(Television History and Trivia)
Victor Edward Swanson,
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- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 43 - - -
Since the previoused edition of T.H.A.T. was published, I have been away from the Detroit area, but I have also been in the Detroit area for some days and have been able to do more research about television, especially Detroit-television history, at libraries. Some of the material provided in this edition of T.H.AT., I recently found in a library, and some of the material that I present here was made possible or I was able to find more easily because of work that had been done by Myson Hawthorne, who is the Manager of Access Services of Wayne State University. In the previous edition of T.H.A.T., I talked about microfiche readers at libraries, especially the Purdy-Kresge Library, which is one of the libraries of Wayne State University. I give a thank you to Myson Hawthorne here, because he set up an older microfiche reader at the Purdy-Kresge for me and other individuals to use, and since he did, I was able to more easily look at a lot of microfiche reels related to The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press to find information about television. Because of Mr. Hawthorne's work, I was easily able to find, generally speaking, the hours of the week that were devoted to newscasts between 1949 and 1965 for Detroit-based television stations and who were the main newscasters for the stations, a few of whom were Paul Williams, Lee McNew, Jac LeGoff, Ken Cline, and Carl Cederberg, who, after leaving the television business, for one, worked at WAAM-AM, Ann Arbor, which is a suburb of Detroit (sometime in the future, I will pass along information about newscasters in an edition of T.H.A.T.). Each day, I continue to expand on my files related to television--and these days, it is not only national-television history but also Detroit-area-television history.
I can report that, since the previous edition of T.H.A.T. was published, I have found some information about Middle East Melodies that I can pass along (Middle East Melodies was mentioned in the previous edition of T.H.A.T.). I have found that Middle East Melodies had two runs on Channel 20, WXON-TV, of the Detroit area in the 1970s. I was able to find the show ran from Oct. 21, 1973, to November 24, 1974, and it was shown on a weekly basis on Saturdays during that period of time, and it was scheduled for thirty minutes and for a 7:00 p.m. start or a 7:30 p.m. start. This version of the show featured such individuals as Josephine Faddol and Amira Amir, the latter of whom, I remember, was a wonderful-looking belly dancer (I recently discovered Amira Amir and not Josephine Faddol was the belly dancer for the show). Also, I found Middle East Melodies was scheduled for WXON-TV from December 2, 1977, through May 27, 1978, and this version of the show featured such individuals as Joel Faddol and Amira Amir. In addition, I found in an article of the Detroit Free Press that noted that Josephine Faddol died on February 20, 1999 (Shine, Dan. "Josephine Faddol: Detroit's Arabic Voice for 31 Years." Detroit Free Press, 20 February 1999, p. 11A.).
It was my research work to find information about promotional campaigns for prime time used by the broadcast networks, especially NBC-TV, that led to my first finding information about Middle East Melodies to put in my files, and my search for promotional-campaign stuff came about by my seeing over the last several weeks a promotional slogan being used by ABC-TV--"ABC Start Here." I get the feeling, having not talked with the executives at ABC-TV, that the network is using the slogan to make people think about watching ABC-TV and then going to ABC-TV associated Web sites to see programs again or see other material associated with ABC-TV. I make the statement in case you wondered why ABC-TV has been using the slogan.
In the 1960s, 1970s, and the early 1980s, NBC-TV really pushed the idea of using slogans to promote new fall schedules in prime time, and here is a general look at what happened. NBC-TV belonged to a company called RCA Victor in the 1960s, and NBC-TV (or RCA Victor) really began to push the idea of "color" in the mid-1960s (it had been in 1953 that the compatible color standard was adopted for the country--that done through a federal-government ruling). In fact, in the second half of the 1960s, NBC-TV promoted the idea that NBC-TV was "The Full Color Network," but that idea is not the promotional idea that this paragraph is dedicated to. For the start of the 1965-1966 season, NBC-TV was using this promotional slogan--"This fall, have the time of your life with NBC." In the late 1960s, NBC-TV was making the premiere week for prime time an event, as can been understood through the next few slogans--"NBC Week is Here!" (used for the 1966-1967 season), "NBC Week is Ready" (used for the 1967-1968 season), and "NBC Week is Now!". Now, look at only a few of the other slogans that were used--"See NBC First!" (which started to be used for the fall of 1969), "This Fall NBC Has It All" (for the fall of 1972), "Come and See, NBC 73" (for the fall of 1973), "All the Best" (for the fall of 1976), "NBC Proud as a Peacock" (for the fall of 1979), and "Our Pride is Showing" (for the fall of 1981). ABC-TV and CBS-TV used slogans between the 1960s and early 1980s, and some of them were "This is the Place to Be" (which was used by ABC-TV for the fall of 1972), "Still the One" (which was used by ABC-TV for the fall of 1979), "The Hot Ones" (which used by CBS-TV for the fall of 1976), and "We're Looking Good" (which was used by CBS-TV for the fall of 1979). It is yet to be seen if slogans will once again be used in promotions by the networks over the next few years--all a part of "self promotion" and showmanship (which, to me, is a lost art).
