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.
September 4th, 1965
Vol. 13, No. 36, Issue #649
North Texas Edition
On the Cover: Dan Blocker, Lorne Greene, and Micheal Landon (drawing by Ronald Searle).
The cover article this week is presented in two parts. “A Visit to Gilt-Edge Gulch” by Ronald Searle is a humorous essay about the success of Bonanza spread over three pages with additional drawings by Searle (who also drew the cover). Bonanza should, Searle notes, should be “limping” to some degree after six years on the air. What is it that keeps the show going? “The answer is Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon, who still retain a sense of belief in the show.” The three “have managed to insulate themselves against the encroachment of better judgment, sex and the Beatles.” He suggests, perhaps only somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that money is the reason they believe so strongly in the show.
Front Cover – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Searle’s essay is followed by “…And Now the Nugget” by John Gregory Dunne, who spends four pages chronicling Lorne Greene’s very first night-club appearance at John J. Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, Nevada. What made Greene pick the Nugget? “This is a family-type club. The people here make me feel all icky inside. Good icky, not bad icky. They just want to see what Old Ben looks like.” According to Dunne, Greene’s public image is inextricably linked to his role of Ben Cartwright on Bonanza. Strewn throughout the Nugget are photographs and memorabilia featuring Ben Cartwright, not Lorne Greene. His performance was more Ben than Lorne:
What he was selling was not Lorne Greene, but Ben Cartwright and the Ponderosa world view. There was no attempt to get any further away from the image than the south 40. Yet there was some kind of embarrassing fascination about it. It was like eavesdropping on a grown man talking to himself. In costume. Remember the imaginary playmates of your childhood? It was as if Greene had never got rid of his. And now they were Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe Cartwright and they were good for $20,000 a week.
Greene explained that people want to see him in person the way they do on TV. Dunne concedes that “some erosion of personal identity is, of course, the toll extracted for playing the same role for so many years.” But Greene takes it to another level perhaps because he knows that his success is due entirely to Ben Cartwright. He had a steady career and the respect of his fellow actors but no public recognition. “Then, in his early forties, along came Bonanza–in every sense of the word. Rewarded for being Ben Cartwright as he had never been rewarded for being Lorne Greene, the man has become a National Institution.”
Even among friends, he acts somewhat like Ben. And he has built a replica of the Ponderosa ranch house on property he owns in Arizona, part of a development he’s planning. So he’ll keep playing Ben, even if at 4AM in places like the Nugget he’s not always appreciated.
“Is There a Story in This Show?” is a four-page informal memo written by NBC’s Fred Freed, producer of “American White Paper: United States Foreign Policy” that explains how much time and effort went into getting the three-and-a-half hour documentary on the air. If Freed is to be believed, it was written at 1AM in the morning. The result is less structured essay and more stream of consciousness, packed with names of NBC reporters and personnel, diplomats, politicians, and others. Included are footnotes explaining technical jargon like “standupper”,” “moviola,” and “rough-cut,” as well as a long list identifying the various people Freed mentions.
Edith Efron’s “She Looks Like a Goddess and Talks Like the Girl Next Door” is a three page profile of British actress Sally Ann Howes. Efron found her difficult to interview because she refused to pick favorite books or TV shows and tried very hard not to sound negative about anything or anyone. There were a few minor outbursts, the result of too much pressure to be positive. “Then suddenly, a couple of sharp, adult, and cynical remarks about a big star’s extramarital life pop out of the lady’s mouth–and are hastily taken off the record.” It turns out she’s very outspoken around her friends and family and knows she talks too much. “If these reports about her wit, intelligence and strong opinions are accurate,” concludes Efron, “one is forced to conclude that the beautiful British actress deliberately adopts the ‘girl next door’ role, and pops rose-colored glasses on her nose when she meets American reporters.”
The final article is a three-page profile of actor Ted Cassidy, who feels conflicted about his role on The Addams Family:
Talk about mixed feelings. I can’t believe my luck in being on a successful series. But right there, in that character, are things I’ve spent my life fighting–lack of coordination, lack of ease, and the image of a dumb, untalkative giant that people think of when they see someone my size. I try to keep my feelings out of the role. Sometimes I slip.
