(Editor's Note: The following paragraphs are reprinted in a slightly abridged form from The Complete Directory to Prime-Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present, 6th Edition. Copyright © 1995 Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, all rights reserved.)
DuMont never had the financial resources of the other television networks and, though it was second only to NBC with a regularly scheduled evening news program, the DuMont news never evolved into the complex and comprehensive effort that its competitors were to become by the early 1950's.
The first DuMont network news show, carried on a two-station network, was 1947's Walter Compton News. The first network news series to originate from Washington, D.C., where it had been seen since June 1947, Walter Compton News became a network program when it was seen simultaneously in New York starting in August. The production was minimal, with Compton reading from a script and only occasional slides being shown.
In January 1948 Camera Headlines, a filmed 15-minute newsreel, was added to the DuMont schedule at 7:30pm. Since Camera Headlines dealt only with domestic stories, INS Telenews followed it on Tuesday nights to provide world news coverage. The INS Telenews newsreel was a wrap-up of the major world news stories of the week, provided to DuMont by Hearst's International News Service, essentially a print service similar to UPI and AP.
Not precisely a hard-news show, Newsweek Analysis premiered in November 1948. Moderated by senior Newsweek editor Ernest K. Lindley, it was an interview program in which various editors of the magazine chatted with personalities in the news. When the series moved from Sundays to Mondays the following February, the title was changed to Newsweek Views the News.
In the fall of 1954, after an absence of almost five years, regularly scheduled nightly news returned to the DuMont network. Anchored by Morgan Beatty, this show (the DuMont Evening News - ed.) remained on the air until the crumbling DuMont network virtually ceased functioning the following April.
Professional wrestling was a regular and popular form of entertainment on early, live network television, particularly on ABC and DuMont. The two longest-running wrestling shows originated from Chicago -- Jack Brickhouse doing the play-by-play from Marigold Garden every Saturday night on DuMont for almost six years, and Wayne Griffin announcing from Rainbow Arena for ABC for roughly the same length of time. DuMont's other long-running wrestling show originated from various arenas around the New York City area (Jerome Arena, Jamaica Arena, Sunnyside Gardens, and Columbia Park Arena) with Dennis James at the mike.
The most famous of these early wrestling announcers was probably DuMont's Dennis James, whose simplified explanations and infectious enthusiasm made the sport palatable even to little old ladies. His oft-repeated phrase "Okay, Mother" became so identified with him that it was later used for the title of one of his numerous daytime game shows. That a game-show emcee like James could become wrestling's most famous commentator was perhaps symbolic of the fact that on TV, wrestling was more show business than sport.
DuMont's programming was heavy with both boxing and wrestling in the late 1940's and early 1950's. With its limited finances, inexpensive programming that had a ready audience was something that DuMont could not resist. Dennis James was DuMont's sports announcer for boxing and wrestling. The DuMont boxing shows, however, could not afford traveling to locations where there were no DuMont stations, so that most of them originated from the New York area. Dennis James covered bouts from Jamaica Arena, Queens, on Mondays, from Park Arena on Tuesdays, from White Plains, New York, on Wednesdays, and from Sunnyside Gardens and Dexter Arena on Thursdays.
The longest-running DuMont boxing show, however, did not have James at the helm. Ted Husing was the announcer when Boxing from Eastern Parkway (Brooklyn) went on the air in May of 1952. He left in March of 1953 and was replaced by young Chris Schenkel. When ABC picked up the show in May of 1954, DuMont and Schenkel moved shop to St. Nicholas Arena, where they stayed until DuMont went out of the network business in 1956. Boxing from St. Nicholas Arena was the last DuMont network series, its last network telecast coming on August 6, 1956, though it remained on as a local program in New York.