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.
July 10th, 1965
Vol. 13, No. 28, Issue #641
Western New England Edition
On the Cover: Yvonne DeCarlo and Fred Gwynne (photograph by Gene Trindl).
This week’s cover article by Richard Warren Lewis is titled “Putting a New Face on His Career” and profiles Fred Gwynne, star of The Munsters on CBS. It’s another typical TV Guide profile with the added bonus of a lengthy look at how Gwynne is turned into Herman Munster. It takes two hours to transform Fred into Herman. There’s both makeup (foam latex mask, rubber bolts and washers, mascara, eyeliner, wig, nail polish) and a costume (pants with foam rubber padding, 5-inch leather boots, and a shrunken jacket with additional padding).
It took him three weeks to get used to carrying around all the extra weight and he lost 10 pounds. He took salt tablets for a while. Now he drinks lemonade without sugar and has access to a compressed-air tank that shoots cold air into the costume during breaks. Plus, at the advice of Al Lewis, he started going to a masseur. So far, Gwynne has only appeared as Herman Munster twice in public. Once was at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade last year (it was his fourth Macy’s parade in a row). He got very drunk on whiskey and decided not to go back this year.
Front Cover – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
The rest of the article delves into Gwynne’s early career and how he is still in awe of the big stars (Jimmy Stewart, Danny Kaye, Groucho Marx) he meets. After attending Harvard, he moved to New York City to become an actor. He worked at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency for five years. The company was very flexible with his schedule. By 1960 he decided to quit and become a painter. Instead, he found himself performing in Irma la Douce on Broadway. Then came a starring role in Car 54, Where Are You? followed by The Munsters.
“How Do You Spell Success in Three Letters?” by Neil Hickey examines Sports Network Incorporated (SNI), founded in 1956 by Richard E. Bailey. He realized there had to be a better and cheaper way to get regional sports to viewers across the country. He was able to convince the 16 major league baseball teams to sign over rights to their games by explaining how he would link stations near their home cities and transmit games to stations nationwide, charging advertisers locally to spread out the costs and sending money back to the teams. During its first year in operation SNI didn’t own single camera and made $900,000. This year, it owns $4 million worth of equipment and will likely bring in $10 million.
Baseball isn’t the only sport SNI covers. Bailey estimates the network has relayed 5,000 sporting events since 1956, including basketball, swimming, track, horse racing, tennis, bowling, skiing, and football. For $750,000 the network purchased the rights to televise 13 tournaments of the PGA National Tour this year and they are airing in an average of 150 markets. Hickey muddies the waters a bit by also discussing two other companies: Sports Television, operating since 1957, and The Fourth Network, which started in 1964. Neither are anywhere near as successful as SNI. But networks aren’t worried. NBC, for example, feels it is both competitive and compatible with SNI depending on the sport. Critics are happy with SNI and Bailey feels UHF will only increase the demand for sports on television. Perhaps there will eventually be sports-only stations.
John Gregory Dunne’s “The Day the Nazis Landed (in Portuguese Bend, Cal.)” is easy to sum up but hard to summarize. Dunne rented out his house and beach to Universal Pictures for use filming an episode of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre called “Escape into Jeopardy” starring James Franciscus and Jocelyn Lane. The two-and-a-half page article explains how Dunne’s wife and neighbors reacted and how much more work it was than he expected. Dunne had to wake up at 4:15AM to open the front gate by 4:30AM to let in more than 10 trucks and almost 100 men. He didn’t get to hobnob with stars the way he hoped. His neighbors weren’t as impressed as he thought. How much did Universal pay him for his trouble? $300.
The fourth and final article, “The King Family and How It Grew” by Robert de Roos, includes a big picture of the King Family splashed across the top two-thirds of two pages. Roos first gives a brief history of the family, which started with William King Driggs and now numbers more than 40. About 35 of them appear on ABC’s The King Family Show each week (William passed away in April while Mother Pearl is ill and several others aren’t involved in the TV show). Then there are a few paragraphs about The King Sisters, who started performing in the late 1930s, retired after World War II, came out of retirement, and finally broke up for good in 1964, or so they thought. The TV show came along after a few church performances featuring the whole family proved successful.
