This list covers radio & TV appearances Bill Cullen made on news specials, variety shows and any other programs not covered in our other pages. There are many unusual listings here, and we're certain there are others we haven't yet found. For example, a picture we have of Bill conferring with Dave Garroway was almost certainly for a Today segment, we just don't have a reference to prove it yet. We also have a couple of pictures showing Bill conferring with naval officers, possibly outside a submarine. The ones we DO have specific information about are listed below, chronologically.
THE ROBERT Q. LEWIS LITTLE SHOW (CBS Radio, January 1947)
Bill stepped in for a week or so while Lewis was recovering from, of all ailments, Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
DEAR LISTENER (CBS Radio, 1949)
The phenomenal premise of this series was that CBS on-air talents and even executives answered angry letters from listeners. Bill was on at least one episode.
TONI TWIN TIME (CBS 1950)
THOSE TWO (NBC 1951-1952)
Not exactly "guest" appearances, but we didn't know where else to put these first two little gems. Bill was the offscreen announcer for these shows, the only two examples of that aspect to his career that we know of. The first was a live variety program hosted by a young Jack Lemmon. At the time, Bill was closely associated with the CBS radio network and the Toni line of home permanents and other hair care products.
The second is a little more interesting, and is also available for viewing below. Those Two was a fifteen-minute situation comedy with musical interludes. What makes this an odd entry in Bill's early career is that it was an NBC TV show sponsored by Proctor & Gamble, a network, a sponsor and even a medium that were all at the time unusual for him. He's not credited, but there's no mistaking his voice at the beginning of the program.
THE GARRY MOORE SHOW (CBS MAY 18-22, 1953)
Bill was the guest host of his I've Got A Secret colleague's daytime show during at least one of Garry's vacations. Researcher Leah Biel found this week for us, there may have been others.
GUY LOMBARDO PRESENTS NEW YEAR'S (NBC December 31, 1955)
In an earlier time, big band leader Guy Lombardo's name was as synonymous with New Year's Eve as Dick Clark's is today. We don't have any details about this appearance, nor what Bill's role would have been in this mostly musical program, but we're guessing there was a countdown involved around midnight.
THE TONIGHT SHOW (NBC July 9-10, 1956)
An NBC press release in June 1956, touting the impending debut of Down You Go, lists several of Bill's television credits, among them, guest-hosting Tonight! We don't have an exact date for that appearance yet, but we can tell you what happened after that press release was sent out.
In the summer of 1956, Tonight host Steve Allen debuted a prime time series and cut back his late night hosting to Wednesdays through Fridays only. Ernie Kovacs became the permanent Monday-Tuesday host in October, but until then, a number of guest hosts were used. Bill was one of them.
On the July 9th show, scheduled guests included jazz musicians Cannonball Adderley and Chris Connor. On the July 10 show, his scheduled guests were Arlene Francis (with whom he worked extensively in the 1950s), Jonathan Winters and the piano duo of Gold and Fizdale.
In the book Brought To You By: Postwar Television Advertising and the American Dream, it's said that Bill was scheduled to fill in on The Tonight Show in 1963 but had to back out due to a sponsor conflict. (Frigidaire advertised on The Price is Right while Hotpoint was on The Tonight Show.) Arlene Francis ended up hosting those shows instead.
According to some vintage newspaper articles, Bill did not enjoy the experience of hosting a talk show. "They aren't my idea of a good time," he said in a 1971 profile. "Walking out there with the thought, 'Now I have to be entertaining for the next five minutes.' Never again -- not even Carson."
BILL CULLEN TAX PARTY (WRCA, March 24, 1956)
Bill hosted this special seen locally on the NBC flagship station in New York City from 11:15pm until midnight. According to the TV Guide listing, "Four income-tax experts will answer questions from the studio audience and from people around the city, the latter being picked up by WRCA-TV's mobile unit."
PERSON TO PERSON (CBS, January 18, 1957)
Yes, Bill was once profiled on Edward R. Murrow's Friday night interview series. Bill's interview took up the second half of the thirty-minute program. (The first half featured baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who had recently retired and taken a job as an executive for Chock Full O' Nuts!) Bill was at the peak of his professional career at the time of Murrow's interview, with The Price Is Right, I've Got A Secret and his daily New York radio show all going strong. The Person to Person interviews typically took place in the subjects' homes, with Murrow conducting them from his studio.
THE STEVE ALLEN PLYMOUTH SHOW
(NBC, December 28, 1959)
A segment of Allen's prime-time variety show showcased the winners of some TV-related awards recently given by Look Magazine. Bill, Henry Morgan, Betsy Palmer, and Garry Moore appear as representatives of I've Got a Secret, which won "Best Panel Show." They also performed in a short sketch. We know a kinescope of this episode exists, but it hasn't fallen into our laps yet.
THE GARRY MOORE SHOW (CBS, April 11, 1961)
This episode of Moore's prime time variety hour featured a skit spoofing Bill's hit called Name the Right Price. Moore played the host (wearing dark-rimmed glasses, of course) and the contestants were played by series regulars Carol Burnett and Marion Lorne, along with guest George Gobel. Bill made a brief, silent cameo appearance at the end of the skit. You can see it below.
THE AMERICA'S CUP RACE (NBC, September 17, 1962)
Bill teamed with Cleveland Amory and Everett Morris for this NBC News Special about the upcoming yachting competition between Australia and the United States off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island. A copy of this obscurity is in the archives of The Museum of Television and Radio in California.
HERE'S HOLLYWOOD (NBC, November 23, 1961)
This late afternoon talk show from Desilu was produced by Jess Oppenheimer, creator of I Love Lucy. Dean Miller and Helen O'Connell were the co-hosts at the time that Bill appeared as a guest.
