Mr Wonderful

Another very welcome American visitor to ABC was the sensational Sammy David Jr, who made his only live TV appearance during a whirlwind visit to London last Summer in Sammy Davis Jr Meets the British, a one-hour ABC extravaganza relayed over the ITV Network and produced by Light Entertainment Supervisor Brian Tesler.

British dancing star Lionel Blair partnered the dynamic David in a challenge dance routine built around those traditional London sartorial ornaments, the bowler and the brolly

Stanley Allen

In a specially created scene in another part of the programme, ‘Mr Wonderful’ showed British viewers the brilliant caberet act which has made him the darling of nightclub audiences from London to Las Vegas

Stanley Allen

End of term

John Timbers

Another type of ABC extravaganza was On the Spot, in which adapter Clive Exton and director Philip Saville took the mickey out of Edgar Wallace’s famous comedy thriller play of Chicago in the Roaring Twenties to close the Armchair Theatre season.

The picture above, like an old movie still, shows David McCallum putting a rival gangster on the spot, whilst Ted and Julie Allen left brought Toni Perelli and Minn Lee to life again.

Yvonne Romain as Maria guys the giddy flapper below in Voytek’s baroque set

Summer at the seaside

Summer time at ABC means Holiday Town Parade. This popular annual show takes David Southwood and his Outside Broadcast team every summer round the seaside resorts on the East and West coasts of the North and Midlands, building up a fund of local goodwill through the interest aroused by its contests for the TV Bathing Beauty Queen, the TV Fashion Queen and the TV Adonis of Great Britain.

Errol Flynn, Boris Karloff and John Gregson have helped to crown the Beauty Queen, while Pierre Balmain and Norman Hartnell are among those who have bestowed the Fashion accolade.

McDonald Hobley is the programme’s host, and Joe Loss and his Orchestra were a popular backbone of the show until they were claimed by the Hammersmith Palais

Bedford Studios

▼ Summer for ABC’s Drama Department meant Armchair Mystery Theatre, whose resident host was one of Britain’s busiest actors, Donal Pleasence, taking time off to make his introduction and to star in one of the plays, Machinal, between performances of Harold Pinter’s stage success, The Caretaker

John Timbers

Diana Wynyard gave a remarkable performance as a paralysed woman, using only her eyes and recorded thoughts, in the opening play, Eye Witness, specially written by Leslie Sands and directed by Charles Jarrott

John Timbers

John Gregson was another star visitor to the series, mocking the traditional Secret Service man in Flight from Treason, a spy thriller by schoolmaster James Mitchell, directed by Dennis Vance

Building a reputation

Developing young talent has always been an objective of ABC Television. The current Drama season brought stardom to Ian Hendry, a young actor who gave a fine performance last Spring in Return to Base, an episode of Inside Story, the hour-long drama series about life in a block of flats which Ted Willis edited for Sunday afternoon viewing. During the Summer Ian Hendry added to his reputation with John Gregson in Flight from Treason; ABC then gave him his own series with the title role in Police Surgeon, edited by Julian Bond.

Right Ian Hendry is seen in Inside Story with Margaret Anderson and Ruth Dunning; below he investigates a car smash as Dr Geoffrey Brent, Police Surgeon

Warwick Bedford

Play of the year

Roger Mayne

Playwright of the year 1960 has undoubtedly been Harold Pinter, whose work in the theatre and on television has made him the most talked-about young dramatist in Britain.

ABC commissioned his first TV play, A Night Out: it broke all records by being the only play ever to head the list of audience ratings in TAM’s Top Ten.

The author himself appeared in this story about young insurance clerks; his commentary on the firm’s football team to Philip Lock top was in the best Pinter vein.

Above they discuss their night out with Tom Bell.

The pictures at right have captured the stoical solitude which is a signature of the Pinter plays, brilliantly caught on this occasion by the direction of Philip Saville, at his peak on this production, whose cameras orchestrated the author’s intention as exactly as the settings by Assheton Gorton

The new season

John Timbers

▲ Preparing for the current season of Armchair Theatre are five artists from America who are among the increasing number of writers, directors and actors from abroad who are entrusting their reputations to this programme.

Hollywood playwrights Peggy and Lou Shaw wrote The Cake Baker with Kim Stanley in mind but were too shy to send it to her.

Then their friend Alan Cooke came home to Britain to direct for ABC and sent the script to Miss Stanley in New York.

She flew over to star in it with California-born William Sylvester… and the authors flew in from Hollywood to share the occasion! Left to right Lou and Peggy Shaw, Kim Stanley, William Sylvester, Alan Cooke

Television is a here-today, gone-tomorrow medium;
by the time the audience see a programme, the planners are already at work on the next show…

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