The “As We See It” editorial this week is a response to a recent 5-4 Supreme Court ruling that has “severely limited the televising of criminal trials.” TV Guide agrees with Justice Stewart, who argued in his dissent “the suggestion that there are limits upon the public’s right to know what goes on in the courts causes me deep concern.” He also refused to accept the idea that nonparticipants in a trial may get the wrong impression due to “unfettered reporting and commentary,” especially when that is used as an excuse for censorship. TV Guide laments that the decision will likely be used to support the continued refusal by both chambers of Congress to allow television cameras full access. Hopefully the Supreme Court will soon take up the question again and this time consider the public’s right to stay informed. [The full ruling can be found here.]
Cleveland Amory reviews Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color this week. At first, it seems Amory is critical of how Disney makes everything so commercial but it turns out he’s a fan. “It would all be too much–were it not for the simple fact that Mr. Disney’s programs are almost always good and, more often than not, great. And therefore he can be forgiven a great deal, even an occasional program which does not come up to snuff.” His only real criticism is the way Disney sometimes extends programs to three or four parts when they could easily be one part less if not for the “introductions, teasers, trailers, etc.”
News from the Hollywood and New York TV Teletype columns:
- Hope Lange and Jason Robards, Jr. will star in an episode of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre next season. The two will be stranded on a desert island. [“Shipwrecked” aired on June 8th, 1966.]
- Fred Gwynne, Al Lewis, and Ted Cassidy are all working on albums this summer.
- Norman Baer and Phil D’Antoni are finishing the first of six This Proud Land specials for ABC. Titled “The Wild, Wild East,” it will feature Aaron Copland, Al Capp, Paul Anka, Peter Falk, President Eisenhower, and others. [It aired on November 9th, 1965.]
- ABC’s Issues and Answers will tackle the pop music-and-dance craze in late July.
- Perry Como’s first color special will air on October 18th with guests Sammy Davis, Anthony Newly, and Nancy Ames.
- The Beatles cartoon on ABC will feature the band’s music but not their voices, which will be provided by British actors.
- Mel Brooks will develop a sitcom called Rosie the Rolls-Royce for NBC’s 1966-1967 schedule. [I don’t believe this ever made it to the pilot stage.]
- Roy Thinnes will play Ben Quick in ABC’s upcoming The Long, Hot Summer.
Rounding out the national section is a two-page picture feature about Tuesday night art classes at the McKenzie Art Gallery in Hollywood (with Julie Newmar modeling and Nita Talbot, Eddie Foy, Bill Travilla, Richard Deacon, and others painting her), four pages of actress Jessica Walter modeling outfits designed by Ruthanne Tuttle, and the regular TV crossword puzzle.
There are three news reports in the “For the Record” column in the listings section this week:
- A number of politicians did not approve of the CBS special “It’s What’s Happening, Baby!” that aired June 28th and was aimed at high school dropouts. Republican senators criticized Sargent Shriver because his Office of Economic Opportunity was responsible for the special. They called it “shameful,” “depraved,” and “immoral.” According to Senator Gordon Allott of Colorado, the special not only insulted the intelligence of the viewing public, it made him “want to regurgitate.”
- Nominations for the 17th Emmy Awards have been released. After ABC and CBS boycotted the awards show last year, the TV Academy has streamlined the Emmys, which will reward outstanding achievement in multiple categories, chosen by blue-ribbon panelists. Nominees in the Entertainment Programs category include The Andy Williams Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mr. Novak, “My Name is Barbra,” Profiles in Courage, and Xerox’s United Nations specials. Nominees in the Entertainment Performers category include Julie Andrews, Robert Coote, Richard Crenna, Alfred Lunt, and Barbra Streisand. Nominees in the News Programs category include “My Childhood,” “The Louvre,” and “The Decision to Drop the Bomb.” Fred Friendly refused to submit any CBS News programs. The Emmy Awards will be telecast on September 12th. [A full list of nominees and winners can be found here.]
