Television Programs I’m Looking For

Although I try to write about all aspects of obscure television, there are a few areas that I’m particularly interested in. For example, I’ve been researching Mary Kay and Johnny off and on for years. I’m also very interested in Kyle McDonnell’s television work in the late 1940s, the various programs hosted by Tex McCrary and Jinx Falkenburg, and Audrey Hepburn’s television appearances in the 1950s.

I’ve put together the following list of television programs, specials and specific episodes that I would personally like to see or just know more about. With the exception of Mary Kay and Johnny, which has one extant episode, to the best of my knowledge none of these programs are known to exist. That doesn’t necessarily mean copies don’t exist and I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong. In some cases, I’ve indicated whether audio recordings, photographs and scripts for the programs have survived. Note that all episode counts are taken from television listings in The New York Times.

If you have any information about any of these programs, please contact me.

Thrills and Chills Everywhere (NBC/DuMont, 1941-1946?)
Doug Allen hosted this half-hour program, also known as Thrills and Chills, that presented “adventure” films from around the world and the explorers who made them. It aired on WNBT in New York City from 1941 to 1942 before moving to the experimental DuMont station in that city, W2XWV, where it may have remained until 1946. Read more about the program here and here.

Hour Glass (NBC, 1946-1947)
Television’s first regularly scheduled variety show, sponsored by Standard Brands. It ran for 44 episodes between May of 1946 and February of 1947. The Library of Congress has audio from a number of episodes, including the premiere, but no video is known to exist.

Mary Kay and Johnny (Dumont/NBC/CBS, 1947-1950)
Television’s first sitcom. Each episode ran for 15 minutes. Approximately 150 episodes were broadcast between November of 1947 and March of 1950 (from mid-June to early August of 1949 it aired daily on NBC). The Paley Center for Media has one episode from June of 1949. Photographs and scripts exist.

Girl About Town (NBC, 1948-1949)
Kyle McDonnell hosted this live musical/variety series, which was broadcast from September of 1948 to June of 1949. Each of the 43 episodes ran 20 minutes. Some or all may have featured filmed segments of McDonnell at New York City nightclubs. It may also have been called The Kyle McDonnell Show or About the Town. Other regulars included Earl Wrightson and the Norman Paris Trio.

Preview (CBS, 1949)
Tex McCrary and Jinx Falkenburg hosted this half-hour program in which they were the “editors” of a “living magazine,” reporting the news, presenting musical acts and interviewing guests like Kirk Douglas, John Huston, Jackie Gleason and Harold Lloyd. A total of 31 episodes were produced.

Stars Over Hollywood – “Grady Everett for the People” (NBC, September 13th, 1950)
This was the first television script Rod Serling ever sold. UCLA’s Film & Television Archive has two other episodes of Stars Over Hollywood. No copy of the script is known to exist.

The Margaret Arlen Program – Monday, December 4th, 1951 Broadcast (WCBS-TV, New York City)
This morning talk show ran on WCBW-TV from November of 1950 to April of 1956. According to The New York Times, Audrey Hepburn — who was starring in Gigi at the Fulton Theatre on Broadway at the time — was Margaret Arlen’s guest on Monday, December 4th, 1951. It was likely her first television appearance.

Stage 7 – “The Secret Weapon of 117” (Syndicated, March 1956)
Also known as “The Secret Defense of 117” and “The Defense of 117,” this was Gene Roddenberry’s first attempt at science-fiction on television. Stage 7 was a syndicated anthology series that was repackaged as Chevron Theater on the West Coast and Don Ameche Presents the Drewry’s Play of the Week in the Midwest (read more here). Copies of the script may exist.

Esther Williams’ Aqua Spectacle (NBC, September 29th, 1956)

Broadcast as an installment of NBC’s irregularly scheduled Saturday Color Carnival. Also known as “The Esther Williams Aqua Spectacle of 1957.” Sponsored by Oldsmobile. In addition to Esther Williams, this ninety-minute color special featured Peter Lawford, Arnold Stang, Fran Allison and Don Adams. Both UCLA’s Film & Television Archive and The Paley Center for Media have copies of a second NBC color special, “Esther Williams at Cypress Gardens,” which was aired in 1960.

