Wednesday, February 25, 2009



Before N.Y.P.D. detective Lenny Briscoe ever rolled up to a crime scene in a big black Ford on Law & Order or Lieutenant Horatio Caine rocked Ray Bans rolling down Collins Avenue in Miami, Sergeant Joe Friday was keeping a world-weary but vigilant watch over those who would do evil in the city of angels.

DRAGNET was television's first police procedural. The fast paced and starkly photographed, DRAGNET was a weekly , 30 minute, NBC-TV drama that brought the blunt edge of daily police work into America's homes with the force of a sawed-off shotgun.

Jack Webb had played the cynical, hard edged, all-too-human ,Los Angeles detective on NBC radio's hit version of the show in the late 1940's, and he moved to the video version in December of 1951. Webb was, like his prolific and inventive contemporary, Desi Arnaz, one of the young mediums first "hyphenates." On Dragnet, Webb was the series star-producer-director-writer.He even delivered commercials for his sponsor, chesterfield cigarettes. Prior to the series ,Webb, was a veteran, Hollywood character actor on radio shows and in feature films, including Billy Wilder's classic SUNSET BOULEVARD.

The DRAGNET that debuted on NBC television was rooted in Webb's conviction that viewers needed to have a personal understanding of the challenges law enforcement officers face every day. While Sgt. Friday was no average Joe, he also wasn't a Supercop. Joe Friday was the policeman portrayed as everyman.Webb's DRAGNET offered a film noir vision of a dedicated and quietly competent peace officer who confronted everything from mundane misdemeanors to violent murder in the course of his sometimes tedious workday.

The show employed documentary camera techniques to give the show a distinctive look. Tight, taciturn dialog added pace and and a sense of realism to the crisply edited scenes. Webb maintained his own stock company of versatile players who supported him in the series,until it was cancelled in 1959.

Below are five clips that may give insight into DRAGNET, the series ,Jack Webb,the star and the appeal both held for the loyal, viewing audience. The first and second clips are excerpts of an episode that aired on May 22, 1953, entitled THE BIG PHONE CALL.Enjoy!!!!

In 1954,DRAGNET became the first television series to move to the big screen, when WARNER BROS. engaged Webb's MARK IV productions to produce DRAGNET, the movie.This scene shows that Joe Friday brought his sense of badge-heavy outrage to the film version of the television series.Enjoy!!!!!

In 1967, NBC-TV asked Jack Webb to revive DRAGNET as a mid-season replacement series , produced in LIVING COLOR. The show was updated so Sgt. Friday could confront the turbulent 1960's. Here is a scene from the 1/12/67 debut episode. Enjoy!!!!!

DRAGNET achieved unique status in our culture. It was often spoofed and satirized. Critics said it was a caricature of police work. In 1968, Webb joined Johnny Carson on NBC-TV'S THE TONIGHT SHOW for the ultimate take off on DRAGNET. Enjoy!!!!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Before Playboy's living logo, Hugh M. Hefner, introduced us to the GIRLS NEXT DOOR on cable, he welcomed us to the party upstairs, in syndication.

PLAYBOY AFTER DARK was the late night, television incarnation of the sophisticated men's magazine that Hefner created and published.

The talk /variety show, which was staged as a black tie party in Hef's fictitious penthouse, was produced at CBS Television City and syndicated for air on both network affiliates and independent stations across North America, between August of 1968 and May of 1970. The sixty minute show often ran in late fringe or weekend, late night timeslots.

This lavishly mounted series featured the hippest, hottest performers that
late-1960's showbiz had to offer. Pop music superstars, ranging from James Brown and B.B.KING to Steppenwolf and the Doors, appeared. The best stand-up comics of the day , including Shecky Green, Jackie Gayle,Don Rickles and Bill Cosby, were regular guests.Las Vegas lounge acts like The Checkmates LTD. were featured performers on the the show and on Playboy Club circuit.

