Saturday, October 22, 2016

Newsday TV Book, October 22-28, 1972.

The cover of this week's edition brings us Carroll O'Connor in a role rather different from the one he'd been playing since January of the previous year. The musical Of Thee I Sing gave him a chance to sing and dance as John P. Wintergreen, a dove who makes it to the White House, rather than spouting the usual obsceneries of Archie Bunker. Michele Lee played beauty queen Diana Devereaux, though she looks more like a burlesque stripper here. (Pics are clickable for embiggening.)
 The Bill Kaufman-penned article has interesting bits about O'Connor's songwriting sideline ("Ding-A-Ling Lady," anyone?) and where he felt his career was going.
 The TV Line tells us about Mets third baseman Jim Fregosi, whether Warrick wore a wig (try saying that five times fast! Actually, it's easy, never mind), how to give Jerry Lewis a hand in defeating muscular dystrophy (call on Moose Delgado, of course), and if Star Trek will ever come back (I'm pretty sure it did). My favorite might be the query that demands the TVL print a picture of Johnny Carson. Seeing him NINE HOURS a week, Monday through Saturday, isn't enough for you, F.F. in Hauppauge?
Sunday night's listings offer detailed program descriptions and a typically withering John Cashman review. Let's face it, the man was ahead of his time in the snark department.
NBC broadcast 1971's They Might Be Giants for their Monday Night Movie, and Newsday gave staff artist Gary Viskupic the job of illustrating the close-up. I suppose the stars on his cap refer to George C. Scott's role as Patton, but interestingly, he only gives him three. In the movie, Patton is depicted wearing four stars on the occasion of a speech when in fact he was not yet a four-star general at that time, so maybe Viskupic is commenting on that error. Or maybe I need to stop speculating about such an arcane matter and just have a nap.
 This portion of the Tuesday evening listings has the close-up for Of Thee I Sing, which I include mainly for the photo of a terrifyingly empty-eyed Cloris Leachman. There was also the premiere of the TV movie Short Walk to Daylight. As a back-in-the-day Battlestar Galactica fan, I could have imagined worse things than being trapped with Laurette Spang.
Wednesday had another disastrous TV movie, A Family Flight (with the once-ubiquitous Kristoffer Tabori), a Cool Million close-up featuring James Farentino (then married to cover girl Lee), and a WOR showing of the TV movie that introduced Rod Serling's Night Gallery.
Tucked into the Friday afternoon listings is a close-up for that night's Ghost Story, with Helen Hayes. On Abbott and Costello, Uncle Bozo visits.
The Banyon close-up features an unrecognizable E.J. Peaker, best known (to me) as Julie, the leader of a group of camping girls in the Odd Couple episode "Bunny is Missing Down by the Lake." (She looks more as I remember her here.) There are also some good movie reviews, Rick Springfield on Sonny & Cher, and the requisite overly-detailed Love, American Style description.
I wonder if this Saturday night was my first exposure to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. (I doubt my family tuned in the Kurosawa flick.) There was quite an embarrassment of viewing riches to be had in that 8 o'clock hour: All in the Family, Psycho, Mildred Pierce. Even Hee Haw had the original T.O., Tommy Overstreet...
Another ho-hum back cover, so here are some ads that caught my eye, starting with a business familiar to readers of the TV Book: Custom Meats Inc., on Gazza Boulevard in Farmingdale. Although the side of beef diagram is helpful, there's something off-putting about that knife-wielding clip art butcher peering out at me from the word "meaty."
Suburban Dream: Plastic-encased furniture and a three-room attic! I love that Carlson Construction ad for so many reasons: The giant hands, the reference to "mother-daughter" rooms (when looking up exactly what that meant, I won't even tell you what manner of filth my first search turned up), the instruction to "reverse charges," the lettered exchanges in the phone numbers, the old-fashioned slogan... Ah, good times.
Finally, another real blast from the past you don't see anymore: a sale on black-and-white portable TV's at Newmark & Lewis. Ours had a yellow case--sorry, "chassis"--and came in very handy on weekends when there was too damn much sports being watched in the den and I needed to check out some animated special or sci-fi stinker.
Next week: The 1972 Charlie Brown election special that smashed the Great Pumpkin!

