October 1, 2022

This week in TV Guide: October 2, 1965

Pope Paul VI is in New York on Monday to speak at the United Nations, followed by a Mass at Yankee Stadium. It's the first time any pontiff has ever appeared in the Western Hemisphere, so the trip is kind of a big deal. Nowadays most of the coverage would probably be on your favorite cable news channel, but we're a long way from that yet, so prepare for plenty of preemptions to your daytime and primetime schedule.

Coverage begins early Monday morning with the Pope's departure from Rome at 1:00 a.m. ET, live via Early Bird satellite, and picks up with his arrival at Kennedy Airport at 9:30 a.m., followed by a meeting with President Johnson, his speech (in French) before the UN, a meeting with dignitaries, the Mass at Yankee Stadium (televised in color!), and his departure at 11:00 p.m. A whirlwind day in the Big Apple; I'll bet he didn't even get to the Empire State Building. 

What I find interesting about the Close Up is the amount of behind-the-scenes information we're given. Not only are we told about the network commentators (Revs. Edwards L. Heston and William Tobin on ABC; Fr. Robert O'Donnell on NBC; and Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen on CBS), we're also given the producers: Sid Darion on ABC, Chet Hagen on NBC, and Don Hewitt on CBS. Hewitt, we know, will become famous for his work with Walter Cronkite and later for 60 Minutes, but Hagen had won Emmys and a Peabody for previous specials, and had been in charge of NBC's coverage of JFK's assassination and funeral. Sid Darion had done year-end specials for ABC and would later work on the religious series Directions. Would viewers have known about these men back then, or cared? I mean, I think it's interesting, but then, I'm not sure I'm the typical viewer. 

Pope Paul VI's trip is headlined as the "Pilgrimage for Peace; the last pope to visit New York, Francis, will make a stop for an ecumenical service at the 9/11 Memorial. Proof that we're still praying for peace.

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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: In Hollywood, Ed's scheduled guests are Judy Garland; Sophie Tucker; comic Jackie Vernon; rock 'n' roller Tom Jones; puppet Topo Gigio; the Marquis Chimps; Leyte Filipiana, a Filipino dance group; and the Swinging Lads, a vocal instrumental group.

Palace: Host Fred Astaire introduces ballet stars Rudolf Nureyev and Dame Margot Fonteyn of London's Royal Ballet Company. Astaire also presents comedian Paul Lynde and actress Carmen Phillips in a sketch about a girl who wants to end it all; the Andrew Tahon Puppets, featuring Fuzzy the Caterpillar; jazz organist Jimmy Smith, comic Jackie Mason; the rock 'n' rolling We Five; and the acrobatic Suns Family, making their U.S. debut.

One of the reasons variety shows like these don't exist anymore is due to their dependence on vaudeville acts. Tumblers, animal acts, puppet shows. I'm not against them, mind you, but would today's viewers dig them? The kids might, and of course these shows were meant to have something for all members of the family. But when you look at shows like those hosted by Dean Martin or Carol Burnett (or Tom Jones himself), you often see, in place of such acts, performances and skits featuring the host, with guests or alone (one reason why singers and comedians make the best hosts). If you figure that this week's vaudevillians cancel each other out, you're left with a legendary trio of dancers on the Palace, and in that case nobody's going to beat out Astaire, Nureyev and Fonteyn. This week, the Palace dances off with the honors.

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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 shows of the era. 

This week, Cleveland Amory visits the South of William Faulkner, a world seething with suppressed passions, generational grudges, gothic sensibilities, and co-dependent family members. In other words, your typical soap opera.

You'd expect Cleve to be all over this one, as in, "over the top," and he is. But, surprise, surprise, even though "all this sounds as if it's been, if not wedded and bedded, at least watched and botched many times before, the fact remains that The Long, Hot Summer, which made a strong movie, is also strong TV." Its production values are top notch, from the teaser preceding the opening credits on down. It's also comprised of "really strong principal characters," and a stellar cast, featuring Roy Thinnes ("certain to be one of the new season's finest attractions"), Edmond O'Brien (who plays Will Varner "in masterful fashion"), and Ruth Roman, whom he describes simply as "excellent." In fact, he reserves judgment only on Nancy Malone, just as her character reserves judgment on Thinnes's.

