THE WEEK OF JANUARY 26 - FEBRUARY 1
As a kid, I was never the slightest bit interested in kung fu movies. KUNG FU THEATER and BLACK BELT THEATER were on every weekend (Saturday afternoons, I think) on various UHF channels; when they'd come on I'd change the channel. And it follows that I also never watched the TV show KUNG FU starring David Carradine either. But this sure is a nifty cover painting, innit? It was only in the last five years that I became a major kung fu movie fan due solely to the influence of a friend named Robert. Now I have an extensive kung fu movie collection on dvd; still never seen the TV show though. Although I did actually meet David Carradine once. It was at the Chiller Theater Convention about a dozen years ago. He was hitting on Tiffany Shepis. It wasn't pretty!
THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 2 - 8
Love love love that Dom DeLuise! Can't say as I ever met HIM in person -- although my friend Paul did bump into him in Atlantic City. Literally! This absolutely and totally forgotten sitcom starring Dom was called LOTSA LUCK. As I recall, it also co-starred another favourite of mine: that superb character actress Kathleen Freeman. Just think of the nun in THE BLUES BROTHERS and you'll immediately know who she is. Well, LOTSA LUCK was a favourite of little kiddy me and my grandma. Naturally it was cancelled after only one season. C'est la guerre!
THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 9 - 15
We're back to M*A*S*H* again! This time it's a nice drawing by that venerable favourite Jack Davis again! I had forgotten how associated with TV GUIDE was Jack. He did countless covers for them and this is another nifty one featuring one of the best ensemble casts on television back then.
THE WEEK OF MARCH 16 - 22
The second appearance of Carol Burnett on this blog series. This time she's accompanied by her "lookalike" co-star Vicki Lawrence. Amsel (whoever dat be) did some of the best cover paintings for TV GUIDE back in the day. I wonder if they're collected anywhere?
THE WEEK OF MAY 18 - 24
THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN. Yes, I did watch this. Almost every week. Cool cover artwork. I remember exactly where I was when the pilot movie for the show aired. I was at my friend Jeffrey's house. I haven't seen the pilot in decades but I still remember lying on Jeffrey's living room floor watching Steve Austin on the telly ripping a metal pole up out of the concrete and hurling it through the air. This was after having dinner at his house and playing all afternoon with his Evel Knievel action figure set - sending it catapulting over a make-believe gorge. After I had moved away, I got the news that Jeffrey had killed himself. THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN always makes me think of him.
THE WEEK OF JUNE 29 - JULY 5
Remember when I said there were only two Norman Lear sitcoms that made my "comfort TV" pantheon? Well, here's the other one. GOOD TIMES and ALL IN THE FAMILY both I own on dvd -- all except the final season of both. Why IS that, I wonder? I'll have to rectify that situation soon. But now back to GOOD TIMES which I watched in reruns every weekday on my clapped-out old black-and-white TV in my room. Snowy picture with a wire hanger stuck on the broken aerial. As I said, Mike Evans (Lionel Jefferson on ALL IN THE FAMILY and THE JEFFERSONS) co-created this show. It's about the Evans family, after all, and the youngest son (played by Ralph Carter) is named Michael. Not much of a mystery there. GOOD TIMES of course was a spinoff from MAUDE which itself was a spinoff from ALL IN THE FAMILY. Wow, what a family tree! I can watch GOOD TIMES at any hour of any day and will always stop to watch it when I stumble across it channel-surfing. GOOD TIMES to me really defines the whole "comfort TV" thing; it's not so much like watching a favourite TV show but instead to me it's like visiting the family of a dear friend. And this cover portrait of Esther Rolle and John Amos is just terrific.
THE WEEK OF JULY 6 - 12
And it's that Amsel artist again! Lucille Ball of course starred in the iconic 50's I LOVE LUCY and followed with a couple more shows: HERE'S LUCY and THE LUCY SHOW. All of which were in constant reruns during the 70s. In fact, it was these later shows which I watched even more than I LOVE LUCY at first. Come on, I mean they had Gale Gordon as Mr. Mooney, after all!
THE WEEK OF JULY 27 - AUGUST 2
Here's a show 99% of you probably never heard of: APPLE'S WAY. It was short-lived but I had to watch it because my little girlfriend Mary Beth loved it. And why did she love it. You'd never know from this TV GUIDE cover but it featured the teen heartthrob of the moment Vincent Van Patten so all the little girls who habitually read TIGER BEAT never missed an episode. Unfortunately for them, they weren't enough to keep the show from being cancelled. I can honestly say I don't remember even the basic concept of this show. But I watch it every week regardless. On our TV in the living room on Linwood Avenue with the wood-paneling on the walls and the air conditioner in the window and the curtains hanging down blocking the archways out of the living room to keep the cold air confined to that one room. That's how we did it in the low income 70s!
THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 19 - 25
Hey, I never missed CHICO AND THE MAN! Any kid of the 70's knew who Jack Albertson was. I mean, WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY! And Freddie Prinze was at the top of comedy stardom when he landed this role. The camera loved Freddie and his tremendous charm radiated from the TV tube like lightning! I seem to recall often watching this show when I was staying at my grandparents' house, too. I wonder if it was a weekend show?
THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 16 - 22
A movie on TV. Well, if it's what was apparently the television broadcast debut of THE GODFATHER, that was big enough whoop to make the cover of the TV GUIDE of course! A little off the TV track but has Al Pacino ever done a better bit of acting than in that scene in the restaurant when he comes back from the bathroom with the gun? Hey, and my main man Sterling Hayden is in that scene as well! Dandy! Jack Davis once again does a fine job portraying this quartet of crime for the cover.
THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 30 - DECEMBER 6
No, I never saw this show either. But any fan of Quentin Tarantino has heard of GET CHRISTIE LOVE! And while I never saw the lovely Teresa Graves' TV show, I will track it down one day! This is a great, stylish cover shot, though.
THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 14 - 20
In short order, we have yet another GOOD TIMES cover. I know I know but I love the show. And this time it's a family portrait; although I have to say that Bern Nadette looks a little bit peeved and Ralph seems slightly stunned. An odd photo.
THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 21 - 27
And once again we end things with a Christmas cover. I don't know what medium this Santa and reindeer are made of but we saw a lot of this in the 70s. Is that felt? What the heck IS that?
And tune in next time for our trip to 1975!