Television Obscurities Keeping Obscure TV From Fading Away Forever Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:27:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A Year in TV Guide: December 19th, 1964 Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:15:35 +0000 TV Guide magazine. This week's issue included a Christmas poem by Allan Sherman, and articles about George Burns & Jack Benny and failed TV station promotions. Continue Reading →]]> 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 #14
December 19th, 1964
Vol. 12, No. 51, Issue #612
Western New England Edition

On the Cover: Christmas drawing by William Steig.

The Magazine

This was an atypical issue in a few ways due to the Christmas holiday. The cover, for example, had nothing to do with television. Instead, it was a lovely Christmas scene courtesy of artist William Steig. The first page of the issue featured a complete list of all national and regional TV Guide editors as well as other staff. And there was a lengthy holiday poem from Allan Sherman (of “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah” fame) which referenced every single TV show on the air in 1964. Here’s an excerpt:

Hail Andy Griffith, hail Gomer Pyle,
And Slattery’s People and Gilligan’s Isle.
Hail Jackie Gleason, whose group is so dandy.
Hail both the Williamses, Cara and Andy.
Greetings Walt Disney and Lucy and Hazel,
The joy you have brought is beyond our apprazel.
Hail Alfred Hitchcock, master of terror.
Hail My Four Sons (a typing error).

It’s an impressive work. If not for copyright concerns I would reproduce the entire thing.

Front Cover
Front Cover – Copyright 1964 Triangle Publications, Inc.

The articles this week are a mixed bag. For fans of The Munsters, there’s a very brief essay by Leslie Raddatz about his experience driving the Munster Mobile or Munster Koach. It went from 0-80 in 15.4 seconds, according to Raddatz, and is capable of making it all the way to 150 miles per hour. Inside were a stereo tape recorder, three TV sets, an electric shoe-polisher, a blender, and two antique French phones.

There’s a two-page essay by Philip R. Smith Jr. about the history of Indians in combat from the Revolutionary War through the Korean War. It’s connection to TV is limited; the author notes that viewers who think all Indians were savages could be forgiven due to the depiction of Indians on television. Smith hoped that “perhaps some day Hollywood’s writers will truly give the Indian his due. There’s plenty of rich, historical material waiting to be dramatized.”

Edith Efron’s article “This is the Girl That Really Is” examines Nancy Ames, the “blonde, muscular, sardonic Amazon who delivers the blaring theme song of That Was the Week That Was,” said by her publicists to be “a peppy Social Critic, an Intellectual, a Controversial Figure.” According to Efron, it turns out the TV persona was nothing like the real Ames. I’ve never seen an episode of That Was the Week That Was and had never heard of Ames before reading this article.

Richard Gehman’s four-page article about the friendship between Jack Benny and George Burns is a nice look at the two comedy legends. I’m not very familiar with either of them, to be honest. The two discuss old jokes, their hairpieces, their careers, and try to remember how long they’ve been friends.

The two have very different work ethics. Benny works perhaps 13 hours a week over the course of four days while Burns is nearly always working with his writers. He’s convinced that weekly television is the easiest job in the world:

If you do four [shows] a year, all four better be really spectacular. If you do a half hour a week, and one isn’t as good as the week before, they make excuses for you, the audience. They say, ‘he wasn’t as good this week, but maybe he’ll be better next week.’ I think the people who stay on week in, week out, year after year, are the people who work easy.

Without a doubt the best article is Ron Wren’s “Oh well, back to the drawing board” about failed TV station promotions. Included are a half-dozen stories about various TV stations whose promotions went horribly awry. For example, an unnamed ABC station staged a bank robbery to promote The Untouchables, complete with its personalities decked out in fedoras and pin-striped suits toting violin cases holding actual machines guns (loaded with blanks, of course). Everything was cleared with the bank and the local police but an off-duty police officer unaware of the promotion happened to be nearby and came close to opening fire on the fake robbers, stopped only by an officer who knew it was a stunt.

Other failed promotions included WAAM in Baltimore celebrating changing its call letters to WJZ-TV with a fireworks display in a park that was flooded, washing $10,000 worth of fireworks away; KTVI (Channel 2) in St. Louis commissioning a San Francisco bakery to bake 50,000 fortune cookies to promote Hong Kong only for the baker to print KTVU (Channel 2 in San Fransisco) on the fortunes rather than KTVI, thinking it was a mistake; and WMCT in Memphis planning to promote Ripcord by having its promo man jump out of an airplane holding the film for the first episode (he couldn’t find anyone else willing to do it) only for the poor guy to realize he was too scared to jump.

Finally, there’s a one-page article about Betty Bundy, who, like Nancy Ames, was someone I’d never heard of. She’s described as “20, wide-eyed, pert-nosed, normally self-confident, moderately ambitious and reasonably talented.” Unlike most young actresses, however, “she thinks, talks and acts in a disarmingly direct, natural way. She seems to know exactly what she is, and is not the least bit interested in creating any other impression.” A quick look through her Internet Movie Database profile reveals she guest starred in dozens of TV shows throughout the 1960s and 1970s, including one-season wonders like Occasional Wife, The Interns, Search, and The Manhunter.

There’s another glowing review from Cleveland Amory, this time for Profiles in Courage on CBS. Here’s how he concludes the review:

The key to Profiles in Courage seems to us to lie in the underplaying, documentary approach to drama about vital, bone-deep issues–which makes it such a powerful contrast to so many other overblown, skinny-dip sagas. Now all that remains is for the networks to get the message, which is that there is room in television for dramas–and documentaries too–about ideas that are not necessarily popular. We don’t always have to agree with what’s being said and done on the screen to enjoy and perhaps learn from it.

News from the Hollywood and New York TV Teletype columns:

  • A pilot script is in the works for a series starring Jose Ferrer as Mr. Moto, the Japanese detective portrayed by Peter Lorre in the movies.
  • The 1960 Gregory Peck movie The Gunfighter may become a weekly TV series.
  • Pat Priest has replaced Beverly Owens on The Munsters.
  • David Susskind, Nat Hiken, and Elroy “Crazy legs” Hirsh (University of Wisconsin) will face off against Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., Erskine Caldwelll, and Mortimer Caplin (University of Virginia) in the January 10th, 1965 episode of Alumni Fun on CBS, hosted by Peter Lind Hayes.
  • The new British musical group Herman’s Hermits will debut in an episode of Shindig, which expands to an hour beginning January 20th.
  • NBC’s Sunday will shift to the 3-4PM time slot starting January 17th.

