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article number 751
article date 03-21-2019
copyright 2019 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
We Enter the Golden Age of Television, 1951, Part 4: The Business of Content . . . Stars, Ratings & Sponsors
by TV Digest, (Philadelphia) writers

Video Vignettes - July 28, 1951

Connie Russell, the torch-singer presently vacationing from Garroway At Large on TV, but still a vibrant part of Garroway’s daily radio show, finds that radio fails to keep her busy enough. S o o o o o, she’s Connie Russell
spending the month of July as a replacement for Janet Blair in South Pacific while the road company is in Chi.

If you’ve noticed that they’re “plugging” a recording of “Whooee Looeesiana” quite a bit these days on Channel 10, maybe it’s because WCAU-TV producer Alan Bergman wrote it.

Mug Richardson, former Girl Friday for Arthur Godfrey, has her new TV show about ready for airing from WTOP-TV in Washington.

Sponsor, Pabst, expects to go as high as $125,000 for the TV rights of the upcoming Charles-Louis scrap tentatively scheduled for late in September. Even at that figure, they might lose out to theatre-TV.

Though simulcasting might hurt Walter Winchell’s rating when he busts into TV, ye old gabber insists on working that way.

Hollywood’s bid for supremacy as television’s No. 1 production center will get a shot in the arm when the coaxial cable is completed this fall. In view of this, NBC is planning to move nearly its complete stable of video comics to the West Coast. Seems that most of them want to originate their shows from glamor town.

Morey Amsterdam, radio, TV and nightery comic, is shooting a series of film shorts based on the old Keystone Cop comedies for TV distribution.

That Charlie Wild private shamus series dropped by Wildroot was picked up by Mogen David Wines. Could be he’ll be known as “Charlie David” in the future?

Latest rumors have it that Gary Cooper may soon sign for a TV series.

Kreisler Watchbands bought the first science-fiction kind of drama show for adults. Titled “Tales of Tomorrow,” it’s scheduled for the airwaves late this fall.

Connie Russell

Video Vignettes - August 4, 1951

There’s a mighty plush setup ahead for daytime viewers on this fall’s schedule. The networks are going to gamble millions on daytime TV by throwing in some of their biggest stars and biggest shows. One of the top matinee-ers is the one which will co-star Frances Langford and Don Ameche in a full-hour through-the-week presentation.

Another is the upcoming Rudy Vallee daytimer. When you include Kate Smith, Arthur Godfrey, Steve Allen, Garry Moore and Bert Parks in this lineup of stars to be seen on daytime video, there’s good viewing ahead.

Donald O’Connor, the captivatin’ kid from the fillums, will do three of the Sunday night Comedy Hours this fall.

Looks like Broadway Open House will be padlocked by its sponsors. Since Jerry Lester, no comic has been able to cook up a rating.

After the frying Oscar Levant took at the hands of the critics, his goose was cooked on the Guest House show.

Crime Photographer will be seen on alternate weeks this fall, now that the thriller has copped itself a sponsor.

Sharp increases in the talent costs of some of the shows on TV seem to be giving sponsors the jitters. The ante has been hiked 100% on both the Kate Smith and Sid Caesar shows, the Kuklapohitans are being upped about 60%; Howdy Doody is getting a boost of 40%. Also, big guest-names have zoomed higher by 150%.

Look for a top-flight series of drama shows in the 10 to 11 P. M. spot alternate Wedesdays on Channel 6 this fall. Big-name playwrights will be featured.

Pontiac has been changing its mind back and forth about taking the TV plunge. Latest reports indicate they’re staying out.

Anything can happen until fall, but late rumors have it that CBS-TV will be pitching Frank Sinatra as the lad to buck Milton Berle on the important Tuesday-at-8 time spot.

Frances Langford
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Video Vignettes - August 11, 1951

Durward Kirby, who stepped into Oscar Levant’s shoes when the famed pianist with the sardonic humor was yanked from the GE Guest House show, has ranked among the ten most popular radio announcers in the country for many years. His chores as quiz master on the GE show, however, are nothing new. He’s had good training during his past few winters as question-asker on the New York version of the famed “Quiz Kids."

