(Television History and Trivia)




Victor Edward Swanson,


    The material provided on this page is a service of Victor Swanson and The Hologlobe Press.  The material may be used freely by a person, if the person does not use the material for commercial purposes.  The material may be used by persons employed in the media, such as staffers of radio stations, but persons employed in the media must announce that the material has been taken from the Web site of The Hologlobe Press, the main Internet address to which is www.hologlobepress.com.  Of course, the material is provided for fun.

- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 39 - - -

    Recently, I oversaw--on behalf of a friend--workers who installed wastewater line in the basement of my friend's house and installed a wastewater line within old "clay" wastewater line (or "crock" wastewater line) between the house and the city sewer main near the house (in a process known as "sleeving a line" but better thought of as putting in a "lining" in a line), using four-inch PVC pipe (the four-inch dimension is the inside dimension of the pipe), and during the process, I was able to run a mini-backhoe for the first time.  I believe if I could practice using the machine for a day, I could be quite proficient using the machine.  Of course, my gaining the ability to dig deep in the ground--or at least dig eleven feet down in the ground, which was the maximum depth that the machine could reach--would not in any way improve my skills for "digging" for information about television history, which is the focus of the edition of T.H.A.T for July 10, 2007.

    Besides adding a new edition of T.H.A.T. to the Web site of The Hologlobe Press every month, I add a new edition of Michigan Travel Tips to the Web site of The Hologlobe Press, and what is in this section of T.H.A.T. might fit somewhat well in an addition of Michigan Travel Tips, since part of the subject deals with theatre (live theatre), a subject that has been covered in a few editions of Michigan Travel Tips, such as in Michigan Travel Tips #34 and Michigan Travel Tips #29, in the past.  I recently was given a copy of CAAC Art Focus for Summer 2007 (this publication is a newsletter-like publication put together by the Cheboygan Area Arts Council), and on page three of the newsletter is an article entitled "Opera House Loses a Special Friend, and the article talks about a man named Frank Egan, who died on January 30, 2007, and who had done work with the Cheboygan Opera House, and the article notes that he had been an original member of a musical group called The Four Freshmen (I talk about The Four Freshmen later in this document, though the discussion is more suited to a music-themed Web page).  The article in CAAC Art Focus also notes that Frank Egan had ties to a television series called Max Liebman Presents and a television series called The Patti Page Show, and the article is unclear about what he really did in relation to the two series, but it gave the impression that he, while working for an advertising agency, helped get performers on the programs.  Upon seeing the article, I felt I should make is clear what The Patti Page Show and Max Liebman Presents were, and that is especially true for Max Liebman Presents, which I first learned about in the mid-1970s when I spent many hours at the main branch of the Detroit Public Library doing research on television shows by looking a television reviews in weekly Variety, an entertainment newspaper.
    I begin with information about Patti Page, The Patti Page Show, and more.  In the mid-1950s at least, Patti Page was a well-known singer.  Between roughly, June 1955 and July 1955, Patti Page was seen in a syndicated weekly television series entitled The Patti Page Show, and the show featured the Jack Rael Orchestra and the first episode was produced and directed by Joseph Santly (Incidentally, the show was first seen in New York City, New York, on WRCA-TV on Thursday, June 30, 1955, at 6:30 p.m., and, each week, the series ran for 15 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays).  In the 1950s, as had happened in the 1940s and would happen in the 1960s and 1970s, networks often put "summer-replacement" shows on the air in place of regular shows during the summer, allowing the stars of regular shows to take vacations (and that was especially true for live variety shows), and for four weeks, covering a part of June 1956 and July 1956, Patti Page hosted a summer-replacement show for The Perry Como Show on NBC-TV, and her show was called The Patti Page Show, and some of the regulars of the weekly series were the Carl Hoff Orchestra and The Spellbinders (some of the guests on the first show were Eddy Arnold (a country-western singer), Joan Carrolll, and Mr. Ballantine).  During the 1957-1958 season, Patti Page hosted a weekly series on CBS-TV that was called The Oldsmobile Show or The Patti Page Olds Show.  In essence, all the shows were designed to showcase singing, especially the singing of popular songs of the time.
    Now, I come to Max Liebman and Max Liebman Presents--or I almost do.  In the 1970s, I did a lot of research at the main branch library of the Detroit Public Library, and, for instance, I read many television reviews published in Variety of the mid-1950s, and I found some of the reviews of the time identified some shows with such umbrella titles as "Max Liebman Presents," "Max Liebman Saturday Night Spectaculars," and "Max Liebman Sunday Night Spectaculars."  To date, I have not found advertisements in newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, of any shows that really had "Max Liebman Saturday Night Spectaculars" or "Max Liebman Sunday Night Spectaculars" as umbrella titles, and, in fact, for instance, I have found advertisements in newspapers for shows that Variety stated were aired under either "Max Liebman Saturday Night Spectaculars" or "Max Liebman Sunday Night Spectaculars" that officially promoted the shows as "Max Liebman Presents" presentations and only "Max Liebman Presents" presentations.
