Monday, April 24, 2017

Newsday TV Books, March 1973.

Boy, I thought I had this catching-up-on-1973-thing in the bag, but it's taken fuh-EVUH to get this damn post done! And it's not done! So let's proceed without further procrastination, heh?

Kirk Douglas does his best Steve Bannon impression (alongside Susan Hampshire) for the musical TV version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (Click photos if you don't feel like squinting.)
Someone very concerned about the exact status of Julie London and Bobby Troupe's kids writes in to the TV Line this week. And you think I have too much free time.
Bill Kaufman gives us the skinny on the cover production, which also featured Donald Pleasance and Susan George.
Here's a look at that Thursday evening, with something no one has ever asked for: a close-up of Marjoe Gortner.
Liza's "With a Z" special is repeated, and tripped-out Gary Viskupic saw only legs and a giant head.
I know you (meaning me) always love to see what was slated for late-night viewing on weekends, and this particular Friday has some neat items, including reviewer John Cashman throwing in a guest review from fellow Newsday scribe Stan Isaacs.
On to the next week, when Marlo Thomas rounded up some of the sexiest men of '73 for her special.
I guess the Charlie Brown musical from last month was a hit with Long Islanders, as it elicited two questions this week--one about Mark Montgomery who played Schroeder and another about Bill Hinnant, who, as previously mentioned, would tragically drown just a few years later.
In the cover story, Marlo talks about her lefty causes and teases the upcoming Free to Be... You and Me.
The Sunday night listings that week including a close-up on the special There's No Time For Love, Charlie Brown, which tackled the sensitive issue of grade-school venereal disease.
Late Monday here, with a look at a Zero Mostel show with an all-star cast.
Wednesday night brought Hal Linden, pre-Barney Miller, starring on the terribly-titled pilot Mr. Inside / Mr. Outside.
Friday gave us an Ed Sullivan special, and the late-night programs offered zombies, werewolves and... EEEEK! Roman Polanski! RUN!
Remember when some piece of crap like The Amazing Colossal Man would come on TV and you had no fucking choice but to sit there and watch it because it may not be on for like another six months to a year? Yeah, that was great.
More coming! Check back in a year or so!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Newsday TV Books, February 1973.

February of 1973 kicked off with a mistake: The actress pictured on the cover from this production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown is Ruby Persson, not Judy.
The Reese Witherspoonesque Persson was the wife of the show's producer, Gene Persson. Snoopy was played by Bill Hinnant, who was the older brother of the guy who played "Fargo North, Decoder" on The Electric Company. Bill drowned while on vacation five years after this show aired.
The TV Line offers info about Marty Brill, Karen Valentine (including the earliest reference to "lip-syncing" I can recall seeing) and Michael Landon's true age.
Tuesday night saw the first installment of the unique TV movie Divorce His; Divorce Hers with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Since that's really only mildly interesting, I've left in the rest of the listings with some enjoyable John Cashman reviews.
The next night, Gilbert Gottfried podcast guest (and Larry King crush) Jessica Walter appeared on Banacek with George Peppard. Don't care? Here's some more reviews. I particularly like the one for The Desperados.
It may not be one of Gary Viskupic's more inspired drawings, but the Bogie likeness is eye-catching in this close-up for a showing of The Caine Mutiny.
Onto the following week, with a cover feature on Here We Go Again, and its stars Larry Hagman, Diane Baker and Nita Talbot. Diane Baker is for me what Jessica Walter is for Larry King: Ring-a-ding-ding!
Here We Go Again also starred Dick Gautier and former Mineola resident/future Beverly Hills housewife Kim Richards. This story has lots of interest for Larry Hagman buffs. It takes longer to read than the show lasted.
Fans of James McEachin and Valerie Perrine (you know who you are) could spend Monday enjoying their pilots for Tenafly and Lady Luck, respectively. Tenafly became part of the NBC Mystery Movie; Lady Luck had none. (And here I thought she was a Perrine-ial favorite!)
The Great Man's Whiskers was a comedy with Dennis Weaver (almost unrecognizable here) as Abraham Lincoln. It had stiff TV movie competition that night, airing against The Great American Beauty Contest and Horror at 37,000 Feet.
WNET, New York City's PBS station, showed the Russian film Ivan the Terrible as part of its Film Odyssey series on Saturday night. Viskupic provided the art for the close-up.
I mainly knew (and crushed on) Judi Bowker as Andromeda in Clash of the Titans, but nine years earlier, at 18, she was the human lead in a syndicated version of Black Beauty. This atypical second feature story closes out the issue.