Last Updated November 6th, 2010


64 Replies to “Television Programs I’m Looking For”

  1. The Tex and Jinx daytime live telecast from WNBT called Swift Home Service Club (one of the first daytime series and one of the first sponsored network programs, as shown in at least 2 – 3 NBC stations) is captured on kinescope for 3 minute segment in the Library of Congress’s Chain Collection, with this clip kinescoped off screen from the live show dating from October 31, 1947. The show had debuted in May 1947. It is certainly one of the earliest extant kinescopes, as kinescope recording was not made commercially available until September 1947. It is cited in my article on this Web Site, as published in earlier version on here.

  2. “Hour Glass” debut broadcast of May 9 1946 is featured in extended article on the show in May 27 1946 Life Magazine (available online under Google Books search) including numerous photo shots taken directly from TV screen. As you cited, this inaugural broadcast (along with other Hour Glass episodes) survive on audio at the Library of Congress SONIC archives.

  3. 1986 or 87 masterpiece theatre production of a Thomas Hardy short story called “On the western circuit” production name “Day after the Fair” stars sammi Davis and Hannah Gordon

  4. I have a 16mm print of “Grady Everett For the People”. I also have another episode of Stars Over Hollywood called “Dream Without a Face”. Both are quite good. Grady Everett has a typical Serling twist at the end.

    Do you have any more info about the show? I know one episode was rerun on One Step Beyond, but other then that I cant find out much more.

    1. Did both those “Stars Over Hollywood” episodes have the Revue Productions endcard? It would be the TV camera that rotated from the front to the left side to show A REVUE PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTED BY MCA-TV LTD. Exclusive Representatives.

  5. There is a 19 minute fragment of Kyle McDonnel’s show “Hold That Camera” that aired on Dumont on December 1, 1950, on the Archives.org site.

  6. I have been trying to find a recording (video) of the 1979 CBS production of “You Can’t Take It With You” starring Blythe Danner and Henry Morgan. I found the reference on Wikipedia searching for Blythe Danner. I would also like to locate on DVD preferably a copy of “Who Am I This Time” with Christopher Walken.
    Since you are called “Television Obscurities” I thought you would be the best place to post a comment.

      1. To anyone who finds this:
        The 1979 TV version of You Can’t Take It With You is available as an MOD-DVD from Warner Archives.
        … and it’s Harry Morgan who’s in it, not Henry.
        … and yes, Harry Morgan also did the short-lived syndie sitcom a few years afterward.
        Coincidence?
        You be the judge.

    1. Who Am I this Time with Blythe Danner was also with Rober DeNiro – not Christopher Walken…. that was the one with Susan Sarandon. I’m looking for the one with Blythe Danner and RD. Can’t imagine how to find it!! I only saw it once – so many years ago – but it struck me!

      1. Looking for DAN RAVEN…all episodes but specifically the Bobby Darin one…..I have a poor image copy.

  7. Are there any remaining videotape episodes of the ABC short lived serial THE BEST OF EVERYTHING? If so, I would like to see one.

    1. There may not be any tapes, but a kinescope of the show’s final episode still exists, though it’s not been digitized, to my knowledge.

      1. You Tube has the last episode of “A World Apart”, the show which ran right after TBOE. This show featured a very young Susan Sarandon..

  8. To my fellow Mississippians. I am looking for Project Survival. It was produced by Mississippi ETV in early 1972. It ran on there until 1984. If anyone has those shows, contact me:)

  9. Shortly after the warriors movie came out,a TV show was filmed with detectives questioning swan about the rogues.he would not talk until ajax was released. Can anyone shed any light on this to what the name is

  10. If you find the Esther Williams show, I’d love to see it too. I loved her, and she sent me an autograph months before her passing.

  11. Would anyone here have any information about the rare TV Western series
    Hotel De Paree (AKA Sundance), which starred Earl Holliman in the role of
    Sundance and aired for one season on CBS (1959-1960)? The show was
    before my time (I was not born until the early 60’s myself) but I have become
    reacquainted with it in the past few decades. A total of 33 episodes were
    filmed by CBS-TV, but so far I have only managed to locate approximately
    12 of them (VHS to DVD recordings) that have circulated in various
    individuals’ private video collections over the years. Most come with the
    original CBS opening credits (with the sponsor) and original commercials
    from Kellogg’s cereal and L & M Cigarettes. The quality of these recordings
    are not great but they are watchable and better than nothing.

