Christmas Party Shows We Love and Remember (1957-58)

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From Paul Noble

1957 — "We’re Gunn’s Blooming Help"

Here are excerpts from the Scholars ’58 Original Musical Spectacular, presented Friday, December 20, 1957, at the office Christmas party. Script is by Ed Donlon and Vic Washkevich, songs by Bill Heitz assisted by Jean Brady, and directed by Stewart White.

The opening song by the chorus:

"We’re perfect young scholars
Preparing to take
Our place in the world of TV.
We’re perfect young scholars
Preparing to make
The most of the chance we possess.

We’re being finished
And though Ralph Lowell’s funds
May be diminished
But at least we’re kept in beer and smokes
And making the grade is our duty you see
For perfect young scholars are we."

Announcer Paul Altmeyer introduced the theme of the show:

Educational television has come a long way in its short history……

From Mary Ellen to Mary Lela it has spattered paint and clay and frogs and snakes all over your living room.

You’re learned to type and tango, simultaneously….

You’ve laughed with Louis Lyons and blasted off with Asimov.

So tonight we shall turn our eyes to the future. What kind of shows can we expect in ’58?….

In the next scene, the series "Communism and You" was presented.

In an interview between "Ed Burro" and "Mr. X," for example, Ed asks Mr. X, recently returned from Russia, "but what is their home life like?"

"Well," replied Mr. X, "A typical evening might be spent like this. After supper, when the borscht dishes are done, Poppa Russian might take his evening Izvestia and sit down in the living room to read the funnies."

Ed: "I didn’t realize the Russians had comic strips in their newspapers."

Mr. X: "Well, they aren’t really comic strips, Ed. But the Russians get a big chuckle. They’re reprints of 1929 Wall Street Journals…."

The announcer then introduced the subject of different directing and switching techniques, and the lyrics to the song fit the music from the strip song "Zip" from "Pal Joey."

Louis Lyons was quite brilliant today

Will Lew Barlow ever tire of I. A.?

I was reading Rudy Bretz just last night

And I think that Rudy Bretz was quite right!

I don’t like to switch on math shows,
I don’t like to be on my toes,
I should be directing,
I don’t like bassoons and oboes
Telegenic Smith-Coronoes,
I’m not intellectual.

My intelligence is guiding my hand

Don’t ya think my work is just grand?

That Lew Barlow gets the greatest of bands

But that screaming must be hell on his glands!

A new science show with Ludwig Blintz called "Science and Schtunkenheimers" followed.

Then, a lyrical version of an incident during a BSO telecast. The words are to the tune of "The Boston Beguine" from "New Faces of 1952."

It happened at Kresge, just behind the station,
We blew a fuse there, Larry met frustration.
It was a musical night, Jordan Whitelaw was there,
He was pulling out his hair, he always is — at Kresge.

Dave Davis directed, in the hall below there,
The underground hideout of the TV crew there.
Something in camera two got disgusted and blew,
Which is what we shouldn’t do, in a remote — from Kresge.

The best of the story never hit the papers.
The critics applauded, Peter Winn did capers.
Thus the sacred name of good old E-T-V
Was kept absolutely free on that fateful night — at Kresge!

A new program called "Instruments for the Band and Orchestra" followed.

And one final song, entitled "Channel Two":

Getting people to learn is our trade,
And in seeing that point is made
If we use deceit,
If we lie, if we cheat,
It’s for Channel Two -
Now is there anyone here against that?

Certainly not.
Channel Two, we recommend it,
Though we’ve only got two cents, we’ll go and spend it.
We’re for kineed shoes, Bill Pierce’s pimpled nose,
We’re for good old E-T-V.

We’re for White, with Sports and Weather,
Hartford Gunn, Robert Larsen, Norman Feather.
Put us to the test, we’ll do our very best,
We’re for good of E-T-V.

We’re for jazz, Lew Barlow’s shouting,
Peter Prodan’s clicking heels, Ted Steinke’s pouting,
We’re for BSO’s, where switchers dare not dose, etc…..

1958 — The Revival

The following year’s second annual Christmas party, held at MIT’s Baker House, presented its crew show on tape. It was produced the night (morning) before the party at 3:40 a.m.

Among the selections:

  • "Ruth Anne’s Cramp," starring Ruth Anne Nohling (we lost two campers)
  • "Jazz with Brother Bonaventure"
  • Mel Bernstein as "The Vicious Midget"
  • "Images" (a big mixture of nothing, meaning nothing, doing nothing. Exact replica of real show. Audience loved it!)
  • "The Press and the Peep-Hole" — Louis Tiger, portrayed by Bob Giuliana, and small town news man Phil Fields
  • The Fight Between Studios A & B done a la "West Side Story."

Ollie Hubbard and paychecks quelled the rioting! The grand climax of the show: Monsieur Dave Nohling with NET tattooed on his chest.

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