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 3rd, 1965
Vol. 13, No. 27, Issue #640
Western New England Edition
On the Cover: Jimmy Dean (Copyright Philippe Halsman).
There are only three articles in this issue. Richard Gehman’s cover article about Jimmy Dean is oddly vague. It’s not the typical TV Guide profile with lots of details about Dean’s life and career. Instead, Gehman spends a long paragraph recounting how he used to be in a rhythm band and, as an adult, decided to add lyrics about Jimmy Dean to one of the songs he used to play. The bulk of the rest of the article discusses Dean’s exaggerated way of talking, the outfits he wears, how much he likes Mexican food, his unpredictability, and the camaraderie that exists between Dean and his crew.
Front Cover – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Gehman does reveal how Dean saved his show from cancellation during the 1963-1964 season. He quotes ABC-TV president Thomas Moore:
We were going to cancel him, the ratings were so bad. We’d made a mistake. We’d put Madison Avenue suits on him, and the writers were giving him sophisticated lines. The notice for the closing went up. We did not think he could survive, and we were looking for a replacement.
Dean asked if he could do the show his way and ABC agreed, still planning on cancelling him. Instead, “the plainsy, backwoodsy manner suddenly began to fuse into an audience-puller.” Although The Jimmy Dean Show isn’t a huge hit, it draws a sizable audience that is “fervently devoted to the singer and his program.” Dean may be somewhat frustrated with the popularity of his puppet sidekick Rowlf, created by Jim Henson. “Next thing you know, they’ll be calling the dog the star of this here ol’ show.” Gehman concludes the article by predicting that Dean “will be back next season and, I am positive, for many seasons to come.” [The Jimmy Dean Show did return for the 1965-1966 season, its third, but was cancelled after that.]
“The Day Shelley Winters Returned to Her Old Studio — and TV — in a Rented Car” by Leslie Raddatz is a bizarre, two-page article that doesn’t paint Winters in a very good light. She has returned to Universal City Studios, where she filmed A Double Life in 1947, for another installment of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre. She won an Emmy for an episode during the 1963-1964 season. During rehearsals she wears a “sloppy blue housecoat” and if a scene only requires her to wear a full costume from the waist up, that’s what she does.
According to Raddatz, she demands attention, the type stars get, even if she doesn’t look like one. He quotes someone who was on the set: “She’s like a child. She doesn’t care whether people like what she does–just so she gets attention.” The article also includes three lengthy sections, in parentheses and italics, that discuss how Winters got her start, her childhood, and her various marriages. [The episode of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Winters was working on was “Back to Back,” which aired on October 27th, 1965. It earned her an Emmy nomination.]
The third and final article, “He Has Seen Pig Pens Better Run” by Edith Efron, spotlights FCC commissioner Lee Loevinger, appointed by President Kennedy to replace Newton Minow. Loevinger is the complete opposite of Minow: “The Minow view, that it is the FCC’s duty to elevate the level and quality of broadcasting, is legally and morally wrong.” He detests Minow’s famous Vast Wasteland space:
Read it. It’s ill-considered. It’s illogical. Silliness! Nonsense! Contradictions! Look here. Here’s the essential error. First he says that the broadcaster must serve the public demand. Then he says that the broadcaster can’t just serve the public demand, that there are minority interests. What that means is that the broadcaster must offer the kind of “balance” prescribed by the FCC, regardless of the public demand.
He firmly believes that the FCC should not be involved in programming at all due to the First Amendment. It shouldn’t require religious programming, it shouldn’t send programming questionnaires to licensees, it shouldn’t insist on live, local productions, and it shouldn’t insist on fairness. He argues that the FCC sees the First Amendment as a limitation of its power and thus pushes back to try to extend its power. Not surprisingly, he is not very popular within the FCC itself. Most of his fellow commissioners don’t agree with him at all. One does agree on his objectives but not the details. Only Commissioner Rosel Hyde completely supports Loevinger: “He is taking positions which I have taken for many years. I don’t think the Commission ought to be regulating in the program area at all.”
