In the years between "All About Eve" (1950) and "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?," (1962) Bette Davis had few big-screen hits. She even took out an ad in the trade papers to let Hollywood know she was still around.
Bad for Davis, good for TV. In the late '50s, she acted in "General Electric Theater," "Studio 57," "Ford Theatre" and other drama anthologies. Also, she appeared in two episodes of "Wagon Train."
Her first "Wagon Train," 1959's "The Ella Lindstrom Story" (Sunday at 2 p.m. on cable's Family Channel), may not be any "Dark Victory," but there's still plenty to cry about. She plays a widow with seven children--with No. 8 on the way. And , she's making the trip out West. And she's dying of cancer.
On a 1962 episode of The Virginian (Saturday at noon on Family Channel), Davis is a little less noble. She stars in "The Accomplice" as a bank teller who identifies Trampas as a robber so she can blackmail the real thief. She's cunning, but not cunning enough to get away with it.
Davis, who died in October 1989, would keep finding work on TV series, from "Perry Mason" to "It Takes a Thief" to the "Hotel" pilot.
Also worth watching:
Kim Basinger is an inmate at a prison farm in a Charlie's Angels (Friday at 2 p.m. on KTLA Channel 5) from 1976.
TBS will show TV movie follow-ups to three series: I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later (Wednesday at 8:05 p.m.), Rescue From Gilligan's Island (Wednesday at 10:05 p.m.) and The Return of the Mod Squad (Thursday at 12:05 a.m.).
Victoria learns the story behind Tom Barkley's affair with Heath's mother on The Big Valley (Sunday at 3 p.m. on Family Channel). The big question: Was he or wasn't he a cad?
Lee Van Cleef guest stars in "Desperado at Large," an episode of The Lone Ranger (Saturday at 10 a.m. on Family Channel) from 1952, the same year he appeared in "High Noon."
Warren Beatty and Tuesday Weld are Dobie's schoolmates in Dobie Gillis (Tuesday at 8 p.m. on Nickelodeon). It's one of the few episodes they're both in.
Raul Julia plays Jerry's younger brother on The Bob Newhart Show (Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. on KDOC Channel 56) from 1974.
Georg Stanford Brown won an Emmy for directing the Cagney & Lacey episode "Parting Shots" (Thursday at 2 p.m. on Lifetime), about Detective Newman's murder and its effects on the precinct.
The Owens family gets a housekeeper in the pilot of Mr. Belvedere (Monday at 5:30 p.m. on KTTV Channel 11).
Ron Howard's real-life dad, Rance, is a dance contest announcer on Happy Days (Saturday at noon on KTLA Channel 5).
Singer Gladys Knight plays herself on The Jeffersons (Tuesday at midnight on KTTV Channel 11 ) when Florence goes star-gazing.