Friday, September 27, 2013

Allow Me to Guide You: The 1960s

Having practically exhausted the supply of colorful comic book covers, I'm going to turn now to another source of striking, iconic celebrity photography, the TV Guide cover.  This is a sampling (about five per decade) and not meant to be inclusive.  Just an array of covers that caught my eye and may catch yours, too, starting with 1960 and ending with 1969.  Remember those pesky address labels that subscribers had to deal with?!  Some are there still, but blurred to avoid putting names and addresses out there - old as they may be, some were never there and some have left their horrible lines from being torn off.  Oh, and a special thanks to our cover boy for this post, Chuck Connors of The Rifleman.

Some of you young'ns may not be aware that in the early, black and white days of Gunsmoke, Dennis Weaver was James Arness' chief sidekick, not Ken "Festus" Curtis, who later became quite famous in his part.  Weaver later gained significant attention for his cowboy-in-the big-city crime-fighting show McCloud.  (Of course, now that I am old, a lot of "young'ns" may not even know what McCloud was!)  Here we see the original series foursome, cozily arranged.

Ill-fated actor Nick Adams scored a minor hit with the two-season western series The Rebel.  Originally an actor of some promise, his career never developed the way he had hoped and eventually began to disintegrate.  In 1968, he was found dead of a drug overdose.

Many folks still recall fondly this next hunk.  Gardner McKay starred in Adventures in Paradise as well as in the colorful, campy romance The Pleasure Seekers (1964) before deciding to give up the life of an actor and a celebrity and instead write for a living.  People still love his show, but were it in color instead of black & white, there'd probably be a channel devoted to playing it 24/7 thanks to its leading man's brooding good looks!

Long before scoring the huge success Dynasty, John Forsythe starred in the five-season sitcom Bachelor Father.  In fact, this was where he first met Linda Evans (later his wife on Dynasty) when she guest-starred as a teenage friend to his adoptive daughter (his niece, in fact.)

Loretta Young had been working in films since the mid-1910s (!) and ultimately became a considerable (even Oscar-winning) movie star.  In 1953, she switched gears to television and never made another feature film.  However, her TV show (The Loretta Young Show) was so successful she didn't need to.  She took home three Emmys and a Golden Globe and became a cultural touchstone with her high-fashion, skirt-whirling weekly introductions.

Moving into 1961 now.  Though I rarely, if ever, mention it, my childhood was profoundly influenced by Carol Burnett.  Though her long-running sketch-variety series The Carol Burnett Show debuted long before I did, her show was still running high when I was a kid and I completely adored her and it (and all the people on it!)

Another good-looking actor who gave up the gig when he was close to his prime is Roger Smith.  Some will recall him as the grown-up nephew of Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame (1958), but his most lasting acting contribution came as a star of 77 Sunset Strip.  Already feeling the effects of a severe muscle disorder, in 1967 he married Ann-Margret and soon thereafter began to manage her career and abandon his own work on screen.  The couple remains married to this day.

This next star retains a pretty heavy cult following despite having only enjoyed about a decade-long career.  Dorothy Provine was a blonde Warner Brothers contract actress who appeared on many episodes of their stable of westerns before costarring in two shows herself, The Alaskans and The Roaring 20's (that's the show's incorrect punctuation, not mine!)  She might be best known for playing Ethel Merman's petulant daughter in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963.)

Before he became a spaghetti western movie star and then a very successful director, Clint Eastwood could be found on TV screens as Rowdy Yates on Rawhide, a very successful western that ran for more than six years.  Even way back then he had some "wrinks," though!  His costar Eric Fleming, pictured here with him, met a terrible fate in Peru in1966 when he drowned during the filming up an adventure-oriented TV program.  He was only forty-one (and had already cheated death once when a steel block shattered his face in 1942, requiring reconstructive surgery!)

Prior to captivating TV viewers with his role as a valet-cum-nanny on Family Affair, Sebastian Cabot starred on a detective series called Checkmate.  Blonde Doug McClure is looking mighty cute here.  Following Checkmate's demise in 1962, he would go on to a decade of costarring work with The Virginian.

Up to 1962 now, we see a serene First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, just a year before her life (and most everyone's at that time) would be forever altered by the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy.  

The strapping 6'2" actor Vince Edwards scored a big hit as Ben Casey, causing him to be a household name for a time, though he was never able to replicate that series' success.  

Teen idol Troy Donahue made quite a few colorful hit films before winding up on TV in Surfside 6 (and later Hawaiian Eye.)  He did make a couple more movies after these series, but soon after saw his career dry up.  Somehow even in this 1962 portrait I think you can sense in his face the relegation that his day in the sun was coming to a close.

