Despite the plethora of various viewing options—err, platforms—that exist today and of course the seemingly still going strong DVD industry, there remains a few programs from TV’s distant and not so distant past that seem to be just out of reach….
Over the years I’ve been very fortunate to work at places that have often granted me access to many of TV’s great and obscure “back files.” First at the Museum of Broadcast Communications is Chicago, where I first came upon one of my all-time favorite series--“Decoy” with Beverly Garland. Then at the Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland (where I was introduced to the high-energy wonders of “The Debbie Reynolds Show”) and, now, at the Library of Congress where I have had the chance to check out everything from “Grindl” to “Get Christie Love!”
But still… Despite these wonderful collections (which unfortunately are often only available for viewing on the premises) and others (like those at the Paley in NY or the UCLA Film and TV Archives), and despite the booming world of bootlegs of Youtube. (Shhh! Don’t mention it; they’ll take them down!), far too much of our primetime legacy remains lost or hidden away, buried beneath complicated copyrights or behind walls of indifference.
Every TV fan, I’m sure has his or her own “want list.”
I’m sure Western fans have many horse operas from TV’s long ago, dusty past they want to see. And I have no doubt that many of small-screen sci-fi aficionados wish that the very first “Buck Rogers” series, that aired on ABC from 1950-1951, would turn up someplace; no episodes of it, however, are believed to have survived.
And everyone it seems would LOVE to see “The Television Ghost,” a NY-produced series from 1930-1933 (yes, 1930 to ’33) that we know of only because of newspaper accounts of it. Alas, these “Ghost” films—if they were filmed--have long be feared lost.
But even of programs that are known to be extant, there are some that are still just not viewable—at least, not easily.
And since I have long had a strong interest in women on the small screen, I have my own wish list…. Certainly I wish more and different episodes of “Meet Millie,” the charming sitcom with Elena Verdugo as a single working woman, which aired from 1952-1956, were floating around someplace; there’s seems to be just the same two episodes that keep getting uploaded.
And I wish some other episodes of “Love That Jill,” from 1958, which starred Anne Jeffreys and Robert Sterling post-“Topper,” would come to the fore; the only installment that seems to be around is the one with special guest star Chuck Connors.
Only the Christmas episode of “Dear Phoebe” (1954-1955) starring Peter Lawford and Marcia Henderson seems to be viewable for this one-season sitcom that featured Lawford as the newspaper’s advice to the lovelorn columnist (the “Phoebe” of the title) and Henderson as the paper’s chief SPORTS writer.
And poor Janet Dean, Registered Nurse! Episodes of this great show from 1954-1955 show with Ella Raines as a crusading caregiver can found all over the internet…sadly, it’s always the same two episodes! One features a young Sal Mineo (which explains much of the interest in it) and the other has actress Kim Hunter subbing for Raines which is fine, but what good is “Janet Dean” without “Janet”?
Then there are these….
Top Secret USA (1954)
Boss Lady (1952)
The Jean Carroll Show: Take It From Me (1953-1954)
Hey, Jeannie! (1956-1957)
Two Girls Named Smith (1951)
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