TV Guide #17: April 14-20, 1979

Another issue of TV Guide, coming right up.  This issue hails from the fine year of 1979.  Enjoy!

I have no recollection of the Romie-O and Julie-8 cartoon special.  I'm sure it was terrible.

I think the writers and producers of Hee Haw Honeys forgot what made them popular enough for a spin-off - and that was mega-levels of eye candy.  Audiences expected thirty minutes of eyeball popping Honeys, but got your standard yawnfest instead (with Kathy Lee Gifford).

Take a long hard look at the caliber of guests the Love Boat has on board this week: it's simultaneously awful and awesome - Mrs. Roper and Meredith Baxter's domestic abuser, and Mrs. Hugh Hefner.

I didn't know "Cold Turkey" was a Norman Lear joint.  It certainly wasn't any good, despite the comedy veterans doing the best with what they had.

The Saturday horrorfests are some of my fondest TV memories.  This week it's Barbara Eden being mind controlled by her demon baby.  A great thing to watch the night before Easter.

Supertrain was a super disaster; as I understand it, almost bankrupting NBC.

Loved me some "Animals, Animals, Animals" hosted by Barney Miller.

"The Ark of Noah"... you mean, Noah's Ark?

I love the ecclectic mix you were served on just a handful of channels.  At 5:00 PM you could watch one of the greatest documentaries of all time, The Ascent of Man.... or Dance Fever.  Now, with hundreds of channels, it seems like the same old shit on every station.

Fawlty Towers then Mary Tyler Moore; life was good.

Before Jerry Springer, before Geraldo, before Morton Downey Jr., there was Donahue.

Master of Ceremonies Namath totally tagged at a minimum three cheerleaders; maybe all at once, I don't know - I wasn't there.

The Ropers is perhaps the ultimate textbook example of how not to spin-off.  Everything that made Three's Company great was completely missed in the spin-off: no jiggle TV, no slapstick, no charismatic characters,etc.  For me, the worst was that Helen and Stanley were made into fools - looked down upon by their elite neighbors.  Janet, Chrissy and Jack had their conflicts with their landlords, but they all loved the Ropers.  It was a great dynamic that's hard to put into words; while the dynamic of The Ropers settled into cliched boredom.  I understand that Norman Fell never wanted to spin-off, but was coaxed into it with false promises.

Charles Nelson Reilly on "Good Morning America" and Paul Lynde on "Hollywood Squares" - Wednesday morning was apparently the timeslot for snarky ascot-wearing divas.

I have to mention this: When I got this TV Guide back in '79, I was obsessed with this Real People advertisement.  For some reason, this looked so incredibly intriguing to my nine year-old brain, I couldn't freaking wait until Wednesday evening!  Thirty seven years ago, and I still remember this ad like it was yesterday.

Highcliffe Manor sounds like it had potential... with Audrey Landers no less.  I presume it was awful.

I've never seen Drive-In, but the artwork has me intrigued - possibly the work of Jack Davis?

Midnight Special was amazing: I'd love to own that show in its entirety on DVD.

And I'll leave you with a great pair of gams on the back cover.  Until next time!


  1. K PencheMay 28, 2016

    "Jack Davis" That's what I thought at first glance, that it has a Mad Magazine whiff to it. I remember the episode of "Quincy" listed! It's the one where he snarls and growls "there oughtta be a law!!"

  2. AnonymousMay 28, 2016

    "Romie-0 & Julie-8" was by Nelvana who also did the animated portion of the "Star Wars Holiday Special", "Cosmic Christmas", and a few other things. I think you had to be a Canadian of a certain age to truly appreciate them.

    I remember having to jump through a lot of hoops as a kid to be able to watch "Billion Dollar Threat". Lived in the boonies, no cable, had to beg to make a special trip to the Grandparents who had cable, and beg to stay up later and beg for the tv, just to watch it. Worth it though.

    I always mash up "Supertrain" (which I honestly do not remember" with "Time Train" thinking that Vincent Price was the conductor for some reason.

    Not that I know but the "Drive In" art looks more like someone trying to imitate Mr. Davis' style, not that I know. Thanks for these, Leslie.

    1. There was no way I was watching "Rome-0 & Julie-8". I watched baseball instead. In my area "This Week in Baseball" preceded it. In the pre-ESPN, pre-streaming days TWIB was the only way to see other teams not on the Game Of The Week. Supertrain had the Grandpa (who was the one who took in Long Duk Dong) from Sixteen Candles, whose name was Edward Andrews.

