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  < Back to Table Of Contents  < Back to Topic: Create & Innovate Plus Home Made Gifts & Games

article number 755
article date 06-27-2019
copyright 2019 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
We Enter the Golden Age of Television, 1951, Part 5A: What You Watched: Jackie Gleason, Meet the Press, Peggy Lee . . .
by TV Digest, (Philadelphia) writers
   

Meet PEGGY LEE

The lovely, talented singing star who’s teamed up with Mel Torme.

Peggy Lee, that beautiful blonde with the smooth-as-silk singing voice is a regular attraction on TV these days. If you have been watching all the great starts of the theatre, movie and recording world enter television, then the appearance of Peggy Lee means you can chalk up another great acquisition for the video medium. (Mon., Wed., & Fri., 7:45 P. M., Channel 10).

For few vocalists have achieved Peggy’s phenomenal popularity and maintained it for so long a time. Ever since Peggy did that catchy vocal with the Benny Goodman crew swinging out with "Why Don’t You Do Right," this gal has stayed at the top. That was about ten years ago and Peggy has solidly maintained her popularity since.

Peggy was born Norma Egstrom on May 1920 in Jamestown North Dakota. The daughter of railroad brakeman, Peggy first learned to sing with a high school glee club and in the church choir. Although she set out to make a career of singing at the early age of 17, she had many a set back with throat ailments before series of operations set things right.

She was vocalist with Will Osborne’s Orchestra for a while, then sang in a club at Palm Springs, California, followed by an engagement at the swank Buttery of the Ambassador West Hotel in Chicago. A guest at the hotel at the time was Benny Goodman, who made almost nightly trips to the Buttery to hear Peggy sing. Finally he offered her a job as vocalist with his band—and the rest made musical history.

Peggy’s sweet and haunting song styling clicked from the very first. All her records sold like mad, with many of them becoming jazz collector’s items. Peggy’s voice hit you whether you were anywhere near a juke box, radio or in the movies. She achieved the heights of recognition.

Two years after joining the Goodman aggregation, Peggy married Dave Barbour, Bennys guitarist. A year later a baby daughter arrived—Nikki Barbour—and Peggy and Dave left the orchestra to establish a home in Hollywood. When she and her husband began to write and record successful song hits, popular demand led to personal appearance tours, motion pictures and regular singing appearances on Bing Crosby’s and Bob Hope’s radio shows.

Following her radio appearances with Crosby she appeared in two summer radio shows simultaneously—the “Rhapsody in Rhythm” series with Buddy Clark and Johnny Johnston and the “Summer Electric Hour” show with Woody Herman.

   
Peggy Lee with Mel Torme.

Video Vignette

   

It’s a long-awaited event but it finally has been settled. Bing Crosby will go on TV some time next year, but it will be definitely on film only. Der Bingle, who was responsible for the networks removing the ban on transcribed shows, will hold out similarly for TV films. The Groaner is free to enter TV as a result of his latest pact with Paramount.

With Kate Smith’s radio-to-TV transition paying off in terms of top daytime ratings, NBC is directing its attention toward the TV buildup of another radio veteran—Rudy Vallee.

If you notice that the James Melton show is getting a bit less luxurious, it’s because the show is reportedly having its budget revised downward.

   
Bing Crosby.

Now that most of the details of the Comedy hour show have been cleared up, the package is neatly nailed down for next fall. Martin-Lewis and Cantor are set for 11 appearances each. Tony Martin will be another rotator, although his exact number of shows is undetermined, The remaining Sunday night shows will feature Bea Lillie and other comedy personalities on the NBC roster.

Lloyd Nolan of film fame replaces William Gargan in the Martin Kane, Private Eye series both on radio and TV. Gargon is leaving to build his own private eye show for TV.

A unit of Amateur Hour standouts took off by plane to entertain our boys in the GI bases in Europe. Ted Mack will join them in August.

A big question in TV circles is: Will huge turnout of crowds at special theatre telecasts of the fights eventually spell the end of home telecasting of major sport events. In the meantime, home-TV is set for another season of Wednesday night boxing at least, since the contract was signed ahead of time.

Mr. and Mrs. Art Linkletter are vacationing in Europe. Ditto for Mr. and Mrs. Sid Caesar.

