Friday, May 15, 2015

Fun Finds: CBS TV Playing Cards

Good morning, chickens! I know I'm supposed to be on hiatus, but a snatch of free time came my way and I found that I had a contingency post that might do in a pinch, so here it is! You know how much I love still photos of stars and having tangible items that feature celebrities on them, so it was fun to recently come upon this commemorative deck of playing cards which feature various TV shows and stars who found success on CBS from its beginnings up to (I think) 1982. I needn't tell you what it does to my OCD brain that two cards (both deuces) are missing!! But I will offer the rest for your perusal... Let's deal 'em out!
This method of promotion (disembodied heads all pasted together as one) was once a very popular way of arranging celebrity faces and when I was a kid I loved things like this!
By the time I got around to seeing Captain Kangaroo, he seemed to have long since given up any sort of nautical prop-ery such as this ship's wheel! In fact, it never even dawned on me that he was actually a "captain!" Incredibly, the series ran from 1955-1992!
I recently read a lengthy, warts-and-all biography of Leonard Bernstein. Plenty of ego and drama to go along with his extraordinary talent!
This was one of CBS' most controversial and troubled shows. I once read a book about this series' production and it was always tumultuous and in danger of censorship for its political slant.
I've got two books on my desk that will be featuring Eva Gabor, one about the three sisters and one written by her mama Jolie! I'll probably be speaking with a Hungarian accent by the time I finish those!
Godfrey was another controversial personality. His highly popular radio & TV series Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts was sort of the American Idol of its day, but he eventually became known for a lot of controlling behavior and sudden firings, particularly that of the blindsided singer Julius LaRosa.
This series grew increasingly ridiculous as it went along, but one really cannot deny the hysterically perfect performance of crotchety Irene Ryan as Granny Clampett, especially in the early seasons. The show was still a ratings-grabber when it was cancelled as part of an image change at CBS.
The show that made a household name out of Clint Eastwood. His costar, Eric Fleming, had an interesting life story in that his face had to be almost totally reconstructed after an accident in the early 1940s and then, after Rawhide, he was devoured by piranhas during a canoe capsizing while filming in Peru! If you made that into a movie, people would say it's too far-fetched!
For a show that only ran three seasons, this one really stuck in the public's consciousness (probably thanks to extensive reruns long after its cancellation.)
The hit spin-off from The Andy Griffith Show. I avoided this show like the plague as a kid because I was scared of Frank Sutton!
Wildly popular and longstanding program from the penny-pinching, (bad) violin-playing comedian.
You'll notice that the network's prominent female stars appear on the Queen cards, notably Miss Lucille Ball as shown here.
If Dobie's sidekick seems familiar, it's because that's Bob "Gilligan" Denver, prior to his landing a series of his own.
No, not a TV series, but the annual airings of this movie were a viewing staple for many families in those pre-cable days.
Another big star and show for the network in which the host introduced virtually any and all top musical acts to the viewing public.
The famous talking horse starred in six seasons of this sitcom. His costar Alan Young is still alive today at age ninety-five!
This is another show that spooked me as a child (I was such a scaredy-cat!) Something about the gritty settings (not helped by the old kinoscope-ish look of it) and the bellowing Jackie Gleason gave me a start.
In an era where superhero series only found limited success, this ran for a remarkable five seasons.
Practically forgotten now, this series starred Marvin Miller as the secretary of an inordinately wealthy man who would anonymously gift one person per installment a million-dollar check! The show featured a small galaxy of guest-star recipients and ran 206 episodes, which equated to quite a load of dough being handed out!
An iconic buddy series with George Maharis and Martin Milner, always on the road, stopping off to help various people all over the map, in this instance Miss Tuesday Weld.
Legendary for her role as the much-married troublemaker Lisa, Eileen Fulton once had to hire a bodyguard because viewers blamed her for the death of her on-screen unborn grandchild! 
Another rare superhero series of the '70s that enjoyed a decent run of three seasons. How many of us sought a secluded section of our yards or the playground and spun around in an attempt to mimic the divine Miss Lynda Carter as she transformed into Wonder Woman?
This long-long-running news magazine show is still ticking along. Morley Safer has been on it since 1970!
I'm not sure where I've been, but I didn't even know that there had been The Danny Kaye Show from 1963-1967! Not only that, but Harvey Korman and Joyce Van Patten costarred on the show which featured songs, skits and guest artists.
Nancy Walker scored a late-career bull's eye as the sardonic, haranguing mother of Valerie Harper on Rhoda
This six-season sitcom is a hallmark of the family type of show that was popular in the mid-'50s and early-'60s.
The Master of Suspense brought chills to the airwaves (along with his dryly comic introductions) from 1955-1962.
By the time this sitcom his its ninth season, there had been plenty of cast additions and deletions, not the least of which included the problematic Mackenzie Phillips, who finally (and thankfully) got her personal demons and drug issues under control.  
Some of you will doubt me when I tell you the cold hard fact that I have NEVER seen an episode of M*A*S*H, even though it ran from 1972-1983 and has lived on interminably in reruns ever since. Five minutes of it is the absolute saturation point for me and I've only ever gotten that far about two or three times in my life. Just the opening strains of the theme song will send me scrambling for the remote.
