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Tabloid: Jayne Mansfield's blonde ambition on overdrive

It was a public affairs show with a variety feel. Tabloid's jovial first host Dick MacDougal and weatherman Percy Saltzman cracked so many jokes that some viewers complained they weren't serious enough. Debuting in 1953 as "a program with an interest in anything that happens anywhere," technology in TV's early days meant "everywhere" was Toronto. Powerhouse Ross McLean produced the show and hosts Elaine Grand and Joyce Davidson broke ground for female broadcasters.

The naked ambition that catapulted Jayne Mansfield from Texas housewife to Hollywood starlet shines through in this 1957 interview with CBC Tabloid's Joyce Davidson. The blonde bombshell rarely looks at Davidson, preferring to purr straight into the camera instead. Mansfield talks about juggling her film career with single motherhood before rhyming off the names of her pets - all 30 of them. The episode kicks off with Percy Saltzman's trademark weather report, a visit from host Gil Christie's wife and a short cartoon offering viewers a cheeky, behind-the-scenes look at Tabloid.
• Pierre Berton was originally scheduled to interview Jayne Mansfield, but when producer Ross McLean learned Joyce Davidson was returning from her holiday early, he asked her to do it. A newspaper article billed the tête-à-tête "The Battle of the Blondes," asking "Which has better sex appeal - sex symbol or Canadian girl-next-door?" • Wholesome Davidson would see her fair share of controversy too. She was forced to resign after she told Pierre Berton in an interview that women who were virgins at the age of thirty were "unlucky." She moved to the U.S. and worked in TV, but was vilified when it came out that she was having an affair with a married producer David Susskind.

• Mansfield adored publicity. Long before singer Janet Jackson's "Nipplegate" at the 2004 Superbowl, Mansfield became known for "accidentally" baring her nipple in a photograph taken while she was dining with a visibly disturbed Sophia Loren.

• A few years after winning a 1957 Golden Globe for New Star of the Year, Mansfield's Hollywood career fizzled out, forcing her to play nightclubs. She died in a 1967 car accident on the way to her next performance.

• Davidson and Susskind later married and moved to Canada where she hosted her own CTV talk show in the 70s.

• Despite Mansfield's wishes, her daughter, Jayne Marie, followed in her footsteps, becoming the first daughter of a Playboy model to pose for the magazine in July 1976. 

Medium: Television
Program: Tabloid
Broadcast Date: Aug. 2, 1957
Guest(s): Jayne Mansfield, Betty Milne
Announcer: Gil Christy
Host: Percy Saltzman, Joyce Davidson Duration: 25:22

Last updated: March 23, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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