January 20, 2024

This week in TV Guide: January 17, 1970

It's not often that we lead off with one of our features; thinking back on it, I'm not sure that I've ever done it before. But, then, I'm not sure that we've ever encountered anyone quite like Michael James Brody, Jr., especially not on The Ed Sullivan Show. And when you have the potential to use that as the lede, why look any further?

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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's guests are Muhammad Ali, actress June Allyson, singer Buddy Greco, comics Bill Dana (as Jose Jimenez) and Minnie Pearl, magician Mac Ronay, millionaire Michael James Brody Jr. and his wife Rennie, and the Kessler Twins, singer-dancers. 

Palace: Hosts Bobbie Gentry, John Hartford and Roy Clark present Frankie Laine, Louis Nye, dancers Szony and Agnese, the rocking Brooklyn Bridge and comic Jackie Gayle.

The listing for this week's Sullivan show was skimpy on details, forcing me to consult the IMDb to find out exactly who appeared, and I'm glad I did; otherwise, we'd have no reason to talk about Michael James Brody Jr.. 

Brody, a 21-year-old margarine heir from New York, was, for a time, "the most beloved millionaire in the world"; newspaper headlines proclaimed him as the "Hippie Angel," dedicated to world peace and the sharing of prosperity. He had a fortune of $25 million, or so he said, his portion of a trust fund set up by his grandfather, margarine magnate John Jelke. He first started to attract headlines when he bought out all the seats on a Pam Am 707 (cost: $7,000) so that he and his new wife, Renee (whom he'd met three weeks before when she showed up at his house to make a hash delivery for her drug-dealing then-boyfriend) could return home from their Jamaican honeymoon in private. 

Naturally, that kind of behavior is bound to garner attention, and after Pan Am spread the story, photographers and newsmen were on hand at Kennedy Airport to capture their arrival. Apparently inspired by all the publicity, Brody fanned the flames by announcing that he wanted to give away his fortune. (New York Times headline: "He Wants to Aid Poor and Peace.") "Money hasn’t made me satisfied," he told the Times reporter. "I wasn’t satisfied until I found Renee. Now I have everything I want—love, fresh air, food. So why shouldn’t I give my money away?" He made public his phone number and address, and urged people to send him their requests. He was said to be worth at least $25 million, and NBC placed the number at $50 million. Predictably, he was besieged by letters, telegrams, and calls, and opened up an office to handle the deluge of mail.

His behavior was extravagant; said the Times, "He is reported to have given $2,500 to a man with mortgage trouble, $1,000 to a taxi driver, $500 to a heroin addict, $100 to a barber who opened a door for him and $100 to a newsboy who sold him a paper—all on Thursday." And, in the midst of all this, he and Renee (her name appears as "Rennie" on the IMDb credits) wound up on The Ed Sullivan Show, where he received $3,500 for his appearance, which included "play[ing] a Bob Dylan song ("You Ain't Going Nowhere") on his acoustic guitar as the host marveled over 'the youngster giving away $25 million.' Audience members applauded wildly." And you thought last week's issue was full of stories behind the stories. He signed a record contract, and tried to land a helicopter on the lawn at the White House, where he wanted to meet with President Nixon and discuss world peace.

If it all seems too good—or too weird—to be true, it unfortunately proves to be the case. Checks started to bounce, and it turned out that he'd overestimated his fortune just slightly: in reality, his portion of the trust was worth more like $1.25 million. Checks started to bounce, Brody briefly disappeared from sight, and in April he was being held in a psychiatric center in the Bay Area. In May, he was arrested on drug charges, and the following year he was arrested for threatening President Nixon's life. He ultimately took his own life by gunshot on January 26, 1973.

You can read more about this colorful and, ultimately, very sad story in this feature at the New York Post (which incorrectly identifies the date of his Sullivan appearance as January 11). And even though The Hollywood Palace has a strong Country-themed lineup—in fact, it's probably a stronger lineup overall—nothing is going to top a story like that. This week, Sullivan is worth a million.

