My TV WEEK selection this week takes us to when we were a few weeks away from Neil Armstrong muttering some familiar words. This week though, we were stocking up on pork and beans and Pepsi and some sparklers(Junior was probably making a black-market deal for some illegal ones) and getting ready for a regal British event. Not Wimbledon, which was on the schedule, but overshadowed by a event of even greater significance, an event for which Barbara Walters was on the TV WEEK cover, alongside a picture of the royal honoree: The about-to-be enshrined Prince of Wales. All 3 nets had live coverage(on Tuesday), with Walters fronting NBC’s coverage, while CBS’s own “King Walter” headed the pomp and circumstance involved. Later that evening, Morley Safer and Winston Burdette anchored a wrap-up show. 48 years later, Charles is still Prince, Mum and Dad still rule in advanced age and the younger Royal Family is gaining traction with every cute photo of George and Charlotte. Kinda makes you wonder when the next royal occasion will be and if “Babs” will be a part of that one.
SULLIVAN V. PATERNO?: This was a week which should’ve been “Sullivan v. Palace,” but for 2 things: Ed’s “shew” was a repeat and there was no “Palace.” ABC’s Saturday Night lineup was dominated that night by a then-early summer tradition, a pre-season college football all-star game. Didn’t have time to look up the players on that particular evening, as one of the coaches that night caught my eye: Forget that Pepper Rodgers(Kansas) was coaching the West stars, the East was coached by a gentleman by the name of… Joe Paterno. Yes, he would go on to be arguably one of the all-time greats of the sideline, but with a lot of tarnish in recent years on the seamy, sordid side. Even in rerun form, Sullivan would’ve won against the Palace anyway: Gina Lollobrigida, Don Rickles and the “Timely” rock act of the “Time,” The Chambers Brothers. Later that night on WMAQ, Rickles would show up on the weekly “Best of Carson”(not the bathhouse scene, that was a Burbank show from early in 1968) re-air along with Liberace and some NBC News talent named… Barbara Walters.