Book About Greensboro Fractured Fairy Tales on DVD Lola Falana on DVD Bing Crosby Christmas TV Specials on DVD! The Goldbergs on DVD Classic Commercials on DVD 1950's Saturday Morning Shows
TV Shows on DVD/ / / / / / / Punk Book / / / / / / / / / / / Holiday Specials on DVD / / / / / / Classic Commercials


The Today Show in the 1960s
by Billy 'Last Nite' Ingram

J. Fred MuggsTemperamental stars are no stranger to television (or to the Today show for that matter); eventually J. Fred Muggs began throwing legendary tantrums on the set.

After all, he was a major television superstar with his own line of books, comics, games and other assorted merchandise.

Being a reasonably intelligent creature, Muggs noticed that, as long as the red light was lit on the camera, he couldn't be punished for acting up. He took to striking out at co-star Dave Garroway and his guests, then would run for cover when the camera's light went dark.

As J. Fred got older, he got even meaner, as chimps and TV stars often do. The anthropoid was finally dropped from the cast in 1957 after he went berserk one too many times and viciously bit comedienne Martha Raye ("The Big Mouth!") on the arm.

J Fred Muggs was a guest on a game show called Make The Connection.

Today Show  1958Muggs was replaced briefly by an adorable younger, more agreeable chimp named 'Kokomo, Jr' but by 1958 the primates were gone completely and Today began its evolution into a more serious program.

That same year, NBC began videotaping and time delaying their broadcasts for different time zones. The show no longer featured a window on the street, and for a few months, they even taped the program in the afternoons before the air date.

Today Show  historyDave Garroway left in 1961, replaced briefly by John Chancellor and then by Hugh Downs, who remained at the helm from 1962 until 1971.

After Garroway left Today, he suffered the ultimate insult - he was sued by J. Fred Muggs (or more accurately by his handlers) who complained that Garroway ruined Muggs' career by making public accusations about being bitten by the big ape.

Garroway countered that, in fact, Muggs had lashed out at a number of people at NBC and that he had been bitten - on the face - while they were live on the air.

During this period women, who were mostly used for window dressing on the show, began to be taken more seriously and given a larger role.

TVparty-er Josh tells us more, "After Hugh Downs quit in 1971, he was replaced by Frank McGee, who took Today even more seriously into news and less humor.

"Oklahoma native McGee covered the JFK assassination for NBC for 40 hours with everything ad libbed. Though McGee was popular with viewers, he was difficult to work with. He and Barbara Walters didn't get along. According to the book Total Television, McGee insisted opening and closing the show by himself and any time Walters did an interview on the show, McGee had the option of asking the first question.

"By 1974, it was really bad behind the scenes, however McGee took time off in April of 1974 and died less than two weeks later of bone cancer which he wasn't even aware that he had. He was 53. McGee's replacement was 33 year old Jim Hartz, also from Oklahoma, who became the new host with Walters' blessing.

"At this point, Walters officially became co-host, instead of just being a Today girl. Though Walters and Hartz got along, the ratings went down, due it part to ABC debuting Good Morning America, which was less formal and had more of a homelike feel.

"Hartz left in 1976 as did Walters, who went to ABC. Today had substitute hosts for a couple of months and then Jane Pauley came aboard, later joined by Tom Brokaw. Today got more of a down home set to compete with Good Morning America and that brought the program, though still in 2nd place, up in the ratings."

NEXT - PART THREE - Beyond the 1970s

...and whatever happened to the original hosts and J. Fred Muggs?

TODAY SHOW : 1960s & 1970s
THE TODAY SHOW : 1970s & Beyond

Classic TV!

TODAY SHOW : 1960s & 1970s
THE TODAY SHOW : 1970s & Beyond



Amazon Prime - unlimited streaming
of your fave TV shows and movies!
Get your FREE 30 Day Trial!

PR4 & PR5 Pages for Advertising



Patrick Duffy of Dallas Interview

TV Racing & Bingo shows of the 1960s


Video Vault / Holiday Specials / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Lost Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!

Television's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the Seventies / The Eighties / TVafterparty / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments
1950's TV Shows / Fess Parker & Davy Crockett / Jack Benny Program / Betty Hutton Show / 1952 Olympics Telethon / Amos 'n' Andy / Little Rascals & Our Gang / Howdy Doody / The Lone Ranger / 1950s Shows I NEED To See / Jack Lemmon & Billy Wilder on Marilyn Monroe / The Plainclothesman / Kuda Bux / TV During WWII / Top Ten TV Shows 1950s / Judy Garland's 2nd TV Special and Las Vegas Debut / Early Network News Broadcasts / Lost Superboy Pilot / KTLA News / The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu / 1950s and 60s Bloopers / TV's First Working Woman / Lauren Bacall on Bette Davis / Sunset Boulevard Explained / Abbott & Costello TV Show / The Three Stooges: The Where They Were / The First 'Black' Show - Beulah / Women on TV in the 1950s / The Today Show / Soap Opera Miss Susan / Adventures of Superman Lost Episode / Bette Davis vs Ronald Reagan / Obscure Actress Mary Castle / Serious 1950s TV shows / Remembering David Susskind / TV's First Rerun Series / The Ken Murray Budweiser Show / Saturday Morning Serials / Two Variety Shows of the Fifties / Game Shows of the Fifties /1950's TV Wrestling / Greensboro's Soda Pop History / Mr. Adams and Eve / TV's First Star / Oh Susanna! the Gale Storm Show / Bob Hastings / TV's First Star / History of the Laugh Track / The First Interactive Video Game / Designing Winky-Dink / Buffalo Bob Smith / The McKimson Brothers & Animation / Interview with a Show Business Legend / The Soundies / Snaders Telescriptions / Steve Allen Interviewed / Racket Squad / December Bride / The Big Show / Beverly Garland & Decoy / Richard Crenna & The Real McCoys / Roger Muir / Noel Coward's 1955 TV Special / Jon Provost Interview / 1950's TV Shows on DVD / Oh Susanna! The Gale Storm Show / 1950's Old Time TV Thanksgiving / Outrageous 1950's Commercial! / The Real Superman? / Mickey Mouse Club's Cheryl / Gale Storm / Captain Allen Swift / NYC's St. Patrick's Day Parade Telecasts / Julie London / The Goldbergs / 1950's Female Singers / The Dead End Kids / Bowery Boys / Fred Allen / Ed Wynn / Mr. Belvedere Movies / Art Linkletter / The Bickersons / Marty & Live TV / George Gobel & Red Buttons / Barbara Billingsley / Billy Gray Interview / Abbott & Costello Show / The Honeymooners / Three Stooges' Joe Besser / Whirlybirds / Burns & Allen Show
Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / Groucho vs William F Buckley / Evangelicals For Trump / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / What's In Oprah's Purse? / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / Gay Icon T-Shirts / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / The Andy Williams Show / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!

Saturday Morning Cartoons 1970s V1 on DVD Carol Burnett Show on DVD King Family Christmas on DVD Lancelot Link Secret Chimp on DVD  Good Times Season 5 on DVD Dungeons & Dragons on DVD
Looking for classic TV DVDs?/See below:
TV Commercials on DVD Wrestling DVDs Classic TV Books

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
Contact Us / Classic TV DVDs
Other Cool TV Sites

TV Blog