    I would consider Hotel De Paree either in the “lost” or “unavailable” category
    of TV programs. The fact that I have found recordings of 12 from the 33
    episodes is pretty close to a miracle by itself. Not too many people remember
    it today unfortunately. I read online somewhere that the rights to the show
    are owned by Sony Pictures (how they got them is anyone’s guess considering that CBS-TV was the original owner at the time of filming
    and broadcast), and also someone contacted Sony to inquire if they
    might release it on DVD (hopefully complete series, Timeless Media Group
    has released a lot of obscure rare TV Western series from other studios) eventually. Their immediate response was that they have no intention of
    releasing either Hotel De Paree or any of their other TV Western series (anything filmed by Columbia Pictures would qualify; the only Westerns I
    can think of from TV of theirs are Dale Robertson’s Iron Horse from the
    mid-60’s not on DVD yet, Here Come The Brides released by Sony and
    Shout Factory depending on the season a few years back, and The
    Quest from 1976) on DVD.

    At any rate, so much for the explanation. My question is, do the remaining
    20 episodes of Hotel De Paree still exist either on film or home-recorded
    by fans or collectors of the series? I am looking for those particularly
    the pilot episode, Sundance Comes Home (AKA The Return Of Sundance)
    preferably on DVD. So far, no luck at all. What I do have was from VHS, in
    private individuals’ collections (those date back at least to the 80’s).
    Any feedback would be appreciated. I seriously doubt they are anywhere
    to be located, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to ask those who have more
    knowledge about the subject than I do. Thanks for listening anyway.

    1. Please let me know if you are able to locate or share this television series, which was based on the Hotel de Paris in Georgetown, Colorado and its proprietor Louis Dupuy. Thank you. Kevin Kuharic, Executive Director, Hotel de Paris Museum

    2. As a historian of Paramount Ranch, an old movie ranch that is now part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, I am also most interested in seeing the remainder of the Hotel de Paree episodes. I uncovered the long-buried fact a few years ago that the Western town set was used for Georgetown, CO exteriors for the show. As they would do many years later for Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, CBS did some upgrades to the town for Hotel de Paree. Remarkably, the “General Store” lettering painted on one of the buildings for Hotel de Paree stayed in place for many years and was seen in Klondike the following season, then Best of the West in 1982! Naturally, all of us interested in the history of Paramount Ranch have a great desire to see all of the Hotel de Paree episodes. I have to believe there are masters archived somewhere, as CBS has remastered series like Gunsmoke and Have Gun Will Travel among others for DVD release. I suspect that it wouldn’t be financially lucrative enough for them to release on DVD, but I am hoping another company such as Timeless Media eventually will. Hoping the same for Ziv’s Klondike, which also used the Paramount Ranch town. Best of the West recently got a release, so I remain hopeful!

  12. I would like to see any of the very early (1947) TV footage that is in the Library of Congresses Chain Collection, especially President Truman’s first televised address from the White House and the brief excerpt from the June 25, 1947 Kraft Television Theater episode “I Like It Here.” In addition, I would also like to see any early color TV shows from the mid-late 1950s.

    1. You Tube has the lost color episode of “Burns & Allen” as well as the opening and closing credits of “Norby” with David Wayne. Shout Factory has the only color footage of Ernie Kovacs. Sadly, most of the other stuff is either lost or only exists in black & white.

  13. Steve Allen Show, 1962?-196? Filmed at the Steve Allen Theater at Hollywood & La Mirada, IIRC, near the Hollywood Ranch Market. (Or was it La Mirada & Vine> The mind is the first to go.)
    Looking a show from Oct. or Nov. 1963 that featured a young Cassius Clay before his first(?) bout with Sonny Liston

  14. I looking for help, locating a tv show of the 1980 season “one in a million” starred Shirley Hemphill & Richard Paul..
    thank you for the help…

    1. I loved that show, even though my sister preferred “Maude”. It did run on USA in the “80’s and still exists in the Sony catalog. I suggest you contact their digital channel Antenna TV and see what they could do.

  15. I performed an Afro-Cuban dance solo backed by the all boy Enrico Stuart
    Ensemble on The Startime Kids on a Saturday morning NBC-TV broadcast
    in November of 1951(age 12) emanating from a studio in the Rainbow Room of the Rockefeller Center. George Scheck and Mickey Freeman were the co-producers. Connie Francis was one of the ‘regulars’ (a.o. Lenny Dale, Barry Gordon, Sharon Ann Porter). Stage name was Jac E. Sawyer(!). Library of Congress, Paley and UCLA’s Center Archives do not have that particular kinescoped broadcast. “SOLID” info would be greatly appreciated. (Connie Francis collector?)