The next week brought Bobby Darin, going topless to portray Groucho on his variety show (which grew out of the previous summer's limited run-series, "The Bobby Darin Amusement Company"). This incarnation only lasted 'til April, and he died eight months after that--but managed to work a four-month marriage in between!
The TV Line dishes up all you'd ever want to know about Redd Foxx, Kami Cotler, and Maggie Litvin, plus the real von Trapp and some bad poetry.
An extra-large close-up of The Ten Commandments overtakes the Sunday evening sched.
Here's the real Groucho, guesting on Bill Cosby's show. Yes, in the accompanying listings I wrote "AL" to denote a review mentioning Alan Ladd's propensity for taking off his shirt. (It's called a hobby and I'm not gonna apologize for it!)
A Viskupic sketch for an Ed Sullivan comedy special. I say: no Lenny Schultz, no comedy special.
Another Viskupic, this one for... uh, a show about a guy who got jailed for printing flags, I guess. (No, I didn't read it. But you should definitely read the Cashman review for Swamp Fire at lower right.)
Thursday night, the fearsome Virginia Woolf, and more fun reviews (and a Cashman adjective for the sarcastically-recalled Norma Eberhardt).
In this Circle of Fear close-up, I suspect the Newsday writer might use "horror buff" interchangeably with "weird person with bad taste."
For no special reason, here's late Saturday.
The last cover of the month shows us chanteuse Diahann Carroll and composer Harold Arlen gamely hiding inside a piano.
Although the related story is ostensibly about the show, Timex Presents Jack Lemmon--Get Happy (also featuring Cass Elliot, Doc Severinsen, and Johnny Mathis), it mostly covers Carroll and her relationship with Arlen. (I love Bill Kaufman, but the grammar enthusiast in me has issues with that headline.)
An early Don Johnson inquiry distinguishes this TV Line entry, along with questions about Darin and Doris Day's doxie.
Let's take a look at Sunday night...
...and a rare TV Book network ad to go along the Lorne Greene special, which was either called "Bell System Family Theatre" or "Highlights of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus" (possibly both), and which aired at either 7:30 or 8pm.
This Custom Meats advertisement ran amongst the Monday evening listings, as studies of the 70's demonstrated that that was the point in the week when most Americans really begin to hanker for some fuckin' red meat. (Well, this is the top portion of the ad anyway. I didn't want to make it any smaller, hoping to emphasize those clip-art people and how pleased they are by meat.)
In the Bill Cosby Show close-up, Susan Tolsky wears an expression that Cos was accustomed to seeing from the ladies until he chemically perfected his technique. Reviews for Dracula, The Night Stalker and Strangers on a Train are interesting, too.
Late afternoon and early evening listings accompany a close-up for the creepily-titled You'll Never See Me Again, a David Hartman TV movie that sounds like it could work if it didn't have David Hartman in it.
I can't even tell you how much I enjoy this pic of Richard Castellano. I swear to god, it's the very one Newsday ran alongside his obituary almost fifteen years later. Doesn't he look more like a "Joe Bologna" than Joe Bologna ever did? Maybe "Sammy Salami."
We can't send off February without a Viskupic rendering, here of the classic Peter Pan.
Just because we all dig this sort of thing, here's Saturday morning's transmissions. Sometimes I think this crap came very close to its goal of damaging our brains irreparably with mind-stunting cartoons and commercials for edible, non-nutritive substances. Sometimes I'm sure it succeeded handily.
Fried Chicken Hungry Man and some Crunchberries. Huh? Oh, I thought I heard you ask what I was having for lunch. Anyway, stay tuned to this blog for a cumulative post on the March issues, and then at some point April will pick up on a week-by-week basis again! Maybe! Wish me luck!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Newsday TV Books, January 1973.