Sammy Kaye, of “So You Want To Lead a Band" fame, is getting a three-network exposure spread. His “Lead a Band’ show will be on Saturdays on CBS TV. He also was signed for a radio series on ABC, and his band is booked for five performances on DuMont’s “Cavalcade of Bands.”

The Pat O’Briens are setting up a TV show for themselves.

Bill Stern’s new sponsor is the Army Air Force.

Dorothy Worenskfold, singing star of the James Melton show, is an excellent tennis player, golfer and equestrienne and wanted to be a lawyer instead of a singer.

   
Sammy Kay.

An Hour Full of HILARIOUS HI-JINKS

• Jackie Gleason supplies those laughs on Cavalcade of Stars

WHEN the curtain rolls up on a “Cavalcade of Stars” show (Saturdays at 9 P.M. on Channel 6) you can safely get set for the ad lib kind of hilarity that is Jackie Gleason’s stock in trade. For Gleason is one of the few fun-makers on TV who doesn’t depend on a written joke or gag for laughs. He is naturally funny.

Actually, many of the savants of variety comedy regard Gleason as without peer as a sketch artist and point to those “Bachelor” skits as the finest examples of TV comedy. Gleason does them entirely in pantomine and is a bit on the Chaplinesque side in his renditions. The fans who have watched Gleason as a not particular adept lone wolf in such situations as spring cleaning, preparing a lavish meal and baby sitting, report side-splitting sessions of TV.

   
Jackie Gleason: "a bit on the Chaplinesque side in his renditions."

Almost equally funny are those “Father and Son” sketches dealing with the parental problems of raising a typical American youngster—although the latter would appear to be equally occupied raising an impressionable parent. In other comedy skits Gleason might portray a ludicrous playboy named Reggie Van Gleason or a belabored clerk named Fenwick who is usually feverishly embroiled in earning his daily bread.

Another piece of special Gleason talent is his monologue series, which Jackie does. a typically garrulous neighborhood bartender, full of droll observations concerning life in general and his patrons in particular.

Many of the types Gleason talks about are actual characters harking back to his own boyhood in Brooklyn. Unquestionably, Jackie came up the hard way, beginning by doing a comic act and walking off with first prizes at Amateur Nights, following that with a few hitches as MC at various entertainment spots. In general, Gleason stayed in the theatrical business on a catch as catch can basis, filling in with such jobs as barker in a carnival, daredevil driver in an auto circus and diver in the water follies.

In 1935, Jackie went to Newark to make a week-end appearance at the Miami Club. His fee was to be eight dollars. He stayed nearly three years and saw his stipend rise from $35 to $75 a week. From there on, Gleason’s star began a rapid ascendancy.

After touring the country, playing night clubs and vaudeville, Gleason was booked into New York’s 18 Club in 1940. There Jack Warner spotted him and signed him to a movie contract.

   
Jackie Gleason cornered?

After two years in Hollywood, during which time he appeared in “All Through The Night” and “Larceny, Inc.,” for Warner Brothers, and “Orchestra Wives” and “Springtime In The Rockies” for 20th Century-Fox, Gleason returned to New York to appear opposite Lew Parker in Olsen and Johnson’s “Hellzapoppin” and “Artists and Models.”

Jackie started in TV in the lead role in “The Life of Riley,” which bowed off TV last year, but Milton Douglas, producer of Cavalcade of Stars, always on the lookout for top talent, grabbed him off to emcee the show.

Jackie is married and the Gleasons have two daughters, Geraldine, born in 1939 and Linda, born in 1941. Both youngsters are starting off along artistic lines, with Geraldine adept at the piano and Linda going in for acting. Linda has on several occasions appeared with her Daddy in some Cavalcade of Stars skits.

Much of the credit for moulding “Cavalcade of Stars” from the straight variety show into a smart production revue goes to producer Milton Douglas. The choreography—a three-way collaboration between choreographer June Taylor, director Frank Bunetta and designer Eddie Gilbert—makes an outstanding contribution to the merit of the show. And—musical director Sammy Spear, former trumpeter at the famed Palace Theatre during vaudeville’s halcyon days, adds his share to the all-round excellence of the show.

LIFE’S A MECHANICAL DREAM IN 2350 A. D.

• Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, lives in an era in which trips to the moon are everyday stuff.

