April 16, 2022

This week in TV Guide: April 13, 1963

He's one of the most influential men of the 20th Century, although most of his damage was done behind the scenes. His fingerprints are all over the concepts of urban development. His battles with mayors, governors and even presidents were legendary, and it was the rare man who didn't succumb to at least a little trembling at the mention of his name. His accomplishments, for good as well as ill, were legion. He's the subject of this week's CBS Reports (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET): "The Man Who Built New York," Robert Moses, where host Bill Leonard quizzes him on his ideas, his critics and his accomplishments, as well as his reputation as "someone hard to argue with."

If you watched Ric Burns' magnificent documentary New York about 20 years ago, you know the name well, for no discussion of New York City can be had without talking about Robert Moses. He's been called the most polarizing figure in the history of urban planning, and his concepts were a blend of genius and utter contempt. It is Robert Moses who developed the modern superhighway, the spaghetti pattern of on- and off-ramps that frequently approached art in their intricacy; it is Moses who, with his contempt for mass transit, helped create the modern suburb. 

Moses designed Jones Beach State Park as a haven for those trying to escape the city, accessible by freeway, and then designed the overpasses low enough that buses couldn't use them, allegedly in order to keep the riffraff away. He created landmarks such as the Triborough Bridge, and ordered the destruction of landmarks such as the original Penn Station. He did more than any man since Henry Ford to not only popularize but make essential the automobile, yet he himself did not drive. He tore through neighborhoods to build roads and housing projects, he refused to help Walter O'Malley build a new stadium in Brooklyn to keep the Dodgers but gladly pushed for the construction of Shea Stadium at the site of his 1964 World's Fair. He started out as a reformer and ended by treating "the people" with scorn, while never holding elective office.

Moses was hugely influential in urban planning, and if you look at just about any large urban city in America you'll see his influence. I could see it when I lived in Minneapolis, every time I drove through the slums and run-down areas that lined the freewaysfreeways that had been built by tearing down thriving ethnic neighborhoods, replacing them with miles and miles of concrete and fences. The irony is that Moses' creations, designed to alleviate congestion on the roadways, actually wound up causing more congestion; as the roads and bridges went up, they encouraged more and more traffic, often making the projects outdated before they'd even finished.

At the time of this profile, Moses is controversial, but still feared by politicians, and his accomplishments (including that upcoming World's Fair) are generally praised, if sometimes grudgingly. But the tide is turningthe following year, his plan to demolish Greenwich Village in favor of the Mid-Manhattan Expressway is vetoed by city government, and Jane Jacobs takes direct aim at him in her classic book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. But it is probably Robert Caro's massive Pulitzer-winning biography of Moses, The Power Broker, that seals the public's perception of him. Its subtitle is "Robert Moses and the Fall of New York," and it comes at a time when the city is in crisis, when its finances are collapsing, crime is spiraling, subway cars are enveloped by graffiti, and decay is everywhere. This, says Caro, is his legacy; this is the promised land that Moses hath wrought.

By then Moses has fallen from power; Nelson Rockefeller is the first politicianfederal, state or localto outwit the master, and Caro captures perfectly the puzzlement of the man who, oblivious to his own ruthless, bullying legacy, simply can't understand why people don't understand that he did what he had to do: what he knew was best for New York, and for America.

l  l  l

April 14 is Easter Sunday, and there's no lack of special programming to bolster the regular Sunday morning lineup. WNAC in Boston, presents a program at 9:30 a.m. on the Shroud of Turin, and if that sounds familiar, it's because I also noted it last month in a 1959 issue. At 10:00 a.m., WBZ has Our Believing World, a half-hour of sacred music performed by the Boston University Seminary Singers. Also at 10:00, CBS presents Missa Domini, an hour of Easter music by the University Chorale and chamber orchestra of Boston College conducted by C. Alexander Peloquin, including three of Peloquin's own compositions. Meanwhile, ABC stations in the area have live coverage of the Easter Solemn Pontifical Mass from Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston, celebrated by Richard Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston; I don't know whether or not this was a national broadcast. At 11:00 a.m., NBC carries an Easter service from Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian in Cincinnati, while CBS follows with a service from Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. 

Later in the day, WPRO in Providence, has a half-hour of Easter music from the Canticum Glee Club at Brown University and the Lincoln School Glee Club, conducted by Erich Kunzel, who will go on to great fame as conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. There are also musical presentations at 4:00 p.m. on ABC's Directions '63 and WBZ's Odyssey program, and at 4:30 Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians are on NBC to provide a little popular Easter and spring music.

