The 14th Emmys Evaluated (1962)

Welcome to “Emmys Evaluated,” a series that looks at the nominations and wins in the television industry’s foremost awards ceremony and performs some revisionist history to retroactively pick the winners from the categories and nominees the The Television Academy selected.

By the 14th ceremony, the Emmy Awards had taken on a shape familiar to the few years before it…a format that would be changed around a bit more in the succeeding years. But with the 1962 event, recognizing the best in television of most of 1961 and the beginning of ’62, the Television Academy set forth nominations and winners for 19 major categories. Unlike some of the previous Emmys, recording scraps of the 14th don’t seem to be readily available online, so it’s difficult to say how the show, hosted by “new talent” Bob Newhart, went.

But the result of the 14th Emmys’ nominations and wins tells the 1962 story. BEN CASEY and HALLMARK HALL OF FAME were the most nominated shows of the night, with seven nominations each, but THE DEFENDERS was the biggest winner with four awards. THE BOB NEWHART SHOW (the original variety incarnation of the name, not the better known sitcom to follow) made history as the first show to win a best program award for what would be its only season. I don’t think there were too many snubs at the 14th Emmy Awards, but the Academy could have seen fit to recognize ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS or THE FLINTSTONES again.

Now, though, I’ll mark with an * the actual winner, bold my pick at the top of the list, and rank in order of my enjoyment from there. I’ve denoted shows or episodes that I couldn’t really track down online (specifically for the year for which they were eligible for this ceremony) with a ~.


Perhaps for more than an out-and-out hilarity, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW will always reside in a special spot in my heart for its warm qualities, and as it continued into its second season, that remained the case. It’s a more consistently comforting and, yes, funny watch than CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU?, a relatively short-lived cop comedy that isn’t without its charm due to leads Joe E. Ross and Fred Gwynne. It’s not like THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW was some kind of trailblazing experiment, but by comparison, CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU? feels rote. HAZEL goes further down that paradigm, as a domestic sitcom that focuses on the wacky live-in maid as opposed to the wacky kid (LEAVE IT TO BEAVER [1957–1963]) or, well, the general exploits of a pretty milquetoast family (FATHER KNOWS BEST [1954–1960]). Shirley Booth is pretty good in the title role, sure, but its jokes and contrivances conjured up too many eye-rolls for me. You know, that reaction just might be because of the lack of nostalgia I have for the show, as compared to THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW (although I think it is just generally better written and acted). But when it comes to THE RED SKELTON SHOW, I’ve just not been able to engage with it over the years it’s been nominated. Skelton is a famed comedian and I enjoy a number of his peers to this day, but his sketch show just fails to drag too many laughs out of me. But of course, the glaring thing here is that I couldn’t even track down THE BOB NEWHART SHOW, so I wasn’t able to experience the real winner of this category. As much as I like Newhart, though, I have a feeling my love for THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW would have reigned supreme.


Unlike, say, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, I don’t feel particularly strongly about NAKED CITY and its place as my winner of this category. The noir-ish police procedural is in fact quite good and grounded in a refreshing way for its era of television, but there was a bit of a change in energy when the original cast of the first season gave way to a rank of new characters. In a way, this change improved things, as Paul Burke’s Detective Adam Flint had some personal life elements integrated into the stories. NAKED CITY’s sensitivity when it came to the outgrowth of crime could also be surprising, and THE DEFENDERS, the historical winner, was able to achieve that as well. But perhaps the procedural facets of a cop show were a bit more thrilling to me than the courtroom drama. THE DICK POWELL SHOW put out some competent teleplays at this time, although its cohesion can’t really be put up against the consistency of NAKED CITY and THE DEFENDERS. BEN CASEY, on the other hand, wasn’t able to rise above even the couple standout DICK POWELL episodes; I’m just typically not a fan of medical dramas. HALLMARK HALL OF FAME and ALCOA PREMIERE, finally, did not impress me much with their apparent best episodes of the year, which I will explore more in short order. Ultimately, I think NAKED CITY holds up the best of any show nominated here.