He sees Lurch as “a humanist. An individualist. A sort of Thoreau. Strong, but intentionally restricting his strength. Independent, but very sensitive to human dignity.” Cassidy knows a thing or two about restricting his strength. He played football in high school and was taller than most of the ex-Marines on the team. Just about every week someone would challenge him to a fight and he had to learn to walk away because he knew he might hurt someone if he let their taunts get to him. He majored in drama in college, then went into radio, but never forgot his dream of acting. He decided to spend five days looking for acting roles and the last person he called later got him a screen test for the role of Lurch.
He got the role but knows that once The Addams Family goes off the air he may only find roles in science-fiction movies. He’s branched out into voice acting and singing. “Either you try, or you give up. I’d rather try.”
The “As We See It” editorial this week addresses the start of the 1965-1966 season. For the first time ever, all three networks will be launching all their new shows during the same week: September 13th-19th. “The result may be a perennial method of opening the season, dramatic proof of the benefits of American competition–or complete confusion.” Previously, it was customary for CBS and NBC to spread out their premieres from mid-September to mid-October. ABC usually used one week in September to debut its new snows. Last season, CBS tried that as well but picked the week after ABC. Viewers will be faced with conflicts on most nights of the week and thus it will take time for ratings to reflect actual viewing trends.
Cleveland Amory’s review of The Lawrence Welk Show begins with a brief discussion of Welk’s accent. Amory believes it is cultivated rather than natural. His explanation for Welk’s popularity is as follows: “nowadays such a very large number of people are fed up to here with bands that play songs which have no melodies–not to mention singers who can’t even talk the lyrics, let alone sing them–that Welk, who does even his orchestral numbers in such a way that everyone can recognize the tunes, seems like the last reassuring note in a world of dissonance.” Amory is not, it seems, a big fan of Welk. He briefly reviews two episodes that “were pretty nearly all bad.”
News from the Hollywood and New York TV Teletype columns:
- Warner Anderson is leaving Peyton Place but will continue to narrate.
- Robert Reed will star in a pilot called “Somewhere in Italy–Company B,” set during World War II.
- Bill Dana is working on a comedy series for CBS called Biggs and Small, in which the two title characters may turn up anywhere in time and place.
- Jim Moser, creator of Ben Casey and Slattery’s People, has another drama in the works called Hollywood.
- Janet Gaynor, who won an award at the first Academy Awards ceremony, has been signed by Screen Gems to start in a sitcom pilot called “Emma’s First National Bank,” which will be produced by her husband, Paul Gregory. It was created by Ted Key.
- Dick Kallman, star of NBC’s new series Hank, has signed a recording contract with RCA Victor.
- Phil Spector will reveal the secrets to his rock ‘n’ roll success during an October 22nd ABC special called “Teen-Age Revolution.”
- Melinda Plank will take over Zina Bethune’s role for the daytime version of The Nurses on ABC.
- Regis Toomey will play the minister officiating at the wedding of The Farmer’s Daughter, set for November 1st.
Rounding out the national section is a picture feature highlighting the upcoming CBS documentary (to air September 10th, in color) that will include the first film taken on the upper reaches of Mount Everest. There is also a recipe for Fritto Misto (mixed fry) and the regular crossword puzzle.
There are four news reports in the “For the Record” column in the listings section, which this week focuses on local news:
- Channel 11 (KTVT, Fort Worth) will debut live studio color in early October, with top local shows like Slam Bang Theater and Romper Room converting to color alongside news and weather. The station has also purchased 102 recent movies, many in color, including Romanoff and Juliet, Tammy and the Bachelor, and Operation Petticoat. The station will also add news reports on the hour every hour from 7AM to 3PM. Weekly NFL Dallas Cowboys highlights will be aired Wednesday nights at 8:30PM, in color, starting September 22nd.
