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.
April 10th, 1965
Vol. 13, No. 15, Issue #628
Eastern New England Edition
On the Cover: Janet Lake and Walter Brennan from The Tycoon (photograph by Richard R. Hewett).
This week’s cover article about actor Walter Brennan — “Foxy Grampa in a Business Suit” by Marian Dern — is relatively tame, with a brief biography and some insight into his finances. The most interesting revelations aren’t about The Tycoon, Brennan’s recently cancelled ABC series, but his previous CBS sitcom The Real McCoys. There apparently was significant friction between Brennan and his costar Kathy Nolan, who left the series after five seasons. She insists that while she may have learned a lot from working with Brennan, he also learned something from working with her (and Richard Crenna). Brennan and others in the cast were reportedly upset when she left, feeling she was disloyal. Brennan also liked to share his thoughts on politics even if nobody wanted to listen.
Front Cover – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
There’s another article about an actor in a freshly cancelled series in this issue. “He Can’t Resist the Open Road” is a profile of The Rogues co-star Robert Coote. He signed a four-year contract for the series not thinking it would last that long and was right. He is described as a loner but also as a consummate professional. “We never know where Bob has his lunch,” explained co-creator Ivan Goff. “He doesn’t join us. All we know is that he cares greatly about his work. He never shows up without having given considerable thought to the scenes he is doing that day.” For his part, Coote explained that it was the hectic television schedule that led to his “monastic existence” and that in London he is busy with friends day and night.
“Smut in the Living Room?” is a four-page article by Leslie Raddatz examining films with adult themes making their way to television. It’s a long article with little to say and yet it is only the first of three parts. At the very least, it is more proof that the television landscape — and society overall — was very different in the 1960s and it is likely readers in 1965 had very different reactions than someone in 2015. Many may have agreed with Raddatz when he worried that films like Kiss Me, Stupid, The Carpetbaggers, A House Is Not a Home, or Walk on the Wild Side might one day wind up on the small screen.
Raddatz notes that recently Hollywood was worried about censorship due to violence and yet many violent films have been broadcast on television. Naturally, the next logical step would be for Hollywood’s current sexually explicit films to come to television next. He interviewed Geoffrey Shurlock, who administrates the MPAA Production Code. Shurlock suggested television was more than capable of policing itself but felt the public should ultimately decide what it watches, and shrugged off the MPAA approving Kiss Me, Stupid despite many violations of the MPAA Code (“We’re entitled to one mistake”).
Much of the rest of the article explores director Billy Wilder and producer Joseph E. Levine, both of whom are pushing boundaries with their films. Some of Levine’s films, like Two Women, are already being shown on TV. KHJ-TV in Los Angeles runs a movie series called Cinema IX on Fridays and Saturdays that features foreign films “presented in dignified trimmings.” Reaction has been about 80% positive. Is this the future for worthwhile adult films on TV, Raddatz wonders? Or will some sort of censorship be called for if smutty films like Kiss Me, Stupid do eventually make their way to TV? Next week’s installment promises to provide some answers from the FCC and the National Association of Broadcasters.
“Catching up with ‘the one-armed man'” is a short, two-page article about Bill Raisch, the one-armed man (his right arm was amputated after being severely burned during World War II) who plays the one-armed man on The Fugitive. The most interesting part of the article is the revelation that Raisch has spent just four days working on the show since it went on the air. According to executive producer Quinn Martin, “we believe that if we keep him evanescent, it’s much more interesting–until the last show, maybe five years from now, when Kimble finally catches him.”
Finally, Melvin Durslag’s “Why golf may find itself deep in the rough” isn’t really about golf on television but about former pro golfer turned TV commentator Cary Middlecoff, who believes there are too many golf tournaments on television. Another problem is that all of the tournaments feature the same players so there isn’t much variety for fans. He feels there shouldn’t be more than 15 national “exposures” a year. Whether that means tournaments or individual broadcasts isn’t clear.
