Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What Might've Been: GE True (1962)

In 1962, General Electric had ended the long running anthology series, GE Theater, which had been hosted for most of the run by future President Ronald Reagan. The following fall, GE joined forces not with Revue Studios, which packaged GE Theater, but with Warner Bros., to create a new anthology series, GE True, and entrusted the project to Jack Webb and his Mark VII production company. Most of you might think that Webb's most closely associated with Universal, but he started at WB, which distributed the original Dragnet. After GE True ended its 1 year run in 1963, Webb then switched studios.

So why did GE True fail? One word. Bonanza. CBS placed True on Sundays ahead of Candid Camera, as memory serves, and What's My Line?, but it was opposite the 2nd half of Bonanza. Ballgame over.

Webb would sell two more series to CBS in later years, but both of those series, O'Hara: US Treasury (1971), and Sam (with Mark Harmon) also lasted just 1 season, proving that Webb's greatest success was at NBC.

From October 1962, here's "V-Victor-5". The poster used a different title, presumably to throw the copyright police off track.

There were plenty of anthology shows on the air at the time, so maybe that also had something to do with the cancellation of this series. Oh, by the way, GE True used source material from True, a now-defunct magazine from Fawcett Publishing.

Rating: A.


Mike Doran said...

Substitute What's My Line? for To Tell The Truth.

hobbyfan said...

Ok, will do. Couldn't remember off the top which one aired on Sunday when I was writing the review.

Mike Doran said...

Actually, Jack Webb stayed at Warner Bros. for one more year, 1963-64.

Warners promoted him to head if their whole TV operation, which that year had been reduced to two prime time shows:
Temple Houston, a Western on NBC, with Jeffrey Hunter and Jack Elam.
... and 77 Sunset Strip, for what would be its final season on ABC.
Webb and William Conrad gutted the show's classic format, dropping everybody but Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and moving out of the famous address to LA's famous Bradbury Building (Webb's explanation for keeping the title: "It's presold.")
Both shows flopped badly, and by midseason Webb was gone, resurfacing at Universal in '66.

hobbyfan said...

I remember that Webb was given an executive position at WB, but his vision didn't gibe for the reasons you state, Mike. My bro is DVR'ing Strip (overnights on Me-TV), and we'll look at Temple Houston another time. Thanks.