Received the following email from Cliff Dektar, who can remember when TV press junkets actually began in Los Angeles in the 1950s. We’ve come a long way, it seems, from the shenanigans then to the austere nature of the current TV Critics Assn. tour, which was once dubbed “a death march with cocktails.”
Today, even the cocktails are watered down.
As for the back-scratching past, as Cliff recalls:
Mike Foster, the relatively new ABC TV VP of Press, decided in 1958 to invite TV writers in Top 30 markets to visit ABC Hollywood at time of their choice.
We met every newsperson at LAX and delivered them to then-new poolside rooms at Hollywood Roosvelt.
Monday morning Joe Maggio would preside at breakfast with editors and publicists who would take them out for day — a.m. set visit, lunch, p.m. set visit, dinner. And once a week visitors would be taken to Disneyland.
In addition, visitors were given a check for expenses and arrangements were made one year for out of towners to appear on “Traffic Court” and later “Day in Court” — both produced at KABC-TV — and they rerceived a talent fee.
This system went on for many years until the three net junkets were organized.
It’s not quite hookers and free-flowing gin, but ah, the good ol’ days.