THE WEEK OF JANUARY 6 -12
Case in point. The first cover pictured is ALL IN THE FAMILY portrayed by the king of caricaturists Hirshfeld. Possibly the quintessential TV comedy of the 1970s, ALL IN THE FAMILY wouldn't last long into the new decade of the 1980s. First the departure of Gloria and Meathead led to the anemic Danielle Brisbois years followed by the series cancellation and morphing into the equally anemic ARCHIE BUNKER'S PLACE. But I'll always have the glory days of the original run as tip top comfort TV.
THE WEEK OF JANUARY 27 - FEBRUARY 2
At last we have that slick portraitist Amsel painting a splendid cover of Katharine Hepburn; the second appearance of the great lady on this post series. Kate appeared in a number of TV movies over the years and this particular cover is referring to her television remake of THE CORN IS GREEN; the last, in fact, pairing of Katharine Hepburn with her debut director George Cukor.
THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 10 - 16
I've mentioned before that I was a lifelong viewer of PBS and I can vaguely remember my first encounter with Shakespeare occurred on public television. I can't remember exactly which television airing I saw first but it was probably MACBETH. I also dimly recall that in 1979 I must've caught at least some of the Shakespeare broadcasts trumpeted by this TV GUIDE cover. However, it wasn't for another year or two when in high school I actually read the plays in English class that I became a real Shakespeare fan.
THE WEEK OF APRIL 28 - MAY 4
Ah, yes. Now here we have possibly the last great TV sitcom of the 1970s: TAXI! I loved TAXI the moment I saw it. Terrific writing and a classic ensemble cast (except for that nerdy guy in season 1 who nobody remembers and was replaced by season 2). I always watched it then but I also have great memories of when TAXI was being rerun on Nick At Nite in the 1990s. My late friend Peg and I would always watch it and laugh our asses off or else collectively groan whenever we'd realize it was a "Tony" episode; they were always the least funny ones. Sorry, Mr. Danza.
THE WEEK OF MAY 19 - 25
Here we have another 70's stalwart still powering along. LAVERNE & SHIRLEY was a favourite of mine from the moment it debuted; however by this time it may have been showing signs of losing steam. However, this is another terrific Amsel cover painting. And it reminds of me playing the LAVERNE OR SHIRLEY game. Did you ever play the LAVERNE OR SHIRLEY game? I'll have to remember to do a post about THAT sometime soon. The 10th anniversary of this blog seems just the time to do it!
THE WEEK OF JUNE 2 - 8
And speaking of terrific cover paintings. Here we have THE ROCKFORD FILES James Garner painted by Pablo Picasso. Sorry, I can't decipher the artist's signature. Did the great ROCKFORD FILES last into the 80's? I can't recall that either. Sure did love the show, though.
THE WEEK OF JUNE 9 - 15
And speaking of loving a show . . . I loved ANGIE. Practically nobody remembers ANGIE but the show was in fact quite a big hit for it's first season. And then, almost as quickly as it shot to popularity, it seemed to disappear without a trace. Donna Pescow appeared in the film SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER and then she got this sitcom co-starring Robert Hayes (of AIRPLANE fame). I'd sure love to see THIS show again. And it also had a theme song which I loved and was a big hit single for Melissa Manchester.
THE WEEK OF JUNE 23 - 29
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny. What is this, his third or fourth appearance on this blog post series? Well, that's because he was the king of late-night. And here's a little hint . . . we're gonna see Johnny one more time before this post is through.
THE WEEK OF JULY 7 - 13
Here we have again another 70's sitcom stalwart we've seen before with a nice group photo of the cast of BARNEY MILLER. One night I tuned in to the show only to have it pre-empted by three guys named Jimmy Carter, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat signing something. I was livid!!!
THE WEEK OF JULY 28 - AUGUST 3
Back what I was saying about being a comic book fan who rarely saw comic book heroes appearing on television. I wanted to like this show. I really, really did. Like WONDER WOMAN, THE INCREDIBLE HULK fumbled the ball on television. When it comes right down to it, THE INCREDIBLE HULK television show was merely THE FUGITIVE with a big, green monster guy appearance about 3 to 5 minutes an episode. Bill Bixby's great but we wanna see the Hulk. And we saw precious little of the big guy. I'll stick to the commix, thanx.
THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 13 - 19
After THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON, I'd always stay up even later to watch TOMORROW WITH TOM SNYDER. Tom Snyder was a bit of an odd duck but he was perfectly suited to this bleary-eyed late, late night time slot. He was simultaneously post-modern and squaresville! Hey, give yourself a treat and look up his interviews with the great Sterling Hayden on youtube. You'll thank me for it!
THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 20 - 26
MTV was still a couple years away so the hippest rock & roll television was WKRP IN CINCINATTI. I passed up a previous appearance of the show on TV GUIDE's cover because I didn't really think much of the photo but this striking cover design works better for me. This was another more modern-feeling sitcoms along the lines of SOAP or TAXI which seemed a step forward from the more traditional sitcoms of the 70s. With another knockout ensemble cast. And who could forget the infamous "Turkey Drop"?!?
THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 8 - 14
For some reason, this is a TV GUIDE cover I vividly recall having when it came out on newsstands. That's probably because, at the time, I had a scrapbook in which I'd paste cuttings from TV GUIDE and other magazines of shows, movies, etc. that I particularly liked. I guess I likes this cover since I cut it out and pasted it in there. Disgracefully, I'm pretty sure that scrapbook no longer exists; it fell apart, probably, and was trashed. And oh, here's that second appearance of Johnny Carson I told you about; sitting at the top of the heap of talk show hosts pictured here. For the record they are Mike Douglas, Dick Cavett, Merv Griffin, Dinah Shore, Tom Snyder and Phil Donahue thrusting his mike at us.
THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 22 - 28
And we end our series of TV GUIDE covers of the 1970s with another traditional Christmas illustration. Is that Santa Claus or Sisyphus?
I'd like to thank you for travelling with me throughout the 1970s television landscape. It's sure been a lot of nostalgic fun for me and I hope you've enjoyed it as well. One terrific improvement of the modern day over the 1970s is the proliferation of many, many classic TV shows on dvd and the intermawebs. Back in the 70s, we were at the mercy of the TV programmers and could only watch something when they deigned air it. First with the advent of the VCR (I got my first one in 1982) onwards, we've become increasingly able to watch what we want when we want it. Of course, that cuts down on the "magic, special event" feel of having to wait all year for an airing of "THE WIZARD OF OZ" or a Charlie Brown holiday special or a CREATURE FEATURE airing of "HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN" or "THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD". But ain't it grand to have all this classic entertainment at our fingertips? Good night and thanks for watching.