September 3, 2022

This week in TV Guide: September 3, 1960

I've probably said this before, but as I mentioned last week, and as television networks have known for years, it's not easy to come up with new material. In the case of the Olympics, I've frequently made the point, although perhaps not in so many words, that less is better. Less glitz, less coverage, less "up close and personal." But no matter how many times I've written this, and no matter how many more times I've said it out loud (but you wouldn't know about that, would you?), it's safe to say that I've never written about it from the perspective of the 1960 Summer Olympics, the second week of which is prominent in this TV Guide. So there, to those of you who think I'm about to repeat myself. 

The Summer Olympics, being held in Rome, are being treated like a big deal, and they are a big deal. Remember, television coverage of the Olympics is new, at least in the United States; the 1960 Winter Olympics, held in Squaw Valley, California a few months ago, were the first to be broadcast in the U.S., and we can say likewise for the Rome Olympics, which, according to the always-reliable Wikipedia, were the first Summer Olympics ever telecast in North America. CBS (see, you young'uns out there, the Olympics weren't always shown on NBC) paid the astronomical amount of $394,000 for the exclusive American rights, and for that, you get—well, here's what you get:
  • Saturday, September 3: one hour and 15 minutes in the afternoon, 30 minutes in prime time, 30 minutes late night.
  • Sunday, September 4: One hour in the afternoon, 15 minutes late night.
  • Monday, September 5: An hour in the late afternoon, 30 minutes late night.
  • Tuesday, September 6: A half-hour in primetime, 30 minutes late night.
  • Wednesday, September 7: An hour at the beginning of primetime, 30 minutes late night.
  • Thursday, September 8: A half-hour in primetime, 30 minutes late night.
  • Friday, September 9: A half-hour in primetime, 30 minutes late night.
But before you get too excited, "not all telecasts will be carried by all channels."

That's what, less than 10 hours of coverage? Last week's schedule was probably similar. But you know what? Most of the events you see this week are the finals, the ones that count. No fluff, very few heat races, just what's important. What's even more impressive, considering that the videotape was edited in Rome, fed to Paris where they were re-recorded, and then flown to New York and beamed via mobile units to CBS, where Jim McKay (who else?) did the commentary, is that most events were seen in the United States on the same day they were held. And to think that NBC's been knocked for taping events instead of showing them live, just to put them in prime time.

The 1960 Summer Olympics was a moment in time, probably the last great Summer Olympiad held in Europe, the last Olympics to have a scheduled Sunday off (it was Rome, after all), and one of the greatest collections of athletes to this day: Wilma Rudolph, Rafer Johnson, Abebe Bikila, Cassius Clay. (David Maraniss wrote a wonderful book about it that I highly recommend). Not likely we'll see their likes again—nor that of an Olympics that wasn't too little, wasn't too much, but was maybe just about right.

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To my boss, the word "charm" is a totally alien concept, as foreign an idea as wings on an elephant, so naturally I wondered if Arlene Francis's article on "the secrets of real charm" might provide her with some tips. I thought better of it, though, since "humor" runs closely behind "charm" in the category of qualities she lacks. (And for those of you wondering if I'm not worried that she might see this and take offense—a quality she doesn't lack—don't be concerned; television is far too gauche for her arts-and-croissants crowd. Besides, I'm only 478 days away from retirement.)  

But let's get back to Arlene, a woman as charming as any to ever grace the airwaves. She says that the secret of real charm is easy: just be yourself. Of course, we all know that it isn't that simple; after all, my boss is always being herself, and look where it's gotten her, and the rest of us. But, as a regular panelist on What's My Line? and the host of the NBC daytime show Home, Miss Francis has met a lot of people over the years, people she'd talked to, and who had talked back to her. "Meeting strangers every day and helping them to expose, at the very least, capsules of their personalities has acquainted me with all sorts of charmers; real, false, and snake. After a while one can separate the haves from the have-nots." 

As we suspected earlier, it's not enough to be yourself "unless one is dedicated to a program of enlightened self-interest," which means "actively developing one's best self." Your goal should be to arrive at "a personality that takes an unmotivated interest in other people." Think of those who've retained your affection over the years; "you don't have to win a beauty contest or a spelling bee to have that certain something. But you will charm the person who did if you are interested in how he did it."

