Sunday, April 15, 2012

Another View (Or Two) Of Vintage Hollywood Glamor

Close-up shot of the glamor:

Incidentally, The Joey Bishop Show premiered on April 17, 1967 (exactly 45 years ago on Tuesday) and lasted until the end of 1969 (exactly 45 years before the end of 2014).

Although I can recall hearing about the show at the time as ABC's attempt to compete with NBC's Tonight Show (with Johnny Carson) and CBS's Merv Griffin Show, I have only a fleeting memory of actually watching it. It seems to have been one of those things we clicked past after briefly sampling rather than something we ever actually watched. Given the late hour it was on and my usually early bedtime, I'm not sure now how I ever managed to see it at all - but I did.

Joey Bishop himself seems to have been one of the first celebrities I ever encountered who prompted me to ask, "Exactly why is this person famous?" Little did I know that that question would be one of the ones I'd be asking with increasing frequency as the years went by. (Perhaps only "Where the hell did I just put my pen?!" echoes through my house more often these days.)

The Vine St. Theater is still there, by the way, only it's now known as The Linwood Dunn Theater.


It's owned by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is home to The Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study.

The Pickford Center site's rather detailed history of the building includes this somewhat interesting information: "The building was originally built in 1947–48 as a radio and television studio facility at a cost of $3 million.... The building was dedicated on August 18, 1948. It is the oldest surviving structure in Hollywood that was originally designed specifically with television in mind.... The building was the original home of Los Angeles Channel 2, which is now KCBS-TV, through the 1950s. In the 1950s, 1313 Vine Street was the home of KHJ-TV and was the studio for Johnny Carson's earliest mid-'50s television appearances before 'The Tonight Show,' including 'Carson's Cellar' and 'The New Johnny Carson Show.' It was the original home, from 1964 through 1971, of California Community Television, which grew into PBS station KCET. It was also ABC's headquarters for the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics and the home of many ABC television shows. Some of the other shows broadcast from 1313 Vine Street over the years were: 'Queen for a Day'... 'Joey Bishop Show,' 'Barney Miller,' 'Dating Game,' and 'Newlywed Game.'"

It's hard for my mind to think of TV shows like these existing in an actual physical space like The Vine St. Theater rather than in some electronic Never Never Land. It's even harder to think of that actual physical space easily being located as a dot on a map from which a straight line might actually be drawn to my present location (or any other, for that matter). It's like finding out that one can draw a straight line from central Ohio to Oz or Narnia or that glimmering world where women in high heels and evening gowns are still happily waxing their kitchen floors.

Here's a shot of what the theater looked like back in the 1950s:

And another from 1969:

And not that anyone has ever asked, but... I've always thought of Bob Eubanks as some not-terribly-bright network executive's made-to-order version of the ultimate TV host - someone who let people forget the dangers of The Open Sea of Life by forever skating on the slick frozen surface of an extremely shallow reservoir of smirk-inducing innuendo. Imagine my surprise when I recently discovered that he used to be one of LA's most popular DJ's in the 1950s and 1960s - and the man responsible for the Hollywood Bowl appearances of the Beatles. In his spare time, he participated in... rodeos.

I've also just learned (from Wikipedia) that Eubanks - a native of Flint, Michigan - is shown in Michael Moore's 1989 move, Roger & Me, telling "an off-color anti-Semitic joke about AIDS."

I've seen that movie but I sure don't remember that joke.

I guess my delicate mind must have repressed the terrible memory.

I hope yours now does the same.


  1. I didn't remember the Eubanks joke about Jewish women either.
    I do remember him talking about why asking if your wife looks better walking up the street or walking down the street wasn't rude, but asking about her chest or rear-end was.
    And that's probably not exactly how it went, either. I was too traumatized by the chicken woman's hypocrisy to absorb much of Eubanks' hypocrisy.
    The captcha is lvitylec uroostor, I think. I can almost say that one. It may even be an off color anti-semitic chicken joke.

  2. Johnny Carson was on at bedtime. Merv Griff was on in the afternoon. Joey Bee was on in prime time. How is that competing?
    Oh, now it's "endingst offeadva".
    I think that's Yiddish for, "Off with his ass."
    Ask Bob Ewwsbanks. He'll know. I didn't realize he was from Flint. I thought he was just in the movie because he was an asshole.