Q & A: The Burt Reynolds Late Show; The 13th Gate

I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies, or miniseries they remember from years or even decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to pull out a few e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to enjoy. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.

I remember reading a magazine article from the mid-70s about Burt Reynolds hosting a TV special. It said the special was part of a monthly series of specials hosted by Reynolds. I’ve never found anything else about these series of specials. What were they, if they ever aired?

Burt Reynolds hosted at least four late night specials for NBC during the 1973-1974 season, under the title The Burt Reynolds Late Show. They aired in place of repeats of The Tonight Show from 11:30PM-1AM on Saturdays.

There may have been six total but I have only found information on four:

“Burt Reynolds at Leavenworth Penitentiary”
Saturday, October 13th, 1973
Guests: Dinah Short Shore, Jonathan Winters, Merle Haggard, The Strangers

“Burt Reynolds in London”
Sunday, November 10th, 1973
Guests: Michael Caine, Edward Fox, Roger Moore, and Ryan O’Neal

“Burt and the Girls”
Saturday, December 8th, 1973
Guests: Carol Burnett, Nancy Dussault, Nanette Fabray, Jaye P. Morgan, Bernadette Peters, Jo Ann Pflug, Della Reese, Joyce Van Patten

“Burt Reynolds in Nashville”
Saturday, March 9th, 1974
Guests: Glen Campbell, Bobby Goldsboro, Roger Miller, Jim Nabors, Minnie Pearl, Charlie Rich, Mel Teissis Tillis, Dinah Shore, Governor Winfield Dunn

Two incomplete episodes (“Burt Reynolds at Leavenworth Penitentiary” and “Burt and the Ladies”) have been uploaded to YouTube:

Reynolds later hosted an hour-long syndicated special called “Take Me Home Again” in November 1974.

Back in the summer of 1964 (maybe 1963) I saw a pilot for a series called The 11th Hour. It was about a group of scientists and other experts who fought against alien and other supernatural threats. It never matured into a series. Is there any other information about it? Thanks!

I couldn’t find any information about an unsold pilot called “The 11th Hour” from 1963 or 1964. There was a TV series on CBS from 1962 to 1964 called The Eleventh Hour but it was a medical drama about psychiatrists.

This is a long shot but in early 1964, when NBC was working on its schedule for the 1964-1965 season, a supernatural drama pilot called “The 13th Gate” (or “The Thirteenth Gate”) was tentatively given the 7:30-8:30PM time slot on Thursdays. It was later dropped in favor of Daniel Boone starring Fess Parker.

The proposed series focused on the Scientific Defense Institute (SDI) whose mission is to protect the Earth from alien attack. David Opatoshu starred as Dr. Jason Banner, the lead scientist at SDI. Alex Viespi and Karl held played his assistants Steve O’Hara and David Mathews. Joyce Taylor played his secretary Amy Hanson.

Jeremy Slate guest starred as an astronaut who returns to Earth after encountering radio trouble while in space. The SDI must determine if it was equipment failure or something more nefarious. The astronaut seems healthy but there’s something not quite right with him.

Is it possible this is the unsold pilot Steve remembers? NBC aired it on July 20th, 1965 as an installment of a dramatic anthology series called Cloak of Mystery.

Did you remember watching The Burt Reynolds Late Show on NBC during the 1973-1974 season? Does “The 13th Gate” sound like an interesting idea for a TV show? Hit the comments with your memories and thoughts.


“Tentative Listings of the 3 Networks.” New York Times. Jan 29. 1964: 67.

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13 Replies to “Q & A: The Burt Reynolds Late Show; The 13th Gate”

  1. Who the hell is Dinah Short? Clearly, if you had watched the video, you would have known it was Dinah Shore, who was romantically involved with Burt at the time. After Burt made several successful appearances on the Tonight Show, NBC gave him a series of monthly specials which ran Saturday or Sunday [or not at all in some markets] in place of Tonight show reruns, which were replaced by SNL in 1975!

    1. There’s no need to be rude. I put a huge amount of time and effort into this website. I sometimes make mistakes. The least you can do is be considerate when you point out the occasional error.

      1. Robert Jay, thank you for all of your work on TV Obscurities. I enjoy coming here to see what you have recently posted.

    2. I make mistakes at my blog as well, Charles. Bloggers like Robert put in a lot of work without having resources to things like proofreaders, and as hard as we try, things are going to slip past us. The next time you’re so inclined to make a comment like that, just remember how much you pay for information like this.

  2. I saw the London episode. What I recall was an exchange like this:
    REYNOLDS (to MOORE): Are you ready for Bond?
    MOORE: I’m ready for anything.

  3. In re The Burt Reynolds Late Show:

    The one I’d like to see again is the London show – to see a prank that Burt and the Brit actors played on Ryan O’Neal.

    The Brits and Burt devoted much of the show to things that had gone wrong, mainly negative critical reviews.
    Nearly the end of the show, Burt brought out an elderly gentleman, whom he identified as a noted British drama critic; this was in fact Stanley Unwin, GB’s top specialist in comic doubletalk (think a British Irwin Corey, only not so obvious).
    Burt sat Unwin next to Ryan O’Neal at the end of the panel, where the director kept them in a two-shot most of the time.
    Thus, Unwin (who had a gentle, professorial manner) directed most of his “comments” to O’Neal, occasionally asking him what he thought about what was just said.
    I’ll never the look of abject terror on O’Neal’s face as he tried to keep up with Unwin’s queries (there were occasional cutbacks to the British actors, who were all in on the gag; mostly, it was just Stanley Unwin smiling at a panicked Ryan O’Neal).
    At the very end, Burt Reynolds paid off the gag and formally introduced Stanley Unwin to the British live audience (who knew who he was all along); O’Neal’s look at his fellows with that “I’m gonna kill you all with my bare hands” smile.

    NBC never reran any of the Reynolds shows; I definitely wish they had (a home video release might have been nice …).

    By the way, the ’63 Eleventh Hour (the psychiatrist show) was on NBC.
    It was a semi-sibling of Dr. Kildare, from the same producers.
    Just so you know …

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    It was The 13th Gate. NBC aired it once that summer. The team had really cool matching jumpsuits. It was pretty hip for the times. It’s a shame it didn’t get the chance.

    I sincerely apologize that it took me so long to respond and give thanks. I really appreciate the information!

  5. To the Nashville show you can add Dolly Parton and Porter Waggoner ☺️ I know because I was there. Was so jealous of my little sister Julie who got to introduce the surprise guest Dinah Shore!

  6. Greetings
    Thank you, and anyone else familiar with it, for references to 13th GATE. I’d have never heard of it but for finding a reference to it in TV GUIDE copies from 1964 in our University communications archive.
    Not mentioned anywhere but my guess is that it may have been inspired by The Outer Limits which was the big new sensation the previous season on ABC.
    I checked the archive for local TV listings from 1965 and it appears that the local NBC outlet didn’t run Cloak of Mystery at all that summer.
    TV columns had mentioned that networks were interested in the possibility of Outer Limits like series ideas but had noted that Limits inconsistent ratings seemed to suggest that audiences might warm up to a Spook show with regular weekly characters .
    I’ve been lucky in the past in collecting vintage pilots but THIS one always eludes me. If anyone has more on 13th GATE please let me know. Thanks!
    Bruce Gilbert [email protected]

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