Is this real, or Photoshopped? I think it’s real…

Here’s another fun pop-culture thing, one that I found way more engaging than I would have thought if someone merely described it to me.

My friend Steve Millies in Chicago retweeted this the other day:

I assure you I looked at it more than a minute.

It didn’t look like anything particularly engaging at first. OK, so we have some people who were big in TV in the ’70s all dressed up and having their picture taken together.

Yeah, there’s Mary Tyler Moore right at the front, looking as she did when she was probably the hottest star on CBS with her show that ran from 1970-77. OK.

But wait. Alfred Hitchcock is standing next to her. And on the other side of him, Walter Cronkite. Whoa…

So you start looking around. And you have to hunt, but eventually you find:

  • All four stars of “All in the Family,” scattered separately here and there.
  • Chester, from “Gunsmoke.” Yeah, I know that at this time, he was McCloud, but to me, he’ll always be Chester. Anyway, everybody else in this picture was affiliated with CBS, as was “Gunsmoke,” and “McCloud” was on NBC. So I think he’s there for being Chester.
  • Lou Grant! Which makes sense, since Mary is there.
  • Andy, Barney, Opie and Gomer, scattered about the picture.
  • Carol Burnette.
  • Lucille Ball.
  • Art Linkletter and Art Carney. And Arthur Godfrey, I think.
  • Steve Allen? Yeah, I think so.
  • Adrienne Barbeau! Yeah, I see at least one other person from “Maude” there, but who cares? There’s Adrienne Barbeau, whom we all know from certain other classics as well…
  • Danny Thomas.
  • Telly Savalas.
  • Betty White, with red hair!
  • One of the Gabor sisters, but I can’t tell which. Probably Eva. When you zoom in, the quality is poor.
  • Hang on! There are Roy Rogers and Dale Evans!!! And Roy’s duded up in black tie…
  • Is that Danny Kaye near George Burns?
  • I’m not sure about this, but do I see Captain Kangaroo, only out of uniform?

There are so many others I could name — big stars. But I’m going to let you find them yourselves.

I guess this was like the Emmys or something, and CBS must have really gone to a lot of trouble to make this happen.

Of course, maybe it was Photoshopped. But I don’t think so. As remarkable as it is, I think it’s real.

The only reason I have to doubt it (aside from the logistical difficulty of getting them together at the same moment) is the fact that these people weren’t all on the network at the same time. Overall, it seems like a shot from the ’70s. Steve speculates it was at a certain point in that period: “Good Times/Barnaby Jones overlap suggests 1973-74.”

But when someone was on a show isn’t a limiting factor. Hitchcock hadn’t been on CBS since 1964. And Dennis Weaver, although a former star of “Gunsmoke,” was at this time on a competing network. But they’re in it, too. And this has to be a CBS effort, based on who’s in the picture.

It doesn’t sound like it would be fun, but I thought it sort of was…






36 thoughts on “Is this real, or Photoshopped? I think it’s real…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Good research, Scout! I guess I was too busy staring at the picture to seek answers from the Web.

      That makes way more sense than it just being some other kind of event. It would have been super-hard to get this picture just from deciding, “Let’s round up all the CBS stars we can find at the Emmys.” Also, it explains Dennis Weaver being free to be in the picture — his NBC show had ended the year before. Also tells us why Hitchcock is in it — they were trying to reflect the whole history.

      “You can also tell its CBS because of the eye ball logo on the side of the risers.”

      Um… OK. I didn’t notice that CONSCIOUSLY, but I must have picked up on it subliminally, because immediately I assumed this was the production of one network…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      OK, a little personal confession, regarding one of the more embarrassing incidents in my life.

      It was in my civics class (although, in keeping with the tone of the times, I think it was called “American Problems,” or “Problems in American Democracy”) when I was a high school senior, in Hawaii.

