|TONI TWIN TIME (CBS 1950)
THOSE TWO (NBC 1951-1952)
Not exactly "guest" appearances, but we didn't know where else to put these first two little gems. Bill was the offscreen announcer for these shows, the only two examples of that aspect to his career that we know of. The first was a live variety program hosted by a young Jack Lemmon. At the time, Bill was closely associated with the CBS radio network and the Toni line of home permanents and other hair care products.
The second is a little more interesting, and is also available for viewing below. Those Two was a fifteen-minute situation comedy with musical interludes. What makes this an odd entry in Bill's early career is that it was an NBC TV show sponsored by Proctor & Gamble, a network, a sponsor and even a medium that were all at the time unusual for him. He's not credited, but there's no mistaking his voice at the beginning of the program.
THE GARRY MOORE SHOW (CBS May 18-22, 1953)
Bill was the guest host of his I've Got A Secret colleague's daytime show during at least one of Garry's vacations. Researcher Leah Biel found this week for us, there may have been others. Scroll down to see an unusual cameo Bill made years later on Garry Moore's prime time program!
GUY LOMBARDO PRESENTS NEW YEAR'S (NBC December 31, 1955)
In an earlier time, big band leader Guy Lombardo's name was as synonymous with New Year's Eve as Dick Clark's is today. We don't have any details about this appearance, nor what Bill's role would have been in this mostly musical program, but we're guessing there was a countdown involved around midnight.
THE TONIGHT SHOW (NBC July 9-10, 1956)
In the summer of
1956, Tonight host Steve Allen debuted a prime
time series and cut back his late night hosting to
Wednesdays through Fridays only. Ernie Kovacs
became the permanent Monday-Tuesday host in October,
but until then, a number of guest hosts were
used. Bill was one of them.
On the July 9th
show, scheduled guests included jazz musicians Cannonball Adderley and
Chris Connor. On the July 10 show, his scheduled
guests were Arlene Francis (with whom he worked
extensively in the 1950s), Jonathan Winters and the
piano duo of Gold and Fizdale.
In the book Brought To You By: Postwar Television Advertising and the American Dream, it's said that Bill was scheduled to fill in on The Tonight Show in 1963 but had to back out due to a sponsor conflict. (Frigidaire advertised on The Price is Right while Hotpoint was on The Tonight Show.) Arlene Francis ended up hosting those shows instead.
According to some vintage newspaper articles, Bill did not enjoy the experience of hosting a talk show. "They aren't my idea of a good time," he said in a 1971 profile. "Walking out there with the thought, 'Now I have to be entertaining for the next five minutes.' Never again -- not even Carson."
BILL CULLEN TAX PARTY (WRCA March 24, 1956)
Bill hosted this
special seen locally on the NBC flagship station in
New York City from 11:15pm until midnight.
According to the TV Guide listing, "Four income-tax
experts will answer questions from the studio audience
and from people around the city, the latter being
picked up by WRCA-TV's mobile unit."
PERSON TO PERSON
(CBS January 18, 1957)
THE GARRY MOORE
SHOW (CBS April 11, 1961)
THE AMERICA'S CUP RACE (NBC September 17, 1962)
Bill teamed with Cleveland Amory and Everett Morris for this NBC News Special about the upcoming yachting competition between Australia and the United States off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island. A copy of this obscurity is in the archives of The Museum of Television and Radio in California.
NIGHTLIFE (April 26-30, 1965)
Nightlife was a failed effort by ABC to challenge Johnny Carson in the late-night field. The show ran from November, 1964 to November, 1965 and had one of the odder production histories in late night television. Les Crane was its host for the first four months, during which time the show was essentially known as The Les Crane Show. Crane was fired in February, a victim of low ratings, and beginning March 1 the show began using guests hosts for a week or two at a time. Those hosts included funnymen Shelley Berman, Jack Carter and Jan Murray, singers Eddy Arnold and Pat Boone, former Today host Dave Garroway, and in the last week of April, our man Bill. The rotating hosts format fared no better, and in June new producers were brought in to give new life to the series. One of their first moves was to rehire Crane, who returned to the late night show on June 28 and stayed until the show ran its course later that year.
We've even found some of Bill's guests for his week of shows:
TUESDAY: Hal March, rock & roll singer Donna Loren, actor Herschel Bernardi and singer Al Hibbler
WEDNESDAY: Singer Gale Garnett and actor Roger Smith
THURSDAY: Folk singer Leon Bibb, actress Nancy Dussault, actor Phil Foster, and a debate on capital punishment between Massachusetts state Representative Gerald Lombardi and Tennessee Governor Frank Clement
FRIDAY: Producer Norman Baer, country singer Kitty Wells and bluegrass performers Flatt & Scruggs
ROSES PARADE (NBC January 2, 1967)
(CBS January 25, 1977)
DICK CLARK AND A CAST OF THOUSANDS (NBC September 6, 1978)
This variety special featured, as the title suggests, a lot of guests, each of whom were limited to short segments. Other guests included Doc Severinsen, Paul Williams, Jack Carter, Alan Gibbs, David Soul, Penny Marshall, Caren Kaye and Paul Anka. Bill's appearance included a clip of Dick playing The $25,000 Pyramid, the version of the durable series that Bill hosted. This special, and others like it, led to the live variety show Dick Clark's Live Wednesday, which didn't last very long.
THE JOHN DAVIDSON SHOW (Syndicated, October, 1981)
Bill was one of several greats who participated in a "Salute to Game Shows" on Davidson's syndicated talk show. Other guests included Mark Goodson, Gene Rayburn and Betty White. As was common for syndicated program of the day, specific airdates varied.
TV'S FUNNIEST GAME SHOW MOMENTS (ABC May 10, 1984)
This was the first of two specials hosted by William Shatner which looked back at some classic moments from Goodson-Todman game shows. Bill was one of several in-studio guests who chatted with Shatner and introduced clips. Despite the wealth of material to draw from, most of Bill's clips came from the then-recent series Child's Play.