Saturday, June 5, 2021

This Day in TV History: Val Doonican (1971) and Side Show (1981)

Can you believe today is the 50th anniversary of the U.S. premiere of The Val Doonican Show?

OK, maybe he isn't as much of a presence in the culture today, but Irish singer Doonican was a fixture on BBC for years even before ABC gave him a slot after Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights. It didn't catch on here, lasting only as a summer fill-in. 

ABC had trouble filling that post-Welk slot at 8:30; The Pearl Bailey Show had run there the previous few months. In the 1971 Fall season, Welk was a victim of his demographics, getting canceled by ABC and moving to syndication.  ABC went with Bobby Sherman's new sitcom (see yesterday's post) and a movie of the week.

40 years ago tonight, NBC broadcast the original movie Side Show, starring Lance Kerwin (James at 15) and directed by William Conrad! According to IMDB:

A teenage boy runs away from home. He joins the circus but finds out that it's not all what it's cracked up to be. But then the boy becomes a witness to a murder, and he must try to stay out of the killer's way.

Sounds pretty good to me! There is a tension between the "regular" circus folks and the side show acts. There's romance, intrigue, and danger! Also in the cast: William Windom, Barbara Rhoades, Red Buttons, Tony Franciosa, and Connie Stevens.

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