- Channel 5 (WBAP-TV, Fort Worth) will premiere The Honeymooners at 3:30PM weekdays followed by Sci-Fi Theater at 4PM. Adventure Theater debuts at 5PM and each night of the week will feature a different theme: “Capture” on Mondays; “True Adventure” with Bill Barrud on Tuesdays, “It’s a Small World” with Donald Curtis on Wednesdays; “Wonders of the World” with the Linker family on Thursdays; and “Across the Seven Seas” on Fridays.
- Channel 8 (WFAA-TV, Dallas) will have two of its local shows in color: audience participation game show Away We Go with Ron Chapman weekdays at 10:30AM and variety show Sumthin’ Else, also with Ron Chapman, weekdays at 5PM.
- Channel 13 (KERA-TV, Dallas) has a number of specials lined up for the fall. Men of Our Time will focus on King George V on September 13th at 8PM. “United Nations: The Next Twenty Years” will air September 17th at 8PM. Plus, there will be the regular NET programming.
[I wonder if every regional edition reported local news this week or if there was also a national “For the Record” column prepared and published in some editions.]
The letters page this week features six letters on five topics. There are two very different letters from readers responding to an August 14th article about the Lennon Sisters:
That was a delightful article, “Lennon Meringue,” about the Lennon Sisters. These girls combine beauty and charm as well as real talent, instead of using a phony gimmick such as a rag mop of hair and a sexy wiggle.
“Meringue” really describes the Lennon Sisters! To the mere froth portion of the egg, Maestro Welk adds vanilla and sugar to “make the medicine go down.” And, like meringue, they are mostly bubbles that keep falling off your fork.
Nelda N. Paul
There was also a letter criticizing Cleveland Amory:
In your Aug. 21 article “Love Those Poison Pen Letters!” Eileen Fulton is quoted as saying concerning Our Private World: “The critics…all say the acting is good.” Evidently she had not read Cleveland Amory’s unmerciful panning of the show’s acting in your June 26 issue. Or maybe she doesn’t consider Mr. Amory a critic.
Ben A. Meginniss
Here’s a letter from a frustrated homemaker:
Every morning at 10 A.M. I settled down to enjoy one half-hour of CBS News. But now it’s been changed to 7:05 AM. Now I ask you, who has time to watch the news at that hour,with showers, cooking, feeding, dressing, milkmen, getting men off to work, children off to school, etc., etc., etc. CBS has deprived me of my best break in a 16-hour homemaker’s day.
Beatrece C. Love
North Charleston, S.C.
Another letter responded to the August 14th article about computers in sports, suggesting another Dizzy Dean quote (“99 times out of 10”). There was also a letter thanking TV Guide for its support of Joey Bishop in the August 14th issue and one praising Secret Agent as “a mature, tasteful espionage agent.” Sadly, an editorial note revealed it will be going off the air on September 11th.
The TV Listings
[This was the eighth issue I had to purchase to fill a hole in my collection. It is the third North Texas Edition issue I’ve acquired, with listings for nine stations in five markets. As is always the case with issues I’ve had to buy, I’ve done my best to highlight some of the local programming but please note that I’m not very familiar with these stations. All of the stations were in the Central Time Zone, so prime time in 1965 started at 6:30PM rather than 7:30PM.]
It was an atypical week for the networks. With the start of the 1965-1966 season right around the corner, several dozen network programs went off the air during this week, many for good. There was also a fall preview special and NBC’s ambitious, three-and-a-half hour “United States Foreign Policy” documentary. On Saturday, September 4th at 12PM, CBS aired a football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Francisco 49ers. At the same time, ABC aired its regular football game, this one between the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs.
On Sunday, September 5th at 10:30AM, NBC’s Frontiers of Faith was pre-empted for a special titled “Faith and the Bible” featuring a sermon delivered by the Rev. Mr. Robert D. Hayward, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Hempstead, NY. CBS aired its final regular-season baseball game of the week at 11AM. It pitted the Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees. Pro football will take over this time slot starting next week. At 2PM, NBC aired the final Encore of the season, a repeat of “Our Man in Hong Kong” with David Brinkley. [It originally aired on March 21st, 1961.] Next week AFL football will air in the time slot.