The “As We See It” editorial this week is about beer commercials. There are five things you cannot do if you are cast in a beer commercial on TV: 1) don’t drink the beer; 2) don’t tip the glass as if you were drinking the beer; 3) don’t wiggle your Adam’s apple as if you were swallowing the beer; 4) don’t smack your lips as if you were enjoying drinking the beer; and 5) don’t wipe your lips as if you had just had a beer. The Television Authority Code released a bulletin recently explaining that violation of any of these rules will result in the commercial being banned. According to the editorial, the rules were a result of the huge number of beer commercials during the early days of TV. There have not been many since 1956.
Cleveland Amory reviews For the People this week and is generally positive, suggesting that with The Defenders getting a little stale, it is a good thing its producers came up with “something which is equally exciting and, because of really fine casting throughout, even more penetrating and engrossing.” The realism is sometimes too much but compared to the “seemingly endless seaminess” seen in The Doctors and the Nurses, the series features episodes “which may discourage you but which don’t so overwhelm you with despair that you give up.” Amory praises a long list of guest stars as well as lead William Shatner, who “is right up there in the big leagues with David Janssen, Robert Lansing, Vic Morrow, and Richard Crenna.”
News from the Hollywood and New York TV Teletype columns:
- NBC will initially replace Profiles in Courage with an installment of Children’s Theatre called “Kristie,” after which the 6:30-7:30PM time slot will be filled by NBC Sports in Action.
- Burke’s Law is being renamed Amos Burke–Secret Agent and will feature star Gene Barry as a James Bond-type spy.
- An episodes of ABC’s Discovery ’65 will examine whether famous cowpokes were actually heroes.
- NBC News will debut the first half-hour Saturday news program next season, hosted by Ray Scherer and Robert MacNeil and airing from 6:30-7PM or 7-7:30PM depending on the city.
- Ben Casey has added James McMullan as a new regular. Also, the show’s semiserialized format introduced during the current season with a five-episode arc featuring Stella Stevens, will continue next season.
- ABC has surprisingly decided not to renew No Time for Sergeants, which seemed like a sure thing.
- CBS has renewed Slattery’s People despite its low ratings.
- Katy and Glen will get engaged during the May 7th episode of The Farmer’s Daughter. The wedding will be next season.
- Backdoor pilots for two new NBC series will air this month: Run for Your Life as an episode of Kraft Suspense Theatre called “Rapture at Two-Forty” and The Streets of Laredo as an episode of The Virginian called “We’ve Lost a Train.”
- Quinn Martin is casting his new series The FBI Story, which was sold without a pilot. Efrem Zimbalist Jr. has been signed as the lead.
- NBC’s new Camp Runamuck features episode outlandish episode titles. An example:”General Directive No. 14: All Personnel Will Turn Out at 8.A. Tomorrow Morning to Scale Mount Everest. Bring Your Hammers, Saws and Plenty of Nails and Let’s Make This One the Biggest One Yet, Fellas! (Signed) Conrad Hilton.”
Rounding out the national section is a two-page picture feature about “The Hairhunters” salon in Hollywood catering to aspiring actresses and models, a four-page spread showcasing actress Barbara Barrie in a variety of leather outfits, and the regular TV crossword puzzle.
There were three news reports in the “For the Record” column in the listings section this week:
- CBS stockholder A. Edward Morrison has filed a lawsuit against former CBS-TV president James T. Aubrey, Jr., Richelieu Productions, Inc., and CBS-TV, charging that Aubrey had a financial interest in Richelieu, that the company profited more from CBS than other production companies, and that CBS knew and did nothing. Why was this such a big deal? Because Richelieu is headed by Keefe Brassselle, a good friend of Aubrey. CBS has denied it knew about any wrongdoing while Aubrey and Brasselle have not made any statements.
- The final piece of the 1965-1966 puzzle has fallen into place with the release of the CBS schedule for the new season. There may be some changes but new shows will likely include O’Brien [later retitled The Trials of O’Brien], The Loner, The Steve Lawrence Show, Lost in Space, Country Cousins [later retitled Green Acres], The Wild West [later retitled The Wild Wild West], Hogan’s Heroes, and The Smothers Brothers.
