January through May 2014
Dr. Brian Belanger, Curator of the National Capital Radio & Television Museum, has announced the classic television screenings for January through May, 2014.
These screenings take place weekly on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
Admission to the Museum is free, with donations encouraged.
January Weekend Showings: Historic Films About Radio and TV
Jan. 3-5 Behind Your Radio Dial: The Story of NBC (1947)
This 24 minute documentary includes a behind the scenes tour of Radio City and NBC’s studios just after WW II.
Jan. 10-12 Independent Radio Station (WMCA)
This 18 minute film describes New York City station WMCA and provides a tour of its facilities.
Jan. 17-19 Magic in the Air
A 1941 General Motors film about the development of television, followed by a 1955 remake with the same title.
Jan. 24-26 Dedication of NBC’s Washington studios on Nebraska Ave.( May 28, 1958)
President Eisenhower speaks, along with David Brinkley, David Sarnoff, and others
Bonus feature: Newsnight local news program (unknown date) and 1962 Thanksgiving day parade.
February is Variety Show Month
Jan. 31-Feb. 2 Bonnie Maid Versa-Tile Varieties
Starring Harold Barry, Peggy Ann Garner, Anne Francis, and June Walker, this is an example of how crudely produced early TV shows were compared to today’s fare. Telecasting began in 1949 and ended in 1951. Anne Francis appeared in floor covering commercials, accompanied by actors playing “wear” and “tear.”
Feb. 7-9 Chesterfield Supper Club (The Perry Como Show)
Perry Como, with his relaxed singing style, was one of the most popular crooners of his era. This 1949 episode is an early one—Como’s TV show was on from 1948 to 1963. His show often featured celebrity guests.
Feb. 14-16 Toast of the Town (Called the Ed Sullivan Show later)
Ed Sullivan’s deadpan delivery was a frequent target for impersonators, but the guests he had on his
program were top-notch, ranging from the Beatles to classical musicians. The program aired from 1948 to 1971, a remarkably long run for a variety show. This particular show is from April, 1953.
Feb. 21-23 Don McNeill’s TV Club
Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club had a long successful run on radio beginning in 1933, but when a prime time TV version was tried on ABC in 1950, it lasted only about a year, after which McNeill went back to radio.
March is Kid’s Adventure Stories Month
Feb. 28 – March 2 Sky King
Sky King, a show about a pilot/rancher, was on radio from 1946 to 1954. It offered classic radio premiums (e.g., a telescope ring, a glow-in-the-dark ring with a secret compartment) to its devoted listeners. Beginning in 1953, the TV version lasted only one year. Sky King, Penny, and Clipper of the Flying Crown Ranch had more than their share of exciting adventures.
March 7-9 Captain Video and His Video Rangers
By later standards (think Star Trek and Star Wars), this early children’s program about space adventures is incredibly amateurish. (Its prop budget was only $25/week!) Captain Video and his colleagues used atomic rifles and fanciful devices such as a “opticon scillometer” to mete out justice to the universe. (A 1949 episode.)
March 14-16 The Lone Ranger
Beginning as a Detroit-based local radio show in 1933, The Lone Ranger soon went nation-wide, and quickly became one of the most popular westerns ever. Given how many kids tuned in each day, Rossini’s William Tell Overture, which introduced the show, may be the best-known piece of classical music. With his sidekick, Tonto, The Lone Ranger strived to avenge wrongs without bloodshed in the old West.
March 21-23 Lassie
A smart and loyal collie, Lassie was the kind of dog devoted to his master that every kid dreamed of having. On CBS from 1954 to 1971 (later syndicated), Lassie’s adventures over so many years required the use of several different actor dogs.
March 28-30 Space Patrol
“Travel into the future with Buzz Corey, commander-in-chief of the SPACE PATROL!” The popularity of Captain Video may have inspired this program, which was aired on both radio and ABC TV in the early 1950s. Cadet Happy often responded to Corey with “Smokin’ rockets, Commander!”
April is Quiz Show/Game Show Month
April 4-6 Twenty Questions
Bill Slater was the host of this 1952 show on the DuMont Channel. Based on the parlor game “animal, vegetable, or mineral” it aired from 1949 to 1955. In addition to DuMont, at other times it had been shown on NBC and ABC. Before television it had been on the Mutual Radio Network.
April 11-13 What’s My Line
This Goodman/Todman production was one of the most popular game shows of early television. It was on CBS for 17 years beginning in 1950. Panels included big names such as Fred Allen, Steve Allen, and Arlene Francis.
April 18-20 You Bet Your Life
Groucho Marx made his mark in movies in the 1930s, but his hosting of this popular game show lasted from 1950 to 1961. Groucho would say “Say the secret word and the duck will drop down and give you $100.”
April 25-27 To Tell the Truth
Another Goodman/Todson production, it was hosted by Bud Collyer throughout its entire life on CBS (1956-67). Three contestants were introduced, each claiming to be some person with an interesting story. By asking a few questions, the four panelists had to decide which one was telling the truth. (See the September 2012 issue of Dials and Channels for more information about this program.)
May is Detective/Law Enforcement Month
May 2-4 Dragnet Nov. 6, 1952, “The Big 17”
Based on actual Los Angeles Police Department files, Dragnet began on radio in 1949 but beginning in 1952, became one of television’s most popular police shows. Jack Webb as Sergeant Friday was a no-nonsense cop famous for lines like “Just the facts, mam, just the facts.”
May 9-11 Gangbusters “Dillinger,” with Myron Healey
The radio version of Gangbusters aired from 1936 to 1957, but the TV version was on the air for less than a year in 1952. At the end of each telecast a photo of a criminal wanted by the police was shown, and a number of them were apprehended when viewers called in with leads.
May 16-18 Highway Patrol
Broderick Crawford starred in this law enforcement drama. It lasted from 1955 to 1959, and long after that, in re-runs. Episodes were filmed mostly outdoors, probably in California, although that was not stated.
May 13-25 Man Against Crime “The Day Man,”
The “Man” was detective Mike Barnett, played by Ralph Bellamy. Barnett solved crimes in the New York City area by using both his intellect and his fists.