Playhouse 90 was a top anthology show from 1956-1960, featuring great stars and later-to-be stars in ninety-minutes playlets, very often done live. This one starred Jack Palance and Keenan Wynn.
The gentle, homespun humor of this series has led it to attain cult status as one of TV's all-time favorites, though I think most folks would agree that it lost something once Don Knotts began to appear only sporadically.
This sci-fi-tinged sitcom stuck in the public's consciousness, too, though I was never in a position to see it myself.
This 1971 cast portrait from The Waltons is a far cry from the way all of them appeared by the time the show was cancelled a decade later, with deaths, departures and additions taking place over the years. The highly-popular show continued after that with occasional TV-movies.
This dynamic and long-running series (with a killer theme song) was of pretty high quality, thanks in no small part to the tireless and exacting drive of its star Jack Lord.
One of the titans of the TV western, Gunsmoke ran for an amazing twenty years, retaining James Arness and Miburn Stone for all seasons. Amanda Blake took a (gun?) powder for the final season and it fizzled out very soon after.
The writing for this sitcom was considered a benchmark for many TV critics and fans as well as the particular chemistry of its cast of players.
Following the cancellation of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Moore went on to tremendous success of her own, also amassing a cast of perfectly-tuned supporting players who complimented her on a weekly basis. (Trivia bit: Moore's character was going to be a divorcee on this show, but producers feared that viewers might think she'd divorced Dick Van Dyke, so they made her a near-virgin at thirty-four!)
Before George Burns was famous for having lived so long, he and his beloved wife Gracie Allen entertained radio audiences and then TV audiences. This show ran for eight seasons during the 1950s and its gently zany humor still amuses today.
Edward R. Murrow ran this interview show for six of its eight seasons, breaking much ground in the process. His famous showdown with Senator Joseph McCarthy later became the basis of Good Night and Good Luck (2005.) 
Back before reality show pranks were a dime a dozen, Candid Camera really caught some people off guard and captured some supremely amusing footage of folks being enmeshed in a mind-boggling situation.
The groundbreaking show that took America by storm (and overstayed its welcome by the time most of the cast left and it morphed into Archie Bunker's Place.)
Another dynamic and very stylish program with a wonderful theme song. The cast changed around quite a bit over the years (the line-up shown is the most iconic), but it remained popular for seven seasons.
After a busy career in movies, Raymond Burr proceeded to a lengthy stint on TV, first with Perry Mason (running nine seasons) and then with Ironside (which ran for eight!) After that, he returned to Mason with a popular and plentiful set of TV-movies.
What a strange still photo to choose for this series, which was another highly successful (eleven seasons) 1950s and '60s family sitcom (also known as Make Room for Daddy.)
This rarely-seen comedy sketch show ran for seven seasons and is the place where comic legend Carol Burnett earned her stripes.
Now this one I watched ad nauseam in afternoon reruns as a kid. Crusty old Mr. Wilson (as played by Joseph Kearns) was a hilariously exasperated neighbor to the often-annoying tyke next door. His sudden death in season three upset the balance, though replacement Gale Gordon (playing the character's brother) gave it his best shot. 
An unusual sort of spin-off in that Ed Asner's newsroom character from the comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show was now suddenly the focus of a sometimes hard-hitting one-hour drama! The series was an awards magnet, though moderate ratings only allowed it to last five seasons.
I recently viewed season one of this All in the Family spin-off and was thunderstruck by how funny and refreshingly blunt it was! Soon, I'll be diving into season two, but can't imagine I'll ever make it up through all eleven of its remarkable seasons. By then, the thing had been milked pretty dry, though it was unfair of the network to deny this cash cow a proper final episode.
Truly one of CBS' jewels in the crown. Following her work on The Garry Moore Show, Burnett proceeded to host one of the most beloved comedy-variety series ever made and created unforgettable characters. No one has come close to duplicating her success in the genre since she abruptly ended the run in 1978 after eleven seasons.
Few funny guys could duplicate the twenty-year long success of Mr. Skelton and his zany antics on his comedy-variety program, but I have to confess that I have never, ever been able to enjoy his style of comedy! I respect his hard work and his place in the firmament, but I just can't get on board with the laughs.
An absolute legend in TV news-casting. What's amusing about Mr. C. to me right now is that I have to say his name in the play in which I'm performing and it was brought to light that not only had I been mispronouncing it as "Conkrite" during rehearsals, but somehow had been doing so for my whole life!  LOL  Blond at the roots, folks...
Not sure how a character like this would fly in our PC-oriented world today, but in its day Albert was a hit with kiddies on Saturday mornings. 
Ahhh... the mean one himself. Did you know that (according to legend around here anyway!) I am the first person to ever portray The Grinch in a stage production of the Dr. Seuss children's book? The theatre company had to obtain permission from the author's widow, Mrs. Geisel, in order to do it and the stipulation was that any and all profit from it must go to local charity. Despite the roaring success of the production, they somehow went with someone named Jim Carrey when it came time for the movie to be made!  LOL


