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 comedian’s 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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He put it off as long as possible but Lee Marvin eventually starred in his own TV series, M Squad, which premiered September 20, 1957 on NBC. He eventually became a producer of the hit three-year series but it was not anything he particularly liked working on. Why? One reason was things like this….



Another reason was having to do p.r. for the show. For a straight forward and straight talking man like Lee Marvin, the result was often profiles, such as the lead written for a TV Guide profile below….


Along with the crass commercialism, requiste p.r and rushed schedule of TV, there was also the need for picure posing….









But, still in all, he did what was required and each week viewers tuned in to hear him intone: “My name is Lt. Frank Ballinger of M Squad, a special detail of the Chicago Police Department…”

The effect the show had on his personal relationships, marriage and career almost brought all three to an end until the show itself finally came to an end in 1960. How did that finally come about and how did he deal with it? All are answered in the pages of Lee Marvin Point Blank.

"Yeah, looks like we're gonna be on the air for a while so send up a couple of extra large with pepperoni..."

“Yeah, looks like we’re gonna be on the air for a while so send up a couple of extra large with pepperoni…”

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