(Television History and Trivia)
Victor Edward Swanson,
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- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 34 - - -
I have been saying to people for some time--some number of years--that you cannot find everything on the Internet, and I have noted how most of the Web sites that I have seen have limited information or shallow information or fluff information (even Web sites of big companies, which though they have a lot of color and graphics, provide little useful information), and because of what I know exits through the Internet, I have to do research for editions of T.H.A.T. by seeing more sources beyond the Internet. This edition of T.H.A.T. was put together partially by seeing editions of a daily newspaper called The Detroit News--particularly be reading or skimming television-program listings in editions of The Detroit News, many of which exist in past editions of tv magazine, a section of Sunday editions of The Detroit News. And this edition comes about through my doing research to get information about a short-lived talk show featuring Bill Kennedy, on which a man named David Kahn told me on one day in December (2006) that he had worked on years ago which was sometime in the 1960s.
By the way, you should see the previous edition of T.H.A.T. if you have not so that you can better understand what is presented in this edition of T.H.A.T. (to see the previous edition of T.H.AT. now, you should hit this link: T.H.A.T. #33).
Here we go. David Kahn mentioned that the Bill Kennedy show in question was called "Bill Kennedy Presents," and the show was seen on CKLW-TV for a short while in 1968 or 1964. I found through my research no show (yet) entitled Bill Kennedy Presents, but I found Bill Kennedy hosted a show entitled Bill Kennedy's Hollywood, which aired at a time when Bill Kennedy was hosting his movie show on CKLW-TV on a six-day-a-week basis (Bill Kennedy Showtime). Bill Kennedy's Hollywood was a weekday talk show on which celebrities appeared, and the show was first shown on CKLW-TV on Monday, September 30, 1968, at 12:30 p.m. (the show was seen right before Bill Kennedy Showtime, which began at 1:00 p.m.). David Kahn said that some of the guests, from what he could recall, were Diane Lane, Walter Slezak, Diana Barrymore, and Dolores Hart. I found that Rich Little was a scheduled guest, but I found that Diana Barrymore died in 1960 and that Dolores Hart left the entertainment business in the mid-1960s, and I have no information to prove Walter Slezak and Diane Lane appeared on the show. Incidentally, the final Bill Kennedy's Hollywood was aired on January 3, 1969.
Because of the research that I did to make this edition of T.H.A.T., I am a little more clear about when Bill Kennedy hosted movie shows on television stations in the Detroit area from the 1950s to the 1980s, and I now present some information about the movie shows that Bill Kennedy hosted, but you will see that my discussion about dates is a little vague yet (I will someday do more research, hoping to deduce information about the shows from television listings and whatever else that I come across). I found evidence that Bill Kennedy became a movie host for the first time by working for WWJ-TV Channel 4 in Detroit in 1952, but I have yet to get information about when he officially started at the station and when he left the station. I can say that I have evidence that Bill Kennedy started to work for CKLW-TV Channel 9 (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) in August 1956, but I cannot give an official date of when he started with the station (at least I cannot give an official date now). Through television-program listings in The Detroit News, I found that CKLW-TV had a program called Showtime or Hollywood Showtime (the name depended on what edition of The Detroit News that was used) on the air on Monday, August 27, 1956, for the first time, and it ran from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and then there were shows on the air on Tuesday, August 28, and Wednesday, August 29, and it seems to me Bill Kennedy hosted these three shows. I noted that CKLW-TV had a program called Showtime on the air on Sunday, August 26, 1956, but I cannot determine (yet) whether or not Bill Kennedy was on that show, since, for once, CKLW-TV had had a show called Showtime on the air on previous recent Sundays. Generally speaking, I can say that, at least, from August 1956 to January 1960, Bill Kennedy hosted movie shows on CKLW-TV, and the shows were usually seen starting at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and the shows ended at 2:30 p.m.(such as in September 1957), 2:40 p.m. (such as in September 1957), or 3:00 p.m. (such as in September 1959).
