August 27, 2022

This week in TV Guide: September 2, 1967

This is, by my count (and I actually did check!), the 538th edition of "This Week in TV Guide," and even when you allow for a number of reruns I've done over the years, that still makes for a lot of issues. It's also true that one of the drawbacks you run into when you've covered that many issues is finding out that some of the most interesting stories, the ones you think you might like to write about, are ones that you've already written about previously.

For example, Richard K. Doan reports that NET has booked an exclusive interview with Stalin's daughter, Mrs. Svetlana Alliluyeva, in October. That's old news to you out there, since you read about it here six years ago. Doan also mentioned that Jacqueline Kennedy's sister, Lee Radziwill, will be making her TV acting debut next winter in ABC's Laura remake. But you knew that already—you've even read the reviews. A musical comedy version of Aladdin done by the Prince Street Players of New York? We saw them adapting Pinocchio. (And they're doing The Emperor's New Clothes this Sunday anyway.) The ABC WWII action series Garrison's Gorillas premieres Tuesday; I've already reviewed it here. And so on.

The temptation is to just throw your hands up in the air and give up; nothing new to see here! But you'd be wrong! There's plenty of spanking newness here, courtesy of ABC and CBS, who are busy rolling out some of their new shows already, even though the Fall Preview isn't until next week. And you know, some of these are pretty good! In addition to the aforementioned Garrison's Gorillas, ABC debuts the excellent half-hour police drama N.Y.P.D. (Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. CT, which—whoops!—I already wrote about here); Custer (Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.), with Wayne Maunder in a series that lasted only slightly longer than the Battle of the Little Big Horn; The Second Hundred Years (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.), starring Monte Markham in a dual role that doesn't really double your fun; The Flying Nun (Thursday, 6:30 p.m.), a show that's both ridiculous and a product of the Second Vatican Council; Good Company (Thursday, 9:00 p.m.), in which famed attorney F. Lee Bailey tries (and fails) to duplicate the success of Person to Person; Off to See the Wizard (Friday, 6:30 p.m.), ABC's version of The Wonderful World of Color; a pair of Westerns trying to defy the dying genre in Hondo (Friday, 7:30 p.m.) with Ralph Taeger and The Guns of Will Sonnett starring Walter Brennan; and the courtroom drama Judd for the Defense (Friday, 9:00 p.m.), which—as you know—I favorably covered here. I count four series which made it to my rotation, which is pretty good.

Meanwhile, the Tiffany Network has some stars of its own, starting with the comedy Good Morning World (Tuesday, 8:30 p.m.), with Joby Baker and Ronnie Schell as radio DJs; He & She (Wednesday, 8:30 p.m.), the very stylish comedy with Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss that may have been just a little ahead of its time; Dundee and the Culhane (Wednesday, 9:00 p.m.), and I just don't know how they hoped to sell a series with a title like that; and Cimarron Strip (Thursday, 6:30 p.m.), a 90-minute Western with Stuart Whitman hanging on to that horse for dear life—seriously, have you ever seen the opening credits to this series? Go here and watch them now and tell me I'm wrong about that; I'll wait. Now, it should be noted that three of CBS's most successful series aren't in this this week's issue: Gentle Ben, Mannix, and The Carol Burnett Show. They'll be along in the next week or two, and that's where the network makes its impact.

As for NBC? Well, I believe NBC Week is next week, although we do get a sneak peek on Saturday Night at the Movies of one of the network's upcoming hits: the pilot for Ironside.

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It's true, though, that in order to make room for these new shows, some of our favorites have to go, although they couldn't have been favorites of all that many people, or else they would have stayed a little bit longer. So farewell to Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre; so long to Please Don't Eat the Daisies; see you in the daytime, Candid Camera and Let's Make a Deal; Godspeed, The Saint; it was nice knowing you, summer replacements Away We Go, Piccadilly Palace, and Our Place, You all made our TV viewing worthwhile!

And then there were the shows that didn't follow the typical path. Coronet Blue, the enigmatic spy series that was a surprise summer hit, makes its enigmatic farewell with an episode that answers none of the questions raised by the preceding 10 episodes (two of the original 13 were unrun); ABC gloats that the popularity of Coronet's young star, Frank Converse, will spill over into his new series, N.Y.P.D. And Gilligan's Island still has the ratings to continue for another season, but it says bon voyage because the show that's replacing it on Monday nights, Gunsmoke, is the favorite of one very important person: Babe Paley, the wife of the network's legendary president, William S. Paley. In cases like that, it doesn't really matter how many fans you've got; it's a battle you're going to lose, so don't bother even trying to fight it. 

