However, pretty much anything from the 1970s has at least some portion of "comfort" with me automatically. After all, it's the decade where I spent my childhood and have the most vivid and lovely memories. If I see a movie or TV show from the 70's, I always get an immediate feeling of coming home. And every movie or TV made today which tries to evoke that 70's feeling and atmosphere ALWAYS gets it completely wrong; yes, I'm talking to YOU "THAT 70'S SHOW".
So starting here, I'm going to bring you a year-by-year glimpse of the 1970s from the platform of the cover of TV GUIDE; a magazine that was everywhere then but nowhere now. I'll be doing a series of posts in the coming weeks each focusing on a single 1970's year and my favorite TV GUIDE covers from that year. Add to that a little comment or two about why a particular cover "does" it for me. Today we're going to look at TV GUIDE COVERS from the year 1970!
THE WEEK OF JANUARY 24 - 30
This is Tom Jones. This is also the oft-mentioned childhood home of yours truly on Linwood Avenue in Maple Surple where my mother, who was a huge Tom Jones fan, would often spin his LP's while she danced around the living room. My mother, who has a real talent for drawing, drew a portrait of Tom Jones which she actually framed and presented to him when she saw him live. We have photos of the event. If I had done more planning for this post, I'd've had her dig out the photos for me to post. Ah well, tomorrow is another day...
THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 7 - 13
This is a superb, colourful cover for BEWITCHED in that wonderful circa 1970 pop art style. It also depicts one of the most confusing aspects of TV; that of suddenly replacing an actor with another actor playing the same character. The unspoken switch from Dick York to Dick Sargent still is fodder for countless stand-up comedians to this day. I must say that the likeness of Sargent isn't very whereas Elizabeth Montgomery (an early TV crush of mine ... stick around, there will be others...) looks quite like her. Love the easter egg purple and yellow too!
THE WEEK OF APRIL 4 - 10
Oh my . . . THE BRADY BUNCH. Where do I begin. Is there anyone of "a certain age" who didn't grow up with THE BRADY BUNCH on TV every day after school? And we watch every single episode, didn't we? Over and over until we knew them by heart. This is probably why I've never gotten around to buying them all on DVD; even though I'd love to have them and would watch them at the drop of a hat, I've seen them so many times that I've never felt the need to buy them yet. But as Tom Jones showed us, tomorrow is another day...
THE WEEK OF APRIL 11 - 17
A classic Hirschfeld caricature of Carol Burnett. This was another show I loved as a kid and watched over and over in reruns. Particularly the skits involving Eunice, Mama & Ed. This later provided the template for the show MAMA'S FAMILY which I was not really a fan of. But those classic sketches on THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW . . . when is someone going to put them all together onto a DVD?!?!?!
THE WEEK OF JUNE 27 - JULY 3
It looks like Liza's gonna do a TV special, doesn't it? Could this be the award-winning LIZA WITH A Z?!?!? Nope, I guess not. That was in 1972 apparently. But this cover gives me the perfect opportunity to reminisce about that famous car drive to Atlantic City in the 80's with my friend Paulster. Paul's car was in the shop or something because we took his father's car -- and neither one of us thought to bring any tunes. Paul's father only had one tape in the car; it had Neil Diamond's THE JAZZ SINGER soundtrack on one side and LIZA WITH A Z on the other. We listened to them on a loop for the entire round trip and, believe it or not, never got sick of them. It was the first time I had heard either one of them but I've loved them ever since. Hey, though in THIS photo it looks like Liza's preparing for her role decades later on ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT!!! Whooooooaaaaaaahhhh!!!
THE WEEK OF JULY 4 - 10
This show is SO 1970 to me! Bill Bixby's super cool sunglasses. And that little sports car with the top down! Wow, this also brings to mind ANOTHER Paul story! Also back in the 80s, I had made a VHS tape of many different TV show episodes which I guess Paul had asked me to do; he occasionally asked me to make videotapes of TV shows or music videos which he'd play on the TV in the camera shop in which he worked. Anywho, the video was full of many classic shows. Somehow, Paul's brother borrowed the tape one day and told me he enjoyed it -- except how in the hell could I put THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER in amongst all those other great classic TV shows!!! Ah well, you can't please everybody.
THE WEEK OF AUGUST 8 - 14
Ohhh, Donald! THAT GIRL. Yeah, I think Marlo Thomas was another one of those childhood crushes of mine. I loved this silly show. Especially the one where she gets a bowling ball stuck on her big toe! And another good reason to have this cover here is that this issue was on the stands the week of my 5th birthday!
THE WEEK OF AUGUST 15 - 21
Johnny Carson painted by Norman Rockwell!?!?!?! Well, Johnny, I guess by this point you could say that you've really made it! Naturally I was much too young to watch THE TONIGHT SHOW through most of the 70's, but by the end of the decade I was staying up late enough to catch it. Also the local UHF station Channel 17 ("The Great Entertainer"!!!) showed a compilation show called "THE BEST OF CARSON" at, I believe, 10pm every weeknight. Now, THOSE were the days!!!
THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 26 - OCTOBER 2
Oh, and now we come to YET ANOTHER of my childhood crushes: Denise Nicholas on ROOM 222. Sadly, this is a terrible photo to use for the cover; you can hardly get a good look at ANYBODY! Oh yes, and I actually own the DVD box set of ROOM 222, I'll have you know! Once again, I'll flash forward to the 80's when I was working at Rustler Steak House and the albums of TVToons ("TELEVISION'S GREATEST HITS") came out featuring all those classic TV theme songs. One night after closing, my co-workers and I were sitting around a table and I was playing the cassette in a tape recorder while everyone would guess which show each theme was from. No Meg, it's not SMOKEGUN. Anyway, there was one theme song which was always familiar to everyone but which no one could place -- and that was the theme to ROOM 222. How did the theme from such a short-lived show which practically never showed up in reruns become so memorably stuck in everyone's minds? Granted, it's a great instrumental theme, though.
THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 3 - 9
Another of those terrific 70's pop art style portraits; this time of comedy legend Red Skelton. I have no particular story to relate for this cover. Suffice it to say that any excuse to show Red Skelton needs no explaining!
THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 31 - NOVEMBER 6
I was never a fan of cop shows. THE ROCKFORD FILES was pretty much it for me. I indeed never watched MANNIX. However, when I was very little I remember being over my Aunt Mil's house and MANNIX was on the TV and the episode has haunted me since that day. I only dimly recall the plot but it scared the beejezus outta me! It was something to do with a kid being kidnapped and held for ransom. At one point, the kid managed to get the kidnapper to let him go to the bathroom and, again I dimly recall, that I think the kid managed to climb out of the bathroom window and run away. I wish I knew what episode of MANNIX this was because I'd love to see it again after all these years. . .
THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 5 - 11
And finally we bring 1970 to close with this nice, painterly portrait of Dick Cavett. Again, my mother was a fan of Cavett's and his talk show was addictive watching back then. Cavett always had an uphill televisual battle in the talk show stakes since he is an intellectual and we Amuricans frown on stuff like that. Also, the mention of Julia Child on the cover gives me a chance to state that THE FRENCH CHEF with Julia Child on PBS was and is major comfort TV viewing for me. I love love love Julia Child and even as a kid watched her cooking show on public television.
So tune in next time when TV GUIDE and I walk you through 1971.