    Now that you have the information presented in the previous paragraph, I can report more information about  "Max Liebman Presents," "Max Liebman Saturday Night Spectaculars," and "Max Liebman Sunday Night Spectaculars."  Generally speaking, Max Liebman Presents was a series of specials (big-budget specials) aired on NBC-TV in the 1954-1955 season and the 1955-1956 season, and "Max Liebman Saturday Night Spectaculars" and "Max Liebman Sunday Night Spectaculars" were never real titles of series.  The programs of Max Liebman Presents were presented "live," so these specials were seen, for example, in prime time in the East and in the afternoon in the West.  And the reason that "Max Liebman" existed in Max Liebman Presents is Max Liebman, who had made a name for himself as a producer on the weekly series entitled Your Show of Shows, was instrumental is producing the series.
    Let us look at some of the presentations of Max Liebman Presents during the 1954-1955 season.  The first program of the series was Satin and Spurs, and the featured performer was a gal named Betty Hutton, and the show was shown on NBC-TV on Sunday, September 12, 1954.  The second presentation was Lady in the Dark, and it had such performers as Ann Sothern, James Daly, Shepperd Strudwick, Luella Gear, Paul McGrath, and Bambi Linn and Rod Alexander (incidentally, Bambi Linn and Rod Alexander performed in several of the Max Liebman "spectaculars"), and this program was aired on Saturday, September 25, 1954.  Max Liebman gave viewers Sunday in Town on October 10, 1954, and some of the featured performers were Judy Holliday, Steve Allen, and Dick Shawn.  On Sunday, November 7, 1954, Frank Sinatra was the host for a show called Fanfare, and the program originated from the West Coast (where Frank Sinatra was and where Frank Sinatra was directed by Bob Banner) and the East Coast (where other performers were and where Max Liebman was as producer and director), and some of the people on the show were Judy Holliday, Steve Allen, and Dick Shawn.  On Saturday, March 12, 1955, Max Liebman produced for NBC-TV a show called A Connecticut Yankee, and some of the performers on this show were Eddie Albert (who would later appear as a regular in the 1960s TV series entitled Green Acres), Janet Blair, Boris Karloff, Leonard Elliott, Gale Shewood, and John Conte, and the television script was written by William Friedberg, Neal Simon, William Glickman, and Al Schwartz (a brother of Sherwood Schwarz, who would in the 1960s be a "producer" and later an "executive producer" on the weekly television series known as Gilligan's Island).  On April 9 1955, viewers saw such performers as Anne Jeffreys, Edward Everett Horton, Helena Bliss, John Conte, Brian Sulllivan, and Bambi Linn and Rod Alexander in The Merry Widow, a story that had been done recently as a presentation of an umbrella series entitled Omnibus.
    Here are some of the presentations of the 1955-1956 season of Max Liebman Presents.  On October 1, 1955, there was Heidi, and some of the performers in the presentation were Jeanne Carson (as Heidi), Wally Cox, Elsa Lanchester, Jo Van Fleet, and Bil and Cora Baird (well-known puppeteers at the time), and the show was produced and directed by Max Liebman and the television script was written by William Friedberg and Neal Simon (the latter of whom would be forever known as the creator of The Odd Couple).  Yet another production was The Great Waltz, which was shown on NBC-TV on November 5, 1955, and which featured such performers as Patrice Munsel, Keith Andies, Bert Lahr (who was known for having played the Lion in the The Wizard of Oz movie of 1939, which featured Judy Garland), and Jarmila Novotna.  Maurice Chevalier (the well-known singer from France) headlined a show called The Maurice Chevalier Show that was aired on December 4, 1955, and this show was hosted by Art Linkletter, and a couple of the other performers were Jeannie Carson and Marcel Marceau (a mime).  Imogene Coca, Tony Randall, Bambi Linn and Rod Alexander, and Bil and Cora Baird's marionettes were some of the performers in Panorama, which was presented lived on February 26, 1956.
    The shows of Max Liebman Presents were considered "spectaculars" and even promoted in advertisements as "spectaculars" because, for one, they had big budgets and had big-name stars as performers, as I can show through my talking about The Music of Gershwin.  This show presented as a Max Liebman Presents presentation was about the music of George Gershwin (and also Ira Gershwin, since Ira Gershwin wrote some lyrics), and it contained thirty-five songs of George Gershwin.  Certainly, some of the well-known big-name performers in the show were Alfred Drake, Ethel Merman, and Cab Calloway, and most of the other performers were Toni Arden, Eugene List, The Art Van Damme Quintet, Richard Hayman, Lawrence Winters, The Bob Hamilton Trio, Robert Maxwell, Diana Adams, Peter Conlow, Patricia Wilde, and Harrison Muller.  On the program was Charles Sanford and his orchestra.  And one of the other performers was Tony Bennett (To see more about Tony Bennett, you should see Michigan Travel Tips #39, which is associated with this Web site of The Hologlobe Press and which can be reached by clicking on this link: Travel #39).  It was on May 12, 1956, that The Music of Gershwin was seen by television viewers across the country.