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

Sullivan: The Smothers Brothers, Mel Tormé and the Woody Herman orchestra, singers Enzo Stuarti and Gail Martin (Dean's daughter), comedians Nipsey Russell and George Carlin, the banjo-playing Your Father's Mustache, and the Seven Staneks, a balancing act.

Palace: Bing Crosby opens the fifth season at the Palace, with Jimmy Durante and Milton Berle; singer Diahann Carroll; singer-dancer Joey Heatherton; Indian musician Ravi Shankar; and Every Mothers' Son, vocal group.

It's something old and something new this week, a rerun from last season on Ed's show while Bing is the traditional season-opening host for the Palace. And each show boasts a strong lineup. But while it's always hard to go against Bing (especially when he has Durante as one of his guests), I'm afraid this week there's just too much depth on the Sullivan bench. Mel Tormé and the Woody Herman orchestra! This time Sullivan opens the season in winning fashion.

But that's not all. ABC, in its infinite wisdom, has moved The Hollywood Palace to Saturday night (don't worry; it won't be there for long), but Piccadilly Palace, the show's summer replacement, appears in the old timeslot this week (meaning two Palaces for the price of one), with singers Millicent Martin and Frank Ifield and comic Bruce Forsythe. Sorry, but this week even two Palaces don't equal one Sullivan.

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Since we're on the subject of season premieres, are you ready for some football? Well, ready or not, here it comes, as NBC kicks off its third season of American Football League coverage on Sunday with the Boston Patriots taking on the Broncos at Denver (3:30 p.m.) The Patriots are coming off an 8-4-2 season, led by MVP Jim Nance; the Broncos, on the other hand, struggled through a 4-10 season. For Denver, the good news is that they're already 25 percent of the way to matching that total, as they take Boston 26-21. The bad news is that they'll only win two more games the rest of the way. But then, the Patriots will only win three games themselves. 

Unlike the AFL, the NFL season doesn't start until next week, but all's not lost, as CBS comes up with a practice—I mean exhibition—I mean preseason game between the defending champion Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns, live from Cleveland (Saturday 8:30 p.m.). That's probably what keeps Mannix from premiering until next week.

But don't forget about baseball! There's a month to go in the American League's Great Race, and on Saturday's Game of the Week (1:00 p.m., NBC), the scheduled game you'll see is either the Chicago White Sox vs. Boston Red Sox, or Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins, with a note that if these teams are still in contention, coverage may alternate between both games. I don't know whether NBC did or not, but all four teams are indeed still in contention, and will remain so until the final weekend of the season, in one of the great pennant races of all time.

And in case you hadn't noticed, and there's really no reason why you should have, Monday is Labor Day, which explains why CBS has golf on at 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. It's the final round of the $200,000 Carling World Golf Championship, from the Board of Trade Golf Club in Toronto. (And have you ever heard of a less-romantic name for a golf course than that? Maybe the National Cash Register Country Club in Dayton, Ohio.) An international field tees off in search of the $35,000 first prize, which was quite an amount back then, but in the end a pair of Americans duel for the title, with Billy Casper defeating Al Geiberger in a sudden-death playoff. It is the last Carling World Championship after having been played since 1953. 

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A couple of political notes, because in 1967 you can't really go for long without running into something political. Monday night on NET, radical activist Saul Alinsky is interviewed about his work as director of Chicago's Industrial Areas Foundation (10:00 p.m., WDSE). Alinsky died in 1973, but his influence in politics, both in America and around the world, remains as strong as, if not stronger than, ever. 

On Tuesday, Harry Reasoner takes a look at the South Vietnamese elections (9:30 p.m., CBS), with General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu winning with 35 percent of the vote, easily defeating civilian candidate Trương Đình Dzu. Don't expect election night coverage like you'd get here; no exit polls or projections, I suspect.

I looked for something else that might cleanse the palate, but no such luck.

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Finally, there's one last series making its final bow this week, and I think it deserves a place all to itself. 

