The theme for this year's Republican convention, according to California's Lt. Gov. Mike Curb, who is in charge of the show, will be "nostalgia." Since there is no contest, and not even an expectation of a fight, the networks will have to cover 15 hours of entertainment.
The biggests burden will be on the TV anchormen and the floor reporters in Detroit, who will have to create the excitement in order to keep their listeners.
I now take you to the producer's booth of CBS Detroit, where all the action will be directed. It is opening night of the convention.
The producer, sitting in his chair, is staring at all the TV monoitors, not only those of his cameramen but also NBC's and ABC's.
He says, "I want a tight shot of Kate Smith singing "The Star Spangled Banner.' Then we go to the floor and talk to the delegates."
The director says, "John Chancellor and David Brinkley are coming up with an exclusive interview with Dorthy Lamour."
"Dammit, who do we have?"
"Leslie Stahl is standing by with Liberace."
"Okay, we'll take it. Then go over to Ed Bradley. He says Roy Rogers has agreed to talk with him."
"Walter wants to know when he can talk to Alf Landon."
"Tell him after we show the excerpts from 'Bedtime for Bonzo' with Reagan."
"Oh my God, ABC has talked Esther Williams into taking a swim at the YWCA with Barbara Walters."
"Get a camera crew over there right away."
"What happened to Harry James? Weren't we going to have a medley of songs from the '40s?"
"He follows Ethel Merman."
"Okay, let's go to Walter in the booth, and let him do the two-minute piece he wrote about 'Lassie,' and the different presidents she served under." p
"ABC is coming up with Sander Vancour and the Andrews Sisters in the Illinois delegation."
"Where's Harry Reasoner?"
"He's trying to get over to Shirley Temple, but he can't get through the mob."
"Walter wants to do Shirley Temple."
"It's too late. Tom Brokaw has her on NBC." t"What's going on at the platform?"
"They're honoring Herbert Hoover's grandaughter. Do you want it?"
"Sure we want it. Tell Bob Schiffer to hold off on Rudy Vallee. We can get him any time."
"Bill, Mississippi has a barbershop quartet, and they're singing 'Sweet Adeling.' The chairman is trying to gavel them down. Florida is protesting because they were told no barbershop quartets would be permitted on the floor."
"Great work, Leslie. I'll send over Reasoner to cover Mississippi. You stay with the Florida delegation in case they decide to walk out."
"Hey, Bill. Greer Garson has just grabbed the mike on the platform and she's doing a scene from 'Mrs. Miniver'."
"Switch to Walter. He's seen Mrs. Miniver' three times."
"Barbra Walters has Joe DiMaggio in the booth."
"Chancellor is now talking to Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire."
"Does anyone know where Mary Pickford is sitting?"
"She's dead Bill."
"Oh yeah. I guess we better go to the commerical."