June 12, 2024

Comfortably numb

TV Guide: What is TV's greatest need? 

Gore Vidal: A sense that getting people to buy things they do not need is morally indefensible. One does not ask for Utopia, only a slightly less frantic exploitation of the innocent. 

From the May 9, 1964 issue. It's not often that I find myself agreeing with Gore Vidal, at least not politically, but in this case I can't possibly find myself disagreeing.  TV  

June 10, 2024

What's on TV? Sunday, June 12, 1960

You'll often notice, especially on Sundays, a program simply called Christophers. This program, which ran on ABC and in syndication from 1952 to 2012, was a production of The Christophers, a Catholic religious group dedicated to the doctrine of religious tolerance. It's all in a very noble cause, but with that said, I can't resist commenting on today's program (11:30 a.m., WPIX), "Develop a Love of People," featuring John Daly, Jack Hailey, and Jack Bailey. Great gentlemen all, but my first thought was that this sounded like the cast of a movie being promoted by Johnny Carson's character Art Fern on his Tea Time Movie. (If you've seen the bit, you'll get the joke.) Ah well, I guess once you're a smart ass, you stay that way the rest of your life. Today's listings come from the New York Metropolitan Edition.

June 8, 2024

This week in TV Guide: June 11, 1960

Since you're bound to wonder, that "lady comic" mentioned on the cover, the one who's apparently having zany experiences, is none other than Audrey Meadows, who says, by way of explanation, "I used to think I was the popular girl-comic because I was so stable. I pictured myself as having a great inner calm, as the mother figure to whom everyone ran for comfort. And then, one day, it occurred to me that I was just as cuckoo as the rest of them."

It first occurred to her that she was different when she found herself playing catch for an hour with Phil Silvers, which would be strange enough in itself, but this happened in the middle of a party he was throwing for thirty people, and took place inside. When she was asked if she thought anything strange had happened at the party, she replied, "No, nothing in particular." She credits her appearances with Silvers to being "the only girl he'd met to whom he didn't have to explain baseball." 

Right now she's playing Sid Caesar's wife in a series of specials for CBS, the fourth actress to do so. Caesar, she says, is a "perfectionist," and gives the cast plenty of time to prepare. Jackie Gleason, whose wife she plays in The Honeymooners, is a different breed altogether, who "ad-libs wildly and uses actors who don't panic." With Gleason, "no one knows what the show is about until it's over." He's also keyed up in the moments before a show, whereas Caesar can be glum and moody. And then, there's Audrey's brother-in-law, Steve Allen. "Steve is the only person I know who could actually forget he had a show to do," she says, recalling a time before he and Jayne Meadows were married, when Steve was at their home for dinner; afterwards, he stretched out to watch TV." "Don't you have a show tonight?" Jayne screamed. "What night is it?" he asked. When they told him, he told them they were right, and dashed to the studio. The glories of live television.

But back to that zany lifestyle. At her favorite dress show, she has the habit of stepping into a store window to beckon shoppers to come inside. "She does this all the time," a saleswoman says. One time she stood in the window for so long that the crowd outside thought she was a mannequin, "until I began to twitch. A woman almost fainted. Why do I do this? I don't know. Just cuckoo, I guess." Works for me.

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Nineteen-sixty is (in case you didn't already know) an election year, and thanks to television, you aren't likely to forget about it either. With the national conventions just a month away, World Wide 60 (Saturday, 9:30 p.m. ET, NBC), Frank McGee is the host for "Politics and Primaries," an hour-long look at the state of the presidential race. While Vice President Nixon has the Republican nomination all but wrapped up, the race on the Democratic side is still up for grabs, and McGee, along with reporters Herb Kaplow and Sander Vanocur, look at the relative strengths of the candidates, what they're doing to court support from convention delegates, and the issues that can determine the outcome. Ah, for the days when conventions actually meant something.

The trend continues on Sunday, as Senate Majority Leader (and Democratic presidential candidate) Lyndon Johnson guests on Let's Look at Congress (11:45 a.m., WPIX). That's followed by College News Conference (1:00 p.m., ABC), where former President Harry Truman will be quizzed by a panel of college students on issues of the day, including his support for fellow Missourian and U.S. Senator Stuart Symington's presidential campaign. At 3:30 p.m., political analyst Louis Bean looks at the results of the South Dakota and California primaries on Campaign Roundup (WPIX); Hubert Humphrey was the winner in South Dakota, while California goes with favorite son Governor Pat Brown, a proxy for John Kennedy. Kennedy's foreign policy advisor Connecticut Representative Chester Bowles, is the guest on Face the Nation (5:00 p.m., CBS), and the man himself, Democratic front-runner Kennedy, appears on Meet the Press (6:00 p.m., NBC). Later, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt hosts "The Future of Democracy Abroad" on Prospects of Mankind (9:00 p.m., WNEW); among her guests are presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson and Henry Kissinger, director of the Harvard Defense Studies Program. 