Loevinger feels the only way to change the FCC is through the courts. “A rapid change could only occur if some broadcaster took a case to court. If the issue of program control were presented in a proper legal setting, I think the Supreme Court would hold the First Amendment forbid much the FCC has been doing.” [Loevinger remained with the FCC until 1968. The FCC got rid of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, although it wasn’t officially repealed from the Federal Register until 2011.]
The “As We See It” editorial this week discusses a recent editorial in the Parent-Teachers Association magazine in which editor Eva H. Grant criticized Peyton Place and lamented the loss of Profiles in Courage, Mr. Novak, and The Defenders. TV Guide argues that if the 12 million PTA members had watched those three shows and not Peyton Place, they would still be on the air while Peyton Place wouldn’t have been renewed. In other words, writing letters to sponsors, networks and stations may help support your favorite shows, but “the way to get the kind of programs you want is to put your eyes where your mouth is.”
There is no Cleveland Amory review this week.
News from the Hollywood and New York TV Teletype columns:
- Four NBC News crews are traveling the globe gathering interviews for the network’s three-and-a-half-hour exploration of U.S. foreign policy, to air September 7th. [“American White Paper: United States Foreign Policy” ran from 7:30-11PM on Tuesday, September 7th, 1965.]
- David Susskind’s Talent Associates is producing a daytime game show called Supermarket Sweepstakes for ABC next season. [The series premiered in December 1965 and ran through July 1967.]
- Sean Connery will host/narrate David Wolper’s special “The Incredible World of James Bond” for NBC in November. [Connery reportedly refused to participate after reading the script for the special. Alexander Scourby eventually served as narrator. The special aired on November 26th, 1965.]
- CBS plans to have microphones on the quarterbacks and coaches during its first NFL preseason game on August 7th.
- Gary Smith, producer of Hullabaloo, is working on a musical-variety series for NBC that will mix satire with comedy, similar to That Was the Week That Was. It is planned for the 1966-1967 season. [I don’t believe this ever made it to the air.]
- NBC has a new daytime game show called P.D.Q. in the works with Dennis James hosting. [The series aired in syndication from September 1965 to September 1969.]
- Robert Culp has written four episodes of I Spy and will direct one.
- Vic Morrow will write an episode of Combat!
- Jay Ward and Sid Caesar are planning a half-hour comedy series called Prince Fred in which Sid will play a dentist from the Midwest who inherits a European kingdom. [I don’t believe this even made it to the pilot stage.]
- Peyton Place now has 26 regulars in its cast with the addition of Lee Grant.
- Carolyn Jones will portray her character’s older sister on The Addams Family next season.
- Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam will co-star in a film tentatively titled Don’t Worry, We’ll Think of a Title.
Rounding out the national section is a six-page picture feature explaining how ABC televised the Tournament of Champions from Las Vegas. It includes a map with icons for various broadcast equipment (microwave-relay, parabolic microphone, tower camera, wheel camera, etc.) and a lengthy breakdown of the logistics of the event. There is also a page of TV Jibe comics, a recipe for gelato di melone (melon sherbet), and the regular TV crossword puzzle which is filled out again this week.
There are three news reports in the “For the Record” column in the listings section this week:
- Sports columnist Red Smith has criticized the United States Golf Association for ruling that any sudden-death play-offs will no longer start at the first hole but instead start at the 15th hole where, conveniently, television cameras are situated. Smith and others are concerned that sports of all types are being changed due to the impact of television.
- CBS News “resident muckraker” Jay McMullen last week exposed mail-order medical laboratories on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Senator Jacob J. Javits has asked Congress to pass legislation requiring licensing and inspection of such labs.
- Isme Bennie, 25, has fled South African due to fear of government reprisals for her role in helping National Educational Television writers and producers conduct interviews for two documentaries. The films had to be smuggled out of the country. The first documentary, “Fruit of Fear,” aired on NET stations last week.