Unquestionably, four hundred years from now there’ll be some amazing innovations. No doubt rocket ships will jet into the air and bullet through outer space, falling gently to a landing on Venus. “Could be” that flights such as these will be scheduled, with special rates on excursion trips.

“Impossible!” you say? Not if you can visualize the year 2350 A.D. Of course, if your imagination needs a small shot in the arm, the television program “Space Cadet” can supply just that.

On the Space Cadet show (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on Channel 6 at 6:30 P.M.; Saturdays on Channel 10 at 9 P.M.) it’s pretty ordinary stuff for air ships to be atomically propelled through space at supersonic speeds.

   
SPACE ROMANCE: Frankie Thomas portrays Tom Corbett, Space Cadet and Margaret Garland is his girl friend. Viewers will be relieved to find (Goodie, Goodie!) that girls haven’t changed much, even by 2350 A.D.

Starred in the show is Tom Corbett, a young cadet at Space Academy, a kind of West Point of 2350 A.D.

Young Corbett, like other Space Cadets, is preparing to enter the Solar Guard, whose job it is to maintain universal peace. War as we know it today no longer exists (that’s a nice future for us to look forward to) and guns have been outlawed. (Gee! What’ll happen to Hopalong Cassidy?). Weapons of all kinds, the most common of which is the paraloray, are locked away and taken out only when solar expeditions set out to explore new areas of the universe.

   
HOW IT’S DONE: Trick sets and camera angles produce the illusion of cadets walking up and down walls with the greatest of ease. Give the magazine a quarter turn counter clock-wise and you’ll see how it’s done.

The show’s writers have envisioned a startling era in which the new look in women’s clothes has completely disappeared. The well-formed feminine knee is back in full view. Men no longer wear suits. Scientist have developed many new gadgets, among which are a ceiling paint that catches light during the day and illuminates rooms at night; a ray razor about the size of a pack of cigarettes that flicks the whiskers off a man’s face (Myomy! Can’t they come up with something that’ll eliminate shaving altogether?).

But, let’s get down to earth. It wouldn’t be too surprising to learn that Frankie Thomas, who portrays Tom Corbett, star of the series, rides to work on a subway before he can check into one of those rocket ships. Frankie is a veteran actor, having appeared on Broadway as a child star in the early thirties. He has been in a number of Broadway plays, on Radio and TV. He’s quite an athlete (welterweight champion of Marine Div. Pacific Coast) and goes in for tennis, golf and yachting.

Others in the cast include Al Markim, who portrays Cadet Astro; Jan Merlin (Cadet Manning), and Frank Sutton (Cadet Rattison). Markim and Merlin are married and in their middle twenties. Sutton also is married, but is in his late twenties.

The business of portraying an era four hundred years from now is not done without technical difficulties and the behind-the-scenes folk have many a problem.

One of the phenomena expected is that the cadets walk on walls and be suspended from ceilings. Although such antics have been done in the movies by stop-action, superimposition and dark room editing, doing the job on live TV is something else again. The trick, as finally accomplished, calls for specially constructed sets (see cut) tipped on their sides, or with TV cameras suspended at odd angles.

There’s a New Songstress on the GARRY MOORE SHOW

• Cover girl Ilene Woods is the replacement for lovely Denise Lor.

   

There’ve been some changes made on the Garry Moore Show (Mondays through Fridays at 2 and 4:30 P. M. on Channel 10). Ilene Woods, the new featured vocalist on the show, is replacing Denise Lor while Denise takes time out to have a baby.

Unquestionably, Garry Moore feels pretty lucky to have a substitute star like Ilene—especially after the difficulty he had landing an attractive vocalist before he found Denise. Garry had a rather frantic time back in the fall of 1950. One week before the Garry Moore Show was scheduled to make its bow on radio and television, the comedian was still trying to select a feminine vocalist from among the 300 applicants.

Patiently, he listened to each aspirant sing the particular song she selected. Just as he was giving up hope of finding a shapely, pulchritudinous vocalist, a shy girl edged her way toward the piano. With charming dignity, she unrolled a sheet of music and at the signal, her voice rolled out pleasantly through the theatre. Moore bolted upright in his seat and made haste to see that Denise Lor became a part of his show.