Like the editorial content of the magazine, Hef wanted an eclectic array of guests on the show, so he would interview authors or artists, like painter Leroy Neiman.Hef's then girlfriend ,the sultry,yet wholesome Barbie Benton, was his co-host for most of the series run.The opulent,ultra-modern set was filled with alluring young women and attractive young men, moving to a mod beat while bathed in pulsating, psychedelic lighting patterns.

This was Hef's second attempt to promote and enhance the Playboy brand by using television, having hosted a similar, syndicated program entitled PLAYBOY'S PENTHOUSE, that was produced at Chicago's WBKB-TV ( now WLS-TV ) in the late 1950's.

The show's true trademark was the opening sequence. The film depicts a black ,stretch, Mercedes limousine cutting through the city ,while champagne is poured, en route to Hef's hi-rise condo, with a sparking, jazz arrangement of Playboy's Theme, by Cy Coleman setting the tempo for a night on the town.

Below are two clips from a Groovy-er time and place, baby.

First is the opening sequence to PLAYBOY AFTER DARK.Enjoy!!!!!

Next, a true member of Rat Pack royalty, the multi-talented Sammy Davis Jr., honors Hef with his presence and with a performance of I GOTTA BE ME,with a comic assist from Bill Cosby.Enjoy!!!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Bob Hope- 1968 Academy Awards telecast

Twenty six times, the orchestra at the Academy Awards launched into a brassy, elegant arrangement of "Thanks for the Memories," as America's global ambassador of laughter, the fast and funny Bob Hope, strode to center stage and delivered his singular,comic commentary on the glittering night ahead.

For eighteen of those appearances, Hope served as the host of Hollywood's most glamorous evening, with his unfulfilled dream of striking Oscar gold becoming the core of his rapid fire monologues.

As the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honors the best work and most talented professionals in cinema for the eighty-first time,tonight, and as actor-entertainer Hugh Jackman takes his place among the performers privileged to host the Oscars, Here are two clips of Bob Hope at his best.

First,Hope on NBC-TV,at the 1955 academy awards, in the good company of Brando, Bogart and Cary Grant. Enjoy!!!!!

While Hope was never honored for his individual film work, he did receive four honorary Oscars recognizing his humanitarian efforts and myriad contributions to the art of movie-making.

The next clip , from ABC-TV, shows two American, entertainment legends, Hope and Lucille Ball,making their last,joint Oscar appearance, in 1988. Enjoy!!!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009


Looking back, it appears that multi-talented, Judy Garland lived her life on the dark side of the rainbow.

The highs were intoxicating and the lows debilitating.

She was inspired and insecure, fabulous and flawed, talented and tormented.

Born ,Frances Gumm, into a family of vaudevillians in 1922, her manifold vocal, comic and dramatic gifts made a her an adolescent star on stage, screen and radio.

Her emotional venerability and volatile relationships took a serious toll throughout her adult years. Even a spotlight couldn't lift the darkness that consumed her psyche and shrouded her soul.Still, when the incomparable Garland summoned the strength and the courage to perform , she earned critical raves, the loyalty of her fans and two Oscar nominations.

In 1963, the former child star was looking for a new career challenge and CBS television offered the opportunity. The Tiffany network had, since 1961, tried in vain to blow away NBC - TV's hit Western drama, Bonanza. To the CBS programmers, there was no higher caliber performer to take aim on the Cartwright's than Judy Garland.

With jazz icon, Mel Torme set to conduct the orchestra, comedian Jerry Van Dyke cast as her sidekick and a glittering cadre of guest stars, that ranged from Tony Bennett to Barbra Streisand, booked to appear, The Judy Garland Show was placed on the 1963, CBS-TV, Fall schedule.

Clearly she was given the series at the hand of CBS patriarch William Paley, since the network's president, James Aubrey, made it clear, publicly, that he was no fan of the little woman with the huge voice.

The series debuted On Sunday September 29, 1963 @ 9PM, Eastern time, with the versatile Donald O'Connor as Garlands's special guest.

