Friday, February 13.

20/20. ABC. [I believe the anchors were Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs.] I watched only the opening segment, concerning a scientific explanation of UFO’s. Well, at least it’s a possible one. It has to do with seismic activity, and a form of luminous electricity generated by quartz-containing material under extreme pressure.

   It’s still a theory, of course, but it does seem to fit a surprising number of cases. It sure makes a lot more sense than visitations by extraterrestrial creatures overcome by fascination for swamps, deserted highways, and isolated mountaintops. I mean, coming all that way and not even stopping off at Times Square?


NERO WOLFE. “Might as Well Be Dead.” NBC, 60m. Season 1, Episode 5. Cast: William Conrad as Nero Wolfe, Lee Horsley as Archie Goodwin, George Voskovec as Fritz Brenner, Robert Coote as Theodore Horstmann, George Wyner as Saul Panzer, Allan Miller as Inspector Cramer. Guest Cast: Gail Youngs, Bruce Gray, A.C. Weary, Michael Currie, Lana Wood, Stephen Elliott. Teleplay: Seeleg Lester, based on Rex Stout’s book of the same title. Director: George McCowan.

   According to tonight’s paper, it looks as though we’re not going to have this show to kick around much longer. Last week it came in 62nd in the ratings. Out of 64 shows. “Friday night’s a bad night,” Judy said. “Yeah,” I replied, “and look what it’s on opposite. Dukes of Hazzard. I don’t know what the attraction is.”

   Seriously, though, if this show flops, justly or not, it’s going to prove all those publishers right who say that detective fiction just doesn’t sell any more.

   Tonight was TV’s version of “Might s Well Be Dead.” When Wolfe discovers the son his client wants found right on the front page of his newspaper, the subject of “synchronicity” comes up. That’s the science of fortuitous coincidence, as you may not have already known. I’ll have to look into it.

   (I have to say it, but I completely failed to recognize Lana Wood when she appeared in a small part in this particular episode. I’m amazed. I don’t believe it.)


   Want to know what kind of joke makes me laugh? Jim Stafford was on Merv Griffin’s show earlier this afternoon, and the TV set happened to be on. He told the story of how, when he was a kid, when all the other kids were out playing football, he was busy practicing with is guitar. Practice, practice, practice. “But it all paid off,” he said, picking up his guitar and displaying it proudly. “I can kick this sucker sixty yards.”