What is now known as the broad umbrella of a “Disney anthology television series” took on the new name of WALT DISNEY’S WONDERFUL WORLD OF COLOR for the 1961–62 season, as it embraced the growing popularity of color TVs. And it did so with remarkable entertainment, including season opener “An Adventure in Color/Mathmagicland;” the former a new production with new character Ludwig von Drake and the latter the theatrically released Donald Duck short from a few years earlier. It totally outclasses even the very enjoyable THE JUDY GARLAND SHOW, a variety special co-starring Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra that is not to be confused with the regular one-season series to come. Garland sounds great, however, and her appeal also rises above the always competent and ultimate winner GARRY MOORE SHOW. These top three are notable and worth seeking out, while PERRY COMO’S KRAFT MUSIC HALL remains pretty bland and HERE’S EDIE seems difficult-to-impossible to track down. WALT DISNEY’S WONDERFUL WORLD OF COLOR, even in the original TV programming that accompanied the broadcast of theatrical experiences, was ultimately able to capture the studio’s magic for the smaller screen.


Well, this was an easy choice. THE BELL TELEPHONE HOUR’s musical performances were relatively interesting, but they simply had to take the cake over the missing nominees. I would have especially liked to watch LEONARD BERNSTEIN AND THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC IN JAPAN, however.


This was another easy choice, since more than half of the nominees are missing, and there isn’t much information about them out there either. So I don’t know how interesting PUREX SUMMER SPECIALS could have been, but between TODAY and ART LINKLETTER’S HOUSE PARTY, it was kind of a toss up of underwhelming daytime talk TV. TODAY took the edge with a Harpo Marx segment over a frankly pretty “racially motivated” episode of ART LINKLETTER’S HOUSE PARTY that showcased the “praiseworthy” work of an evangelizing missionary.

  • 1, 2, 3, GO!~

The fact that WALT DISNEY’S WONDERFUL WORLD OF COLOR was nominated in the general “adult” variety category as well as children’s programming indicates the universal appeal of much of its content. It’s more lively and entertaining on a broad level, although I think NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC YOUNG PEOPLE’S CONCERTS WITH LEONARD BERNSTEIN, a series of educational specials, is totally worthwhile and interesting. I appreciate the exposure to fine arts. THE SHARI LEWIS SHOW and CAPTAIN KANGAROO, on the other hand, are competent kid’s shows in the form that you’ve seen as is or in parody form for years. THE SHARI LEWIS SHOW, with its puppetry and situations, is certainly more entertaining than what I found to be a very boring CAPTAIN KANGAROO. But they especially don’t feel like they are for me, so it’s even more impressive that WORLD OF COLOR (and Bernstein’s show as well) was able to hold my attention so well.


It was hard to find any footage of half of this crop of news shows, including winner DAVID BRINKLEY’S JOURNAL, but what I was able to find for the three remaining nominees was great. BELL & HOWELL CLOSE UP! had a thorough special about the growing tide of the Civil Rights Movement, which included a hilarious and insightful segment with Dick Gregory. CBS REPORTS’ standout investigative takedown of illegal gambling, while pretty sensationalist, was also very interesting for its depiction of undercover journalism. And NBC WHITE PAPER was also respectable in its tackling of concepts like a “welfare town,” but that ultimately felt less vital than the structure and writing behind its peer series. BELL & HOWELL CLOSE UP!, even as a contemporary “news magazine” show, is still very much worth watching today.

  • “Walk in My Shoes” — BELL & HOWELL CLOSE UP!
  • “Biography of a Bookie Joint” — CBS REPORTS
  • “Victoria Regina” — HALLMARK HALL OF FAME*

I was incredibly impressed by VINCENT VAN GOGH: A SELF-PORTRAIT. The fittingly impressionistic documentary special utilized environmental B-roll, the artist’s works, and understated narration to create an almost dreamlike experience. A SELF PORTRAIT is not some kind of rote profile of a historical figure, which is what I was expecting. It’s very impressive, and even though THE JUDY GARLAND SHOW and its title performer’s songs were entertaining, they didn’t resonate in the same way. The referenced “Walk in My Shoes” episode of BELL & HOWELL CLOSE UP!, while a compelling historical document, still proceeded like a news show, so it didn’t really hold up next to Garland’s show-woman-ship. And as mentioned, even in that mold, “Biography of a Bookie Joint” wasn’t as good as the exploration of African American civil rights. But finally, I found the real winner, the Queen Victoria teleplay “Victoria Regina” from HALLMARK HALL OF FAME, to just generally feel stale and too adulatory. “Victoria Regina” felt like a production from a few years earlier in television history (besides its color cinematography). It’s worth nothing, as well, that this is an interesting category because it compares shows that operate in different modes. Even still, VINCENT VAN GOGH: A SELF-PORTRAIT was able to keep ruminating for much longer than any of its fellow nominees.

