February 25, 2023

This week in TV Guide: February 27, 1965

Imagine, if you will, a popular television show with a mystery at the core of its plot. This mystery has become central to its core of loyal fans, who can't keep from speculating on the show's outcome. Theories and countertheories are proposed, viewers reach out to the producers with suggestions, and even the show's stars are confronted in public by those demanding to know what's going on behind the scenes. There's even a theory, labeled "wild speculation" by some, that the producers already know how the show will end, that the final episode has already been written, and that some people have even seen it via bootleg videos, and this theory has gained such a following that it's become the subject of a national magazine, with denials being issued that only fuel the speculation. It's nice to have such devoted fans, but still . . .

The Sopranos. Mad Men. Breaking Bad. Game of Thrones. Yes, of course, to all of them. But remember, this is 1965, and the series in question is The Fugitive.

It's a little hard to say how or where this rumor started, but as Henry Harding's "For the Record" feature recounts, this rumor, "running rampant around the country," which

has been detailed in hundreds of letters to TV GUDE and Fugitive producer Quinn Martin, says that the final episode of the series has been shot, has already been shown on some stations, and that the one- armed man did not kill Dr. Kimble’s wife after all. In the episode, the one-armed man purportedly tells Dr. Kimble that he saw Lieutenant Gerard do it—during what appeared to be a lovers’ quarrel. They haven’t actually seen this episode, the letter-writers say, but they know people who know people who have.

As if to prove the accuracy of this observation, the week's letters to the editor section includes a letter from Mrs. Janice F. Angevine of Shreveport, Louisiana, who says that this "wild rumor" is "running rampant over the city of Shreveport and environs." "It says The Fugitive’s last chapter has been written and actually shown in some cities and that policeman Gerard is the real killer of Kimble’s wife. Kimble, in the last episode, finally finds the one-armed man who tells a horrendous tale of a love affair between Lt. Gerard and Mrs. Kimble, and reveals that Gerard killed her."

Harding quickly dismisses the rumor; with The Fugitive currently ninth in the Nielsens, "Dr. Kimble may still be running long after the rest of us have stopped." Producer Quinn Martin hasn't given any thought to a conclusion (in fact, he was against the idea of bringing the mystery to a close, fearing that it would damage the show's prospects in syndication), but doesn't mind the attention. "People ask me, 'Isn’t it awful about all these rumors?' I say, 'what’s awful about it?' " Martin speculates that The Fugitive may have tapped into a universal theme, probably the fear of being accused of something you didn't do, and adds, "It’s marvelous that people care so much about the show."

(L-R) Morse, Janssen, Raisch
Looking back at this from the perspective of nearly sixty years, I'm struck by a couple of things, one having to do with storytelling in general, the specifically with The Fugitive. As far as speculation about popular television programs, what we've seen in the social media era is nothing new; in fact, social media itself is nothing new, if one wants to look not only at TV Guide, but all the other publications of the time. People read, write letters, exchange gossip over the backyard fence, and pretty soon the rumor mill is operating at full power. The internet simply allows it to happen more quickly and involving more people.

As far as The Fugitive itself, this shows how quickly the series gained traction with viewers. It's only been on for a year and-a-half, since September 1963. Fred Johnson, the one-armed man (played by Bill Raisch) had only appeared in three episodes to this point, and one of those was a flashback; that people are, even then, speculating on a showdown between Kimble and Johnson is, although inevitable, quite interesting. Most intriguing of all is this idea that some parts of the country have already seen the final episode, although it's always been the friend of a friend of a friend who saw it. Something like this would have been a fairly significant story—when the final episode did air, it drew a record audience—so the thought that it could have been "sneaked" onto only a few stations is absurd. And yet, it shows that being media savvy wasn't the norm back then; people weren't conditioned to think that way. You and I may know that a network would use the suspense of a final episode to whip up a tremendous amount of publicity prior to its airing (just look at "Who Shot J.R.?), but I don't think people stopped to think about that in 1965; other than a "very special" marriage episode of a series, storytelling didn't work that way.