Western Reserve University will inaugurate full-credit, degree courses for home study this fall, through television. Viewers must study, prepare exam papers to be turned in at regular intervals and pay a fee in order to receive the credits.

There’s a growing number of sponsors coming into TV on an alternate week basis.

Now that the microwave relay is expected to be hooked to the co-axial cable before Thanksgiving, Hollywood is going all out to prepare for an influx of top shows to emanate from that city.

Those juicy offers being made to Rudolph Halley, prosecutor for the Kefauver crime investigating committee, bore fruit. He’s scheduled for a TV show.

Put Spike Jones down for a spot in the Colgate Hour this fall.

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis broke all records for box-office during their two weeks of personal appearances at the Paramount Theater in New York.

Franklin Pulaski, seen in Philly at station WFIL-TV last year, has hit the jackpot in New York. In a single week he was signed for a new TV show, for a monthly narration job with Columbia Records and negotiations are under way for a movie contract.

There’s a chance that when Lloyd Nolan takes on his new chores as “Martin Kane, Private Eye” he might find Bill Gargan, the former ‘Martin Kane” pitched opposite him on another network in another private eye series.

Durward Kirby

Video Vignettes - August 18,1951

Sam Levenson, one of the few good comedians on the CBS-TV talent roster, may make a switch to NBC-TV if his present bosses don’t get a move on and get him a sponsor. Even though Levenson has a CBS-TV contract, it is known he doesn’t wish to remain without work, even with pay, because of the short memory of televiewers. NBC, on the other hand, has a load of comedy talent and can make use of more with Sam, if he can make the breakaway.

Jack Carter is screen-testing for a top role in a Judy Holliday movie.

With prospects of the lifting of the TV freeze on new stations, interest in TV stocks has heightened.

Now that the NCAA’s choke on college football is more or less finalized, some sponsors are looking into shows that round up all the scores instead of trying to concentrate on the telecast of a single pigskin contest.

YOU may be sweating it out, but bidding already is under way for the AM-TV rights of the Rose Bowl game.

Bob Hope is reportedly favoring a plan which will have the comic appearing every fourth week on TV this fall.

Alarmed by the inroads on rating made by the Comedy Hour on Toast of the Town last fall, the sponsors of Ed Sullivan’s show have upped Ed’s budget so he can put up a better fight.

Arthur Godfrey finds himself the center of controversy—again. His comments on price control and inflation had his listeners pulling for him—but lots of the political top brass were critical because he “stepped out of his role as an entertainer on the air.” Godfrey admitted that pressures have been brought to bear against some of his regular sponsors over his comments.

Abe Burrows will appear in TV this fall but only when it doesn’t interfere with his stage plans and providing the appearance requires no rehearsing.

Sam Levenson
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Video Vignettes - Sept 1, 1951

It’s fairly certain at this writing that Dinah Shore will head her own TV show this fall. If the deal comes through with sponsor Van Camp, Dinah will replace the John Conte “Little Show.” Now that the deal for Dinah is about nailed down, RCA veepee Manie Sacks, who did most of the negotiating, is discussing Hildegarde as another video potential.

Danny Kaye will guest on Your Show of Shows this fall. Although he has been a holdout on home-TV, rumors have it that he’ll head up a super show for the theater-TV circuit.

NBC recently signed Roy Rogers but it isn’t known at this writing whether the network is placing the emphasis on Roy’s old feature films or whether he’ll do special films or even a live show. It all depends on the outcome of the popular cowboy’s suit against Republic Pictures, which owns the rights to the Roy Rogers films.

Armour, the new sponsors of the Garroway show, originally set for alternate Wednesdays at 10:30 P.M. this fall, pulled a surprise by cancelling. The Freddy Martin Show jumps into the vacated time slot.

The TVersion of My Friend Irma is being readied but thus far no sponsor has grabbed it up. The TV show stars Marie Wilson.

Ham Fisher signed a contract permitting the TV use of a Joe Palooka series.

