Since TV as a medium has expanded immeasurably in weird ways over the past few years, here are some equally weird and lesser known TV appearances….with Mr. Marvin, of course, that might best be described as weird Lee TV.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, when Lee was at his most popular, not many big movie stars appeared on TV, unless it was a talk show appearance to plug a film. Lee did that too, but he was also not above appearing fairly regularly on say the odd Bob Hope comedy special. Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank know that he was about to walk on stage of The Flip Wilson Show when he was hit with the Palimony suit that made headlines through out the 70s. Just one of the many weird Lee facts one can discover in Lee Marvin Point Blank.

Lee Marvin with Bob Hope in the early 70s on one of the legendary comedians many TV specials for NBC.

If the concept of Marvin appearing on a Bob Hope Special seems difficult to wrap one’s head around, imagine seeing him make an appearance on the old Ed Sullivan show! He did, believe it or not, following the release of Paint Your Wagon. Since it was released successfully as a single, he sang ‘Wanderin’ Star’ backed by the Yale Glee Club. Not surprisingly, he also went out and got soundly drunk afterward.

Hamming it up in a 70s sketch with Bob Hope and Pat Boone.

It would be hard to imagine some of his contemporaries, such as Marlon Brando or Charles Bronson, being willing to do such antics, yet, Marvin did it with gusto. In fact, his turn as gangster ‘Mad Dog’ Marvin on a Bob Hope show is especially hilarious. I don’t think the same could ever be said of Brando or Bronson.
Marvin was also not above other TV appearances, such as hosting and narrating a documentary on the Marines in WWII, or another documentary focusing on American ingenuity.
Possibly the strangest of all, especially since he was a major boxoffice star at the time, was this one from 1977, just in time for the holiday season of TV specials. Personally, I would have loved to have seen the tribute to the banjo as pictured in the ad below. Now THAT would be something to see……

Old TV Guide ad promoting a Gene Kelly variety show special featuring…wait for it… Lee Marvin!


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Tv Guide Ad

Below is a recently discovered TV Guide ad promoting Lee Marvin’s appearance on Tennessee Ernie Ford’s variety show. Contrary to his tough guy image, the actor made several such appearances throughout his career, including The Steve Allen Show to promote M Squad, many Bob Hope Show appearances, and The Flip Wilson Show just because he was a fan of the show. In fact, it was literally just moments before the taping of The Flip Wilson Show that Marvin recieved rather earth shaking news, as recounted in Lee Marvin Point Blank.  He even sang with the Harvard Glee Club on The Ed Sullivan Show to promote Paint Your Wagon!
As for the TV GUIDE ad below promoting his 1957 appearance on the Tennessee Ernie Ford Show, well I’ve never seen it but he may he agreed to it just to hear Ernie say his tradmark, “Bless your pea-pickin heart.” I can only hope there really wasn’t a seesaw involved in any way, shape or form!


Lee Marvin appearing on the Tennessee Ernie Ford show as shown in this TV Guide Ad.

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