      One day we had a substitute teacher — a very pretty young blonde, who as I recall introduced herself as the wife of a junior officer in the Navy, probably away at sea. A very nice young woman.

      She had substituted in another class of mine previously. Now I was sitting at the back of this class, and I made the huge mistake of sharing with a couple of guys back there that in the previous class, some of us guys had decided to privately call her “Hot Lips.” (Note that this was after the movie came out, but before the TV show.)

      One of the guys I told, unfortunately, was John Creech. Look at the bottom of this page of the virtual yearbook that our late friend Burl Burlingame created quite a few years ago. Look at the picture of Creech, and I think you will fully believe this story. That’s definitely the face of a guy who would do this. Or it seems so to me, perhaps because I knew him.

      Anyway, Creech immediately raises his hand, and the sub calls on him, and he asks, “Miz so-and-so, is it true that people call you ‘Hot-Lips’?”

      As the poor lady stammered and her face turned red, he pointed toward me and added, “That’s what Brad Warthen says…”

      And she looked at me, and of course I was sorry at that moment that I had ever learned to speak…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        What made it particularly awful was that I was a pretty shy kid who normally did not share such things. I mean I was a talker, and sometimes a class clown, but I revered women and girls, seeing them as lofty, mysterious creatures. That’s a factor in why I hadn’t had more than a handful of dates, because they filled me with such awe that I was terrified to ask.

        So ONE time I try being the worldly guy, the barracks braggart (although in a rather PG way), and Creech immediately taught me not to do that any more…

      2. Bart

        I took the same class, “Problems in American Democracy”. For the small town I grew up in, this was a radical course and only a handful of seniors were allowed to take it. I drew the ire of the teacher and a guest speaker, a union organizer who showed a film used to recruit union members that depicted things that never happened in the industries in my home town. I was the only one in the class to challenge him and his extremely biased presentation. Needless to say, the teacher and the student who invited him were not very friendly toward me afterward. Truth is, I could have cared less because of the obnoxious jerk organizer and his in your face presentation.

        Otherwise, the photo of all the CBS celebrities and stars brought back a lot of good memories of how television could be and how decency was once a staple but now a rarity. I recognize more than I care to admit but they were good enough to leave a positive impression.

        By the way, a friend pulled a similar stunt on me but it was with a girl I really liked and thought she was “hot”. He went directly to her and told her what I said. Needless to say, that was the end of a teenage romance that never got past the batter’s box. Struck out with not one pitch thrown.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Thanks for sharing, Bart. I went to three high schools — in S.C. (the year my Dad was in Vietnam), Florida (for two years, 10th and 11th) and Hawaii.

          I know that at one of those schools — either Florida or Hawaii — the course was called “American Problems,” and at the other it was called “Problems in American Democracy.” I don’t recall which was which. So as I think back on that class in which the anecdote was set, I just think of it as “civics.”

          But I look back and smile that anyone thought that the main thing that needed to be said about our system back then was that it was plagued by problems. I look back and see the system at that time as pretty healthy. They should see us now….

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Another thing about that course…

            When we weren’t having a substitute, the lady teaching that class was of a rare breed — the kind who wasn’t fooled a bit by me.

            With all the others, I was more or less guaranteed of a good grade on any test in which a significant percentage of the score was based on essay questions. I wasn’t what you’d call a studier in those days. But I was required by law to be there in the class, so I couldn’t help picking up something about the material, if only by osmosis. I tended to have a good grasp of the main points, but didn’t memorize the names and dates and lists and so forth. So in my essay answers, I’d just stay away from the stuff I didn’t know, and expound as eloquently as I could on the stuff I DID know.

            And most teachers were utterly charmed by this. They loved reading an answer that showed some fundamental understanding of the subject matter — they saw little enough of that. And it was a bonus to them that I expressed it clearly — and sometimes even in a way that they found entertaining.