Despite its commitment to share the sponsorship of Television Playhouse on an alternate-week basis along with Philco, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. will continue to foot the bills for its Paul Whiteman Revue.

Now you can even buy a home via video. Down in Dallas, Texas the prospective buyer can sit before his TV set and inspect various homes for sale around that city in a weekly program sponsored by new-home builders.

A fall video show in which actor Maurice Evans might be producer and narrator is being mulled over.

Leave It To The Girls moves into the 10:30 to 11 P.M. time slot on Sundays this fall to make way for the new Chesterfield comedy show.

Plans are in the works for a gala dedicatory program and tremendous shindig when transcontinental network TV service begins on September 29.

Bing Crosby is getting into TV, but not in the way you’d expect. He recently purchased the facilities of FM radio station KSNI in Sauna, Calif., for conversion into a TV outlet.

Bill “Hopalong Cassidy” Boyd recently was named Admiral of the Nebraska Navy!

Here’s some pleasant news for those who like the turnabout touch: Donald O’Connor’s contract with NBC-TV limits him on the number of movies he can make in a year.

The Great Gildersleeve may be on TV as well as radio this fall.

Eddie (Rochester) Anderson’s brother, David Anderson, will be in the cast of the Frank Merriwell TV series to be shown this fall.

Jack Carter is looking over some musical comedy scripts with an eye toward doing one in addition to a stint on TV this fall.

NBC-TV will be putting out the SRO sign soon. There’s only a half-hour of saleable TV time left on its whole schedule.

Pepsi is putting Faye Emerson on the spot because they’re not too happy with the ratings she has been chalking up.

Dinah Shore

Video Vignettes - September 8, 1951

It will be Frank Sinatra against Milton Berle on TV this fall. After several years of taking a lacing in that Tuesday, 8 P. M. spot, the CBS-TV network is taking a plunge to put up a rating battle against “Mr. Television.” Sinatra has inked a five-year video pact which stars him in a top-budget, hour-long variety show, with which the network hopes to unseat Berle from the top spot in the rating ladder. The ABC network will be in there punching too, with the change-of-pace offering of “Charlie Wild, Private Detective.”

Sam Levenson is still without a sponsor, but will be a guest star on many a CBS-TV show. He will however, replace Abe
Burrows as a “This is Show Business” panelist.

In a switch from original plans, Red Skelton’s TV show will be kinescoped instead of live.

They’re putting the finishing touches on an NBC-TV late Saturday show which will offer top dance bands and entertainment through to 1 A. M. If everything goes as planned the new show will tee off November 1st.

Indications are that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz will get the nod as the stars who’ll head up a show going into the coveted 9:30 P. M., Monday night spot, formerly occupied by the Goldbergs. NBC-TV finally has lured the Goldbergs away from CBS-TV. More details to follow.

Irving Berlin, Dinah Shore, Tony Martin and Margaret Truman are in the guest lineup for Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town shows this fall.

It looks as though Dave Garroway is going to replace Rudy Vallee in that 11 A. M. to noon spot before the latter even starts. Since Garroway’s contract with NBC was binding and on a “pay-or-play” basis, it behooved the network to find something for Garroway fast after he was cancelled out of his scheduled spot. On the other hand, the network was under no financial obligation to Vallee.

Frank Sinatra
Dave Garroway
Red Skelton Show. Leads Off Sunday! Channel 3, 10:00 to 10:30 P.M. Presented by Tide!

Video Vignettes - October 20,1951

Kate Smith is right up there with Arthur Godfrey as a top commercial personality in broadcasting. Billings for Kate Smith’s radio and TV shows are said to bring in about $12,000,000 annually to the NBC coffers, an amount approximately what Godfrey is reported to pull in for CBS.

The Frank Sinatra Show hasn’t even had a chance to get rolling, and already there’s talk of switching it away from its terrif competish spot opposite Berle.

Look for Rose Franken’s “Claudia” as a TV series starting soon in the “It’s News To Me” spot at 9:30 P.M. on Channel 10.

Chesterfield may jump in with another series of comic rotaters when the James Melton show goes to a half hour.

