History of Shows and Major Events in Television in the 1960s Part 2

About the history of television in the 1960s, major events including the Kennedy Assassination, televised Broadway premiere, Gemini 8 problems, Johnson daughter married.


1963--A videotape of an opening-night Broadway play based on the Sacco-Vanzetti case was aired on TV stations owned by the Westinghouse Broadcasting Corporation. It was the 1st time a Broadway premiere had been televised.

--"The Beverly Hillbillies" jumped to the top of the TV ratings, although critics attacked it as being "insipid."

--On November 22, "As the World Turns" was interrupted on CBS by the following news bulletin delivered by Walter Cronkite: "In Dallas, Tex., 3 shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade in downtown Dallas. The 1st reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting." Immediately after the assassination, all TV networks canceled their regular programming for a weekend of special news programs and memorial services.

1964--Commercials seemed more interesting and creative than before, including Alka-Seltzer's "No matter what shape your stomach's in" ad, which employed quick cuts and soft sell. There were also campaign spots promoting President Lyndon Johnson created by the Doyle Dane Bernbach agency. The ads were more against Sen. Barry Goldwater than for Johnson. One of them showed a small girl picking petals from a daisy while a voice began a countdown. Then there was an atomic explosion and darkness, followed by an announcer stating: "These are the stakes--to make a world in which all God's children can live, or go into the dark."

--Daytime serials came to nighttime TV when "Peyton Place" debuted on ABC 2 nights each week.

1965--The Early Bird communications satellite led to some provocative and expensive TV programming. In the premiere one-hour Early Bird program--seen by 300 million people in Europe and the Americas--there were reports from the Dominican Republic, an appearance by Pope Paul VI at the Vatican, a statement by Martin Luther King, Jr., from Philadelphia, a shot of a heart surgery in progress in Houston, a bullfight in Spain, and 6 other events on location.

--TV's 1st black hero, Bill Cosby, costarred with Robert Culp in the adventure series "I Spy." Cosby and Culp were cast as CIA agents.

1966--When the spacecraft Gemini 8, with astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott aboard, was forced to make an emergency landing, ABC and NBC interrupted their regular programming--"Batman" and "The Virginian"--to cover the unfolding news story. The interruption caused public outrage from viewers whose favorite programs were preempted. Telephones in New York and Los Angeles were flooded for hours with complaints.

--The wedding of Patrick Nugent and Luci Baines Johnson was televised by all 3 networks. The pompous ceremony, which was held at Washington's Roman Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, attracted protesters who were angered that the President's daughter chose to be married on the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan.

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