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Television: Dec. 9, 1966

10 minute read

The holidays are coming, and the networks have some special offerings in mind—16 of them, in fact, this week alone:

Wednesday, December 7

HALLMARK HALL OF FAME (NBC, 7:30-9 p.m.)* Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, with Dirk Bogarde, Ruth Gordon, Rosemary Harris and Rachel Roberts.

SAGA OF WESTERN MAN (ABC, 8-9 p.m.). “Christ Is Born” re-creates the wanderings of the Jews from the time of Abraham to the birth of Christ. John Secondari and John Huston are the narrators.

FRANK SINATRA: A MAN AND HIS MUSIC—PART II (CBS, 9-10 p.m.). “The King” returns with his daughter Nancy as his sole support.

ABC STAGE 67 (ABC, 10-11 p.m.). Rick Nelson and Joanie Sommers play it “On the Flip Side,” an offbeat musical about an aging teen-age idol whose singing career gets an unexpected boost from a truly heaven-sent vocal group called The Celestials.

Thursday, December 8

THE GLASS MENAGERIE (CBS, 9-11 p.m.). Tennessee Williams’ gem, with Shirley Booth, Hal Holbrook, Pat Hingle and Barbara Loden.

Friday, December 9

THE NUTCRACKER (CBS, 7:30-8:30 p.m.). Tchaikovsky’s Christmas ballet is brought to life by an international cast that includes New York City Ballet Stars Edward Villella (as the Prince), Melissa Hayden (the Sugar Plum Fairy) and Patricia McBride (Klara). Also featured will be members of the Stuttgart Opera, Copen hagen’s Royal Opera, and the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Franz Allers.

Sunday, December 11

THE GOOD LIFE (CBS, 10-11 a.m.). Affluence and religion are the topics for a discussion between Yeshiva University’s Dr. Emanuel Rackman, Fordham’s Dr. Paul Reiss and Union Theological’s the Rev. Henry Clark.

I NEVER SAW ANOTHER BUTTERFLY (NBC, 12:30-1 p.m.). Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is honored by the network in an unusual fashion—a program based on the drawings and poems done between 1942 and 1945 by the children tragically imprisoned in Theresienstadt Concentration Camp near Prague. In all, some 15,000 children were held at Theresienstadt; 100 survived.

THE HILL COUNTRY: LYNDON JOHNSON’S TEXAS (NBC, 3:30-4:30 p.m.). A personally conducted tour of the land where the President was born and raised, and to which he returns whenever Washington worries him down. Repeat.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS (CBS, 7-7:30 p.m.). The whole gang, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy and Charlie Brown are back to help everyone in their search of the true meaning of Christmas.

DANNY THOMAS SPECIAL (NBC, 9-10 p.m.). “The Wonderful World of Burlesque” is Danny’s burlesque of the bygone days of the baggy pants comics, blackouts and the talking lady. Carol Channing, Mickey Rooney and Wayne Newton accompany him on the trip.

THE GARRY MOORE SHOW (CBS, 9-10 p.m.). Clown King Emmett Kelly, the comic bareback-riding George Hanneford Family and those high-wire daredevils, the Flying Wallendas and the Flying Palacios, get together for the “World’s Greatest Circus Stars of 1966.”

Tuesday, December 13

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SPECIAL (CBS, 7:30-8:30 p.m.). “The Hidden World” takes a look into the fascinating realm of insects, among them a Phasmida called the giant walking stick, which can grow up to 16 inches long, the goliath beetle, which is 4 inches long, and a swarm of locusts stretching for 23 miles.

WORLD PREMIERE (NBC, 9-11 p.m.). Rod Serling’s suspense drama, Doomsday Flight, will be shown on TV before release in the movie theaters—starring Jack Lord, Van Johnson, Edmond O’Brien, Katherine Crawford, John Saxon and Richard Carlson.

CBS REPORTS: THE SUPERSONIC RACE (CBS, 10-11 p.m.). The French and British are already cutting metal for their Concorde, the Russians expect to fly their version in 1968, and the U.S. is expected to decide by Jan. 1 which of two fiercely competing designs, Lockheed’s or Boeing’s, it will finally build. Reporter Bill Stout examines the problems and promise of the giant planes.

THE LONG CHILDHOOD OF TIMMY (ABC, 10-11 p.m.). An intimate portrait of a mentally retarded child, Timmy Loughlin, 9, whose mind has not yet progressed beyond 4½.

Also worth considering are the programs of the National Educational Network, which are shown by local ETV stations at various times. In your area watch for:

N.E.T. PLAYHOUSE (on Fridays). A Sleep of Prisoners, Christopher Fry’s account of a fictional war and the inner turmoil of four wartime buddies from different social levels who are prisoners in a bombed-out church. Their captivity causes conflicts that lead to enmity. Starring Barry Morse, Paul Stevens, Ramon Bieri and Jon Voight.

N.E.T. JOURNAL (on Mondays). “Modern Women—The Uneasy Life.” From college coeds to Sarah Lawrence President Esther Raushenbush, the views of women—married, single, happy and frustrated—are presented in this examination of the place of the educated woman in today’s society.


On Broadway

RIGHT YOU ARE. Luigi Pirandello is the philosopher king of 20th century playwrights, an existentialist before Sartre and Camus, an absurdist before Beckett and lonesco. This 48-year-old intellectual whodunnit has scarcely a grey line in its script, and the APA troupe has obeyed the playwright’s commandment: “to convert the intellect into passion.”

THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL. The APA company rubs too much 20th century balm and too little 18th century acid into the pores of this high-styled Sheridan play. It does have one delight: Rosemary Harris as Lady Teazle, the country kitten who comes to London town, takes the burr out of her purr and meows down the city minxes.