  16. I performed an Afro-Cuban dance solo backed by the all boy Enrico Stuart
    Ensemble on The Startime Kids on a Saturday morning NBC-TV broadcast
    in November of 1951(age 12) emanating from a studio in the Rainbow Room of the Rockefeller Center. George Scheck and Mickey Freeman were the co-producers. Connie Francis was one of the ‘regulars’ (a.o. Lenny Dale, Barry Gordon, Sharon Ann Porter). Library of Congress, Paley and UCLA’s Center Archives do not have that particular kinescoped broadcast. “SOLID” info would be greatly appreciated. (Connie Francis collector?)

  17. Off topic: Does anyone have info on the TV pilot for “The Last Detail” , circa 1975-76? I recall it being aired at 10:30pm after ABC aired the movie. I remember it was awful, but I can’t find out anything about it anywhere.

  18. I was curious where I can get a copy of the NBC 1964 movie “See How They Run”. Either DVD or VHS. I remember it as one of my favorite movies as a kid.

  19. I am looking for evidence of an early 1970’s tv game show in which contestants walked or landed on rectangular shaped floor spaces that lit up and made sounds. It was an entertaining game show. I can’t find any source on-line. I am looking for photos of the show or the name of the show.

    Thanks much

  20. I may have films of the Cypress Gardens Esther Williams special. I am looking through over 2,000 film reels from the Cypress Gardens archive. I will post if it is found! I do have many photos of her from the same archive along with all the original negatives.

  21. I am looking for episodes of the Jackie Gleason Show that feature the short Color Honeymooners sketches. I already have all of the 42 hour long Color Honeymooners episodes that we’re apart of the Jackie Gleason Show ithat were shown in syndication and released onto DVD. I know for a fact that these 15 minute sketches are UNRELEASED.. I am hoping that there is some collector that has them. If anyone has any information, I can be reached at [email protected].

    1. MPI Video released sets of those color Honeymooners episodes a few years ago. They may be out of print now, but are available on Amazon .

  22. I’m seeking these sitcoms for my collection – HIS HONOR HOMER BELL, SALLY, DICK AND THE DUCHESS, THE BROTHERS, HONESTLY CELESTE (allegedly 1 kinescope exists), TWO GIRLS NAMED SMITH (1 kinescope exists), TOO YOUNG TO GO STEADY, DOC CORKLE, MY SON JEEP, THAT’S MY BOY, HARRIS AGAINST THE WORLD, TOM DICK AND MARY, THE TYCOON, THE QUEEN AND I, HARRY’S GIRLS (with original opening credits). Got any of these?

  23. I am hoping that the 1954 crime series, “Stryker of Scotland Yard” will soon be released on DVD, this series appears to be very rare, indeed.

  24. I am looking for Bowling for dollars aired in cleveland on 11-14-1978 with dick goddard as the host, would also like to find the contestants names from that show. any help would be appreciated.

  25. I’m trying to remember an old PBS show featuring antiques appraisal. It was _BEFORE_ Antiques Roadshow. There was a single appraiser. An older guy who looked a little like santa claus. He had a younger woman assistant. It was shot in hotel lobbies or a similar sort of thing. There was a small seated audience, each member of which had something to be appraised. Thanks.

  26. I’m looking for a short-lived, ‘X-Files’-esque, One-Season-Wonder from the late Nineties or so about a young American couple getting involved with paranormal/spy activities during the big U. F. O. Hype & ‘Commie Scare’ of the 50s/60s.

    The episodes were somehow interconnected to each other, spanning a continuous story arc.

    At the end of the season, which only consisted of a fistful of episodes (a. k. a. ‘British Brevity’, as tvtropes might call it), the girl was apparently abducted by Aliens (or by what/whomever else), and it closed with a voiceover of the male protagonist, stating that ‘The truth about what happened, about the U. F. O. encounters overall and about everything else would be revealed at the turn of the millenium’ or whatever variant of it.

    After this, the program – just like so many of them – faded into Obscurity and was probably not even re-run ever since, at least not where I live.

  27. I’m looking for the Super Password finale, specifically the one aired on GSN Live in 2008. I’m also looking for Wheel of Fortune shows that aired on GSN from 2007-2008.

