P.M. East (1961—1962)

Syndicated Nightly 1961—1962

PM East logo

Westinghouse and Group W Television started a talk show called PM East to compete with Jack Paar. The co-hosts were Mike Wallace and Joyce Davidson in New York. (A half-hour segment called PM West followed the East show with Terrence O'Flaherty in San Francisco.)

In his biography, Mike Wallace said that Barbra had developed “a small coterie of fans who were plugged into the cabaret scene in New York.” One of his staff members booked her on PM East. “The reaction to her debut on PM East was so enthusiastic,” Wallace wrote, “that she became one of our regular guests, appearing on the show more than a dozen times over the next several months.”

Barbra and Mike Wallace developed a charming but argumentative chemistry together on the show. “What I found so striking about Streisand in those days (aside from her singing) was her attitude of supreme self-assurance. I had to keep reminding myself that she was still a kid, a teenager...”

In a 1962 interview with Wallace, he further elaborated on Streisand's charm: “She looked strangely out of place but when she began to sing the studio became hushed. Under the clear lights of the studio, she was a little girl no longer. Her lithe body and extremely expressive hands and arms added to the versatility of her voice that soared effortlessly from a deep-throated timbre to the highest registers.”

Streisand singing on PM East

Click the Play button below to hear some of Wallace and Streisand's banter:

Some PM East shows were centered around a theme like "glamour" or "success" and the guests would talk with Mike and Joyce about the topic. Barbra became known for her wacky discussions and brash attitude.

The show was taped at Dumont Studios in New York City—there was no studio audience. Videotapes of PM East no longer exist. There are fan-recorded audio of some of the Streisand shows.

"The Barbra Archives" has pieced together rare photos and audio of these shows.

Streisand sings on top of piano

July 12, 1961

Guests were photographer Milton Greene (who photographed Barbra in 1964 for the cover of Life Magazine), models Theodora & Suzy Parker, and agent Candy Jones. The "theme" of the show was glamour.

Barbra sang “A Sleepin' Bee” and “Lover, Come Back To Me.”

Oct. 13, 1961

On this show, Barbra sang “When The Sun Comes Out,” “Have I Stayed Too Long At The Fair,” and “Come To The Supermarket (In Old Peking).”

Dec. 1, 1961

Barbra guest-starred with Lillian Briggs, Paul Dooley, and Woody Allen. She sang “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most,” “My Honey's Loving Arms,” and “A Taste Of Honey.”

Cohost Joyce Davidson had a segment about food. Barbra warned the guests about the danger of smoked foods:

Streisand: You know what happens? They get a lot of cancer up there in Iceland.

Briggs: From what?

Streisand: Smoked foods!

Wallace: Barbra, why don't you sing?

Click the Play button below to hear an excerpt from this show:

Streisand singing on PM East

Nov. 27, 1961

Joyce Davidson and Barbra

The guest star was Mickey Rooney, who Barbra dueted with on “I Wish I Were In Love Again.”

Click the Play button below to hear an excerpt from this show:

Dec. 21, 1961

This show's theme was "the sweet smell of success." According to producer Mert Koplin, "Barbra would open it as a young performer aspiring to glory, and then [David] Sussind's famous people would come in."

David Susskind (producer of the film Requiem for a Heavyweight), Anthony Quinn, Mickey Rooney, and writer Rod Serling were the guests that evening.

Barbra sang “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” and “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead.”

Click the Play button below to hear an excerpt from this show:

It was on this show when Barbra and Susskind exchanged sharp words about success ...

Susskind: ...The problem is you. You couldn't consider yourself a master of coherence.

Streisand: Yeah.

Susskind: You do have an extreme —

Streisand: I do say things, maybe, in my own way —

Susskind: Hear me out, it'll only take a second or two.

Streisand: One second.

Susskind: You also have an overabundance of energy. Which is healthy in a performer. The trouble is, maybe analysis will help you a little bit.

Streisand: No. I don't think so.

Later in the show, Barbra went after Susskind:

Streisand: You wouldn't see me when I went up to "Talent Associates".

Susskind: Because I don't see actors or actresses.

Streisand: None of your people would even let me read or anything. That's why I decided to give up theater, rather than go through that stuff.

Susskind: Probably, at the switchboard, they had difficulty understanding what you wanted.

Streisand: I was right there, no. I talked in sign language and spoke Italian ...