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Politics isn't the only thing on tap this week. The Belmont Stakes, longest and last leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, is contested at New York's Belmont Park (Saturday, 4:30 p.m., CBS); Kentucky Derby winner Venetian Way and Preakness champion Bally Ache are favored, but Bally Ache comes up lame the day before the race, and Celtic Ash pulls away in the stretch for an easy victory.

On Sunday, Ed Sullivan celebrates his 12th anniversary on the air with comedian Victor Borge; heavyweight boxing champion Ingemar Johansson and challenger (and former champion) Floyd Patterson, promoting their title fight on June 20; Louis Prima and Keely Smith, backed by Sam Butera and the Witnesses; Jay North of Dennis the Menace; singer Connie Francis; the comedy team of Wayne and Shuster; and Dick Gautier, later to be Hymie the Robot on Get Smart but presently starring as Conrad Birdie in Bye Bye Birdie

Andy Griffith is the guest star on The Danny Thomas Show (Monday, 9:00 p.m., CBS), in "Danny Meets Andy Griffith," the backdoor pilot for The Andy Griffith Show, as Danny is nabbed by Sheriff Taylor for running a stop sign in the small Southern town of Mayberry, North Carolina. Ronny Howard appears as Andy's son Opie, while Francis Bavier is on-hand as well, not as Aunt Bee but as Mayberry resident Henrietta Perkins. Although this isn't listed as a rerun, the episode originally aired in February.

Tennessee Ernie Ford hosts How Tall is a Giant? (Tuesday, 8:30 p.m., NBC), a 90-minute documentary on the Little League baseball team from Monterrey, Mexico, comprised of small boys from poor homes, that made history by coming from nowhere to become the first team from outside the United States to win the Little League World Series. This real-life Hoosiers story, in which "pint-sized, ambidextrous" pitcher Angel Macias hurled the first (and, to this date, only) perfect game in the championship, is narrated by the team's coach, Cesar Faz.

Last week we read about the demise of Armstrong Circle Theatre; for the last several years of its run, Circle Theatre alternated on a every-other-week basis with another of television's great Golden Age anthologies, The U.S. Steel Hour. This week's story (Wednesday, 10:00 p.m., CBS) demonstrates why that reputation is well-deserved; it's "The Imposter," the story of an amnesia victim who may or may not be Alinda's husband, a long-lost World War II veteran. Ann Sheridan, in a rare television appearance, plays the hopeful Alida; Jean Pierre Aumont is the mystery man.

You have to wait until late night for Thursday's highlight, as politics returns with the appearance of Senator Kennedy on The Jack Paar Show (11:25 p.m., NBC); he shares top billing with actress Anne Bancroft, currently starring on Broadway in The Miracle Worker. Here's a clip of Paar interviewing JFK; it marks the first time a presidential candidate has ever appeared on a late-night talk show; Paar, who was a friend of both Kennedy and Nixon, would have the latter on his show later in the year.

Person to Person, the venerable CBS interview program, is no longer hosted by Edward R. Murrow; newsman Charles Collingwood took over those duties in 1959, and will remain with the show until it goes off the air in 1961. The format of the show remained the same under Collingwood, however, and on Friday the CBS cameras visit the North Hollywood home of Gordon and Sheila MacRae, and their four children (including daughter Meredith); in the second half of the program, he talks with portrait photographer Philippe Halsman, who was responsible for many magazine covers over the years including TV Guide, from his New York apartment.

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We've already covered the story running across the top of the cover, so now it's time to get to the feature: the surprise success that is Bachelor Father

For four seasons, the sitcom has exploited one of the oldest clichés in television: that of the bachelor parent. "The aunt who is raising a nephew, the uncle who is raising a niece, the widowed father who is mothering his children," as one CBS executive put it. Despite this, Bachelor Father become one of the most popular shows on television when it premiered, alternating in its time spot with The Jack Benny Program for two seasons before moving to NBC, where it is about to start its second season as a weekly series. 

