Will Elder has spent much of the past six decades in the shadow of his longtime collaborator, Harvey Kurtzman. The fact is, though, that Elder has done a considerable amount of work on his own during that same period, all of which is a cut above that of 90 percent of the other so-called humor artists of any era! Here we have a funny, signed (initialed anyway) TV GUIDE ad from 1978 for a failed TV pilot entitled THREE ON A DATE.
THREE ON A DATE, directed by Bill Bixby, was typical of the LOVE BOAT/FANTASY ISLAND school in which folks find themselves in certain situations and then learn some sort of lesson by the end. In this case, the situation was to follow contest winners from a DATING GAME type show on their "dream dates." The folks involved were an eclectic cast of old-time stars, then-current TV stars and familiar faces all around. In Elder's ad, even though all are not mentioned by name, you have great caricatures of Gary Crosby, June Allyson, Ray Bolger, Meredith MacRae, Patrick Wayne, John Byner and an Annie Fannyesque Loni Anderson.
Others in the cast included the great Richard Libertini, game show host Geoff Edwards, Carol Lawrence, Didi Conn, Danny Thomas, Rick Nelson, Bob Cummings and soap opera star Tracy Bregman. Character actor James Hampton also appears. Coincidentally, Hampton's other credits include his appearances in several of Harvey Kurtzman's HELP magazine fumetti. Will Elder, of course, was also a regular in HELP.