Few western series (apart from the long-running Gunsmoke) enjoyed the popularity and longevity of Bonanza.  The Cartwrights appeared on television screens for fourteen seasons and it was really only the untimely death of Dan Blocker, who played the beloved "Hoss," that led to its decline and cancellation in 1973.  The men seem to be having a fun time here, though.

The mid-'50s and 'early-'60s were a fertile time for panel game shows and I've Got a Secret was a popular one.  You didn't get to see much of these game show icons in color, so this TV Guide cover is a welcome sight for fans.  Bill Cullen was the host of countless shows as was this show's host Garry Moore, while Henry Morgan retired in 1970.  Brunette Bess Myerson was Miss America 1945 and later held an NYC cultural appointment until a couple of legal entanglements came down upon her.  Blonde Betsy Palmer created a new generation of fans for herself when she accepted the role of Mrs. Voorhees in Friday the 13th (1980) and its 1981 sequel.

And now 1963.  Before he became one of television's most high-profile dads on The Brady Bunch, Robert Reed was the costar of E.G. Marshall on the highly-respected legal drama The Defenders for five seasons.  The series won fourteen various Emmy Awards and had many further nominations as well.

Another favorite TV dad was Carl Betz on The Donna Reed Show, a series that lasted eight seasons.  Betz proved a handsome, hunky foil for Miss Reed's perky, close-to-perfect housewife. (And I love the sort of bygone photography that capture's Miss Reed's pretty face here!)

Prior to his days as the human counterpart of The Incredible Hulk, Bill Bixby costarred with Ray Walston on My Favorite Martian for three seasons.  In the show, Bixby housed an alien from Mars, disguising him as a visiting uncle.

As I know Mr. Bixby has at least one voracious fan amongst visitors to The Underworld, I'm including this accompanying photo from inside the issue.  This isn't a bicycle built for two, but they sort of made it into one!

We're used to seeing Chuck Connors in western gear (as seen at the top of this post), but in 1963 he made a determined break from cowboy hats and boots in order to costar in Arrest and Trial, an hour-long show in which detective Ben Gazzara typically investigated crimes in the first half while Connors tried the cases as an attorney in the second half.  Sound familiar?  Though Trial didn't catch on and was cancelled after a single season, the idea was later cribbed in 1990 for the far more popular and long-running Law & Order.

Finally, we catch a glimpse of another long-running TV favorite, Lassie, hopping a fence while her owners at the time, June Lockhart and Jon Provost, look on.  Lockhart, of course, went on to costar on Lost in Space while Provost struggled to maintain an adult career (until 1989 when he came back to costar with a different Lassie and in a different role in the limited-run series The New Lassie.)  I've told this at least once here, but one day while watching a rerun of Lassie as a child, the film skipped and June Lockhart was introduced as "Jockhart," a name that has stuck with me all these decades!

1964 brings the mega-popular Andy Williams and his young bride of a couple of years, French singer-actress Claudine Longet.  The couple became estranged in the late-'60s, but remained married until 1975 when she took up with a handsome skier closer to her own age.  In 1976, she shot the skier Spider Sabich to death, claiming an accident, but standing trial for his murder.  Williams was at her side the entire time, but for his trouble she ran off with her defense attorney after the trial, coming back to serve a 30-day sentence for criminal negligence.  Those two wed in 1985 and remain so to this day.

Dig this colorful and kicky portrait of Cara Williams, who was debuting in The Cara Williams Show (which lasted only one season.)  She was intended to be the next Lucille Ball, but it was not to be and she was retired completely by 1978.  Incidentally, Ms. Williams (who is still alive today at eighty-eight!) is connected to the legendary Barrymore acting dynasty though her seven-year marriage to John Drew Barrymore (later the father of Drew) and their son John Blyth Barrymore, who acts in small roles in projects of low to moderate budgets.  

Here we see fresh-faced newcomer Mia Farrow, who was just beginning her stint on the hugely-popular primetime soap Peyton Place.  Within a two years, she'd be off and running on a successful film career as well as entering a brief, but heavily-covered, marriage to Frank Sinatra.  Her own life often played out wilder than the plotlines on Peyton Place, with composer Andre Previn leaving his wife of a decade for her, followed by a lengthy relationship with Woody Allen who ultimately left her for one of her own fifteen (!) children, many of which are adopted.