Its star, John Forsythe, is just as unlikely a choice to play swinging bachelor Bentley Gregg, who unexpectedly finds himself raising his niece after the death of her parents in an automobile accident. Forsythe, a former public address announcer for the Brooklyn Dodgers who came to television after a career spent between New York (where he acted on Broadway and in television) and Hollywood (doing features and radio serials), is anything but a swinger; he's married with three children, and he took the role in Bachelor Father because he wanted to settle down and do a regular TV series. A pilot, "Uncle Bentley Steps Out," attracted little interest until it came to the attention of G.E. Theater; it turned out to be one of G.E.'s most popular shows of the 1956-57 season, and American Tobacco picked up the show to alternate with Benny.

It hasn't exactly been smooth sailing since, either. Benny worried that the show would be a weak audience attraction until the ratings came in, and sponsors have tried, without success, to foist guest stars on the show; its ratings have been high anyway. For one thing, there's a satisfying chemistry between the cast members, which include Noreen Corcoran as Bentley's niece Kelly, and veteran Chinese-American character actor Sammee Tong as Peter, Bentley's houseboy. A motivational researcher attributes its success to the fact that the characters are real, and "shown as able to suffer." Forsythe himself thinks it's the "basic joke" that lies behind the show's premise: "The real joke is not that I, a bachelor, am the girl’s father. The funny part is that Sammee Tong behaves, in all our family crises, as if he were her mother. The basic idea may be a cliché, but Sammee and I are the funniest parents on the air, in the opinion of a lot of people."

At the end of the coming season, there will have been 118 episodes of Bachelor Father made, enough to provide it with a successful syndication run. (It eventually runs for 157 episodes over five seasons, the last of which is on ABC, making it the only primetime series to appear in consecutive years on all three networks.) Forsythe, who owns a half-share in the series, estimates that its value by then will be about a million dollars, but he's already preparing for that day when Bachelor Father is no longer. He and his producer have optioned two novels for motion pictures, neither of which involves a bachelor parent. Nor do the two hit series that will round out his long and successful career: Charlie's Angels and Dynasty

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Some scattered notes to fill out your day: NBC's color schedule for 1960 will total 920 hours, an average of just over two-and-a-half hours per day; the march to color is now well under way. Dennis Weaver has announced that this coming season of Gunsmoke will be his last, having played Chester for six seasons. I think he'll make out all right. And ABC's Western series Bronco and Sugarfoot will no longer air weekly; instead, they'll become part of the rotation for Cheyenne.

Frank DeBlois, reviewing Today, describes the morning show, now in its ninth season, as "a book where flowers bloom and maidens gambol in the dreadful wasteland of daytime network TV." Don't let the flowery prose get to you, though; DeBlois praises the show's consistent excellence, as well as its dedication to taking viewers all over the world. In April alone, the program followed John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey battling it out in the Wisconsin primary; spent a week in Rome, where Dave Garroway took viewers on a tour of the city and then explored modern Italian art and fashion; reported on the racial problems in South Africa; and featured a Martin Agronsky interview with Vice President Richard Nixon. 

That was followed up in May by coverage of the aborted Paris summit between President Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Khrushchev (aborted, in case you were wondering, by the U2 spy plane incident); showed a clip from the new movie The Gallant Hours, plus Garroway's interview with the movie's star, James Cagney; went behind the scenes with Jerry Lewis directing his TV special; and hosted guests including Arlene Francis and Vivien Leigh. "If you're not afraid of mental stimulus so early in the morning," DeBlois says, "Today's not a bad bet at all

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Finally, a last note on the campaign: there's been some talk that the major party candidates for president just might get together to debate the issues on national television. If, that is, they can get around the equal time requirements under which the networks labor, and if you think that's much ado over nothing, consider that in 1956, there were eleven presidential candidates on the ballot in one state or another. In order for one-on-one encounters (or, for that matter, for joint interviews by newsmen, or just plain speeches) to take place, the networks have asked Congress to approve a measure that would permit them to donate free air time to the major party (i.e. Republican and Democratic) candidates without having to do likewise for the minor party candidates.

The editors of TV Guide are one hundred percent in favor of this measure, seeing it as "a sensible and orderly" way to avoid last-minute scrambling to raise money, buy time, and pre-empt regularly scheduled programming. "Because Congress is thinking about adjournment, it is necessary that this public service broadcast measure be passed without delay," the editorial concludes. "A word to your Senators, and to your Congressman, would be helpful." 

