Variety (February 1950)

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so TEUBVISION REVIEWS Vednegda y, Fi^bwiary 22». 1950 0LAMO9 GO-ROITND Witli Oka Chase, Durward Kirby, BUI NaUe, fucsia Abe Burrows, Arthur Schwarts, Carol Coleman PIrector: Bobert Mayberry producer: Lee Wallace 15 Mins., Thurs., 9:30 p.m; . HABRIET HtfBBARD AYER CBS-TV, from New York (Federal) For the restricted viewing ele- ment who like to play the Sophisti- cated Time and who get a vicarious kick from “name callers,” this new : 15-minute weekly Ilka Chase pro- gram oh CBS-TV may offer some rewarding moment$. For those Who like their TV on the enter- tainment side, however, “Glamor Go-Round” must be taken with TeserVatiohs. \ Ilka Chase is on hand to “hostess” the proceedings, resplendently begoWned amidst chichi surroundings. First commercial Use of Fairbanks' new multi-camera film process on CBS-TV's “Silver Thea- tre” Monday night (20) Indiciites the system might provide the an- swer to many of video’s most cpm- plex problems. Half-rhour show, lensed at Fairbanks’ studios oii the Coast under the production super- vision of Young & Rubicam staffer Frank Telford, Showed the com- bined advantages of a live video production and straight; film. Viewers throughout had the feel-^ iiig that it was live TV, since the actors could work a long take with complete freedom of. movement. SK« is hep at ^11. time in was far chatter uptake, with an assist from ! superior tO;fhat .of kmescope re piirward Kirby as her male ; vis- a-vis (though he actually has little to do but make himself cpiispicu- ous as a gab accompanist). There’s a third permanent member of the troupe, as Well r-r Bill Nalle, who appears to come with the apart- ment fixtures as piano accom- ^panist,’ '■ Guests pop iii at. tWo-ttiinute in- tervals, with Abe Burrows, Arthur Schwartz and Carol Coleman (ex- “High Button Shoes”)/ a blonde looker and able chirperi on the initial installmeht. But on opener, it yielded little entertainment aside from lending a name or glamor decor; Ruffows managed to pop off What amounted to a witticism when stacked up against the show’s other wordage, While Schwartz settled for a background prop role. Miss Coleman got in a "Trolley Song” chorus hear the Windup, which Was about the show’s top moment from a purejy entertainment, standpoint. , Harriet Hubbard Ayer’s Luxuria Cleansing Cleaner gets the com^ mercial ride via. an assortment of glamor gals, with an in-person plug by Miss Chase. Rose, KIRBY STONE QUINTET Producer; Barry Wood Director: Alex Leftwich 15 Mins.; Mon.-Wed.-Fri., T p. m. Sustaining CBS-TV, from New York The Kirby Stone Qhintet ap- pears to be a talented instrumental and vocal group with material bet- ter suited for the elevated plat- forms in cocktail bars, than for televiewers. Their offerings are broad and pointed and they. would show lip better as a part of a va- riety revue than bn a session in which they’re on their own for 15 minutes. The boys are energetic workers who apparently spend a great deal of time contriving suitable instru- mental arrangements and embel- lishing standard songs with com- edy. They appear entirely too physical for intrusion into a liv- ing room. Their broad farce and exaggerated and often puerile humor isn’t too elevating. Their production is okay, but an unre- lieved session of the Stone Quin- tef: can be a little too much for the parlor screen: Jose. VING MERLIN’S TOURNAMENT OF Music With Ving Merlin, Giiy Lebow Director: Alex Courtney 90 Mins., Wed., 7:30 p.m, SuStaihiiig WPIX, from N. Y; “Ving Merlin’s Tournament of .Music” is just another amateur tal- ent show, abetted slightly by a stronger element of competition : than is usually found in program’s revolving around novice perform- ers. : Fast; pacing Of the acts, con- sisting of similar ^entries battling against each other for honors, helps to give this show a better than average rating in its class. But, as is often the case with pro- grams of thi$ type, the entertain- ment offered by the non-pros lacks a necessary quality of showman- ship hesides being run-bf-the-mill ,.atuff.'