The 1962 Television Season
Autumn has traditionally been the start of a new television season, and 1962 was no different. So, what’s new on the tube for this year? Let’s look through the September 15, 1962 issue of TV Guide and see. First up is NBC with these new shows:
- Sam Benedict – a legal drama that only ran one season,
- The Eleventh Hour - a medical drama focusing on psychiatry that was broadcast for two years,
- The Wide Country – a western that only ran one season,
- Empire – another western that only ran one season,
- The Merv Griffin Show - a talk show that only ran one season,
- Ensign O'Toole - a military sitcom that only ran one season. It starred Dean Jones, who died recently on September 1, 2015,
- McKeever and the Colonel – another military sitcom that only ran one season,
- Saints and Sinners - drama series about a newspaper reporter that only ran one season,
- It's a Man's World - combination comedy-drama that did not even last a full season,
- Don't Call Me Charlie - a sitcom that only ran one season,
- The Virginian - a western that aired 1962 to 1971, and was television's first 90-minute western series,
- The Andy Williams Show - a variety show that was broadcast from 1962 to 1971, and
- Exploring - a Saturday morning children's educational show that ran until 1966.
Looking at CBS we find:
- The Jackie Gleason Show – a variety show that was subtitled The American Scene Magazine and ran until 1970,
- The Nurses - a medical drama that was broadcast for three years,
- Fair Exchange – a sitcom that only ran one season,
- GE True (or General Electric True) – an anthology drama series sponsored by General Electric, which presented stories previously published in True magazine. Articles from the magazine were adapted to television by Gene Roddenberry of later Star Trek fame and other screenwriters. It only ran one season,
- The New Loretta Young Show – a combination drama-comedy that did not even last a full season,
- The Lucy Show - a sitcom that aired through 1968. It was Lucille Ball's follow-up to I Love Lucy,
- The Lloyd Bridges Show - an anthology drama series, which used the unusual plot device of having the apparent author of a story transformed into the main character of each episode. It only ran one season, and
- The Beverly Hillbillies - a sitcom originally that was broadcast for nine seasons. It ranked among the top twenty most watched programs for eight of its nine seasons and has many episodes that remain among the most watched shows of all time.
Over on ABC, there were:
- Stoney Burke - a western that only ran one season,
- Our Man Higgins – a sitcom that that only ran one season,
- Room for One More – a sitcom that did not even last a full season,
- The Gallant Men – a military drama that only ran one season,
- Combat! – a more successful military drama that aired until 1967,
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - a sitcom that did not even last a full season. It was based on the 1939 Frank Capra film of the same name. The show starred Fess Parker, who was best known for his portrayals of Davy Crockett and as Daniel Boone in television shows of those same names,
- Going My Way - a combination comedy-drama series that did not even last a full season. It was based on the 1944 film of the same name. The program was dancer Gene Kelly's first and only attempt at a weekly television series,
- The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show – a western comedy and variety program that did not even last a full season. The premiere episode honored the 1962 Seattle World's Fair.
- The Jetsons - an animated sitcom that did not last a full season its first time around, but was later syndicated with new episodes from 1985 to 1987 and has since become an American icon of a future that never was,
- McHale's Navy – a military sitcom that ran for four years,
- I'm Dickens, He's Fenster - a sitcom only ran one season, and
- Discovery – a news program geared towards children and teenagers that began as a weekday series and was later moved to Sunday mornings.
Of course, there were new Saturday morning cartoons too. And finally, we have a new show on NET and two for syndication. The Toy That Grew Up was produced by WTTW, the Chicago affiliate of the National Educational Television (NET) network. It aired complete and uninterrupted silent films for ten years, from 1962 to 1972, lasting into Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) days. The Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio produced a new animated series for syndication, featuring Wally Gator, Touché Turtle and Dum Dum, and Lippy the Lion & Hardy Har Har. These began airing September 3, 1962. I’ll mention another syndicated cartoon show, Space Angel, later in the page.
The list reveals an awful lot of single season shows, which are as forgettable now as they probably were then. But I remember watching several of the others, especially McHale's Navy, I'm Dickens, He's Fenster, Combat!, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Virginian, the various cartoons, and The Andy Williams Show. Of course, since we only had one TV, this probably tells me about both my dad’s choice in programs and my memory of the ones I liked.
National Parks and National Forests
Other places to see some great fall color are our National Parks and National Forests. Take a look at some in my two part post on National Parks, Forests, and More.
1962 In Advertising
The Coca-Cola Company published "Pause for Living" booklets from 1954 through 1969. Similar to today’s Martha Stewart Living magazine, these booklets covered the flower arranging, home decorating, and party planning aspects of what is often called "gracious living", though they carried no recipes. They were targeted to garden clubs, sororities, Junior Leagues, church groups, PTA groups, women's clubs, beauty salons, and dentist offices, in an advertising effort to reach women with a friendly reminder that Coca-Cola was the perfect beverage for entertaining at home. In the peak years of the mid-1960s, over a half million of each issue were distributed. Just looking at the cover of the Fall 1962 issue, I’m ready for a Coke!
1962 Comic Buy of the Week
scan from Grand Comics Database
Comic book covers today often follow the holidays, but I cannot find any obvious Halloween covers from 1962. However, there were some horror-suspense comics with tales suitable for telling around a campfire or a flashlight under the covers. One such comic was Boris Karloff Thriller #1, an 84 page monster with stories that included “Gleam of Evil”, “A Haunted Honeymoon”, and “The Hand in the Wall”. BOO!
US-6 Featured Trip Segment
The newest episode of our US-6 roadtrip travels from Denver to Golden, Colorado for Day 30. It’s a short travel day, but with the mountains in view, we visit museums, 150-year old bars, and more. And this time of year, the mountains are decorated nicely with the aspen trees turning yellow, so take a tour around the edges of the Denver area when you’re out there.
Guest Blog of the Week
Speaking of the 1962 television show “Space Angel”, check out the Belated Nerd blog. Space Angel was a syndicated cartoon series that was designed to be shown on the after school kid shows like Bozo the Clown and hundreds of locally-produced shows. The Belated Nerd has articles on all sorts of things from the early 1960s period to enjoy, even though the blog has not been updated lately.
US-23 Featured Trip Segment
Highway US-23 passes through many areas of beautiful autumn colors, from the shores of Lake Huron to the mountain slopes of northern Georgia. Day 4 of the trip is no exception, covering the area from Bay City to Flint, Michigan. Enjoy the reds of the many maples in the cities and at the edges of farm fields, and a stop at the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History.
Museum of the Week
Vermont is a state that displays some really great fall color, with plenty of red and orange maples and oaks on its rolling hills and mountains. Highway US-4 makes a good roadtrip through the state, passing near Proctor, Vermont. Proctor is the site of the Vermont Marble Museum, and also formerly of the Vermont Marble Company. Vermont Marble had a large quarry here, and blocks of their marble still dot the museum site. When I visited in 1976, and likely in 1962, you could see some of the quarry's operations around the adjacent buildings. The quarry itself appears to have been underground, as is another in Danby, Vermont. The museum of course highlights the The Vermont Marble Company, which supplied marble for the Jefferson Memorial, the US Supreme Court Building, and hundreds of other monuments and buildings worldwide. They are no longer in business. The display of various colors of marble from around the world was my favorite part at the museum, which is still open.
About Roadtrip-'62 ™
Video of the Week
Today’s Video of the Week is a slapstick montage from I'm Dickens, He's Fenster: just a hint of the goofy fun from 1962. In the opinion of this nine-year old, that show should have lasted longer than one year.
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