A Year in TV Guide: March 20th, 1965

A Year in TV Guide explores the 1964-1965 television season through the pages of TV Guide magazine. Each week, I’ll examine the issue of TV Guide published exactly 50 years earlier. The intent is not simply to examine what was on television each week but rather what was being written about television.

Week #27
March 20th, 1965
Vol. 13, No. 12, Issue #625
Eastern New England Edition

On the Cover: Dorothy Malone of ABC’s Peyton Place and her daughters (photograph by Mario Casilli).

The Magazine

For reasons unknown, starting with this issue the family member who was collecting these TV Guide issues back in 1964-1965 switched from the Western New England Edition (Connecticut and parts of Massachusetts) to the Eastern New England Edition (Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire). More on that in my look at the listings section.

Marian Dern’s cover article, “Her Address Is Peyton Place,” examines one of the stars of the popular ABC prime time soap opera and is surprisingly more than just the regular sort of TV Guide profile. That said, it’s not a very informative article. It’s very focused on Malone’s personality and how difficult it was for Dern to get Malone to discuss Peyton Place. According to news reports, Malone was frustrated with the size of her role in comparison to Mia Farrow and Barbara Parkins and that is of course what Dern wanted to talk about when the two sat down at Malone’s house.

Front Cover
Front Cover – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.

Once Dern finally got Malone to talk about Peyton Place, she gushed about how much she loves playing Constance MacKenzie and then changed the topic to her career. Later, when specifically asked about reports that she is demanding a bigger part and talking with producer Paul Monash, she explained that she hasn’t actually talked to Monash but does wish she had more to do. She also feels like her character should have more answers. But that is all she would say, other than stating everyone would work out and maybe it’s for the best because if she had a larger role she’d have less time for her children.

Articles like this leave little doubt that Peyton Place was a cultural sensation during the 1964-1965 season. Dern’s conversation with Malone was basically useless but she managed to get about three pages out of it and TV Guide printed it, knowing people would read it even if it didn’t include anything interesting or newsworthy.

“We’re Missing a Bet in Monte Carlo” explores the 9th Annual International Television Festival in Monaco. Cleveland Amory was one of the judges, which is why his reviews were absent from TV Guide for several months, and he wrote this article to give readers a behind-the-scenes look at the festival. There were 15 judges from 11 countries. Amory was one of two judges from the United States; the other was Hal Humphrey. A total of 110 shows were entered by 22 different countries and 55 of them were chosen as finalists by the Festival Committee.

The United States did not fare well at all. CBS did not send any programs to the festival. ABC sent several but mailed them to the wrong address. NBC entered some very late and made a bizzare last-minute switch, substituting “The Fantasticks” for “The Louvre,” which Amory felt could have won. Shelley Winters won best actress for “Two is the Number” (an episode of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre) while a Walt Disney movie, The Hound That Thought He was a Raccoon, was given an honorable mention (it aired in November 1963 as an installment of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.

Amory was disappointed that the networks did not take the festival seriously:

Although Monaco’s festival was little covered by the press in this country, it is widely and avidly covered by scores of the foreign press corps, and the commercial possibilities it offers in selling films abroad, let alone the intangible good will represented, would seem to dictate a less casual attitude on the part of American networks, particularly CBS. As for the other possible American exhibitors–the independents, National Educational Television, etc.–one can only hope that next year they will be fully represented.

It was hard, Amory explained, to counter arguments from judges from Iron Curtain countries who insisted they were just as free as the United States. Even in France, television was controlled by the government to such a degree that Amory was told how President De Gauelle replaced the entire committee overseeing television after a broadcast he was watching went to dead air. Yet all of those countries were appalled by the violence on television in the United States. It’s too bad Amory didn’t use his TV Guide connections to ask the networks why they seemed to care so little about the festival.

“Once a Grouch, Always a Grouch” is a more typical TV Guide profile off actor Charles Lane, who has spent 34 years playing grouchy characters in 308 movies and dozens of TV shows. He is currently appearing on Petticoat Junction in a recurring role as Homer Bedloe, a railroad trouble-shooter. Lane doesn’t really mind playing meanies because it means job security. He is surprised, however, at the popularity of Petticoat Junction and the fame it has brought him. He doesn’t have a contract for the series but appears whenever his character is written into an episode. Lately, he’s noticed that Bedloe is becoming nastier. He won’t complain too much because “freelancing is a precarious business” and he doesn’t want to jeopardize the role.

Mitch Miller is one of the many television names I recognize but don’t know too much about. I’ve never heard him sing nor have I ever sung along with him. “Why Mitch is Moanin’ Mighty Low” by Bob Huggins examines how his fans have reacted to the cancellation of Sing Along with Mitch. Mitch is furious and everywhere he goes he is greeted by viewers upset that his show is off the air. NBC has received 17,000 letters protesting the cancellation. Mitch insists that the ratings were “good enough” and the show fully sponsored. NBC disagrees, insisting that “after three years, sponsor and audience interest had lowered to the point where we felt it was necessary to make a change.”