There are other, physical, things you can do that will help you along the way. Smile, for instance; "not like a ninny at all times, but as if you were expecting the best to happen instead of the worst." Be sure to have a firm handshake; it "gives you a sense of well-being and communicates itself immediately." As my mother used to say, nobody wants to shake hands with a limp fish. It's important to look, but "see whom or what you look at. It takes interested observation to give a subject dimension." When you speak, remember that "a little compliment goes a long way if you mean it." (Did you hear that, boss?) And when you walk, do so "with your head high and your shoulders bac, even if your feet hurt. An uplifted carriage uplifts your ego." And it's also essential to be well-organized, including budgeting time for the unexpected. "You simply learn to accept these things as unavoidable, acceptance being more conductive to health and happiness than annoyance." If this sounds a lot like projecting confidence, it is; who doesn't find an easy self-confidence to be charming?

At all times, remember this: the best use of communication is "to create an area of understanding between people. And the finest use of ourselves in everyday living is to communicate—to relate to others. You don't need a college diploma, perfect diction or a honeyed cadence in your educated throad to do this. You only need to care about other people and other things." 

It's not that hard to be charming, Arlene concludes. The plusses are "decency, respect, trust and confidence. The minuses are envy, intolerance, prejudice and egocentricity." And, best of all, "everyone has the potential to achieve true charm. There's plenty to go around." Ain't that the truth.

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As it turns out, Arlene Francis can do more than appear on panel shows and give lessons in charm. People may forget it, but she was a very good actress, especially in light comic roles, as we can see on Wednesday when she co-stars with Hans Conried in "When in Rome" on The United States Steel Hour (9:00 p.m. CT, CBS). It's the story of a woman whose husband inherits a large sum of money from a women Iin memory of three divine days and nights in Rome." I sense a misunderstanding somewhere. 

And that's not the only feminine beauty on display this week. On Tuesday, CBS presents live coverage of the Miss America Parade from Atlantic City, New Jersey (7:00 p.m.). What's that, you say? You never heard of the Miss America Parade? It just goes to show why you can't afford to miss this weekly feature—imagine being the only person at a cocktail party who didn't know there was a Miss America Parade? Conversely, you might be the only person who did know about the Parade, thanks to having read this—and just think about how impressed your friends would be! Actually, the parade is a one-mile review up the Boardwalk, in which contestants from the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, New York City, Chicago and Canada get a chance to show off their wares. Margaret Cahill, the first Miss America in 1921, is Grand Marshal. Bert Parks does the interviews, and Douglas Edwards and former Miss America Marilyn Van Derbur describe the parade. You can read about the pageant in next week's issue—if you have it.

Ed Sullivan opens his new season on Sunday (7:00 p.m., CBS), having scrapped his original plans in favor of a special tribute to the late lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, who died on August 23. Joining Ed in this show from Madison Square Garden in New York City are singers Jill Corey, Georgia Gibbs, Della Reese and Teddy Randazzo, singing songs that Hammerstein had written with Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, and Sigmund Romberg. The stars of the Ice Capades also skate in a special presentation.

While Ed's beginning his season, Tuesday sees the final episode of David Janssen's classic jazz detective series, Richard Diamond, Private Detective (8:00 p.m., NBC). Replacing Diamond next week: "Thriller, with Boris Karloff hosting hour-long mystery stories." That's not the only swan song this week; on Saturday, The Man and the Challenge, with George Nader (7:30 p.m., NBC), makes way for The Tall Man, with Barry Sullivan and Clu Gulager as, respectively, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

On Sunday, the ABC-WB western series Lawman (7:30 p.m., following the immensely popular Maverick) features Marshal Dan Troop (John Russell) and his deputy, young Johnny McKay (Peter Brown) are on the trail of trapper Lucas Beyer, on the run after accidentally killing his Cheyenne wife. I mention this because of the headline on the cover, "Mother Was the Dragon Lady": I knew some of you would have questions if I didn't say something. It's nothing quite so salacious as you'd think, though; it's Peter Brown, talking about his mother, actress Mina Reaume Brown, who played the Dragon Lady in the radio serial Terry and the Pirates. Brown, who's 24 but is supposed to be playing a 19-year-old, has a solid career, playing his McKay character on Maverick and appearing in other Warner Bros. series, including Cheyenne and Colt .45, and had a long run on the soap opera Days of Our Lives