It might be useful at this point to recall that the first Kennedy-Nixon debate, which took place on September 26, was the highest-rated broadcast in American television history. We also should remember, though, that these, and all those that have followed, could hardly be considered "debates" in the formal sense of the word. They most often consist of pre-rehearsed talking points, filled with attractive soundbites, that might possibly address, in some vague way, a question that itself might or might not be relevant; more often than not, they completely ignore the question altogether. Nor is there any real back-and-forth debate between the candidates; instead, what we have is more like a joint press conference, run by a news media that frequently has its own agenda, comprised of risible questions that, as Perry Mason might say, "assume facts not in evidence." 

In other words, that "word to your Senators and Congressman," if asked today, would likely as not be a resounding "No!" Still and all, the editors might have had a point; how many of us today would remember the Kennedy-Nixon-Hess-Decker-Faubus-Dobbs-Sullivan-Lee Debates?  TV  

June 7, 2024

Around the dial

William Russell died this week, just short of 100 years of age, and with him died one of the last links to the beginnings of Doctor Who. We were introduced to him in the very first episode of Who, airing on November 23, 1963 (albeit delayed from its scheduled start time due to the JFK assassination coverage); he played schoolteacher Ian Chesterton, one of the Doctor's original companions (along with Jacqueline Hill as fellow teacher Barbara Wright and Carole Ann Ford as Susan, the Doctor's granddaughter). Having previously starred in the television series Sir Lancelot (one of the first British imports to American television), it was thought that the young, virile actor could provide the physical action to compliment the older William Hartnell's more cerebral Doctor. He remained on the show for the first two series, and history will record that he was the first person to utter the phrase "Doctor Who." 

We just started rewatching the first season last month, and my wife asked me if he was still living; at that point, he was, and there was something comforting about that, as if the original series was still alive and well. In a sense, he never really left the show; there were references to him throughout the years, he reprised his role as Ian for bridging sequences on a video release of a Hartnell story that was only partially intact; he returned once more for a cameo appearance in 2022 (along with several other former Doctors and companions) in the episode "The Power of the Doctor," aired as part of a celebration commemorating the centenary of the BBC. 

To say that he was fondly remembered by Doctor Who fans is an understatement; I think many of us hold him in the same regard as we do the actors who played the title role. It seemed as if he would go on forever, just like the Doctor, and I suppose that he will, for as long as video continues to exist. Among the many, many tributes on line this week is this typically quirky one from Inner Toob. The finest one, though, is probably the affection with which generations of fans, many of whom weren't even born when Ian Chesterton made his first appearance, continue to have for him. That, I suspect, won't end either.

On the personal side, here are links to my two latest appearances on the Dan Schneider Video Interview. Dan and I discuss Lucille Ball and Mary Tyler Moore, and somehow I was able to stumble through each of them without making a complete fool of myself. I'll have more on what it feels like to be a podcast guest in the near future.

June 1 was National Game Show Day (although I've yet to see the Congressional resolution proclaiming it), and Travalanche commemorated the day with a nifty, comprehensive list of links to all kinds of things game show-related.

The first of two Avengers-related posts comes from The View from the Junkyard, where Roger and Mike match wits with "Invasion of the Earthmen," an episode clearly intended to parody Star Trek, even though that show wouldn't be seen in the UK for another six months.

Keeping with The Avengers, at Cult TV Blog John looks at "The Joker," a Mrs. Peel episode that is actually a remake of the third-series episode "Don't Look Behind You," which featured Mrs. Gale. This wasn't uncommon on The Avengers, so you get the chance to compare and contrast styles.

Martin Grams regales us with some photographs from The Green Hornet television series, which have apparently never been published. The Green Hornet isn't a great series; it never really decided whether to play it straight or camp it up a la Batman, but it was great fun to watch all the same. 

Terence's great blog A Shroud of Thoughts turned 20 this week (!), and to mark the occasion he's linked to the best posts of the past 20 years. I've been at this awhile, but I'm a piker compared to Terence, so let's hope he's up for 20 more years! TV  

June 5, 2024

If I ran the network, part 3

Recently I kicked off a new feature, "If I Ran the Network," a series of TV concepts that would never have made it to the small screen without network executives screwing them up. If you have similar ideas, please share them in the comments section; if I get enough, I'll use them to put together a complete prime-time lineup for the fictional HBC Network!