In any event, it's fun to read a contemporary account of this. The Fugitive was less than halfway through its four-season run, and Gerard would always remain a favorite suspect in the minds of viewers (people wanted him to be the bad guy); one version was that the series would end with Gerard unscrewing a fake arm, and David Janssen and Barry Morse used to joke that it would end with the two of them going off together into the sunset. While that final episode isn't the best of The Fugitive, it gave viewers what they wanted: a conclusion. It also gave ABC what it wanted: ratings.

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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: Ed presents a show from Florida’s Miami Beach Auditorium. Scheduled guests are comedians Alan King and Bill Dana; the singing Barry Sisters; dancer Juliet Prowse; singer Wayne Newton; the singing Hialeah Jockey Octet; the Hurricanes, the University of Miami’s Glee Club; the Sensational Leighs, aerial act; and the Cypress Gardens Water Skiers.

Palace: Co-hosts Roy Rogers and Dale Evans (accompanied by Trigger and the Sons of the Pioneers) introduce comedian Shelley Berman; rock ‘n’ rollers Jan and Dean; the Ballet Folklorico of Mexico; the Nicholas Brothers, singing dancers; the Murias, Japanese jugglers; and the Flying Armors’ trapeze act. 

I think this is one of those weeks where when it comes to picking the winner, your mileage may vary. I look at Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and see a couple of legends; I look at Shelley Berman and see one of the best satirists of the time; I look at the Nicholas Brothers and see two of the most dynamic singer-dancers ever captured on film. That doesn't mean Sullivan doesn't have a good lineup this week; in fact, I think it's a bit deeper. But you can already tell which way I'm going, can't you? The Palace rides off with the prize.

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While looking at the Hollywood Palace lineup, I was drawn to a program on KQED, the educational station in the Bay Area: Freberg Revisited . . . Again (Saturday, 9:00 p.m. PT) Professor Edwin Burr Pettet of Brandeis University visits (for the third time) Stan Freberg, who discusses "his philosophy about the commercial aspects of show business." Pettet was a noted expert on comedy and drama in the theater, and it would have been a natural for him to be talking with Freberg, who applied comedy to the art of advertising in a way that was revolutionary, or at least highly successful. Freberg's satiric radio series was very funny, as were his television appearances, and yet I think we most remember him for commercials like this one for Jeno's Pizza Rolls, perhaps one of the greatest of all time. Imagine what he could have done with the Super Bowl commercials.

Here's another interesting show: Profiles in Courage (Sunday, 6:30 p.m., NBC), which, of course, is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by then-Senator John F. Kennedy. The original profiles in Profiles were too few to fill up a television series (there were only eight, and they were all Senators), so prior to his assassination JFK authorized the inclusion of additional subjects. Tonight's subject is one of those additional biographies: Andrew Johnson, future President of the United States, but at present a senator from Tennessee, staking his prestige and his future on a fight to keep his state from seceding and joining the Confederacy. Walter Matthau stars as Johnson, in yet another reminder of what a fine dramatic actor he was, and how interesting his career might have been had he continued in that vein.

Had Kennedy lived, one of the added profiles might well have been of John Glenn, the most heroic of the astronauts whom Kennedy so admired. Glenn is with Walter Cronkite on the CBS Special Report "T-Minus 4 Years, 9 Months and 30 Days" (Monday, 10:00 p.m.), an investigation on the progress of the American manned space program, and whether or not the United States is still on track to land a man on the moon by 1970. The report, taped earlier this afternoon, includes a test of the Saturn V booster supervised by Dr. Werhner von Braun in Huntsville, Alabama. I like that, and I also like tonight's episode of I've Got a Secret (8:00 p.m., CBS), in which Buddy Hackett subs for panelist Bill Cullen, and Lorraine Bloy, a stewardess chosen from the audience last week, sits in for vacationing Bess Myerson. 