- Conducted by Merlin, s h o w, strictly in' the musical idiom pairs off contestants with similar, offer- ings and pitches them agairist each other with ■ phoiie calls and postr cards from the viewers determiii- Irig the better of the two. Par- ticipants’; musicbUzing bn show heard Wednesday (15) Was con- fined to the playing of various in- struments with a vocal spot thrown in. .Offerings bn .program caught in- cluded a xylophone contest-^be- tween an; eight-year-old gal and a much older guy, a clarinet match between two fellows and a vocal battle between two femmes. Also on hand were three, winners of the previous week's contest, a saxer, an accordionist and a male singer, Though some of the material pre- sented was okay, there was nothing outstandihg. i cordings (CBS ran a kine version pf its “Snarky ; Parker” show im- mediately beforcj Which provided a good basis bf comparison). That should make the non-intercon- nected. affiliates feel much better. Fairbanks’ System- comprises three regulation film cameras adapted to bold enough film each for a full halfrhour show, Cameras are operated simultaneously, with the producer dr director able to watch what each is lehsing bii . a monitor System similar to that em- ployed in live video production. As in films, the lights can be struck and moved for a nbw shot and, if an actor fluffs, retakes are possible. Telford rehearsed the cast in two days and shot the show in eight hours, as compared to the: usual five days rehearsal bn the live show. Room,” the yarn spun a gripping, adult story. of a .shy> inoffensive character on what was supposedly N. Y.’s lowbr east side and the way his one chance at happiness wbs almost wrecked by a hunch of nbsey neighborhood gossipers. De- nouement was telegraphed, Which marred the Suspense^ but ft was logical enough to byercome that slight setback. Show marked dh- other example of the neat produc- tion and Week-rto-Week versatility which' have maintained a consist? ently high rating for "Kraft” since the series was launched in May, 1947.-^ Cast was topped by Thomas Nelo in a fine pbrtrayar of the lonesome little drycleaner Who would have braved death to protect his pride against the neighbors: Neva Pat- terson, as the femme robber, who brought the spark Into his life, was equally gbod. , Jesse White showed a tendency, to byerplay his role as leader of the next-door pryers, but was given ah okay assist by Dorb? thy Storm, Bruno Wick, Gene Ful- ler and. Grania O’Malley, others among the guilty. J. Walter Thomp- son staffer Stan Quinn produced and directed. 'THE MEDIUM ^ylvla Hunter, Gladys Yiir Productton-direotlon: Thomas i Oeorge^Atothbny Mbbre 90 Mlni,» Tues. (14), g p.m. WEWS-^TV, Cleveland^ Glan-Carlo Meubtti’s champion^ ing of the lyric theatre received further justification when a nro^ League of Nations, antagonizes political bigwigs because df his re-. fUsai to take the case of a cor- poration against a poor family and how he' risks his fife to thwart a' duction of his Medium’’ was fed lynching. In terms of youthful, hy ScpppS-Jffoward’S WEWS to a ambition he has not sUcceeded, i possible 155,00() video sets in but in human terms of personal ^ happiness and inner peace he knows his life has been full and northeastern Ohio.; Nothing done by the twbwear- bld WBWS, nor by Cleveland’s two rich, it made an engaging, warm , ybUnger s t a tio n s, WNBK and sitory peopled with likable char- WXEL, could match this industri- acters. ous project in, professional finesse Nelson Qlmstead, Who also did and s t ark Ihtertainment power the adaptation/ registered Solidly j Unfbrtunately/thei opera was buck^ as the lawyer, although he tended ^ ing Milton Berle’s capers. Local to preachiness, in the otherwise I press gave better-than-average ad- well handled anti-lyhch scene, He , vance space to the event and was backed up by a Well-cast group | WEWS spot-plugged, it tb the skies bf thespers. Sets were well de-' but, chances are not enough Berle sighed- and film clips of World j addicts were torn, away from a ^ habit to; gain a unique TV thrill. “Inside U.S.A/* provided another pleasant installment with its Feb. 15 display. Arthur Schwartz has apparently found the gait and formula that has been instrumental |(in giving the show some hefty for- ward strides -since its start, Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Telford