturday's slate of games, many deciding spots in major bowl games. Back in 1970, the Rose Bowl still holds an honored place in America's sports pantheon—it's never just "one" of the bowls—and the Big Ten half of the equation is settled with the battle of the unbeatens: #4 Michigan at #5 Ohio State (10:15 a.m., ABC). The Buckeyes carry the day, soundly defeating the Wolverines 20-9 to punch their ticket to Pasadena. Ordinarily, their opponent would have been decided by the second-half of the doubleheader, USC vs. UCLA (5:00 p.m, ABC). This year's a little different though, as Stanford, led by Heisman Trophy winner Jim Plunkett, has already locked up the Pacific-8 title and Rose Bowl berth. The game between the Trojans and Bruins is strictly for pride, and UCLA takes it, 45-20.

I mentioned earlier that one reason for the Macy's parade scheduling challenge in the Pacific time zone was NBC's first-ever NFL Thanksgiving Day game. Now, that's not to say that NBC never showed football on Thanksgiving; for the last few years, the network has featured an AFL Turkey Day contest, usually including the Kansas City Chiefs. It's a new era, though; the two leagues have merged, with the result that NBC and CBS each get half of the Thanksgiving doubleheader wishbone. This year it's NBC's turn for the early game, the traditional clash hosted by the Detroit Lions, as they take on the powerful Oakland Raiders (9:00 a.m.), and the Lions rise to the occasion with a 28-14 upset victory. That leaves the second game to CBS, as the Green Bay Packers take on the Dallas Cowboys (12:30 p.m.); the Cowboys emerge triumphant, 16-3.

The college game on Thanksgiving is kind of lackluster; Houston vs. Florida State from Tampa (4:30 p.m., ABC), with Houston winning 53-21. I would imagine the network was constrained somewhat in which game they could show due to the limits on how many times during the season a school could appear on national television (for example, #1 Texas dismantled Texas A&M 52-14 that afternoon), but don't worry—ABC makes up for it next year. Following the game, Chris Schenkel and Bud Wilkinson look at the "Greatest College Football Players of the Last Decade" (7:30 p.m., ABC). And ABC comes up with a bonus on Friday, taking advantage of a free afternoon for an NBA game between the defending champion New York Knicks, led by last year's MVP Willis Reed, and the Milwaukee Bucks, with last year's Rookie of the Year Lew Alcindor (soon to be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and all-time great Oscar Robertson. The Knicks win 103-94, but the Bucks get the last laugh next spring, sweeping the Baltimore Bullets to win their first NBA championship in only their third season of existence.

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I mentioned at the outset that we're in for some big programs this week, so let's get to it.

On Saturday, Lawrence Welk follows college football with "A red, white and blue Thanksgiving spectacular" (8:00 p.m., ABC), a program of songs devoted to love of God and country, neither of which would be cool on network TV today. On Adam-12 (8:30 p.m., NBC), a unique, dialogue-free episode called "Elegy for a Pig" traces the on- and off-duty life of a policeman killed in action. Martin Milner narrates. And at 9:00 p.m., KATU shows the sci-fi classic When Worlds Collide—definitely not MST3K fodder. Moving ahead to Sunday, Ed Sullivan presents a tribute to composer Richard Rodgers (8:00 p.m., CBS), telecast from the Hollywood Bowl, with Cass Elliot, Johnny Mathis, the Lennon Sisters, Shirley Jones, John Davidson, and others singing Rodgers favorites from such classics as Oklahoma, The Girl Friend, The King and I and The Sound of Music. 

One way you can tell that Thanksgiving is near is when Today starts acting like the Food Network; on Monday (7:00 a.m., NBC), it's cooking expert Roy Andries De Groot on how to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner. Meanwhile, on Captain Kangaroo (8:00 a.m., CBS), the Captain and friends celebrate Thanksgiving week with part one of "The Legend of 12 Moons," a three-part history of the American Indian. And I've not seen this before, but KATU shows ABC's Monday Night Football  on a one-hour delay, at 7:00 p.m. rather than 6:00. (Surprising for a city the size of Portland, don't you think?) If I'm coming home from work I love it, but it would be hard to do nowadays with social media.

