The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Television

Voices: James Arness, 1923 – 2011

  June 18 1954, Them  

  March 8, 1955, Gunsmoke  

James Arness, from “Them!” to “Gunsmoke” and "How the West Was Won." Times TV critic Howard Rosenberg interviewed Arness (or tried to) in 1981 as he began working on “McClain’s Law.” Arness was thrifty with his comments – except when it came to the environment. 

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Vice President Predicts 'Long, Costly' Struggle in Southeast Asia

  May 24, 1961, Southeast Asia  

  May 24, 1961, Joan Davis Dies  

May 24, 1961: Radio and TV comedy star Joan Davis dies of a heart attack and gets a Page 1 obituary with a jump. Raymond Chandler got an six-paragraph obituary on Page 4.  Davis was 48 when she died.

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Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]

  May 14, 2011, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

[Update: STRANGE CASE -- Dan Barton plays the central figure in a homicide with an unusual twist in "A Matter of Degree," Goodson-Todman's production in the new "The Web" telefilm series for Screen Gems in a photo stamped July 14, 1957. ]

[Please congratulate Pat in Michigan, Mary Mallory and Rogét-L.A. for identifying our mystery guest as Dan Barton (d. 2009)!]

Here’s our weekend mystery fellow!

There’s a new photo on the jump!

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Jim Murray, April 14, 1961

  April 14, 1961, Alex Perez  

  April 14, 1961, Jim Murray  

April 14, 1961: The arrival of major league baseball in Los Angeles has curtailed network TV's games of the week, so that sports announcer Dizzy Dean is off the local airwaves, which may be good news to Los Angeles’ English teachers, Jim Murray says. 

Dizzy, you understand, was so busy most of his life picking cotton and learning to throw the change-up, he picked up only a nodding acquaintance with the language of his forefathers. And to better acquaint you not with the King's English but with Dean's English, an undergrowth of syntax which would make Noah Webster set fire to his dictionary, we present herewith Murray's Handy Guide to network listening ala Dean and an English translation wherever possible.

"Farn" -- participle of the verb "to fire," most used as in "Drysdale's really farn that ball today,” also as in "light in a far in the farplace."

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Paul Coates, April 4, 1961


April 4, 1961: Paul Coates has an update on the Watts Towers. On the jump, Al Capp writes about Jim Hagerty, President Eisenhower's former press secretary, who is heading ABC's news operations. One goal is to cut 90 seconds off the weather report!

The Watts Towers on the Daily Mirror

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Paul Coates, March 23, 1961

  March 23, 1961, Cover  

March 23, 1961: Desi Arnaz, ABC and the National Italian American League to Combat Defamation
reach an agreement that fictional characters in “The Untouchables” will not have Italian names. Arnaz also agrees to show the contributions of Italian Americans in a favorable light. Paul Coates uses this as a point of departure for a satire.

I apologize for the poor quality of this scan. Sometimes it’s awfully difficult to get anything legible off the microfilm.

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Jim Murray, Feb. 27, March 14, 1961

  March 14, 1961, Patterson  

  Feb. 27, 1961,Jim Murray  

Feb. 27, 1961: Jim Murray takes his wife and two other women to see boxing at the Olympic. One question: The best way to wash blood out of boxers’ trunks.

Murray writes a nice piece about Angel Macias, who is at the Angels training camp, even though he is 16 and too young to be signed to a contract.Murray mentions a TV documentary about Macias titled "How Tall Is a Giant," which sounds like it might be worth seeing. 
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In Walter (Cronkite) We Trust, March 14, 1981


   March 14, 1981, Dan Rather  

March 14, 1981: Howard Rosenberg, The Times Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic, watches Dan Rather’s debut in taking over from Walter Cronkite on the “CBS Evening News” and he is not a happy man.

Art Seidenbaum and I overlapped at The Times, but I was a rookie and he was one of the senior writers at the paper, so I never introduced myself when I would see him in the hallway or (usually) smoking a cigarette somewhere. I regret that now because I enjoy reading him and he sounds quite approachable. The book he's reviewing, Bill Henderson's "His Son: A Child of the Fifties" may not be remembered now (it ranks 9.3 millionth at Amazon), but Art's insights are well worth reading.
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Confessions of a Story Editor, March 6, 1981


  March 6, 1981, Howard Rosenberg  

  March 6, 1981, Comics  

March 6, 1981:  Pulitzer Prize-winning TV columnist Howard Rosenberg talks to a story editor about lining up people for a canceled show called "That's My Line."

Z (Rosenberg's source) was one of six story editors -- two ex-Hustler magazine staffers, two Los Angeles free-lancers, a former National Enquirer writer and a dentist's wife -- whose jobs were to find people who did the wild things that could be filmed, then pitch them for the show.

"When Steve Weisberg was 9, his mother was afraid that his face might freeze into the shape of a Hudson car. Inspired, the little rubber-faced tyke progressed until now, at age 26, his living is made imitating old car grilles."

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Jim Murray, Feb. 19, March 5, 1961

  March 5, 1961, Gene Fullmer  
  March 5, 1961, Fullmer Beats Robinson  

  Feb. 19, 1961, Jim Murray  

Feb. 19, 1961: Baseball fans are over-conservative, Jim Murray says, so they don't like Phil Wrigley's idea of using eight coaches and a computer to manage the Cubs.
March 5, 1961: Jim Murray writes about a conference call between him, Floyd Patterson and Ingemar Johansson after watching their televised bout at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. "It all brings up the fine point of whether you can really see a fight on TV," Murray says.  

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Paul Coates, Feb. 28, 1961

  Feb. 28, 1961, Mirror Cover  

  Feb. 27, 1961, KNX ad  

Feb. 28, 1961: Arthur Godfrey announces that he’s leaving TV’s “Candid Camera” and Paul Coates takes the opportunity to say he can’t understand Godfrey’s appeal.

Notice: This KNX ad actually ran Feb. 27 but I wanted to include it because it has the full day’s programming schedule. Please notice Bob Crane in the morning slot. (And, yes, Arthur Godfrey!)

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What Next for Richard Chamberlain After 'Shogun?'

  Sept. 15, 1980, Shogun  

  Feb. 24, 1981, Richard Cmaberlain  

Feb. 24, 1981: Young persons…. There was once a sensationally popular TV miniseries called “Shogun,” based on James Clavell’s novel set in feudal Japan, that aired in September 1980 and starred Richard Chamberlain, the former heartthrob of the 1960s TV series “Dr. Kildare.”

The story of John Blackthorne and Lord Toranaga (Toshiro Mifune) quickly became a touchstone of popular culture. In writing about “Shogun,” Times TV critic Cecil Smith reported that "Nielsen numbers show that more than half the people in the country are caught up in it." 

Several months later, Times writer Roderick Mann catches up with Chamberlain, who says he’s interested in another miniseries: “The Thorn Birds.”

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