            But not this teacher. Sorry, Maximus, but she was not there to be entertained. In fact, she even wrote on one of my papers that she really enjoyed reading my paper, but that it was obvious that I was avoiding certain aspects of the question because I hadn’t studied the material.

            So I respected her perspicacity. I salute her. But she was not one of my favorite teachers…

  1. Leon

    I recognize so many of these stars because they were all over television in the ’50’s through the ’70’s and beyond. This was the golden age of TV as far as I am concerned. There may have been many fewer channels but the content on those channels was way and above better and more interesting than many of today’s shows.

    I notice that Carol Burnett is standing next to Jim Nabors. They were always best friends. She always had him as her guest on each season opener of her show. Charles Kuralt and Bob Schieffer are in the picture and Grandma Walton is on the front row.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You know, I didn’t even look at the dog. Maybe I half-noticed it (Huh. Somebody brought a dog.), but I was too busy trying to recognize people…

      I wonder whether that’s an actual Lassie. I suppose it’s a possibility, since the show lasted until 1973. Of course, the original Lassie, a canine female impersonator (I suppose now we’d say “trans”) named Pal, died in 1958. No, I didn’t know that; I looked it up

  2. randle

    Good grief, Brad, stop sharing. Such a cringe-worthy post.
    You undercut a woman in authority, not once, but twice and, to make it worse, you use a demeaning sexual reference. “Hot Lips” Hooligan is a caricature, not a role model for any professional woman I’ve ever known. Digging deeper, you attempt to excuse yourself by saying it was out of character because you “revere” women as “lofty and mysterious creatures” which just confirms that you are still doing what you did in high school — undercutting women as human beings, by a) referring to them as “creatures” and b) putting them on the proverbial pedestal, valuing them like a trophy or a commodity. And judging their worth by artificial standards they aren’t going to and don’t want to meet. It’s an old trick.
    And I don’t care how many of your best friends are women.

    Along those lines:
    Thought for today from a Twitter thread:
    It’s the simplest ******* thing for people to just not use language that normalizes the idea that women are expected to appreciate creepy a** men operating from a baseline assumption that we crave their attention.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’m not sure I communicated very clearly there…. except for the “cringe-worthy” part.

      I do that sometimes on the blog. I tell embarrassing, even shameful, things about myself. I have this idea that one should do that from time to time on such a forum, to do the opposite of trying to make people think you’re awesome. Maybe it’s a bad plan, but it’s sort of intentional.

      Anyway, you seem to think I have:
      1. Told you something I’m proud of.
      2. Tried to “excuse” it.

      I’m not — although yeah, I did tell you that this was an extra-awful moment for me BECAUSE it was so unlike me. If this behavior were something I endorsed, something I wanted to brag about, it would have read far differently.

      Instead, it was presented as an awful moment that I’ve always felt bad about.

      You’re right, though, that I elevate women. Always have, probably always will. And that in no way has ANYTHING to do with “valuing them like a trophy or a commodity.” In fact, it’s the opposite. I’m sorry you didn’t like the word “creatures.” Perhaps next time I’ll say “beings.” Or do you know of a better term for living, thinking entities with souls that are higher than a mere human? Because I’m sorry if it bothers you that I saw girls as being on a higher plane, but I did.

      Consequently, I feel worse BECAUSE it was a young woman, not a young man, whom I embarrassed. If Creech had instead said, “Mr. So-and-so, is it true people call you a jackass?,” I certainly would have been appalled. But I wouldn’t have felt as bad as I did, and do, about this.

      And I don’t know how I communicated to you something that was so far from what I was saying. I said, “I was sorry at that moment that I had ever learned to speak.” That was the summation. I don’t understand how you get out of that the impression that I am promoting the use of “language that normalizes the idea that women are expected to appreciate creepy a** men operating from a baseline assumption that we crave their attention.”

      I don’t know how ANY of that comes from my relating this story, and how awful it was. If I had ANY of those attitudes that you inferred from this, I’d have walked away feeling good about the incident, instead of wanting to sink into a deep hole…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        “How do you do, Mrs. Wi-ley?”