I know that space is limited in TV Guide listings, and sometimes you have to take shortcuts to describe the plot of an episode, but here's one for The McCoys (Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., CBS) that I would have redone: "Kate thinks Luke doesn't love her—he's not as affectionate as her neighbor's husband." I'm sure they're not suggesting that her neighbor's husband is more affectionate to Kate than Luke, right? Better to ignore that and check out The Bell Telephone Hour (10:00 p.m., NBC), as host Robert Goulet is joined by Eydie Gorme, Mildred Miller, Barbara Cook and Susan Watson to tell "The History of the American Girl." Sounds to me like something you'd see on one of NET's sociology programs. 

Fellow Rat-Packers Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford appear as themselves on The Patty Duke Show (Wednesday, 8:00 p.m., ABC), as Patty is tasked with finding a big-name star for the high-school prom. They didn't have that problem in the World's Worst Town™, the big name would have been whoever could come up with the keg for the after-prom party. And speaking of big-name guest stars, they're always available at Burke's Law (9:30 p.m., ABC); this week's lineup includes Joan Bennett, Edd Byrnes, Arlene Dahl, Paul Lynde, and Bert Parks.

One of ABC's standbys is The Donna Reed Show (Thursday, 8:00 p.m.), coming up to the end of its seventh season, and while the focus is on Donna and her family, one of the featured characters is 36-year-old Bob Crane, who plays Dr. David Kelsey, next-door neighbor and colleague of Donna's husband, Alex. Marian Dern profiles Crane this week, looking at the life and motivation of one of the busiest men around, described as a combination of Jack Lemmon, Bob Cummings, and Jack Benny. Not only is Crane a regular on the Reed show, he's also one of the most popular DJs in West Coast radio, host of the morning show on KNX, the CBS flagship in Hollywood—a job that nets him a cool $75,000 a year. It's said that this is the best way to understand Crane and his frantic mix of "records, interviews (frequently testy), news items, commercials, kidding, claptrap and corn," and isn't afraid to have fun during the show's commercials, such as one for an airline during which he plays the sound of a motor sputtering and dying in the background. Advertisers seldom complain, and why should they? "They get three minutes for every one they pay for." He's leaving the Reed show next fall; Dern portrays Crane's relationship with Tony Owen, Reed's current husband and producer of the show, as a somewhat contentious one, an opinion that isn't always shared by contemporary reviewers, but not to worry: he's shooting a pilot for CBS, a World War II sitcom called The Heroes. Don't bet against him.

You may remember a few weeks ago I spent almost the entire space here commenting on creativity (or the lack thereof) of television shows, which—naturally—means I'd notice the debut episode of The Creative Person, a 28-week series that "probes the personal vision of the artist—those qualities which enable the creative person to translate the world around him into a meaningful statement." (Friday, 4:30 p.m., KQED) Let this sound too stuffy, tonight's episode, "A Thurber's Eye View of Men, Women and Less Alarming Creatures" is a comic recreation of Thurber's view of the world based on his writings, starring Eddie Bracken, Elaine Stritch, Elliott Reid, and Allyn Ann McLerie. Halla Stoddard, the producer of Broadway's "Thurber Carnival," did this adaptation. 

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How about some golf? Nowadays, there's plenty to be found between the men's and women's tournaments each week, not to mention the Golf Channel. But back in the day, televised tournaments were few and far between, aside from the major championships. And yet there's no shortage of golf this weekend, thanks to the made-for-TV events offered by the networks and in syndication. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the CBS Golf Classic, which features two teams of pro golfers each week leading up to the championship. This week, a quarterfinal match pits Billy Casper and Bob Rosburg against Bo Wininger and Tommy Bolt. (Saturday, 3:30 p.m.)

NBC's long-running Shell's Wonderful World of Golf, which in its original incarnation ran from 1961 to 1970, showcases not only the finest golfers but also some of the best and most scenic courses in the world. You can find that on Sunday at 4:00 p.m., as Canadian champions George Knudson and Al Balding face off at Cape Breton Highlands in Nova Scotia. There's also Big Three Golf, a series of filmed rounds contested by the three best players in the world: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player. Eight matches are scheduled for the season, and you can see the third on Saturday at 2:00 p.m, on KCRA, or the fourth on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on KRON. Gotta love those syndicated schedules.