Blue-eyed, raven-haired Denise began her singing career in a church choir, although she had been thinking about a career as a painter for a long time. When her voice teacher heard her sing, however, that settled it. Recognizing her unusual tonal qualities, she urged Denise to consider a musical career.

Denise Lor has sung in night clubs through the United States and Canada and played the Ella Logan role in the road company of “Finian’s Rainbow.” More recently she appeared as vocalist in “Hats Off To Ice” at New York’s Center Theatre.

Since that time Denise has built up a tremendous television following. Her talents as a song stylist have been duly recognized. But career or no career, Denise is taking a leave absence to await a second visit from the stork. In private life, she’s Mrs. Jay Martin, wife of a CBS director and mother of a 3 1/2-year-old son.

   
DEPARTING STAR: Denise Lor, former vocalist of the Garry Moore Show, is off the show temporarily—to await a visit from the stork.

Ilene Woods, who is ably filling in for Denise, is a youthful performer who has nevertheless been around show business a surprisingly long time. The bright and charming young lady with the wholesome looks and voice to match made her debut at the grand old age of three.

Her humble beginnings came when she did a song in blackface at a firemen’s minstrel show in her home town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. By the time she was a mere 11 years old, she was established in radio as a singer.

Ilene’s big break came in the summer of 1944, through Paul Whiteman. As musical director of ABC, he selected her as featured singer. Then followed appearances with Don McNeill, Jack Carson, Bing Crosby and on Bob Crosby’s Club 15.

Ilene Woods’ voice brought her extra fame when she won the “Cinderella” voice role in the Walt Disney cartoon feature.

Offstage, Ilene is Mrs. Stephen Steck. Her husband is a musician and musical arranger in Hollywood, and they have a three-year-old daughter, Stephanie Joan.

This easy switching of popular vocalists leaves Garry Moore, star of the show, free to continue coaxing laughter from his listeners, a job he has been doing with admirable efficiency foe a long time.

TV MARATHON TO BE STAGED FOR PALSY VICTIMS

• Henny Youngman heads show scheduled to provide 14½ hours of entertainment.

   
The three Poster Children of United Cerebral Palsy’s 1951 Campaign—Joananne Smillie, 10, of Brooklyn, Mary Farenga, 16, of Floral Park, L. I., and Leonard Eaton, 10, of Brooklyn, who will appear on the 14½-hour telethon to be staged by WFIL-TV on Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 9, from Philadelphia and Atlantic City.

Henny Youngman, one of the nation’s top comedians, will do a Milton Berle when he serves as master of ceremonies of the gigantic television marathon to be produced by WFIL-TV on the weekend of September 8- 9 for the benefit of the United Cerebral Palsy Associations of Pennsylvania and South Jersey.

The program, on which cerebral palsy victims will share the spotlight with some of the outstanding entertainers in show business, is scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m. Saturday and continue through the night until approximately 1 p.m. Sunday.

Youngman will be in front of the WFIL-TV cameras during a major part of the 14½-hour telethon, which will originate from Philadelphia’s Town Hall. From time to time the program will switch to Atlantic City, where other “name” personalities and persons wishing to contribute to the cerebral palsy fund will appear before the cameras in the first telecast ever to be presented to the public from the famous New Jersey resort.

Prizes . . . $10,000 worth . . . including a grand prize of a Ford car, furs, refrigerator, TV set, electric range, etc., will be awarded on the basis of the largest and timeliest donations by viewers. By means of strategically-placed TV receivers, contributors to the cerebral palsy fund will be able to see themselves on television as they drop their donations in a container. Telephone operators will be on duty to accept pledges.

At Town Hall, Youngman will be assisted by approximately 40 volunteer telephone operators who will accept calls from contributors.

Frank Brookhouser, columnist of The Philadelphia Inquirer, will be on the stage at Town Hall to aid in the appeal for funds. Headline entertainers appearing in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, New York, and other cities also will take part in the show. Among those mentioned at this writing are Jane Pickens, Ginger Rogers, Kay Francis, Gus Van, Johnny Long, Jinx Falkenburg, Bill Farrell, Don Cornell, Toni Arden, Charley Ventura and Bill Kenny, of the Ink Spots. Jack Steck, manager of programs and production for WFIL-TV, will be in charge of production for the telethon.