Rounding out the national section is a three-page picture feature on actor Sterling Holloway’s home in Laguna, CA (filled with art) as well as the regular TV crossword puzzle. There was no “As We See It” editorial in this issue.

There was just one news report in the “For the Record” column in the listings section this week, all about the latest national Nielsen report out on December 7th. It has been called “the $100,000,000 Nielsen report” for its importance to the networks and sponsors and its impact on programming. Covering the two weeks ending November 22nd, the report led to a number of cancellations on all three networks. Here’s the Top Ten:

  1. Bonanza (NBC) – 35.8
  2. Bewitched (ABC) – 29.4
  3. Gomer Pyle, USMC (CBS) – 28.7
  4. The Fugitive (ABC) – 27.4
  5. The Andy Griffith Show (CBS) – 27.4
  6. The Red Skelton Show (CBS) – 27.2
  7. The Munsters (CBS) – 27.0
  8. The Lucy Show (CBS) – 26.2
  9. The Jackie Gleason Show (CBS) – 26.1
  10. Peyton Place II (ABC) – 26.0

According to the report, a 17.0 Nielsen rating has been considered “a passable grade” but there are plenty of shows rating lower than that, including Valentine’s Day, The Flintstones, The Outer Limits, Slattery’s People, The Baileys of Balboa, The Defenders, The Reporters, My Living Doll, 90 Bristol Court, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and That Was the Week That Was. In response to the report, CBS made drastic mid-season changes, with nine shows shifting to new time slots, three new additions, and two cancellations. NBC and ABC, on the other hand, seem to be sticking by their earlier programming changes (i.e. The Outer Limits and Mickey cancelled by ABC and two-thirds of 90 Bristol Court cancelled by NBC).

The letters page in the listings section this week included three letters praising the November 30th, 1964 episode of Slattery’s People on CBS:

I regard the Slattery’s People episode, “Question: Do the Ignorant Sleep in Pure White Beds?”, having to do with sex education in our public schools, among the most relevant, timely and appropriate of any television show I’ve seen this season.
Ronald N. Katen, Associate Advisor
Young People’s Fellowship
Brooklyn, N.Y.

As a minister, I believe that parents must realize that “kids” grow up . . . and they need to be prepared for growing up.
William G. Hughes, Minister
First Church of Christ
Sweet Valley, Pa.

I am a high school junior, 16, and I can cite you many similar incidents to this program in my own life. A sex education class such as this show advocated would be a welcome addition to our high school curriculum. Those few who would be offended by it are perhaps those who need it most.
Pat Cox
Toms Rivers, N.J.

There was also a letter from a doctor objecting to NBC cancelling a proposed crossover between Mr. Novak and Dr. Kildare involving venereal diseases. Two readers sent in letters about network daytime pre-emptions for coverage of the Bobby Baker Senate hearing , one opposed and one in favor. Finally, there was a letter from a staff sergeant in the Air Force noting that on the cover to the December 5th issue of TV Guide, Sammy Jackson of No Time for Sergeants was shown with his shoulder strap out when it should have been under his coat collar per regulations.

The TV Listings

Just as this was an atypical issue of TV Guide, it was an atypical week for television due to the Christmas holiday. There were plenty of regular episodes of TV shows, true, but there were also many specials and quite a few church services as well. And there were sporting events, including the Liberty Bowl (Western Virginia University vs. the University of Utah) and the Bluebonnet Bowl (the University of Mississippi vs. the University of Tulsa), both on Saturday, December 19th and both on ABC. ABC also broadcast the 19th Annual North-South Shrine All-Star Game on Friday, December 25th.

ABC aired a two-hour documentary called “1964: A TV Album” on Sunday, December 20th from 3-5PM. Harry Reasoner hosted the review of major news events from 1964, including the ouster of Nikita Khrushchev in the Soviet Union, the murder of civil rights workers in Mississippi, the 1964 Presidential campaign, the Warren Commission report, the Tokyo Olympics, the Beatles coming to America, and the deaths of Herbert Hoover, Gracie Allen, Harpo Marx, and others. Also on Sunday, NBC rebroadcast the 1963 version of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” from 4-5PM.

NBC pre-empted 90 Bristol Court on Monday, December 21st for two specials: “The Story of Christmas,” a repeat of a Tennessee Ernie Ford special from 1963 and “The Coming of Christ,” a Project 20 special narrated by Alexander Scourby featuring paintings from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance illustrating stories from the Bible exploring the live of Jesus. And Maureen O’Hara hosted an installment of The Bell Telephone Hour on NBC on Tuesday, December 22nd from 10-11PM. Guests included Howard Keel, Phyllis Curtin, and Martha Wright.

On Christmas Eve (Thursday, December 24th) television was filled with Christmas music and church services. ABC aired a Protestant church service live from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City from 11:15PM-12AM. This was followed by a live Catholic church service from 12-1AM live from the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. CBS aired a fifteen-minute program of music featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from 11:15-11:30PM followed by “Sounds of Christmas” with Baroness Maria Von Trapper from 11:30PM-12:AM, then a Protestant church service live from St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in New York City from 12-1AM. And NBC aired a 45-minute special hosted by Sammy Davis Jr. called “Christmas Card” from 11:15PM-12AM followed by a Catholic church service from 12-1:45AM from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

On Christmas Day, (Friday, December 25th), NBC’s The Today Show was devoted to Christmas with the Kuklapolitans from 7-9AM. NBC aired another Protestant church service live from 12:30-1:30PM, from the Episcopal Cathedral in Washington, D.C. What aired in prime time on Christmas? Mostly new episodes of shows like The Entertainers, The Bob Hope Show, Valentine’s Day, Gomer Pyle, USMC, and The Jack Paar Show. There were a few repeats as well: Rawhide and The Addams Family, for example.