Monday, October 17, 2016

We Interrupt These Newsday TV Books to Bring You a Little Christmas.

Every year at this time, I wonder when is the appropriate time to begin my holiday celebrating in earnest. There have been years I waited until after Thanksgiving, hearkening to the days of my childhood when that weekend brought such TV fare as "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" and "March of the Wooden Soldiers." Of course all the Yuletide specials were only shown in this five-week period and thus only able to be seen then--a handful of homes had VCR's but for most, "home video" was an unknown quantity, consisting of a massive console TV and, if not rabbit ears, a rooftop antenna. Whenever I've waited this long to start in on the season, it always feels like I've cheated myself because it goes by so quickly.

In the last few years, the wife and I have ceremoniously begun the festivities around the weekend before Halloween. She is similarly afflicted with the Noel nuttiness and is a savvy shopper to boot, and so she is usually done with her Christmas gift buying around St. Patrick's Day. She is more than happy to bust out all the presents she's bought (and then more-or-less forgotten) for wrapping on the dining room table while some artifact from my collection of 70's TV plays in the background, a Bing Crosby or Carpenters special, or Fonzie forlornly spending Christmas Eve alone in his garage, or the Solid Gold Dancers gyrating lasciviously to "We Three Kings." It can be tough to get into the spirit when everywhere around you is still festooned with glowing pumpkins and plastic zombies, but it seems to be working out.

As a kid, I remember trying to listen to Christmas music in mid-October and not finding it especially tenable, felt a bit silly really. But a few years after my mom's death, I had a dream where she told me it was okay to listen to one Christmas song at 11:15pm on October 16th. Donna and I have practiced this since, but last night I didn't have anything at the ready so we settled on singing the swinging Glenn Miller version of "Jingle Bells" to each other and bopping around in the kitchen a little bit. (We're in our forties, but sometimes you'd think we're in the 40's.)

This is all in explanation of why I have uploaded my first Christmas commercial to YouTube today. (I would have preferred to have done it last night at the appointed hour, but that's life.) It's one I've been looking forward to posting, as it is not only for a New York-area supermarket chain, Shop Rite, but it features the great actor William H. Macy behaving like a total doof. It's not online anywhere as far as I can tell, so please now enjoy it, and maybe even feel a twinge of the impending season without lamenting the prematurity of it. Maybe we need a little Christmas, right this very minute...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Newsday TV Book, October 15-21, 1972.

We're midway through October and it's just seventy days 'til Christmas, do you believe that? I hope to be posting yuletide stuff other than these '72 TV Books, so keep an eye out for that!

For now, we've got a cover and feature article with the lovely Shelley Fabares, then 28 and appearing on The Little People, later The Brian Keith Show. (Click on pics to enlarge...)
The TV Line broaches such subjects as Room 222 star (pre-Dyna Girl) Judy Strangis, Gloria and Meathead's last name, and David Cloutier's dungarees. (Well, that's what my mom always called them.)
Evelyn Wood wants you to zip through reading The Godfather even faster than you can watch the movie. Of course, now we have home video so you can watch it on fast-forward, which is probably about as enjoyable as reading the book in 64 minutes.
The Sunday afternoon listings include a close-up for that evening's Night Gallery, which starred Ellen Corby as a menacing housekeeper and Alan Napier as "ghostly cousin Zachariah." Brrr! I'm already too creeped out to look up this episode--just as well, since Newsday already gave away the ending.
The 6th Country Music Awards (hosted by a childhood favorite of mine, Glen Campbell) merited a mere hour broadcast, pitted against the second half of Cool Million and the middle of Monday Night Football (Packers and Lions, if you care about that sort of thing).
Tuesday night gave us the usual witty John Cashman movie reviews and an editorial-style Gary Viskupic drawing regarding the black perspective on the '72 election.
Mama Cass Elliott was one of those performers that turned up on every talk and variety show back in the day (she even did a week on Match Game '73, along with Jack Klugman, as seen in this episode on YouTube). Here, less than two years before her death, she shows up on The Carol Burnett Show.
 Here's the Thursday late-night sched, along with an offer from Macy's to get Rheemed.
Saturday morning cartoons and luxurious Kosher catering--a match made in Shamayim!
Rue McClanahan turned up as a swinger on this season's seventh episode of All in the Family, with Vincent Gardenia playing her husband (later returning to the show as Frank Lorenzo).
 Along with much of Saturday night's line-up, here's a close-up for the movie Fool's Parade with lukewarm Cashman review.
Finally, the back cover, where Traub's Furniture presents a Mediterranean Gallery living room set of sumptuous velvet. I like to imagine that if you swam deep enough in the Playboy Mansion grotto, you'd arrive at this exact room contained in a bubble. In real life, however, I prefer not to think about what you'd encounter at the bottom of that protoplasmic Petri pond.
Next week: Carroll O'Connor leaves Archie Bunker behind to star in Of Thee I Sing!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Newsday TV Book, October 8-15, 1972.