The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau returns for it's fourth season of specials on Tuesday (7:30 p.m., ABC), with a visit to Alaska's Kodiak Island and the amazing upstream spawn of the red sockeye salmon, narrated by Rod Serling. That's followed at 8:30 by ABC's Movie of the Week, the "World Premiere" (but aren't they all, in that series?) of Crowhaven Farm, a "chilling story of vengeance from beyond the grave" with a very familiar cast, including Hope Lange, Paul Burke, Lloyd Bochner, John Carradine and Milton Selzer. Late night, The Tonight Show (11:30 p.m., NBC) is in its third week out in Hollywood, and Johnny's guests are Bob Hope, Jack Lemmon, George Carlin and Lulu.

Wednesday includes another big movie musical premiere, Debbie Reynolds' The Unsinkable Molly Brown (7:30 p.m., NBC), the 1964 story of the Denver socialite who became famous after having survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Molly doesn't quite fare as well with Judith Crist; she says that Molly seems devoted "only to the vulgar and venal" in her quest for social climbing, and that Reynolds' plays her "with raucous and desperate energy," countered by her Prince Charming, played by Harve Presnell "with good voice and no inspiration." Even Oral Roberts gets into the Thansgiving act; his holiday special, syndicated around the country and airing Wednesday night on most of the stations in our Oregon edition, features an eclectic guest list including Jerry Lewis (!), singer Kay Starr, and Jay Silverheels, aka Tonto. The televangelist's sermon is on Samson and Delilah, which should make for an interesting Thanksgiving message.

If you thought we'd already finished with Thursday, you've got another think coming. David Frost is in Hollywood this week as well, and he's got an eclectic guest list with Lorne Grene, Buck Owens, Godfrey Cambridge, Tim Conway, and Bill Medley. (8:30 p.m., KPTV) At 9:00 p.m. on KEZI, it's the Oscar-nominated Days of Wine and Roses, with Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick, and while it's a great movie, it's kind of a downer for Thanksgiving, don't you think? I mean, it's not the kind of thing I'd want to watch while I was digesting my turkey sandwich. On the other hand, we know there are a few families out there who tend to hit the bottle during holidays, so maybe this could be a cautionary tale. And speaking of drink, Dean Martin is first-run tonight, with Mike Donnors, Dom DeLuise, Rich Buzzi and Laurie Ichino. (10:00 p.m., NBC)

Friday night ABC has part one of what's essentially a two-part infomercial on behalf of UNICEF. Tonight it's "To All the World's Children" (7:30 p.m.), a look at how UNICEF helps needy children of the emerging nations. The infome—I mean, special concludes on Sunday morning with a profile of Arizona artist Paladin, known for his portrayals of Indian children for UNICEF cards.

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Sally at a vegetarian lunch
We've often wrapped up our TV Guide reviews with a look at the starlet du jour; this week, the question on the cover asks "What it takes to be a starlet in the '70s." Our guide through this odyssey is Sally Marr—not the Sally Marr who was Lenny Bruce's mother; no, our Sally is 29, from Texas, and is the starlet of today: "creative but no aesthete, not beautiful but gives the illusion of classic beauty; she wants to be an actress not a star; she is, above all, nonconformist. . . She doesn't go to Hollywood parties, chic eating places, premieres, or any other place which might be politic for her career if she wanted to be the starlet of the year." She gardens, paints, has a dog and a cat, is into astrology, clairvoyance, palms, handwriting. She could lie about her age, she says, but she doesn't.

She always wanted to be an actress, but felt too self-conscious, so one day she decided to up and go to Paris. While on the boat, she met a model who helped her get into modeling. In Paris, she got a boyfriend who taught her about the right wines, the right restaurants, and operas. Meanwhile, her friend from the ocean voyage decided to go to Majorca with her boyfriend, but insisted that Sally go with her. While on the plane to Majorca (I know, this is better than a movie, isn't it?), she noticed a Frenchman flirting with her, and after they landed he asked her to dinner. He turned out to be Gilbert Becaud ("the French Frank Sinatra"), which she only found out because the other diners applauded until he got up and sang a song.

When she got tired of modeling in Paris ("We were doing bathing suits on the Seine in the middle of winter"), she moved to London, where she appeared in Harper's Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Flair, and other fashion mags. That's where she met her current boyfriend, John Bloom, who accompanied her to New York, where she made a movie called The Drifter that "won a lot of prizes at the Venice Film Festival." While in Los Angeles, she did more modeling, and found herself doing roles in movies and television shows: Mayberry RF.D., The Men from Shiloh, and besides her modeling, "now I've got a great role in an Italian film. Right on."