Below is a clip from the series Holiday episode that aired on December 22, 1963 and which featured two of her children, Lorna and Joey Luft.Enjoy!!!!!

In the clip ,posted below, Garland and her daughter,Liza Minelli,perform a singing and dancing duet of Bye Bye Baby from the Broadway and Hollywood, musical hit, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, followed by some ad-lib riddled, comic cross-talk.The episode was recorded in Black and White, on July 16, 1963 at CBS Television City and aired on Sunday, November 17, 1963 at 9pm Eastern. Enjoy!!!!

By the end of the season, with the NBC's Bonanza firmly entrenched in first place, and the pressures of weekly, television production exacting a heavy price on the fragile star, The Judy Garland Show was cancelled. Garland returned to nightclubs and performed until her death.Her exemplary, show business legacy lives on.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


The legend and lore of master comedian, actor, and pool shark Jackie Gleason usually center on tales of alcohol propelled, nocturnal carousing in New York's trendiest, showbiz hangouts, Broadway bars and Swing Street supper clubs. The adult adventures of a man on the town, that only ended when the glow of neon in the night had long since faded into the bright light of dawn.

Gleason's Manhattan penthouse, which he once characterized in a magazine interview as "a sable-lined dump," was a long, difficult subway ride from the dingy, cold water , Bensonhurst flat in which he grew up.

But, in spite of his dysfunctional upbringing, Gleason, was man of deep sentiment and loved to give young entertainers their big break on his hit,Saturday night CBS-TV variety show.

In the clip below, The Great One shares the spotlight with South Philadelphia's Frankie Avalon, years before he became a teen idol, Annette Funicello's B-movie, beach buddy and a major Las Vegas attraction. This may be one of Avalon's first television appearances. Enjoy!!!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


In the earliest days of the CBS television network, the viewers made it very clear to the programmers that they wanted a lot more of Moore, and when they got it, Moore was never enough.

Garry Moore, the affable host, personality and entertainer was one of the young medium's first, best reasons to buy ... and watch ... a television set. CBS-TV was all the better off for having him appear on their air.

It isn't always easy to explain why. Especially to those who are too young to have seen his prolific body of work on the small screen. He could carry a tune , but wasn't a singer. Moore could deliver a funny monologue and enact an impression or two, but wasn't a stand-up comedian or an impressionist. The crew-cut, bow-tied Moore never performed a dramatic role of note. He would chat-up guests, but never conducted incisive interviews.

All of that said, people loved to watch Garry Moore on television.

Born as Thomas Garrison Morfit on 1/31/1915 in Baltimore,Maryland, his ease behind a microphone at WBAL radio demonstrated an engaging, comfortable, conversational style that would propel him to stardom in a world of traditional,dulcet, stentorian announcers.CBS radio gave him a daily radio show, broadcast from Los Angeles in 1949.

It was an instant success.

As the 1950's arrived and with the rapid advent of network television, the genial host debuted in The Garry Moore Show, produced LIVE from New York and running for thirty minutes, three nights per week on CBS-TV's, primetime line-up. It was a video victory for the young performer and for the even younger CBS television network.

That show was moved to run five days per week in the afternoon on CBS daytime in the fall of 1950 and continued until the summer of 1958. The audience was large and loyal.The sponsors were lined-up to buy commercial time on the show, which generated millions of dollars per year for the CBS network.

In 1958, Moore and CBS-TV decided that Garry Moore was ready for a triumphant return to primetime. They launched The Garry Moore Show, surrounding the gregarious host with announcer/sidekick Durward Kirby, actress Marion Lorne and a then unknown comedienne, named Carol Burnett, in a comedy, variety format. The show ,while airing in black and white, was mounted with rich, elegant production values. The program had a sparkling array of guest stars over the years and a formidable writing staff, which ,at one point, included comic auteur,Woody Allen.

