The Boob Tube #17: TV Shows that Time Forgot (A)

There's been a lot of great shows cut down in their prime: Freaks and Geeks and Firefly instantly come to mind. It got me thinking about all the shows that came and went in the 1970s - how many actually were good, or had the potential to be good? 

As much TV as I watched in the 70s, I'm surprised at how many shows I don't remember, or only have vague recollections of.  Here's some examples of gone and all but forgotten TV shows from the 70s that passed under my radar.  I wonder how many were actually good.... leave a comment if you remember any of these, and whether they were any good or not.

Note: I'm just covering shows that started with the letter "A" in this post - otherwise, this would turn into a book.

All That Glitters (1977)
A Norman Lear show similar to Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, but the roles of women and men in this alternate universe are reversed. Sounds kinda gimmicky. Also, Linda Gray played a transsexual..... You may need to read that last sentence twice for it to sink in.

All's Fair (1976)
Richard Crenna played the conservative political columnist and Bernadette Peters played the liberal photographer. (yawn) All in the Family did the conservative vs. liberal thing perfect - this show sounds like just another copycat.

Another Day (1978)
This one sounds awful.  It starred David Groh (Rhoda's man) as the dad who doesn't like his wife (played by the late Joan Hackett) having to work to pay the bills.  Meanwhile, there's the cranky, overly critical mother in law..... ugh. 

Apple Pie (1978)
Another Norman Lear flop.  This one took place in the 1930s and starred Rue McClanahan as a hairdresser who puts an ad in the paper to recruit people to serve as her family to cure her loneliness.  One of the faux family members is Dabney Coleman as Fast Freddy the hustler...... I think I feel sick.

Arnie (1970)
Arnie was just your normal blue-collar guy, until he gets put in a high level management position.  I never like these "fish out of water" storylines - and this show probably grew stale quick.  Of course, I could be wrong.

The Associates (1979)
This one involves a bunch of young lawyers all working for a prestigious law firm.  The fact that it stars Martin Short and the bald guy from Murphy Brown gives me hope that this might've been halfway decent.


  1. Arnie wasn't bad, though I seem to remember some cast cahnges in order to goose the ratings. The Associates was hilarious, pretty sophisticated for its day. So much so that it didn't last long. A critics' fave, it had a small but loyal audience.

  2. Arnie wasn't bad (for a 14 year-old like I was). I got a kick that the lead actor did the voice of Charlie the Tuna on the Starkist commercials.

    The Associates was hilarious. too sophisticated for its day. Great reviews, lousy ratings.

    The others -- meh. I didn't have to watch them to know they were dopey.

  3. That looks like Tim Thomerson in that pic of "The Associates," too. Another feather in its cap, in my opinion.

  4. I loved Arnie. I had forgotten about it, tho. Sue Ann Langdon was one of my fav 70's actresses.

  5. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was read through the TV Guide and, especially, the Fall TV season preview issue. Still recall so many shows that lasted barely a season: BEACH BUMS, MAKIN' IT, WE GOT IT MAID, MATTHEW STAR, BRING 'EM BACK ALIVE... but honestly I've never heard of the ones you've listed! Can't wait for more.

  6. When we first got a Fox station, they national feed used to play a lot of old 20th Century Fox TV shows late at night. One of those shows was "Arnie". The funniest character on the show was Arnie's boss, who was rich & somewhat dimwitted. The kind of guy who wore racing gloves when driving his Italian sports car & talked like one of Thurston Howell III's relatives.

  7. I agree with the other commenters, Arnie and The Associates were the only two good shows on the list (and the only two to last more than one season). Arnie was enjoyable in a mild-mannered sort of way, like Mayberry RFD. The Associates was like an upscale version of Taxi.

  8. This reminds me of a feature I did on my blog called the obscure series of the week.Funny I don't remember any of these shows,but I do remember some of the ones mentioned by the commenters.I will say that any of these shows look 100 times better than the shows of today.

  9. I have a vague memory of All's Fair, and it WAS boring. They had 'cute' liberal/conservative conflicts, like him wanting to see the new John Wayne movie, and her wanting to get him a man-purse. Very two-dimensional!

  10. I didn't watch much TV in the 1970's. I was a young 20 something with things to do. After seeing this list, I'm glad I wasn't stuck at home.

  11. To the Editor:

    I also watched a great deal of television in the 70s (hey--we were kids & it was the 70s). But like everyone else, the only show I even recognize was "Arnie." At the time, I thought the show was great--who knows what I'd think now.

    All's Fair rings a faint bell--but that's probably because there were a zillion of those liberal/conservative themed shows/movies in the 70s.

    But The Associates and the rest of the usual suspects? For all I know, you could be making up those shows, in an effort to fool all of us about how crappy tv was, back in the day.

    I recently wondered how come the Norman Lear-style programs (like All in the Family and Maude) gave way to crap like Three's Company. Seeing those losers you posted (and those are just the ones that began with the letter A), I guess it's not such a mystery after all.

  12. OMG,

    I remember these shows (most of them anyway).

    I was a real TV hog in those days.

    All that Glitters suffered from being too heavy handed. Like a bad satire movie the pushed the jokes too hard and waited for you to laugh. Linda gray was a transsexual in secret, for if the world found out . . . .

    All's Fair - That was really 1976? I thought it was the early 1980s. I always liked Richard Crenna but could only take a little Bernadette.

    Arnie was a good show. I remember this one like it was yesterday. This is the show TV Land should show instead of blocks of Sanford and Son.

    The Associates was typical of late 70s sitcoms and I thought Donna Dixon was in it, but no, it was another disposable "pretty girl".

  13. The Associates was a great show!

  14. The Associates was a sharp witted show that should've clicked with TAXI fans but didn't Don't just trust me, someone posted the first episode on YouTube:


    Wish there were more. They did a great episode parodying Fred Silverman era lowbrow TV.

  15. I do recall "All That Glitters". Sounded good, but big fail. Hot L Baltimore was a better show (by Lear) but also failed. (don't remember that show?)

    Arnie? Lasted 2 or 3 seasons. Added Charles Nelson Reilly as "The Giddy-Up Gourmet" and was canceled shortly after. Premise: Shipping dock foreman promoted to low-level executive position. It does happen, although, in this case, Arnie wasn't taking adult education classes to improve himself.

    The Associates. It only lasted a season, but Martin Short was great in it. Witty scripts on a Sunday night made me watch it, as it was one of the few nights I didn't work. Great program and I was ticked that ABC axed it.

  16. The Associates and Arnie were good shows. I agree on the rest. Apple Pie holds the record of the first show to be cancelled after just one airing.