Reflecting on the encounter in 1977, Barbra told Newsday magazine, “I once had a big fight on television with David Susskind when I was 18 and we appeared on the old PM East show with Mike Wallace. He said to me, "Why do you song these obscure songs? How come you don't sing like 'Night and Day' and all these great songs by composers?" It was very accusatory. I wanted my own identity. I wanted to be associated with songs that people really weren't familiar with. Why would I choose a song that they already associated with another performer?”

Jan. 2, 1962

Barbra sang “Lover, Come Back To Me,” “Moon River,” and “Cry Me A River” on this show.

It should be noted that The Valley Independent newspaper listed a completely different lineup for this evening's show in its TV section: "The topic of fallout shelters is argued seriously by Dagmar Wilson, executive of Direct Action, a women's organization protesting the building of shelters, and humorously by comic Jaycee Collins in her monologue on the conversion of subways into shelters. The show's regular Barbara [sic] Streisand sings far-out fallout songs for Mike Wallace..." (It's also possible that a press release about the content of the show went out before it actually aired).

Panel discussion on PM East

April 6, 1962

The Valley Independent newspaper had the following description of the April 6th show: "Guests include Steve Lawrence and Don Cherry; songwriter Sammy Cahn; recording executive Goddard Lieberson; Broadway performers Anita Gillette of All American and Barbara [sic] Streisand of I Can Get It for You Wholesale and Rome night-club owner Bricktop."

April 20, 1962

[No information available]

April 24, 1962

Burt Lancaster and Streisand

On this show (which, incidentally, was on Barbra's birthday) she sang “Nobody Makes A Pass At Me” (from Pins and Needles). She had a funny bit where she read the lyrics out loud to guest Burt Lancaster before she sang the song.

Producer Mert Koplin said, "One night Burt Lancaster walked out on Mike Wallace in a tantrum about Mike's persistent questions about his temper. After the commercial, with Lancaster gone, everyone on the panel was commiserating with Wallace and telling him that Burt shouldn't have done that. 'Well, I don't blame him,' Barbra said. 'You kept asking him about his temper so he showed you he had it.'"

Streisand gets Brice Award

It was on this show when Barbra was presented the Fanny Brice Award for Comedienne of the Year, which was arranged by her publicist at the time, Don Softness, as a not-so-subtle bid for the role of Brice in the upcoming Ray Stark-produced Broadway show, Funny Girl.

Streisand's birthday on PM East

May 4, 1962

[No information available]

May 8, 1962

Barbra sang “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” again.

June 1, 1962

Barbra sang “Have I Stayed Too Long At The Fair” and “Soon It's Gonna Rain” again.

June 19, 1962

Guests were Colleen Dewhurst; singer Barbra Streisand; writer-director Abe Burrows; comedian Paul Lynde.

June 22, 1962

For the last broadcast of the series, guests were Eartha Kitt, Gloria DeHaven, Abe Burrows, singer-trombonist Lillian Briggs, folk singer Eddie Greensleeves, and comedian Phil Foster. Barbra reportedly got a little "catty" with Eartha Kitt. After singing “A Sleepin' Bee,” Ms. Kitt asked Barbra what happened when a bee lies sleeping in your hand. Barbra replied, "He stings you dead."

Other PM EAST Anecdotes

There are some PM East shows that have been written about in various Streisand biographies and fan magazines, but the actual air dates are unknown.

Streisand and Wallace

"This Is Your Life" — On one PM East show, Wallace and crew threw a party for Barbra with cake. Mother Diana Kind and sister Roslyn appeared on the show.

Barbra on publicity — when Mike Wallace suggested that being on PM East would help Barbra attract the attention of big-time producers like David Merrick, Barbra retorted:

"Now, let's be honest. Those people don't watch television, not the ones that do the hiring. A show like this just gets the public interested in paying the minimum to see me at places like the Bon Soir."

The Richard Rodgers show — Rodgers was on PM East publicizing his new musical, No Strings, with star Diahann Carroll. Producer Mert Koplin remembered:

"I felt it was a great opportunity for Barbra to catch Rodgers' attention. I persuaded her to take care of the musical interludes, singing a batch of Rodgers' standards. The composer was too busy talking to Diahann Carroll about what they would say on the show: He never once looked up at Barbra."

(Below: local TV listings for PM East ...)

TV listings of PM East

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