The idea for The Phil Collins Show was born from the success of The Tracey Ullman Show, which ran on Fox for four seasons from 1987 to 1990, and is now primarily known for having introduced The Simpsons. The Ullman show was a brilliant concept, combining sketch comedy, musical acts, and cartoon shorts, such as the Simpsons feature. In order to make this kind of concept work, you need one of two things: Dean Martin, or an exceptionally talented host. While Deano wasn't available, the fantastically talented Tracey Ullman was, and the show became the biggest success to date on the fledgling Fox network.

Phil Collins seemed like a good choice to host this kind of variety show. He was at the tail end of the greatest years of his career; his group, Genesis, was a bland shadow of its former self, having transitioned from progressive rock to pop, and Collins was sounding more and more like a white Lionel Richie*; it seemed to me that it would have been a good time to transition into television.  

*No offense to Richie here; I use that example specifically because Phil Collins once said, in a Playboy interview, that he didn't want to wind up sounding "like a white Lionel Richie." Of course, I only read the interview.

The show's format would have been similar to that of Ullman's, a half-hour program which would include Phil singing his latest hit, a performance by a musical or comedy guest (the show would probably be shot in London, meaning many of the guests would have been British), a sketch involving said guest star (with Phil playing a fictionalized version of himself, not unlike the premise of The Jack Benny Program), and a duet featuring Phil and his guest. Its casual attitude would have been reminiscent of The Dean Martin Show, and while I don't suggest that it would have been as successful, I think it could have built a solid audience.

One of the things which I would have hoped would attract viewers would have been the idea of guests that one didn't usually see on television, performing comedy routines that they might or might not have been totally suited for. Imagine, for example, Phil and Pete Townshend doing a version of the Dead Parrot Sketch from Monty Python. My favorite episode idea, though, was this one:

Frankly, I think Collins could have extended his career by years with this show. It's not as if he couldn't have pulled it off; he was a child actor, so he shouldn't have had any problems with the comedy, and he certainly had enough hits to carry the show. And with the half-hour format, the series could easily have been done in-between various tours, whether solo or with Genesis. Network executives probably would have been worried about all the foreign accents on the show, though, not to mention that Phil hardly looked like the star of his own variety series. You can't talk me out of the idea, though.

A network does not live by drama alone, and with the heavy shows I introduced in the first two segments of this feature, I think it was important to introduce something lighter, while remaining creative. I wonder what's next on the schedule? TV   

June 3, 2024

What's on TV? Thursday, June 6, 1963

It's always nice to look at an issue that includes a station from Canada. CKWS, now an affiliate of Global TV, was with the CBS in 1963, and while some of its programs come from the United States (The Defenders, Surfside 6, Dr. Kildare), a number of them are homegrown, including Playdate, a dramatic anthology series hosted by Christopher Plummer; tonight's play is "The Hunt," which includes in the cast a Canadian actor who will soon become familiar to American audiences: John Vernon. Animal House just wouldn't have been the same without him. These, along with the rest of the shows, are from the New York State Edition. 

June 1, 2024

This week in TV Guide: June 1, 1963

One of the storylines we've seen in our continuing journey through the history of television is the role of the sponsor in determining the programs that viewers saw. It wasn't uncommon for advertising agencies to create and produce television shows, which would then be shown on timeslots purchased from networks by sponsors. The agency got its show, the sponsor got its exposure, and the network got its money, and everyone was happy. 

Among those happy sponsors was the Armstrong Cork Company, which started out making bottle corks in 1860, and over the past hundred years has expanded to include everything from gaskets to vinyl flooring. It has, writes James J. Dailey, "doubled in size on the average of once every eight years in this century." It has also, for the past 13 years, sponsored Armstrong Circle Theater*, "one of the most solid, enlightened programs ever to grace the sometimes superficial medium of television." "We built this show with one basic idea," according to Max Banzhaf. formerly Armstrong's advertising director and now one of its vice presidents. "We wanted something that offered more than mere escapism, something that would stick to the ribs—point a moral—educate and entertain." 

*It was actually spelled "Theatre," as was the case with many television series, but since it's spelled "Theater" in the article, I'll use that here as well.

True to Banzhaf's word, Circle Theater evolved over the years, expanding from 30 minutes to an hour, and morphing from a standard dramatic anthology program to a weekly docudrama, offering stories dealing with real people and current issues ("actuals," as David Susskind once called them), with subjects running from medical quackery, the sinking of the Andrea Doria, and drug dealing, to war orphans, payola in the music industry, and the story of Radio Free Europe.