Hey, happy Columbus Day! Unless you're Native American, in which case: Hey, sorrowful Genocide Day!
But enough politics--let's leave that shit to Rump and Killary, haw haw! We got nostalginatin' to do and here's Ben Murphy and Roger Davis of Alias Smith and Jones to help! (Click pics for largeness.)
Davis was evidently a versatile guy. He played multiple characters on Dark Shadows, the most boring Gothic horror soap opera ever. Then, before replacing poor Pete Duel in this series, he was its narrator and, in one episode, a guest bad guy. His greatest achievement, in my eyes, was being married to Jaclyn Smith (or "Jacklyn Ellen Smith" as she's called in the article) for ten years--only to divorce, however, in the midst of her Charlie's Angels heyday.
That article was written by Carol Burton, who now steps back into her role as editor of the TV Line column, this week fielding questions about Groucho's alleged return to game show hosting, Capricorny Rod Serling, the possibility of obtaining a large color poster of Billy Joe Royal, whether Maxwell House's Emma used to be a witch, and if Zsa Zsa is Eva or vice-versa.
This is the E.F. Hutton commercial mentioned. (I have it in my own collection of commercials, but this is not an upload from my personal YouTube channel.) J. Paul Getty's level of enthusiasm suggests he's doing this ad at gunpoint. His final wave might be my favorite closing to any commercial ever.

Speaking of commercial breaks, here's a few random ads to bug ya...
A year before playing Kojak for the first time, Telly Savalas copped to Visions, a TV movie that aired on Tuesday against Marcus Welby and gentle Filipino aborigines. (Some great John Cashman reviews in the late-night, as usual...)
The NBC Wednesday daytime line-up may have had changes due to sports, and here we have an example of how Newsday addressed such uncertainties. Did you know WOR (channel 9) had a Spanish-language serial, Brothers of Courage, airing at noon at this time? Neither did I, because I was three-and-a-half and it was on against Felix the Cat. (I have found no references to this show anywhere, either under that title or its possible Spanish title, "Hermanos de Coraje.")
Nothing really special about this ad, I just enjoy vintage holiday clip art. But you do have to appreciate a lamp store that stays open until 9 o'clock three days a week--now there's dedication to interior illumination and decor...
In this ad for Farmingdale's Pix Photographic Enterprises, the Pix Cowboy is replaced by a photographer who looks like a Dick Van Dyke-ish Bob Dobbs. The Thursday special close-up highlights PBS' "Orpheus in Hell," taken from French television. Oh, THAT'S why everyone hates PBS!
Here's Saturday night, with its wonderfully detailed descriptions of programs both first-run and many-times-rerun. The Mary Tyler Moore Show synopsis makes me want to watch it right now. Astonishingly, I probably can. (Yep, it took me fifteen seconds of DuckDuckGo-ing to find it on Hulu.) Ironic, how the everyday miracles of the present can facilitate veneration of the past. (Master Po only wishes he had said that!)
No back cover this week, so I'm off to see if I can find that "VD Blues" special that's listed at ten--I'm in the mood for some warm Coco!
 (Next week: Shelley Fabares!)