According to Mitch, when NBC released its 1964-1965 schedule in January 1964, he wasn’t on it. He was assured by the network’s head of programming, Mort Werner, that he would be on it. Then three days before his option expired in March he was informed Sing Along with Mich was being replaced by The Alfred Hitchcock Show. He argues that NBC wanted to get rid of him because the network had to pay him $35,000 per repeat but it cost them nothing to repeat The Alfred Hitchcock Show.

Mitch is upset mostly for the many viewers who loved his show and liked his kind of music. But the vocal fans are small in number.

The “As We See It” editorial discusses the resentment sportswriters have towards television. TV killed boxing, for starters. It also popularized professional football and made golf a spectator sport, meaning fewer people rely on reports from sportswriters. Perhaps most importantly, television has started to change various sports to make them better suitable for commercials. TV Guide explained that although sportswriters might be upset, “we’re sure they agree that its’ worth changing the games and the rules a little if it means that millions–rather than just a few–can enjoy watching sports events.

After returning last week, Cleveland Amory’s review was once against absent this issue, perhaps because he was too busy writing his article about the Monte Carlo television festival.

News from the Hollywood and New York TV Teletype columns:

  • The Entertainers has been cancelled and will be replaced after its March 27th broadcast by a British series called F-6 starring Patrick McGoohan. [This must have been an early working title for what would eventually be called Secret Agent, known in its native country as Danger Man.]
  • Marve Griffin’s 90-minute late night show will debut next month live from New York City. Westinghouse Broadcasting Company hopes to get the series cleared on ABC stations that used to air Les Crane.
  • NBC News has a number of documentaries scheduled: “Terror in the Streets” on April 6th, “The Great Society” on May 2nd,” and “The Loyal Opposition” later in May. In the works is a sequel to “Decision to Drop the Bomb” and a look at voting problems facing minorities in new York and California.
  • Julie Andrews will star in a 60-minute color special for NBC this fall. [It aired on November 28th, 1965.]
  • World War I is being dropped by CBS. It will be replaced on April 18th by an educational series called Zoorama.
  • Vic Morrow will direct six episodes of Combat! during the 1965-1966 season while Robert Culp will write five episodes of I Spy.
  • My Favorite Martian producer Jack Chertok is working on a series for Corbett Monica. [I don’t believe this ever made it to the pilot stage.]

Rounding out the national section this week is the sixth Designer’s Choice feature in which actress Anne Bancroft models fashions from the spring collection of Pauline Trigere. There is also a regular picture feature highlighting various aerial acts on The Hollywood Palace. (Executive producer Nick Vanoff explains that when the Wallendas performed, after the January 1962 accident that killed three people, they refused to use a net. So he had some men walk around under them with a net even though he knew it wouldn’t do any good. It just made him feel better.) There is also a short “TV Jibe” feature by Jerry Buck, with two humorous and fake TV pilot ideas as well as a one-page look at a product called Educasting that allows students to interact with educational television programs. And, of course, there is the regular TV crossword puzzle.

There were just two news reports in the “For the Record” column in the listings section this week, both relating to NBC’s announcement of its 1965-1966 schedule:

  • NBC last week became the first network to unveil its 1965-1966 schedule. New shows include I Dream a Jeannie, Get Smart, The Wackiest Ship in the Army, The Mister and the Misses [later renamed The John Forsythe Show], Run for Your Life, My Mother, the Car,Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, I Spy, The Streets of Laredo [later renamed simply Laredo], Mona McCluskey, Camp Runamuck, Hank, Convoy, and Mr. Roberts.
  • All of these shows except I Dream of Jeannie and Convoy will be in color. CBS, surprisingly, has announced that it will be colorcasting a number of shows next season as well, proving that color has made enough of an impact that CBS can no longer ignore it. ABC, for its part, will air more than five hours a week in color during the 1965-1966 season.

The letters page this week doesn’t include any letters from actors but it does include a letter from a costume director:

I read with interest your March 6 story “Lee Remick Does a Strip Tease on TV…” in which she lists me as the sole designer of her costumes. But I must keep the record straight. The costumes were created by me and Bob Mackie. Each show carries that joint credit. it is important to me that Mr. Mackie’s credit be recognized.
Ray Agyahan
Los Angeles

There were two letters responding to the March 6th article about the popularity of American TV shows in Britain:

Malcolm Muggeridge’s article just goes to show. For all her smugness and superior airs, the mother country is no better than the colonials when it comes to an appreciation of low echelon television.
Paul G.R. Wenceslovski
Pittsburgh

Your esteemed magazine surprises me by publishing the drivel that flows from the pen of the renegade Englishman Muggeridge. How can anyone who thinks in terms of P.G. Wodehouse be “with it”? Yes, The Beverly Hillbillies are very popular, along with Bonanza, The Flintstones, and Gomer Pyle. But what he fails to mention is the fact that on both the BBC and commercial TV in Britain most of the top shows in popularity are British products.
Joseph S. Willis
Burlington, Ont.