    1. La Famille Plouffe was a Canadian television drama, more specifically a téléroman, about a Quebec family that first aired in the French-language on Société Radio-Canada in 1953. The show was created to fill a void in francophone television in Canada. Whereas the English Canadian television branch of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation could broadcast English-language shows from American stations, the Francophone component of the CBC, Radio-Canada had to develop its own programs for French-Canadian viewers from the earliest days of television in Canada. This show was one of the few that helped to launch the téléroman genre of programming in French Canada, around the same time the first telenovelas aired in Latin America.
      The series was also broadcast live in English as The Plouffe Family on CBC Television the following year and ran on both networks until 1959.
      The series was based on the novel Les Plouffe, by Roger Lemelin. It chronicled the daily life of a working-class family in the years following World War II. The family included patriarch Théophile, a former provincial cycling champion who had settled into life as a plumber, his wife Joséphine, a naive but kind-hearted mother who doted on her adult children Napoléon, Ovide, Cécile and Guillaume.

  28. Another Canadian show that seems to also have vanished is the one featuring singer Juliette Sysak (later Cavazzi), known as “our pet Juliette”.
    In 1956, Juliette became host of the long-running Saturday night music variety program, Juliette (1956–66), succeeding O’Connor’s Late Show on CBC TV. It was one of the broadcaster’s most popular shows of the day, regularly ranking behind only Hockey Night in Canada and the national news in viewership. As the program followed Hockey Night in Canada, it was often shortened or extended depending on when the hockey game ended, adding an extra layer of spontaneity to the live show. The wholesome, conservative program took place on a living room set and featured Juliette beginning each episode with “Hi there, everybody” and ending it with “Goodnight, Mom.”
    Juliette was joined regularly on the show by other singers. In the 1950s, she was accompanied by a male singer, who was introduced as her “escort” for the evening (George Murray, 1956–57; Roy Roberts, 1957–58; and Ken Steele, 1958–59). Later, her guests included the male vocal quartet the Romeos (1959–65) and the female vocal group the Four Mice (1960–64). The show’s music directors were, successively, Bobby Gimby (1956–59), Bill Isbister (1959–65) and Lucio Agostini (1965–66).
    Of Juliette’s popularity, Antony Ferry wrote in the Toronto Daily Star: “Her specialty is being ‘just folks’… In a pop medium bedecked with tinsel and phony charm, Juliette retains at least the illusion of old home-body simplicity.” The ​Montreal Gazette added that, “Our Pet Juliette represents the last word in a plain, uncluttered, ordinary performing style — cheerful, happy ordinariness.”
    Despite her popularity with the public, Juliette generally received little love from critics, who typically dismissed her as bland. The ​Globe and Mail’s television critic, Dennis Braithwaite, wrote in 1965 that her show exhibited “an unexciting format, uninspired production, bad writing, unglamorous costuming and a drab image of wholesomeness.” Her show was still ranked in the Top 10 when it fell prey to a new CBC ratings system and was cancelled in 1966.

    1. Interesting, particularly because I have seen many complete broadcasts of Hockey Night In Canada from the late 50’s and early 60’s on the NHL Network. You might think a little of Juliette would have survived at the tail end of those kinescoped games.

  29. Agriculture U.S.A. often shortened to Ag USA. Program was hosted by Johnny Stearns of Mary Kay and Johnny fame. It ran from the 60s through at least the early 80s and probably beyond. Many, many episodes produced, yet I have only come across one 1969 installment hosted on Vimeo.

  30. OK so here is a search challenge: “Assignment Foreign Legion” (UK 1956) Prod. Intel Films, Dist. CBS Films/TV. x26 episodes produced, but only x12 syndicated to USA; broadcast CBS 10/01/57 thru 12/25/57. Hosted by and sometimes starring Merle Oberon as female media correspondent searching out backstories of the Foreign Legion guys. No known surviving episode copies (yet) available anywhere on VHS/DVD or even 16mm Kinescope prints. All potential UK based archive searches have proved negative. Nothing showing in US-NAs, LOC, UCLA, Peabody, MBC. CBS TV archive proving elusive to contact; nothing showing on Getty (CBS stills archive agency). Nothing I can find in Australia (NAA/ABC); or Canada (CBC). So… any of you nice folks want to pick up the Gauntlet on this one?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.