        One of my favorite episodes.

        When I was at the Jackson, TN, Sun, and everyone in the world was young, we used to have some awesome newsroom Halloween parties.

        One year, I went as Ernest T. Bass — vest over long underwear shirt, ball cap, and carrying a pillowcase full of rocks. I’m pretty sure I didn’t shave for two or three days before the party — I was into the details on costumes. I slouched around at the party saying that line to everyone, especially my good friend Judith Wylie, since that was actually her name.

        I did that because that’s what Ernest T. says when he goes to a party….

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    It’s interesting the way two or three people in the picture, depending on how you look at it, seem to be positioned as the focal point of the image. Lucille Ball seems to have people arranged around her that way.

    Ditto with Telly Savalas.

    And of course Hitchcock seems to have a place of honor next to Mary — although maybe it’s because they didn’t want him climbing the risers because he was 78 years old at the time.

    And back then, you know, we thought that was OLD… 🙂

  4. Robert Ariail

    Brad, the only thing that I see is it appears to me that heads are not exactly the appropriate sizes. I know that different people have different sized and shaped heads, but look at Carroll O’Conner’s and then Gilligan or Don Knotts. That’s when It started to look photoshopped or even old-school cut -out -the -head-and paste on a body type of trick. Something doesn’t look right.

    1. bud

      I saw that same thing thing with O’Conner and Bob Denver. Plus, doesn’t this look just a little too good? Everyone is in perfect pose. My guess is CBS went out and photographed these folks until they got the poses just right. Then, using whatever was state of the art technology in1978 cut and pasted the individual photos on top of the step background. They did a great job but I suspect getting over 100 people together for this event would have been nearly impossible.

    2. Barry

      I’d certainly say you know more about this than I but wouldn’t the fact O’Connor is standing in front of Denver explain that quirk?

      This looks real to me- one of those pictures where everyone is told to squeeze together in an almost uncomfortable manner, but being that it’s just a photo, a quick frozen moment in time, it works.

      About 5-6 years ago, our church went on a cruise. Well, I guess everyone that wanted and could afford to go went on a cruise. It was billed as a “family cruise” and it was terrific. Great time to be together.

      We took a picture like this one evening- all dressed up- on one of the stair-cases outside the dining room. We all squeezed in tight, the smell of hairspray, perfume, cologne, and cruise food in the air. It looks very much like this picture, but everyone in the picture above looks more Hollywood than we did.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Yeah, I think it’s real, too. But I’m not completely sure. I can see the argument the other way, too…

        Do this: Zoom in on that back row. Look at the sort of aura that appears around each of the people who are surrounded by the white background. Here you go:

        I THINK that’s just some digital blowout — I made up that term, because I don’t know what to call it — resulting from scanning an old print that was made from a negative. It looks familiar to me.

        At the same time, I can see how you could say that’s the sign of these people having been cut out and pasted into the picture.

        Maybe. But if it had been done in Photoshop, it wouldn’t have been especially hard to clean that up. I just spent a minute on Martin Landau here, and cleaned up the worst of it. There’s still a narrow sort of extra-white halo around him, but if I had spent more time, and blown it up to the individual-pixel level, I think even I, with my limited Photoshop skills, could have made it go away.

        So I’m not sure…

        1. Barry

          “ Look at the sort of aura that appears around each of the people who are surrounded …”

          Brad, they are big tim Hollywood folks. That aura surrounds them 24/7.

          I’m just glad we finally caught it in a picture.

          – I see your point but I think it could just be a quirk in the way zooming in makes it look with the white background. Just a guess.

  5. James Edward Cross

    If it *was* a created photo, they used the time-honored cut, paste, burn, dodge, etc. until it looks “real.” Photoshop didn’t come out until 1990.

