One of the fascinating (at least to this blogger) forms of television that will be featured on a regular basis here on TFTP is what I am labelling "flow" clips. "Flow" is a concept from academic television studies in which the content of TV is analyzed not as specific programs or episodes of shows but as a "flow" of material that is neverending and which consists of a variety of different kinds of material: the segments of a TV program, yes, but also program promos, commercials (of course), station and network IDs, public service announcements, news updates (or "newsbreaks"), and a plethora of other, usually short bits that are sometimes referred to as "interstitials" (because they come in between the programs or program segments).
This inaugural "flow" clip is from CBS in September 1980 and centers on a newsbreak that, among other things, discusses the latest projections for the 1980 presidential election. (Carter was ahead!) Commercials include Ragu Pizza Quick, Hush Puppies shoes, Lysol, and Mars candy bars, followed by a couple of program promos (including one for the "Tim Conway Show"). This kind of a flow clip is a great "time capsule" of the time it's from, as we get a look at the consumer products, network TV programming, network promotional strategies, and (when a newsbreak is present) current events of the period. These flow clips will be a regular feature here on Television from the Past!
This 3-minute promo highlights the ABC programs on Friday nights for Fall 1970; featured are "The Brady Bunch," "Nanny and the Professor," "The Partridge Family," "That Girl," "Love, American Style," and "This is Tom Jones." "Brady Bunch" and "Partridge Family" are well-known, "That Girl" a little less so. "Nanny and the Professor" ran for about two years, from January 1970 to December 1971. "Love, American Style" was an anthology program featuring humorous stories about love--it's biggest claim to fame being that it featured as a 1972 episode the pilot for "Happy Days" (entitled "Love and the Happy Day").
As TFTP's inaugural post, here is the debut episode of the venerable and legendary CBS panel game show "What's My Line?" Airing on Sunday, February 2, 1950, this was the first of what would be 17 years of live episodes that anchored the last half-hour of CBS's Sunday-night prime-time schedule through all of the 1950s and most of the 1960s ("WML" would go on to air for another 8 years, until 1975, in syndication).
"What's My Line?", for those unfamiliar with it, was one of the earliest "panel" game shows, a sub genre that dominated TV game shows through the 1950s and much of the 1960s. Four celebrity panelists asked yes or no questions designed to give them clues for guessing a contestant's occupation (or "line"). The final contestant was the "mystery guest", a celebrity that the panelists would likely recognize on sight thus requiring them to wear blindfolds (and the mystery guests to use often humorous fake voices).
We see in this episode host John Charles Daly (who would host for "WML"'s entire 17-year run) and longtime panelist Dorothy Kilgallen (who stopped appearing only upon her death in 1965). Yet to appear at this point were the other longtime panelists Bennett Cerf and Arlene Francis, although both would soon join Daly and Kilgallen in guessing the lines of hundreds of contestants for the better part of two decades.