Variety reviews Bill's turn at hosting coverage of the America's Cup Race.
ARTHUR GODFREY TIME (November 15-December 3, 1962)
Elsewhere on this site, we cover Bill's brief tenure on the venerable radio show. But he returned to Arthur Godfrey Time as guest host when Godfrey took an extended vacation to show off his palomino stallions at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto and the International Livestock Expedition in Chicago.
NIGHTLIFE (April 26-30, 1965)
Nightlife was a failed effort by ABC to challenge Johnny Carson in the late-night field. The show ran from November, 1964 to November, 1965 and had one of the odder production histories in late night television. Les Crane was its host for the first four months, during which time the show was essentially known as The Les Crane Show. Crane was fired in February, a victim of low ratings, and beginning March 1 the show began using guests hosts for a week or two at a time. Those hosts included funnymen Shelley Berman, Jack Carter and Jan Murray, singers Eddy Arnold and Pat Boone, former Today host Dave Garroway, and in the last week of April, our man Bill. The rotating hosts format fared no better, and in June new producers were brought in to give new life to the series. One of their first moves was to rehire Crane, who returned to the late night show on June 28 and stayed until the show ran its course later that year.
We've even found some of Bill's guests for his week of shows:
TUESDAY: Hal March, rock & roll singer Donna Loren, actor Herschel Bernardi and singer Al Hibbler
WEDNESDAY: Singer Gale Garnett and actor Roger Smith
THURSDAY: Folk singer Leon Bibb, actress Nancy Dussault, actor Phil Foster, and a debate on capital punishment between Massachusetts state Representative Gerald Lombardi and Tennessee Governor Frank Clement
FRIDAY: Producer Norman Baer, country singer Kitty Wells and bluegrass performers Flatt & Scruggs
TOURNAMENT OF ROSES PARADE (NBC, January 2, 1967)
Bill teamed with Betty White to provide NBC's coverage of the annual event. Pat Boone and actor Barry Sullivan were also on hand. As big a fan of Bill as we are, we probably would have been watching ABC that year. Elizabeth Montgomery was cuter.
THAT SHOW WITH JOAN RIVERS (1969)
During the 1968-69 season, Joan Rivers had a short-lived syndicated talk show. Each episode had a topic and welcomed two guests; one was an expert in that topic and the other was a celebrity guest. Bill appeared on the show along with author Elizabeth Daniels Squire, who discussed palmestry. A selection of episodes has been released on DVD, which means the tape of this appearance probably exists somewhere, but we haven't seen it.
TODAY (February 1-5, 1971)
Bill spent a week has host/co-anchor of NBC's morning news show, apparently filling in for Hugh Downs. NBC actually pushed Bill very, very hard to take the job permanently when Hugh Downs departed the following October, and wife Ann later said that Bill's friend Mike Wallace had been nudging him to move into news, but Bill never had any interest in doing the news as a full-time job, and he admitted to one interviewer that after six years of doing Pulse on WNBC radio, he never wanted another job that required a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call.
BOATING WITH THE POWER SQUADRON (1971)
The United States Power Squadron (USPS) is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to educating boaters on a variety of subjects to make maritime activities safer and more enjoyable. In keeping with that mission the USPS produced this ten-episode public television series, hosted by long-time NBC staff announcer Roger Tuttle, himself a member of the organization. Bill, an avid boater in his own right, appeared on one episode. Despite the bicycling method that syndicated TV employed at the time, it appears that the episodes were intended to air in a specific order, and many of the listings we've found refer to Bill's episode as the first of the series.
CAPTAIN KANGAROO (CBS, January 25, 1977)
Yes, Captain Kangaroo. The Captain's puppet friend Bunny Rabbit was a contestant on Bill's fictional The Baking Game, showing off his carrot cookies. Later, Bill showed up for a visit at the Captain's Place. Researcher Chris Tufts not only came up with the original airdate above, but also replay dates of June 10, 1977 and March 8, 1978.
DICK CLARK AND A CAST OF THOUSANDS (NBC, September 6, 1978)
This variety special featured, as the title suggests, a lot of guests, each of whom were limited to short segments. Other guests included Doc Severinsen, Paul Williams, Jack Carter, Alan Gibbs, David Soul, Penny Marshall, Caren Kaye and Paul Anka. Bill's appearance included a clip of Dick playing The $25,000 Pyramid, the version of the durable series that Bill hosted. This special, and others like it, led to the live variety show Dick Clark's Live Wednesday, which didn't last very long.
GOOD MORNING AMERICA (ABC, August 17, 1979)
Bill appeared in a brief segment where he discussed changes in the game show business during his career and his predictions for the future. Bill was actually surprisingly blunt here, voicing his disapproval for the extravagant and expensive sets of modern game shows.
THE JOHN DAVIDSON SHOW (Syndicated, October, 1981)
Bill was one of several greats who participated in a "Salute to Game Shows" on Davidson's syndicated talk show. Other guests included Mark Goodson, Gene Rayburn and Betty White. As was common for syndicated program of the day, specific airdates varied.
TV'S FUNNIEST GAME SHOW MOMENTS (ABC, May 10, 1984 and January 15, 1985)
A pair of prime time specials from Mark Goodson Productions, in which William Shatner and his in-studio guests, all former Goodson-Todman game show hosts, reminisced about their shows and introduced clips. Bill appeared on both specials. Despite the wealth of material to draw from, most of his clips came from the then-recent series Child's Play.
HOUR MAGAZINE (ABC, 1984)
Bill was Gary Collins' guest in a segment of one episode. Disclosure from the co-webmaster: In the book Quizmaster, I mixed up my timeline of Gary Collins' career and erroneously list this as The Home Show.