   
Henny Youngman, Master of Ceremonies for the United Cerebral Palsy’s 1951 campaign.

Man With The 30-YEAR TELEVISION CONTRACT

• It’s first down and twenty-nine more to go for Milton—”Mr. Television” — Berle.

Maybe you’re among those who aren’t exactly “Berle-crazy.” If you are, it’s a free country—but take that superior sneer off your countenance. Some of our best TV fans are Berle fans. And, according to every kind of rating index, he’s still “Mr. Television”—the top ranking of all television drawing cards.

Some people want to overlook the fact that Berle is one of the most fabulous of the television stars. Their memory goes through a vacuum when all the tremendous publicity and fanfare is accorded Uncle Milty.

They forget the indefatigable star who’s more than willing to knock himself out for “causes.”

They look the other way when he’s honored as a champion of inter-faith understanding or when he’s saluted by hundreds of groups everywhere for his work with numerous charitable organizations.

They even grudgingly admit he can pull in the shekels for the Damon Runyon Fund when they hear that his 3-year total for pledges for three grueling sessions of marathon shows comes to a mere $3,472,663!

But, there’s one thing no television fan can overlook about Berle. The one concrete piece of evidence concerning this great comedian’s unflagging popularity is the fact that he’s the proud owner of one of the most unusual contracts in show business.

Yes, NBC-TV thought enough of Milton Berle—either as an important “property” or as a considered asset to their network— to sign Berle to a 30-year contract!

   
“Booked solid for 30 years! Man, that’s living!” “No worries about gags, or about security.”

May we hasten to add that NBC-TV didn’t do that on the basis of Berle’s charity efforts. They guaranteed him $50,000 a year for the next 30 years because each Tuesday night at 8 P.M. (on Channel 3 locally) a sizeable segment of TV humanity watches his show.

Pretty soon Mciltie’s first year on that contract will be up and then he’ll have 29 more years to go. But don’t think that Berle will have to over-work in order to keep on collecting. Born in 1908, he’s in his early forties, which means he’ll be in his early seventies when the contract expires.

Actually, the contract amounts to an “annuity” which Berle gets IN ADDITION to the money Mr. Texaco gives him and in addition to the take for guest appearances at other shows.

Nice Terms For Anyone

Berle’s actual working years are the first twenty of the thirty. Before you get a picture of Berle going through his present hectic paces in his sixties, let us hasten to state the first twenty years of his contract are divided into four five-year periods, as follows: First five years he is committed to work 39 weeks a year; the second five years, only 25 weeks each year.

During the next two five-year periods Berle need never appear before the cameras in a TV show (but we’ll lay plenty of 6 to 5 that he will if he so prefers. His work, under this period of the contract would be as a producer, writer, director or production consultant. During the latter two periods he’s committed to work only 25 weeks each year.

For the final ten years of his 30 year contract, Berle gets his paycheck whether he works or not. (Nice deal, eh?). He just goes on collecting without having to even set foot in NBC’s studios if that’s the way he feels about it.

Started At Bottom

Even the anti-Berles must admit that Mama Berlinger’s boy Milton has done all right by himself. He started in vaudeville, worked his way up as a topnotch “single” act and on to stardom on Broadway, radio and in the movies. Berle got to the top because he had plenty of energy and show business savvy.

Maybe at the end of that 30-year dream deal, we’ll find Berle at his relaxing hobbies of collecting stamps and doing card tricks. Or, who knows? Maybe he’ll still be the capering, whooping, punchy comedian who changed Tuesday into “Berle night” in millions of American homes?

   
“The salary is good and it’s steady, besides . . .“ “Where else could I paid without working."

Giving a Party?

• Some simple tips bn. advance planning ideas.

By Betty Furness

If you’re planning any sort of party at your own home, whether it’s to be just a few friends in for an evening or a big open house, naturally you want the affair to be the best party you can possibly give.

Perhaps I can pass along a few tips, basic principles I’ve learned by experience. I always know, when one of my parties is over, just how successful it has been. If I—myself—have really enjoyed the whole thing, if I’m happy, untired, and just in the mood for more of the same, I can be pretty sure everyone has had fun at the party.

So I guess that’s a good yardstick. It’s just a matter of planning in advance so that the hostess will be at ease and in good spirits all the time the party is in progress.