Here's Sally modeling for a line of mannequins
As I said, quite a story, isn't it? So no sitting around at Schwab's Drugstore in a tight sweater waiting to be discovered; this, apparently, is how it is to be a starlet nowadays. And, especially as a model, she's had a good bit of success. But I know, you're all wondering how this story ends. I wish I could tell you, but the not-always-reliable IMDb has failed in this regard. For example, the episode of The Men from Shiloh that she did? According to IMDb, that was the other Sally Marr, Lenny Bruce's mother. Then there's an episode of the 1979 series A Man Called Sloane called "The Seduction Squad" that features international supermodels brainwashed into engaging in industrial espionage (which I suspect happens all the time)—"Sally Marr" plays one of the models, but considering that she was 73 at the time, I rather suspect that this could have been our Sally as well. And there's The Facts of Life Goes to Paris, made in 1982, and—hell, who knows what the truth of the matter is? It proves the importance of research—good research, not just easy research. There is more than one Sally Marr in the world.

Yes, I know that with a bit of that good research and a little effort, I could get to the bottom of it all, but as much as I love all of you out there, I'm not about to spend hours of my life trying to find this out just to write one paragraph for this article. I'm sorry, but that's the way it is. Now, if any of you want to take it on. . . TV  


6 comments:

  1. Fun fact: NBC has had the broadcast rights to the Macy's parade since 1953, meaning all of CBS' showings of the parade from that year onward are what's described by Wikipedia as "unauthorized coverage."

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  2. Your nitwit mechanism is mucking about with my comments again.
    Two killed within minutes of each other. What gives?

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  3. OK, it's tomorrow, and I'm calmer (sort of), so here goes again:

    This is about Sally Marr, this week's cover girl, not to be confused with Sally K. Marr, Lenny Bruce's mother.
    I happened to come across one of Cover Sally's TV guest shots in my Old DVD Wall yesterday, from January 1977: "Sister Of Death", from Barnaby Jones's fifth season.
    Cover Sally would have been 35 years old when she played the role of a comatose patient in the opening moments of the episode.
    I develops that she had been a model before falling off a cliff; she's being attended by her younger sister, a young nun, when a cold doctor informs her that Sally's condition is what would nowadays be called a "persistent vegetative state" - which upsets the young nun no end, causing her to depart the room.
    Moments later, a Shadowy Figure steps into the room and disconnects the life support.
    Meanwhile, Young Nun goes to sister's apartment, and gets wistful at Sis's model portfolio (from Sally Marr's own career, which probably explains why she got cast credit and billing for a silent bit part).
    Anyway, Young Nun gets accused of pulling the plug, and Barnaby Jones, who's a friend of the Mother Superior, gets involved, and makes some shocking discoveries ...
    There are some Red Herring suspects, from Quinn Martin Repertory: one of them is played by Jonathan Lippe (aka The Most Interesting Man In The World; I wrote about him in a comment I sent you a while back).
    Mr. Lippe plays a sleazy 'procurer' (I don't think Buddy Ebsen allowed them to use The Other Word back in the '70s), whose occupation figures in the solution of the murder mysteries (the plural is deliberate).
    As I said above, I watched this from my Old DVD Wall yesterday, and i's not at all bad as Barnaby shows go; I think it's on YouTube, so you might like to check it out.
    Oh, and the comment I sent you about Jonathan Lippe is appended to your post of April 4, 2014 ( I sent it in five years late, but what the heck); you might want to check that out as well ...

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    1. Here is that episode....

      Paul

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZkZstLcTG8&list=PLQ_rG7D0ywL2KcNXV0dsRKS-wITb84kpZ&index=11

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  4. Not only the Packers game is only the fifth Thanksgiving game that the Dallas Cowboys have hosted (Having started in 1966), it's also the last Cowboys Thanksgiving game to be played at the Cotton Bowl (They would moved to Texas Stadium the following year).

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  5. Per TVParty Captain Kangaroo's last year of CBS parade hosting (in the studio) was in 1965. Newspapers after this date were vague in noting who did the New York studio footage, if any. It would not be until 1973 that William Conrad (TV's Cannon) would host in a studio like a living room set including a roaring fireplace. That lasted until 1981. In 1982 CBS brought in the "bubble" for the New York City wraparound hosts. If I had to guess, there was no official studio host, and probably, Peter Graves did double duty as show host.

    As a NY Mets fan I had no idea that Tom Seaver was the announcer for the Detroit segment. I wasn't even born yet. However, there was another personalty along with Tom and Nancy. Bob Barker, as found in different newspapers joined them on the telecast. RIP Tom.

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Thanks for writing! Drive safely!