The letters page this week includes seven letters on five topics. There’s a letter from someone who enjoyed the June 12th article on Molly Bee (“It’s nice to hear of a performer who is secure, even if she’s not on top.”), another complimenting Marian Dern for her June 19th article about Richard Basehart, and a third in support of Pamela Mason, who was also profiled in the June 19th issue. Then there are two letters responding to the June 12th article about Milburn Stone:
You use the expression–“Miss Kitty’s questionable character.” During all the years of watching Gunsmoke, I never once saw or heard anything which made me question Miss Kitty’s character. In what way can you justify the statement?
I agree with Doc. Gunsmoke‘s appeal to me as a history student is the show’s apparent authenticity–the feeling it might have happened just that way 100 years or so ago. Performers like Betty Hutton on Gunsmoke are anachronisms, as out of time and place as the Vietnamese issue [would have been] in the Lincoln-Douglas debates. CBS, please leave Gunsmoke to Doc, Kitty, Festus, and Matt.
Mrs. Frances Horn
An editorial note responded to the letter about Miss Kitty: “Histories of the West bear out, we think, that dance-hall girls of the era were, more often than not, of ‘questionable character’.”
Finally, there were two letters from viewers who watched “The Berkeley Rebels,” a CBS News special that aired on June 14th:
After just viewing CBS’s “The Berkeley Rebels,” I think it is only fair that the normal, well-adjusted college students have equal time to show that they do enjoy school, their classes, sports, respect their faculty, etc.
Mrs. Jack Hall
I think it is quite revealing that the students at the University of California did not reach their adolescent thinking until their early 20’s.
Mrs. Darlene Peterson
The TV Listings
It was a quiet week for the networks with no special programming to celebrate the Fourth of July. The teams playing in ABC’s regular afternoon baseball game for Saturday, July 3rd weren’t finalized at press time so TV Guide‘s listing stated the game would feature either the San Francisco Giants vs. the Chicago Cubs or the Cleveland Indians vs. the Baltimore Orioles. [It ended up being Giants-Cubs.]
On Monday, July 5th at 8:30PM, Summer Playhouse on CBS presented “Sally and Sam,” an unsold pilot from Hal Kanter starring Gary Lockwood and Cynthia Pepper. From 10-10:30PM, CBS aired an unidentified CBS News special. [It was a repeat of “Everett Dirksen, a Self-Portrait.”]
CBS aired another unsold pilot [“The Barbara Rush Show”] on Friday, July 9th from 9:30-10PM as part of its Vacation Playhouse series. The pilot starred Rush as a woman juggling her job as a public stenographer with raising three children while her husband goes to medical school.
Here are the TV Guide close-ups for the week:
- Wide World of Sports (ABC, Saturday at 5:00PM)
- Hollywood Palace (ABC, Saturday at 9:30PM, Repeat)
- Look Up and Live – “My People Is the Enemy” (CBS, Sunday at 10:30AM)
- Western Open (WBZ-TV/WNHC-TV, Sunday at 5:00PM)
- The Andy Williams Show (NBC, Monday at 9:00PM, Repeat)
- Mr. Novak – “From the Brow of Zeus” (NBC, Tuesday at 7:30PM, Repeat)
- Kraft Suspense Theatre – “Operation Grief” (NBC, Thursday at 10:00PM, Repeat)
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 Double Feature: Dr. No and From Russia with Love (Saturday at 7:30PM, $1.50)
- Movie: Young Cassidy (Sunday at 9:00PM, $1.25)
- Movie: A High Wind in Jamaica (Monday at 7:00PM, $1.25)
- Movie: Walt Disney’s Cinderella (Wednesday at 7:30PM, $1.00)
- Movie: Brainstorm (Friday at 9:00PM, $1.00)
It was a much busier week locally, with seven different baseball games and a variety of specials. At 12PM on Saturday, WHNB-TV (Channels 30 and 79) brought back its half-hour local Connecticut talent show hosted by Colonel Clown. Featured were children from the Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury areas. At 2:15PM, WBZ-TV (Channel 4) aired NBC’s Sportsman’s Holiday, airing it locally outside of its regular 5:45-6PM network time slot. The 15-minute color series premiered the previous week but WBZ-TV airs syndicated Hollywood a Go Go from 5-6PM on Saturdays so it had to find a different time slot for Sportsman’s Holiday.