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

  • Liberty Bowl (ABC, Saturday at 12:30PM)
  • Movie: White Christmas (NBC, Saturday at 9PM)
  • Special: 1964: A TV Album (CBS, Sunday at 3PM)
  • The 20th Century – “Duke Ellington Swings Through Japan” (CBS, Sunday at 6PM)
  • Wagon Train – “The Hector Heatherton Story” (ABC, Sunday at 7:30PM)
  • The Andy Williams Show (NBC, Monday at 9PM)
  • Special: Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (NBC, Friday at 7:30PM)
  • The Bell Telephone Hour (NBC, Tuesday at 10PM)
  • 19th Annual North-South Game (ABC, Friday at 3PM)
  • Special: Oratorio – Handel’s Messiah (Channel 24, Friday at 8PM)

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: Gun at Batasi (Saturday at 6:30PM, $1.25)
  • Movie: A Shot in the Dark (Saturday at 8:30PM, $1.25)
  • Pro Hockey: Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers (Sunday at 7:30PM, $1.25)
  • Movie: West Side Story (Monday at 9PM, $1.25)
  • Movie: 633 Squadron (Wednesday at 7PM, $1.25)
  • Ballet: Pinocchio (Thursday at 7PM, $1.25)
  • Pro Hockey: New York Rangers vs. Boston Bruins (Friday at 8PM, $1.25)

Locally, there were plenty of Christmas specials as well. WHNB-TV (Channel 30) aired an hour-long Christmas concert featuring the Hartford Insurance Group Choir and the New Britain High Schools Combined Choir from 6-7PM on Saturday, December 19th. As it had the previous week, WATR-TV (Channel 20) broadcast a half-hour of Christmas music from 7-7:30PM Monday through Friday.

WNHC-TV (Channel 8) aired another installment of Esso World Theatre (“Sweden: Fire and Ice”) on Wednesday, December 23rd from 8:30-9:30PM, pre-empting Shindig.

On Christmas Eve. WNAC-TV (Channel 7) aired a half-hour special called “Christmas in Boston” from 7:30-8PM, hosted by Arthur Fiedler, conductor of the Boston Pops. It was rebroadcast Christmas Day from 2:30-3PM. WNHC-TV (Channel 8) aired a half-hour special called “Yale Glee Club” featuring the Whiffenpoofs from 8:30-9PM, pre-empting My Three Sons. It was repeated on Christmas morning from 9:30-10AM.

On Christmas Day. WHNB-TV (Channel 30) aired an hour-long Christmas concert from 9-10AM featuring the Asylum Hill Congregational Church choir and the Columbus Boychoir. WNHC-TV (Channel 8) aired its own holiday concert from 1:30-2PM, featuring the University of of Connecticut choir.

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, December 21st, 1964
Captain Bob shows the development of a sketch.

Tuesday, December 22nd, 1964
“Poetry in Motion.”

Wednesday, December 23rd, 1964
Host John Fitch presents “Frontiers of Science” in cooperation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Thursday, December 24th, 1964
Favorite Christmas carols of several countries are presented by the Giuliana Chorale of the Cape Cod Conservatory of Music.

Friday, December 25th, 1964
Dr. Erwin P. Booth presents a program on the meaning and observance of Christmas from ancient to modern times.

TV Guide and a number of stations took out advertisements wishing readers and viewers a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays:

Best Wishes from TV Guide
Best Wishes from TV Guide – Copyright 1964 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Seasons Greetings from WWLP 22
Seasons Greetings from WWLP 22 – Copyright 1964 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Merry Christmas from WHNB-TV 30
Merry Christmas from WHNB-TV 30 – Copyright 1964 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Isaiah 9-6, from WHYN TV-AM-FM
saiah 9-6, from WHYN TV-AM-FM – Copyright 1964 Triangle Publications, Inc.

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

]]> 1
A Year in TV Guide: December 12th, 1964 Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:00:52 +0000 TV Guide magazine. This week's issue included articles about actress Julie Newmar, singer and actor Bing Crosby, and the state of color television in 1964. Continue Reading →]]> 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 #13
December 12th, 1964
Vol. 12, No. 50, Issue #611
Western New England Edition

On the Cover: Julie Newmar of My Living Doll on CBS (photo by Carl Frith).

The Magazine

I am happy to report that this issue of TV Guide doesn’t include any articles about football. Gracing the cover is the lovely Julie Newmar, the doll of My Living Doll on CBS. The cover article “Everyone’s Living Doll” offers a range of interesting facts about Newmar. She had a poster of Albert Einstein on her bedroom wall during high school, for example, and used to read books while driving before switching to using a tape recorder to learn Italian and Spanish while driving.

Newmar’s beauty is noted a number of times: “She is much sought after, personally and professionally, on Broadway and in Hollywood. But the hitch seems to be that she is loved for what to her are the wrong reasons. In almost any consideration of Julie Newmar, the emphasis is almost unavoidably upon the physical.” Yet Newmar seems comfortable with herself, if sometimes shy and kooky.

Of her role on My Living Doll, Newmar had this to say: “I have had to learn an entirely new area of comedy–develop a character that’s never been done before. I am giving birth to something!”

Front Cover
Front Cover – Copyright 1964 Triangle Publications, Inc.

“How Bing Crosby Has Mellowed” by Leslie Raddatz is a somewhat depressing article supposedly about the new and improved Bing, currently starring in The Bing Crosby Show on ABC. We learn that he films five episodes in three weeks and then takes two weeks off. He got his 12-year-old co-star Diane Sherry tickets to see The Beatles. He wears a toupee. In parenthetical asides Raddatz notes how aloof Bing has always been, how mysterious and unknown he is to even his closest friends, how the change in his singing voice has led some to wonder if he is past his prime, and how his grown sons have shattered his image to some degree.

David Lachenbruch’s three-page article “The New Look for Color TV” is an exhaustive overview of the state of color television. According to the article, since 1954 some 2.5 million color sets have been sold, all with 21-inch screens. I had no idea that for nearly ten years all color sets were bulky — some 26 inches deep — due to the size of the color picture tube (which also happened to feature rounded corners).

Motorola released a 23-inch color television earlier in 1964, the first color set with a short tube, and a 25-inch model is now available. These sets are also more rectangular. The catch? They’re much more expensive. While 21-inch sets sell for $399.95, the 23-inch color set costs $625 and the 25-inch sets run from $795 to $850. If I’m using this inflation calculator correctly, $625 in 1964 dollars would be $4,786.96 today, while $850 in 1964 dollars would be $6,510.26 today.

There have been improvements in brightness, too, now found in all new color sets regardless of the size. Even smaller 19-inch tubes are in the works but they won’t be compact, lightweight and low-priced like similar 19-inch black and white sets. In fact, portable or even easily moveable color sets are a long way off. If a 16-inch color sets hit the market in 1966 as planned, it will weigh between 60 and 100 pounds.

The issue includes two other articles: “‘Oh no, not again!’,” a look at how Hugh Downs surprised his wife for her birthday with a secret trip to Jamaica; and “She Might Have Played Lolita,” about 18-year-old actress Sherry Alberoni, who goes everywhere with her mother and almost starred in Lolita.