Film star Kent Taylor, in the title role of Boston Blackie, luckily is a sports fan. He needs all the agility he has developed in his fishing, golf, tennis and horseback riding hobbies to help him in performing many of the various feats of physical prowess for the Boston Blackie series.

Borden’s is dropping all of its radio commitments in favor of TV.

Unhappy over the ratings Faye Emerson is scoring on Saturday nights (she’s pitched opposite Sid Caesar), sponsor Pepsi is seeking a new time for her.

On the other hand, Sat-eve-post doesn’t seem to be worrying about the competition of Milton Berle and Frank Sinatra, since it just bought a hunk of time opposite them, on the DuMont network.

The beautiful Eva Gabor, who has been guesting on many a television show in recent years, is scheduled for a TV show of her own. She’ll be seen in one of those girl-about-town interview shows, which will he filmed in top New York niteries.

Wendy Barrie’s commercials for Tintair on TV have made her a most affective saleswoman—also the highest-priced commercial spieler in the business.

The reason you see so many of the topnotch guest stars on the Milton Berle show first, is because he insists on it. Most of the contracts say the stars will not play on other TV-ers until their date with Berle has been fulfilled.

The Quiz Kids radio-TV shows are switching from NBC to CBS.

Just in case you’ve wondered about Bill Gargan, who until this spring was “Martin Kane, Private Eye,” he is now “Barrie Crane, Confidential Investigator.” The radio version of Barrie Crane is now being heard, with the TVersion due to premiere in late fall or winter.

When a polio scare in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, caused a postponement of school opening, the local TV stations did some pinch-hitting, turning living rooms into daily classrooms when special educational programs for the youngsters ware presented by their school teachers.

Jackie Kelk, star of “Young Mr. Bobbin,” has finally figured out why Robin Hood only robbed the rich. The poor have no money!

Kate Smith
Kent Taylor
Eva Gabor
Bill Gargan
COMEDY STAR: A refreshing pose of Donald O’Connor, versatile young movie actor, singer, and dancer who will “rotate” with other great stars on the Sunday night “Comedy Hour” (8 P.M. on WPTZ).

Video Vignettes - November 10, 1951

Betty Furness, who has done just about everything in TV from commercials to interviews, will next be seen portraying a sob sister in her new TV show, “Newsgal."

Vivian Blame and Pinky Lee may co-star in a new 15-minute show.

"Claudia” begins its TV career in January.

Another TV show currently reported in the blueprint stages will star Frankie Laine.

Television is tapping radio for more and more of its upcoming new shows. Two more said to be under preparation are Brian Donlevy’s “Dangerous Assignment” and Joel McCrea’s “Texas Rangers.”

According to present plans, Japan should have television in full swing by early next year.

Due to a slashed budget, the Army has canceled quite a few TV programs used for recruiting purposes.

Jackie Gleason is doing quite well for himself in TV. At the close of his contract with Cavalcade of Stars, he moves over to NBC-TV and into the $300,000-a-year salary bracket. Also, a recent guest shot on the Frank Sinatra show netted Jackie a brand new Cadillac in lieu of guest fee.

Milton Berle “owes” Robert Montgomery a guest appearance according to a reciprocal deal made last season, when Montgomery guested on a special Berle program. So, tis said, Berle’s going to star in a one-hour play.

Jack Benny celebrates his 20th anniversary on the air on November 9th.

If you’re a Tarzan fan, you’ll have to go to the movies to see Tarzan films. Despite much negotiation on the part of networks and possible Jackie Gleason sponsors, TV rights on old Tarzan films just ain’t available.

Joe E. Brown, whose comedy and facial contortions have won him a wide assortment of film fans, has signed to do a television series. It will be a Sunday morning show for the kiddies.

Even though a film biography of Eddie Cantor is still in the talking stages, Cantor is reported planning to turn over his proceeds to the underprivileged children’s camp which he attended as a boy.

Erle Stanley Gardner’s “Perry Mason” is getting into the TV act.

