The Champions: Replacing Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In for the summer, beginning June 9, this Britishmade scries offers a couple of faintly new wrinkles in spy stories of the Uncle genre: the title characters (below) are three defenders of the inter-
national Good who have sharpened their senses — all six of them — “to computer efficiency.” Which could be even funnier than Rowan and Martin. (CTV, Sundays, 10 p.m. EDT.)
^ Luther: Robert Shaw plays the title role and Robert Morley stars as Pope Leo X, in John Osborne’s epic drama of the fiery 16th-century religious rebel. A 90-minute color version of the play which won the New York Drama Critics Award and the Antoinette Perry Award as best play of the year, on Broadway in 1963. (CTV, Sun., June 2, 8.30 p.m. EDT.)
Election coverage: CTV will deal with candidates and issues in the June 25 federal election in at least four specials: 9 p.m. Sundays, June 9, 16 and 23, and 10.30 p.m. Mon., June 17, all times EDT. CBC, its plans less definite at press time, promised an array of TV and radio specials involving candidates issues, polls and expert and public comment, culminating in a pre-election wrap-up on TV Sunday evening, June 23.
^ Wayne and Shuster Comedy Special: In their last show of the season, W&S parody an old thriller, in Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde, and the inevitable Professor Waynegartner poses as Canada’s chief coach of the 1968 Olympic team. (CBC, Mon., June 10, 8 p.m., EDT.)
News and the Southams by Charles Bruce (Macmillan, $9.95): Former printer’s apprentice William Southam and his progeny parlayed a half interest in the Hamilton Spectator into a Canadian press-and-broadcasting empire second only to Roy Thomson’s.
They did it without demonstrating the murderous drive that made Lord Thomson a biographer’s dream, so that the best parts of Bruce’s 420-page, exhaustively documented study are concerned, not with the Southams’ business machinations, but with the news of the day as covered in the Southam press. Read as fragmented mini-history, nothing is livelier than the day-before-yesterday’s headlines.
*" The Triumph by John Kenneth Galbraith (Thomas Allen, $5.95): It’s no secret that when John Kenneth Galbraith was U.S. Ambassador to India, he was exasperated by the bureaucracy of the U.S. State Department. He gets his revenge in this political fable, his first attempt at fiction. It’s about the panic in State when an anti-Communist Latin-American dictator is overthrown by reformers. The satiric jabs at Washington’s neurotic anti - Communism are hardly dulled by Galbraith’s deficiencies as a novelist.
*■" Horses with Blindfolds by John Reid (Longmans, $5.95): John Reid can’t seem to make up his mind whether he’s Ernest Hemingway in Spain or William Faulkner in the Deep South. Actually, he’s a zillion miles from either in this first novel. His subject is a 59-year-old Toronto WASP who settles in a small Spanish town to forget his grief after the death of his second wife. The story of his life, and of what happens to him in Spain, is only slightly more interesting than a Honey Dew menu.
* Saskatchewan by Edward McCourt (Macmillan, $6.50): Easterners who tend to think of Saskatchewan as a flat slab of prairie garnished with wheat will be pleasantly enlightened by Edward McCourt’s soft-sell guided tour. McCourt (below), who teaches English at the University of Saskatchewan, rambles amiably from south to north, from past to present, as he attempts to make his province more meaningful for potential tourists.
This is the first of a new Macmillan series called The Traveller’s Canada. * The Swallower Swallowed by Rejean Ducharme (Hamish Hamilton, $6.50):
This is the novel that, as L’Avalée des avalés, won a Governor - General’s Award last year for Ducharme, a shy young man who lives “somewhere in Montreal.” Its narrator is Bernice Einberg, a nerveless nine-year-old hellcat who hates both her Catholic mother and her Jewish father. The novel loses something of its fizzing quality in this English translation, but enough of Ducharme’s wild, nervous style remains to show that he has real talent, wherever he is.
* No Way To Treat A Lady: Rod
Steiger gives a better performance in this mediocre film than he did in In The Heat Of The Night — which is the huge irony of his Oscar as best
actor. Here he plays a mama-obsessed psychopath who goes around killing motherly women until tracked down by a Jewish cop (George Segal) who also has a mama problem. The film’s mixture of suspense and comedy works well, thanks mainly to the charm of Lee Remick (with Steiger above) as the cop’s girlfriend.
□ Planet of the Apes: An exciting premise for science-fiction drama — a group of astronauts starring Charlton Heston lands on a planet where the apes are kings and the men are kept in zoos — quickly turns into a deadly dull “message” picture and slowly peters out from there. Scriptwriter Rod Serling (Twilight Zone) and cohorts demonstrate that, in science-fiction, the sum of cliché hindsight plus childish foresight plus little insight is merely monkey business.
* The Secret War of Harry Frigg: Paul Newman breaks away from his Big H roles (Hud, The Hustler, Hombre, etc.) to give a comedy performance which barely saves this ridiculously gimmicky POW-camp farce.
* The Scalphunters: Ossie Davis plays an educated, runaway Negro slave from an aristocratic Louisiana plantation; Burt Lancaster is the brusque,
white backwoodsman who learns, through a series of adventurous and humorous ups and downs, to care for him like a brother. In other words, a liberal western, marked by many of the insights and most of the clichés such a label implies.
* Joni Mitchell: Her first LP, titled simply with her own name, is dedicated to one of her Saskatoon high school teachers, “Mr. Kratzman, who taught me to love words.” Her love affair with the language is beautifully evident in the lyrics of the folk-like songs she has written for this recording. And the words are well matched by pleasing melodic construction. Her voice is clear and strong; the production a work of art. (Reprise, RS 6293) ^ The Gentle Country Sound of George Hamilton IV: Not to be confused with the actor and former White House hanger-on, this Nashville star demonstrates that country music doesn’t have to be all honky - tonk songs about slippin’ around. He sings valid musical statements in the easy manner of 1968 Now-Country. (RCA Victor, LSP 3962)
* There Are But Four Small Faces
is the weird name of a group, as well as the title of this album of mild-mannered rock including Itchy coo Park and other fluffy fare. Their singing is commendably audible over the pulsating electronics, and the arrangements are pleasant. (Immediate, Z12 52 002)
* Vincebus Eruptum (Blue Cheer): Obsessed with electronic distorted dissonance and content with musical mediocrities, this group, despite its name, produces no cheer whatever and is likely to leave most listeners blue only with boredom. But there’s a limit to everything, and even the vocalists themselves surely wouldn’t describe their rough-voiced shouting as singing. (Philips, PHS 600-264)
* Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits, Volume II: It was sock-it-to-’em time when Aretha turned out these 10 Soulful performances. A hard - driving orchestra sets the pace, and a large chorus supplies gospel-like fullness. In short, a groove. (Columbia 9601)
* The New One! (The Buddy Rich Big Band): With 11 selections from nine arrangers (including Bill Holman and Bill Potts), Buddy’s 16-man powerhouse sounds intermittently like Herman, Basie, Bob Florence and even Kenton. But all of it’s good and some of it’s brilliant, with Buddy’s drums never over-dominant, and inspired soloists like tenorman Jay Corre riding high over the remarkably precise ensemble work. A must for bigband addicts. (Pacific Jazz, ST 20126)
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