Although television stations could begin to broadcast in color soon after the color standard was adopted in 1953, the federal government did not push to have the television industry change over from black-and-white programming to only color programming or from black-and-white broadcasting to color broadcasting by some given date (in contrast, in essence, it has been the federal government, hoping to make money by selling television broadcast spectrum for other series, that has done much of the pushing to get viewers to switch over to watching digital-based television and to get viewers to buy digital television sets (such as true high-definition television sets or other digital-based television sets) or buy converter boxes that can be used to change broadcast digital information to analog information that can be used by analog-based television sets. When color broadcasting really began to take off in the mid-1960s, a lot of people continued to buy black-and-white television sets, such as for secondary television sets, which might be used in bedrooms. And when color broadcasting really began take off, older sets--such as those made in the early 1950s--were not made useless, because the sets could still use the black-and-white signal information that was broadcast by stations with the color information.
I wonder how many people used television sets made in the early 1950s to see television programming broadcast in the late 1960s, and I wonder if at least a few people were using television sets in the 1960s that were sold through advertisements in editions of The Detroit News during the early 1950s (this past October, I found some advertisements in The Detroit News for television sets that I am going to pass along to you now and I was able to find easily because I could zip through microfiche easily at the Purdy-Kresge Library). In the early 1950s, one chain of stores in the Detroit area was "The Good Housekeeping Shop" (as far as this discussion is concerned, there was a main store and seventeen neighborhood stores of the chain at the time). In The Detroit News for Wednesday, September 19, 1951 (page four), an advertisement promoted the RCA Victor model 17T-122 television set, and The Good Housekeeping Shop was selling the model for $299.95, and the model was a giant 17-inch console model. A few days later--Friday, September 21, 1951--The Good Housekeeping Shop advertised (in The Detroit News, September 21, 1951, page 6) a television set known as a "Hallicrafters" (on the day in October 2007 when I first saw the advertisement, I was unfamiliar with the name "Hallicrafters," and I still know nothing much about "Hallicrafters"). The model was console model 980, which had a 19-inch screen, and the cost was $299.95, and the price was recently reduced by $100.00. At the time, a person could buy the television set through The Good Housekeeping Shop on terms--the company advertised a person could make a low down payment and could take "78 weeks to pay."
Today, many digital-based television sets cost more than $1,000.00.
Let me now take care of some more recent television-history business.
Since April 2004, when I posted the first edition T.H.A.T. on the Internet, I have from time to time talked about made-for-televison movies that have had the same titles. Recently, Lifetime (the cable channel) presented a mini-series entitled The Gathering (it was presented on October 13, 2007, and October 14, 2007), and the movie featured such performers as Peter Gallagher and Kristin Lehman. In the the past, there has been at least one other TV-movie entitled The Gathering. It was on Sunday, December 4, 1977, that ABC-TV showed the movie entitled The Gathering, which was a presentation of ABC Theatre and which featured such performers as Ed Asner, Maureen Stapleton, Rebecca Balding, Lawrence Pressman, Gail Strickland, and Gregory Harrison. The two movies with the title The Gathering are not the same story, so it is not as if Lifetime presented a remake. By the way, a sequel to the 1977 movie entitled The Gathering was shown by NBC-TV on Sunday, December 17, 1979, and the movie, which featured such performers as Maureen Stapleton and Efrem Zimbalist Jr., was shown under the NBC Monday Night at the Movies umbrella title. That 1979 movie was The Gathering, part II.
I am not done with the previous topic!
Since the early 1980s, the USA network and the Lifetime network have been two cable networks (or simple networks) that have aired a lot of made-for-TV movies. On Thursday, January 6, 1994, USA showed a TV-movie entitled Hush Little Baby, and the movie featured such performers as Diane Ladd and Wendel Meldrum. On Saturday, October 29, 2007, the Lifetime network showed a TV-movie featuring Victoria Pratt entitled Hush Little Baby.
