TV Guide #12: December 16-22, 1978

The holidays were in full effect on the the boob tube in 1978; this week is overflowing with Christmas specials and extravaganzas. Let's take a look inside...

Remember flash cubes?  From the 1950s through the most of the 1980s, cameras were stacked with these crummy flash cubes; an added expense and pain in the neck.  We take for granted unlimited flash with our smartphones, easily forgetting that we had to be precious with our flashes once upon a time.

I like Lily Tomlin, but as the romantic female lead, I just can't get my head around it.

Fernando's wife Isabel intimidates me.

Anyone who has both a Merle Haggard and KISS ALIVE 8-track is cool in my book.  "We never had it so good" - Amen, sister.

This tiny little block of time on Saturday mornings was so important to 70s kids.  And with shows like Superfriends, Godzilla, Space Academy, Fantastic Four and Yogi's Space Race, how could it not be?

And so, the long line of Christmas specials begins.  Year Without Santa Claus, The Tiny Tree, The Grinch, and Lawrence Welk usher in the season.

Don't forget about the Energy Crisis, but even more important, Vinnie Barbarino's Christmas jacket is stolen by some muggers.

The Barnstable twins (Quark) are on Love Boat, and Mr. Brady (Robert Reed) is on Fantasy Island.

I freaking LOVED Animals, Animals, Animals (hosted by Barney Miller) early Sunday mornings.

Needless to say, "Stubby Pringle's Christmas" never became the holiday classic Hallmark hoped it would be.

Wow.  That Teleprosys looks pretty amazing.

Hey look, Dolph Sweet (Gimme a Break) is on Little House; looks like we'll be skipping the Charlie Brown Christmas this year.

Damn.  In '78 it seems that every sitcom was required to deliver a Christmas episode.  I don't remember the What's Happening! one, but I'm sure Rerun was fantastic.

Dear Lord, that fish filet looks like garbage.

I remember this well.  It was December 1978 - my parents, aunt, uncle, and cousins all went to see Invasion of the Body Snatchers while me and my little brother had to stay behind with a babysitter.  It still stings to this day.

Your friends got Pumas, Adidas, and Nikes under their tree... and you got a ten dollar pair of Trax.  Merry Christmas!


  1. Good stuff! Suddenly craving a fish filet.

    Wouldn't mind reading about those cagey producers if possible! ;)

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  3. I recall that one of the biggest complaints critics had about Moment by Moment was that John Travolta and Lily Tomlin looked like brother and sister.
    I guess in the late '70s it was a thing worth mentioning that a TV movie was shot in British Columbia (Who Will Save Our Children?) Now, of course, seems like half the series on the air film in and around Vancouver.
    I got to say that I was looking forward to reading how cagey producers get around network censors.

    1. I thought the "cagey producers" article would be good too, but it's garbage so I didn't include it. Just a handful of throw-away soundbites from Danny Arnold (Barney Miller), Gary Marshall (Happy Days) and Grant Tinker (MTM) - plus a little from Norman Lear. How the Fonz got to wear his leather jacket and Wojo got to date a prostitute in an episode - otherwise nothing special.

    2. voiceofthe70sDecember 20, 2015

      Ah yes, the infamous "Moment By Moment". This movie is invariably singled out as one of the worst movies in the history of cinema. Check out imdb if you don't believe me. But I don't see what all the fuss is about. Yes, the movie is pretty bad. But the 70s were filled with movies like this, and "Moment by Moment" isn't any worse than the rest of them, and it isn't without its charm. I actually think they had Lily Tomlin looking pretty sexy in that middle aged sort of way. I don't know why this one gets singled out so much for being awful. I guess people expected more from the principals, who were at the zenith of their careers at this time.

  4. 1978 was the first year for the Holiday Bowl (seen in the Close-Up above the Bob Hope Christmas Special). Navy beat BYU 23-16 that year.

  5. Ooh, memories of junior high are roaring back. I was a huge Eight is Enough fan. This brings back some pretty bittersweet memories.

  6. I just watched that Fantasy Island episode with Mr. Brady the other night. It wasn't half bad.

  7. I got married on the 16th, a Saturday, snoe on the ground and sunny.

  8. I loved flash cubes, especially the older flash bulbs that has a blue plastic coating on them that bubbled up from the heat of the flash, then you could pick at it and peel it off. Good times.

    I wanna go to Moonraker, featured on page A-33. Maybe have a New York strip and a glass of Meister Bräu.

    Ooooo, Brooke Shields was on that King of the Gypsies party thing. I wonder if she did a sketch or just stood around the looked cute and desirable.

  9. ANIMALS ANIMALS ANIMALS was consistently charming. Rerun (and the rest of WHAT'S HAPPENING!!) was never remotely tolerable. (There were many, many terrible 1970s tv series, but among the popular ones, only THREE'S COMPANY managed to be worse than WHAT'S...)

    1. That's crazy talk. Three's Company was a truly great, ground-breaking show.

  10. 13 Records or Tapes for 1 cent?! Sign me up! Fine print is for suckers!

  11. I've never heard of "A Christmas to Remember", but I'm a sucker for those made-for-TV Christmas specials. Fortunately, it's on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3inykNgeGS8
    By the way, I was that kid that got Trax instead of Nikes or Adidas.

  12. Whoa! I hadn't realized this was a Utah edition (I'm from NYC) and was completely thrown by the differences in channels (obviously, I figured it out).
    I can't believe you scanned all this. Thank you.