First, I always invite a few tried and true friends, people who come to every party I give if they can. These boys and girls know me well and I can always depend on them to go along with any stunts or games we plan. They know where I keep everything, and help me see that everyone has enough to eat at the proper time.

And if by some mishap someone comes who is a bit of a bore I always know one of my “trusties” will look out for him and help him get on the beam. This doesn’t often happen, however, if you invite a congenial crowd. Doesn’t matter too much whether they all know each other beforehand. People like to make new friends.

Again, if I am going to ask one or more well known people—perhaps celebrities who happen also to be, visiting firemen in New York at the time—I try to be sure the ones I choose are individuals who naturally like parties and who will contribute something to the general fun. Most good extroverts have parlor tricks of their own and enjoy doing them. At the same time they make fine audiences for the talents of other people.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like other types. A world-famous author, for instance, might be most interesting to meet and listen to in a small group, or tete-a-tete over the teacups. Yet he might be a difficult party guest and require more individual attention that you’d ever have time to bestow when you are hostess to a crowd.

Then, of course, you will plan at least a few things to do that will be fun for all, knowing that other things will suggest themselves as the party goes along. You don’t have to plan every last minute of your party, or get upset if the things you do plan don’t come off in just the order you have thought of in advance. Still, only the most inexperienced gal would simply invite a crowd and wait until they got there before she planned any of the fun.

Last but not least, of course, you’ll want some good things to eat and drink. Be sure the food is as simple as it is good—nothing that requires last minute attention lest it curdle or otherwise go wrong just when you want to serve it. Choose refreshments that can be ready well in advance, leaving you time to be rested and fresh when the guests arrive.

That’s about all I can think of, and I hope every party you ever give is as much fun for you as mine are for me!

   
Betty Furness.

ABOUT BETTY FURNESS:
In selecting a party hostess it would be difficult to make a better choice than Betty Furness. Born in New York City, the vivacious blonde went to Hollywood while still a youngster and appeared in dozens of movies. She also played lead roles in Broadway hits, and became a John Roberts Powers model with her piquant beauty gracing many national magazine covers.

In 1945 she dabbled a little in radio and the following year got her first television “break” on Studio One.

One peek at Betty convinced Westinghouse executives that Betty would be ideal doing the show’s commercials. As a result she’s been at it ever since. Last year she also had her own “Penthouse Party” and has been featured an “Leave It to the Girls,” “Martin Kane—Private Eye,” and “Hollywood Screen Test.” She is 5:05 1/2, weighs 110 pounds and loves to knit.

The People Who Record The News Meet The People Who Make It On MEET THE PRESS

Just cast around for the more cultural and intellectual kind of programs on television and see if “Meet The Press” doesn’t head up most lists. For the many who feel that keeping their fingers on the pulse of a changing world is a “must”, the program fulfills an urgent need.

Meet The Press (Sundays at 7:30 and Tuesdays at 8 P.M., Channel 3) is usually an explosive kind of press conference. For thirty, unrehearsed, uncensored minutes, four of the nation’s top news reporters fire searching questions at a personality whose words and deeds make national news. The fact that much of the nation can sit in on these important sessions means much more than television entertainment. It’s both a tribute to and demonstration of America’s freedom of speech and expression.

Each program presents some new and refreshing angles on America’s political picture—although other important issues are sometimes pursued. The panel of newsmen and women “throw the book” at a front-page figure in a no-punches-barred meeting for only a half-hour, but there’s hardly a television household anywhere where the subject of controversy is not pursued in open debate long after the program is over.

Quests on the program have included governors, senators, cabinet men and top-drawer department officials in the limelight. Most of the guests are articulate, and armed with an impressive knowledge of their pet subjects. But, to date, all of them have met newsmen worthy of their steel in the lineup of panel members. The men and women who ask those leading questions for the benefit of the viewers are nearly all either tops in the reporting business or byline names known to every literate individual.

Martha Rountree, co-producer of Meet The Press, moderates the telecasts, which usually originate in Washington. A journalism major at the University of South Carolina and member of the Women’s National Press Club as well as of the American Newspaper Women’s Association, Martha Rountree’s journalistic experience enables her almost to anticipate the questions to be asked. Quick to recognize the signs of a verbal storm developing during the question-and-answer parrying on the program, she skillfully guides the proceedings safely through controversial channels.