CABARET. Onto the sleazy canvas of a 1930 Berlin nightspot, the Kit Kat Klub, this musical squeezes the borrowed pigments of bloatedly satiric George Grosz cartoons, Brecht-Weillschmerz, and the black-gartered cinemantics of the Dietrich of The Blue Angel. The atmospherics make for a whale of a production but a minnow of a show.

THE ROSE TATTOO is a sensuously direct drama of a Sicilian widow in Louisiana with an obsessive attachment to an urn containing her husband’s ashes. Maureen Stapleton once again plays Tennessee Williams’ high-strung heroine.

THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE. The idol of soap-opera devotees works up a lather when she discovers that she is being written out of radio existence. So far, so standard, but there’s a twist to this one as Beryl Reid plays a lesbian with the manners of a bulldozer and a pickax wit.

MAME may not get an oooh! for originality, but it certainly makes the grade as a musical ornament on the Broadway branches. Angela Lansbury is the twinkling star at the top of the tree.

SWEET CHARITY tells the Runyonesque tale of a doll who tries to trade the dance hall for domesticity but can’t find the right guy to play house with. Bob Fosse’s direction and choreography are sophisticated.

Off Broadway

AMERICA HURRAH offers three of Jean-Claude van Itallie’s kaleidoscopic views of the changing and coalescing patterns of life in the U.S. A well-directed cast performs with striking precision.

EH? is both the question and the answer in British Playwright Henry Livings’ parable of an upsidedown, inside-out non-hero of a boiler-room custodian in search of hallucinogenic mushroom caps. Eh?


FAHRENHEIT 451. Ray Bradbury’s somber tale of a futuristic society where reading is forbidden has been refurbished by France’s François Truffaut (Jules and Jim) into a strangely humorous, coolly competent little film that stars Oskar Werner as a book-burning fireman and Julie Christie as both of the women in his life.

CULDESAC. A strong contender for the most bizarre movie of 1966, this jittery comedy of terrors describes in bloody detail what happens when a mobster-on-the-lam (Lionel Stander) becomes the uninvited house guest of a flabby old fool (Donald Pleasence) and his swinging young wife (Françhise Dorléac).

THE PROFESSIONALS. When Land Baron Ralph Bellamy discovers that his wife (Claudia Cardinale) has been kidnaped, he hires the Four Fastest Guns in the West to get her back. Overcoming odds of 50 to 1 is all in a day’s work for real pros like Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Woody Strode and Robert Ryan.

THE FORTUNE COOKIE. Only Director Billy Wilder would have the chutzpah to choose a money-grubbing heel for his hero, and only Walter Matthau could make the heel lovable. As Shyster “Whiplash Willie” Gingrich, Matthau gets nothing but laughs as he prods Jack Lemmon into a $1,000,000 insurance swindle.

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM. Director Richard Lester’s screen version of the Broadway hit musical has a grossly libidinous libretto, some charmingly scummy sets, and a quartet of top comedians (Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford, Buster Keaton, Phil Silvers) who dance and doubletalk their way through the back alleys of Nero’s Rome.


Best Reading

LA VIDA, by Oscar Lewis. Anthropologist Lewis’ tape-recorded view of Mexican poverty, gathered at its roots in The Children of Sanchez, cut considerably more deeply than most sociology goes. This time the compelling scene is poverty among the Puerto Ricans, and it is unrelievedly ugly.

WINSTON S. CHURCHILL, by Randolph Churchill. The unhappy, harum-scarum Victorian upbringing of the greatest public figure of his age, written with compassion and restraint by his only son. Four more volumes are projected.

THE BEST TIMES, by John Dos Passos. An informal memoir, which also manages to be a typically understated and modest autobiography by a novelist who is not so much a historian as a journalist.

A HOUSE IN ORDER, by Nigel Dennis. A savagely witty parable, posing as a novel, about a quiet man who prefers to be a prisoner in a glass house rather than throw stones in an unpleasant world.

THE HEIRS OF CAIN, by Abraham Rothberg. The history of the Diaspora in this century brilliantly retold through the agony of an Israeli assassin, who is a kind of Jewish Everyman.

VESSEL OF WRATH, by Robert Lewis Taylor. Although assorted biographers of Carry Nation have tried before to do justice to the lady with the hatchet, Taylor is the first to succeed—with a book that is as irreverent as it is readable.

LA CHAMADE, by Françoise Sagan. Another of the author’s interlocking triangles—two young lovers, two older lovers at hopelessly crossed purposes. A brief novel, elegantly told.

TREMOR OF INTENT, by Anthony Burgess. This lively tale of espionage is only trompe I’oeil; behind it flows the broad seriocomic vein that is the source of all of Burgess’ wit.

Best Sellers


1. The Secret of Santa Vittoria,

Crichton (1 last week)

2. Valley of the Dolls, Susann (2)

3. Capable of Honor, Drury (3)

4. The Birds Fall Down, West (7)

5. The Fixer, Malamud (6)

6. Tai-Pan, Clavell (4)

7. The Adventurers, Robbins (5)

8. The Mask of Apollo, Renault

9. All in the Family, O’Connor (8)

10. A Dream of Kings, Petrakis (10)


1. Rush to Judgment, Lane (1)

2. Everything But Money, Levenson (2)

3. The Boston Strangler, Frank (9)

4. Games People Play, Berne (7)

5. With Kennedy, Salinger (5)

6. The Jury Returns, Nizer

7. How to Avoid Probate, Dacey (4)

8. The Search for Amelia Earhart, Goerner (6)

9. Human Sexual Response, Masters and Johnson (3)

10. The Passover Plot, Schonfield (10)

* All times E.S.T.

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