  3. Looking at these ancient scrolls,I find it hard to believe I was 6 weeks away from graduating high school... I didnt watch a lot of tv that year, looks like I wasn't missing out on much!

  4. Too bad the TV Guide cover art work was covered by the address label. They do NOT do painted covers like these anymore. Richard Amsel was one of the best, although I'm not sure that art was his.

  5. How times have changed. That Phillies-Mets baseball games was IT for the week if you wanted to watch MLB! Now, I get a dozen games a night with MLB.TV. Also, this was the era before infomercials. Some of the affiliates around here have 3-4 hours straight of infomercials on Saturdays. No old movies or reruns of "Wild, Wild West" to be had.

  6. One more thing missing from THE ROPERS: the fantastic "Fell Takes" where Norman would break the fourth wall and grin at us after insulting Mrs. Roper (or Jack). It was one of the most-loved bits from THREE'S COMPANY, and when I sampled six ROPERS episodes a while back, was nowhere to be found.

    You are correct that Fell didn't want to do it, so ABC had it contracted that if THE ROPERS died within twelve months, the characters would return to THREE'S COMPANY. THE ROPERS lasted one year and six weeks before cancellation, and Don Knotts was locked in as Furley for good, since one actor was a lot cheaper than two.

    A shame. Great respect for Don Knotts' talent, but the Ropers were a lot funnier than Mr. Furley.

    I've been plugging your TV Guide reviews on my blog (The Horn Section) as well; great job as usual!

  7. voiceofthe70sMay 29, 2016

    NBC's "Midnight Special" was OK and featured some great acts not otherwise seen on TV at the time, but the lesser remembered "In Concert" which premiered on ABC in November 1972, several months before "Midnight Special", was far superior. "Midnight Special" was a little too showbizzy, done in a studio with hosts like over-the-top Wolfman Jack and middle-of- the-road Helen Reddy, whereas "In Concert" featured actual concerts filmed live in concert venues like the old Bananfish Gardens (a/k/a 46th Street Rock Palace) in Brooklyn, the legendary Academy of Music (later the Palladium) in NYC, Hofstra University and other live venues. An interesting bit of trivia is that the first "In Concert" in 1972 featured Alice Cooper, and the station manager of the local affiliate in Cincinnati was so horrified by what he saw that he pulled the broadcast and replaced it with the first thing he could grab, which was an old black and white rerun of "Rawhide".

  8. I'd guess that cover is more Robert Peak than Richard Amsel - the clue is those airbrushed horizontal things coming out of the left side of Jack Krugman's head...very much Peak idiosyncrasies of the time.

    1. That's what I was thinking. It looks Bob peak-ish.😉

    2. This cover was by Bob Peak. You can see the full cover here: http://www.tvguidemagazine.com/archive/suboffer/1970s/1979/19790414_c1.jpg.html

      The Love Boat this week was a repeat of the season premiere. I saw it rerun on Me-TV sometime in the past year or so. I also distinctly remember REAL PEOPLE premiering this week, though I'm not sure if I saw the first episode. I don't remember it looking specifically for "eccentrics" either, as the ad states, but they were a big part of the show.

  9. The Drive-In poster looks a bit like Jack Davis, but many things about it don't look like his work.

  10. Paul DucaJune 01, 2016

    As THREE'S COMPANY was based on the British show MAN ABOUT THE HOUSE, they in fact followed the original--the landlords were given their own show, GEORGE & MILDRED, and the program morphed into ROBIN'S NEST, where like THREE'S A CROWD, the male of the trio went on with his new wife, running his own restaurant.

    And forget the artwork...DRIVE IN is a unpretentious, good humored charmer of a film, about folks in a small town whose paths cross at the local outdoor cinema, watching a disaster film parody almost as funny as the movie itself.

  11. Man, I loved Real People, despite Skip Stephenson (holy cow, he's dead. Had to look up the spelling of his last name. Died in 1992 at age 52). All the talk about the possible Jack Davis art makes me wonder who did the artwork on the Real People ad. The style looks familiar as well.

  12. You can find all the episodes of Supertrain on Usenet, on alt.binaries.classic.tv.shows if you are familiar with the newsgroups. The first episode was sort of a blend between a disaster movie and the Love Boat, and the rest were more like straight-up Love Boat episodes.

  13. It's hard to say which is harder to find in 2016: all night movies or pantyhose ads.