This week Cleveland Amory reviewed Wendy and Me, the new sitcom produced by and featuring George Burns. Amory noted that Burns inserted himself into the series at every opportunity but not as his character (who owned the apartment building where the other characters lived). Instead, Burns used his announcer role to poke fun at the show, himself, the titular Wendy (played by Connie Stevens), and more.

Despite all that, Amory wasn’t too negative about the show itself. “It’s not our favorite, but neither is it a complete miss–actually, it’s one of those near Mrs,” he wrote. Amory didn’t seem too taken with star Connie Stevens but ultimately felt “she comes close to making up for the fact that almost every plot we’ve seen is an obvious and often wearing blend of mistaken identity and missed connections.”

The “As We See It” editorial this week praised NBC’s special “The Louvre,” which aired on November 17th, 1964. “Rarely have script, color, photography and narration been blended so smoothly, so movingly,” said TV Guide. All involved with its production were given high marks. In fact TV Guide found fault with only two aspects of the special: that sponsor Xerox too often interrupted it with one-minute commercials (fewer but longer ones would have been better) and that too few people watched it (according to Arbitron, it received a 19% share of the audience compared to 30% for The Doctors and the Nurses and 47% for The Fugitive).

There was a lot of news about pilots in the Hollywood and New York TV Teletype columns:

  • The BBC will start airing NBC’s Profiles in Courage this week.
  • Staring the week of January 9th, 1965 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson will air six nights a week, with the best episode from each week rebroadcast on Saturday nights.
  • NBC Sports in Action will premiere on January 17th, 1965 at 4PM. The new show will feature drama and excitement from the world of sports.
  • A new daytime NBC series starring Douglas Watson and Louise King will premiere on January 4th, 1965 at 2PM.
  • An untitled pilot starring Bette Davis is in production, with co-stars Davey Davison and Ed Begley.
  • Will Hutchins has signed for the lead in a comedy pilot called “The Lawyer.”
  • NBC has signed Don Adams for a comedy pilot called “Get Smart” about a not-too-competent secret agent.
  • Desilu has an hour-long, science-fiction, color pilot called “Star Trek” in production, starring Jeffrey Hunter.
  • William Dozier is producing a pilot called “The Avenger” for CBS, starring Peter Fonda.

Rounding out the national section is a picture feature showcasing discotheque dresses modeled by Julie Newmar, as well as the regular crossword puzzle.

The “For the Record” column in the listings section once again featured four news reports:

  • The FCC is investigating payola on radio and plugola on television. Ed Sullivan opposed the investigation, calling it “stupid” and arguing that both networks and producers are careful to avoid plugola.
  • The reason the networks have so many rock and roll acts on television may have something to do with an inaccurate Nielsen sample. As of October, 58.3% of the 1100 households in the sample had children despite the fact that the Census Bureau said only 51% of TV households have children. Nielsen last week announced it was revising to better reflect the national average. Will that lead to more adult programming?
  • Dean Jagger, who portrayed the principal on NBC’s Mr. Novak, has left the series on doctors orders due to an ulcer. Episodes with Jagger will continue to air through January after which the character will be either disappear or be recast.
  • Mister Ed will return to TV on December 13th after six weeks off the air due to NFL games.

The letters page in the listings section featured a lengthy article from the crew of a submarine:

As members of the U.S. submarine force, we have been appalled by the reflection on us by the actions of the crew aboard the submarine in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. We are referring to the panic that takes place every time something goes wrong on the Seaview. If this happened on submarines every time something went wrong, there would be very few submarines afloat today. The prestige of our crew and the whole submarine force is high and we believe that the actions of the crew of the Seaview are degrading to us.
Crew Members, USS Jack
New York, N.Y.

There were also two more letters reacting negatively to the November 21st article about Jim Nabors:

Now that you jokers have your hokey dialog out of the way (one or two paragraphs would have been most adequate), let’s have an article on Jim Nabors written in English and let’s see who this guy really is.
Don M. Stalter
Vantage, Wash.

I would have read the article about Jim Nabors but it was written in such obscure language I gave up after the first “coupler” sentences.
Betty K. Robertson

“We’ll be getting around to Jim Nabors again one of these days,” promised an editorial reply.

And there was a letter critical of critic Cleveland Amory:

One of these weeks, I’m sure critic Cleveland Amory is going to turn in a whole column full of those Clever Little Quips and not mention any show at all.
David Wolf
New York, N.Y.

Other letters included one from a reader responding to a November 21st article about actor Edward Andrews; a letter lamenting the cancellation of The Outer Limits (“Why, oh why did ABC move it to the Saturday Night Graveyard?”); and a letter from a reader tired of Dr. Kildare (“I had to cut a few of their more recent house calls short”).

The TV Listings

This was the last week of the regular NFL season, with games on both Saturday and Sunday. The Outer Limits was pre-empted on Saturday for an hour-long documentary about the 1964 Nobel Prize Awards hosted by Alistair Cooke. The 1956 film War and Peace starring Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda aired from 8-11:25PM on NBC’s Saturday Night at the Movies:

Advertisement for War and Peace on NBC
Advertisement for War and Peace on NBC – Copyright 1964 Triangle Publications, Inc.

Starting its new season on Sunday at 6PM was The Twentieth Century with an installment focusing on Anne Frank, hosted by Walter Cronkite.

Chet Huntley narrated “The Battle of the Bulge” on Tuesday, December 15th from 10-11PM, an hour-long special about the four-week battle in Belgium the started on December 16th, 1944. CBS Reports was pre-empted on Wednesday, December 16th for “Casals at 88,” a special focusing on cellist Pablo Casals. Perry Como’s second special of the season aired on NBC on Thursday, December 17th. And NBC rebroadcast “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol,” an hour-long color special originally broadcast in 1962, on Friday, December 18th.

