Welcome to the first post in the Secrets From the Ziv File section of the WCFTR blog. So just what is the Ziv File?
Frederick Ziv is considered the father of television syndication. He began producing pre-recorded and syndicated radio programs in the mid-1940s and expanded to television in 1949. Television shows produced by Ziv included Bat Masterson, Sea Hunt, The Cisco Kid, and I Led Three Lives to name a few. Ziv sold his television production subsidiary to United Artists in 1959; the Ziv TV Library came to the WCFTR when United Artists donated their records and films in the late 1960s. The Ziv TV Library includes 16mm prints of 38 series as well as drafts, shooting scripts and dialogues for most programs, 40,000 positive and negative stills and a few production files.
The first show we’d like to highlight from the Ziv Library is Men Into Space which aired just one season – from September 30, 1959 to September 7, 1960. The 38 episodes in the series followed the adventures of Colonel Edward McCauley, played by William Lundigan, as he and others explored the moon and outer space. The show made the most of its limited budget when it came to special effects and got technical assistance from the Air Force to help accurately portray what life on the moon and in space would be like – at least what they thought it would be like in 1959. The show did not shy away from depicting the dangers of space travel and exploration – characters died – but they also included humor and romance in many of the episodes. To see information about the episodes in the WCFTR collection, please visit the Finding Aid.
The episode entitled First Woman On the Moon aired on December 16, 1959. Below is the synopsis for the episode. Actress Nancy Gates played the role of Renza Hale.
There was of course merchandise for the show including a lunch box/thermos, an astronaut helmet, miniature astronauts and a board game.