- CBS has cancelled For the People because it was unable to compete with NBC’s Bonanza. Repeats of The Twilight Zone will fill in until September when Perry Mason will switch from Thursdays to Sundays. The report notes that the series receives a positive review from Cleveland Amory in this issue of TV Guide.
The letters page this week features just five relatively lengthy letters covering four topics. One reader wrote in confused about Cleveland Amory’s March 20th article discussing the Monte Carlo Television Festival. The letter was written by Saul Turteltaub who, with co-writer Lan O’Kun, won an award at the 1962 Monte Carlo Festival for an episode of The Shari Lewis Show. An editorial note explained that Amory “did not mean to reflect on winners of prizes in the Monaco competition, he merely deplored the casual attitude many American producers have toward the TV festival.”
This was not the only letter critical of Amory. Another complained that Amory had promised to answer three questions in his reviews: “What is this guy trying to do?”, “Does he do it?”, and “Was it worth doing?” And yet his March 27th review of The American Sportsman only answered the third and final question. “If the price of prejudice is two-thirds of his critical standards, it is far too great a price to pay.”
There were also two letters responding to articles by Edith Efron:
As a television and screen writer (Today, Biography, Hollywood and the Stars, “World Without Sun,” etc.), I would like to say that your Edith Efron is the most incisive and exciting television journalist in the country. In her article on Lawrence Spivak she demonstrates once again a sharp point of view and the courage to express it. Generally, one reads magazine articles if the subject is important or provocative. I read Miss Efron because she is.
Grow up, Edith Efron. Soap operas are a diversion for us housewives, not a pattern for our lives. We can still tell the good guys from the bad guys without a program.
Mrs. Joseph C. Donati
Santa Barbara, Cal.
The fifth letter suggests that Mitch Miller sank his own show by trying to turn into into a copy of every other variety show on television. “One trouble with television is that every show has to be ‘improved’ so it will be like every other show,” the anonymous writer argued.
The TV Listings
Between sporting events, religious programs, and several specials it was a very full week for the networks. The last installment of ABC’s Pro Bowlers Tour aired from 3:30-5PM on Saturday, April 10th. That same day CBS broadcast live coverage of the third round of the Masters Golf Tournament starting at 5PM. ABC pre-empted Hollywood Palace at 9:30PM for an installment of its Daring American documentary special called “Mission to Malaya,” about 22-year old Peace Corps volunteer Rita Franzone.
At 10AM on Sunday, April 11th CBS pre-empted Lamp Unto My Feet and Look Up and Live to repeat “Terezin Requiem,” an hour-long documentary about the 1944 performance of Verdi’s Requiem performed at Czechoslovakia’s Terezin concentration camp during World War II. NBC aired a special live Palm Sunday Mass from 11AM-12PM featuring The Reverend Karl J. Alter, Archbishop of Cincinnati, with Monsignor Earl Whalen providing commentary.
At 1PM CBS aired highlights of the fifth game of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinals. ABC’s Directions ’65 expanding to an hour at 1PM to present “The Final Ingredient,” an opera by David Amram and Arnold Weinstein commemorating Passover. [Locally, only WTEV (Channel 6) and WNHC-TV (Channel 8) aired Directions ’65 at 1PM. WNAC-TV (Channel 7) delayed it until 3PM while WMUR-TV (Channel 9) showed it at 4PM.] CBS broadcast coverage of the final round of the Masters Golf Tournament beginning at 4PM. Jack Whitaker, Jack Drees, John Derr, Cary Middlecoff, and Byron Nelson provided commentary.
On Monday, April 12th the final episode of Many Happy Returns aired on CBS from 9:30-10PM. CBS Reports was pre-empted at 10PM for an hour-long CBS News special called “FDR Remembered,” produced by Richard F. Siemanowski. CBS News correspondent Charles Kuralt served as host for the special commemorating the 20th anniversary of FDR’s death. [WHDH-TV pre-empted the special locally, airing it instead on Tuesday, April 13th at 7:30PM.]
Finally, NBC aired another installment of The Bell Telephone Hour from 10-11PM on Tuesday, April 13th with Olivia de Havilland as hostess.