Moore starred in this variety program while also serving as host of CBS-TV's long running, game show, I've Got A Secret, and appearing as a guest on several TV and radio programs. The show ran until 1964. In the 1966, fall season, Moore came back to CBS-TV in a revamped, comedy-variety format,but was unable to take down NBC-TV's hit, Western drama,Bonanza. He was replaced by the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Moore later hosted a syndicated revival of the CBS-TV game show, To Tell The Truth. He did continue to do specials and guest appearances until he passed away from emphysema in 1993.He was 78 years old.

It always strikes me that, like CBS's Arthur Godfrey and NBC's Dave Garroway, because so much of Garry Moore's work was LIVE and un-preserved on videotape, few young people know his name, regard his reputation, or appreciate the impact of his protean work.

Below are six clips which comprise a 1963 episode of The Garry Moore Show on CBS-TV with guests including a young and electrifying Barbra Streisand, Enjoy!!!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This month,as we mark 45 years since The Beatles made their , historic, seismic, debut performance on CBS-TV's Ed Sullivan Show (2/9/64), a Sunday night television tradition for millions of American families, we are reminded that the Fab Four had already been video visitors in homes on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

The long-haired lads had been previously been interviewed on film in Liverpool for a piece that aired 1/3/64 on NBC-TV's Jack Paar Show.

KINESCOPE HD has unearthed two vintage video clips of the rock rebels making some of their earliest television appearances.

First, legendary CBS News correspondent Alexander Kendrick,who covered World War Two in Europe with Edward R. Murrow, profiled Beatle-Mania and the Mod movement erupting along the banks of Liverpool's Mersey river for American news viewers.His story first aired on 12/7/63, it is from and Pure Smokey's You Tube site.

In the UK , the Beatles often appeared as special guests on the BBC's Ready Steady Go!, which was the British equivalent of American Bandstand, Here ,in a 1964 clip, host Keith Fordyce welcomes John, Paul, George and Ringo for a Friday afternoon performance at Studio 9 in King's Way, London. The clip comes from the IRNY G, You Tube site. Enjoy!!!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009


One of network television's earliest programing strategies was to launch the primetime schedule with a 15 minute, musical variety program.

Dinah Shore, Nat King Cole and Perry Como all hosted quarter hour shows in the mid-1950's. Some of the series, like the one's hosted by Shore and Como, ran three nights per week.

From 1954 to 1956, singer and actor, Tony Martin hosted a fifteen minute songfest that ran on NBC-TV, Monday nights at 7:30PM Eastern time. It preceded The Camel News Caravan with John Cameron Swayze at 7:45PM and Caesar's Hour,starring comic icon Sid Caesar, at 8PM.

Born Alvin Morris,Martin sang with Woody Herman's big band, was a cast member on the Burns & Allen radio program and starred in several MGM films.Over the years, Martin was married to two of Hollywood's most beautiful and talented women, Alice Fay and Cyd Charisse.

He made a guest appearance on NBC-TV's Colgate Comedy Hour to critical raves and ratings success. Programmers quickly installed him in his own musical-comedy show.

The three clips posted below comprise a 1954 episode of the Tony Martin Show, shot LIVE at NBC's studios in Hollywood. This show has a New Orleans theme and was produced by the multi-talented Bud Yorkin, who went on to partner with video visionary Norman Lear. Together, their company, Tandem Productions,made 1970's television history producing shows like All In The Family, Sanford And Son and Maude. The clips are from the hollywoodclassics2, You Tube site.Enjoy!!!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


In the late 1960's , when there were only three major, commercial television networks, each offered a full schedule of programing for affiliated stations to bridge from 9am until 4pm, Eastern time.

The traditional, daytime pattern started with talk programs, such as Dateline:Hollywood with Johanna Barnes and The Pat Boone Show ,game shows, like Hollywood Squares and Jeopardy, plus reruns of primetime sitcoms, such as I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show,in the morning. In the afternoon, lucrative daytime dramas (AKA soap operas) such as Days of Our Lives and The Guiding Light and General Hospital dominated the network schedules.