- Former president Dwight D. Eisenhower doesn’t want to see TV cameras on the floor at political conventions: “We don’t want them running around interviewing people when matters are being discussed on the platform.”
The letters page this week includes just three letters. The first and longest is from FCC Commissioner Lee Loevinger, responding to Edith Efron’s July 3rd article about him titled “He Has Seen Pig Pens Better Run.” Loevinger insists he has no recollection of comparing the FCC Broadcast Bureau to a pig pen and, if he did, it was clearly a joke. He feels the headline is unfair to her, to him, and to the Broadcast Bureau. Here’s how he concludes the letter:
The headline on the article is irrelevant to the issue and grossly misleading as to the nature of the article. It seems to me that this effort to sensationalize has done a disservice to the view which I hold and which Miss Efron was seeking to present to your readers. At this time all I can do is to record this unhappy protest and ask you to convey it to readers of the article.
There is also a response to Stan Freberg’s June 26th article about educational TV:
Stan Freberg’s concern for the mass TV audience that does not watch educational TV is admirable. I agree that apathy is probably the biggest problem most people have. Did commercial TV do this to them or is it simply feeding apathy the fuel it wants?
The third and final letter praises Cleveland Amory’s review of Our Private World, also from the June 26th issue:
In regards to your June 26 review of “Our Private World,” you are 100 percent correct, Mr. Amory. I have been telling my wife the show is terrible and all she would say is that I don’t know what I am talking about. Now she has heard the same words from someone who knows.
The TV Listings
It wasn’t a completely quiet week for the networks but you wouldn’t really know it from the listings section of TV Guide. Not only are most of the close-ups for repeats but there are a significant number of TV Guide advertisements filling the pages this week. It seems the networks didn’t care to promote any of their special programming this week. There are three different ads for articles to be found in next week’s issue of TV Guide plus five advertisements urging or reminding readers to purchase/subscribe/sell TV Guide. To be fair, most issues have a handful of similar advertisements but this week there seemed to be many more than usual.
ABC’s regular 2PM baseball game on Saturday, July 10th pitted the New York Yankees against the Minnesota Twins this week. At 5PM on Sunday, July 11th NBC premiered Encore, an hour-long color series repeating NBC News specials. The debut installment was “Our Man in Andorra, San Marino, Monaco, Liechtenstein–and S.M.O.M.” featuring David Brinkley touring five of the smallest countries in Europe. [The special originally aired on January 28th, 1963 as an installment of David Brinkley’s Journal.] At 6:30PM, CBS aired a half-hour CBS News Special titled “Mission to Mars: The Search for Life” in which Charles Kuralt examined the Mariner IV mission and the possibility of life on Mars with a panel of scientists, including Carl Sagan. And at 8:30PM, NBC began airing repeats of its 1958-1959 half-hour Western series Buckskin as a summer replacement for Branded.
On Monday, July 12th at 8:30PM, CBS aired another unsold pilot as part of its Summer Playhouse series. “Mr. Belvedere” starred Victor Borge as a man helping a young girl elude a private detective. From 10-11PM, CBS Reports tackled “The Rating Game” with the help of Thomas Moore (president of ABC), John Schneider (president of CBS), and Sylvester Weaver (former president of NBC) who discuss the influence of ratings on programming. A.C. Nielsen, Sr. explains how 1,130 families are able to represent 52 million households. And George W. Dick of the American Research Bureau explains how Arbitron ratings work.
At 1:45PM on Tuesday, July 13th NBC broadcast the 36th Annual All-Star Baseball Game between the National and American leagues. Joe Garagiola and Jack Buck called the game. At press time, the National League’s starting lineup had not been revealed while the American League’s starting lineup would, for the first time, not include a New York Yankee. A 15-minute pre-game special featuring films of the players, narrated by Lindsey Nelson and Bob Richards, aired from 1:30-1:45PM.
On Wednesday, July 14th from 10:30-11PM, ABC Scope examined the Mariner IV mission with “Mars Closeup: Are We Alone?” The network’s science editor, Jules Bergman, interviewed the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as well as astronomer Frank Drake.