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Well, I admit that's a hard act to follow, but we'll gamely soldier on. Carolyn See knows a little about that; getting Don Galloway to talk about himself is a little like pulling teeth, or, as she puts it, getting blood from a stone. He's reticent to talk about himself and his accomplishments in the business, which have peaked with his current role on Ironside, in which he plays one of Raymond Burr's trusted lieutenants—or, in the case of Galloway's character, Ed Brown, sergeant. "Perhaps," See wonders, "his modesty and shyness are not so much a by-product of being a supporting actor as they are reasons for his becoming a supporting actor in the first place."

Up to now, his career has consisted mainly of "generally forgettable parts," or fairly good parts "in forgettable series," including Arrest and Trial, 90 Bristol Court, and the movie Rare Breed, in which he was overshadowed by stars Brian Keith and Maureen O'Hara. Ironside would seem to offer, as See says, few challenges, but Galloway is fine with it. "It’s a question of values. Some people want to be a star. Some people want to be rich. I really just want to act and make a living acting." And then he shifts the talk, as he has been doing throughout the interview, away from himself and toward, in this case, "that big guy who rides in a wheel chair." "I've been quoted as saying that Raymond Burr is the best actor in America. I actually didn’t say exactly that. I said there are none better." A stickler for detail, he adds, "There may possibly be actors as good as he is—l mean, you could argue it—but | don’t believe there’s a better actor in the country."

So much for his career. "I just feel that the story of my life isn't exactly high drama." When asked how he met his wife, he responds simply, "On a cigarette commercial." Pressed for details, he adds, "In Red Bank, New Jersey." And when asked for the best time he's ever had in his life, he mentions The Rare Breed, and steers it once again away from his career. "That's when my wife had our first daughter, and | met my old friend and poker-playing buddy, Jack Elam." His passions are his work, his family, and poker, and it's hard not to understand Don Galloway as a happy, satisfied man. "When you come home from work, and talk to your wife and play with the kids, and play a little poker, there isn’t much time left."

In his series of "It's About TV" articles on Ironside, Stephen Taylor mentions Don Galloway, and his first impressions are quite similar to what we read here: "He’s just an anonymous guy wearing a suit who happens to carry a badge. He has no gravitas. No bearing. He’s simply not believable." And then immediately corrects himself; in the third season episode "Tom Dayton Is Loose Among Us," he shows to us all that he can really act. That episode is due to air in April 1970; I wonder if Carolyn See was able to catch it?

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Let's take a look at some sports. 

    Program from the final game
For ten years, the American Football League has battled for recognition and respect from the National Football League and football fans throughout the nation. Over the last four years, the rebel league has battled the establishment to a dead heat in the Super Bowl, with each league winning two games. Now, as the leagues merge into the new and improved NFL, the AFL plays its last-ever game, as the best of the Eastern and Western Divisions clash in the final AFL All-Star Game, live from the Houston Astrodome (Saturday, 11:00 a.m., NBC). It's the end of an era, one that I think many American Football League fans are sorry to see come to a conclusion; by being merged into the NFL, where it will become the "American Conference" (complete with three teams from the NFL joining the ten former AFL teams), the league loses something of its identity, its style of play, its "rebel with a cause" reputation. Those were the days.

But there's more: on Sunday it's the NFL's turn, with the 20th annual Pro Bowl, another East-West affair, from Los Angeles (1:00 p.m., CBS). The Pro Bowl will continue as an American Conference vs. National Conference setup, with steadily decreasing interest, until the game is finally abolished in 2022 (the 2021 game was cancelled because of the virus). And on Tuesday night, it's basketball's turn, as stars from the East and West meet in Philadelphia (5:30 p.m., ABC). 

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The previous year, the NBA All-Star Game had been played on the same night as President Johnson's final State of the Union Address; in one of the strangest occurrences in the history of televised sports, ABC breaks away from the live action midway through the first half to switch to Washington for the speech, returning at halftime and, after showing a brief highlights package, resuming live coverage with the start of the third quarter. There's no such conflict this year, as President Nixon delivers his first State of the Union on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.—that's 12:30 p.m. in Washington. It's been years since I've watched that dog and pony show, but as far as I know, it's usually in primetime; it's hard to imagine such a major media event being doing during the day today.