Let me make an aside here. On January 7, 2007, I was in Cheboygan, Michigan, and, for a few minutes, I stopped in at a bookstore in the downtown area, and during the visit, I bought a book entitled From Soupy To Nuts! A History of Detroit Television, which I had never seen before and which focuses on television in the Detroit area, especially before the 1980s. In the book (Kiska, Tim. From Soupy To Nuts! A History of Detroit Television. Royal Oak, MI: Momentum Books, LLC, 2005.), I found, on page 41, what looks like to me a copy of an advertisement that promoted "Bill Kennedy's 'Showtime.'" There is no date associated with the advertisement. The advertisement indicated that Bill Kennedy's movie show could be seen on "Sunday," "Monday," "Tuesday," "Wednesday," and "Friday." I have yet to find a Friday listing for Bill Kennedy's movie show for the period of time from August 1956 through the week of Sunday, June 5, 1960; during the period, the show was usually listed for Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays (sometimes, the program was pre-empted by football or something else). Changes took place on the week of Sunday, June 12, 1960; during this week, Bill Kennedy also had movie shows now airing on Thursday afternoons and Friday afternoons, giving him shows on a Sunday-through-Friday basis (in the afternoon). More on the subject of Thursday shows and Friday shows will be covered later in this edition of T.H.A.T.
Generally speaking, for the rest of Bill Kennedy's movie-hosting career on Detroit-area television stations--from 1960 to late 1983--Bill Kennedy usually hosted a movie show every afternoon on a Sunday-through-Friday basis, and the remainder of his career was with at either CKLW-TV or WKBD-TV (Channel 50, Detroit). It was on Sunday, September 7, 1969, that Bill Kennedy did his last work for CKLW-TV Channel 9, and on that day, he showed the 1961 theatrical movie entitled Two Rode Together (featuring James Stewart and Richard Widmark), and it was on Monday, September 8, 1969, that Bill Kennedy started to work at WKBD-TV Channel 50, and on that day, he showed the 1941 theatrical movie entitled The Maltese Falcon (featuring Humphrey Bogart). Bill Kennedy continued to do live shows through Sunday, December 5, 1982, doing shows on a Sunday-through-Friday basis, and then from Sunday, December 12, 1982, through Sunday, December 4, 1983, the movie shows were shown from tape and where shown only on Sundays (and the final movie that he showed was The Sons of Katie Elder (featuring John Wayne)).
Based on the information that I have up to this date, I can say that, mostly, Bill Kennedy's movie show was Bill Kennedy's Showtime or Bill Kennedy Showtime on CKLW-TV and that Bill Kennedy's movie show was Bill Kennedy at the Movies on WKBD-TV, and I have yet to find evidence of a show called Bill Kennedy Presents.
Here is information on three specials in which Bill Kennedy was involved. WKBD-TV aired Bill Kennedy's 25th Anniversary Celebration on four evenings starting at 8:00 p.m.--Monday, August 10, 1981; Tuesday, August 11, 1981; Wednesday, August 12, 1981; and Thursday, August 13, 1981--and each show was two-hours long, and the shows were produced at the recently renovated Fox Theatre in Detroit. A program entitled Bill Kennedy & Friends was shown on WKBD-TV on Wednesday, January 10, 1990, and it was a thirty-minute-long program that had Bill Kennedy and a number of Detroit-area television personalities or radio personalities (J.P. McCarthy, who was the host, Bob Hynes, Sonny Elliot, and Jackie Gordon), and the program celebrated the 25th anniversary of WKBD-TV. On Thursday, January 11, 1990, Bill Kennedy hosted one more movie for WKBD-TV, and the show was a live show that ran from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and the movie that was presented was The Caine Mutiny (a 1954 movie featuring Humphrey Bogart).
Of course, during the job to get information about a talk show featuring Bill Kennedy, I always had "Bill Kennedy Presents" in mind, but I did not find it or I have yet to find it, but I did find another program that I was unaware of, since it was aired when I was a little boy. On Thursday March 5, 1959, Bill Kennedy started to host a weekly show entitled Kennedy's Korner. The first few shows were aired starting at 2:35 p.m. and ran for 25 minutes, but, over most of the run of the Kennedy's Korner, the show was a show that started at 2:30 p.m. and ran for 30 minutes. Kennedy's Korner was an interview show and a household-tips show (and probably more). The final show was aired on Thursday, June 9, 1960. During the run of Kennedy's Korner, I found no evidence that Bill Kennedy hosted movie show also on Thursdays; CKLW-TV aired a movie show entitled Playhouse 92, which the station had been airing regularly on Thursday afternoons even before Bill Kennedy started to do work for CKLW-TV. Also, I found that CKLW-TV only aired a movie-show program or film program called Going Our Way on Fridays in the afternoon during the period. On Thursday, June 16, 1960, Bill Kennedy started to host movies on Thursday afternoons, and on Friday, June 17, 1960, Bill Kennedy started to host movies on Friday afternoons, giving Bill Kennedy a Sunday-through-Friday work week related to hosting movie shows (starting the week of Sunday, June 12, 1960).
