From Bart A. Baggett: The 1960s were a fascinating time in American TV culture. This book goes behind the scenes.
As a person who was not even born when the Mr. Novak TV series was on the air in a battle of just three networks, I found the detailed research and insightful behind-the-scenes drama very interesting. Watching the DVD of the first season was also useful and almost comical in the simplicity of the teenage culture brewing in the early 1960s compared to our kids today. The author has detailed conversations with actors, writers, and even exact financial contract details for the stars and co-stars. If you were a TV star in the 1960s, you were a household name. This book is like a time capsule of American television and culture.
The early 1960s were a time with a TV landscape thought of as more innocent than today, but behind the scenes, changes were roiling the nation. Into this fray stepped a groundbreaking series based on true stories from the nation’s high school students and the teachers charged with tending them. James Franciscus stars as John Novak, an idealistic, novice teacher, while storied stage and screen veteran Dean Jagger costars as his mentor, Principal Albert Vane. Constantly challenging the rules of the education establishment, the dedicated young Mr. Novak guides his bright but troubled students while dealing with teen pregnancy, drug abuse, racial conflict and alcoholism – problems as relevant and shocking then as they are today. Notable guest stars include such luminaries as Lillian Gish, Martin Landau, Edward Asner and Beau Bridges. This groundbreaking series also features students from Los Angeles’ Marshall High School. Mr. Novak: The Complete First Season (DVD) is now available, the issue price is $47.99.
Here’s a few outlets where you can order this great set:
Tony Dow is widely known for his role as Wally Cleaver on the long running “Leave It To Beaver” television series.
He appeared in 5 episodes of the Mr. Novak program and was a semi regular on the first season as George Scheros, the Editor of the High School paper. He was pleased to see the new book and called it “amazing” and “couldn’t wait to read it.”
His three episodes as the Editor will be featured in the official DVD release by Warners in Spring 2018.