   
REGULAR PANEL MEMBER: Lawrence E. Spivak appears weekly to toss those leading Questions at the show’s famous guests.

With the same adroitness, she bolsters a lagging discussion with a sharp, provocative comment. Her skilful handling of the program has inspired such esteem on the part of her guests that there is a formidable list of personalities who would like to return to Meet The Press.

Lawrence Edmund Spivak, who coproduces Meet The Press along with Martha Rountree, is the only “permanent member” on the panel. Spivak has been editor and publisher of the American Mercury Magazine since 1944, as well as publisher of a string of other magazines which include Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Detective, Bestseller Mysteries and others.

Known as the firebrand of the panel reporters, Spivak is a native New Yorker, who took his AB degree at Harvard. He’s married to Charlotte Beir Ring and they have two children, a girl and a boy. Spivak has the remarkable ability of getting at the root of any situation and pursues a weakness with off-the-cuff questions that bring extra facts to light.

Some of the celebrities who have appeared on Meet the Press in recent weeks include John Foster Dulles, John L. Lewis, Michael DiSalle, Sen. Robert A. Taft, Charles E. Wilson, Thomas K. Finletter, Senator Styles Bridges and Walter Reuther.

   
GOV. THOMAS E. DEWEY MEETS THE PRESS. One of the most provocative discussion periods of the year occurred when New York’s Governor Dewey answered questions for the reporters. Shown above with Dewey is Martha Rountree, show co-producer, who also acts as moderator for the discussions.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MODERATOR IN THE TV SCENE

• TV’s top moderators give us the lowdown with some personal, behind-the-scenes observations.

“There’s far more to moderating,” says Martha Rountree, telegenic moderator of Meet The Press, “than just acting as a combination clock-watcher and televisual Emily Post. It’s my job to know the background and general opinions of the various newspapermen who appear on the panel. When I feel that a certain facet of the topic is being neglected, I can call on a reporter whose question might shed additional light.”

   
MOVE THE PRESS: Martha Rountree depends on a knowledge of her panel to keep her show well paced.

That’s just the opinion of one moderator. Just call on any of the other top TV moderators and each offers a slightly different slant of the importance of their jobs. Take John Daly, moderator of It’s News to Me and What’s My Line, for instance:

“My main problems are timing and being careful not to give an inadvertent hint to the panelists. I feel I’m having fun, which makes for an informality that puts everybody at ease.”

   
MODERATOR-HOST: John Daly stresses the importance of timing and informality as a basis for success.

As quotemaster of Who Said That, Bob Trout does his share of moderating too. “I find myself instinctively heading off trouble,” he says. “But sometimes things go to the other extreme. You’d be surprised to know how many of our big-name guests are camera shy.”

   
WHO SAID WHAT: Bob Trout keeps a sharp eye peeled to avoid clashes.

Maggi McNellis, chic hostess on Leave It To The Girls, is successful as a moderator because she’s such a thorough extrovert. “The secret of moderating,” she says, “is relaxation. Don’t become emotionally involved in the argument; don’t let yourself become irritated. Keep cool, relax and enjoy it. I do, because I love people.”

Jan Murray’s secret of success is the use of a line of fast patter and faster ad lib. He says: “There’s loads of humor in everybody and what I try to do is draw it out.”

The importance of the moderator was most succinctly and impressively stated by Eleanor Roosevelt who does a most tactful job on “Mrs. Roosevelt Meets the Public.”

“I think of the custom of ‘moderating’ as something very American,” said Mrs. Roosevelt. “Not that it was ours originally, but because our earliest settlers recognized it as a precious possession to be brought to this country and protected and written into our earliest laws. Who the moderator is does not matter. But his responsibility to moderate is a sacred trust, for we have made it the guardian of one of our greatest freedoms—the freedom of speech.”

   
CAN: “Our earliest settlers recognized moderating as a precious possession,” says Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt.

HE’S LOADED!

   
CRACKED CLOWNERY: Red Skelton and his comic clowning has scored heavily with televiewers. He is rapidly becoming a top favorite of viewers who like plenty of laughs in their TV fare.

INSPIRATIONAL. TELEVISION

• “Youth On The March” is solidly established in the video medium.