Local stations had just started to program news at noon and to purchase same day, syndicated, talk/variety series like The Mike Douglas Show and The Merv Griffin Show. Many affiliate stations opted out of ,and rolled over, parts of their network's daytime line-up, to grow local ratings and revenue.

That decision made network promotion even more important for audience growth.If a network game show or soap opera had a substantial following, it was unlikely that a hometown station would cover it with a locally originated program.This also made scheduling the network promos more intricate,since some spots promoting shows that were preempted in a local market, had to be blocked at the station level.

Below are the prime examples of daytime promotion for the NBC Television Network. It comes from the TVNUTBOY site on You Tube. Enjoy!!!!!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009


First on radio and then on television, America had a standing date with Jack Benny on Sunday nights at seven, for almost three decades.That engagement was never intentionally broken,and,like the best of love affairs, it lead to a life long, marriage between a protean performer and his appreciative audience.

The funny, gentle and generous Benny Kubelsky, born on February 14, 1894 in Weaukegan, Illinois, grew-up to become master-comedian and violin virtuoso, Jack Benny.He was an accomplished vaudeville performer who meticulously crafted the vain and stingy character that gave him global fame, extraordinary wealth and universal adoration. His long, deliberate, comic takes and his narcissistic insistence that, even into his golden years, he was only 39 years old, were among his trademarks as a show business icon.

His long running,innovative radio show, The Jack Benny Program, set stringent standards for situation comedies. Each week, Benny and his writers arduously scripted story lines from which Jack and his ensemble of players, including Mary Livingstone ( his real-life wife), Eddie "Rochester" Anderson,Don Wilson, Dennis Day, Mel Blanc and Frank Nelson, could mine rich comedy.His radio series ran on NBC and then on CBS , from 1932 to 1955.

Philosophically, Benny didn't feel the need to get every funny line in the script. Instinctively, he understood that he was at his best reacting to the cast of crazies that surrounded him. He believed that if he or another cast member got a big laugh, it reflected positively on the eponymously named, Jack Benny Program.

His move to television,in 1950,was gradual, cautious and evolutionary.His first CBS-TV shows, were variety hours with long,comic sketches. The series was produced LIVE from Television City in Hollywood, and aired on every third Sunday, alternating with Ann Southern's hit sitcom, Private Secretary.Both Southern and Benny were sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes.

By the late 1950's Benny had moved to a 30 minute,weekly, sitcom format, shot on film , first at Desilu Studios and then at Universal City.The studio in which his show was produced, Universal's Stage One, will soon be the new home of NBC-TV's The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.

The Jack Benny Show was one of America's most watched series, running until 1964 on CBS-TV,and after moving to NBC-TV for one season, the show was cancelled in 1965.Oddly, Benny always referred to his series as The Jack Benny Program, even when the network promoted and branded it as The Jack Benny Show.

In the years that followed, Benny hosted specials for NBC-TV, did guest appearances on television shows and in films, performed at charitable benefits and staged his one man show, An Hour & Sixty Minutes With Jack Benny, all over the world.He died of stomach cancer on December 26,1974. As uber-comedy writer Larry Gelbart said at the comedian's funeral, Jack Benny died too young, because he was only 39 years old.

Below are a series of four clips that constitute the November 13, 1955 episode of The Jack Benny Show on CBS-TV, LIVE from Television City. His guests are multi-faceted entertainer Danny Thomas and emotive singer Johnny Ray, who suffered from a severe hearing impairment and was riding the wave of a hit record, called Cry. You can see in Jack Benny's performance just how hard he worked to maintain the integrity of his parsimonious character. Enjoy !!!!.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


So, the blog you're reading is called Kinescope HD. That's intended to be television irony at play, kids. If you don't get the joke, read...and watch...on.