Look at these sharp ladies, Marjorie Lord of Make Room for Daddy, "Jockhart" (see earlier photo!) from Lassie, Amanda Blake of Gunsmoke and Barbara Hale of Perry Mason.  Only the childless Blake did not have offspring to take up acting as well.  Lord is the mother of Anne Archer, Lockhart is Anne Lockhart's mom and Hale is the mother of William Katt.

Strange as it may seem to most people, I have never really found Richard Chamberlain all that great looking, but I couldn't resist this cover because I think it presents him at close to his dreamiest.  The star of Dr. Kildare is shown here with Daniela Bianchi, who did a three-part episode of Chamberlain's show and was red hot after having costarred in the James Bond film From Russia with Love (1963.)

Moving into 1965, most of us are familiar with the incredibly successful and popular sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, winner of fifteen Emmys and the recipient of many other nominations.  It's stars, Van Dyke (who won three stautettes) and Mary Tyler Moore (who won two) were most often seen in clean and crisp, but everyday, clothing and in black and white, so this color cover of them in formal wear is a treat.  After a few movies, she went into the phenomenally successful The Mary Tyler Moore Show while he also starred in many movies and scored two more moderate TV hits, The New Dick Van Dyke Show and, later, Diagnosis Murder.

Another gaggle of people most often seen in black and white were The Munsters, shown here in a color cover.  As a kid, having never seen them in anything but the monochromatic reruns, it was a huge shock to discover that they were actually made up in shades of blue and green!

This is a neat shot of Anne Francis, then starring in her short-lived spy show Honey West.  Francis made many movies and countless guest appearances on TV, but in the end lacked that one truly iconic role (with the closest probably being her part in the 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet.)  In The Underworld, she's fondly remembered for her 1989 guest role on The Golden Girls in which she played the gag-loving old school chum of Bea Arthur.

The Beverly Hillbillies was a big hit, running for nine seasons (and living on in reruns forever after.)  True, it might have worn out its welcome after a while, but I don't think anyone can deny the hilarity of Irene Ryan as Granny Clampett in those early years.  Here, she cuts up with costars Donna "Elly Mae" Douglas and Nancy "Miss Jane Hathaway" Kulp, both of who, like the rest of the primary cast, were with the show for all of its run.

Though it only ran for three seasons, Gilligan's Island has enjoyed about the same amount of cult love as Hillbillies.  I like this beguiling shot of Tina Louise, who had a career-defining role in Ginger Grant, much to her displeasure.  Not only did she resent the show, which she felt was beneath her talents, but she managed to alienate the bulk of her six costars, who happily embraced their cult status and went on to reunion after reunion with a variety of faux Gingers in Louise's place.  Still, not one of them could touch the original.

In 1966, we see Ryan O'Neal and Barbara Parkins, still with Peyton Place, though Mia Farrow was about to depart.  Parkins would emerge as a key star of the show in her role of Betty Anderson, rising from dejected and rejected pregnant teen to a wealthy, powerful member of the community.  Of course, we all know Parkins best from her role in the camp spectacle Valley of the Dolls (1967.)  O'Neal went on a to a run of hit movies, but, sadly, also gave life to a quartet of children (by various wives and lovers) who were neglected and mishandled in varying degrees, leading to some major league problems for most of them.

Look at the happy couple, Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert, who starred on Green Acres for six seasons.  Compatible as they may appear, Albert was in reality thirteen years older than Gabor (though he ended up outliving her by a decade.  Mr Albert lived to be ninety-nine, God love him!)

One thing I love about this old covers is that I get to see some of the members of my "disaster club," folks who worked in a 1970s disaster movie.  To this point, we've had no less than five, but several more are to come.  One is this man, Roy Thinnes, who was sucked out of the cockpit in Airport 1975 (1974) and was blown to bits in The Hindenburg (1975.)  At this point, he was starring in a TV series rendition of The Long, Hot Summer, but would find more lasting fame from the later sci-show The Invaders.  (Note to actors, if you want to assure one's self of at least a small cult following, do some science-fiction!)  Thinnes was never really my type, but I think he looks very handsome here.

Ready for a little skin?  Here's TV's first Tarzan, Ron Ely, gracing the cover of this issue of TV Guide.  Words can hardly describe the physical torment Ely was put through in making the two-seasons of Tarzan, which is the primary reason Mike Henry declined to appear in it.  Far safer was his stint in 1980 as the friendly host of the game show Face the Music.  Ely is still with us today at age seventy-five, but has not appeared on screen since 2001.