“Youth On The March” — the Young People’s Church Of The Air — made its debut back in October, 1949, as the first religious program to be seen on a television network. Since then the successive inspirational programs have demonstrated by their warmth and sincerity that religious programs should have a prominent place on television and that this medium may well be used for successful missionary ventures.

Featured on the program are the Rev. Percy Crawford and a musical and choral group, representing the Young People’s Church Of The Air (Sunday at 11 P.M. on Channel 6). Well known for his directness and the fiery quality of his sermons, Dr. Crawford has become a favorite among those who appreciate someone with a good basic knowledge on the troubles of today’s world and a deep understanding of the trials which beset the youth of America.

The manner in which the presentation is made comes as a pleasant surprise to most viewers. Young people perform, but not with an over-sentimental expression. In their eyes in-stead is the good, clean expression of the young. Obviously, to them the program in which they are participating is one of the fine experiences of their lives.

They make beautiful music in song and instrumentation. To watch them and listen to them is to form a deeper understanding of Youth’s natural desire for social life, to know that in young America there is a natural tendency toward religion.

   
"Youth On The March.” They make beautiful music in song and instrumentation.

While everyone believes that television is the ideal medium to bring religion to a vast audience few inspirational programs have been able to remain on the airwaves for any length of time. It remained for Rev. Crawford to prove that it could be done.

“Even some of my friends said we would never receive enough money to stay on the air,” Crawford admits. “Yet, week after week, money enough has come in from listeners to keep it on TV.”

Dr. Percy Crawford is 49, was educated in Portland, Oregon, U.C.L.A. in California, Wheaton, Westminster Seminary and Penn. He is married and his wife, Ruth, does a top job of musical arranging on the Youth on the March programs. The Crawfords have five children: Don, 14; Dick, 12; Dan, 9; Dean, 6, and Donna, 2.

   
Reverend, Dr. Percy Crawford.

ANOTHER TV "WHO-DUN-IT." HE TRACKS ‘EM DOWN

* Bringing famous film star Edmund Lowe to your television screens.

Most of the television plays about detectives—whether of the amateur or private shamus variety—have resolved themselves into a formula. Firstly, somebody’s in trouble. Secondly, they come to the detective for aid. Thirdly, the detective solves the mystery.

   

Of course, somewhere in between these primary breakdowns, there’s some feminine interest. There’s also a murder or two and the detective invariably gets into plenty of hot water and intrigue before he turns the culprits over to the authorities.

In the case of “Front Page Detective” (Fridays at 10:30 on Channel 10) the feminine interest is neatly supplied by the lovely movie starlet Paula Drew.

But the bigwig in each detective story is ye olde shamus himself. He’s got to have what it takes. He must be a tough he-man, amply stocked with muscles for the adventure department and have plenty of brains upstairs.

To Edmund Lowe, this sort of stuff is a natural. For many years his movie roles called for him to portray the adventurer, the sharpie, the smooth- talking romeo. His widest acclaim, however, was gained through his characterization of the tough sergeant in “What Price Glory.”

Lowe was born in San Jose, California, on March 3, 1892. He made his professional stage debut with a Los Angeles stock company in “The Brat.” He appeared on Broadway for six years in several outstandingly successful plays before he was induced to try a screen career.

Lowe played his first lead role opposite Clara Kimball Young in “Eyes of Youth” and got his first starring vehicle in the “Silent Command” back in 1923. From that time on, Edmund Lowe was established as a popular movie star and he appeared in countless pictures.

This year—at the age of 59—Lowe turned to TV. While the role of a newspaper columnist who is equally noted as an amateur detective calls for some arduous physical exertion, Lowe is equal to the task. An athlete of many years standing, he plays a strong game of golf, tennis, baseball and is an expert swimmer.

Rancher, grape grower, horticulturist and dog fancier, Lowe owns a 1200-acre ranch at Skyland, in the Santa Cruz mountains. He lives in a modest but beautiful Bel Air home in West Los Angeles, supplemented with art treasures from all over the world.

He’s still an immaculate dresser (remember him in “Dressed to Kill?”) is fond of music and is always among the first nighters when opera or a worthwhile concert is on the boards.

   
Edmund Lowe, Front Page Detective.
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