And—well, that's about all. Amory's review ends abruptly, as if he needs more time to draw his conclusions. His description of the plot line, with the various seething and suppressed emotions, is very funny, similar to other soap reviews we've read from him, but in the end things don't really go anywhere. So we'll fill in the blanks: The Long, Hot Summer lasts but one season, running 26 episodes; Edmond O'Brien leaves halfway through in a dispute over the show's focus, to be replaced by Dan O'Herlihy; Roy Thinnes becomes far better-known for his next series, The Invaders; and Nancy Malone remains far better-known for her previous series, Naked City. Whether or not any or all of this would surprise Cleveland Amory is anyone's, or everyone's guess. But it's fair to say that The Long, Hot Summer is one series that failed to make it through the long, cold winter.

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Lloyd Bridges is The Loner  
It is, as Henry Harding says, "high noon" for Rod Serling's new Western, The Loner, airing on CBS. The source of the imagery is a showdown between Serling and Michael Dann, CBS's head of programming. Serling asserts that Dann told him the show needed more violence, saying, "You're in trouble—the audience doesn't like your show." "That's interesting, Mike," Serling says he responded, "considering the fact that it isn't even on the air yet." Apparently, Dann was basing his opinion on a focus group of 100 viewers who'd seen the opening episode and found it too unconventional. Says Serling, "I told Dann that if the network wanted a conventional Western with emphasis on violence and action, it should have gotten a conventional Western writer and producer." 

Dann denies that he asked for more violence—he prefers to call it "action"—and says he wants a show with more "movement" and is less "cerebral." (Perhaps less Loner and more Lone Ranger?) As of now, production of the show has been suspended after 15 episodes. It eventually returns to production, with a total of 26 episodes appearing during the single season of the show. Which begs the question Serling asked in the beginning—if you want an ordinary Western, why Serling? The man's reputation ought to have been well-known enough by then. As the always-reliable Wikipedia points out, Cleveland Amory will write that Serling "obviously intended The Loner to be a realistic, adult Western," but it was "either too real for a public grown used to the unreal Western or too adult for juvenile Easterners."  

Serling would frequently talk of his dissatisfaction with The Loner,. and it's hard to disagree. The few episodes I've seen have been pretty good; certainly, more thought-provoking than the average Western. Perhaps, as is so often the case, The Loner is simply a show ahead of its time. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had it come along later in the 1960s, when the existential loner is more in vogue.

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The Loner isn't the only Western worth talking about this week. Wednesday is Western night on The Danny Kaye Show (10:00 p.m., CBS), as Danny welcomes Buddy Ebsen of The Beverly Hillbillies, Clint Eastwood of Rawhide, Fess Parker of Daniel Boone, and. . . Charo. I'm still trying to figure out a clever retort for that one, but in the meantime there's an article by Arnold Hano about the death and rebirth of Rawhide. The series, in the midst of falling ratings, was, more or less, cancelled at the end of last season by CBS honcho James Aubrey. Not long afterward, Aubrey himself was cancelled by William Paley and Dr. Frank Stanton, and voila! Rawhide was back on the schedule.

Granted, this came with a few changes. Eric Fleming, the show's lead, was sacked, "because they were paying me a million dollars a year" according to Fleming, even though he was actually only making $220,000. Eastwood, the show's co-star, was elevated to star, and most of the existing cast members were done away with. Brought in "to fill the gaps" were veteran actor John Ireland ("'He will add dramatic strength,' executive producer Ben Brady says. "He will play what is obviously a man his own age—touching 40." Ireland is actually 51); Shakespearian actor Raymond St. Jacques and Brit David Watson, who as a boy soprano soloed at Queen Elizabeth's coronation. 

For all the changes, Rawhide only buys a few additional weeks on the trail; its last episode will air on January 4, 1966. Fleming, who'd ruffled many feathers during his time on the show, drowns in a boating accident less than a year after this article. Meanwhile, Clint Eastwood has been spending some time in Italy making a couple of movies: A Fistful of Dollars (originally turned down by Eric Fleming) and For a Few Dollars More. Just after Rawhide's cancellation, he'll head back begin work on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Say no more.