    On a related (but kind of opposite) note, a really fascinating book is _The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin’s Russia_ (1997) by David King about the censoring of photographs and fraudulent creation of “photographs” in Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union through silent alteration via airbrushing and other techniques.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, of course it wasn’t literally done with Photoshop AT THE TIME.

      I guess I was thinking about how it would be done TODAY.

      But I guess that’s kind of dumb on my part. Who, besides someone working for CBS at the time, would care to create such a photo? No one, I suppose. I mean, why would anyone today create an image that showed CBS actors who were alive and available in 1978 — and no one else? Why that date? It doesn’t add up…

  6. Robert Ariail

    One more comment since you brought up Ernest T. It took me a while to realize this , but do you know why everyone in the Andy Griffith show was so happy? No one was married.

    Excepting Otis , the town drunk and Clara( was that her name?) Bee’s friend who was a terrible gossip and we never even saw her husband.

    Just sayin’…

  7. Norm Ivey

    I think it’s real. A couple of the guys at the top left seem to be looking away from the camera. If you’re going to fake, you’d get everyone looking at the camera. And the guy top right had to climb over the railing to get his position.

    Lots of faces I recognize, but can’t name. I was excited to recognize and remember Eric Sevareid.

    It’s interesting to wonder why some faces are missing. Esther Rolle and John Amos, but no Jimmie Walker (or Janet Jackson)? I see Jamie Farr and Loretta Swit, but no one else from MASH. Bonnie Franklin, but no one else from One Day at a Time? (They may be there. I could never find Waldo, either.) The Waltons? I didn’t watch enough to recognize them all. Are they there?

  8. Barry

    Seems like the current events topics have slowed down tremendously.. so…

    Anyone see Republican Conservative Senator Josh Hawley questioning Lisa Monaco, the Deputy Attorney General?

    Hawley is a darling of Conservatives.

    I was not impressed with Ms. Monaco’s responses that seemed quite weak and she didn’t seem to be well spoken- constantly tripping over her own words.

    However, Hawley’s comments were a bit odd, as usual. Hawley was trying his best to twist Merrick Garland’s plain language memo about the DOJ being willing to assist in matters involving attacks against locally elected officials, if necessary.

    Hawley lied and said the DOJ was going after “parents that simply are expressing their opinion.” Of course that’s not true. Hawley shouldn’t lie so much.

    This morning, one program on MSNBC compiled a great video of various local network news segments from across the country, including in Hawley’s Missouri, where school board members had been attacked, some physically. Chris Hayes of MSNBC tweeted the video at Hawley and asked him if he wanted to respond. I noticed people on social media posting Hawley’s Washington DC office number.

    I also called his office (I recorded my end of the conversation for my own protection as I consider Hawley an habitual liar) but HIS office phones were down because of the amount of people that are calling.

    I was going to ask him what he was doing to protect school boards and locally elected officials from the violence that the news reports had documented (most with video).

    He’s ducking interview requests (he typically does).

    I’ll try again.

    (BTW- I’ve called a number of state senators and House reps over the last year or so. Usually Conservatives. These folks are world class at dodging phone calls and answering questions. From “He’s out of the office” to “he’s not taking calls now” to “he prefers an email” – yeah, sure he does. They all hate email.

    The cowardice is stunning for most of them.

    When I worked as a Senate Page decades ago, one thing I learned- senators hated having to deal with people that pushed back on them. They absolutely hated personal confrontation. I’m not talking about violence or arguing. You see these people on tv- especially now with the US Senators and US House Reps talking all tough on Fox and CNN and then you meet them in person and most are scared to death if you don’t agree with them.

    I remember, at the time, the idea of a helmet law cropped up and the motorcycle folks hit the senate offices walking office to office to speak with Senators individually. LOL. The building emptied out in 5 minutes when word would come that they were making their rounds through the building with Senators heading down to the underground garage to get out of dodge ASAP. They were so nervous and didn’t want to have to answer any questions.


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