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Fuzzy Memories Digs Up Miles Showcase Theater Clips

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 12, 2011 4:00PM

"The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox in four parts without commercial interruptions." - Gil Scott-Heron

Time was when movies screened on television were brought to you by sponsors in four parts. Take, for instance, WGN, which used to run Family Classics in this manner. Frazier Thomas also pulled double duty on Family Classicsas both host and pitchman. It was standard back in the day for television talent to juggle multiple roles.

We had no idea Ray Rayner did the same with a movie showcase, however. Rick Klein at The Museum of Classic Chicago Television unearthed another treasure from Rayner and Miles Showcase Theatre.

Miles Showcase Theatre was basically a franchise, along the lines of the Schaefer Beer-sponsored Schaefer Award Theatre, that aired on several local stations once a month during the 1973-74 period. The sponsor was Miles Laboratories, whose products were mentioned above. The films shown were of high quality, from the libraries of whichever station aired this show. Among other stations that aired this particular franchise were WCBS Channel 2 in New York City (on Saturday nights after the 11pm news, in place of their legendary movie umbrella The Late Show) and WPVI Channel 6 in Philadelphia, PA. As with Schaefer Award Theatre, Miles Showcase Theatre had only four commercial interruptions, as Rayner mentioned at the start of this first segment.

Klein noted the original program, an airing of The Maltese Falcon from June 21, 1973, broadcast in color. The version he shared was taped on an early videotape machine in black and white. Klein also shares two commercial interruptions and a station ID. Below are the title credits of the program and Rayner's introduction.