Spotlight


This section of Television Obscurities highlights series that deserve to be written about but for which there isn’t quite enough information to craft an entire article. Individual unsold pilots will also be covered here.

TV Shows (Continued)

Ruthie on the Telephone
This five-minute comedy series aired six nights a week when it debuted in August 1949. It was adapted from a radio routine and utilized a split-screen technique to show two people having a phone conversation.

San Francisco International Airport
One of the four segments of NBC’s Four-in-One, this drama series consisted of a pilot film (starring Pernell Roberts) and six hour-long episodes (starring Lloyd Bridges), all of which were broadcast during the 1970-1971 season.

Second Chance / Boys Will Be Boys
Matthew Perry starred in this 1987 FOX sitcom that was revamped halfway through its first and only season in an attempt to revive interest. It didn’t work.

Sierra
This NBC adventure series set in a fictional national park was the first cancellation of the 1974-1975.

The Storefront Lawyers / Men at Law
This 1970-1971 CBS legal drama was also revamped halfway through its run in an attempt to attract viewers. It didn’t work.

T.H.E. Cat
This 1966 NBC adventure series starred Robert Loggia as a former cat burglar who decided to turn straight and become a bodyguard-for-hire.

To Rome with Love
In his third television series, John Forsthye played a widower rather than a bachelor. It was less successful than Bachelor Father but lasted longer than The John Forsthye Show, running for two seasons on CBS from 1969 to 1971.

The Whistler
This syndicated, mystery anthology series that initially aired during the 1954-1955 season was preceded by both a long-running radio series and a series of films.

Wild Cargo
This syndicated documentary series featured films of wild animals, expeditions to Africa and South America and other hunting trips by adventurer Arthur Jones.

You’re in the Picture / The Jackie Gleason Show (1961)
Jackie Gleason’s infamous 1961 CBS game show flop was followed by a half-hour apology from the star and soon morphed into a short-lived weekly interview series.

Unsold Pilots

“The Karen Valentine Program”
This unsold ABC pilot from 1974 was the second to star Karen Valentine. Unlike the first, it was never broadcast.

“Swingin’ Together”
Bobby Rydell starred in this pilot for a proposed CBS series, produced in 1963, about band traveling the country via bus, looking for their big break.

TV Shows

100 Grand
The first prime time quiz show to premiere since the infamous quiz show scandals of the late 1950s, 100 Grand was proclaimed by ABC to be “rig-proof” prior to its premiere in September 1963. It was also apparently uninteresting and was off the air after just three weeks.

87th Precinct
Robert Lansing starred in this NBC police drama that premiered in September 1961. Initially savaged by critics, the series was later said to have improved but that didn’t stop it from being cancelled after just one season.

Captain Nice
This uber campy sitcom starred William Daniels as a mild-mannered chemist who, after ingesting a special serum, turned into a bumbling superhero named Captain Nice. It was NBC’s response to Batman.

CBS Playhouse
This dramatic anthology series was intended to recapture some of the critical acclaim of the Golden Age of Television. It was scheduled intermittently, with only a handful of installments airing each year, and drew decent but not outstanding ratings throughout the late 1960s.

Fashion Discoveries in Television
WNBT in New York City aired this early sponsored series for three weeks in the fall of 1941.

Getting Together
A star vehicle for teen heartthrob Bobby Sherman, this 1971 ABC sitcom was a spin-off of The Partridge Family and was off the air after just fourteen episodes.

Hollywood Special
ABC introduced this Sunday night movie series in April 1962, less than half a year after NBC debuted network television’s first weekly movie series to feature post-1948 movies.

The John Forsythe Show
As the title suggests, John Forsythe starred in this 1965 NBC sitcom as a bachelor who discovers he has inherited an all-girls school.

Karen (1975)
After cancelling Room 222, ABC wanted to stay in the Karen Valentine business so the network gave her a sitcom, which premiered a year after Room 222 went off the air. The network soon cancelled it, too.

Mr. Terrific
Mr. Terrific followed the (mis)adventures of Stanley Bemish, who after popping a Power Pill received an hour’s worth of super powers. It was the CBS response to Batman.

O.K. Crackerby!
Burl Ives starred in this sitcom as the wealthiest man in the world. All that money couldn’t buy ratings and the series was off the air after 17 episodes.

PBL (Public Broadcast Laboratory)
PBL was a live, two-hour Sunday evening educational program that aired on National Educational Television for two years from 1967 to 1969.

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