But that means Thursday's TV schedule is unaffected, including the debut of a show hosted by Nixon's fellow politician, Pat Paulsen. Paulsen's 1968 presidential campaign now gives way to the premiere of The Pat Paulsen Half a Comedy Hour (7:30 p.m., ABC), with special guests Hubert Humphrey (probably still thinking it should be him giving the State of the Union), Debbie Reynolds, and Daffy Duck. You might recall that back in 1968, the producers of Laugh-In tried unsuccessfully to get Humphrey to appear on the show; instead, it was Nixon who got the "Sock it to me" line and won the election. Perhaps Hubert has learned his lesson, as tonight he makes his comedy acting debut in a sketch that involves him aiding a distressed motorist (Pat)—you can see how that plays out here. Myself, I thought Hubert did pretty well, but the series only lasts 13 episodes; perhaps Pat should have had him on every week. 

Unfortunately, having the State of the Union on in the afternoon also means that the premiere of Paris 7000 goes on as scheduled (10:00 p.m., ABC). No offense to George Hamilton, whom I quite liked when I saw him at the Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Convention last year, but this show, in which he plays a troubleshooter working out of the U.S. consulate in Paris, is even less successful than Pat Paulsen's—it runs for only 10 episodes. Maybe they could have had an episode featuring Hubert Humphrey stopping by while passing through France.

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Thursday's not the only night that sees new shows in the lineup; if we go back a night we'll run into a few more, again on ABC, which, I suppose, tells us something about the network's relative standing in the ratings race. On Wednesday, the luminous Juliet Mills stars in Nanny and the Professor (7:30 p.m., ABC), in which she plays a nanny who mysteriously shows up at the home of widowed professor Richard Long and his three children. Says TV Guide, "She can't fly, and she's no magician, but this British nanny is quite extraordinary all the same," and truer words have seldom been spoken.

Next, it's the return of The Johnny Cash Show (9:00 p.m., ABC), which had a successful run as a summer replacement for The Hollywood Palace. Tonight, Johnny's show is from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, where he welcomes guests Arlo Guthrie, Jose Feliciano, and Bobbie Gentry; his regulars include his wife June Carter Cash and the Carter Family, Carl Perkins, the Statler Brothers, and the Tennessee Three. In the history of television (and you can freely correct me here), I'm not sure there are many stars with the stature and star power of Johnny Cash who have ever hosted their own weekly series. That's followed at 10:00 p.m. 

The night is topped off by ABC's answer to, well, their own star. Having had great success with the weekly series hosted by Welch singer Tom Jones, the network is back with The Engelbert Humperdinck Show, hosted by the British singer of the same name. Both Jones and Humperdinck wear tuxedos, have great sex appeal with the ladies, and speak with accents, but Engelbert doesn't quite become the sensation that Tom is; his series runs for six months (and may have only been a limited series anyway). Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, you can see eleven of the eighteen episodes here.

In addition to the premieres, ABC's been moving around some of their established shows. It Takes a Thief is now on at 7:30 p.m. Monday (replacing The Music Scene and a portion of The New People, both toast), while The Flying Nun has moved to Fridays at 7:30 p.m. (in place of Let's Make a Deal), and Love, American Style takes the 10:00 p.m. slot formerly held by Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters.*

*And that isn't even the show with the longest title of the season; that honor belongs to Lana Turner starring in Harold Robbins' "The Survivors". Beat that!

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As it's turning out, Wednesday is a pretty big night on the tube. In addition to ABC's shenanigans, Joan Crawford makes a rare dramatic television appearance on The Virginian (7:30 p.m., NBC) in the story "Nightmare," written especially for her by Gerry Day and Bethel Leslie*. She plays the new wife of a prominent businessman in town, who faces the "smoldering jealousies" and resentments from people who don't want to accept her in her new role. Well, you know what they say about the trouble with stepmothers. 