Point number one: What's My Line? debuted on CBS on February 7, 1950. By October of that year, it had settled in on Sunday nights at 9:30 p.m. Central, and it would remain there for the next 17 years. Think about that for a minute—today's network programs often change dates and times multiple times each season, while WML maintained the same spot in the schedule for more than 800 weeks. During its long run, not one but two regular panelists—Fred Allen and Dorothy Kilgallen—died. When it left the air, only Ed Sullivan and Ted Mack had been on primetime longer.
Point number two: During the entire run of WML, the show never aired a rerun. It was often broadcast live, especially during the first nine or ten years, and it was preempted perhaps 20 times during the course of its run. But it aired 876 episodes during its time, and not one of them was a rerun.

Point number three: For all but four of those episodes, WML was hosted by John Daly, perhaps the most urbane man ever to host a network television program. Keep in mind that during the first ten years of WML, Daly was also vice president in charge of news for ABC, hosting the network's evening news, as well as other major news events. When Daly went to Chicago and Los Angeles to cover the national political conventions, WML went on the road with him. The three most familiar regular panelists—Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf, and Dorothy Kilgallen—would occasionally take vacations, go on assignment, or make public appearances. For the show's long run, the only true constant was John Daly.

On Sunday night, What's My Line? airs on network television for the last time. Arlene and Bennett, the longest serving panelists, are there, along with Steve Allen, who had been a regular for several years, and Martin Gabel, Arlene's husband, who had appeared on the show more often than any other guest panelist. The contestants from that very first episode in 1950 were back, as they had been on a previous anniversary show. But the highlight of the show—perhaps the highlight of the entire run of WML—was the identity of the Mystery Guest.

For years John Daly had been the emergency Mystery Guest in case something had gone wrong or a guest had failed to show, and a couple of times it had looked as if he might have to fill in, but it had never happened, and in retrospect it seems as if there could have been only one man to fill the bill. It's one of the great moments of television.

It's true that What's My Line? had been showing its age for the last few years; it's also true that the winds of change were blowing through the world of television at an increasing speed. But What's My Line? represented something different: a style and élan, a time when men wore tuxedos and women dressed in evening gowns and everyone was called Mr. and Mrs. (or Miss). There was a je ne sais quoi that's absent not only from today's television, but from life in general. It's that, not the genteel parlor game, that remains irreplaceable. 

And of course I already wrote about all this, too. Could we end today any other way? TV  


  1. I don't have this issue in my inventory, so you're in luck there.
    However ...
    I recently took delivery on a newly published book from Britain: Bodies From The Library 5, edited by Tony Medawar, from the Collins Crime Club.
    As indicated by the title, this is the fifth volume in a series of anthologies which Mr. Medawar, a critic/scholar of mystery and detective fiction, has assembled for those of us who love the form.
    I'm bringing it up here because one of the long-lost stories presented herein is The "What's My Line?" Murder, by Julian Symons, which appeared as a daily serial in the London Evening Standard in the spring of 1956 (This is its first appearance in print since that time).
    I don't know if you've ever looked into the BBC version of What's My Line?
    There's only one existing episode on YouTube that I could find; fortunately, it's from this time frame, so it helps me to set it up in my mind (There's at least one briefer clip, and there might be some others if I look hard enough).
    In this story, the BBC Line regulars of that time are in place: chairman Eamonn Andrews, and panelists Zoe Gail (a pretty actress), Isobel Barnett (a physician with a TV following), and Gilbert Harding (a curmudgeonly commentator in the papers and on TV).
    Julian Symons (pronounced simmons, by the way), a prominent writer and critic in the British mystery field, sometimes wrote stories that employed real-life figures as amateur detectives: in this story, Symons gives the detective role to Gilbert Harding, whose conduct on the Line panel earned him the title "The Rudest Man on Television" from the Fleet Street press.
    I haven't as yet read Symons's story; before I do, I need to look at whatever I can find of Harding's on-camera manners, which made him famous/notorious in his time.
    One thing that has surprised me so far: Harding's run on What's My Line? ended suddenly in 1960, when he died of an asthmatic attack at age 53 (that's 19 years younger than I am right now; this sort of thing is tending to matter to me these days ...).
    So anyway, that's what I'm going to be doing the next few days.
    You can, of course, check YouTube if you please; you might eve see if you can locate Tony Medawar's book (once again, it's Bodies From The Library 5, from Collins Crime Club; it's a bit pricey, but worth it).

  2. Back again:
    As I said, I haven't got this issue, so I only just noticed your passing reference to the Ironside pilot being repeated.
    My challenge to you and the readership is still open, if anybody cares to pick it up ...
    Just find the pilot film, and watch it, and see if you notice anything.
    Give it a try! It's FUN!


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!