I'm back at the Newsday TV Books again, but this time I'm going double-retro on you--I'm gonna quickly go over the 1973 issues I've missed so far this year. True, it might seem like I'm giving them short shrift (which, as we all know, is easily the worst of all possible shrifts one can be given), but it's certainly better than nothing. I'm no scholar, but I'm sure Descartes would agree, especially given what a Hawaii Five-O fan he was.

We'll start with the first full week of January, the 7th through 13th, with this Jack Paar cover.
This week's TV Line covers the difference between Julie Sommars and Farrah Fawcett, the music of Kid Power and Love, American Style, and Meredith Baxter Birney's affiliation.
I'm skipping the cover story (spoiler: Paar's part-time comeback didn't take) but here's the Gary Viskupic drawing of Paar teed up alongside Dick Cavett, who would alternate certain weeks with him. Of course, it was really competitor Johnny Carson that thwacked him.
If you need more Paar, here's a close-up on that Monday night premiere. Forget the talk shows, Karloff and Horror Island are on!
Just because "Nosey Clown" makes me laugh, here's a Sag Harbor bank ad.
More Viskupic, with a drawing for Michelangelo Antonioni's Chung Kuo, a prime-time ABC look at modern-day China.
Finally, a close-up on a special that probably confused a lot of young Carol Burnett Show fans, tuning in for some broad sketch comedy and getting a throaty German broad instead.
On to the 14th--hope you're hungry for more Chinese!
Now it's NBC that has a special about China. Nixon's visit had been almost a whole year earlier--maybe the networks were just getting around to cashing in on the hype? I've posted the Viskupic image below on this blog before, but here's the full story to go with it.
TV Line this week drops a bombshell: Fred Sanford was dead all along! Did not see that twist coming!
 This week also brought a Jack Benny special, and here's the whole night to go with it, including some typically caustic John Cashman movie reviews.
Never thought you'd miss this guy so much, didja? Looks like Viskupic got some overtime this week with a sketch for Nixon's Saturday morning inauguration. If Tricky Dick had pre-empted the ABC Saturday Superstar Movie "Mad Mad Mad Monsters," described online as a sort-of prequel to Mad Monster Party, I'm pretty sure the enraged, four-year-old me could have successfully wished him into the cornfield.
 The week beginning with the 21st features a cover story with--I shit you not--Shirley Booth (Hazel) and J. Pat O'Malley (every kindly Irish ol' fella on American TV ever). They starred in A Touch of Grace. She was a widow. He was a gravedigger. It lasted three months.
Just one more thing from this ish, the TV Line. (It wasn't the best week of television.) Even this one is nothing special, although it's funny to read that Mark Spitz was considered to take after fellow Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller and step into the Tarzan loincloth. As far as I can tell, nothing came of this new Lord of the Apes "movie serial."
The month closes out with another unlikely network production, CBS' three-hour Much Ado About Nothing, as staged by Joseph Papp. I only recognize Barnard Hughes in the cover photo, but Sam Waterston starred.
The week's TV Line demonstrates that the list of mega-stars hitting the slopes at Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl was truly mind-blowing, and that V.M. of Selden was just a naturally suspicious person.
This Hirschfeld of Heifetz is not especially hard to find on the nets (in fact it's on an album cover), but I liked it enough to include here.
I'm not 100% sure the two pics in this double close-up are by Viskupic, but the one on the right definitely look like his. The minor theme of obscurant lines suggests they are by the same artist.
That's all I got! Covers coming up for February: the Charlie Brown musical, Bobby Darin as Groucho, and underrated hottie Diane Baker!