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.
March 6th, 1965
Vol. 13, No. 10, Issue #623
Western New England Edition
On the Cover: David Janssen of The Fugitive (photograph by Larry Schiller).
This week’s cover article is a four-page piece by Arnold Hano called “David’s Drooping” about actor David Janssen, star of ABC’s The Fugitive, currently in its second season. The show has become a huge hit and turned Janssen into a star but the long hours and grueling physical demands of the role have started to take their toll. Plus, he apparently isn’t fulfilled by playing Richard Kimble.
Front Cover – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
“He has to work increasingly hard to remain reasonably happy in his career,” explains Hano, “but the pressures of work create tensions which find no outlet other than more work. It is a vicious cycle, and Janssen may be beginning to show it.” Janssen hoped it would run only one or two more years and it did, ending in 1967 after four years. I’ve read a lot about The Fugitive over the years but actually have never seen any episode (I did watch about half of the 1999-2000 remake). It’s one of those shows I’ve always wanted to watch from the beginning but just can’t find the time.
Martin Codel’s two-page article “The Wide Wide World of Television” is exactly the sort of thing I like to see in TV Guide. It’s easy to forget just how different television was in the 1960s, not just in the United States but around the world. Articles like this one offer some limited insight into the industry at that point.
The two-page article consists of ten brief observations Codel made about TV around the world. In Nigeria, for example, television must be split evenly between entertainment and educational programming. Highway Patrol was ruled educational in 1960 for three reasons: it taught audiences about traffic signals, only recently introduced in the country; it taught respect for men in uniform and traffic cops had only just received new uniforms; and the good guys always won out over the bad guys.
Other tidbits: more than 70 of the 114 members of the United Nations have television (South Africa, Israel, and Greece are among those that don’t); Thailand has two TV systems, one operated by the Department of Public Relations and the other by the military, and their staffs are forbidden to interact; there are now more than 3,400 TV stations (669 in the United States) around the world and some 85 million TV sets (65 million of them are in the United States).
Neil Hickey’s three-page “One Battle the Women Lost” examines how The Nurses on CBS became The Doctors and the Nurses. It was Michael Dann, CBS-TV vice president in charge of programming, who felt that after two seasons the series could benefit from “a couple of strong male character in continuing roles.” Producer Herbert Brodkin agreed to the change if good actors could be found. Michael Tolan and Joseph Campanella were those actors.
Here’s how Brodkin explained the change:
Like most decisions around here, I made that one, and for two reasons: first, the ratings weren’t high enough, and second, stories for a pair of nurses were too hard to find. I’ve never had as much trouble with a series as I had with The Nurses, and primarily because of the difficult in finding scripts. So we added a couple of men, and the nurses have, in effect, become supporting characters. There’s no point saying anything else. Part of the problem was that, in making things happen in a story, nurses are hand-holders.
Actress Shirl Conway revealed she was never told why the change was made and she hated the new title. “I thought it was a pedestrian one, and I still do. Out of sheer diplomacy, I think it should have been called The Nurses and the Doctors.” Her co-star, Zina Bethune, likewise said she didn’t know why the switch was made. “They really didn’t contact me about it. The series is no longer directed at women’s problems, and as a result, I think the stories are more varied.”
[The Doctors and the Nurses was cancelled at the end of the 1964-1965 season. A daytime soap opera, also called The Nurse, premiered in September 1965 as a spin-off/continuation with a new cast but the same characters. It ran until March 1967.]
I am not well-versed in all things Three Stooges. I know the broad history of the comedy troupe but have never seen any of their shorts. “Give ‘Em A Bop on the Casaba” explains that the release of their films to television stations has reignited interest in the Stooges. Although they don’t receive any money for the films being televised, the renewed interest has led to personal appearances and more low-budget films.
“Why Those Hillbillies Are Rampant in Britain” by Malcolm Muggeridge is a lengthy discourse on the popularity of The Beverly Hillbillies in England. Perhaps too lengthy. Why are they so popular? Because “they are so tremendously American” and Europeans love everything American despite their professed anti-American attitudes. The Beverly Hillbillies are American folklore and represent the America that English viewers admire.
Plus, the “idealogy” of the series is as acceptable in England as it is in America. “We, too, yearn for wealth which does not corrupt; after an innocence which triumphantly survives the possession of riches. We, too, can thrill over the spectacle of Jed and his ribald family constantly on the edge of succumbing to the lures of luxurious living, but always at the last moment pulling back and resuming their old, virtuous ways.”