The last episode of Zoorama for the season aired on NBC at 4PM. Mister Ed takes over the time slot next week. NBC’s Meet the Press aired its final 5PM episode; starting September 19th it will air from 12-12:30PM. NBC Sports in Action aired its final 5:30PM episode; starting October 16th it be cut down to 30 minutes and move to the Saturday at 4:30PM time slot. The last episode of World War I aired at 5:30PM on CBS. From 6:30-7:30PM, ABC aired the final episode of Wagon Train, followed by the final episode of Broadside from 7:30-8:30PM. The final repeat of The Twilight Zone aired from 8-9PM on CBS. Next week Perry Mason will take over the time slot. At 9PM, NBC aired the final episode of The Rogues.
On Monday, September 6th ABC debuted its new daytime discussion series, The Young Set, at 10AM. The hour-long series featured celebrity guests each day and a special week-long guest (Sybil Burton this week). Phyllis Kirk served as host.
At 6:30PM. NBC aired “Secret Agent’s Dilemma, or A Clear Case of Mind Over Mati Hari,” a half-hour fall preview special hosted by Don Adams. Also at 6:30PM, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea aired its final Monday episode on ABC; it moves to Sundays at 6PM starting September 19th. At 7PM, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. also aired its final Monday episode. It will move to Fridays at 9PM starting September 17th. The John Forsythe Show and Dr. Kildare will take over the Monday 7-8PM time slot next week. The final episode of Summer Playhouse aired from 7:30-8PM on CBS, featuring an unsold pilot starring Jeanne Crain and John Vivyan. The Lucy Show will take over the time slot next week.
Also at 7:30PM, ABC aired the final episode of No Time for Sergeants. The Legend of Jesse James will debut in the time slot next week. At 8PM, CBS aired the last repeat of Glynis. The Andy Griffith Show will take over the time slot next week. The final episode of Wendy and Me also aired at 8PM. A Man Called Shenandoah will debut in the time slot next week. At 8:30PM, the final episode of The Danny Thomas Show aired on CBS. Hazel will take over the time slot next week. From 9-10PM, the final episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour aired on NBC. Run for Your Life will debut in the time slot next week.
On Tuesday, September 7th from 6:30-10PM, NBC aired “American White Paper: United States Foreign Policy,” a three-and-a-half hour documentary produced by Fred Freed that charts the course of U.S. foreign policy since the end of World War II. It was split into three parts: “Confrontation with the Soviet Union,” “Confrontation in the Emerging World,” and “Confrontation in China.” Ten distinct turning points that have shaped the future of foreign relations are examined, including the U.S. joining the United Nations, the Marshall Plan, the formation of NATO, the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and bombings in North Vietnam.
Also on Tuesday, the final episode of The Joey Bishop Show aired on CBS from 7-8PM. Rawhide will take over the 6:30-7:30PM time slot starting next week. At 7:30PM, CBS aired the final episode of Hollywood Talent Scouts for the season. The Red Skelton Show will take over the time slot next week. At 8PM, ABC aired the final episode of The Tycoon. F Troop will debut in the time slot next week. CBS aired the final episode of The Doctors and the Nurses at 9PM. CBS Reports will move into the time slot next week.
Mister Ed aired its final Wednesday episode on September 8th from 6:30-7PM. It will move to Sundays from 4-4:30PM next week. The final episode of My Living Doll aired from 7-7:30PM. Next week, Lost in Space will debut in the 6:30-7:30PM time slot. The final hour-long episode of Shindig aired from 7:30-8:30PM on ABC while the final episode of Burke’s Law aired from 8:30-9:30PM. Half-hour versions of Shindig will air Thursdays at 7:30PM beginning September 16th and Saturdays at 7:30PM starting September 18th. Gidget debuts at 7:30PM next week, followed by The Big Valley from 8-9PM, and the revamped Amos Burke, Secret Agent from 9-10PM.
