Ford’s The Edsel… Auto Maker’s Biggest Bomb…

mrpopculture 1957 timeline ford edsel debuts ad auto historyBack to 1957 we go… A fascinating time in pop culture history. Our timeline takes a look at September of that month – from the first week:

The TV ad business was up 20% from a year prior! That’s amazing news in any business (vertical) category (as we say today). Here’s what it says: The FCC reports that the television industry has revenues from broadcasting operations in  1956 of $896,900,000, up 20.4% from 1955…

Alan Freed and Dick Clark were the talk of music television – as each had their own ABC-TV shows.

The first pay-cable TV movie is “broadcast.”

Saturday Morning Kid’s TV Looked Like This:

CBS – On the Carousel, Captain Kangaroo, Mighty Mouse Playhouse, Susan’s Show, It’s a  Hit! The Big Top, The Lone Ranger

NBC – Children’s Theatre, Howdy Doody, The Gumby Show, Fury, Captain Gallant

And, that first week of September, 1957- Ford debuts – The Edsel. It’s a car that turned out to be the biggest bomb of all time. Two years later – Ford announced it was suspending production of the low-selling automobile. It had miscalculated.


When the Mickey Mouse Club went off the air in 1959, when did it come back in reruns?

Original Mouseketeers with Walt Disney

Original Mouseketeers with Walt Disney

From Julia W – When the Mickey Mouse Club went off the air in 1959, when did it come back in reruns?

Mr. Pop History - After Walt Disney left ABC. Syndicated reruns began on September 3, 1962 with WNEW-TV (channel 5) in New York. Annette Funicello and the gang became popular all over again with a new audience. Mickey reruns soon spread and the rest is pop history.

Whatever happened to Richie Valens’ family and girlfriend

Donna Ludwig

Donna Ludwig

From Nancy P – Whatever happened to Richie Valens’ family and girlfriend Donna after he was killed?

Mr. Pop History - My understanding is that his family remained in the San Fernando section of Los Angeles – as did his immortalized girlfriend Donna Ludwig. Later, I’m told she may have moved north to Sacramento with her kids and husband.

Pop Culture Television History. Unknown Fact About “Lassie” The Dog.

Mr. Pop History – My friend Robert Neill got into a discussion with actor Jon Provost. Many remember Jon as the first TV “master” of Lassie.

Well, it seemed that when the camera was off, Lassie’s trainer would have his dog fetch “cigarettes” from as far as a quarter-mile away. Here’s what Robert told me. Thanks Robert Neill:

“The most interesting anecdote, IMO, concerned Lassie’s trainer.  Jon said when he was a youngster, he was out at the Weatherwax ranch with Lassie and the trainer.  The trainer wanted to smoke, but discovered he’d run out of cigarettes.  He instructed Lassie to go back to the house and get some for him.  Jon said the house was a quarter mile away and he was skeptical, but Lassie ran to the house and brought back a pack of cigarettes.”

Lassie fetching cigarettes for his master.

If we only knew.

Both Robert and I agree, it would have made a terrific scene in one of the many Jon Provost/Lassie episodes seen on CBS-TV – way back when. Thanks Jon Provost!

Oh, and – here’s Jon Provost and Lassie:


Gary West –  




Pop Culture Movie History. Did Disney Studios Ever Work On Movies Other Than His Own?

Mr. Pop History – Let’s face it. Disney is known for – Disney. But, did you know that the Disney studios did work on at least one (outside) movie production?

That’s correct. It was the 1956 color sci-fi movie “The Forbidden Planet” where the Disney studios contributed some of the special effects. But – this was not a Disney film. Not by any means. So, just so you know – it did happen, once – back in 1956.

Pop Culture Movie History – Marilyn Monroe Did A TV Product Commercial?

Mr. Pop History -
Early in her career – Ms. Monroe did a TV commercial for (Unocal) United Oil of California. In it, she tells a service station attendant – that she wants her new car, to be the best cared for car – ever.

Service station attendant – those guys who filled-it-up, wiped the windows and performed other minor, quick services.

Marilyn Monroe – then, a minor player – would soon become a star. No more commercial endorsements. I believe this was the only one she did. And, it was only seen in places such as Los Angeles.

Pop Culture Movie History – Actor James Dean Started With A Pepsi-Cola Commercial.

Mr. Pop History – That is correct. Unknown James Dean was breaking into the business. It was 1950 when Dean was cast – with an assembly of other teenagers – in a Pepsi-Cola commercial. “Pepsi Cola Hits The Spot” was the tagline – and Dean was paid $10 for his services.

It was Pepsi’s first TV commercial. Dean was 19 at the time.