Gingerguy said...

Super fun post Poseidon, I bet one of the Gabor books is Gaborabilia? That one came in handy when I started dating a Hungarian. I know many of these shows from syndication so I had no idea they originated on CB(and that "Mr Ed" lasted 6 seasons, WTF?). I read in an Eddie Fisher bio that Arthur Godfrey was notoriously anti-Semitic, so never felt inclined to watch old clips of that show. Ditto on "MASH" it's blasphemy to some people but could never get with that mass adoration. The theme song triggers depression in me. Gale Gordon always seemed like such a big Queen to me, wonder what his story was? as usual you have inspired me to do some online research.

Chellis610 said...

Where's "Dallas"? That's a huge omission!

joel65913 said...

Great find!! They did a pretty good job of including all their major shows through the years. I'm surprised you don't like M*A*S*H but every show isn't for everybody. People always go crazy for The Sopranos but it bores me to sobs.

Glad you found a few minutes in your craziness to put up this fun post to tide us over whilst you are swamped.

KP Knapp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KP Knapp said...

Wheres the card for that hag Babe Paley? She did more to effect(negatively)the CBS schedule than anyone. Babe was married to William (republican shill) S Paley president of CBS. Babe loved her some Gunsmoke That's why it was on for 20+ grueling years.

Dave in Alamitos Beach said...

I just discovered Julius LaRosa last week. I bought a CD of his and found I liked him in a sub-Sinatra kind of way. What DID happen to him?

And I guess I am okay with someone not liking MASH, but if it was the DVD or MTM show, I think it would all be over. :-)

Poseidon3 said...

Hey all! Stopping in to read your remarks and respond.

Gingerguy, I do have Gaborobilia and love it. An actress friend of mine (who, sadly, died soon after) gave that to me as a present once when I helped her with her hair during a major stage role. The books I am about to begin are Jolie's auto-bio and then one called "Such Devoted Sisters" about all three daughters. I agree with everything else you had to say!

I also found it bizarre that "Dallas" was omitted unless it happened to be on one of the two missing #2 cards. "Maude" is another glaring absence.

Dave, my favorite aunt WORSHIPPED both "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Mary Tyler Moore" and her affection for them did rub off on me, too. Not obsessively, but I enjoy them both. :-)

Heading into Week 2 of a three week run. So far, only one performance (a Friday night) was without a standing O. Not sure what their problem was because everyone else has been highly responsive! Back soon, my loves!

Gregory said...

HUGELY entertaining post! Clever, high-larious (as crack me right up!), informative (how did I never hear the awful tale of Eric Fleming and the piranhas!?) and VALIDATING (since neither have I ever seen a MASH episode, and I find that goddamned theme song to be DISTURBING! How many borderline fucked-up, suicidal people have taken that "Suicide is painless.." nonsense to heart and have gone and pulled the trigger? I recently read that the lyrics were written by director Robert Altman's (then) 14-year old son!). And re. Dave's question (above), Julius LaRosa is actually still with us, aged 85. He was famously fired by that prick, Arthur Godfrey, ON THE AIR. Poor guy was totally caught off-guard. His career pretty much petered-out after that--but the most satisfying outcome of that ugly incident is that it also signed the death warrant for Arthur Godfrey's career. The public was so appalled when Godfrey pulled away the mask and revealed what a first-rate asshole he was--in jarring comparison to his 'aw shucks' on-air persona. His once-huge audience deserted him in droves--and he died a bitter and forgotten man. There's a very interesting and informative video on YouTube...just enter "Julius LaRosa fired" and it should come up. I'd say--now that all is said and done--Julius LaRosa won this round!