demonstrated excellent j Hcaly remain the mainstays of .the facility in his direction of both the, cameras and cast. Show was “My Brother’s Keeper,”, story of a young man’s resentment against his older brother who took over the family after their parents died. It featured a chase through an amusement park and a fine slam- bang fist-fight atop an apartment, house roof—-not integrated film but part of the entire film pro- duction. Movement and camera cuts were standout and timed to perfection with the acting. Cast, topped by Ward Bond, Beverly Tyler and Glenn Corbett, was good. And the International Silver commercials, also on < film, were spliced > into the story, which pro- vided for. a smooth, overall jbb. Probably most important is the fact the film was turned out at a budget reportedly far less than what ; a comparable live bhow would cost. . Y&R plans to' sur- vey viewer reaction in both the interconnected and nOn-intercori- nected cities to determine whether to sWitch over to the Fairbanks film system exclusively. That re- action should be plenty favorable. show, with fine assists by Mary Wickes and Shiela Bond, Jules Mutishin, who has appeared in several Metro comedies, was the guest and his contribution was highlighted by his personation of a chef enamoured of Jthe salad he’s tossing. The program, generally, poked some gentle fun at the old, two-a- day, with a well-planned beach scene, a plane number and a din- ing-out motif, in which Hayes and Miss Healy and Mdrishin got across some fine humor. , “Inside U,S.A.” has developed , into one of the best of this type show on the air. “Cayalcade of Stats” is probahly a difficult show for an emcee who isn’t accustomed to wcrkirig this particular program. It takes an extremely punchy comic to create and sustain a mood that will last throughout the stanza because of the frequent interruptions by the filmed commercials: Consequently, Bert Wheeler, the first replacement for Jack Carter until comedian Jerry Lester steps into the permanent conferencier assignment, didn’t register too well Saturday (18) via DuMont. His style of comedy is prob- ably too gentle for such an arduous assignment, It’s a show where his confidential type of delivery doesn’t carry over too easily. Aside frpm that, Wheeler wasn’t in top form. His introductions ran into cliches. He might have bvercome these deficiencies With a lengthy spot of his own, but in electing to w6rk with the Slate Bros., he gave himself little chance since most of the comedy punch lines were entrusted to Sid Slate. The Gracie Fields, making her first TV appearance since the death of her husband; (Monty Banks), provided the impetus that sparked last week’s Texaco layout. Miss Fields, a superior trouper making her fourth appearance on this show, furnished an assortment of excellent tunes to supplement her standard hit of business of doing a cartwheel while sustaining a note She carried the applause honors of the ^our stanza. Her comedic highlight was the interpretatioh of a British music hall act in con- junctibn with Milton Berle. This section of the program provided warmth, and comedy sufficient to furnish an overall glow throughout the show. There were some high moments in the rest of the proceedings with Joe E. Howard providing the nostalgic touch in the finale with a reprise of the numbers he’s writ- ten throughout the years. Frank “Sugar Chile” Robinson, moppet Negro pianist, also proved a pleaser with his boogie 88ing and songs, while the Juvelys made a strong impact at the beginning of the show with their aero work.: The Slate Bros., who recently ap- peared on the program, made a too-quick repeat. Although, much of the material is different, the general format of the act and clowning with Berle, gives a de- gree of similarity that’s hard to overcome. “Philco Television Playhouse” o, X • V, * n ^ 1 - on NBG-TV presented, Sunday (19) Slates, incidentally, are working as | an adaptation of Margaret Cou.sins a dub, now that Henry Slate is in the “Bbuth Pacific” cast. Wheeler has been working With this pair on “A Letter to Mr. Priest” that was topflight except .for a slow opening act. Production made good use of war I scenes added Tealism to the