Ed “Archie” Gardner plans to film “Dufty’s Tavern” for TV in San Juan.

Also, a TV series based on the Topper stories is in the works.

General Foods will spend $3,000,000 for one year’s telecasting of Roy Rogers films. They’re due for first showing around the end of the year or early in January.

Marguerite Piazza, former Metopstar and a featured singing attraction of Your Show of Shows, gets two or three marriage proposals a week by mail. One of them recently suggested she leave her “strenuous TV work and marry me to live in eternal peace on my chicken farm.” For the benefit of those contemplating similar epistles, Marguerite already is married and a mother.

Although Milton Berle is still top man in TV when it comes to ratings, the Sinatra show, according to a 10-city report, nicked off 21% of his audience. The figures indicate that Berle hits 45.4 as compared with Sinatra’s 13.4 rating.

That hour-and-a-half show starring Ken Murray, opposite Your Show of Shows, is more than a rumor and could be a real threat to the latter show.

Betty Furness
Jackie Gleason
Joe E. Brown
Marguerite Piazza
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Video Vignettes - December 1, 1951

Bill Goodwin will end a long association with Burns and Allen next year when he starts his own daytime show on NBC-TV. Goodwin will be headquartered in New York while the Burns and Allen show airs from the coast, eliminating the possibility of Goodwin being in both shows.

Spike Jones will get $200,000 for five full-hour TV shows next year.

Frank Sinatra and CBS seem to be calling it quits. The Voice’s contract expired recently and the network just permitted it to lapse. Sinatra has been discussing with NBC the possibility of a show on that network.

Even though sponsors Pabst and Gillette have the Wednesday and Friday TV rights for next fall’s boxing bouts, some fears have been expressed from various quarters to watch out for ye old double-cross. One possibility is the worry that the IBC’s only obligation is to supply fight cards on those two nights—which leaves the sponsors wide open to the possibility that they’ll save the cream of the boxing bouts for theatre-TV on other nights!

The sponsors have renewed One Man’s Family.

Another important set of signatures on a contract nailed down Twenty Questions for a 5-year stretch with a new sponsor, Mennen’s.

Fannie Brice left two million dollars to her children and grandchildren.

Following a number of protests that the horror content was too potent, three video stations are considering suspending “Suspense.”

For the first time, five of the nation’s top ten shows in terms of total U. S. audience are TV shows. The top ten, according to Neilsen ratings are Milton Berle, Lux Radio Theatre, Philco Theatre, Edgar Bergen, Jack Benny, Colgate Comedy Hour, Fireside Theatre, Show of Shows, Walter Winchell and Amos ‘N’ Andy.

Bill Goodwin
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Video Vignettes - December 8, 1951

Jack Benny may quit radio after this season and if his next few TV shows click as well as his first, then come next season he’ll devote full time to television.

While “casing” a brownstone house in Manhattan for a film sequence to be used on “Crime Syndicated”, John Peyser, director of the show, was arrested for suspicious loitering!

A new moppet show starring Doodles Weaver is in the works.

Herb Shriner is reportedly the leading candidate for the movie lead in the forthcoming movie production of “The Will Rogers Story.

Walter Hampden, one of the theater’s oldest actors and now a TV headliner as well, hasn’t been to the theater in eight years, except for the plays he’s appeared in during that period of time.

Jane Wilson, singing star-panelist of Celebrity Time, once was society editor of her hometown newspaper in Mansfield, Ohio, but lucky us!—she preferred singing to writing.

Recent statistics show some interesting facts for you radio vs. TV arguers: Highest talent costs for TV for one hour, is the All Star Revue, which totals $60,000. Radio’s highest-priced is Big Show at $35,000. TV has 29 shows with talent costing $20,000 or better, while radio has only four. To top off all this, a special kiddies Christmas Day TV show being packaged by Walt Disney will cost the sponsors more than $200,000 for the hour-long period!

Barry Sisters, singing stars of “Borscht Capades” are filming a series of what may be TV’s First Yiddish program.

Despite the fact that the Kukia, Fran and Ollie show has been trimmed to fifteen minutes, Burr Tillstrom will be receiving essentially the same stipend as before.