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

  • Special: Nobel Prize Awards (ABC, Saturday at 7:30PM)
  • Movie: War and Peace (NBC, Saturday at 8PM)
  • The Twentieth Century – “Who Killed Anne Frank?” (CBS, Sunday at 6PM)
  • Special: Battle of the Bulge (NBC, Tuesday at 10PM)
  • Special: Casals at 88 (CBS, Wednesday at 7:30PM)
  • Special: Perry Como (NBC, Thursday at 10PM)
  • Special: Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (NBC, Friday at 7:30PM)

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: Fail Safe (Saturday at 6:30PM, $1.50)
  • Movie: The Lively Set (Sunday at 7PM, $1.00)
  • Movie: For Those Who Think Young (Monday at 7PM, $1.00)
  • Movie: Kitten with a Whip (Tuesday at 9PM, $1.25)
  • Pro Hockey: Detroit Redwings vs. New York Rangers (Wednesday at 7:30PM, $1.25)
  • Movie: A Shot in the Dark (Thursday at 7PM, $1.25)
  • Movie: Guns at Batasi (Friday at 8:30PM, $1.25)

Locally, it was a packed week. WTIC-TV (Channel 3) aired another half-hour installment of From the College Campus on Sunday, December 12th from 11:30AM-12PM. Featured this week was a panel discussion Yale University. That same day WNHC-TV (Channel 8) aired a half-hour special titled “Connecticut Welfare” from 12:30-1PM. Along with dramatic vignettes about those on welfare, the special also saw Edward C. Harold of the Child Welfare Association moderate a discussion by a panel of social workers.

Also on Sunday, WWLP (Channel 22) and WRLP (Channel 32) aired an hour-long special called “The High Cost of Medicine” from 4-5PM. A Springfield attorney named John Hird moderated. Participants included Dr. A.A. Palermo, Dr. Robert N. Lamarche, and William L. Putnam (president and general manager of WWLP). Finally, WBZ-TV (Channel 4) aired live talent auditions hosted by Gene Jones from 4:30-5PM. Participants included vocalist Bonnie Davis, violinist Nancy Pierce, comedian Tony Papa, vocalist Grace Theriault, singer-guitarist Lester Baldwin, vocalist Natalia Melechow, and instrumental group The Cape Cod Hillbillies. This was followed by another installment of Starring the Editors from 5-5:30PM.

WHYN-TV (Channel 40) ran a half-page advertisement for its local series Continental Classroom, which aired 8:30-9AM Monday through Friday:

Advertisement for Continental Classroom on WHYN-TV (Channel 40)C
Advertisement for Continental Classroom on WHYN-TV (Channel 40) – Copyright 1964 Triangle Publications, Inc.

Also airing Monday through Friday (but only this week) on WATR-TV (Channel 20) was a half-hour of Christmas music featuring church choirs from Waterbury. The musical program ran from 7-7:30PM. WHNB-TV (Channel 30) and its translator (Channel 79) aired a half-hour public affairs report on Monday, December 14th from 7:30-8PM. Reporters Bary Barents, Harvey Olson, and Al Kennedy discussed the current reapportionment complex with attorneys for the state’s Democratic and Republican committees.

On Tuesday, December 15th from 11:30PM-12AM, WWLP (Channel 22) and WRLP (Channel 32) aired a half-hour program on mountaineering featuring William L. Putnam, WWLP’s president and general manager. He was also an expert mountain climber who discussed the difficulty in building a cabin on the Northern Selkirks in British Columbia.

WJAR-TV (Channel 10) aired a live basketball game on Friday, December 18th from 8:30-10:30PM, pre-empting The Bob Hope Show and The Jack Benny Show; The Jack Paar Show was scheduled to be joined in progress at 10:30PM.

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, December 14th, 1964
Captain Bob gives viewers an opportunity to test their creativity.

Tuesday, December 15th, 1964
Guest author John Kiernan joins Mrs. Beryl Robinson of the Boston Public Library in suggesting worthwhile books for children’s Christmas presents.

Wednesday, December 16th, 1964
Concert pianist Miklos Schwalb plays selections from Brahms to Tchaikovsky.

Thursday, December 17th, 1964
Sue Thurman of the Institute of Contemporary Art presents the highlights of the current exhibit.

Friday, December 18th, 1964
Students from two local high schools compete in a test of knowledge and understanding of chemistry.

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

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Review: Hawk Thu, 11 Dec 2014 13:00:54 +0000 Hawk, from 1966. Continue Reading →]]> Bookshelf is a monthly column examining printed matter relating to television. While I love watching TV, I also love reading about it, from tie-in novels to TV Guides, from vintage television magazines to old newspaper articles. Bookshelf is published on the second Thursday of each month.

By Richard Hardwick
First Published November 1966
Published by Belmont Books
156 Pages

It’s been a few months since I’ve reviewed a tie-in novel. One of the main reasons I stopped my weekly Bookshelf feature back in 2010 was the fact that I was running out of tie-in novels to review. I have a large collection of such books but many are episode novelizations, which I don’t like reviewing if I’ve never seen the episode(s) being novelized. When I relaunched Bookshelf as a monthly feature last year I also decided I only wanted to review tie-in novels of relatively short-lived TV shows.

Hawk definitely fits the bill. It ran for just 17 episodes on ABC during the first few months of the 1966-1967 television season. The detective series starred Burt Reynolds as Lieutenant John Hawk, a full-blooded Indian (the Native American variety) working as an investigator for the New York City District Attorney. I’ve never seen the show so I can’t say how much it played up Hawk’s Native American roots but apparently he faced discrimination both on the job and off.

Front Cover to Hawk
Front Cover to Hawk – Copyright 1966 Screen Gems, Inc.

The novel Hawk doesn’t do much with the Native American angle. Hawk occasionally throws out an Iroquois saying and a few characters upon meeting him are shocked to learn he’s an Indian. There are also a handful of references to him moving silently like an Indian. Otherwise, the character is mostly defined by his direct, almost abrupt, manner and his love of the night. He works the night beat by choice, it seems, and doesn’t appear to be all that comfortable during the daytime.

The plot of the novel concerns a group trying to raise money to arm guerrillas and overthrow the government of the fictional Caribbean island of San Sebastian. They consider the current government illegitimate. It took control of the country via a coup several years earlier and the group wants a return to the good old days. Hawk gets involved after a car bomb explodes in a parking garage, killing a member of the group.

From the start it’s obvious that this isn’t going to be an easy case to solve. It’s not immediately clear who was killed in the bombing. Was the bomb set by someone working for the San Sebastian government, worried the group is raising too much money? Or was there a traitor within the group itself, someone perhaps more interested in money than revolution? Even as Hawk and his partner Detective Carter (played by Wayne Grice in the series) attempt to piece together the clues, other members of the group try to investigate on their own.

As the novel unfolds, Hawk learns that nearly $1 million in cash raised by the group was withdrawn from a bank using forged signatures. He tracks down the wealthy sister of the man supposedly killed in the bombing as well as his former (or current?) lover. There’s another murder as well, further complicating things. Hawk occasionally turns to his friend Sam Crown (played by John Marley in the TV series) for help. Sam was a bookie in Greenwich Village who also ran a newsstand and always had his ear to the ground and knew things nobody else did.