The final article is a brief essay by actress and scriptwriter Joanna Lee explaining how she became a scriptwriter. She was in a car accident and spent six months recovering. She’s taking classes at UCLA, which means she has to miss Bewitched so she has a friend take notes. She enjoys writing comedy because “nobody wants to know your sad story, and everybody wants to laugh.” She works alone. [A quick look at her IMDb profile reveals that Lee was a much more prolific scriptwriter than actress.]
The “As We See It” editorial worries about the effects of an FCC proposal that would allow the networks to own no less than half of the programs they air between 6PM and 11PM, effectively forcing them to air shows brought to them by advertisers. TV Guide is concerned that the proposal would give advertisers even more power than they already have, which is worse than the networks controlling programming.
There is once again no review this week. Cleveland Amory is still judging the International Television Festival in Monaco. According to the January 30th issue, Amory’s reviews will return in March.
News from the Hollywood and New York TV Teletype columns:
- Ed Begley will narrate NBC’s Children’s Theatre special “Kristie” scheduled for early April.
- The March 14th episode of ABC’s Alcoa Premiere will feature scenes from Brigitte Bardot’s new film Viva Maria.
- Katy (Inger Stevens) and Glen (William Windom) will get engaged this season on The Farmer’s Daughter and get married next season. The producers could decide to stretch things out longer, however. [The two were married during the November 1st, 1965 episode.]
- Lamont Johnson has been named “Best Television Director of 1964” by the Directors Guild of America for his work on shows like Slattery’s People, Profiles in Courage, and The Defenders.
- Dorothy Loudon replaced Rose Marie as Shecky Greene’s co-star in the Screen Gems pilot “This Is A Hospital?” because The Dick Van Dyke Show was renewed for another season.
- Quinn Martin has extended his contract with ABC for another three years. He has a new show called The FBI Story set for the 1965-1966 season. [The FBI premiered in September 1965; the series ran for nine seasons and 240 episodes.]
Rounding out the national section this week is a picture feature showcasing actress Lee Remick’s striptease from the March 14th Danny Thomas special on NBC. Her character’s dance is so sizzling that the police break it up before she can remove her second glove. There are also recipes for country flannel cakes and peach-butter syrup, plus the regular TV crossword puzzle.
There were three news reports in the “For the Record” column in the listings section this week:
- Les Crane was shocked and surprised when ABC cancelled his late-night show. He was apparently the only one. It was low-rated and affiliates were either dropping or moving it, making it impossible for the network to find sponsors. ABC replaced The Les Crane Show with ABC’s Nightlife featuring rotating hosts.
- Johnny Carson is upset over the first 15 minutes of The Tonight Show not being shown in many cities, meaning his monologue is not being seen or heard by many viewers. NBC insisted it had no control over whether affiliates aired the first quarter-hour. Carson spent two nights sick with a “15-minute virus” before agreeing to continue with the early monologue until he can sit down with NBC to discuss things. The likely outcome: NBC will allow Carson to fill the first 15 minutes with guests before delivering his monologue at 11:30PM.
- The Senate Antitrust and Monopoly Subcommittee held hearings about the purchase of the New York Yankees by CBS and determined that only one person was opposed to the deal: Charles O. Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics. Chairman Senator Philip Hart (D-Michigan) closed the hearings by saying “If you want to speed up the game by reducing the time between pitches, I for one won’t object, even if you say CBS made you do it.”
The letters page isn’t quite as good as last week’s but still includes a few interesting letters. There’s one thanking TV Guide for its February 13th article about Andy Williams, another from a reader apparently infuriated at the way Senator George Murphy was described in a February 20th article, and a third praising “The Hollow Crown” on CBS. The other four are worthy of reproduction in whole:
I am in complete agreement with your “As We See It” of Feb. 20. It is of course obvious that when a network exhibits sufficient courage to air a worth-while program such as Profiles in Courage the question to ask is not whether but how long it will last. Courage still seems to be a quality of individuals, not corporations.
Gerald J. Oppenheimer
CBS’s new For the People has gripped and involved me like nothing else on television. It is a rare experience, for me at least, to stare at the screen for an hour and genuinely like what I see, minute by minute.
Paul R. Barstow
I see that they have done it again–NBC’s “The Journals of Lewis and Clark” and ABC’s “I, Leonardo da Vinci” were scheduled opposite each other. Will the networks ever get together on these things–for the viewer’s sake?”
Mrs. Shirley Etzkorn
I am writing to protest the showing time of CBS’s “Cinderella.” Also the day. A show that starts at 8:39 P.M. and runs for 90 minutes on a Monday night is not for young children who have to get up the next day and go to school.
Mrs. Paul F. Roberts
Westover AFB, Mass.
I can’t really remember a time when I couldn’t record a TV show if it was on opposite something else I wanted to watch. These days just about everything is also available online or On Demand. How times have changed.