Below is a rare, 7 minute, promotional film produced by NBC-TV in 1949, to explain the Kinescope process, one of television's earliest technologies, for recording LIVE programs to be re-broadcast on film in communities that had no network interconnection. This was before the advent of coaxial cable,in the early 1950's, which provided LIVE video and audio linkage between America's television markets and network hubs in New York City. Enjoy!!!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


The world premiere and grand opening of Disneyland, the Southern California tourist attraction, where vacation dreams have come true for almost 54 years,where the concept of a theme park was created and , some might say, perfected, was truly a made for television event.

Super-showman and master marketer, Walt Disney, was the first movie mogul to create original content for network television. His family anthology series, entitled Disneyland,, and named for the family recreation park he dreamed of building in Anaheim,Orange County, California, debuted on Wednesday,October 27, 1954 and was broadcast by the nascent ABC-TV network.

The 60 minute, weekly series, telecast in black and white, was a major hit with viewers young and old. It ran on ABC until 1961, when Disney struck a deal to move the show to NBC,to re-title it as Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color and to produce the program in LIVING COLOR.It was a Sunday night institution for family viewing over the decades to follow.

Over the years , the series would offer original animated programs, multi-episode scripted series, like Davy Crockett, re-edited versions of Disney's vaunted, theatrical films, and nature documentaries , shot around the globe. Not only did he use the television show to create a pristine, family oriented brand for Walt Disney Studios, but he leveraged it as a mass platform to market his theme park, preview his studio's new,film releases, and to sell untold millions of dollars in merchandise.

On July 17, 1955 Walt Disney studios and ABC-TV joined to produce an ambitious, LIVE television special, called DATELINE: DISNEYLAND ( no relation to the NBC News magazine series). This program celebrated the opening of what could only be viewed as Disney's greatest achievement , to date: the opening of his wholesome, multi-theme,multi-venue, adventure theme park.

Anyone in America who could tune their television to the local ABC-TV station was invited.This was no easy feat in 1955 , when so many of them were UHF stations, and televisions required set-top adaptors to receive their signals.

The clips posted below show the showbiz luminaries of the time, ranging from Art Linkletter to Fess Parker to Danny Thomas, who joined Disney, along with thousands of opening day patrons to open the gates to the happiest place on earth. The logistics of doing this vast, sprawling , LIVE program with 1955 technology is impressive.Enjoy!!!!!!!!

Here is a bonus clip: Art Linletter brings you a commercial for Kodak cameras and film that aired during an ABC-TV special entitled Kodak presents Disneyland' 59.Enjoy!!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


If watching CBS-TV's, wholesome Ed Sullivan Show was a Sunday night tradition from 1948 to 1971, then his multi-talented competitor,on NBC-TV,for much of the late 1950's, Steve Allen, will always be remembered for offering fast and furious,adult comedy as an attractive, programming alternative.

Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen (12/26/1921 to 10/30/2000), who was the son of the legendary vaudevillians, Belle Montrose and Billy Allen, seemed to have comedy in his DNA. Born in New York City, he was raised by his mother's family in a Chicago, working class neighborhood.

Allen's early, unscripted work on Arizona radio, as a disc jockey, demonstrated a range of ad-libbing ability, rarely matched in show business. He moved quickly to broadcast wrestling matches and host his own show,Smile Time, on Los Angeles radio . A major success in California, Allen soon headed East to star in national shows on CBS Radio and Television. He was recruited by NBC to host a local , late night, television show , sponsored by Knickerbocker Beer, in New York, which went national. It morphed into the original Tonight Show in 1954.

For a short time, he hosted the Tonight Show and a Sunday night , variety program designed to compete with Ed Sullivan. He left Tonight in 1956 to concentrate on the Sunday night show and his movie career. On that Sunday show ,he introduced America to Elvis Presley ( seen below and to the right with Allen and entertainer Imogene Coca) before the Rock and Roll icon ever set foot on Ed Sullivan' s stage.

Allen had a facile, inventive mind. In his lifetime ,he performed on countless television and radio shows,he authored over 50 books, and wrote thousands of songs. His ability to capitalize on the comedy in any given moment on stage is amazing and astonishing.