Most of us know The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (about to be remade as a feature film, like countless other classic vintage TV series), but fewer know about the one-season of The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.  That lighter spin-off starred Stefanie Powers as female spy April Dancer.  Powers had far more success with the later show Hart to Hart with Robert Wagner.  Nowadays, Powers on screen work is limited as she pursues her animal welfare interests in Kenya and takes part in stage work (she has been playing Tallulah Bankhead, her costar in 1965's Die! Die! My Darling!, in "Looped" on tour this year!)  I recently read her auto-bio and found in lacking in details about her acting career and costars, preferring to focus on her travels and wildlife work (and containing a couple of glaring errors, too!)

1967 brings the sitcom He & She, which starred real-life husband and wife Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss as well as Jack Cassidy.  The show concerned a comic book artist whose creation ("Jet Man") is developed into a TV series starring an egocentric actor as the lead character.  All three of these folks were Emmy-nominated, but ratings were high enough for it to last past one season.  Benjamin and Prentiss married in 1961 and are still together today, fifty-two years later!  (They even survived her own sister Ann becoming unhinged and plotting to kill Benjamin, among other crimes.  Seriously!)  I love Paula's mod look here.

This was the year that Mission: Impossible debuted (which would run for seven seasons in all.)  The threesome shown here were the chief stars of the show, but Steven Hill would soon be edged out when his newfound religious practices clashed with the tight shooting schedule and Martin Landau and his real-life wife Barbara Bain (who won three Emmys in a row as spy Cinnamon Carter) left after the third season in a contract dispute.  Hill resurfaced years later on Law & Order while the Landaus went into Space: 1999. The Landaus divorced in 1993, which was surprising since they so often worked in tandem.

If you are of a certain age, you'll recall when Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters used to co-host 20/20, a primetime investigative news show.  Some folks might not be aware that this was actually a reunion for them as they had once been partners on The Today Show as well.  Check out Babs' blue eye shadow here.

The two-season WWII action series The Rat Patrol offers up a few handsome fellas.  Down in front in Lawrence Casey (sometimes billed as Larry Casey) while in the middle is Gary Raymond.  (Mr. Raymond was denied a tribute here in The Underworld when my laptop was burglarized with a wealth of photos of him I'd amassed.  maybe some day...)  On the right is Christopher George, who often worked with his wife Lynda Day George (and who memorably shucked all his clothes for Playgirl magazine.)  Day ultimately became Barbara Bain's replacement on Mission, too!  They remained happily wed until his premature death in 1983 of a heart attack at only age fifty-two.

A cult favorite sitcom came in the form of The Mothers-in-Law, about middle-aged neighbors with differing points of view whose children wed each other.  Broad comedy was served up by brassy Kaye Ballard and the cutting Eve Arden in a show that only found moderate success.  Unfortunately, a dispute over pay increases led to the exit of Ballard's on screen husband and when he was replaced, the already so-so ratings fell apart, leading to cancellation.  Incidentally, this show was conceived with Arden and Ann Sothern in mind, but producers felt there wasn't enough contrast in their personalities/personas, so Ballard was utilized instead.

Whew!  Now we've hit 1968.  Here we see Fess Parker of Daniel Boone and his TV wife and son.  Parker had scored a massive hit with Davy Crockett, but since Disney had made the terminal error of staying true to life and killing Crockett at The Alamo, there was no viable way to continue those adventures.  To capitalize on the Crockett craze, Parker was placed into a non-Disney series based on Boone, yet with a "coonskin cap" like Crockett even though Boone never donned such a thing in real life!  Of course I recall his salmon-colored pants (and the loopy theme song) more than anything.  The show lasted six seasons, starting in black and white and changing to garish color.  Patricia Blair's red hair was almost psychedelic.

Get Smart, a popular spy spoof, had been on the air since 1965 (and would last until 1970) and it was eventually decided that the leads, Don Adams and Barbara Feldon, should wed on the show.  By the fifth and final season, Feldon had delivered TV twins, a boy and a girl.  In real life, she wed the producer of the show in 1968.  Dig that 1960s wedding headgear... Adams picked up three Emmys for the show while Feldon had to settle for two nominations.  In 1995, a revival of the show was attempted, with Adams and Feldon working with their son (played by Andy Dick!), but it flopped after just seven episodes.

The other night on the Emmy Awards, Miss Diahann Carroll made an appearance commemorating her landmark Emmy nomination fifty years prior (for a role on The Naked City.)  Her chief claim to fame with regards to television was her series Julia, in which for the first time a black woman was regularly shown to be independent, successful and the central focus of a program.  The show only ran for two seasons, but that was of Carroll's own choosing.  She won a Golden Globe for Julia, but was only nominated for an Emmy.  She does look snazzy in her jacket and turtleneck here.

