Monday, September 15, 2014

What was on TV September 9th through 15th, 1978

Welcome to this week in television.  Hold on to your hats, this time it's the big Fall Preview issue from 1977.  Back when the Big 3, and the Only 3, premiered all of their new and returning shows in one crazy week, one of the highlights of the year when I was a kid.

That is a lot of words to advertise a color TV.

A young David Letterman enjoys his franks 'n' mac 'n' cheese.

Kevin Nealon knows why he smokes.

 "The Fantastic Four...consists of the super-stretchable Mr. Fantastic; his wife, who can become invisible;  a smart robot,  and a many-splendored Thing.  And with that description, fanboys everywhere were crushed yet again by the failed attempt to translate Marvel characters into the small screen.  The "smart" roboto was H.E.R.B.I.E. (Humanoid Experimental Robot, B-type, Integrated Electronics) and was a replacement for the Human Torch, the correct fourth member of the team.  The Human Torch was optioned out for another movie (which never materialized, of course) so Depatie-Freleng were unable to use the character for the cartoon.

1978 technology at its Zenith -- or GE at least. A whopping 75 inch screen in a beautiful faux wood mount. Finally, a tv that delivers "realistic flesh tones, blue skies, green grass". Note that it had the option of the GE "Command Performance" VHS video cassette recorder. How much do you think this cost in 1978 dollars? I couldn't find that answer anywhere, but I'm guessing it was a lot. Reading the patent for this, it looks to be an early version of a projection tv, but still used a crt and shot the image through a lens to increase the image with "no noticeable change in resolution."

I can name two of the Globetrotters Snow White probably met: Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal. Of course, I can only name two Globetrotters period.

And now, the new programs for the 1978 Fall Season.  Will they make it??

No. No.



No.  But it did introduce David Letterman and Michael Keaton.  And Swoosie Kurtz!

No. No.

The biggest highlight of the new season was always the new Saturday morning line up.  Would Superfriends be pitted against Bugs Bunny & Friends?  What new shows would I watch?  Oh, the decisions.

How were Tarzan and the Super Seven not sued by Marvel and/or DC into oblivion? Web Woman? Moray and Manta? Micro Woman and Superstretch? Subtle.

Disco finally made it to "American Bandstand." The horror, the horror.

Exactly how did "US Against the World" differ from Battle of the Network Stars?   The ad appears to be drawn by Mad artist Jack Davis, but it kind of looks more like a caricature artist at a carnival.  "You like go karts, girlie?  Sure you do."  And what's the deal? Jimmie Walker was robbed! Why isn't his caricature in the ad?

I think Dack Rambo used his senior picture in that ad for his new show.

Happy Days at the ranch? This was the famous Fonzie Rides the Bull episode which would have become the catch phrase for when something passes its prime if he hadn't jumped the shark the previous season.

"Wow! Thanks for the life-sized Porsche Dad!" "Sorry son, that's just a bit of forced perspective trickery.  It's really only nine inches by four inches. And you can't really 'drive' it.  You just push a button and it backs up in a turn.  Better luck next time."

Seeing Mork & Mindy in these old issues used to make me smile, now they depress me.

Stick to directing, Ron.  Oh, and GAH!  GIANT HEAD!!! (The one on the right, not Ron Howard's)

One of the best shows to come out of the 70's.

I can almost hear Danny Bonaduce screaming, "Mom!  Coney Dog!"

Taxi, yet another great show from out of the 70's.  Who's the guy in the back row between Tony Danza and Jeff Conaway.  Well, it says Randall Carver and he looks familiar, but I sure don't remember him on the show.

I remember a lot being made of "The Paper Chase", but I never watched an episode.  Too high brow for me.

If Jack Albertson was playing his Grandpa Joe character from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" would "Grandpa Goes to Washington" have been a bigger hit?

When Nike's were at their height of popularity, these were the shoes I wore.  Blue, fuzzy, suede ones. Was I teased about them?  Mercilessly.

"Flying High" was probably trying to capitalize on the "Charlie's Angels" sensation.

I have no idea what's going on in that ad for Dole bananas, and I probably don't want to know.

At first I thought this was an ad for "Charles in Charge".  I don't recall "Who's Watching the Kids", but I do remember Caren Kaye.  Grrowwlll!!!  I knew her from Jason Bateman's post "Silver Spoons" vehicle "It's Your Move" which was a pretty good show, but only lasted 18 episodes.

I don't remember "Sword of Justice", but someone please tell me the guy on the right eventually played a live-version Mario at some point in his career.

I don't, but my dad does.  Sometimes they're so bad he can't sit down.  Sorry, I love that line.

That's all for this week.  Tune in next time.


  1. Awesome! I am sure I looked though this issue at one point, even though this was before the time I would buy them myself. I used to love the Fall Preview, not just to see what was new but to see what changes were coming to favorite shows and what shows weren't coming back at all. Before the internet, I really had no clue what had been canceled or renewed until this issue hit the stands. Sometimes, it was shocking to find a favorite show or actor gone!

    1. I remember being in the dark about what shows were coming back too. And the mid-season and summertime replacement shows. They'd get you hooked and then usually never come back.

  2. i still have the “RRRROOOOLLING WRRRRRITERRRR Pentel Pen” commercials in my head.

    “Vivarin — it’s basically legal speed!”

    that Battlestar Galactica shot made me happy. ohh, the promise…

    conversely, the Mork & Mindy shot made me sad. : (

    oh how i hated Captain Caveman…

    the disco segments of American Bandstand were awesome, but the punk ones were even better.

    i remember that season premiere of Welcome Back, Kotter. (spoiler alert: the sweathogs didn’t break up!)

    ooh, and speaking of disco, the excellent Starsky & Hutch disco episode… second only to the CHiPs one in my mind.

    seeing that old ad for Barney Miller reminded me that Wojo was super hot. oof.

    surprised you didn’t mention SOAP. man, i miss that show. man, Mork & Mindy, SOAP, Barney Miller, WKRP, Taxi, BSG… so many good shows on back then, no wonder i watched a ton of TV growing up.

    1. Someone should do a blog post on the top 10 disco tv show episodes. Sounds like something right up Yeoman Lowbrow's alley over at

      I'm surprised I didn't mention Soap too! I meant to. Of course, my mom wouldn't let me watch it when it was new. Too adult. I caught it in syndication around 1983.


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