There were also letters from a reader critical of My Living Doll and from a viewer who noticed that a character during the March 4th episode of Daniel Boone quoted from a poem (“I Have a Rendezvous with Death”) written by Alan Seeger during World War I. And TV Guide included an editorial note clarifying that the John Birch Society specifically urged members not to threaten a boycott of Xerox, despite what an article published in the December 26th, 1964 issue stated.

The TV Listings

The big event this week was the Gemini 3 manned space flight, scheduled for 9AM on Tuesday, March 23rd. TV Guide published a notice in each of the weekday listings relating to the delay. On Monday, March 22nd the notice explained that the launch could take place a day early. On Tuesday, the notice explained that if the launch is delayed the networks will extend coverage, pre-empting regularly scheduled programming. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the notice indicated that if the launch is postponed, the networks will be pre-empting regularly scheduled programming.

Despite the fact that the launch was planned for Tuesday, CBS scheduled an hour-long news special called “Gemini: Two Men in Space” at 10PM on Monday, March 22nd, anchored by Walter Cronkite and said to include films of the Gemini 3 launch. If the launch was postponed, Cronkite would explain why. The launch took place on Tuesday, March 23rd as planned. Presumably, CBS aired this special on Tuesday instead, pre-empting a repeat of The Doctors and the Nurses.

The networks started their coverage at 7AM. Frank McGee anchored NBC’s coverage; Walter Cronkite anchored the coverage on CBS; and Jules Bergman and Jim Burnes anchored the coverage for ABC. It was scheduled to continue until the conclusion of the space flight and the safe return of .

Other programs of note this week included the National Invitation Tournament championship game on Saturday, March 20th at 3PM on NBC; an hour-long NBC color special called “The Inter-American Highway: Bridge of the Americas” from 10-11PM on Tuesday, March 23rd; and a Bob Hope special on NBC featuring extra footage from his December 1964 trip to Vietnam that aired from 8:30-9:30PM on Friday, March 26th.

Here are the TV Guide close-ups for the week:

  • NIT Basketball (NBC, Saturday at 3:00PM)
  • The Twentieth Century – “The Warsaw Uprising” (CBS, Sunday at 6:00PM)
  • Special: Gemini Space Flight (ABC/CBS/NBC, Tuesday at 7:00AM)
  • Bob Hope Special (NBC, Friday at 8:30PM)

As I mentioned earlier, this issue is from the Eastern New England Edition of TV Guide rather than the Western New England Edition that most of the issues I’ve examined as part of the A Year in TV Guide project thus far. Initially, the Western New England Edition included listings for 16 stations in three states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island). Starting with the January 16th, 1965 issue listings were dropped for WJAR-TV (NBC, Channel 10) and WPRO-TV (CBS, Channel 12), both out of Providence, RI, as well as WTEV (ABC, Channel 6) out of New Bedford, MA. No explanation was given.

The Eastern New England Edition includes listings for 12 stations in four states (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut). There is some overlap between the two editions. Both contain listings for Connecticut stations WTIC-TV (Channel 3) and WNHC-TV (Channel 8) and Boston stations WBZ-TV (Channel 4), WHDH-TV (Channel 5), and WNAC-TV (Channel 7).

(There was also a Northern New England Edition that covered stations in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.)

Because the Eastern New England Edition contains listings for WHDH-TV in Boston, I can continue to include the TV Guide capsule summaries for the station’s local color series Dateline Boston. But I won’t be able to list programs broadcast on WHCT-TV (Channel 18) in Connecticut as part of Zenith Radio Company’s Phonevision pay television experiment.

Locally, the weekend was filled with sporting events, notably NCAA track and field championships and basketball championships, both on Saturday, March 20th. WNHC-TV (Channel 8) aired the track and field championship at 2PM while WHDH-TV (Channel 5) aired them at 3PM. WNHC-TV and WPRO-TV (Channel 12) aired the basketball championship at 10PM while WHDH-TV aired the game at 11:30PM. WNHC-TV also aired a pro basketball game between the Royals and Celtics on Sunday, March 21st at 2PM. It was the last televised game of the regular season.