The unsold pilot aired on Vacation Playhouse on CBS on Friday, July 16th was “Patrick Stone” starring Jeff Davis as a private detective hired to watch a beautiful woman to provide an alibi should her ex-husband be murdered.
Here are the TV Guide close-ups for the week:
- World of Sports (ABC, Saturday at 5:00PM)
- Look Up and Live – “The Desegregated Heart” (CBS, Sunday at 10:30AM)
- The Rogues – “Hugger-Mugger By the Sea” (NBC, Sunday at 10:00PM, Repeat)
- Ben Casey – “Pas de Deux” (ABC, Monday at 10:00PM, Repeat)
- All-Star Game (NBC, Tuesday at 1:45PM)
- ABC Scope – “Mars Closeup: Are We Alone?” (ABC, Wednesday at 10:30PM)
- The Defenders – “The Thief” (CBS, Thursday at 10:00PM, Repeat)
- FDR – “Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt” (ABC, Friday at 8:00PM)
Here are some of the programs available for purchase by subscribers to Zenith Radio Company’s Phonevision pay television experiment on Connecticut’s WHCT-TV (Channel 18):
- Movie: A High Wind in Jamaica (Saturday at 9:00PM, $1.25)
- Movie: Young Cassidy (Sunday at 8:00PM, $1.25)
- Movie: Premature Burial (Monday at 9:00PM, $1.00)
- Movie: Joy in the Morning (Tuesday at 9:00PM, $1.25)
- Movie: Up from the Beach (Wednesday at 7:00PM, $1.25)
Locally there were a few baseball games this week and that’s about it. At 1:45PM on Saturday, WNHC-TV (Channel 8) aired a half-hour documentary about the 1962-1963 Nassau Speed Week. At 2:10PM, WHCT (Channel 18) aired a baseball game between the Houston Astros and the New York Mets. At 2:15PM, WHDH-TV (Channel 5), WWLP (Channel 22), WHNB-TV (Channels 30 and 79), and WRLP (Channel 32) aired a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Senators. Also at 2:15PM, WNHC-TV joined ABC’s national Yankees-Twins baseball game in progress.
At 11:30AM on Sunday, WNHC-TV’s Comments and People saw host George Thompson interviewing Godfrey Cambridge, currently part of the cast of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at the Oakdale Musical Theatre in Wallingford, CT. At 1PM, WHCT aired another Astros-Mets game while at 1:30PM WHDH-TV, WWLP, WHNB-TV, and WRLP aired another Red Sox-Senators game. WNHC-TV aired another Yankees-Twins game at 2:30PM. WBZ-TV (Channel 4) aired its local Massachusetts talent program at 4:30PM but there were no details in the listing.
Once again WNHC-TV pre-empted much of ABC’s lineup on Friday. The station aired The Flintstones from 7:30-8PM and FDR from 8-8:30PM but pre-empted The Addams Family at 8:30PM for syndicated documentary series Battle Line followed by a baseball game (New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals) at 8:55PM, pre-empting Valentine’s Day, Peyton Place, and 12 O’Clock High.
Here’s an advertisement for WTIC-TV’s broadcast of Tomahawk on Monday, July 13th:
Advertisement for Tomahawk on WTIC-TV – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
And here’s an advertisement for WTIC-TV’s broadcast of The Way to the Gold on Wednesday, July 14th:
Advertisement for The Way to the Gold on WTIC-TV – 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, July 12th, 1965
Capt. Bob instructs the viewer in a sketch of a sailboat riding the crest of the waves.
Tuesday, July 13th, 1965
Music from the North and South from the Civil War period is featured.
Wednesday, July 14th, 1965
Jack Woolner tells the story of the Massachusetts Beach and Buggy Association.
Thursday, July 15th, 1965
The first in a three-part series of programs featuring official Red Cross swimming instruction.
Friday, July 16th, 1965
The arts and customs of ancient Peru are studied by children.
That’s it for this week. Hit the comments with your thoughts.