Saturday, September 24, 2011
On a late summer night in 1955 , two talented men, who would soon become titans of television, were paired for a short comedy bit on a breezy, CBS-TV comedy show, that would, itself, last only a few more months in prime time on the Tiffany Network.
The host of the short-lived, comedy-variety show(it ran only two seasons) was the future king of of NBC late night, Johnny Carson.
His bigger than life guest star was six foot, seven inch James Arness, whose landmark, adult western, GUNSMOKE, was just two days away from debuting on CBS-TV.
GUNSMOKE , first aired as a CBS radio program, starring William Conrad , who was later the voice of a thousand commercials and who went on to be the falstaffian star of CANNON on CBS, in the lead role.
The hit series made the transition to video on Sept. 10, 1955.
It premiered with an introduction by John Wayne, who turned down the starring role of Marshall Matt Dillon and recommended Arness to CBS scion William Paley.
The anthology, which offered ensemble acting and mature story lines against the rustic canvas of the Old West, would endure as an audience favorite for 20 TV seasons.
THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW was deemed a critical and ratings failure.
After it was cancelled,Carson took on hosting chores for a struggling ABC-TV game show, called WHO DO YOU TRUST?
It turned out to be the very showcase that brought him to the attention of Peacock Network executives, who recruited the mischievous mid-westerner to replace the controversial Jack Paar. Provocative and emotional,Paar was leaving THE TONIGHT SHOW and moving to a prime-time, NBC-TV variety show.
Carson ascended to become the brightest star in late night television for 30 years.
But, here from the VIDEOTIMEMACHNE YOU TUBE site, is a clip from THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW, featuring two protean television performers in the formative stages of their careers.Enjoy!!!!!
Saturday, September 17, 2011
When fledgling ABC-TV was viewed as 1/2 a network in the mid to late-1950's, programming and promotion executives decided that the best way to grow their audience was to entice new viewers into using television, in general.
To find those new patrons, they designed an affable, yet aggressive , on-air campaign.
They created an animated avatar dubbed Peter Rabbit Ears ( named for the set-top antennas that helped bring home a weak broadcast signal in the Eisenhower-era ) who extolled the virtues of video in family-friendly,60 second adventures.
As always, the alphabet network was also cultivating a younger audience than the firmly entrenched competition at the NBC and CBS networks.
Peter Rabbit Ears was a memorable advertising icon of the time, who helped grow ABC-TV's audience, with a little assist from Mickey Mouse, Dick Clark, Frank Sinatra,The Maverick Brothers and a couple of hip Private Eyes who worked out of 77 SUNSET STRIP.
From the TVDAYS YOU TUBE site, meet Peter Rabbit Ears. Enjoy!!!
Monday, September 5, 2011
TV'S "LIVE" LENS ON AMERICAN LIFE - WIDE WIDE WORLD WITH DAVE GARROWAY - NBC-TV - CIRCA OCTOBER 16, 1955
Imagine a time when television was young and LIVE technology was primitive, cumbersome and unreliable.
That time was 1955.
On a crisp October Sunday of that year, NBC's resident video visionary, network honcho Sylvester L. 'Pat" Weaver, created and launched a vibrant adventure in television called WIDE WIDE WORLD.
It was a LIVE television magazine designed to allow armchair explorers to meet interesting people,enjoy engaging experiences and sample the American landscape, without ever leaving their living rooms.
But in Weaver's comprehensive strategy, the 90 minute, B&W show was also the perfect vehicle to promote the wonders of the infant medium to a growing audience, in the face of intense competition from the movies.A master of media commerce, Weaver also knew it would help sell the TV receivers that NBC's parent company, RCA, manufactured and sold.
The understated Dave Garroway,first host of the TODAY program, anchored this show, which picked up almost every major award in television, as it meandered through American culture for three seasons on NBC-TV.
While it is now dated like a yellowed, old copy of the Saturday Evening Post in a curio shop, WIDE WIDE WORLD holds up for me, as sort of a rustic artifact of Eisenhower-era life in America. Like viewing a Norman Rockwell painting on the faded screen of a cathode ray tube.
Here , from the MUSICOM 67 YOU TUBE site,are 7 clips that constitute approx. 60 minutes from the 90 minute,debut episode of WIDE WIDE WORLD,hosted by Dave Garroway and sponsored by General Motors.Enjoy!!!!!