It’s going to take me a few weeks to get familiar with the local programming on the stations listed in the Eastern New England Edition. But here are two neat advertisements for movie weeks on WJAR-TV (Channel 10) and WBZ-TV (Channel 4) in Boston:

Advertisement for TV 10 Theater (John Wayne Week) on WJAR-TV
Advertisement for TV 10 Theater (John Wayne Week) on WJAR-TV – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Advertisement for WBZ-TV's Spring Festival of Movies
Advertisement for WBZ-TV’s Spring Festival of Movies – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.

Here are the episode descriptions for Dateline Boston, a local series broadcast live and in color Monday through Friday from 6-6:25PM on WHDH-TV (Channel 5):

Monday, March 22nd, 1965
Captain Bob illustrates the elements necessary for a sketch.

Tuesday, March 23rd, 1965
Marketing and distribution careers for young people are discussed.

Wednesday, March 24th, 1965
“Frontiers of Science.”

Thursday, March 25th, 1965
Rose Tsang and David Crohan give a piano concert of classical music selections.

Friday, March 26th, 1965
The daily activities in the Capitol building are examined.

That’s it for this week. Hit the comments with your thoughts.


7 Comments

  • Ken Douglas says:

    Interesting. I had a feeling i was right about what i posted sometime ago. Thanks for showing me my suspicions were correct.
    I find it surprising that WBZ would pre-empt “The Tonight Show” for late night movies. DId WIHS-TV (channel 38) or WKBG (channel 56) pick up on Johnny Carson?
    Fascinatingly, both WBZ and WJAR scheduled the same John Wayne film, “The Spoilers” during the same week. “Fort Apache” was the first in director John Ford’s famous Cavalry Trilogy, which also included 1949’s “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (the only film in the triplet shot in color) and “Rio Grande” from 1950. Both “Flying Leathernecks” (1951) and “Operation: Pacific” (1945) were WWII pics, and i believe “Tall In the Saddle” (1944) was the only time The Duke got to costar with the great Gabby Hayes. Now that must’ve been something else, you’re durn tootin’!
    Other JW films of note both stations could have (or probably did) show include Stagecoach, Allegheny Uprising, Flying Tigers, Back to Bataan, They Were Expendable, Angel and the Badman, Three Godfathers, Wake of the Red Witch and Red River.
    There’s still a WWLP connection here: the Springfield, MA station’s other satellite, WJZB-TV channel 14 in Worcester is listed here. In the lone page i saw from the 3/27/65 issue-which you’ll delve into more next week-i saw listings for reruns of two shows, the adventure series “Whiplash” with Peter Graves and the sitcom “Susie”, AKA Private Secretary, which starred Ann Southern. WJZB must have shown those programs every weeknight at their respective times. Channel 14 would go dark in 1969.
    As for the Northern New England edition, i’m pretty sure it later became the TVG edition for the state of Vermont.
    BTW, how come NBC didn’t mention The Dean Martin Show was also on the fall schedule? Didn’t have enough room? Just sayin’.
    If KCMO-TV (now KCTV) or KBMA-TV (now KSHB) had any spring movie festivals, i’m sure there would be ads for them in the KC edition.
    I’ve been trying to find a website a lot like this one that would have old TV listings from way back when, but i haven’t found one yet. If you could recommend one, i’d sure appreciate it.

  • Joseph says:

    Did the NBC special about the Inter-American Highway on March 23rd get postponed to a later date so the time could be devoted to a wrap-up of the Gemini 3 mission including a replay of the launch and tape of the splashdown and recovery (since live TV coverage of splashdowns and recoveries of American space capsules didn’t begin until the twin Gemini 7/6 mission that December)??

  • Joseph says:

    To answer Ken Douglas, the old WHDH-Channel 5 carried “The Tonight Show” in Boston from the time it went on the air in November of 1957 (four months after Jack Paar took over) until September of 1966 (almost four years after Johnny Carson had become host) when WBZ Channel 4, then the NBC affiliate, claimed its right to air the show.

  • Joseph says:

    Gemini 3 was the last time NBC broadcast a live space launch in black-and-white. They began broadcasting live space launches in color beginning with Gemini 4 that June.

    ABC and CBS still carried the Gemini 4 launch in black-and-white, but in August, they also joined NBC in covering the Gemini 5 launch (and all future space launches they would carry live) in color.

  • Troy Lee Turner says:

    Re: The NIT

    Yes, kids, there was a time that the NIT was a MUCH bigger deal that the NCAA tournament (the NIT actually predates the NCAA by a year) I’m not sure if NBC covered the NIT in 66, but CBS began a relationship with the NIT in 67, lasting until 1975 (ironically the same year that the NCAA Tournament adopted the “at-large” rule; reducing the quality of the NIT field, which continues today…)

  • Ken Douglas says:

    You know, Troy has a point. With the growth of cable TV, and with the at large rule in place, it’s no wonder the NCAA tourney became such a big deal. It’s amazing what five decades can do.

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