So why were these so popular? Because they're filmed, the broadcast can be edited to make sure viewers see every big shot, regardless of when it happens (the average round could take between three and four hours back then); you also don't have to deal with those long breaks between holes. Because the productions take care in their camera placement, they can also bring the best views of the action. And it compares favorably to tournament golf, which was generally limited to the last three or four holes, by which the outcome might already be determined, the best shots missed, or the leader already being in the clubhouse as the broadcast starts; you're also assured of seeing the biggest names without having to worry about them missing the cut or being out of contention. There are a number of them at YouTube; they're worth checking out.

Speaking of tape-delay (or film-delay, as the case may be), we have another example of it with ABC's Wide World of Sports, and coverage of the seventh annual Daytona 500 (Saturday, 5:00 p.m.), which was held two weeks ago. As with golf, a 500-mile race can take a long time to run, and showing an edited version of it can save a lot of dead airtime. The first live coverage of the race was in 1974, when ABC joined it in progress for the last 90 minutes, using taped highlights to update viewers on what had happened prior to the start of the live telecast. The first flag-to-flag coverage of the race came on CBS in 1979. But back to 1965—the race is stopped after 133 laps due to rain, with Fred Lorenzen coming out on top.

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I hope people remember who Mae West was; Dwight Whitney calls her "the first, the funniest, and, some say, the greatest of all the modern sex symbols," and as recently as this issue, audiences are still accepting her invitation to "Come up and see me sometime." Last season, her tongue-in-cheek appearance on Mister Ed was one of the year's comedy hits, and she's hoping to make a return appearance this season. Whitney's interview with West takes place, naturally, in the boudoir, where "Everything is gilt on white. The walls are white, the carpet is white, the tufted satin bedspread on the round bet is white, the satin canopy rising majestically to the ceiling is white." She says she's been in high demand lately, estimating that she's turned down "more movie and TV offers in the last 10 years than most girls get in a lifetime." Why? "Because they are not right for me. They are not Mae West." 

She has a lot to say about today's actresses, most of it critical. Of family sitcoms the aforementioned Donna Reed Show, she replies absently, "Donna who?" Jean Harlow was "merely acting sex," she calls Lana Turner "a schoolgirl," and when asked about Marilyn Monroe, she says, "Well, they managed to do something with her." And then there's Elizabeth Taylor. She's a face," West says. "Of course, she has some blood in her veins. But that thing with that fellow—uh, what's his name?—didn't do her any good. Women won't come to see you. Of course, I haven't seen Cleopatra."

She's about to talk about her plan for two TV specials each year when she's reminded her agents are waiting, and it's time for Whitney to go. She doesn't tell him to come back up and see her sometime, but she does say, "I'm waiting for pay-TV. I'll bet I'll rate No. 1 on it." It's a ridiculous statement based on her age (72), but in the coming years she'll appear in the movies Myra Breckinridge (1970) and Sextette (1978), be interviewed by Dick Cavett, write a second book and a play, and do an album with covers of songs by The Doors. At age 84, Time will say, "Mae West is Still Mae West." It's perhaps with that in mind that Whitney concludes that he won't bet against her.

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MST3K alert: Teenagers from Outer Space (1959) "A spaceship arrives on earth carrying some youngsters. David Love, Bryan Grant." (Friday, 1:00 a.m., KRON) What this brief description doesn't tell you is that the "youngsters" are bent on conquering the Earth through the use of a monstrous "Gargon." I could explain their motive for this, but there's no percentage in it. And yes, they are teenagers, more or less. TV  


  1. "Who Killed J.R.?" Mr. Ewing was merely shot on DALLAS in 1980 and lived another 32 years until his actor, Larry Hagman, passed away.