*Yes, Bethel Leslie the actress, who featured on so many television shows of the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to acting, she was an accomplished scriptwriter, writing for Gunsmoke, Barnaby Jones, McCloud, Falcon Crest, and other series. She was also the head writer for The Secret Storm.

That's followed by a special episode of Kraft Music Hall, as the Friars Club roasts Jack Benny. Johnny Carson is the roastmaster, with George Burns, Ed Sullivan, Alan King, Milton Berle, Henny Youngman, Phil Harris, and Dennis Day. Oh, and there's one more special guest: the vice president of the United States, Spiro Agnew. ("I don’t know how old Jack is. I only know that the Treasury Department sent me Jack’s income-tax return, and his Social Security number was 1.") The unbylined article on the taping of the roast gives us a look at the backstage preparations: Johnny Carson, "brandishing a nailed-on grin"; the half-dozen blue-suited Secret Service agents scanning the room, each wearing "a face that would stop a clock"; and various comics (including Benny) walking off their nerves and trying out lines that bomb. The actual roast lasts about 90 minutes but is edited down to a little over half that time for broadcast. "It’s shorter because some of the wisecracks fizzled and—more important—a few of the ad libs would send NBC’s Priscilla Goodbody into cardiac arrest." When the Friars roast, they use a blue flame, to put it mildly. Here's the version that aired—you knew it would be on YouTube, didn't you?

Some movies of interest round out the week. Judith Crist is bullish on NBC's Saturday night move, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (9:00 p.m.), the funniest thing being director Richard Lester, who directed the Beatles in A Hard Day's Night and Help!, and provides his special brand of film fun here. Even better are stars Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford, and Phil Silvers, "these pros make a funny thing just that." She also likes How to Steal a Million (Monday, 9:00 p.m., ABC), a heist caper with Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole as "an utterly delightful pair of respectable thieves" and Eli Wallach and Hugh Griffin on hand "to steal scenes." It's "an absolute strawberry shortcake of a film." Never Too Late (Thursday, 9:00 p.m., CBS), with Paul Ford and Maureen O'Sullivan, is a delight; the two veterans "make the contrivances very bearable indeed." And she recommends My Sweet Charlie (Tuesday, 9:00 p.m., NBC) sight unseen, based on stars Patty Duke and Al Freeman Jr. "Their performances in a vehicle derived from a fine novel and excellent stage play cannot be less than interesting."

And last but not least, on KXTV in Sacramento, Thursday brings The Killers (9:00 p.m.), the existential 1964 remake of the 1946 classic based on the short story by Ernest Hemingway, with Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager as the hitmen trying to find out why their latest target (John Cassavetes) put up no resistance when they arrived to kill him. Angie Dickinson is the moll who traps men in her web, and in his final screen role (and only time as the heavy), Ronald Reagan plays the crime boss at the center of it all. It was supposed to be part of NBC's Project 120 made-for-TV movies, but it was deemed too violent for TV, and wound up in the theaters. It's a dandy remake, and part of quite a string of films for Lee Marvin: between 1964 and 1967, he made The Killers, Cat Ballou, Ship of Fools, The Professionals, The Dirty Dozen, and Point Blank. That's not a bad record for any actor. TV  


  1. I recorded an audio tape of the last AFL All-Star game. The announcer was one of the people who made the league famous during its 10-year lifetime---Charlie Jones.

    1. Do you still have that tape, JD? And Charlie Jones was another of those big-game announcers - I always enjoyed listening to him.

  2. That was likely Bill Dana's final appearance as José Jiménez on the Sullivan show--He officially retired the character later that year.

    I thought the Daffy Duck sequence on Pat Paulsen's program (as well as a future episode with Foghorn Leghorn) was very impressive. The scripting and animation are both excellent--A real rarity for the era.

    1. Yeah, I agree. I thought that episode was much more interesting than I'd expected!

  3. Unfortunately no, Mitchell. It was lost somewhere between moves.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!