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This is a list of Italian television related events of 1961.
- 18 January – The liberal Novello Papafava and the Christian Democrat Ettore Bernabei are nominated, respectively, for the positions of President and General Director of RAI. Bernabei, a faithful follower of Amintore Fanfani, will be the true master of the estate for thirteen years. At the beginning, his management is inspired to a line of prudent opening, softening the censure and giving space also to professionals (such as Enzo Biagi and Ugo Gregoretti) not aligned with the DC.
- 1 October. - The socialist Enzo Biagi becomes director of the TV news; he renews the program, giving less space to internal politics and officialdom and more to chronicle and news from the world. This new deal arouses harsh polemics by the right-wing. After a year, Biagi resigns.
- 4 November – The Second channel begins broadcasting. This is the schedule of the first day.
|9,05 PM||The war and the victory: special evening about the anniversary of the Italian victory in the first world war (a concert, a documentary and the teleplay The trench, see below)|
|11,20 PM||The evil queen, ballet by Birgit Cullberg.|
The new channel airs two hours by day (since 9 PM) and is received only by a half of the Italian population.
- 12 November. In the Council of ministers, Guido Gonella and Mario Scelba, exponents of the most conservative wing of DC, attack fiercely the variety shows, Enzo Biagi's TV journal and the Political tribune (see below). They accuse RAI of having “put Togliatti and the ballerinas in the Italian families’ heart.”
- On “Il Verri”, the essay Mike Bongiorno’s phenomenology, by Umberto Eco, is published. The writing, despite its playful tone, is one of the first serious analyses of television as a social phenomenon.
- Giovanna la nonna del corsaro nero (Giovanna the black corsair's grandmother) – four seasons; directed by Alda Grimaldi, written by Vittorio Metz, with Anna Campori. Cheerful parody of the pirates novels by Emilio Salgari, it was one of the most beloved shows for children of the Sixties; notwithstanding its success, all its tapes were deleted by RAI and now only some amateurish recording survives.
- L’amico del giaguaro (The friend of the jaguar) – three seasons; directed by Vito Molinari, hosted by Corrado, with Marisa Del Frate, Gino Bramieri and Raffaele Pisu. Humoristic show, remembered moreover for its parodies of famous movies.
- Chissà chi lo sa? (Who knows who knows?) – seven seasons; quiz show for children, hosted by Febo Conti.
- Studio Uno (Studio One) – four seasons; directed by Antonello Falqui, hosted by Mina (in the second season she was temporarily replaced, because pregnant, by Rita Pavone) sided by Italian and international stars as Don Lurio, the Kessler twins, the Bluebell girls, Lelio Luttazzi and Luciano Salce. It's considered the masterpiece of the Italian TV variety, thanks moreover to the spectacular ballets, performed in minimalist scenography, to the Mina's talent, not only as singer but as entertainer too, and to the numerous guest stars. The Quartetto Cetra’s musical parodies get so much success to be developed in a separate show (The Studio One library).
- Tribuna politica (Political tribune) – political talk show, created after the success of Electoral tribune the previous year, hosted by Jader Jacobelli; in a press conference, a politician faces journalists by various tendencies. The program gives the same space to every party present in the Parliament, the PCI included, and for this reason it is, at the beginning, strongly criticized by the conservatives (see over).
- La trincea (The trench) – by Vittorio Cottafavi, from the Giuseppe Dessì’s drama; the life in a trench on the eve of a bloody assault, during the Fourth Battle of the Isonzo.
- Adelchi – by Alessandro Manzoni, with Vittorio Gassmann; TV direction by Carla Ragionieri; footage of the historical version of the tragedy played and directed by Gassmann in a circus lent for the Italian Popular Theatre.
- The History of King Henry the Fourth, by William Shakespeare, directed by Sandro Bolchi, with a memorable Tino Buazzelli as Falstaff.
- L’adorabile Giulio (The adorable Giulio) – musical comedy by Garinei e Giovannini, with Carlo Dapporto and Delia Scala, directed by Eros Macchi, music by Gorni Kramer; a mature actor, impenitent playboy, must face the father’s responsibilities when the adolescent daughter leaves the boarding school.
