Television: Review

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Seven Lively Arts: "The blues to me," said hard-luck Singer Billie Holiday sipping a cup of coffee, "are like being very sad, very sick—and again, like going to church and being very happy. We've got to do right by the blues on TV, because the blues deserve the best." At air time, Billie sat on top of a bare stool and cuddled up to an old jazz-cult favorite, Fine and Mellow ("My man don't love me, he shakes me awful mean"), and did just dandy by the blues. And, for the balance of CBS's one-hour The Sound of Jazz, the art got what it has so long deserved: a TV showcase uncluttered by the fuss and furbelows that burden most musical telecasts. In the murky, smoke-choked studio, more than two dozen of the best jazz vocalists and sidemen worked through eight of the best jazz numbers with the kind of love, wonder, almost mystical absorption they usually summon up in the most free-wheeling jam sessions.

Soon after the show, however. Seven Lively Arts's producers heard a long, sad note from CBS. In spite of some artistic successes after a faulty start, Arts had wooed no sponsors in five weeks. So CBS decreed that on Feb. 16—after only ten of its projected 22 shows, and a loss of $1,250,000—Arts will close shop. Executive Producer John Houseman blamed the lack of sponsors partly on the critics, added: "But if you fail when you're doing something that's fun and good, it doesn't matter."

All-Star Golf: A golf tournament played exclusively for TV audiences is the sport world's freshest attempt to score with home viewers since bowling proved to be right up television's alley. Originated by Chicago's Peter DeMet, who is also the kingpin of TV bowling, each hour-long golf show (Sat. 4 p.m., ABC) boils down to an 18-hole match between two top pros, e.g., Gary Middlecoff, Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen, playing before six simultaneously grinding movie cameras. The winner of each match gets $2,000 (the loser, $1,000) and the right to keep playing as long as he wins. Players can win bonuses of $500 for an eagle, $10,000 for a hole in one. With tensely whispered commentary by Announcer Jim Britt. the games drum up genuine suspense, made somehow more tantalizing by the fact that the results are foreordained on film shot far in advance. But the producers have succumbed to only one request for advance screenings by a golf buff who could not bear the suspense. Dwight D. Eisenhower had seen all the shows before he left for Paris last week.

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