Here is a rare series of clips that comprise the June 2, 1957 episode of The Steve Allen Show, which aired at 8pm Eastern Time, Sunday evenings on NBC-TV. Notice the trademark, opening segment, called Crazy Shots, which were TV tailored, sight gags. Allen's omni-present and comedically potent, stock company, including Louis Nye, is front and center with guests like superstar Jerry Lewis, The Diamond's and his mother, Belle Montrose. Enjoy!!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009



In the 21 inch, diagonally measured, black and white, family-friendly, world of 1950’s, television sitcoms, Hollywood Photographer Bob Collins was living the American Dream.

All day, he snapped glamour shots of beautiful, screen models for magazine ads and calendars. All night, he chased the very women whose images he captured and whose charms he coveted.

In between studio sessions there were cruises to Hawaii, beach picnics at Malibu, and drives in his convertible, up to L.A.’s own lover’s lane, Mulholland Drive.

Bob also flew jets as a U.S.Air Force reservist and piloted his own Beechcraft Bonanza.

A caring brother, he supported his widowed sister, Margaret, and stood as a solid, if skewed, father figure for his teenaged nephew, Chuck.

A good boss, he adored his devoted, office assistant, Charmaine (Schultzy) Schultz, who made no secret of her desire to develop a romantic relationship with the dashing man behind the camera.

From a more contemporary viewpoint, Bob Collins, the all-American, dream date of 1958 was actually a feminist nightmare, who spent 30 minutes in our living rooms, each week, objectifying the women on whom he focused his lens and his lust.

In the end, Bob got the girl, but usually on her terms, not his own.

His adventures were chronicled in The Bob Cummings Show, which starred the one time, movie, matinee idol as the oversexed, L.A. lothario.Cummings, who had an NBC-TV sitcom in the early 1950's,came to this series following his success in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954, sophisticated, thriller, Dial M For Murder.

Cummings not only starred, but directed and produced the series, along with accomplished showman Paul Henning (who later created the Beverly Hillbillies) and master monologist George Burns. The Bob Cummings Show was filmed in the one camera method at Hollywood’s General Service Studios.

The light hearted, fast paced show enjoyed a four year run in primetime, debuting on NBC-TV in January of 1955, moving for two seasons to CBS-TV, and returning to the NBC-TV schedule for its final episodes in the 1958-1959 season.

The series was re-titled As LOVE THAT BOB, for daytime replay in 1959 on ABC-TV and in subsequent syndication. As the demand for color programming grew, the black and white series all but disappeared from local, television schedules.

Supporting Cummings were (clockwise from upper right) Dwayne Hickman (pre-Dobie Gillis) as his impressionable nephew,Rosemary DeCamp as his sardonic sister,and Ann B. Davis (of Brady Bunch fame) as his aspiring,lover-in-waiting,Schultzy.

A panoply of 1950’s, B movie, Hollywood starlets, ranging from Mamie Van Doren to Joi Lansing, appeared as the objects of Bob’s affection. Big name guest stars, like leading men, Peter Lawford and Jack Carson, balanced the weekly war of the sexes. The solid and versatile stock company included the hilarious Rose Marie (Dick Van Dyke’s Sally Rogers), the versatile King Donovan and the redoubtable Nancy Kulp (the Hillbillie’s Miss Jane Hathaway).

Below are four clips that constitute a full episode of The Bob Cummings Show, which aired on NBC-TV, on January 16, 1958. It includes commercials for his sponsor, Winston and Salem cigarettes. The show’s theme song was a minor hit and entitled, A Romantic Guy, I. The announcer is the sonorous Bill Baldwin.

Here is Bob Judges A Beauty Contest. Enjoy !!!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


While it feels, to some, like it was a hundred years ago, millions of us have vivid memories of a day which marked a joyous milepost of accomplishment in the American adventure.

July 4, 1976.

The United States celebrated it's 200th birthday and the whole world was invited to the party. Television technology had just come to level where national networks and the best equipped local stations could reach out from coast to coast and capture the celebration, LIVE and in color.