I am a little vague about the exact title of Bill Kennedy's movie show from August 1956 to 1960. Early on, in the first half year or so, TV-program listings had Showtime, Hollywood Showtime, Hollywood Show. (the period seemed to indicate a chopped off word--that word being probably "Showtime"), and Kennedy's Show. TV-program listings regularly had Bill Kennedy from early 1957 to about 1960, and, maybe, it was a short title for Bill Kennedy's Showtime or Bill Kennedy Showtime.
While doing research, a person can come across really, really unexpected things, as I did a number of times while getting information for this edition of T.H.A.T., one of which was when I found really, really unexpectedly that Bill Kennedy hosted a special "one-shot" program for CKLW-TV in September 1959. That program was called Happy Birthday to CKLW (as it was listed in the television-program listings in The Detroit News), and the program was shown on September 16, 1959, at 10:30 p.m. on CKLW-TV. The half-hour show had such things as "fall TV movie previews" (probably related to syndicated film-based programs for television, particulary those to be aired on CKLW-TV) and a report on a new tape machine being used at CKLW-TV (networks and television stations were taking up using videotape machines for the first time or on a regular basis in the late 1950s).
Let us take a break, which provides an answer to the trivia question asked in the previous edition of T.H.A.T., and then I shall provide information that I came across in my search for information about Bill Kennedy's talk show, which, as you now know, was called Bill Kennedy's Hollywood. I told you in the previous edition of T.H.A.T. that I have in my files a program called Frosty Returns, which was an animated program that was first shown by CBS-TV on December 1, 1995, and I noted that, on the card in my files associated with the program, I have a comment listed: "Vic crit: 'It's not quite as likeable as Frosty the Snowman." And I asked you who provided the voice of Frosty in Frosty Returns? The answer is: John Goodman (who, as you know, would appear as Santa in the 2006 TV movie entitled The Year Without a Santa Claus).
I was doing research at the main library for the City of Dearborn, which is the Henry Ford Centennial Library, when I came across an unexpected article, "Flint Television Starts Sunday" ("Flint Television Starts Sunday." The Detroit News, 10 October 1958, p. 50.). The short article noted that a new television station based at Flint (Michigan) was signing on the air on Sunday, October 12, 1958. The station was called WJRT-TV Channel 12. Generally speaking, it would provide a main signal to such places as Bay City, Flint, Lansing, Midland, Owosso, and Saginaw, and the signal could be seen by, for instance, some people in the northern suburbs of the Detroit area. By the way, the article noted that legal matters delayed the first broadcast day by about five years (the license for the station had been granted about five years previously).
To get information about Bill Kennedy's special talk show, I used microfilm or microfiche reels containing copies of past editions of The Detroit News, a newspaper that has been based in the Detroit area (under a few names) for many decades, and I looked at past editions of The Detroit News because I wanted look at television-program listings, and my looking at television-program listings inspired me to find some information about how The Detroit News presented television listings in the past. Generally speaking, television-program listings were presented on a page--a part of a page--of each edition of the newspaper in the 1950s (I found the paper used a part of one page for Detroit area stations and a part of another page for "outstate" stations, which were stations based in other cities of Michigan); even a list of the programs to be presented over the next week were presented on one page of the Sunday edition of The Detroit News. A big change took place in 1958, though. Officially, The Detroit News created a special Sunday entertainment section called "The Passing Show" section for the edition of The Detroit News for Sunday, October, 26, 1958. This new weekly section was made up of such parts as a part with cartoon pages, a "pictorial" section (the first of which was made up of 40 pages), parts with information about movies and books, and a part that was a "TV Program Guide," which had what were called the "TV logs" for the week. The first page for the first "TV Program Guide" part had a photograph of Carol Lynley, an actress who was going to be seen in a program called Rapunzel, which was an episode of the weekly series being shown on NBC-TV entitled Shirley Temple's Storybook (the show with Carol Lynley was scheduled to be shown on Monday, October 27 at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)). Keep in mind: Each day, The Detroit News published TV logs (that is, for example, every edition had the program schedules for the day), but now, The Detroit News had several pages in the Sunday edition of the newspaper giving seven days of schedules. For a short while, the TV-logs part made up one part of "The Passing Show." A big change with the paper took place on Sunday, November 