Flying nun descends on TV on Film screening

Sister Bertrile (Sally Field) to the rescue at Sunday’s CITF screening

A second “lost” TV special has been added to Sunday’s presentation of the TV on Film Project.
ABC’s 1967 Fall Preview reel, A VERY SPECIAL SEASON, will now follow the presentation of NBC’s 1966 reel, TWO IN A TAXI.
The one-two punch of ’60s nostalgia will be screened Sunday at 2 p.m. as part of the inaugural Canadian International Television Festival, being held at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Nov. 15-17.
The TV on Film Project is an endeavour I launched a few years ago to raise awareness and try to eventually reclaim and preserve some of Canada’s lost TV heritage. This is the fourth screening, the first open to the public.
My years of collecting 16mm film has led to meetings with other such hobbyists across North America. Many have basements full of reels of TV shows dating back to the ’50s through ’70s. Discoveries of “lost” gems like Doctor Who episodes keep happening and the hope is that there are some Canadian goodies still tucked away in closets and attics.
The psychedelic, and somewhat hypnotic ABC film is pure ’60s, complete with a pulsating rock score and narration by Gary Owens, later the hand-over-ear announcer from Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.
Struggling ABC introduced 10 new shows that fall, almost all of them flops. The network had enjoyed breakthroughs with Batman and had one top-10 show in Bewitched, but otherwise was well behind CBS and NBC in the ratings.

Walter Brennan, left, with future A Team star Dack Rambo

Nothing they introduced in 1967-68 helped. Among the new shows that fall were The Flying Nun, starring future Oscar winner Sally Field in her second series (after Gidget), Garrison’s Gorrilas (inspired by the WWII drama The Dirty Dozen),the cop drama N.Y.P.D. which cries out for the word “Blue,” Custer, which never made it to the Little Big Horn, The Second Hundred Years, a high concept comedy about a thawed out dad who was “younger” than his son, starring Monte Markham, Good Company, an odd talk/reality show featuring up and coming lawyer F Lee Bailey, Hondo, a TV western produced by John Wayne’s company, The Guns of Will Sonnett, which marked the return of Walter Brennan, and Judd for the Defense, starring former Donna Reed Show dad Carl Betz as a F Lee Bailey clone.

Only The Flying Nun lasted into a third season. One or two were gone by Christmas. Some things never change in television.
I’ll be introducing the films and adding a little perspective, but come and step back into this groovy time machine. Admission is free (save a one dollar service charge). Seating is limited, order tickets now here.

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