NBC aired the final installment of Wednesday Night at the Movies from 8-10PM. Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre will take over the 8-9PM time slot next week followed by the debut of I Spy from 9-10PM. On CBS, the penultimate episode of Our Private World aired from 8:30-9PM. Next week, The Dick Van Dyke Show will move into the time slot, allowing Green Acres to take over the 8-8:30PM time slot. The final repeat of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour aired from 9-10PM. Next week The Danny Kaye Show returns.
On Thursday, September 9th at 6:30PM the final episode of Jonny Quest aired on ABC. It will be replaced by Shindig next week. At 7PM, ABC aired “Once Upon a Tractor,” the third Xerox/United Nations special. This one starred Alan Bates and Diane Cilento. Bates played a farmer trying to replace his tractor who takes his fight all the way to the UN. Also at 7PM, the final Thursday episode of Perry Mason aired on CBS from 7-8PM. The series will move to Sundays at 8PM next week, allowing Gilligan’s Island and My Three Sons to take over the Thursday 7-8PM time slot. At 7:30PM, the final hour-long episode of Dr. Kildare aired. Laredo will debut in the time slot next week while half-hour episodes of Dr. Kildare will air Mondays and Tuesdays at 7:30PM starting next week.
The final prime time episode of Password aired at 8PM on CBS followed by the final episode of Celebrity Game at 8:30PM and the final episode of The Defenders from 9-10PM. The network will debut an 8-10PM movie block next week. At 8:30PM, NBC aired the final Thursday episode of Hazel, which moves to CBS starting next week and will air on Mondays at 8:30PM. CBS will replace it with Mona McCluskey starting next week. At 9PM, NBC aired the final episode of Kraft Suspense Theatre which will be replaced by The Dean Martin Show next week. Also at 9PM, the final Thursday episode of The Jimmy Dean Show aired on ABC. It will move to Fridays at 10PM starting September 17th and will be replaced by The Long, Hot Summer next week.
At 9:55PM, all three networks aired a five-minute speech by President Johnson in which he opened the United Community Fund’s annual drive. [The networks refused to broadcast a similar speech in September 1964 because it was an election year and there were concerns about whether it would trigger equal time requests from other presidential candidates.]
NBC aired the final episode of International Showtime on Friday, September 10th from 6:30-7:30PM. Next week two new shows, Camp Runamuck and Hank, will debut in the time slot. Also at 6:30PM, CBS aired an hour-long documentary called “Americans on Everest,” the first of four scheduled National Geographic Socity documentaries. Orson Wells narrated the special, which was produced in association with David L. Wolper. At 7PM, ABC aired the final episode of FDR. Tammy will debut in the time slot next week. At 7:30PM, the final Friday episode of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre aired on NBC. It will move to Wednesdays at 8PM next week and will be replaced by Convoy.
Also at 7:30PM, the final episode of The Cara Williams Show aired on NBC. It will be replaced by Hogan’s Heroes next week. At 8PM, the final episode of Our Private World aired on CBS. Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. will return to the time slot next week. The final episode of Valentine’s Day also aired at 8PM on ABC. It will be replaced by Honey West next week. The final Vacation Playhouse on CBS at 8:30PM featured an unsold pilot starring Pat Buttram. The Smothers Brothers Show will debut in the time slot next week. The final weekly episode of The Jack Benny Program also aired at 8:30PM on NBC. It will be replaced by Mr. Roberts next week but Benny will make occasional specials throughout the season. At 9PM, the final episode of The Jack Paar Show aired on NBC. It will be replaced next week by The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Also at 9PM was the final Friday episode of 12 O’clock High. It moves to Mondays at 6:30PM next week and will be replaced by The Jimmy Dean Show.
Here are the TV Guide close-ups for the week:
- Special: American White Paper, United States Foreign Policy (NBC, Tuesday at 6:30PM)
- Special: UN Drama – “Once Upon a Tractor” (ABC, Thursday at 7:00PM)
- Special: Americans on Everest (CBS, Friday at 6:30PM)
[See the July 24th, 1965 issue for details on stations listed in the North Texas Edition of TV Guide.]