  • Paul Burke — NAKED CITY
  • George Maharis — ROUTE 66
  • E.G. Marshall — THE DEFENDERS*
  • Vince Edwards — BEN CASEY
  • Jackie Cooper — HENNESEY~

Paul Burke came in to replace James Franciscus as the young lead on NAKED CITY, and eventually became the true face of the series since he was around for more than just one beginning season. He’s good as the pretty sensitive detective Adam Flint whose approach sometimes clashes with his more conventional colleagues. Burke’s performance is more endearing and consistent than the one George Maharis offers on ROUTE 66, although his reactionary Buzz, who has a heart of gold of course, is not without charm. They both feel more vital than E.G. Marshall’s admittedly assured anchor role on THE DEFENDERS, but I see why the Academy would award him. As mentioned, I don’t love medical shows, so Vince Edwards in the title role of BEN CASEY had an uphill battle from my perspective anyways. He’s just fine as the crusading young doctor, but the performance can feel kind of stilted. I would have liked to see the former child actor Jackie Cooper on HENNESEY (episodes are out there, just not for this eligibility period), but Burke would have probably remained the most compelling actor on this list, strengthened by the superior material he was working with.

  • Gertrude Berg — THE GERTRUDE BERG SHOW
  • Shirley Booth — HAZEL*
  • Donna Reed — THE DONNA REED SHOW
  • Cara Williams — PETE AND GLADYS
  • Mary Stuart — SEARCH FOR TOMORROW~

Gertrude Berg rose to fame on radio and TV with her show THE GOLDBERGS (1949–1956 on television), and the subsequent show that bore her name was not as big of a hit. But the story of THE GERTRUDE BERG SHOW (originally titled MRS. G GOES TO COLLEGE), which follows a middle-aged woman returning to college, is a high concept rendered with remarkable sincerity and sensitivity. Sure, there are laughs (it’s a sitcom), but Berg gives a great performance as a soft-spoken yet firm adult woman pursuing a higher education. I was surprisingly touched by this show that I knew was a relative failure (it ran for only one season). Berg’s role is a far cry from the brashness of Shirley Booth’s Hazel, who is quite capable of playing for laughs. I just don’t know that the laughs HAZEL goes for were able to be drawn out from me. I’ve found it strange in previous ceremonies that Donna Reed was nominated for her show, as I think she gives the most straightforward domestic mother role, but I suppose she is competent on THE DONNA REED SHOW. Cara Williams, the “Gladys” of PETE AND GLADYS, kind of apes a Lucille Ball or Gracie Allen with her “dizzy wife” role, but it definitely comes off more grating than hilarious. Although a couple of clips of soap opera SEARCH FOR TOMORROW exist from this eligibility period, they remarkably don’t include star Mary Stuart, so no dice on that one. I’ve got to say, though, it might be worth seeing Berg do some post-GOLDBERGS work even today.

  • Horace McMahon — NAKED CITY
  • George C. Scott — “I Remember a Lemon Tree” (BEN CASEY)
  • Sam Jaffe — BEN CASEY
  • Barry Jones — “Victoria Regina” (HALLMARK HALL OF FAME)

It’s so easy to agree with the Academy on this one: Don Knotts may have been the best part of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW. Knotts gives an almost virtuosic performance as Barney Fife, a character that echoes through the decades as one of the key icons of this era of television. By comparison, Horace McMahon’s grouchy lieutenant character on NAKED CITY feels like small potatoes, but his gruff exterior is amusing and his relenting toughness is endearing. In his guest role on BEN CASEY, with the episode “I Remember a Lemon Tree,” George C. Scott outshines everyone around him, although he would be given a lot better material in just a few years. But I also think Sam Jaffe, as the elder statesman doctor of the hospital and Ben Casey’s mentor, is the best series regular on the show. The way Jaffe plays his wise and temperate leader feels more genuine than Edwards’ Ben Casey. And finally, Barry Jones’ role as the Dean in “Victoria Regina” is pretty forgettable. Don Knotts is definitely the king here.

  • Jeanne Cooper — “But Linda Only Smiled” (BEN CASEY)
  • Pamela Brown — “Victoria Regina” (HALLMARK HALL OF FAME)*
  • Colleen Dewhurst — FOCUS~
  • Joan Hackett — “A Certain Time, A Certain Darkness” (BEN CASEY)~

Unfortunately, a couple of nominees for supporting actress are missing, and what roles are here definitely aren’t the standout supports from women on television in this particular year. With her guest appearance, Jeanne Cooper breathes some life into “But Linda Only Smiled,” an episode of BEN CASEY. Mary Wickes is a good friendly figure to “Mrs. G” on THE GERTRUDE BERG SHOW. And Pamela Brown, as Queen Victoria’s mother, is convincingly domineering for “Victoria Regina,” but again, the HALLMARK HALL OF FAME episode is pretty moribund. So it’s a bit of a toss up for this category, but I had to go with Cooper’s raunchy performance for BEN CASEY.