Here are the TV Guide close-ups for the week:
- Daring American – “Mission to Malaya” (ABC, Saturday at 9:30PM)
- Directions ’65 – “The Final Ingredient” (ABC, Sunday at Various Times)
- Masters Golf Tournament (CBS, Sunday at 4PM)
- Profiles in Courage (NBC, Sunday at 6:30PM)
- CBS News Special – “FDR Remembered” (CBS, Monday at 10PM)
- Bell Telephone Hour – “Festival of Spring” (NBC, Tuesday at 10PM)
- Kraft Suspense Theatre – “Rapture at 240” (NBC, Thursday at 10PM)
With baseball season just around the corner, TV Guide published a two-age “1965 TV Baseball Guide” in this issue, customized for the Eastern New England Region. It included listings for Boston Red Sox games on WHDH-TV (Channel 5) and WPRO-TV (Channel 12); New York Yankees games on WNHC-TV (Channel 8); and New York Mets games also on WNHC-TV. Similar guides were no doubt published in other regional editions of TV Guide that covered areas with baseball teams.
Locally, it was a busy week. On Saturday, April 10th WHDH-TV aired a color special called “Bozo at the Fair” from 2-2:30PM, featuring a tour of the World’s Fair. WNHC-TV aired an NBA play-off game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics starting at 2PM on Sunday, April 11th. At 5PM WGBH-TV (Channel 2) premiered a half-hour series called Dollar Diplomacy about foreign-aid policy. WNAC-TV (Channel 7) aired an hour-long special titled “The Old Ball Game” about the history of baseball, narrated by Branch Rickey.
At 9PM on Monday, April 12th WJAR-TV (Channel 10) pre-empted NBC’s The Andy Williams Show to air a David L. Wolper documentary called “Prelude to War,” about Britain’s policy of appeasement prior to World War II. Richard Basehart narrated. That same night WHDH-TV pre-empted the CBS News Special “FDR Remembered” at 10PM to air another Wolper documentary, this one called “Japan: A New Dawn Over Asia,” also narrated by Richard Basehart.
TV Guide published a notice in the Tuesday, April 13th listings explaining that several stations would pre-empt network programming if a sixth game of the NBA Eastern Division play-off between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers was required. It was, so WHDH-TV, WTEV (Channel 6), WJZB (Channel 14), and WIHS-TV (Channel 38) carried the game.
WPRO-TV (Channel 12) in Rhode Island pre-empted a rerun of My Living Doll from 8-8:30PM on Wednesday, April 14th to air Let’s Go to the Races, said to be “TV’s Thrilling-est New Sports Show” and featuring five thoroughbred races. WNAC-TV pre-empted ABC’s Burke’s Law to bring “The Best of the Bolshoi Ballet” to Boston audiences. Here’s an advertisement:
Advertisement for WNAC-TV’s Bolshoi Ballet Special – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
On Thursday, April 15th at 7:30PM WGBH-TV aired a college lacrosse game between Harvard and MIT. And at 10PM, WNHC-TV pre-empted The Jimmy Dean Show for “The Wonderful World of Sammy Davis,” an hour-long variety special featuring Davis and guests Peter Lawford, Billy Daniels, Lola Falana, and Mike Silva.
Here are some other neat local advertisements from this issue:
Advertisement for WMUR-TV’s Daily Popeye Theatre – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Advertisement for WTEV’s Sunday Worship Programming – 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, April 12th, 1965
“Twenty-Four Beacon Street.” Part I, with a look at the Massachusetts Senate in session.
Tuesday, April 13th, 1965
“Twenty-Four Beacon Street.” Part 2, takes a look at the Massachusetts Senate in session.
Wednesday, April 14th, 1965
“Come and Meet the Arts” with guest Sonya Hamlin, school and community lecturer on the arts.
Thursday, April 15th, 1965
[No description provided.]
Friday, April 16th, 1965
Dr. Edwin P. Boothe continues his chronology of the Civil War with particularly comments on the events which influenced the final outcome of the war.
That’s it for this week. Hit the comments with your thoughts.