flashbacks. Camera wprk was ef- fective and use of the camera to serve as the yiewer helped put' over bhe commercial. It was ho accident that this prb- duction smacked video screens with an almost horrifying impact Company canie directly f r o m [ Cleveland’s famed Karamu House, Negro community center conducted for 25 years by its white founders, Rowena and Russell Jelliffe. With the Jelliffes it has been a long TOW between their early stage pro- duction of “Abraham’s Bosom,” which brought them a national rep, and this present stagervideo pro- duction of “Medium.” , The Menotti work has been gathering critical posies at Kara- Speciilation oyer hoW commercials would affect; the informality and leisurely pace of NBC-TV’S “Gar- roway at Large” was cleared up in the best way On the program’s first spohsored stanza Sunday flight (19) —it was; as good as, if not better than, ever. /During the course of the show, eihcee Dave Garroway thanked Gofigbleum Nairn, his new hankroller, for permittirig him to niaihtain the program as it was [ mu’s new $5d6,()od arts build^^^ during its sustaining run and view-j during a run of 50 pertormances ers will be equally grateful; With; To transfer it to WEWS studios the same east of regulars, the show; three miles away/in the middle of had all the fine production, sparkle a imn. Was a real chore: Sets, cos- and zest that havemade it one of [ tumes, props and actors had Iq be the most unique and enjoyable On | trucked bfiick and forth between the air. ; , ^ ; v I performances to facilitate lighting Sponsor got more than hi? share { ahd camera rehearsals: Amazingly of plugs, including an opening lit-i enough, a top performance' was tie poem by comedian Cliff Norton j turried out on eight hours of cani- which led into a “hosannah’^ of thanks from the entire cast; a pro- duction skit with terpers Charles Tate and Marge Gibson, which led into a straight sales spiel by Garro- way; a plug in the final production! number, and a series of mentions throughout the program. That over-emphasis will probahly be tuned down in succeeding weeks. Even if it isn’t, though, it will be okay if Garroway can keep the pitch as adult and entertaining, . Jerry Golonria guested Sunday night and got the usUal Garroway treatment—pictures shaking on the wall as he gave out with his vocal gymnastics. Other numbers fea- turihg the two terpers, Connie Rus- sell, Bette Chappel, Norton and Jack Haskell, were up to par, topped by a socko version of “Rag- Mop” at the closer, based on the Witches’ scene from “Macbeth.” Last Sunday night's . (19), ^‘This Is Show Business” on CBS-TV era rehearsal and five hours of act- ing rehearsals for TV business at the theatre. The all-Negro cast gave the tragedy an unforgettably gripping emotional interpretation. Zelma George’s Mime. Flora was a thing of clear-cut contrasts, both in the singing and the acting. Although she played the first act in a wheel- chair tan innovation) and the sec* ond on a sofa, her Inventive powers In body and soul and voice, often made the screen seom too small to hold her; and yet she never over- played ah easily overplayed role,, Mrs. George’s concluding aria (Baba’s “Afraid, Am I Afraid?”) must h a v e resounded in the [ dreams of many a viewer; on that Valentine’s .. Night,. just as her wheedling scene ^ with the mute Toby early in the second act might have caused video fans to rush to a psychiatrist the following day. In the curtain scene, as Baba scrutin- ized the dead Toby’s eyes and then proved anew that this Crosley- ! herself in hysteria, one sponsored stanza has settled down i ^ ■ eO-cauieras moved in un- to a pat formula that’s clicking on all video cylinders. If any-^ filled the screen. .Her frenzied thing, it’s../a more hOnest format, laughter set a definite period to a with the panel participants (Abe theatrical experience. Burrows, George S. Kaufman, and The supporting cast never^w^^^ in this instance guest Jane Cowl) miisiplly .