Finally, at 6:30, it's another of John Secondari's Close-Up! documentaries on ABC, this one on the Vatican. We see the inner workings of Vatican bureaucracy, a session of the Second Vatican Council, and Pope John XXIII at work in his office. In an article that appears elsewhere in the issue, Secondari talks of the profound impression the Pontiff left on everyone involved in producing the program - he asked questions of the sound and cameramen, wondering how their equipment worked, asked about the families of the correspondents, obligingly reread a statement when asked if he could do another take, and engaged in his everyday routineall along seemingly oblivious to the chaos caused by the crew. "It was not only his appearance of universal grandfather," Secondari writes, "it was the warmth and friendliness which came out to envelop all of us who had invaded what little peace and quiet is his." As they wrapped up their work the Pope blessed cameras and crew, remarking, "It is early yet and I have many things to do before I have earned my midday meal."

John XXIII was already dying of stomach cancer when this program was filmed; less than two months after it is aired, on June 3 he dies at the age of 81.

l  l  l

Nominees received a bowl, like this one for Peter Pan
nominated for Best Dramatic, Musical or Variety show.
So much for religious programming, but there are several primetime specials still waiting to round out Easter—the kind of programming you might offer if families were gathering for the day. Ed Sullivan's show this week is from England (8:00 p.m.), with Judy Garland, Peter O'Toole, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Margo Henderson, and Frank Ifeld headlining the bill. Hollywood Palace hasn't been born yet, but this would have been a tough act to top. At the same time on NBC, a Bob Hope special features Dean Martin and Martha Raye, with the annual TV Guide Awards rounding out the evening. (Bonanza won Favorite Series, by the way.) And at 10:00 p.m., Dinah Shore's colorcast special on NBC co-stars special guests Bobby Darin and Andre Previn. Meanwhile, Voice of Firestone (10:00 p.m., ABC) welcomes opera stars Rise Stevens and Theodor Uppman, and ballet giants Maria Tallchief and Oleg Tupine, with Arthur Fiedler as the conductor.

l  l  l

We should spend a moment on this week's cover feature about Richard Egan, star of the new Western series Empire, which airs Tuesday nights on NBC. Empire is a big show, set on a sprawling ranch in New Mexico, and it takes a big star, at least in size. Egan, as ranch manager Jim Redigo, certainly fits the bill there; over six feet tall and weighing more than 200 pounds, with a 17-inch neck, an 18-inch arm, and a 48-inch chest. (In other words, something like me when I was younger.) Good thing, because Egan has had to heft around 150-pound calves as well as 230-pound actors (Ed Begley), as well as carrying the weight of Empire on his shoulders. 

The show's original cast included Ryan O'Neal, Terry Moore, and Anne Seymour, but the two women were dropped early on, replaced by Charles Bronson and Warren Vanders; producer William Dozier says the women "reacted against the masculinity of the show. They were a dissonance." Despite the four-man cast, though, Empire is no Bonanza or Virginian, where the stars alternate leading roles. Egan is The Star. 

Being a Star is something Egan has worked for since he started acting in 1946, but for years he was stuck with the label of future star, with endless predictions that he was on the brink of being the next big thing. The problem has been that Egan can field a variety of roles, but none of them have fully come to define the "Richard Egan character." Egan's hoping that Empire will change things, so much so that he's moved his family from Southern California to a rented adobe home in New Mexico. The work is tough, but as Egan admits, "The only thrill you get from acting is people seeing you," and to be seen, you have to be working. 

Empire runs for a complete season before being cut from an hour to 30 minutes, with the truncated series being renamed Redigo. Egan obviously remains the star, but the new version runs a mere 15 weeks before departing the mortal coils of television history. Egan never becomes that big star, but he certainly has a long career, doing the lead in some low budget movies and appearing in guest star roles on television before dying of prostate cancer in 1987.

l  l  l

ABC has spent the first decades of its broadcasting life as the red-haired stepchild of television. And yet, as Thursday night's lineup proves, the network has also been responsible for some of the best-known and most fondly remembered shows of the 1960s. With one exception, this is a stunning night of television, a veritable who's who* of iconic sitcoms, all of which are deeply ingrained in classic television history.

*The only kind of "who's who" is a "veritable" one.

It starts at 7:30 p.m. with America's favorite family, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, in its 11th of 14 seasons, which made Ricky Nelson into a teen idol. That's followed at 8:00 by The Donna Reed Show, in its fifth of eight seasons, which helped define the housewife of the late '50s and early '60s. At 8:30 it's Leave It to Beaver, a show which has only grown in popularity over the years, in its sixth and final season, and then at 9:00 My Three Sons, which is probably better-known as a CBS show but spent its first five of 12 seasons on ABC. The sitcom stars conclude at 9:30 with the youngster of the group, McHale's Navy, in its first of (only) four seasons, reminding us of the "Good War" that isn't even 20 years past. ABC's schedule concludes at 10:00 with the hour-long drama anthology Alcoa Presents, the most outstanding feature of which is that it's hosted by Fred Astaire, who also occasionally stars in an episode.

