Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Forgotten TV: TV Reader's Digest (1955)

Reader's Digest used to be prominently displayed on newsstands and supermarket checkout counters. Not so today. As a youth, when I had an eye doctor's appointment, I would read various back issues that were in the waiting room, fascinated by the advertising of the days when specific issues were published.

Little did I know that in 1955, an independent producer had obtained a license from the magazine to produce an anthology series that sought to raise its profile. However, TV Reader's Digest bowed as a mid-season replacement for ABC in the beginning of 1955, and ran for 2 seasons over nearly 18 months.

Let me offer an example of a story taken from the pages of Reader's Digest. "France's Greatest Detective" stars Arthur Franz, Claude Akins, and Paul Frees, the latter making an all-too-rare on camera appearance. Bear in mind that at the time, Frees was heard but not seen on The Millionaire as John Beresford Tipton.

Because there were already quite a few anthology series on the air, TV Reader's Digest was caught in the glut, and even the popularity of the magazine wasn't enough to sustain it.

Rating: B.

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