And once more, I take up the subject of "Sarah." After I wrote and published the previous edition of T.H.A.T., I came across a wonderful piece of "Sarah" trivia. Sarah Smart played Sarah Wheeler in the recent fictional series shown on the HBO network entitled Five Days (which was a short-flight series--a series, which, in this case, had five episodes, the first of which was shown on October 2, 2007).
And here is a piece of trivia, and it is based on the best recollections and knowledge that I have. For the first time, three family members have been able to be regulars in three different television series aired during prime time by the broadcast networks in the same season. The Baldwin brothers get distinction. Right now, Alex Baldwin is a regular on 30 Rock (a series being shown by NBC-TV), and Adam Baldwin is a regular on Chuck (a series being shown by NBC-TV), and William Baldwin is a regular on Dirty Sexy Money (a series being shown by ABC-TV). You should ask yourself--"How could such a thing happen, when many actors have a hard time getting any work?"
I have a theory that might explain how the three Baldwin brothers got on television at the same time, but I will leave it unreported.
By the way, there have been a number of times when two family members have been in two different series shown during prime time in the same season. Let me show one example. This season, Donald Sutherland is a regular on Dirty Sexy Money, and Donald Sutherland is the father of Kiefer Sutherland. Since the 2001-2002 season, Kiefer Sutherland has been the featured performer in the series entitled 24 (a series associated with the Fox network). Okay, the new season for 24 has yet to start.
I now have the answer to the trivia question asked in the previous edition of T.H.A.T. You should remember I asked: "Who was the host of the television series called Information Please?" The answer is Clifton Fadiman, who had been associated with a radio version of the series for about ten years. The television version of Information Please was shown on CBS-TV from June 20, 1952, to September 21, 1952.
I must acknowledge, here, that I recently received an e-mail from David Kahn, who, in the past, had worked with Bill Kennedy (who has been mentioned in several past editions of T.H.A.T.), and David Kahn, who was mentioned in T.H.A.T. #34, reports that he regularly reads T.H.A.T. (to see T.H.A.T. #34, you can use this link to get to it: T.H.A.T. #34).
Incidentally, my recent work at the Detroit Public Library, the Mardigian Library (of the University of Michigan--Dearborn Campus), and the Purdy-Kresge Library has led to my finding other interesting history. For example, I found what I will call two other series hosted by Bill Kennedy (the information had been found before I received the recent e-mail message from Dave Kahn), and soon I will pass the information along. In truth, in future editions of T.H.A.T., I shall have more information about television shows that I uncovered recently, and it might even happen in the next edition of T.H.A.T., and, of course, I will have even more information beyond that about Detroit-television history.
It seems I should now provide some type of television-trivia question. I could give you a question about such television personalities as Roy Allred, Rita Bell, Minnie Jo Curtis, Chuck Davey, Toby David, the Detroit Civic Players, Joe Devany, Jean Dishong, Sonny Eliot, Faye Elizabeth, Dick Femmel, Bill Fleming, Paul Gilbert, Glenn Gregory, Fran Harris, Kay Harrison, Jack Havilland, Edwin Immerman (aka "The Black Spider"), Harry Jarkey, Johnny King, Kirk Knight, George Krehbiel, Barney Lee, Jean Loach, Budd Lynch, Ken Manuel, Jean McBride, Edythe Fern Melrose, Bob Murphy, Ruth Noyes, Gene Osborn, Rolly Parker, Van Patrick, Jerry Peacock, Everett Phelps, George Pierrot, Todd Purse, Marion Ryan, Richard Satterfield, George Scotti, Johnny Slagle, Lyall Smith, Ty Tyson, Tony Weitzel, Dottie Westray, Fred Wolf, Bruce Wood, Doug Wright, Dale Young, and Ricky the Clown, all of whom were seen at some time on television in Detroit before 1960. But I am going to move up in time a bit, and I am going to present a football-related question. J.P. McCarthy hosted a weekly television series on WDIV-TV, Channel 4, in the fall of 1978, and the show focused on the Detroit Lions. The co-host on the show was a former Detroit Lions player. Who was that man? It was not Ron Kramer.
P.S.: Once again, I return to the topic of Grey's Anatomy and the cover of TV Guide. If you look at the edition of TV Guide for October 22-28, 2007, you will see actors Elizabeth Reaser and Justin Chambers--asociated with Grey's Anatomy--are on the cover. It has been only a little over a month ago that Grey's Anatomy had the feature spot on a cover of TV Guide (TV Guide for September 17-23, 2007). Since October 2005, TV Guide has had the featured spot on the cover of TV Guide ten times. Incredible! There once was a time when TV Guide did not so clearly show preference for certain shows.
copyright c. 2007
Date published: November 10, 2007
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