And then, one day, Max Banzhaf opened up the pages of Variety, only to read that CBS planned to cancel Circle Theater in order to make room for The Danny Kaye Show, which the network thought would be a bigger challenge to NBC's The Eleventh Hour, the top-rated show in the Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. timeslot. He was passed from vice president to vice president until he was told that he'd have to wait until CBS president James Aubrey returned from a trip to Europe. Several weeks later, Aubrey did, in fact, return, whereupon he called Banzhaf and confirmed the news. He then offered Armstrong the opportunity to sponsor a portion of the Kaye show, which the company reluctantly accepted.

As Dailey points out, this demonstrates most clearly an evolution in the way television does business. Companies like Armstrong—Westinghouse and U.S. Steel are given as other examples—are what the industry calls "considered-purchase companies"; in other words, the audience for their products is not an impulsive one, but one more likely to take its time before deciding to invest in products as substantial as those offered by these companies. "Such audiences may be smaller," Dailey notes, "but in the opinion of 'considered-purchase' manufacturers contain a greater average of people who will buy their goods. In the days before we all became familiar with demographics, such targeted groups were called "selective audiences."

The networks, on the other hand, are becoming less and less interested in selective audiences; instead, they have their eyes on programs that deliver higher ratings, because they, in turn, deliver "more people and more money under the cost-per-thousand-viewers formula." Shows that appeal to such audiences are being squeezed out, he says, in favor of more "popular" programming. A cynic would refer to this as pandering to the lowest-common denominator, but, as you know, such cynicism is anathema at this website, something we would never dare to suggest. 

With this in mind, Armstrong was left with limited choices. It could wait for another time slot on the schedule to open up, which would likely be a half-hour rather than an hour; it could try to move the show to another network; or it could accept CBS's offer to sponsor another program. Banzhaf says the decision to sponsor Kaye was not an immediate one, nor did everyone in the company agree with it. "We wouldn't sponsor just any baggy-pants comedian," he insists. Kaye, he explains, has dignity and a sense of character, and has been involved in many national and international causes. "To this extent I feel we are still rendering a service to the American public—though not everybody in the company feels as I do." Indeed, some insiders wonder if Kaye has what it takes to carry a weekly series; in the event, it ran for four seasons of variable quality, as opposed to Circle Theater's 14. 

The bottom line is that it is now the networks, and not the sponsors, who carry the weight in television. U.S. Steel, which sponsored the since-cancelled U.S. Steel Hour, General Electric, which formerly sponsored G.E. True and, before that, G.E. Theatre, and Firestone, which fought the networks over The Voice of Firestone, decided to opted out of prime time television after their shows left the air. For his part, Banzhaf believes that without sponsor input, the quality of television programming has suffered as networks have strived for higher ratings. Dailey concludes that it is "debatable" whether any program will be able to replace Circle Theater in the eyes of its followers.

What I find interesting about all this is that the network philosophy of pursuing higher ratings would, itself, only last about ten years. CBS, which axed Circle Theater, would be responsible for the rural purge that rid the network of some of its highest-rated programs, because—get this—they were not attracting the right kind of viewers, the ones that sponsors craved. In other words, demographics. Kind of ironic, I guess, but as they say, what goes around comes around. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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Let's take a look at some industry news, courtesy of the Teletype. First, we read that CBS has signed Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright William Inge (author of Picnic and Bus Stop) to develop a one-hour dramatic series for CBS for the 1964-65 season, with the tentative title All Over Town. I was interested, as the only Inge-related TV series I was aware of was the aforementioned Bus Stop, which had a single-season run in 1961-62. As it turns out, Inge never does do the series; instead, he writes a play, "Out on the Outskirts of Town," which winds up as an episode of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre on NBC. In short, not only does CBS not get the series, they don't even get the play that took its place.

We also find out that CBS has "temporarily shelved" its plan for a new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, which they'd planned to do next fall, because Julie Andrews (who'd starred in  the original 1957 broadcast) will be working on a Walt Disney movie. That movie, Mary Poppins, makes Julie an international film star and wins her a Best Actress Oscar. CBS does eventually remake Cinderella in 1965, with Leslie Ann Warren in the title role. 

Finally, ABC will become the first network to premiere their entire primetime fall schedule, both new and returning shows, during the course of a single week, with the unveiling is scheduled for the week of September 15. NBC and CBS both plan to introduce their new seasons over several weeks.

