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.
June 12th, 1965
Vol. 13, No. 24, Issue #637
Eastern New England Edition
On the Cover: Milburn Stone and Amanda Blake (photograph by Russ Halford).
This week’s cover article by Dee Phillips and Bev Copeland — “Riding High on the Waves of Indignation” — does not paint Gunsmoke co-star Milburn Stone in a great light but he probably doesn’t mind. Described as “contentious, cranky, querulous,” Stone is upset about what has happened to Gunsmoke and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Co-creator Norman MacDonnell was let go last fall, replaced by Philip Leacock, and the scripts are “now being written by people who don’t understand the show at all.” To make matters worse, Gunsmoke now features guest stars.
Front Cover – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Although Leacock knows there is some resentment over the use of guest stars, he “feels competition is good for the regulars.” Stone disagrees, arguing that while fans of guest stars like Betty Hutton and James Whitmore may tune in once, they won’t necessarily tune in again. Despite the conflict, Peacock views Stone with “tolerant affection,” calling him “a bit irascible sometimes” but also “great, great, fun.” It seems everyone gets along with Stone despite his gruffness and sarcasm.
Stone spent three years hating Jim Arness for his attitude, for showing up late, and for clowning around. Eventually, Stone exploded at Arness one day during rehearsal and somehow that made everything okay. He then turned his sights on Amanda Blake and Dennis Weaver, upset that neither of them took the show seriously. He now gets along with Blake and was not too upset when Weaver left the series. He has also erupted over scripts, including one recent entry that he felt was an “obvious attempt to inject social significance” with a speech that, after five rewrites, was deemed necessary because the episode was running two minutes short.
With one season left in his contract, Stone isn’t sure if he’ll return after that if Gunsmoke continues. He has an idea for a TV show set around the turn of the century in which he would play a doctor. [Stone ultimately stayed with Gunsmoke for its entire 20 season run which ended in 1975.]
Allan Sherman’s three-page article “The Disorganization Man” is not as funny as you might expect. It is the first of two articles about his days creating and working on I’ve Got a Secret, excerpted from his upcoming autobiography A Gift of Laughter, to be published in the summer. He developed the show in August 1951 with Howard Merrill when both were unemployed TV writers. The two took the idea to Bill Todman and Mark Goodson, producers of What’s My Line?, and were offered a contract paying them $1 for the rights to the idea as well as a royalty of $62.50 a week. One of them would also be made a producer and be paid $125 a week.
It took eight months to sell the concept to a sponsor and another three months to turn it into a full-fledged TV series. Sherman was made a producer because Merrill was otherwise employed. The first show aired on June 19th, 1952 and, according to Sherman, was a disaster. The original panel of Orson Bean, Louise Allbritton, Laua Z. Hobson, and Melville Cooper lasted just two weeks. The original format of the show lasted about as long. Prom Home Permanent, one of the initial two sponsors, dropped I’ve Got a Secret after the first episode aired because the company’s president didn’t like it. Sherman often missed his train home and slept on a couch in the reception room.
Sherman had only two other people working with him on the show: a boy who opened the mail and a female production assistant named Adraia. He once asked her to get Sir Edmund Hillary on the phone while he was atop Mount Everest. She managed to reach someone at the bottom of the mountain who said Hillary would be available in a month. Sherman insisted they needed to speak with him right away and made Adraia cry.
Ratings began to rise, however, and the show turned into a success. Sherman tried and failed to get a raise. He then fought back against the number of memos being passed around. He also begged for a secretary. After three years of waiting he was given one. “What would she be like? Blonde? Redhead? Slinky? Curvaceous? Sexy, throaty voice? Prim? Wild? Blue eyes? Exotic perfumes?” Much to Sherman’s surprise, his secretary was named Roger Peterson.
Carol Rinzler’s two-page “When She Coughs, Dozens of People Clutch Their Pay Checks,” is another typical TV Guide profile of a TV personality, in this case singer and actress Molly Bee. She worked with Tennessee Ernie Ford for years, first on Hometown Jamboree in Los Angeles and later on Ford’s show. In an attempt to show she was growing up, Bee spent months cultivating a secret smoking habit only for Ford to barely notice. She is currently working with Jimmy Dean on his ABC series. Her acting career floundered. “Those movies,” she says, “are shown only in prison. To the lifers.” She prefers television to night clubs but isn’t entirely fulfilled with her career. She doesn’t know if she wants to get married again, however, and isn’t sure who she’d marry if she did.