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Back in the day, a week like this would have been like Christmas for sports fans, as America's three most popular spectator sports are on display. Leading things off (and that's a pretty appropriate term) is the 62nd World Series, as the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers* take on the American League champion Minnesota Twins. Game one takes place on Wednesday (3:00 p.m. ET, NBC); it's also Yom Kippur, and Dodgers star pitcher Sandy Koufax, who is Jewish, has said he will not pitch on the holiest day of the Jewish year. Don Drysdale, hardly a slouch, pitches the first game for the Dodgers, losing to Mudcat Grant and the Twins 8-2. This will play out a week later when, with the Series tied at three games apiece, Koufax pitches the seventh game on only two days rest; though he doesn't have his best stuff, he shuts out the Twins on three hits and the Dodgers take the game, and the Series, 2-0.

*TV Guide wasn't sure who the National League representative would be, since the pennant race was undecided at press time. Had a playoff been necessary, all games would have been on ABC.

College football, which has always aroused passions in sports fans, is off and running, and Saturday's game of the week features the perennial Big 10 powerhouse Ohio State Buckeyes travelling to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies. (4:00 p.m., NBC) Ohio State wins the game, 23-21, but even though finishing the season with a 7-2 record, Ohio State stays home during the bowl season; as was the case at the time, only the Big 10 champion, in this case Michigan State, gets to go bowling. 

Then as now, Sunday belongs to pro football, and as the pros surpass baseball as Ameria's sport (according to Gallup, it happens sometime around now), the NFL and AFL are both in action. CBS is on hand for the New York Giants vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (1:15 p.m.), while NBC counters with the Boston Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs. Between Saturday and Sunday, there are only four football games on TV (including the big college game between Williams and Springfield on WWLP); today, just on the networks, it would be—what, maybe 15?

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What else is interesting this week? Well, NBC is introducing their new Saturday morning schedules, and among the new cartoons are Atom Ant (9:30 a.m.) and Secret Squirrel (10:00 a.m.). Remember those Hanna-Barbera classics? And on WHCT in Hartford, which provides pay-TV movies, it's the 1963 comedy classic It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (6:30 p.m.) On Sunday, the syndicated special "October Madness" (4:30 p.m. channel 5, 8:30 p.m. WWLP/WRLP), reviews the history recalling the great moments of the World Series, narrated by Gene Kelly. 

If it's not preempted by the Pope, Monday night has one of those coincidences that makes me wonder if it's really a coincidence: at 10:00 p.m., NBC's Run for Your Life goes up against an episode of ABC's Ben Casey entitled "Run for Your Lives, Dr. Galanos Practices Here." Both episodes boast fine guest casts (Telly Savalas, Gia Scala and Jeremy Slate on the former; Nehemiah Persoff and Michael Ansara on the latter), but do you really think that Casey episode title just came out of thin air?

Dr. Richard Kimble continues to run for his life on The Fugitive (Tuesday, 10:00 p.m., ABC), and don't forget this tie-in:

Thursday starts on The Today Show (7:00 a.m., NBC) when the entire two-hour show is devoted to "Cole Porter. . . A Remembrance," a taped program honoring Porter, who'd died a year ago. Ethel Merman, Abe Burrows, William Walker, Sally Ann Howes, and the Skitch Henderson orchestra lead the way. As a totally useless footnote, Cole Porter was born about a half hour from where we live today. In the evening, 1960 Olympic decathlon gold medalist Rafer Johnson is a guest star on Daniel Boone (7:30 p.m., NBC); later, it's an Andy Griffith Show reunion of sorts—The Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Jim Nabors Special, starring, well, do I really need to spell it out? (8:00 p.m, CBS) You can see the opening number here. Here's a commercial for the show:

Finally, as you know, it's part of my mission here to point out any sightings in the wild of movies that wind up on Mystery Science Theater 3000. This week's entrant is Bloodlust! (Friday, 1:00 a.m, WWLP/WRLP), starring Wilton Graff as a mad doctor on a tropical island, hunting a pair of young couples as if they were wild animals. The movie was made in 1959 but not released until 1961; one of the four hunted youngsters is played by Robert Reed, who, three days after the movie is released, debuts in The Defenders with E.G. Marshall. 

If you don't want to stay up that late, you can opt for the WNHC movie at 11:25 p.m. Citizen Kane. I hear that's pretty good, too. TV  

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