- La padrona di raggio di luna (The owner of Moonbeam) – musical comedy by Garinei and Giovannini, with Andreina Pagnani and Robert Alda, directed by Eros Macchi, music by Gorni Kramer; the life of a widow is upset when she discovers to have inherited a football player from the husband (the story is inspired by a true fact).
- Racconti dell’italia di ieri (Tales of yesterday’s Italy) – cycle of TV plays, taken from Italian tales of Nineteenth-century.
- Graziella – by Mario Ferrero, from the Alphonse de Lamartine’s novel, with Ilaria Occhini; in four episodes.
- Il caso Mauritius (The Mauritius affair) – by Anton Giulio Majano, from the Jakob Wasserman’s novel about the consequences of a judiciary error, with Corrado Pani and Raoul Grassilli; in four episodes.
- Le pecore nere (the black sheep) – by Gilberto Tofano; cycle of TV-plays about the life of 5 adventurers (Cagliostro, Daniel Boone, Don Juan, Francois Villon and the brigand Giosafatte Talarico), all played by Giorgio Albertazzi.
- Le avventure di un pagliaccio (The adventures of a clown) – for children; with Luisella Nava as the clown Scaramacai, already a star of Carosello.
- Giardino d’inverno (Winter Garden) – by Antonello Falqui, hosted by the Quartetto Cetra. The show reveals to the Italian public Henri Salvador and the Kessler Twins and sees the Ornella Vanoni’s debut.
- Canzonissima 1961 – hosted by Sandra Mondaini and Paolo Poli. The show, won by Tony Dallara, with Adriano Celentano as runner up, establishes the success of the “shouters” (Italian version of the rockers).
- Vittorio De Sica racconta (Vittorio De Sica tells). In one of his rare TV experiences, the great actor and director tells to the children some classic fables.
- Tempo di musica (Music time) – by Daniele D’Anza, with Johnny Dorelli and Lea Massari, written by Luciano Salce and Ettore Patti; history of Italy through the songs. The first episode, satirizing the fascism and its wars, arouses angry protests from the extreme right; the following ones are heavily censored, enough to make D’Anza give up the show direction.
- Controfagotto (Contrabassoon) – directed and hosted by Ugo Gregoretti; lifestyle magazine, describing the Italy of the boom in a politely satirical tone.
- Il giudice (The judge) – by Enzo Biagi, at his TV debut; reportage about the story of David Rubinwvicz, a Jewish child Holocaust victim.
- Unknown (25 October 2012). "Cronologia radiotelevisiva II: 1945-1975: 1960-1969". Cronologia radiotelevisiva II. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
- "BIOGRAFIA | Casa della cultura Enzo Biagi" (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-07-29.
- "Il secondo programma TV". Radiocorriere TV. 29 October – 4 November 1961.
- Tito, Michele (25 November 1961). "Gonella e Scelba condannano la TV per il telegiornale e le ballerine". La Stampa.
- Italian idiom, meaning a not exactly trusted friend.
- "L'amico del giaguaro". www.vitomolinari.it. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
- "Studio Uno - RaiPlay". www.raiplay.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-07-29.
- "Teatro 1961 - 1962". Rai Teche (in Italian). Retrieved 2020-11-12.
- Buzzolan, Ugo (23 April 1961). "Cronaca televisiva". La Stampa. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
- "Vittorio De Sica racconta - RaiPlay". www.raiplay.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-07-29.
- "D'Anza rinuncia alla regia dello spettacolo Tempo di musica". La Stampa. 18 March 1961. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
- The instrument was by then proverbial in Italy, after that the champion of Lascia o raddoppia? had been eliminated for a wrong answer about it.
- "Controfagotto - RaiPlay". www.raiplay.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-07-29.
- "Inchieste sulla Shoah - S1961 - "Il giudice" di Enzo Biagi - Video". RaiPlay (in Italian). Retrieved 2021-01-28.
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