    Now, I have to talk about faces.  Since the early 1980s, Demi Moore has been seen in televison productions (such as General Hospital) and theatrical-movie productions (such as Striptease), and since June 26, 2006, Matt Dallas has been enjoyed by fans who watch a television series called Kyle XY (which is now in the second season on the ABC Family channel).  Matt Dallas has a facial structure that reminds me of the facial structure of Demi Moore, or when I see him (such as in a photograph), I can see a resemblance to Demi Moore.  That will give you something to think about.  In addition, you should see the photograph on page 36 of the edition of TV Guide for June 11-17, 2007, related to the movie The King and I, and what you will see is a photograph of what is professed to be Yul Brynner, and to me, the person does not remind me of Yul Brynner--the guy seems to be someone else or a better photograph should have been used.  "What's wrong with this picture?"--this is something that I could say.

    So now I have to talk about The Four Freshmen.  Keep in mind: I am finishing the writing of this edition of T.H.A.T. when I am far from home and from libraries at which I can do research in computer databases of articles.  Where I am, I have done some research through the Internet on The Four Freshmen.  To date, through a non-deep "dig" for information, I have not found Frank Egan was an original member of The Four Freshmen or ever associated with The Four Freshmen.  In the article in CAAC Art Focus about Frank Egan, it is noted that Frank Egan was an original member of the group with Jack Wilson and Web Tilton.  To date, I have found no information that confirms that Jack Wilson and Web Tilton were members of The Four Freshmen.  In the next edition of T.H.A.T., I hope to have more information about the members of The Four Freshmen and show whether or not Frank Egan was a member of The Four Freshmen, and, for now, you might want to see, for instance, Wikipeidia.org (on the Internet) for basic information about The Four Freshmen (try using en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Freshmen, which is not a link on this page).

    In the previous edition of T.H.A.T., I talked about a group of cards that I had pulled out of the "r" section of the cable section of my files pertaining to television, and three of the cards were used as the basis of questions that you were supposed to find the answers to.  The first card dealt with a show entitled Rodgers & Hammerstein: The Sound of Movies, and the question was about the host of the show--the answer is the host of the show was Shirley Jones.  The other two cards focused on two shows that were productions of Romeo and Juliet, and I can now report that Alessandra Ferri played Juliet and Wayne Eagling played Romeo in the production shown by Arts & Entertainment on March 26, 1987, and Jayne Regan played Juliet and William Walker played Romeo in the production show by Arts & Entertainment on October 21, 1993.

    To "dig" for information is to search hard for information--maybe in old books and journals--and a person's digging for information can be hard work, such as because the digger has to spend hours and hours reading or days and days reading--maybe, for example, a straight ten-hour day thumbing through documents and reading.  I am now going to make you dig, and it is not digging a hole you will do.  In every edition of T.H.A.T., you can expect to be asked a television-trivia question, which gets answered in the edition of T.H.A.T. that follows the edition in which the question exists, and this time, I ask: "What was the first locally produced and staged play to be televised in Detroit?"  You will get no help in finding the answer by using a backhoe!

Stay well!


copyright c. 2007
Date published: July 10, 2007

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