The focus of TV programming was continually skewing young, exemplified by The Mod Squad, an Aaron Spelling-produced crime drama about three juvenile delinquents who are enlisted into the police force to help solve youth-oriented crimes.  This at a time when police were considered the enemy among their generation.  The show ran for five seasons, there was a reunion movie in 1979 and then a remake (natch) for the big screen in 1999.

The casting scenario of The Flying Nun is rather curious.  Young Sally Field had beaten out seventy-five contenders for the part of Gidget, but the show was creamed in the ratings and cancelled after one season.  However, reruns of that show took off like crazy!  ABC wasn't prepared to renew it, but in order to capitalize on their hot new teen star, they eighty-sixed Ronne Troup (who was already second choice after Patty Duke declined the role)  from the pilot of The Flying Nun, placing Field in it instead.  Nun ran for three seasons.  The part was a source of humiliation to her for years afterward, though she got the last laugh when she won two Best Actress Oscars.  Later, she returned to TV with Brothers & Sisters and copped an Emmy.

The decade is coming to a close now with Marcus Welby, M.D., a beloved medical series that starred Robert Young and, as his younger sidekick, James Brolin.  Both gentlemen won Emmys for the show as well as Golden Globes (Brolin took home two of those.)  Running for seven seasons, Young saw to quite a few patients during the run of the series.  Interestingly, the former Father Knows Best star was shown working at the home of The Cleavers from Leave it to Beaver, as Dr. Welby's office was situated in their old homestead!

Here are some of the stars of Family Affair, with the aforementioned Sebastian Cabot and the "twins" of the show, Anissa Jones and Johnnie Whittaker.  The five-season sitcom starred Brian Keith, who had enjoyed working with Whittaker in The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming (1966) and suggested him for this series despite his considerable youth.  You can read more about the ill-fated Jones here.

Having stayed on the nation's airwaves in one form of another since I Love Lucy, Miss Lucille Ball (looking quite waxen here!) brought her kids into the act with 1968's Here's Lucy.  The show ran until 1974 though Desi Arnaz Jr left after three seasons and Lucie Arnaz only appeared in about half of the series' episodes.  (What is with her creepy eyebrows?!)  After this, Ball didn't do another regular series until 1986 when her ballyhooed comeback Life with Lucy flopped terribly.  She didn't act again on screen after that one.

An uncharacteristically serious Merv Griffin adorns this issue's cover.  Griffin began as a band singer before trying his hand at acting, hosting game shows and finally becoming a talk show icon.  His bid to dethrone Johnny Carson, however, was all for naught.  It wasn't until he had a syndicated chat fest that he really became a household name.  Later, he created the staggering hit game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, both of which have outlasted him.  I recently read a fanciful "biography" on him by Darwin Porter that ranks as one of the most outrageous, lurid and tasteless books of that sort that I can recall.  I simply couldn't put it down!  But I believe precious little of it...

In The Underworld, we love Irwin Allen, whether it be his disaster flicks or his kicky TV series, and Land of the Giants is a favorite.  This is thanks in no small part to the cuteness of star Gary Conway and the colorful clothing, campy worn by the female stars (one of who, Deanna Lund, is shown here.)  In real life, Lund married her other Giants costar Don Matheson while Conway wed Miss America 1957 Marian McKnight.

This marks the end of our "Guide"-ed tour and - hey! - did you happen to notice that there was not one price increase within this ten-year stretch?  Every issue was 15 cents!!  As a matter of fact, TV Guide was 15 cents from its inception in 1948 (first as a New York City local, then national in 1953) until mid-1974 when it jumped to a quarter per issue.  I find that remarkable (and a little depressing when you think of the way inflation has gotten for us now...)  I quit buying it years ago, but I believe it's $3.99 a pop now!

Bonus:  In my search for covers, I came upon a couple of hooty items.  In many households, it seemingly became a habit to draw on the covers of the family's copy of TV Guide.  In fact, I recall some neighbors across the street doing this!  I was always far too in awe of the stars to deface them in any way, but I would sometimes see their scribblings on the covers of their magazines.  Thus, a perfectly nice portrait of Robert Stack like this one at right...

...became a sort of Fun Manchu/Satanic thing after revisions.
The above-seen shot of Andy Williams and Claudine Longet got a bit of augmentation.  (Do you think the owner of this issue was a Spider Sabich fan??)
Pernell Roberts of Bonanza and guest star Kathie Browne made an attractive pair...
...until some burgeoning Picasso got ahold of them!
Lastly, in a copy of TV Guide perhaps found among Joan Crawford's belongings (?), we see a newly-edited version of one of Loretta Young's covers.