The big news locally this week was the launch of Billy Graham’s three-day Denver Crusade on Thursday. A number of stations aired the same taped coverage at different times. There were also numerous sporting events and local programs. At 12PM on Saturday, KTVT (Channel 11) aired a documentary titled “School Story.” At 2:45PM, KRLD-TV (Channel 4) was scheduled to air a 15-minute football program hosted by Tom Landry following the CBS game at 12PM. Bill Anderson was the guest on KTVT’s Cowtown Jamboree at 6:30PM. Sunday morning was once again filled with religious programs. KRLD-TV aired eight different religious programs while WBAP-TV (Channel 5) aired four. At 11AM, five different live church services were aired.
At 12PM, KXII-TV joined the CBS Red Sox-Yankees baseball game in progress. The network broadcast started at 11AM but KXII-TV aired a church service from 11AM-12PM. At 1:45PM, KRLD-TV aired a 15-minute color program called Spotlite on Homes. At 2:30PM, KAUZ-TV (Channel 6) and WFAA-TV (Channel 8) aired coverage of the final four holes of the final round of the Oklahoma City Open Invitational golf tournament. KTVT aired a Texas League baseball game at 3PM between the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs and the Austin Braves.
WFAA-TV debuted a new local weekday audience participation show called Away We Go at 10:30AM on Monday. KSWO-TV (Channel 7) and WFAA-TV aired a baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers at 3PM on Monday. WFAA-TV pre-empted Wendy and Me and The Farmer’s Daughter from 8-9PM to air a syndicated documentary titled “Trial at Nuremberg,” narrated by Richard Basehart. KERA-TV aired “Born Chinese” from 8-9PM, a documentary about life in China focusing on one family in Hong Kong. All three CBS affiliates in the region pre-empted CBS Reports from 9-10PM, opting not to air “A Day of War,” the fourth and final Vietnam Perspectives documentary series.
At 5PM on Tuesday, WFAA-TV premiered another new local weekday series: Sumthin’ Else, a young adult variety show hosed by Ron Chapman. [As the “For the Record” column revealed, both Away We Go and Sumthin’ Else were scheduled to start airing in color on Thursday, September 16th.] At 10:30PM, WFAA-TV aired “A Day of War,” the CBS Reports documentary it pre-empted the previous night.
On Wednesday, KAUZ-TV (Channel 6) pre-empted The Beverly Hillbillies and The Dick Van Dyke Show from 7:30-8:30PM for “Talent ’65,” an hour-long local variety special featuring students from 10 Texas colleges and universities: Texas Tech, Baylor University, University of Houston, Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University, Sam Houston State College, Texas A&M, Hardin-Simmons, Texas University, and Texas Southern University.
Three different stations aired taped coverage of the opening of Billy Graham’s crusade at the Bears Stadium in Denver: KAUZ-TV from 7-8PM, KXII-TV from 7:30-8:30PM, and WBAP-TV from 9-9:55PM. At 9PM, WFAA-TV pre-empted The Jimmy Dean Show on ABC to air “Talent ’65,” the same local variety special KAUZ-TV aired the previous day.
More Billy Graham coverage aired on Friday. KXII-TV aired coverage from 7-7:30PM while WBAP-TV and KAUZ-TV aired coverage from 7:30-8PM. At 8PM, KXII-TV aired a high school football game featuring Durant High School and Denison High School.
Here’s an advertisement for Western Club House on KXII-TV (Channel 12):
Advertisement for Western Club House on KXII-TV (Channel 12) – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Here’s an advertisement for Romper Room on KAUZ-TV (Channel 6):
Advertisement for Romper Room on KAUZ-TV (Channel 6) – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Here’s an advertisement for NBC Week on WBAP-TV (Channel 5):
NBC Week on WBAP-TV (Channel 5) – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
That’s it for this week. Hit the comments with your thoughts.