A Year: Day to Day Men: 19th of January, Solar Year 2018

Parallel Fences

On January 19, 1955, the television program “The Millionaire” premieres on the CBS channel.

The Millionaire was an American anthology series that aired from 1955-1960 and  was sponsored by the Colgate-Palmolive Company. The series, produced by Fred Henry and Don Fedderson, explored the ways that sudden and unexpected wealth changed life, for better or for worse. The show became a five season hit during the “Golden Age of Television”. The series told stories of people who were given one million dollars from a benefactor who insisted that he remain anonymous.

The benefactor was named John Beresford Tipton, Jr. Viewers heard his voice, making observations and giving instructions; they saw only his arm as he reached for a cashier’s check for one million dollars each week and handed it to Michael Anthony, his executive secretary. It was Anthony’s job to deliver that check to its intended recipient.

Invariably, The Millionaire began with a very brief opening theme fanfare behind the ascending title frame, followed by the camera’s training directly upon Michael Anthony, played by veteran character actor and radio and
television announcer Marvin Miller. The unseen John Beresford Tipton was played by another veteran character actor and voice artist, Paul Frees.

The series ran for 206 episodes, and Tipton made 206 millionaires. The beneficiaries were not always poor but could be from any social class or occupation, from secretaries and construction workers to professionals like doctors and lawyers. Nor were they always likely to find their lives changed for the better because of their sudden wealth.

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