Sports Cavalcade with Bill Cullen
First episode: 1962
Last episode: 1963
Seen Saturday afternoons in syndication
Bill hosted this brief Saturday afternoon sports anthology series which covered exotic events from around the world. Much like NBC Sports In Action, which Bill co-hosted a few years later, this one-hour show was clearly patterned after the successful model of ABC's Wide World of Sports.
Since Bill was still hosting a daily morning radio show at the time (not to mention his work on The Price Is Right and I've Got A Secret), it would seem likely that he was merely a studio host for this series, and that he didn't go traipsing around the world on his bum leg to cover the events in person.
The bulk of the information we have on this series comes from Michigan Edition TV Guides which show the series airing on WWJ-TV, the NBC affiliate in Detroit, at 4pm Saturday afternoons. Other NBC affiliates in Michigan appear not to have carried the show, leading us to believe it was probably syndicated. However, given Bill's close ties with the NBC network at the time, there may have been some connection to the network as well. We're searching for more information. Thanks to Jimmy Owen for finding the listing in the first place!
But then a TV listing in Miami on January 29, 1962 lists Sports Cavalcade as a special, with the summary "United Press recap of outstanding 1961 sports events." There is no host listed. We've found no other listings of the series in the 1961-62 season, so the January 29 episode is either:
#1. A one-time special that happened to have the same title.
#2. A program that served as both a special and a pilot for a regular series.
We've found additional TV listings for Channel 4 in New York (another NBC affiliate, so the plot thickens) beginning in October 1962, but the episode summaries match the summaries we got from Michigan in 1963. It's possible that as few as 11 episodes were produced.
Ebay auctions over the years have led us to conclude that at least four episodes survive. Here's one of them:
Not so that you can try to find these long-forgotten episodes, but just to give you some idea about the interesting events covered by the series. Items come verbatim from the TV Guide listings.