The TV Listings
Bowling and golf were again the big sports over the weekend. ABC aired the finals and semifinals of the Oklahoma City Open from 3:30-5PM on Saturday, March 6th. Later that day NBC aired Big Three Golf from 5-6PM. ABC’s World of Sports at 5PM featured the National Ski Jumping Championship and the free-dance portion of the World Figure Skating Championships.
CBS Sports Spectacular from 2:30-4PM on Sunday, March 7th featured the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships as well as the finals of the Women’s World Softball Championship. ABC aired Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf from 4-5PM opposite NBC’s Sports in Action, which featured the first race in the 1965 IMCA Sprint-Car Championship as well as the U.S. Invitational Diving Championship. In prime time, ABC aired an hour-long special from 7:30-8:30PM highlighting the men and women’s singles and pairs events from the World Figure Skating Championships.
CBS aired a news special from 10-11PM on Monday, March 8th but no details were included in the listings. NBC aired an hour-long special called “The Pope and the Vatican” in color from 10-11PM on Tuesday, March 9th. George A. Vicas produced the special, which profiled Pope Paul VI. From 9:30-11PM on Wednesday, March 10th ABC aired the first annual presentation of the Grand Awards of Sports. The live ceremony was held at the New York World’s Fair and hosted by Bing and Kathy Crosby.
Here are the TV Guide close-ups for the week:
- Saturday Night at the Movies – Battleground (NBC, Saturday at 8:30PM)
- Gunsmoke (CBS, Saturday at 10PM)
- NBC News Special – The Pope and the Vatican (NBC, Tuesday at 10PM)
- Grand Awards of Sports (ABC, Wednesday at 9:30PM)
- Kraft Suspense Theatre – The Last Clear Chance (NBC, Thursday at 10PM)
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: Emil and the Detectives (Saturday at 6:30PM, $1.25)
- Pro Hockey: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. The Boston Bruins (Sunday at 7:30PM, $1.25)
- Movie: The Pleasure Seekers (Monday at 8:30PM, $1.25)
- Movie: Baby the Rain Must Fall (Tuesday at 8:30PM, $1.25)
- Movie: Father Goose (Wednesday at 9PM, $1.50)
- Movie: Two on a Guillotine (Thursday at 9PM, $1.25)
- Movie: Psyche 59 (Friday at 10:30PM, $1.00)
Locally, the weekend was packed as usual. WHYN-TV (Channel 40) aired its dance party program from 2-2:30PM on Saturday, March 6th. WHNB-TV (Channel 30) and its translator (Channel 79) aired a report on the University of Connecticut from 3:30-4PM.
On Sunday, March 7th WTIC-TV (Channel 3) aired an installment of Lamp Unto My Feet (“Turkish Islam–Vestige or Revival?”) from 10-11AM that had been interrupted by news bulletins when it originally aired in January. The station aired another installment of From the College Campus from 11:30AM-12PM, this time from Yale University in New Haven, CT. From 12-12:25PM, WNHC-TV (Channel 8) aired Comments and People, a discussion between Senator Abraham Ribicoff and Commissioner of Education William J. Sanders on Connecticut’s technical schools and how they were preparing students for the state’s chemical industries. George Thompson hosted.
At 4PM on Sunday, WTIC-TV began airing the Pensacola Open live from Florida. It would stay on the air until a winner was determined. Then at 7PM, the station broadcast a live concert featuring the Hartford Symphony with conductor Arthur Winograd. On Monday, March 9th WNHC-TV pre-empted Ben Casey to air a live college basketball game between UConn and St. Joseph’s.
Here’s an advertisement for WHYN-TV (Channel 40)’s The 40th Dimension sci-fi movie block hosted by Bud Stone:
Advertisement for The 40th Dimension on WHYN-TV (Channel 40) – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
It ran every Saturday at 11:25PM. This week’s movie was Spaceways.
And here are two advertisements for weather and sports news on WWLP (Channel 22):
Advertisement for Weather on WWLP (Channel 22) – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Advertisement for Sports News on WWLP (Channel 22) – 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, March 8th, 1965
Teen-agers join in a discussion of “Teen-Agers and the Smoking Dilemma,” Part 1.
Tuesday, March 9th, 1965
“Teen-Agers and the Smoking Dilemma,” Part 2.
Wednesday, March 10th, 1965
Art from Ghana, Israel, India and Japan is examined.
Thursday, March 11th, 1965
Representatives of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies celebrate their 70th anniversaries with highlights of community service.
Friday, March 12th, 1965
A new series on the State House begins with a tour of the layout and functions of the building.
That’s it for this week. Hit the comments with your thoughts.