Edith Efron’s two-page article about Gig Young starts with the end of The Rogues, the cancelled NBC series starring Young, Charles Boyer, and David Niven. Young wasn’t too upset about the cancellation. A serious actor, he has built a career out of playing foils for the likes of Rock Hudson, Errol Flynn, and Cary Grant. In real life, however, Young “is a strangely bad job of external miscasting. He simply does not fit his callow act.”
He is invested in acting but also has a lot to say about marriage, having just gotten married for the fourth time. “Girls will use any device to get married,” says Young. “They’re sick. They go out with you. They want to do anything you love to do. Then you marry them. Suddenly they don’t like to go fishing. They don’t like to go walking in the woods. They become themselves. I think you should be able to take a girl lie that to court and sue her for fraud.” [Perhaps not surprisingly, Young’s fourth marriage didn’t last long. Nor did his fifth, sadly.]
Efron refers to Young as “a slightly jazzy paperback–with serious essays inside,” something everyone who knows him agrees with. She concludes the profile by suggesting that should Young “manage somehow to wear himself inside-out, it might revolutionize both his image and his career.”
The fifth and final article, “Heaven Help the Men in Blue” by Melvin Durslag, examines the impact of the isolated camera on televised sporting events. The goal of isolated cameras is “to give the viewer a close-up look at what actually happens on the field.” All the networks use them, sometimes setting up three different isolated cameras. ABC’s Saturday baseball game has one for the batter and at least one for the base runners. Football and basketball also use isolated cameras. The NFL has concerns that while officials hem and haw about calls, viewers will know exactly what is going on thanks to the instant camera. But the isolated camera can help, too, vindicating calls that fans in the stands boo. Baseball umpires are worried as well while the NCAA and the American Football League don’t seem to have any qualms.
The “As We See It” editorial this week discusses the familiar issue of President Johnson’s relationship with television as well as newspapers. Those in TV wish he would give them more notice before addressing the nation and also let them know in advance what he planned to discuss. That way, they can decide whether or not to air him live or on tape. Those in newspapers don’t like being bypassed by the President in favor of TV. But going right to the people is more powerful. “For him to make an important announcement only to newspapermen would be as out of character as Cary Grant writing a love letter to the girl next door instead of showing up himself.” TV Guide hopes that the President will continue to appear on TV at his convenience while also holding televised press conferences during which reporters can ask questions.
Cleveland Amory has more second thoughts in this week’s column. He argues that much of the criticism Peyton Place (which he reviewed favorably in the October 10th, 1964 issue) has received from other critics is unjustified. The show “has held up extraordinarily–it is well produced, well cast and, generally speaking, well directed.” Amory does take issue with its pacing and with Mia Farrow’s acting, however. As for other actors and actresses, in sitcoms he praises Jim Nabors, Frank Sutton, Elizabeth Montgomery, and Dick York, while in dramas he applauds Richard Crenna, David Janssen, Vic Morrow, and Robert Lansing. Also, Amory notes that during the past season only ABC’s Peter Jennings stood out in news, ABC’s Nightlife was discouraging, the possibility of a fourth commercial network “began to loom,” educational TV grew slowly, and CBS got a new president.
News from the Hollywood and New York TV Teletype columns:
- NBC will be airing repeats of its 1958-1959 Western Buckskin from July 11th through August 29th, replacing Branded.
- Otto Preminger refused to approve the editing of his film Advise and Consent by CBS and will not allow the network to air it in the fall. The network wanted to get rid of “key passages involving homosexuality.”
- British actor and singer David Watson will join the regular cast of Rawhide in the fall.
- The third Xerox/United Nations special is being filmed in Rome. Titled “The Tractor: A Lovey Story,” the special was penned by Arthur A. Ross and is produced by Paul Heller. It stars Alan Bates and Diane Cilento. [The retitled “Once Upon a Tractor” aired on September 9th, 1965.]
- NET has a film crew in Finland for two months working on a special commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer Jean Sibelius, to be aired in December.
- NBC will air “The International Beauty Spectacular” live from Long Beach, CA on August 13th while CBS will broadcast “The Miss Universe Pageant” on July 24th.
- NBC is reworking an unsold sitcom pilot called “The Good Old Days,” about cavemen, with a new cast and will present it to potential sponsors next year. [The pilot, which starred Daryl Hickman, failed to sell again. It aired on July 11th, 1966 as part of Vacation Playhouse on CBS.]