I've written before about the Saturday night "Murderer's Row" of CBS shows in the '70s, and the Thursday night "Must See TV" on NBC more recently, but this has to rank as one of the most underrated television lineups of all time. Every one of those sitcoms is well-remembered and loved, with big-name stars and familiar storylines, and each one of them tells us something important about the America of the '50s and '60s. If you wanted to learn about those times and were limited to watching just these five sitcoms, you could do a whole lot worse.

l  l  l

Here's something we haven't done for awhile: a quick look at the celebrities appearing in this week's game shows. As is generally the case, the celebs are on for the entire week.

Appropriately enough, first up is Your First Impression on NBC, with Steve Dunne, Betty White and Dennis James joining host Bill Leyden. On CBS's Password, Orson Bean and Susan Strasberg are the duelers, with Allen Ludden moderating the fray. That's followed by To Tell the Truth, which this week has Carol Channing, Joan Fontaine, Skitch Henderson and Henry Morgan on the panel, and Bud Collyer behind the host's desk. (From past experience watching game shows, I can assume that Carol Channing was a real pain in the you-know-what.) Finally, the most interesting pairing, on NBC's You Don't Say!Lee Marvin and Beverly Garland, with host Tom Kennedy. Maybe it's just me, but I've never thought of Lee Marvin as a game show panelist.

In the primetime shows, the nighttime version of To Tell the Truth has Tom Poston, Peggy Cass, Kitty Carlisle and Sam Levenson, while the nighttime Password has Eydie Gorme and Alan King (who was an excellent player). The cast of I've Got a Secret isn't listed (apparently it's a secret), but I'd assume it's the regular one, with Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson, presided over with avuncular charm by Garry Moore. And on the granddaddy of them all, What's My Line? (now in its 14th season!), Phyllis Newman and Richard Boone join regulars Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf, and host John Daly, and though it wouldn't have been listed in the TV Guide, the Mystery Guest is Jimmy Durante.

l  l  l

Finally this week, the essayist Marya Mannes, serving as guest reviewer for the next couple of weeks, has a very funny and yet insightful look at soap operas which, she says, she became addicted to during a recent brief illness. Says Miss Mannes, "They relax the brain, suspend belief and elicit continuous admiration for the expenditure of so much production and acting talent on such unending woe."

Her two favored soaps right now are The Guiding Light and The Edge of Night, with occasional look-ins at As the World Turns and The Secret Storm. In particular, she finds The Edge of Night to be far and away the best, primarily because of its emphasis on law and crime and its use of reason and ingenuity in telling its stories. She finds it, for the most part, free of the "grotesquely lurid" storylines that populate many soaps, and is "refreshing to find the sentiment occasionally leavened with humor, and some indication that the American female exists outside the kitchen."

On the other hand, there's The Guiding Light and the "bovine dumbness" of the Bauer females, which is only partially made-up for by outstanding performances of Barbara Becker as ex-alcoholic Doris Crandall and Phil Sterling as lawyer George Hayes. (I think she's got something for lawyers.) She finds As the World Turns to be "dull but peculiar," describes the two heroines, Penny and Ellen, as "tedious girls," and sees the show as the epitome of what plagues most soap operas: "rampant emotionalism for small reason." I'm going to have to remember that phrase the next time someone asks me to describe the biggest problem with the Internet. In fact, one might consider the following to be a kind of "Everything I Know About Life I Learned From Soap Operas":

  • Americans Spend Half Their Time on the Operating Table and the Other Half on the Witness Stand.
  • Nothing Exists Outside the Family Unit.
  • Women with Aprons Are Good Women; They Drink Coffee Every Two Minutes.
  • Bad Women Drink Cocktails and Have Careers.
  • Mothers Who Want Their Grown Children to Stay Home Are Good Mothers.
  • Good Men Must Be Lawyers, Doctors or Business Executives.
  • Nobody Reads Books.
  • Divorce Is Unthinkable.
  • There Is No Happiness Outside the Home.

That would make a great poster, don't you think? TV  


  1. This may give you a more complete look at Moses that Robert Caro didn't give you: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-09/robert-moses-and-his-racist-parkway-explained

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vlYWMh2Ts4&t=61s YOU DON'T SAY! 4/25/63: At 26:44 there's an NBC promo for EMPIRE and THE DICK POWELL THEATRE, followed by a comment Tom Kennedy makes to Keenan Wynn, where Wynn admits that his recent claim to Lee Marvin (who'd appeared the previous week) that the game was easy. Wynn admits that it wasn't so easy when he played it.