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Now here's something that sounds interesting: Kevin McCarthy, Rip Torn, and Vladimir Sokoloff in Murder and the Android (Monday, 9:00 p.m., NBC), a color special written by the great science fiction author Alfred Bester based on his short story "Fondly Fahrenheit," which originally aired last October. "It is hundreds of years from now, man has conquered space and human beings inhabit planets in galaxies far from the Earth's solar system. Manual labor no longer is required of humans; androids, chemical creations of synthetic tissue, perform such tasks. James Jason Valentine [McCarthy] owns a special android named Rex [Torn]." Critic John Crosby had these thoughts when the show originally aired:

"Despite the fact that the androids refer contemptuously to human beings as people who suffer from glandular disorders called emotions, Torn wants very much to suffer from these disorders himself. Eventually, he does. I have no intention of unraveling the whole plot which was not so much complicated as psychologically dense. If I understand him correctly, Mr. Bester is trying to say that having androids to free us of mundane preoccupations like work is by no means good for us. His humans are pretty close to being bums."

Bester has created a latter-day Pinocchio, but with some shrewd observations on the necessity—indeed, the nobility—of work and the accompanying sense of accomplishment. It's an inspiring message, but also a little depressing that we seem to have forgotten it so in our rush to eliminate as much human labor as possible.

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This week's starlet is Claudia Barrett, who at the age of 24 already has 150 television appearances to her credit—from Public Defender and The Lone Ranger to The Lineup and Peter Gunn. She also spends her summers as a singing and dancing instructor at a Girl Scout camp in Las Vegas. Our intrepid but unbilled reporter spends most of the space detailing how Claudia managed to get a large tree stump from Vegas to her home in Los Angeles, where she had it sandblasted down to 18 inches and had it turned into the base of a glass top coffee table. 

Claudia and the infamous coffee table

Good reporting on the table, but perhaps not so good at math. In fact, Claudia eased seven years off her life (I wish I could do that), meaning she's not 24 but 31. That makes the report that she was married at age 17 off as well; according to Wikipedia, she was actually 24 when that happened. Of course, this kind of thing is hardly uncommon in Hollywood; it's just fun to catch it in the act, so to speak.

Claudia Barrett died just last year, age 91 (or was it 84?), and if you're a fan of bad sci-fi movies you'll remember her as Alice in the so-bad-it's-really-bad movie Robot Monster. Catch it the next time it's on MST3K.

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Finally, I'm hungry, and while you probably couldn't care less about that, unless you're hungry too, I have just the thing: a dandy recipe for a "Super-Sub Sandwich":
Slice 1 large loaf Italian bread twice horizontally. (The bread can be scooped out of the bottom crust for easier eating.) Spoon chicken salad on bottom layer. Cover with center slice and line with ham rolls and smoked tongue, or salami rolls. Add top layer of bread. Diagonally cut package of cheddar-cheese slices twice. Overlap these cheese triangles on top of sandwich, end to end. (Top layer can be placed under broiler to melt cheese.) Slice loaf downward into 4 to 6 servings. 

As for the chicken salad, take 3 cups cut-up cooked chicken; ½ cup celery, diced; 1 cup raw apple, diced; 6 slices crisp bacon, crumbled; 1 cup mayonnaise; ½ tsp. onion salad. Salt and pepper to taste. Combine seasonings and mayonnaise, blend with remaining ingredients, chill.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some business to take care of. TV  

1 comment:

  1. Well, I've got this issue (Chicago edition).
    A hop-skip-jump through the daily listings:
    NBC, 8:00 pm: Peter Gunn: "A Slight Case Of Homicide", a charming story about a little old man who's making homemade bombs and blowing up local gangsters with them.
    Just for fun, check the listing to see who's playing the little old bomb-maker (yes, this is a test).
    And by all means, watch the episode if you can; it's really quite charming ...
    CBS, 9:00 pm: Diagnosis: Unknown: "Gina,Gina", one of the lost episodes (out of nearly all of them), starring Patrick O'Neal as Dr. Coffee, TV's first pathologist, in the only series of its kind to be videotaped in New York.
    You might get a kick out of the listing here, especially the guest cast (and remember, this is 1960 ...).
    ABC, 8:30 pm: The Untouchables: "The Unhired Assassin, Part I"; this one we've already discussed elsewhere, but it's still top-of-the-line.
    Followed at 9:30 by Silents Please: "The Fun Factory", about Mack Sennett's slapstick studio.
    Footnote: This was from Silents Please's first summer appearance on ABC.
    Ernie Kovacs was NOT the host that year; he was imposed on the show during its second use the following summer (another story, which I believe I already told you ...).

    Hey, it was a slow week ...


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!