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Here's something we don't see often: a TV Ticket Guide to how you can get tickets to your favorite shows if you happen to be in either New York or Hollywood. Not surprisingly, most of the New York-based programs are game shows; for your convenience, you can pick up tickets at the Gimbels-TV Guide Summer Festival Center on Broadway and 33rd. Among the shows for which you can get tickets are Who Do You Trust? on ABC, Amateur Hour, Password, Talent Scouts, To Tell the Truth, and What's My Line? on CBS, and NBC's Concentration, Match Game, Play Your Hunch, The Price is Right, and Say When. You can also write directly to the networks if you're planning your trip; their addresses are included.

In Los Angeles, there's more variety to the choices; in addition to game shows, there are also variety shows and sitcoms; you can also write directly to "The Steve Allen Playhouse" for tickets to his syndicated show. The Lawrence Welk Show is sold out—well, the tickets are free, but you know what I mean—but rush tickets for the dress rehearsal are available first-come, first-served on the day of the show. Otherwise, you can visit the ABC ticket office for Day in Court, Queen for a Day, and Seven Keys. I'm surprised by Day in Court; I had no idea that was taped in front of a studio audience. CBS Television City has tickets for House Party, The Danny Kaye Show, and The Danny Thomas Show, but be aware: Kaye and Thomas won't be be taping their fall shows until August. And you can write to NBC or stop in for last-minute tickets at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood; the shows available are Truth or Consequences, Your First Impression, and You Don't Say!

Remember, though: if you're writing for tickets, please allow four weeks for delivery. And keep in mind that most programs are taped at an earlier hour or on a different day from when they're aired. Personally, I've never been in a TV studio audience, save a local show when I was young. How about any of you?

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One of the programs not mentioned in the list above is The Garry Moore Show; the 1963-64 season will be the show's last, save a brief revival in 1966. Be that as it may, Garry is on the cover of this week's issue, along with one of his regulars, comedienne Dorothy Loudon. Loudon, who debuted on the December 4, 1962 episode, was such a hit with viewers that she was signed for 16 additional episodes, and becomes a full-fledged regular this coming season, replacing former regular Carol Burnett.

As a performer, Maurice Zolotow tells us, Loudon is the epitome of sophistication and cynicism, singing of "strong, masculine arms and predatory women," a product of 10 years performing at such clubs as New York's famed Blue Angel; "her musical monologues," Zolotow says, "were so pointed they were single-entendre." But that we find out, is not the real Dorothy Loudon—at least that's what she says. "I want to have a family and cook and keep house for them," she says. "I hate show business. I hate the whole way of life that goes with it. I hate being a performer. I'm glad I'm on this Garry Moore thing because at least it keeps me out of night clubs which I hate and I don't have to travel on the road—I hate living in hotels." Her friends call her a romantic who can "get her heart broken quicker than the average girl can get a run in a new pair of nylons." Zolotow notes that there is something inherently antifeminine about being a great comedienne, and in compensating for it, "comediennes are more vulnerable to romance than any other type of performer, except Elizabeth Taylor."

Prior to her success in comedy, Loudon was, or hoped to be, a torch singer. But everything changed when she auditioned with Julius Monk for a new show at a supper club. Monk went into hysterics when she sang the line, "It costs me a lot but there's one thing that I've got—it's my man." "It was so unconsciously funny that I just literally fell down on the floor laughing," Monk says. "I couldn't stop laughing for five minutes and Dorothy, poor thing, her feelings were hurt. But I told her she was the screaming end. She was just a natural-born comedienne and she couldn't help giving any song a crazy twist, even if she did it seriously." And, just like that, Dorothy Loudon became a comedienne, playing in Monk's show for three years, becoming one of the hottest acts in nightclubs, and doing TV guest shots with Steve Allen, Dave Garroway, Ed Sullivan, Jack Paar, and others. 

She still feels a bit uncomfortable with the material she's being given, that the sketches working for Burnett, Carol Channing, or Nancy Walker don't work as well with her. Coleman Jacoby, one of Moore's writers, says that Loudon is a much subtler comedienne than the slapstick Burnett. "That's what makes her so hard to write for—those nuances."

As I mentioned earlier, the Moore show leaves the air after the 1963-64 season, but that's not the end of Dorothy Loudon's career. She wins a Tony Award in 1977 for Annie, and is nominated for two other Tonys. And in case you were wondering, she does get married, in 1971 to composer Norman Paris, but does not remarry after his death in 1977.