1, 1959, and on that day, The Detroit News now published a weekly "pocket-size" television-program-listings magazine or guide or section for the first time, and the section was called tv magazine. The magazine not only had television-program listings but also articles and good photographs, such as on the entire cover and on the entire back inside cover. On the cover of the first edition of tv magazine was a photograph of Dinah Shore, and it was on page three that there was an article pertaining to Dinah Shore (called the "cover story"). The first edition of tv magazine had an article about Fred Astaire and an upcoming special called Another Evening with Fred Astaire on page two; TV program listings for Detroit area television stations and TV-program listings for stations in other cities of Michigan (such as Grand Rapids and Marquette); an article about a television series entitled Five Fingers, which featured David Hedison and Lucianna Paluzzi, on page 53; an article about The Jack Benny Hour, which was an upcoming special featuring Jack Benny, Danny Thomas, and the McGuire Sisters, on page 54; and a wonderful photograph of Gale Storm on page 55 (the inside back cover), and, of course, there were advertisements. Over the next several decades, the weekly tv magazine would have a lot of glossy photographs, such as on the cover and the inside back page. (By the way, almost all the photographs published in the 1970s and 1980s I have.) The magazine, which was as a rule about five inches by seven inches, was published through the issue for the week of November 26-December 2, 1989 (the television-program-listings magazine of The Detroit News was discontinued when The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press began jointly issuing a Sunday newspaper, which contained a television-program-listings magazine produced by the Detroit Free Press, which was called The TV Book or TV Book, the first of which (for the week of December 3-9, 1989) had on the cover a photograph of Christine Lahti and Jeff Daniels, who were to be seen in a movie entitled No Place Like Home (a made-for-TV movie directed by Lee Grant, who had been an actress) on December 3, 1989, on CBS-TV.
And now I return to Bill Kennedy, and it is because of an article that I found in "The Passing Show" section of an edition of The Detroit News unexpectedly (Hyde, Betty. "Kennedy Goes Hollywood in New Daytime Show." The Detroit News, The Passing Show, 25 October 1959, p. 19.). The article noted that on Monday, October 26, 1959, Bill Kennedy was going to begin a new talk show on CKLW-AM Radio 800. The show was a movie-question-type show, and it was going to be broadcast twice a day (at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.). Generally speaking, the article noted that Bill Kennedy was a radio broadcaster on WWJ-AM 950 from about 1933 to 1940, was then in Hollywood for about 15 years, returned to Detroit to do work for WWJ-TV for a short while, and then became involved with CKLW-TV.
Special note: Someday, I would like to come across someone who has copies of TV Guide from 1953 to about 1973 or copies of tv magazine from 1959 to about 1972 so that I may borrow them and get additional information for my fabulous television files, especially information about Detroit television history, or I wish I could come across someone who has microfiche reels of The Detroit News (covering years from at least the mid-1940s to the early 1970s) or microfiche reels of TV Guide (from 1953 to the early 1970s at least) that I may look at for a short while, but, of course, if you about someone throwing away or giving away such material, let the someone know I would like to have the material (which I will keep safe and secure).
I have mentioned Carol Lynley in this edition of T.H.A.T., and I now have this question about Carol Lynley for you to answer (the answer to which I will give you in the next edition of T.H.A.T.). First, I must note that, when I was into the early years of compiling cards with information about television in the 1970s, I thought a movie entitled Once You Kiss a Stranger (featuring Paul Burke, Martha Hyer, and Peter Lind Hayes) was a made-for-TV movie, because I first saw it when it was shown in syndication in the Detroit area and the movie looked like a made-for-TV movie, but I would later learn it was made for theatrical release (I still have a card for it in my files so that I can remember the movie was not made for television). Now, here is the question about Carol Lynley--What was the name of Carol Lynley's character in The Night Stalker (the 1972 made-for-TV movie)?
I have one more question for you, and it should be a hard question for you to answer, if you did not grow up in the Detroit area (but, then again, you might find the answer easily by doing a search on the Internet). When Bill Kennedy started doing shows for WKBD-TV, his weekday shows were followed by a one-hour show informally called Captain Detroit, which was a show that was hosted by someone called "Sgt. Sacto" and presented cartoons. Who played the roll of Sgt. Sacto? The show was produced at WKBD-TV Channel 50.
copyright c. 2007
Date published: February 10, 2007
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