  • Peter Falk — “The Price of Tomatoes” (THE DICK POWELL SHOW)*
  • Mickey Rooney — “Somebody’s Waiting” (THE DICK POWELL SHOW)
  • Milton Berle — “Doyle Against the House” (THE DICK POWELL SHOW)
  • Lee Marvin — “People Need People” (ALCOA PREMIERE)
  • James Donald — “Victoria Regina” (HALLMARK HALL OF FAME)

Peter Falk is one of the great actors, and he deserved his win as a rough truck driver with a hear of gold for “The Price of Tomatoes,” an episode of the anthology program THE DICK POWELL SHOW. But I was also very happy with Mickey Rooney’s painfully awkward character in “Somebody’s Waiting” and Milton Berle’s tremendous dramatic turn as a washed up gambler aiming for one more score in “Doyle Against the House.” This trifecta of teleplays and their central performances present THE DICK POWELL SHOW as a forerunner in the anthology/single performance space in general, let alone in comparison to the other two nominees. Lee Marvin is of course a great actor in other parts, but his mentally disturbed veteran in “People Need People,” an episode of ALCO PREMIERE, would go well with eggs (that is, it’s hammy). And I’m tired of writing about “Victoria Regina,” but James Donald gives a maybe technically proficient performance as Prince Albert, but it comes to bear in a generally boring framework. Falk feels so electric by comparison and it was actually quite difficult to distinguish just who should have won between him, Rooney, and Berle.

  • Inger Stevens — “The Price of Tomatoes” (THE DICK POWELL SHOW)
  • Ethel Waters — “Goodnight, Sweet Blues” (ROUTE 66)
  • Julie Harris — “Victoria Regina” (HALLMARK HALL OF FAME)*
  • Geraldine Brooks — “Call Back Yesterday” (BUS STOP)~
  • Suzanne Pleshette — “Shining Image” (DR. KILDARE)~

Inger Stevens, Peter Falk’s costar in THE DICK POWELL SHOW’s “The Price of Tomatoes,” should have taken home the corresponding award to his win. Stevens plays a pregnant immigrant who Falk helps, at first against his better judgment. But the platonic relationship they develop is so charming and powerful, and of course Stevens is about half of that equation. Ethel Waters’ guest part on an episode of ROUTE 66, “Goodnight, Sweet Blues” carries much of the power of her own career, as a dying blues singer asks the guys to seek out her scattered former band mates. It’s a touching role that ends in perhaps a tear or two, and between her and Stevens, they knock Julie Harris’ Queen Victoria out of the water. I really sound like I hate “Victoria Regina,” but I would say my emotions for it don’t run that high, and Harris isn’t the crux of that reaction. I just feel like it was a “prestige” production that took home many nominations and awards as opposed to the more daring and modern work happening on other shows. Who knows how Geraldine Brooks and Suzanne Pleshette would have come off in comparison, but ultimately, Stevens’ vulnerability for “The Price of Tomatoes” stands out as the strongest performance from this batch of nominees.

  • Nat Hiken — CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU?*
  • Dave Geisel — THE GARRY MOORE SHOW
  • Seymour Berns — THE RED SKELTON SHOW

Sometimes it’s hard to parse through just what “outstanding achievements” in directing television comedy look like. The sitcom format is an almost invisible style that we’ve all become accustomed to, after all, but I think in that vein, John Rich’s work on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW is a refinement of the template set by, say, I LOVE LUCY (1951–1957). Nat Hiken’s direction for CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU?, in spite of its win, feels less visually interesting, and the performances are (presumably) directed into broader caricature at times. Dave Geisel’s work for THE GARRY MOORE SHOW includes some good camerawork in expanded variety segments, such as the musical numbers, which feels more graceful than Bud Yorkin’s for HENRY FONDA AND THE FAMILY. By the way, the HENRY FOND AND THE FAMILY special has nothing to do with Jane or Peter or something, but the famed star instead hosts a series of comedy sketches skewering the nuclear family. It’s nothing too special, but Dick Van Dyke pops up in it ahead of the great success of his own show. And finally, I’ve reflected on THE RED SKELTON SHOW’s inability to engage me, so Seymour Berns’ direction may be at least partially to blame. There wasn’t really an option for me but to choose any manifestation of the work done for THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW.