[None of the NBC affiliates in Western New England aired Sportsman’s Holiday when it premiered on Saturday, June 26th. As mentioned above, WBZ-TV aired Hollywood a Go Go from 5-6PM on Saturdays so it debuted the series the following week at a different time. WWLP (Channel 22), WHNB-TV, and WRLP (Channel 32) were all scheduled to air the series premiere on June 26th but the July 3rd listing has the same episode description and a “Postponed from last week” notice. All of those stations aired a baseball game starting at 2:15PM on June 26th. Perhaps it ran long. Or perhaps NBC decided to push back the premiere of Sportsman’s Holiday from June 26th to July 3rd. That’s the problem with TV Guide listings. They’re not always accurate and sometimes confusing.]
Also at 2:15PM, WHDH-TV (Channel 5), WNHC-TV (Channel 8), WWLP, WHNB-TV, and WRLP aired a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. At 5PM, WBZ-TV and WNHC-TV aired live coverage of the third round of the Western Open golf tournament. At 7PM, WTIC-TV (Channel 3) aired the premiere of Summer Playhouse, the CBS series that debuted on the network on Monday, June 28th at 8:30PM. The station airs movies from 7-9PM on Mondays, pre-empting CBS network programming. At 11PM, WHDH-TV broadcast a 90-minute CBS special called “It’s What’s Happening, Baby!” that aired nationally from 9:30-11PM on Monday, June 28th. WHDH-TV was showing a baseball game at the time and pre-empted the specially locally.
On Sunday at 1PM, WNHC-TV aired a half-hour special called “Chance to Learn” about the nation’s education problems and what the Elementary and Secondary Eduction Act of 1965 can help solve them. At 1:30PM, WHDH-TV, WNHC-TV, WWLP, WHNB-TV, and WRLP aired another Yankees-Red Sox baseball game. WBZ-TV’s half-hour local Massachusetts talent audition program at 4:30PM featured participants from Quincy, Boston, South Lancaster, East Weymouth, Island Park (Rhode Island), and Henniker (New Hampshire). At 5PM, WBZ-TV and WNHC-TV aired live coverage of the final round of the Western Open golf tournament.
Two baseball games aired on Monday. At 12PM, WHDH-TV, WNHC-TV, WWLP, WHNB-TV, and WRLP aired a game between the Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. At 2PM, WNAC-TV (Channel 7), WATR-TV (Channel 20), and WHYN-TV (Channel 40) aired a game between the Yankees and the Detroit Tigers. WNHC-TV was scheduled to pick up the Yankees-Tigers game in progress at 2:30PM after the Red Sox-Twins game ended. From 10:30-11PM, WTIC-TV aired a half-hour special called “Connecticut: What’s Ahead.”
On Thursday at 10:30PM, WNHC-TV repeated “Chance to Learn.” WNHC-TV pre-empted ABC’s entire prime-time lineup on Friday, airing syndicated Battle Line at 7:30PM in place of The Flinstones followed by a baseball game at 7:55PM featuring the Houston Astros and the New York Mets.
Here’s an advertisement for WHCT-TV’s broadcast of Cinderella as part of the Phonevision pay television experiment:
Advertisement for Cinderella on WHCT-TV – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Here’s an advertisement for Susie [the syndicated title for Private Secretary] weekdays on WHYN-TV:
Advertisement for Susie on WHYN-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 5th, 1965
Capt. Bob makes a color drawing of a Revolutionary drum and musket.
Tuesday, July 6th, 1965
The songs of the American Negro are presented.
Wednesday, July 7th, 1965
Jack Woolner takes a look at Great Meadows marsh and the Concord River area as a site to enjoy a family outing.
Thursday, July 8th, 1965
Anna Maria Alberghetti makes a guest appearance.
Friday, July 9th, 1965
Skills of the arts and crafts society are presented.
That’s it for this week. Hit the comments with your thoughts.