^although Betty not ‘so much concerned with re-j who ^ did . a convincing solving trumped-up problems than ' Sometimes seemed uncer- using them as a springboard for I '''whether acting or singing was some clever ad-libbed bantering and witticisms. the more important. Charles Bettis, as Toby, had a pacing and timing under: the Irv ing Mansfield-A1 Leftwich produc- tion-direction aegis. . Injudicious use of lights during Some sequences oii Paul White- man _s Suhday night display for Goodyear marred what was gen- erally an, .excellently contrived Stanza, Whiteman’s cast delivered Some topnotch .entertainment in a relaxed and pleasing style and de- Iivered a high-quota of entertain- ment. Sets by James/McNaughton flso contributed to the high qual- ity of the show. i Th®/lighting, defect was espe- cially hard on several of the per- formers including Julie Wilson who caosed Shtui-day (18) in "Kls^ a .second dancer's granddaughter”'Ffash-l Bisa other stays, with Coy The turn backs were done straight, thus) that Ihgit-musicar Entcr^ strives for an arty effect which avoiding the monotony of a. full- wise, Miss Wilson rS doesn’t quite come off. At any hour with the siihienfive registered Similarly,. there’s a proper mini- * . sympathetic undei stand- mizing by the guest talent of their ' gave f he pari lamentations; again merely a cue i ^an Menptti wrote into it ^ to “go into their act.” Return . J^pest credit for the producing engagement of Sam Levenson,: With ' m the studio goes to W;EWS? new material; the Benny Goodman I I, Pord, Theatre Wing clarinet sequence backed by drSms : tor whom “Medium ’ be- and piano; Pearl Bailey’s distinc- ' ®^”'® ® Here is a ybung- tive warbling and mimicry—here ■ ? ■ bear further watching was sock entertainment, with the ■ ^‘iTeally creative video, if given a half-hour tied together by neat i o^ance to spread his wings. Paired tlftPinCf snH fiminer 4^1. — 'r i- With Ford,in the video direction- nitery datesi and they have evolved the subjeictive camera technique a. comedy^act. ^ _ ■ / with a-$14,000 image orthicOn seiv- . Joan Edwards gave, a: creditable l ing as narrator in many scenes, account of herself with her vocals. Illusion was heightened by having The Tong Bros. (3) warmed-up the: the other characters play to the session with acrobatics, while Wal-, narrative lens and having ah ac- ton and O’Rourke, and the De. tor ride on the dolly with his Marios, registered in. a puppet and hands, pipe or fbuntairi pen corn- dance turn respectively. Johnny ing into the lens’ range. Story Coy providea a tap turn which he was unfolded via frashbacks; with previously did on another vaudeo the camera looking ovCr an old program. It’s actually a double, photo album and the narrator re- with one camera concentrating on lating the tale of his career to quite come off. At any hour with the subjective technique, rate, his accomplice should at least |. VLetter” told of a country get some billing. Scripier Joe Bates Smith had his fourth original play presented on NBC-TV’s “Kraft TV Theatre” Wednesday night : (15) and it was a lawyer who gets a request from hjs college alumni association to list his achievements/because as a student he; was voted “most likely to succeed.” Drama shows how the idealistic barrister loses clients good onCr Titled “The Silent I because he favors peace and the strongly. The orchestral and vocal selec- tions, per usual, were top-shelf with Phil Hanna and Gall production routines was George Anthony Moore, station staffer' the first Negro in a U* S. TV studio. LES MAtLOY Producer: Lcs Malloy 30 Mins,; Tue-Wed-Thiir., 4:30 p m. Participating KGO-TVi San Francisco . Les Malloy’s infectious, hard- working personality sticks out all over in. this disk jockey effort, "'’^h commercials handled with a gar- den variety type; of informality which makes watching an ea-sy-on- the nerves experience. /Program is; a cohibine of platt^J spinning, chatter, interviews witn celebs and visiting firemen. dem- onstrations of sponsor’s products end; other informal copy* Tuocs selected for spinning are phone rt-. quests with Malloy arid his secre- tary seen taking calls. MellOy; who has a long time background as a jockey, dravys on his know-how in handling inter- views and is astute in his choice oi tunes for spinning. Music iis hep doublincr frOm Kackl 1 hut not high-presi^re. Strong r®P' kept^UD th> A"*?'’ i resentatlon of participMing spoo- P P he high quality , of the j sorship reflects populawly of R*®' stanza with theirI