Mike Wallace of CBS News has dug up an old format he used for the syndicated "Biography" series in 1962 and it now will air, on an occasional basis, as "The Mike Wallace Profiles," because in TV, it's the name in the title, not above the title, that's the sure sign of status.
Tonight at 10:30 on Channel 9, the first of these new programs is devoted to the tragic life and peculiar career of actress Jean Seberg, plucked from a troubled obscurity at the age of 18 and hurled into a troubled celebrity. The half-hour will be a grim education mainly for those who are almost totally unfamiliar with the subject; those who have read David Richards' dispassionate but disturbing account, "Played Out: The Jean Seberg Story," will certainly learn nothing new.
The advantages of a visual medium are exploited, however. We see such rare clips as a Seberg appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" to promote "Saint Joan," the debacle that began her movie life; another on "Person to Person" with Charles Collingwood (Jean is discovered in Paris, and Charles says, "Hello Jean, nice to visit you"); and a portion of the screen test Seberg made for her despotic mentor, Otto Preminger, who is briefly interviewed and not very helpful. There is also an irrelevant interview with Black Panther Bobby Seale, who did not know Seberg well.
Wallace's role in this show -- produced by Harry Moses, who doubtless did most of the work -- is limited mainly to the narration and an interview with Seberg's parents, who are asked about their reaction when they learned, after her death, that their daughter was the victim of a vicious smear campaign by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. "I have this flag here, in the corner of the house here, that I used to put out every morning," Seberg's father says. "I haven't put it out since."