    It's nice to see a photo of the 3 FUGITIVE actors smiling when their characters mostly hated each other. Bill Raisch was in real life a one-armed man, having lost his right arm during WWII while he was in the Merchant Marine.

    1. Thanks - obviously, I had killing on my mind. Actually, for reasons which will eventually become evident, I was thinking "Who Killed Laura Palmer," but you'll have to wait for that.

  2. RE: Beverly Hillbillies cover story--Is this the article in which the location of the Kirkeby mansion - where exteriors for TBH were shot - was leaked, putting a halt to future filming, and preventing its use for the season debuting in color that coming Fall?

  3. I know that episode of "Burke's Law" you're talking about, specifically because of one of the actors listed. And the reason I remember it is because it was completely recycled, by its writers, the legendary Levinson and Link, for their pilot of the short-lived series "Blacke's Magic," with Hal Linden. ("Hey, wait a minute - that was on BURKE'S LAW!")

    1. For The Record:
      Paul Lynde appeared in 3 (three) different episodes of Burke's Law.
      The one listed in this issue, "Who Killed Mr. Colby In Ladies Lingerie?", aired on March 3, 1965; screenplay by Tony Barrett.
      The one Memo2Self refers to, "Who Killed Merlin The Great?", aired December 2, 1964; screenplay by Levinson & Link; reused in rewritten form as "Who Killed Alexander The Great?", airing March 4, 1994; screenplay by Joel Blasberg.
      In Between:
      Blacke's Magic: Breathing Room (Pilot), airing January 5, 1986;
      Teleplay by Peter S. Fischer, Levinson & Link, based on a story by Levinson & Link.
      I have c2c DVDs of all of the above episodes, which served as my source for the above.

  4. Interestingly enough, I have been binging "Fugitive " episodes this winter after having watched them originally as a precocious TV kid between the ages of 10-14 (and on ABC daytime when I was home sick from school). The genius of this show's writing is seen in season four when the one-armed man has an increased role in many episodes. "A Clean and Quiet Town" (Episode 3 in Season 4) was as dramatic as any involving Fred Johnson. He had actually started to climb a career ladder in organized crime as opposed to his seedy portrayal throughout the show. It was a great curveball thrown to the audience in preparation for the final episode.

    1. I agree - it's kind of unusual, I think, to develop the story of a secondary character that way, especially one that only makes occasional appearances. What a great show that was!

  5. Regarding the Bob Crane piece in this issue, that article bothered Bob terribly. He talked with Tony Owen about it, asking why he would say something like that when it isn't true? Tony Owen told Bob he had been misquoted and to get a thicker skin. When Hogan's Heroes premiered on September 17, 1965, Donna and Tony sent Bob a telegram:
    (Actual telegram published in Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography)

    1. I can agree. Even if I weren't a fan of Bob's, I thought the article had a snarky, unfair, cheap-shot quality about it, as if the author had already taken a dislike to him.

  6. Well, isn't that nice--Everyone gets a response except me. And I was only asking a legitimate, on-topic question requiring a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer.

    1. Au contraire! Yours is special because I had to go back and get the issue so I could make sure I was giving you the right answer. The article involved is actually a roundtable discussion with the three female leads on the show - Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, and Nancy Kulp; the article doesn't have a byline. I didn't remember anyone talking about the location of the mansion, but I wanted to make sure that was the case, and it is. Hope that makes up for it; there's another Beverly Hillbillies issue coming up in a couple of weeks, and I'll answer the question now - that one isn't it, either!

    2. I apologize for my assumptions and appreciate your explanation. I wonder if the divulged address occurred in a non-Hillbillies themed article.Do you recall seeing any pieces on TV filming locations in any of the '64 or '65 issues?

    3. No worries! I think I may recognize the article you're talking about - I seem to recall a pictorial on Hillbillies that may have included some pictures of the actual mansion. I'll have to see if I can find that, but it may be the one.

    4. A-ha - I found it! https://www.itsabouttv.com/2020/08/this-week-in-tv-guide-august-1-1964.html


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!