Nack Cover to Hawk
Back Cover to Hawk – Copyright 1966 Screen Gems, Inc.

I really enjoyed Hawk. It was a short but intriguing read. I don’t want to give away too much of the story so I’ll only say that while the ending wasn’t a huge surprise, the twists and turns were more than enough to keep me turning the pages.

If this novel was an accurate representation of the TV series I can perhaps understand why it didn’t catch on. Hawk is a pretty bland character. He’s straightforward and direct but other than one or two random Iroquois references there’s really nothing special about him. He’s just another detective who happens to like the night life.

That said, this was probably written before the series premiered and author Richard Hardwick may not have actually seen any episodes. One of the characters in the TV series was Assistant District Attorney Murray Slaken (played by Bruce Glover). In the novel, however, his name is Murray Seigel, suggesting that Hardwick may have been working with early production material.

My copy of Hawk was purchased more than a decade ago as part of a much larger collection of TV tie-in novels. It unfortunately was one of a handful that were chewed on by mice or rats. You can see the damage on the right-hand side of the front cover. It’s not too bad. A few other books were much worse off.

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Television Broadcasts on December 7th, 1941 Sun, 07 Dec 2014 23:30:41 +0000 Continue Reading →]]> Note: The following post was originally written on December 7th, 2008 and revised on December 7th, 2013. It examines how television — then in its infancy as a commercial medium — covered the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Today is the 73rd anniversary of that attack.


The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese navy took the United States by surprise on Sunday, December 7th, 1941. It was early morning in Hawaii when the attack began and early afternoon on the East Coast. The television industry was in its infancy, having started commercial broadcasting only six months earlier on July 1st.

There were perhaps two dozen stations in existence and an unknown number of them may have been on the air at the time of the attack or gone on the air abruptly to report that the United States was going to war. In The Magic Window: American Television, 1939-1953, James Von Schilling refers to the televised reports of the attack as “TV’s first bulletin” [1].

The following accounts, pieced together from a variety of sources, examine how two New York City television stations reported news of the attack.


Of the three television stations operating in New York City in December 1941, NBC’s station was the only one scheduled to be on the air on Sunday, December 7th. There were two programs scheduled:

WNBT’s Schedule for Sunday, December 7th, 1941

3:30-4:30PM – Film: Millionaire Playboy
8:40-11:15PM – Hockey: Rangers vs. Boston, at Madison Square Garden [1]

The afternoon film was a 1940 RKO comedy called Millionaire Playboy, starring Joe Penner. Reportedly, WNBT’s announcer Ray Forrest broke into the movie with news of the attack on Pearl Harbor [3]. Although the hockey game between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers was played as scheduled, WNBT likely didn’t air it, opting instead to continue reporting news of the attack.

For several months prior to the attack, WNBT broadcast a weekly series called Face of the War with war analyst Sam Cuff. He used maps to describe to viewers the latest events of the war in Europe. But on this day, Cuff showed viewers what was happening in their own country [4].

WNBT also brought an Associated Press Teletype machine (teleprinter) into its studios and aimed a camera at it, allowing viewers to read the latest reports as they were printed out [5].

How long the station remained on the air is unknown.


The CBS station in New York City was regularly off the air on Sundays but went on the air to report the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was the first time the station had ever broadcast on a Sunday [6]. There are conflicting reports about how long the station was on the air that day.

According to Broadcasting, WCBW broadcast reports of the attack from 8:45PM until after 10PM [7]. Other sources suggest the station was on the air for more than nine hours.

In Now the News: The Story of Broadcast Journalism, Edward Bliss states that WCBW newsreader Richard Hubbell, newswriter Robert Skedgell and program director Gilbert Seldese rushed to the station after learning of the attack. Station president Adrian Murphy called to say the station was going on the air with a special report and to stay on as long as necessary [8].

According to Skedgell, the station was on the air from 3:30PM until 1:30AM the next morning:

There was not very much hard news that Sunday night, so much of our report was speculative: where the Japanese fleet was, what the Japanese intentions were, where the U.S. fleet had gone, how much damage it had suffered. Of course, the maps were brought out into considerable use, along with our usual graphics, during the long hours.” [9]

Here’s another description of WCBW’s coverage, published in Television News Reporting (McGraw-Hill, 1958) and written by CBS News Staff:

During that Pearl Harbor telecast, Hubbell showed on maps the location of islands like Wake and Midway, and pointed out the possible lines of attack against the Philippines and Singapore. The viewer saw the positions, at least as they were known on that day, of Unite States Pacific Fleet units.

The program, through diagrams, arrows, and other symbols, defined news in terms of the visual. Expert analyses, again with maps as visual aids, were offered by Major General Fielding Eliot and Fletcher Pratt, while Linton Wells reported the fast-breaking political developments.” [10]

According to The Columbia History of American Television, WCBW was the only television station in December 1941 that subscribed to the United Press radio wire, suggesting that access to the UP wire gave the station unique information about the attacks. [11].

Finally, in Stay Tuned: A History of American Television, Sterling and Kittross write that “WCBW produced a 90-minute documentary on the Pearl Harbor attack, only hours after it happened” [12]. Was this documentary part of the nine-hour broadcast?

According to her biography at the Paley Center for Media’s “She Made It” website, Frances Buss, who served as scorekeeper for CBS Television Quiz, helped out during WCBW’s broadcast that afternoon.

Other Stations

The third television station operating in New York City in December 1941 was DuMont’s experimental W2XWV. Although not scheduled to be broadcasting on December 7th, it is possible that like WCBW, the station was on the air reporting news of the attack.

Other experimental stations operating at the time included General Electric’s station, W2XB, in Schenectady, NY; Don Lee’s station, W6XAO, in Los Angeles; and the Balaban and Katz station, W9XBK, in Chicago, IL. There was at least one additional commercial station operating, Philco Corporation’s WPTZ in Philadelphia, PA. No information about any programming relating to Pearl Harbor airing on these stations has yet come to light.