  • Arthur Hiller — NAKED CITY
  • Franklin J. Schaffner — THE DEFENDERS*
  • Alex Segal — “People Need People” (ALCOA PREMIERE)
  • Buzz Kulik — “Shining Image” (DR. KILDARE)~

Arthur Hiller would go on, like many of his “Golden Age of Television” peers, to a more prestigious career in the movies, but his work at this time for shows like NAKED CITY is still remarkable. It makes sense that Hiller would go on to movies, because NAKED CITY feels cinematic in a way unlike many other shows at the time. Franklin J. Schaffner, who won for his work for THE DEFENDERS, falls in a similar camp. Alex Segal’s direction, who was working with a more typical teleplay format for “People Need People” and ALCOA PREMIERE, falls into the background by comparison.

  • Carl Reiner — THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW*
  • Nat Hiken et. al — CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU?
  • Roland Kibbee et. al — THE BOB NEWHART SHOW~

Carl Reiner was one of the great comedic minds of his day, and his creation of and writing for THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW are major pieces of that legacy. The show was given life by its central performers, its title star and Mary Tyler Moore, but Reiner’s scenarios and gags provided the framework for one of the great sitcoms. Even though I may have seemed dismissive when it comes to CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU? above, I do think it’s fairly entertaining, so Nat Hiken and his team are to be recognized for that. I discovered CHUN KING CHOW MEIN HOUR was less racist than I thought it was (or, at least, as racist as its namesake foodstuffs sponsor was), and Stan Freberg’s typically clever meta-comedy is unique, but certain segments and gags were dragged out past their shelf life. I still wish I could have seen the original variety incarnation of THE BOB NEWHART SHOW, because it would have probably been better than the fall-flat jokes of THE RED SKELTON SHOW.

  • Rod Serling — THE TWILIGHT ZONE
  • Richard Alan Simmons — “The Price of Tomatoes” (THE DICK POWELL SHOW)
  • Reginald Rose — THE DEFENDERS*
  • Jack Laird — “I Remember a Lemon Tree” (BEN CASEY)
  • Henry F. Greenberg — “People Need People” (ALCOA PREMIERE)

Rod Serling was the greatest screenwriter of television of his time and maybe ever. THE TWILIGHT ZONE’s only nomination at the 14th Emmys acknowledges that fact, although what is probably a top five show for me should have been nominated for much more. THE TWILIGHT ZONE’s range of experiences, emotions, and commentary are really unmatched by contemporary TV drama, but the “road movie” construction of “The Price of Tomatoes” is satisfying and anchored by a unique and compelling emotional relationship. Reginald Rose regularly turned in bold work for THE DEFENDERS, the historical winner, but the stories of the show blend together in a way, an unfortunate byproduct of every show at the time often having more than 30 episodes a season. George C. Scott’s role is at the center of “I Remember a Lemon Tree,” so Jack Laird’s BEN CASEY script should be commended for the characterization that afforded that, but it’s a much better depiction of a “tortured soul” than Henry F. Greenberg’s work for ALCOA PREMIERE’s “People Need People.”

  • Arthur Holch — “Walk in My Shoes” (BELL & HOWELL CLOSE UP!)
  • Jay McMullen — “Biography of a Bookie Joint” (CBS REPORTS)
  • Al Wasserman, Arthur Zegart — “Battle of Newburgh” (NBC WHITE PAPER)
  • George Lefferts — PUREX SUMMER SPECIALS~

Everything nominated for documentary writing was nominated in other categories that were covered above, and perhaps more than the other fictionalized programs, they rely primarily on the scripting, reporting, and research the writers performed. So Lou Hazam’s interesting approach to VINCENT VAN GOGH: A SELF-PORTRAIT, which in fact won in reality, is even more impressive. The visual representation of his work of course cements the thing as a standout program for the year, but it beats out the ranks of the news magazine shows’ best in-depth reporting.

As I’ve noted before, I think The Television Academy was generally cognizant of the best in television with its nominations, as I see it in retrospect, even if it wasn’t necessarily always fully rewarding the highest quality shows. In recognizing 1961 TV at the 14th Emmys, my opinion ended up “falling in line” with the Academy’s only four of 19 times, a 21 percent alignment. From these nominations, my own winningest show was NAKED CITY with three wins, which doesn’t actually reflect what I think was the best show on air at the time: it was still THE TWILIGHT ZONE!



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