|Television in 1958
The total number of television sets in use by
Americans exceeded 46 million in 1958.
||CBS executives operate television
cameras during a strike of the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in April.
|George Burns and Gracie Allen
make their farewell appearance as a team in May.
Allen retired after 36 years with Burns in
vaudeville, radio, and television. Burns planned
on continuing his career, however.
||Birthday party for Jack Benny
(seated), who "admitted" to being 40
after many years of using his age as 39 as a
running gag in his radio and television shows.
His wife, Mary Livingston, is standing to his
National News -- ABC, John
Daly and staff, Prologue '58
Local News -- WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts), Louis
Musical Entertainment -- NBC, Dinah Shore
Non-Musical Entertainment -- NBC, Hallmark
Hall of Fame
Education -- WQED (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Heritage
National Youth and Children's Program -- CBS, Captain
Local Youth and Children's Program -- KING-TV
(Seattle, Washington), Wunda Wunda
National Public Service -- CBS, The Last Word
Local Public Service -- KLZ-TV (Denver,
Contribution to International Understanding --
dancing, comedy sketches, and commercials on The
Dinah Shore Show were colorcast each week,
but most people watched the show on
(presented April 15, 1958)
Single Program --
"The Comedian," Playhouse 90,
Single Performance by an Actress -- Polly
Bergen, "The Helen Morgan Story," Playhouse
Single Performance by an Actor -- Peter Ustinov,
"Life of Samuel Johnson," Omnibus,
ABC and NBC
Comedy Series -- Phil Silvers Show, CBS
Dramatic Series With Continuing Characters -- Gunsmoke,
Dramatic Anthology Series -- Playhouse 90
Continuing Performance -- Dinah Shore, The
Dinah Shore Show, NBC
Variety Show -- The Dinah Shore Show
Teleplay Writing (Hour or More) -- Rod Serling,
Teleplay Writing (Half-Hour or Less) -- Paul
Monash, "The Lonely Wizard," Schlitz
Direction (Hour or More) -- Bob Banner, The
Dinah Shore Show
Direction (Half-Hour or Less) -- Robert Stevens, The
Glass Eye, CBS
Public Service Program or Series -- Omnibus
News Commentary -- Edward R. Murrow, CBS
(Right) Winners of Emmy Awards included Peter
Ustinov (left) and Polly Bergen for Best Acting
and Phil Silvers for Comedy Series.
I. du Pont Awards
KARD-TV, Wichita, Kansas
Clifton Utley, NBC
E. Sherwood TV Awards
Open Mind," WRCA-TV, New York, New York
"Let Freedom Ring," WBZ-TV, Boston,
"The Lady from Philadelphia" on See
It Now, CBS
"The Trophy," ABC in co-operation with
the American Jewish Committee
"Light in the Southern Sky" on Frontiers
of Faith, NBC
"Freedom," WCBS-TV, New York, New York,
presented by Metropolitan Educational TV
"Migrants in Chicago" on Outlook,
occupied four out of the top five places in the
Nielsen ratings in 1958, with a total of 23 being
shown by the three networks between 7:30 and
11:00 p.m. Gunsmoke was the most popular
of all programs on television. Zorro
replaced Davy Crockett as the children's
favorite. Variety shows also enjoyed great
(Left) The Emmy-winning
Gunsmoke featured (left to right) Milburn
Stone, Dennis Weaver, Amanda Blake, and James
(Right, top) TV western
stars of 1957-1958 included, from left, Will
Hutchins (Sugarfoot), Jim Garner (Maverick),
Wayde Preston (Colt .45), and Clint
(Right, bottom) Maverick,
with Jack Kelly (left) and James Garner,
continued as one of the most popular of the
The biggest television story
of 1958 was the cancellation of most of the
big-money quiz shows following charges that many
of them were fixed. At the height of their
popularity in the summer of 1958 there were 78
half-hours of quiz show each week on television.
That number was drastically reduced after it was
revealed that contestants on some of the most
popular quiz shows had been supplied answers in
advance and coached on how to give them.
(Left) Master of
ceremonies Ralph Storey of the $64,000
Challenge indicates the record winnings of
contestant Teddy Nader.
(Right) Elfrida von
Nardroff ponders a question on Twenty One,
a quiz show on which she won $220,500 in 1958.
The program went off the air later in the year.
-- specially scheduled large-budget shows -- were
popular in 1958. Among the most noteworthy shown
in the fall were The Plot to Kill Stalin,
Harvey, The Winslow Boy, Wonderful
Town, Gift of the Magi, and An
Evening with Fred Astaire.
(Right) A scene from
"The Plot to Kill Stalin," a dramatic
production of the Playhouse 90 series.
The program drew a protest by the U.S.S.R. after
it aired on September 25.
|Clement Attlee and Harry
Truman joined Edward R. Murrow in an
intercontinental televised chat on Small
World, November 30.
||Shirley Temple rehearses with
Jules Munshin for her first appearance in
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" on her Storybook
television series, which premiered on January 12.
Following a rehearsal for the NBC-TV Tonight
show, host Jack Paar rests his cheek on the
forehead of regular guest singer Geneviève, as
pianist José Melis smiles.
Ella Maxwell's visits to Jack Paar's Tonight were
one of the program's most popular -- and
controversial -- features.
the Year 1958
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