Below is a clip from ABC News coverage of THE GREAT AMERICAN BIRTHDAY PARTY, anchored ,with the wry bemusement that was his trademark, by the late Harry Reasoner, from a red, white and blue studio, dubbed, for the occasion, as the American Broadcasting Company's Bicentennial Center in New York City.

You'll see youthful iterations of some , now familiar faces in broadcast journalism. There are bonus promos for the 1976 Summer Olympics, presented "UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, THE ABC WAY" and ,also, for the network's impending coverage of the 1976, presidential, nominating conventions, branded as "THE POLITICAL SPIRIT OF '76."

The clips , below, not only offer a laser sharp look at our country's party in progress, but a crystalline insight into the style and substance of network,special events coverage in the 1970's.enjoy!!!!!

Friday, February 6, 2009


The late 1970's will go down in Television history as the Gold Rush in local news coverage. It glitters all the more when viewed from today's tarnished perspective on the television business, where, sadly, staff lay-offs are almost as frequent as live shots.

That was also when, seemingly, uncapped growth in ratings and revenue supported newscast expansion, powerful promotion, the purchase of new technologies and the cultivation of unique, diverse talent on both sides of the cameras.

News became less about institutional,clincial reporting and focused more on relevant, personal storytelling.

While nostalgia colors our recollections, this time wasn't Video Valhala, either.

Of course, there was also Happy Talk, LIVE shots done just to prove you had LIVE cameras and the birth of special reports about dieting and plastic surgery.

I started my career,in that time-fame, after graduating Community College of Philadelphia and Temple University, in 1976, at KYW-TV, which was owned by Group W, Westinghouse Broadcasting.

Yep, That Westinghouse.You know. Light bulbs, refrigerators, nuclear reactors, and steam brakes. That Westinghouse.

I was fortunate to have learned my craft and my profession at Group W's, storied television station in Baltimore, Maryland, WJZ-TV.

Truly,I would not have had a career in television, were it not for this odd, idiosyncratic, little company, owned by an industrial giant.

As a television group ,we weren't a Mom and Pop store, but more like a very successful chain of convenience stores,like 7-11 or WAWA.

There will be plenty of opportunity to share more "Tales of The Blood Red W" in future postings.:)

Below are four excerpts from some of the industry's most respected and successful, local news operations of the era that brought us Disco music, President Carter, pet rocks, and Charlie's Angels. Enjoy!!!!!

Chicago's WMAQ-TV (NBC O & O ) November,1978

New York's WNBC-TV (NBC O & O ) June,1978

New York's WABC-TV (ABC O & O) April,1978

New York's WCBS-TV (CBS O & O) June,1978

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Starting in 1950, tens of millions of television viewers and radio listeners spent many of their evenings visiting an elegant, but imaginary, New York nightspot called The Chesterfield Supper Club.

For 15 minutes, three nights per week, the audience could enjoy hit songs from the top of the pop charts ,applaud the easy-going, musical stylings of Perry Como, plus his marquee guests on CBS, and never have to pay a two drink minimum.

Como, a personable, but laid-back crooner, had started his professional life as a barber in Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania. Once record producers heard his voice, he put down his clippers and picked-up a microphone. He rose to the pinnacle of showbiz, in the benign 1950's, on stax of wax with a warm, engaging sound, often singing novelty songs like Papa Loves Mambo and Juke Box Baby.

The Chesterfield show, which was a precursor to Como's, long running Kraft Music Hall on NBC-TV, featured songs,comedy,production numbers and heavy-handed commercials for the show's sponsor, Chesterfield cigarettes, manufactured by the Liggett and Myers Tobacco Company.

The program was, during it's CBS years, simulcast on the company's television and radio networks. From 1954, here are two clips of The Chesterfield Supper Club starring Perry Como. Enjoy!!!!!!

In the next clip, posted below, a young and vivacious Peggy Lee offers her sultry rendition of I Feel A Song Comin' On. Enjoy!!!!!