Posts Tagged ‘60th anniversary’

TV’s “Guiding Light” Turns 60!

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

On the small screen from June 30, 1952 to September 18, 2009, Guiding Light holds the record for longest-running drama in television history. In addition to its 57-year reign on television, The Guiding Light (as it was originally titled) ran from January of 1937-52 on radio. It was the only radio serial to successfully transition to television (The Brighter Day also made the move, but lasted only eight years.)

The show started out at only fifteen minutes long, expanded to thirty minutes in September 1968, and blossomed to a full hour on November 7, 1977. In 1978 it dropped “The” and officially became Guiding Light. Irna Phillips (Another World , Days of Our Lives) created the series, which centered around the Bauers, a German-American family living in the non-descript town of Springfield. William Bell was one of the original television writers on the soap opera, and describes writing for Irna:

Actress Kim Zimmer, who played “Reva Shayne” discusses the show’s title, original premise, and how the program strayed from that central idea over the years:

The show left the airwaves in 2009, leaving 72 years of love, heartbreak, and scandal in its wake. It traveled from NBC radio, to CBS radio, to CBS television, and won its way into the hearts of millions in the process. Had it still been on the air, Guiding Light would have celebrated 60 years on television today. But 57 years of consecutive TV storytelling is still pretty impressive. To date, no other drama has topped the show’s tenure on television.

Visit our Guiding Light show page for more on the popular soap opera.

- by Adrienne Faillace

Vitameatavegamin Time! Lucy Did a TV Commercial 60 Years Ago

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

When you think of I Love Lucy, a few images probably spring to mind. Lucy stomping on grapes, Lucy and Ethel stuffing bon-bons down their shirts, and Lucy attempting to say “Vitameatavegamin.” That last scene occurred on the 30th episode of the show, “Lucy Does a TV Commercial”, which first aired on CBS sixty years ago on May 5, 1952.

In the classic episode, Ricky is hosting a TV show and needs someone to do a commercial spot. Lucy begs to do it, but Ricky refuses, even after Lucy pulls apart their television set, climbs inside and demonstrates what a fine spokeswoman she would be. She schemes her way onto the show, and does take after take of the ad for the cure-all tonic “Vitameatavegamin,” which contains 23% alcohol. The more takes she does, the better the product tastes, and the harder it is for Lucy to stay on script:

Madelyn Pugh Davis and Bob Carroll, Jr. wrote “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” and shared just how many takes the scene really took to shoot – a whopping one:

The episode ranked #2 on TV Guide’s List of Top 100 TV Episodes of All Time, beaten only by The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s “Chuckles Bites the Dust.” Here’s hoping you don’t pop out at your parties this weekend — it will make you quite “unpoopular”!

- by Adrienne Faillace

The Story You are About to See is True: “Dragnet” Is Turning 60

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Dum da dum dum. Those 4 notes comprise perhaps the most recognizable opener in all of television, signaling the beginning of an episode of TV’s first hit crime drama, Dragnet. Starring Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday, the show followed detectives of the LAPD as they solved crimes and restored justice to the City of Angels. Originally a radio program, Dragnet aired on television for the first time as part of Chesterfield Sound Off Time on December 16, 1951. The success of the pilot led to a seven year stint on NBC, beginning on January 3, 1952, and lasting until 1959.

Known for using real police cases, Dragnet had a no-nonsense style, was shot it black and white film, and made use of teleprompters. Actor Leonard Nimoy recalls guest-starring on the program:

A second incarnation of Dragnet launched in 1967, still with Jack Webb as Sgt. Friday, but now with Harry Morgan co-starring as Officer Bill Gannon:

And a third Dragnet appeared in 2003, from producer Dick Wolf:

For more dish on Dragnet, visit our Dragnet show page.

Saw It Then: Murrow’s “See It Now” Turns 60

Friday, November 18th, 2011

On November 18, 1951, journalist Edward R. Murrow united the states of America. On the premiere episode of See it Now, Murrow showcased technology made possible by the recently completed transcontinental coaxial cable, which linked the East and West Coasts of the United States and made live video transmission between the two possible. As Murrow sat in CBS’ New York City Studio 41, director Don Hewitt brought up live video feeds of the Brooklyn and Golden Gate bridges on side-by-side monitors. With this then-stunning technological feat began one of the most respected news programs of all time.

By 1951 Murrow was already an internationally known newsman thanks to his CBS radio reports on Hear it Now. He and producer Fred Friendly adapted the program for television in the resulting, aptly-titled See it Now, TV’s first news-magazine. Known for no-nonsense, gutsy reporting, See it Now tackled subjects that other news programs of the day didn’t dare broach. Murrow and Friendly took on the country’s mounting fears of communist threats in the memorable episode featuring “The Case of Milo Radulovich,” in which Murrow delved into the story of how a U.S. Air Force Lieutenant was discharged because his father and sister were alleged communists. And in “A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy,” video and audio footage of McCarthy demonstrated the questionable validity of the Senator’s accusations of supposed communists within American society. The program helped usher in the downfall of the famed Senator from Wisconsin.

Several of the Archive’s interviewees worked on See It Now, and vividly recalled “A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy.” See it Now producer Joseph Wershba discussed the episode in depth:

And See it Now editor Mili Lerner Bonsignori described the episode and McCarthy’s response:

Edward R. Murrow is remembered not only for his bold reporting, but for his eloquence, too. His See it Now narration was moving and poignant, his trademark sign-off “Good Night and Good Luck” reassuring, and his Shakespeare quotes relevant and informative. Murrow and See it Now still remain the pinnacle of broadcast journalism for many news-people and viewers alike. Archive interviewees Howard K. Smith, Don Hewitt, John Frankenheimer (all contributors to the show) and comedy writer James L. Brooks each spoke reverently about both the program and its host. For as The Bard might say, never was there a more courageous news show, than that of See it Now with Edward R. Murrow.

- by Adrienne Faillace

Visit our See it Now show page