Works Cited:

1 Von Schilling, James Arthur. The Magic Window: American Television, 1939-1953. New York: Haworth Press, 2002: 41-42.
2 “Television Highlights.” New York Times. 7 Dec. 1941: X14.
3 Robinson, Marc. Brought to You in Living Color: 75 Years of Great Moments in Television & Radio from NBC. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2003: 23.
4 “Television Develops New Presentation Of War News as Events occur Swiftly.” Broadcasting. 15 Dec. 1941: 16.
5 Ibid.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 Bliss, Edward. “Now the News: The Story of Broadcast Journalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 220.
9 Ibid.
10 Quoted in Mark S. Monmonier’s Maps with the News: The Development of American Journalistic Cartography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989, Page 204).
11 Edgerton, Gary R. The Columbia History of American Television. New York: Columbia University Press, 67.
12 Sterling, Christopher H. and John Micheal Kittross. Stay Tuned: A History of American Broadcasting. 3rd Edition. New York City: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 2002: 230.

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A Year in TV Guide: December 5th, 1964 Fri, 05 Dec 2014 21:40:10 +0000 TV Guide magazine. This week's issue included articles about actress Tina Louise, actor Sammy Jackson, and the history of the NFL. Continue Reading →]]> 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 #12
December 5th, 2014
Vol. 12, No. 49, Issue #610
Western New England Edition

On the Cover: Sammy Jackson and Laurie Sibbald of ABC’s No Time for Sergeant (photo by Richard R. Hewett).

The Magazine

Another week, another issue of TV Guide, and another article about football. That’s right, TV Guide‘s obsession with pigskin continues with an article that, like last week’s look at the 1964 All-America football team, has little to do with television. Written by Leo V. Lyons, it’s a brief history of the National Football League, which dates back to around 1920.

Front Cover
Front Cover – Copyright 1964 Triangle Publications, Inc.

This issue also includes the first in a series of essays asking “prominent and articulate Americans” what they’d do if they were in charge of a TV network. The only requirements were that the network had to be competitive, make money, and work in the best interest of the public. This first essay is by Max Schulman, creator The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis, as well as author of numerous books. Schulman said he’d change nothing and do everything differently.

He wouldn’t change the percentage of the various kinds of programs on the air (Westerns, comedies, etc.) because that seems to be working. He would try to improve the caliber of programming by offering 100% ownership in shows to the most talented people he could find, something he insisted would result in better programs.

How can I make a profit by giving away the store? I’m glad you asked that question. I am not giving away the store. My store is a network. What I sell is time. When I get a good price for my time, I make a good profit for my network. If I corral TV’s best talent, it stands to reason I’ll end up with TV’s best shows. Which means I’ll capture TV’s biggest audience. Which means advertisers will be happy to pay me premium rates.

To solve the problem of low-rated public affairs programs, Shulman explained that he would convince the other networks to all run documentaries at the same time, basically forcing viewers to pick one and learn something. It might face some scrutiny from the Department of Justice, the networks would never agree to it, and independent stations would probably counter-program with movies, but he was certain it would work.

Also in this issue is an article about Sammy Jackson, star of ABC’s new sitcom No Time for Sergeants. He had a bit part in the movie version and became convinced he was perfect for the role of Will Stockdale. So, he wrote to producer Jack L. Warner and offered to hitchhike his way to an audition. Instead, he was sent airfare, auditioned, and got the role.

The final article is about Tina Louise, co-star of Gilligan’s Island on CBS. There’s not much of interest to Gilligan fans other than a brief discussion about changes made to the character of Ginger when Louise got the role and this tidbit about how nervous the network was about the gowns she’d be wearing:

In Gilligan’s Island, Tina isn’t asked to shed her raiment, but she is attired in a flesh-colored, figure-fitting evening gown (the one she was wearing at the time the boat went aground) which caused considerable consternation to the Program Practices Department of CBS.

To make sure there were no transparencies, the Program Practices expert led Tina from the studio to the street so that he could examine her in natural light. “Never,” she says, “have I undergone such a casing. I guess I passed the test, because the gown has remained in the show.”

I can’t imagine anyone at a network doing that these days.

Clevand Amory’s review of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. in this issue is very positive. He calls Jim Nabors “as fine a comedian as your screen has mustered up this season” and also compliments Frank Sutton, whose Sergeant Carter served as the perfect foil to Gomer.

The “As We See It” editorial is pretty weak this issue, with no real focus. It starts off by noting the complaints about how TV and newspapers covered President Kennedy’s assassination and ends with vague support for a group working to increase pool coverage and keep reporters from influencing the stories they’re covering.

Rounding out the national section are two picture features. One is about NBC’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” color special and its expensive Animagic. The other focuses on the National Surfing Championship, which is featured this week on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. There’s a hilarious picture of sportscaster Bill Flemming interviewing a bikini-clad surfer in the water while wearing a suit jacket, tie, and shorts. There’s also the usual crossword puzzle and a recipe for Flaming Christmas Pudding.

The “For the Record” column this week included four news reports:

  • NBC correspondent George Clay was killed in the Congo but details were sketchy on exactly what happened.
  • NBC’s new Hullabaloo will premiere the week of January 11th, 1965 although an exact date isn’t yet known. Gary Smith will produce. [It premiered on Tuesday, January 12th, 1965].
  • The ABC and NBC specials commemorating the anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination were well done but the networks did viewers a disservice by scheduling them opposite one another on Sunday, November 22nd.
  • According to The New York Times, Mel Allen is out as New York Yankees announcer, with the Yankees yet to officially announce its roster of sportscasters.

From the Hollywood and New York TV Teletype columns:

  • Tom Bosley will star in the Screen Gems TV pilot “Marty,” based on the famous TV production and feature film.
  • Actresses Beverly Owen and Roberta Shore are leaving The Munsters and The Virginian, respectively. Owen’s role will be recast immediately. A decision has yet to be made about Shore’s character.
  • Darryl Hickman will star in a Desilu sitcom called “The Good Old Days” set during the Stone Age.
  • Rip Torn will appear in the Dr. Kildare Christmas episode (“An Exchange of Gifts”) rather than John Qualen.
  • ABC will premiere a new soap opera on December 28th about a widow who has written a novel about her small town. [A Flame in the Wind ran until December 1966.]

The were some long letters this week, including one criticizing Cleveland Amory’s November 28th review of The Munsters and The Addams Family and an even longer response to a November 21st article about CBS and the NFL from a reader worried that football will join wrestling and boxing as sports on television that are less about competition and more about making money. There were two letters about NBC’s “The Louvre” special, one pointing out an error in TV Guide‘s picture feature about the special, the other from an appreciate reader who enjoyed watching the special.