Life Magazine, which formerly sponsored a part of the Kuklapolitan time, is on the lookout for a major, big-budgeted TV attraction.

Bing Crosby Enterprises beat out RCA by unveiling its new, magnetic tape recorder, which transcribes sight and sound simultaneously off the face of a TV screen. It’s several steps ahead of the existing kinescope methods.

M&M Candies will sponsor another show for kiddies, Sunday afternoons in addition to being a participating bankroller on Super Circus.

Penn basketball to be televised this year if time can be cleared on local stations.

Steve Allen’s daytime show is expected to move to an even earlier spot, probably beginning at 10:30 in the morning.

Sid Caesar has a special reducing diet which enabled him to drop from his former 228 pounds to a comparatively sylph-like 195. Anybody who’ll talk to Sid about their reducing troubles gets his sympathy and advice.

Last month Laura Weber of Jackie Kelk’s “Young Mr. Bobbin” show racked up her 275th television performance. Not bad for a 14-year-old.

Roberta Quinlan was named the “Best Tressed Girl in America” by the nation’s beauty salon experts after they spotted Roberta’s hairdo on TV.

Film actor Philip Reed is the latest to hit the TV road.

We may see Milton Berle in a dramatic role before the year is out.

Jack Benny
Jane Wilson
Steve Allen

Video Vignettes - December 15, 1951

NBC recently closed a deal which nails down Judy Canova for a five-year period of radio and TV services. She’ll make her debut in TV via a film series.

Proof that the tough pace may be beginning to tell on Uncle Miltie Berle is his witticism uttered the night he was a featured guest at Jack Benny’s celebration of his 20 years in radio. “Twenty years in radio,” kidded Berle, “is the equivalent of doing three television shows,” Informed sources say he plans to stop working in TV as an entertainer in the “near future” intending to concentrate on producing and directing.

NBC’s quests for new talents will result in a new show titled “Tryouts” which will preem some time after 1952 rolls in.

Gene Autry’s show may go “live” in the future.

When Bing Crosby does appear on TV, it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll time his videbut so that it will also introduce his firm’s newly developed sight-sound magnetic tape. Der Bingle’s research engineers are working at top speed to have all the bugs ironed out of the new invention by next fall.

Something Theatre-TVers never foresaw already occurred several weeks back, in Toledo, where a football game was being shown on theatre-TV. Alluva sudden mechanical difficulties developed and it was impossible to pick up the program. So everybody had to get their money back.

The use of underwater television to aid in salvage operations has been developed for the Navy.

The TVersion of Rate Your Mate, M.C.’d by Robert Q. Lewis, auditioned recently.

Don’t know if these hot rumors are true, but Greta Garbo, who has succeeded in being “alawn” for many years, may come out of retirement long enough to appear in TV. According to the grapevine, she’ll do a guest shot in the title role of “Anna Christie” on a Celanese Theatre production, scheduled for January.

Condolences are in order for Don McNeill, whose TV Club drops from the airwaves as of December 19. Sponsor cancelled. Ditto for Lady Iris Mountbatten, star of Versatile Varieties, whose show was dropped as of December 14.

Rudolph Halley’s new position as President of the New York City Council keeps him very busy. That’s why he dropped out of the Crime Syndicate TV show.

Ken Murray’s contract has been renewed.

For a mere $1,000,000, Ginger Rogers has inked a 5-year contract covering a yearly series of 39-week television half-hours, to be aired live from the west coast. The show is expected to premiere shortly after April 1st, next year.

Breakfast In Hollywood,” rights have been purchased and may be revived for TV.

The real reason why Texaco nixed the sponsorship of opening night of Metropolitan Opera on TV wasn’t the high cost of same, since Texaco footed the bills for these openings before. Someone suddenly remembered that the Tuesday night opening meant competing with their own top salesman, Milton Berle!

Gertrude Berg has definitely turned down incorporation of the Goldbergs into any other show.

Judy Canova
Ginger Rogers
Greta Garbo
Bing Crosby
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