- Eight episodes of Profiles in Courage will be made available for classroom use.
Rounding out the national section is a picture feature highlighting antique car gadgets that will be seen in a CBS News special called “The Great Love Affair” to be broadcast in the fall. There is also a four-page special feature showcasing Janet Margolin modeling Marimekkos (dresses made in Finland) plus the regular TV crossword puzzle.
There are three news reports in the “For the Record” column in the listings section this week:
- Television coverage of the Gemini IV space flight has been “illuminating, inspiring, suspenseful–and, at the same time, frustrating” because there has been no video of the astronauts in space, only audio. Even though the coverage has included several firsts, including the first live audio pickup during a spacewalk, the first color coverage of a launch (on NBC), and the first transmissions to Europe via Early Bird, the spaceflight has been “more waiting than watching.”
- The FBI has granted clearances to the cast of ABC’s new series The FBI and may look into the backgrounds of any other actors “before they are permitted to work in the series.” One unnamed member of the Screen Actors Guild has compared the “clearance procedure” to blacklisting. An FBI spokesmen declared “We will not permit anyone with a Communist, subversive or substantially derogatory background to portray any part in the series.”
- The House of Commons in Great Britain, like the United States Senate, refuses to allow television cameras in its chambers. However, the House of Commons was willing to allow a debate on May 28th that lasted for five hours and decided not to do anything. A committee will study the idea and bring it back up later in the year.
The letters page included seven letters on seven different topics. Regarding Walter Cronkite’s political convention idea, discussed in the May 15th issue:
I noted your poll on Walter Cronkite’s statement that TV coverage of national political conventions should be barred from the floor, and that most commentators disagreed with him. Tkaing a poll among network commentators is like polling the Ku Klux Klan to see what they think about wearing sheets. I think Cronkite is right, and much of the press so expressed itself at convention time.
O. B. Campbell, Editor and Publisher
Vinita Daily Journal
In response to the May 22nd article about Max Baer:
Regarding the article “Max Baer–Hostile Hillbilly,” are there any young actors around who like their work? It would be a relief to read about them for a change.
Colorado Springs, Colo.
About NBC’s recent special on Japan:
NBC’s special, “Japan: A New Dawn over Asia,” was a serious disservice to the Japanese people, American-Japanese relations and to history in its one-sided, instant knowledge and no-showing-of-why approach to documentary television.
Other letters: support for TV Guide‘s endorsement of a plan to create a clearinghouse for TV specials; a complaint about Arthur Fielder’s praise for “musical illiterates” during NBC’s “The Best on Record” special; a correction about Sonny Tuft’s role in the 1946 film The Virginian; and appreciation of Dick York.
The TV Listings
On Saturday, June 12th at 2PM, ABC aired its regular baseball game of the week, this one between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets. CBS aired the last episode of The Jackie Gleason Show for the season at 7:30PM; The Al Hirt Show will premiere as a summer replacement next week. At 5:30PM on Sunday, June 13th, G.E. College Bowl wrapped up its season on NBC. ABC pre-empted Wagon Train at 7:30PM for an hour-long documentary special called “Assault on Le Mans” chronicling Phil Hill’s preparations for the 1964 Le Mans Grand Prix. It was the third installment in the network’s The Daring Americans series. Bob Young narrated the special.
ABC aired the final repeat of The Bing Crosby Show from 9:30-10PM on Monday, June 14th. Repeats of The Farmer’s Daughter will move into the time slot next week. From 10-11PM, CBS pre-empted CBS Reports for an hour-long CBS News special titled “The Berkeley Rebels” about student protests at the University of California. Harry Reasoner interviewed students, professors, and parents.
NBC shuffled its Tuesday line-up starting on June 15th, moving Moment of Fear to 8:30PM and debuting repeats of Hullabaloo at 10PM. Also at 8:30PM, The Red Skelton Show aired its last repeat of the season. Art Linkletter’s Hollywood Talent Scouts will premiere next week as a summer replacement.
On Thursday, June 17th at 7:30PM, ABC pre-empted Jonny Quest for a half-hour health care special called “Health Care at the Crossroads,” featuring a current and former president of the American Medical Association. “Everybody’s Got a System,” an ABC special about gambling hosted by Terry-Thomas, pre-empted The Addams Family and Valentine’s Day from 8:30-9:30PM on Friday, June 18th. Another healthcare special aired from 9:30-10PM, this one featuring the president of the National Council of Senior Citizens discussing Medicare and proposed healthcare plans for the elderly. CBS aired the final repeat of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. at 9:30PM. Next week Vacation Playhouse takes over the time slot.