Then there was this amazing letter:

Thet theah artuhcul by Les Raddatz on Jim Nabors wuz th’ wurst Ah evuh trahd tuh read. Ah’m frum Gawguh origunally an’ Ah nevuh heeerd sich tawk in awl mah lahf. Fur frum bin’ funny, hit wuz stewpid.
Mrs. G.R. Brunett
Lee, Ill.

Finally, there was another letter about Count Marco and a very short one from a reader who definitely didn’t like Les Crane: “We want LESS Crane.”

The TV Listings

Airing this week for the very first time was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” an installment of The General Electric Fantasy Hour on NBC. I had no idea the special originally aired outside of prime time from 5:30-6:30PM on Sunday, December 6th. In addition to a TV Guide close-up, the special received a picture feature elsewhere in the issue, and a full-page color advertisement taken out by GE:

Advertisement for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on NBC
Advertisement for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on NBC – Copyright 1964 Triangle Publications, Inc.

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

  • Pro Football (CBS, Saturday at 2PM)
  • Special: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (NBC, Sunday at 5:30PM)
  • The Andy Williams Show (NBC, Monday at 9PM)
  • The Bell Telephone Hour (NBC, Tuesday at 10PM)
  • CBS Reports: Segregation: Northern-Style (CBS, Wednesday at 7:30PM)

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):

  • Puppet Show: Treasure Island (Sunday at 7PM, $1.00)
  • Movie: Fate Is the Hunter (Monday at 7PM, $1.25)
  • Movie: Fail Safe (Wednesday at 7PM, $1.50)
  • Pro Hockey: Chicago Black Hawks vs. The Boston Bruins (Live, Thursday at 8PM, $1.25)
  • Movie: The Lively Set (Friday at 6:30PM, $1.00)

WTIC-TV (Channel 3) aired a half-hour panel discussion called From the College Campus on Sunday, December 6th from 11:30-12PM. It was held at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, CT. WNHC-TV (Channel 8) aired a live basketball game in prime time on Saturday, December 5th from 8:30-10PM, pre-empting The Lawrence Welk Show and part of The Hollywood Palace, which was scheduled to be joined in progress at the conclusion of the game. The station also took out a half-page ad for the game, which pitted the University of Connecticut against Yale:

Advertisement for Basketball on WNHC-TV (Channel 8)
Advertisement for Basketball on WHNC-TV (Channel 8) – Copyright 1964 Triangle Publications, Inc.

On Monday, December 7th, two stations aired the same hour-long documentary about Pearl Harbor, but at different times. WJAR-TV (Channel 10) aired “Day of Infamy” from 9-10PM (pre-empting The Andy Williams Show) while WNHC-TV (Channel 8) aired it from 10-11PM (pre-empting Ben Casey).

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, December 7th, 1964
Captain Bob brings line, color and perspective into focus in another art lesson.

Tuesday, December 8th, 1964
Frank Avruch discusses current theater productions.

Wednesday, December 9th, 1964
Sonya Hamlin discusses medieval art.

Thursday, December 10th, 1964
Ruth Brana and Eleanor Baylan discuss 16th-century England.

Friday, December 11th, 1964
Robert J. Ferullo discusses the development of good speech habits in children.

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

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November 2014: The Month in Home Media Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:00:31 +0000 Continue Reading →]]> The Month in Home Media is a monthly column highlighting short-lived or rare television series, specials, miniseries or made-for-TV movies released on DVD or Blu-ray during the previous month, as well as recent additions to streaming services like Warner Archive Instant. The releases discussed in this column are encoded for Region 1 use in the United States and Canada. The Month in Home Media is published on the first Thursday of each month.

If you thought October was a slow month, wait until you read about November. There were two Alpha Video releases out last month — a random collection of unsold pilots and 1950s TV episodes plus four episodes of Dick Tracy starring Ralph Byrd — and very little else. Also, Warner Archive Instant added Beyond Westworld and Wizards & Warriors to its streaming service.

DVD/Blu-ray Releases

Lost TV Classics (TV Episodes, Alpha Video, DVD)
This one-disc release includes includes a mixture of random public domain episodes and unsold pilots: “Kimbar of the Jungle,” a 15-minute adventure series starring Steve Reeves that was produced in 1949 (I’ve also seen the date 1958 attached to it); an episode of the 1952 syndicated detective series The Files of Jeffrey Jones, starring Don Haggerty; the 1961 unsold pilot “The Phantom” starring Roger Creed; and an episode of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents called “The Ludlow Affair” from 1957 that was a backdoor pilot for a series about British detective Bulldog Drummond. There’s also what I believe is another unsold pilot called “The Storyteller” with host Marvin Miller sharing the strange but true stories of real people. Miller hosted a radio version for many years in the 1940s. This is a reissue of a similar collection first released in August 2013, which included the Allan Lane “Red Ryder” unsold pilot in place of “The Phantom” pilot. Manufacture-on-demand.

Dick Tracy – The Lost Shows (TV Episodes, Alpha Video, DVD)
Ralph Byrd, who played Dick Tracy in a number of serials during the 1940s, returned as the famed detective in a half-hour ABC series that ran for one season from 1950-1951, followed by a second season in first-run syndication from 1951-1952. This single-disc release includes four episodes that may a mix of ABC and syndicated episodes or just syndicated episodes. I’ll have to defer to Dick Tracy experts on that one. Alpha Video released four episodes back in 2006 and I’m not sure if these are the same four episodes or not. It appears a number of public domain DVDs of Dick Tracy episodes have released over the years. Manufacture-on-demand.

DVD/Blu-ray News

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that both Battlestar Galactica (ABC, 1978-1979) and its spin-off/continuation Galactica 1980 (ABC, 1980) will be released on Blu-ray in May 2015. Note that two sets are being offered: the more expensive Definitive Collection includes both new 16:9 widescreen versions of the two shows as well as the original 4:3 full screen or full frame versions while the cheaper Remastered Collection only includes the new 16:9 widescreen versions. In other words, if you want to see the episodes in their original 4:3 aspect ratio, you’ll have to pay more (

VCI Entertainment will release 10 episodes of Waterfront on January 27th, 2015. The half-hour drama series, which aired in first-run syndication for two seasons between 1954 and 1956, starred Preston Fester as the captain of a tugboat. I believe this will be the first time episodes of the series have been released on any format (


Warner Archive Instant has added Beyond Westworld (CBS, 1980) and Wizards and Warriors (CBS, 1983) to its streaming service. Both are apparently streaming in high definition. The two short-lived shows were released on DVD earlier this year through Warner Archive.

Hit the comments with any news about upcoming DVD/Blu-ray releases or additions to streaming services.

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