Q & A: Industry on Parade, Missy’s Men, The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna

I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to dig through my inbox and pull out a few choice e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to read. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.

I am trying to locate information on a segment of television programming that disappeared in the 1960′s when stations began to edit movies into even 1/2 hr. run times.

In the 50′s when a local station ran an unedited/uncut-for-time movie it might end at 9:45 or some other odd time. So there was a class of content that filled the void to the next 1/2 hr. time period. I remember “Industry On Parade” and “This Accident Should Never Have Happened”.

Is there a source / expert who can help me research this lost segment of programming?

Thank you,
-E.B.

This is an interesting question. In the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s there were daytime and prime time programs that ran 15 minutes long. During the daytime it was common to see movies or shows ending at, say, 10:45AM or 1:15PM, often leaving 15 minutes unaccounted for. Cartoons, film shorts and serials were used to fill up gaps in the schedule.

Industry on Parade was a long-running series of films produced by the National Association of Manufacturers that were syndicated to local stations beginning in October of 1950. The series ended in 1960 after hundreds of films highlighting the impact of manufacturing on all aspects of everyday life: agriculture, medicine, business, entertainment, among others.

NBC was involved with the production of Industry on Parade for a few years. I haven’t found any reference to This Accident Should Never Have Happened but presumably it was similar series of films. Other “filler” programming was likely locally produced by stations or purchased from distributors or perhaps even delivered with film packages.

The Archives Center at the National Museum of American History has a collection of 428 Industry on Parade films, the bulk of which contain four segments each.

Hi – I’m looking for any information on the CBS 1968 or 69 pilot Missy’s Men.

-Heather

The Chicago Tribune reported in August of 1967 that CBS had a sitcom pilot called Missy’s Men in production as a possible mid-season replacement to be used during the 1967-1968 season [1]. Then, in December of 1967, The New York Times reported that Missy’s Men was one of a handful of sitcom pilots vying for a spot on its 1968-1969 schedule.

According to Broadcasting magazine in December, CBS officials felt it was one of their “most promising pilots” [3]. Finally, in February of 1968 Broadcasting reported that the pilot still had an “association” with CBS in relation to the network’s upcoming fall schedule [4]. Dwayne Hickman and Jack Sheldon were attached to star. The premise would involve three Marines adopting a Korean or Chinese child. I’m not sure who played the third Marine.

Missy’s Men wasn’t picked up, the produced pilot was never broadcast and its whereabouts are unknown.

One of my very favorite T.V. series was “OH Susana.” It’s about a program director on a cruise ship (Early Love Boat Type of Show). Do you have any information on this show? Thanks.

-Sherlyn

Television listings refer to this sitcom as both The Gale Storm Show and Oh! Susanna, sometimes at the same time, indicating perhaps that the full title might be The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna. Many sources suggest, however, that Oh! Susanna was the syndicated title for the series. In any case, it was Gale Storm’s return to the world of television following My Little Margie (which ran from 1952 to 1956).

Advertisement for The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna
Advertisement for The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna – September 28th, 1956
Copyright © The Chicago Daily Tribune, 1956 [1]

Storm played Susanna Pomeroy, social director for the luxury liner S.S. Ocean Queen. Zasu Pitts co-starred as Elvira “Nugey” Nugent, the ship’s manicurist. Roy Roberts played the ship’s captain, Simon Huxley and James Fairfax played Cedric, a steward. The series was produced by Hal Roach Studios.

Nestle agreed to sponsor the series without seeing a pilot and it was given the Saturday 9-9:30PM time slot on CBS [5]. Along with Hey, Jeannie, which followed it from 9:30-10PM, the series competed with The Lawrence Welk Show on ABC and Caesar’s Hour on NBC. The S.S. Ocean Queen was based on the real S.S. President Cleveland, operated by President Lines. Hal Roach studios built replicas of many of the ship’s features using specifications from President Lines and filled them with some $50,000 worth of actual shipfaring equipment [6].

A special screening for television critics was held aboard the S.S. President Cleveland in September of 1956 before the sitcom premiered. Hedda Hopper called the show “beautifully done” and Gale “refreshing as a summer breeze” [7]. Cecil Smith wrote that “Gale Storm is a lass easy to love. The new series is better done and funnier than [My Little] Margie, but it will undoubtedly sink or float with Gale. She’s her zany self, donning wigs, masquerading, getting into shipboard trouble. And singing and dancing [8].

The series premiered on Saturday, September 29th, 1956. During its second season, running 1957-1958, it ranked 16th in the Nielsen ratings. More than $10,000 was once spent to pour 40,000 gallons of water onto the cast and crew to help simulate just one and a half minutes of stormy weather [9].

In February of 1959, The New York Times reported that ABC had purchased the rights to The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna [10]. The network began airing daily repeats of the first three seasons on April 13th and premiered a new season in September, broadcast from 7:30-8PM on Wednesdays. The series ended after four seasons but repeats continued to be shown in syndication for decades.

Works Cited:

1 Gowran, Clay. “NBC to Put Camera on U.S. Riot Scenes.” Chicago Tribune. 9 Aug. 1967: A6.
2 Gent, George. “Few C.B.S. Shows Will Be Replaced.” New York Times. 14 Dec. 1967: 76.
3 “CBS-TV plans early lock-up.” Broadcasting. 18 Dec. 1967: 60.
4 “TV networks hurry plans for fall.” Broadcasting. 12 Feb. 1968: 50-52.
5 Ames, Walter. “Dick Whittinghill Stars in ‘Dragnet’; Gale’s Show Sold.” Los Angeles Times. 24 May 1956: B10.
6 Ames, Walter. “Ship Replica Ready for Series; Bananas Lead to TV Role.” Los Angeles Times. 11 Jun. 1956: B10.
7 Hopper, Hedda. “Looking at Hollywood.” Chicago Daily Tribune. 19 Sep. 1956: B4.
8 Smith, Cecil. “Shipboard Musings: How Will Gale Go in Her New Series?” Los Angeles Times. 23 Sep. 1956: D13.
9 Lieber, Leslie. “Inside a TV Hurricane.” Los Angeles Times. 11 May 1958: K22.
10 Adams, Val. “Gale Storm TV Show Will Shift to A.B.C. Beginning in April.” New York Times. 19 Feb. 1959: 63.

Image Credits:

1 From The Chicago Daily Tribune, September 28th, 1956, Page B6.

1 Comment

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Warner-Lambert’s “Listerine” was the sponsor during the show’s final season on ABC; I’ve seen videos of several network prints where Gale Storm did a semi-musical “integrated commercial” for them at the end of the episode {“Every time you brush your teeth/Finish the job/Reach for Listerine!”}, with the “ship’s P.A. system” booming, “NOW HEAR THIS! ‘Listerine Stops Bad Breath Four Times Better Than Toothpaste’!”. “So finish the job”, Gale reminds us, holding up a bottle. “Reach…for Listerine”.

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