Here are the TV Guide close-ups for the week:
- Wide World of Sports (ABC, Saturday at 5:00PM)
- Special: Cleveland Open (Various, Sunday at 4:30PM and 6:00PM)
- Special: Daring American – “Phil Hill: Assault on Le Mans” (ABC, Sunday at 7:30PM)
- Ben Casey – “A Disease of the Heart Called Love” (ABC, Monday at 10:00PM, Repeat)
- Dr. Kildare – “Love is a Sad Song”(ABC, Thursday at 8:30PM, Repeat)
- The Defenders – “Blacklist” (CBS, Thursday at 10:00PM, Repeat)
- Special: Everybody’s Got a System (ABC, Friday at 8:30PM)
Locally, there were fewer baseball games this week than previous weeks, plus a number of specials. From 1-2PM on Saturday, June 12th WBZ-TV (Channel 4) aired “People and Other Animals,” a special featuring Jane Fonda, Robert Morse, and Ivan Sanderson talking about the similarities between animals and humans. At 2:15PM, WHDH-TV (Channel 5) aired a baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox. On Sunday, June 13th at 11:30PM, WNHC-TV (Channel 8) aired an installment of Comments and People featuring the Amity Junior High Concert Choir directed by John Zito. WHDH-TV aired a half-hour public affairs report from 12-12:30PM titled “The Boston Jaywalker: A Study in Irresponsibility.”
At 1:30PM on Sunday, WNHC-TV aired a 90-minute documentary special about the Synanon House in Westport, CT. It followed residents of the house, all drug addicts, attempting to cure themselves. At 2:15PM, both WHDH-TV and WPRO-TV (Channel 12) aired a baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox. WTIC-TV (Channel 3) and WPRO-TV aired coverage of the final round of the Cleveld Open at 4:30PM. WBZ-TV joined the telecast in progress at 6PM. WNHC-TV aired color highlights of the 1964 Rebel 300 auto race from 4-4:30PM, followed by a baseball game at 4:30PM between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels.
WNAC-TV (Channel 7) premiered a new weekday game show called Dialing for Dollars on Monday, June 14th at 11AM. The half-hour local quiz show was hosted by Dick Partridge and assistant Michele Metrinko. From 8:30-9:30PM, WNHC-TV pre-empted ABC’s No Time for Sergeants and Wendy & Me for an hour-long documentary about the Korean War narrated by Richard Basehart. WGBH-TV (Channel 2) aired an hour-long special from 9-10PM highlighting the February 20th debate at Cambridge University between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, Jr. WJZB-TV (Channel 14) aired a half-hour special about urban renewal from 7:30-8PM on Wednesday, June 16th presented by the Worcester (MA) Chamber of Commerce. The Standwells, a puppet show, returned to WGBH-TV from 8-8:30PM.
WGBH-TV aired a college baseball game between Yale and Harvard at 7:30PM on Thursday, June 17th. On Friday, June 18th at 6PM, WGBH-TV premiered Glory Days, a new documentary series examining differences in the Old West (in both fact and fable) and the West today. The debut episode was titled “The Other Side of the Mountain?” At 9PM, WHD-TV aired another baseball game, this one between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox.
Here’s an advertisement for Hollywood A Go Go on WBZ-TV:
Advertisement for Hollywood A Go Go on WBZ-TV (Channel 4) – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Here’s an advertisement for Romper Room on WPRO-TV:
Advertisement for Romper Room on WPRO-TV (Channel 12) – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Here’s an advertisement for The Bad Seed on WNAC-TV:
Advertisement for The Bad Seed on WNAC-TV (Channel 7) – 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, June 14th, 1965
Capt. Bob illustrates line and perspective.
Tuesday, June 15th, 1965
“American Music.” The Revolutionary War and its music is discussed.
Wednesday, June 16th, 1965
“Art U.S.A.” will present a broad spectrum of the styles and schools of paintings current in the United States.
Thursday, June 17th, 1965
“The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Game” with Jack Woolner.
Friday, June 18th, 1965
A preview of the annual Brush Hill Horse show.
That’s it for this week. Hit the comments with your thoughts.