    1. That's a very interesting article--I can't remember whether or not I've read it before, but I think it makes some very good points. Some of the criticism of Moses is definitely of its time, I think, and in the last few years I also think some people have come to appreciate how difficult it is to get anything done in the modern political bureaucracy, which puts Moses in somewhat of a different light. I know that Buckley, for example, was far less critical of Moses than Caro was/is. I think his legacy is still troubling, but I agree with you that there's more to it. Interestingly, Moses was still alive when "The Power Broker" was published. I wish the CBS Reports show was available.

  2. So what was the "wacky show" featured on the cover?

    1. It's an Italian show called "Lascia o Raddoppia," which translates as "Leave It or Double It," and was described as Italy's version of "The $64,000 Question." Now that I think of it, maybe I'll write about that for Wednesday--what I had planned can wait!

    2. Was it rigged, like the original American version?

  3. At long last, an issue I have:

    - On The Defenders, Leo Genn (in one of his few US TV appearances) plays a full-of-himself scientist who kills his wife and then expects to get off because of his achievements (I know that this is a particular hobbyhorse of yours, and so I mention it here; I can't find it on YouTube).

    - In syndication, Channel 7 in Chicago is carrying Death Valley Days; this was back when Stanley Andrews was still playing the Old Ranger (but the print on YouTube is a rerelease hosted by Rory Calhoun).
    The episode is "A Gun Is Not A Gentleman", in its first run; it's about a California judge (Brad Dexter) who puts down a US Senator (Carroll O'Connor) and is challenged to a pistol duel (a true story from 1859 - a Different Time).
    Channel 7 ran Death Valley Days at 5 PM on Sunday afternoon, right after ABC's network showing of Major Adams, Trailmaster, which today was running Peter Lorre's guest shot as a crazed archeologist (this was only a couple of weeks after Lorre's real-life death at age 59).
    - On NBC, Car 54, Where Are You has "The Curse Of The Snitkins", which marked Jack Gilford's official exit from the blacklist (at any rate this was where I first saw his name; he'd been doing the Cracker Jack commercials for a few years, but since he didn't get billing on those, it didn't matter to the blacklisters).


    - Last time this week came up (2015), you thought it seemed odd that Lee Marvin would do a game show (You Don't Say!)
    Back in January, Lee Marvin and Keenan Wynn did a Dick Powell Theater called "The Losers" which was a backdoor pilot, co-written and directed by Sam Peckinpah.
    Basically, it was anupdate of a previous Peckinpah/Four Star series called The Westerner, which has been mentioned here before: Brian Keith was the star, with John Dehner in support.
    This time around, Peckinpaugh (assisted by Bruce Geller) updated the characters to the present-day West, and turned the emphasis to comedy.
    Marvin and Wynn (who appeared on You Don't Say the following week) were booked on shows, likely expecting a sale to NBC, but that didn't happen - them's the breaks ...
    - Since you're looking at Hawaiian Eye (MeTV+ is now running it in prime time, at least here in Chicago), if you stick around for the final season, you might get to see this week's show, "The Sign-Off". Check ou the listing here - and the cast, while you're at it.
    - And while you're in the neighborhood, also check The Dick Powell Theater.
    Same reason as above (no spoilers - this is a test).
    - Noting that Sid Caesar has a special tonight on ABC, for Dutch Masters cigars.
    Also noting that Edie Adams has a special on Friday night on ABC, for Muriel Cigars.
    This is NOT a coincidence.
    In the fall, Sid and Edie will alternate weekly on Thursdays on ABC fot the Consolidated Cigar Corp. (maker of both brands).

    The Virginian on NBC has "The Mountain Of The Sun", in which The V falls in love with the youngest of three widows who want to do missionary work with hostile Yaquis.
    No guessing game this time: the youngest widow is Dolores Hart, making her final acting appearance before entering the convent (where she remains to the present day).
    - They didn't have DVRs - or even VCRs - in '63, so you couldn't also watch Going My Way on ABC (thank heaven for DVDs).
    In this show, Fathers Gene Kelly and Leo G. Carroll have to solve the problem a deaf couple faces when the wife gets back her hearing after surgery; the husband is Richard Long, the wife is Ellen McRae (before she married Mr. Burstyn, but that's another story ...).

    Just hit the 4096 Wall, so I'll stand down for now ...

  4. I suspect the "CBS Reports" on Robert Moses spent quite a bit of time on the 1964 world's fair, construction of which was well underway.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!