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There's a little bit of everything on tap this week, although no Sullivan vs. the Palace; after all, The Jerry Lewis Show hasn't even debuted yet, and we all know how that led quickly to The Hollywood Palace. But for now, that Saturday night timeslot is still held by ABC's Fight of the Week, and this week's bout is for the world light-heavyweight championship, as challenger Willie Pastrano takes on champion Harold Johnson, live from Las Vegas. (10:00 p.m.) Despite being a substitute after the scheduled challenger, Henry Hank, was injured, Pastrano pulls off the upset and wins a 15-round split decision, which you can see here. He holds the crown until a loss in 1965*, after which he retires.

*Pastrano lost the title in a one-sided defeat to José Torres, but not before producing one of the great quotes in boxing history; when he was asked by the ring doctor if he knew where he was, he replied, "You're damn right I know where I am! I'm in Madison Square Garden getting the shit kicked out of me!"

Just because the Palace isn't here, though, we won't ignore Ed's lineup (Sunday, 8:00 p.m., CBS), which would probably have been a winner in any event: Sammy Davis Jr., Janet Blair, Rowan and Martin, the Kim Sisters, singer Jessie Pearson, and comedienne Sue Carson.

Monday night, Arthur Godfrey begins a one-week stint substituting for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show (11:15 p.m., NBC); his guests tonight include Music Man composer Meredith Willson, the Buffalo Bills singing group (who appear in The Music Man), Nipsey Russell; and singer Frank D'Rone. There were so many interesting guest host choices back in the day, and it's a pity talk shows today are so star-centric (or the hosts are so insecure) that we don't have guest hosts anymore.

On Tuesday, What's My Line? host John Charles Daly presents an award to Don Wilson in honor of his 27th year as announcer on The Jack Benny Program (9:30 p.m., CBS). Predictably, chaos ensues. John's only one of a number of notable guest stars on tonight; there's also John Cassavetes on The Lloyd Bridges Show (8:00 p.m., CBS), Ed Begley on Empire (8:30 p.m., NBC), Cyril Ritchard on The Red Skelton Hour (8:30 p.m., CBS), Kathy Nolan and Robert Duvall on The Untouchables (9:30 p.m., ABC), and Don Knotts on The Garry Moore Show (10:00 p.m., CBS).

Burgess Meredith turns in a typically outstanding performance in a typically fine episode of Naked City (Wednesday, 10:00 p.m., ABC), as poet Duncan Kleist, who's proud, sensitive, eloquent, entertaining—and an arrogant egotist who succeeds in getting himself murdered. I wonder whodunnit?

Thursday's episode of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet is a novelty: an actual variety show, the "June Music Festival," with Rick Nelson and his real-life combo, joined by folksingers Bud and Travis, the Brothers Four, Jennie Smith, and the Garrett Square Dancers. (7:30 p.m., ABC) His brother David interviews the guests backstage. 

Friday's Jack Paar Program (10:00 p.m., NBC), has an eclectic lineup, with Anne Bancroft, Buddy Hackett, and Kukla, Fran, and Ollie. There's a real art to preparing a guest mix that entertains, and I think this show succeeds. Something else that today's talk shows lack, since guests don't stick around after they've done their bit—I don't even know why they call them talk shows anymore. 

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Barbara Bain is not afraid of Elizabeth Taylor. She'd have good reason to be, if she were inclined; her husband, actor Martin Landau, is in the cast of Cleopatra, which stars Liz, Richard Burton, and Rex Harrison. But he returns home at the end of each day, and their neighbors in Rome tell her, "Ah, your husband really loves you! Leet-za don't get him!"

As this shows, we're fans, obviously!  
In these days before Mission: Impossible, Bain is known for having played "everything from femmes fatale to simple country girls" in series from Dobie Gillis and Richard Diamond to Empire. Before that, there were years of struggling, as is the case with so many young actors. "Neither of us worked for six months after we were married," she says of those days back in New York, where most of their friends still live. She augmented her income with fashion modeling; finally, after six months, she and Landau got parts in the touring company of the Paddy Chayefsky play Middle of the Night, with Edward G. Robinson. "It was our honeymoon," she says of the time. They ended up in Hollywood, where they've remained ever since.

Bain and Landau are part of the Mission: Impossible cast for the first three seasons, when the show was at its absolute peak. They would move on to the science fiction series Space: 1999, which, you may recall, was touted as the first really adult science fiction TV series since Star Trek. Later, they would divorce, but both would remain active in the business. Barbara Bain remains active, having appeared both in film and television as recently as 2020, and won three Emmys as Best Actress in a Drama for Mission: Impossible. And, believe me, she doesn't have anything to worry about from Elizabeth Taylor. TV