Thursday, September 19, 2019

What was on TV September 18th through 24th, 1976 -- Fall Preview Edition

Hang onto your hats and get out your reading glasses. It's time for the Fall Preview issue of TV Guide.  This time from September of 1976.  I wasn't quite in my prime yet as  a TV watcher at this time, but soon would be.  I was still sharing Saturday mornings with my sister and prime time with my brothers. But soon, soon I would rule the TV roost.  In America, we were on the downside of the Bicentennial and headed straight for the Disco era. Let's take a look at what exciting offerings were made by the big 3 in 1976.

"Good Times continues without a father in the house -- James Amos has left the series."
Damn, damn, DAMN!

Sure the specials were cheesy, even painful, but man I miss them.

Ten years later, a show titled "Mr. T and Tina" would have been so much better.

It's interesting that Pat Morita played "Matsuo 'Arnold' Takahashi" on "Happy Days" and was then cast in the role of "Taro Takahashi" in "Mr. T and Tina".  Couldn't ABC come up with some other stereotypical Japanese name?  Given the timing of the debut of this show, I'm guess this is what Pat Morita left "Happy Days" for.  Maybe not the best career move. Oh well, at least he had Mr. Myagi to look forward to.

Sorry, "Delvecchio". It's "Taxi" for you.

I would have bet "Daryl Dragon" wasn't his real name either, but apparently it was.  As we all found out, love in fact did NOT keep them together. In fact, lack thereof was the driving reason for Toni's divorce from The Captain in 2014.

Armstrong: Putting everything in your home you'd be ripping out 20 years later.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that "Gemini Man" was NBC's knockoff answer to ABC's "Six Million Dollar Man".

It "never exceeded" 11 episodes.

This is probably my earliest memory of a Saturday morning lineup, although I do remember the first and second seasons of "Land of the Lost" from 1974 and 1975.  1976 would be its last season and despite the appearance of the father, Rick Marshall (played by Spencer Milligan) in the ad, he would not appear in the 3rd Season following a dispute over merchandising. He would be written out in the first episode as having fallen into a time doorway during an earthquake, leaving his children alone in "The Land of the Lost".  Fortunately for them, it just so happened their "Uncle Jack" (played by Ron Harper) went looking for them and stumbled into the same time doorway, arriving just in time to become their surrogate father.  Wow. Sorry, for the information overload.  I'm kind of a "Land of the Lost" nerd, as you can see.  

Other shows I recall from that year are:

"Monster Squad" which starred "Love Boat's" Fred Grandy and a trio of "monsters" (actually, wax figures that came to life. Much more believable.) who disavow their troubled past (they were wax figures, so not sure what their beef was) to become super hero crime fighters.

"Big John, Little John" starring a post-Oliver Robbie Rist as the child-version of a Middle-school science teacher who stumbles upon the Fountain of Youth while on vacation in Florida.  Hijinks ensue as he can't control his growth back and forth.

And finally, the other show that stands out in my memory, "The Kids from C.A.P.E.R.". A play on "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." it was about 4 teenagers acting as undercover agents for the local police department solving crimes, each using their own special gift such as a Super Sense of Smell, Super Strength, Bad Luck (not sure how that helped) and Super Intelligence all while driving around in a van they referred to as the "Big Bologna" which had once been blue, apparently.

"Lemme listen, sis! Lemme listen!"
"Trust me. You do NOT want to here this..."

Another plane disaster.

The return of "Bigfoot" on the Six Million Dollar man was a two-part episode with the finale shown on "The Bionic Woman" which ruined it for kids like me watching the syndicated versions separately. You either saw part one or part two, never both.

What the... Ted Cassidy as Bigfoot??? Lurch??? You mean to tell me Andre the Giant didn't reprise the role? I want my money back.  By the way, it's a little "on the nose" running a "kills lice" ad right below Bigfoot.

There sure were a lot of plane-themed disaster movies in the 70's.

I'm confused. Does "Catfish" Hunter use dog medicine on himself?

Kind of an odd ad to introduce The Muppets.

Wow. They introduced Pinky Tuscadero on "The Captain & Tennille" show prior to her appearance on Happy Days? ABC must have had really high hopes for her. How wrong they were.

"Rhoda" would be followed by "Valerie" in the 1980's. Sadly, Valerie Harper passed away just a couple weeks ago.

More airline terror.

1976 must have been the year of the "woman's name" TV show for CBS.  "Rhoda", "Phyllis", "Maude", "Alice".  Am I forgetting any?

Somebody clipped the army recruitment form. The lure of bicycling through Europe must have been too much.

There's Pinky again.  She and Henry Winkler famously did not get along, resulting in her not becoming a recurring character.

"Tonight's Special Guest: Sonny Bono".  "Special" might be stretching things.

Why did "Bionic Woman" get a full page ad for her conclusion to "Bigfoot" when "Six Million Dollar Man" only got a 1/2 sheet? I'm claiming bionic gender bias!

Freddie Prinze would kill himself barely 4 months later.

At least they weren't Eye-stopping, Crime-popping.

I think this was the beginning of the "very special episodes" of "All in the Family".

Despite starring Kurt Russel in tanned buffalo hide, "The Quest" only survived 11 episodes due to pitting it against "Charlie's Angels".

I never got into Space:1999.

Will newsman John-Boy cover up for brother Ben? Not that rat.  Good night, Ben...IN JAIL!

I reiterate: I miss TV specials.

More plane disasters

I knew Al Pacino. Al Pacino was a friend of mine. Mr. Birney, you are no Al Pacino.

I totally drew that pirate when I was a kid.  I never sent it in, though. A no-prize for the best drawing of "Lumberjack", "Pirate" or "Tippy" in the comments.


Thanks to Top_Cat_James comment below, I revisited the opposite page.  Despite this full page ad, David Brenner's "Snip" never appeared on American television.  According to Variety magazine, it was "one of the most infamous last-minute yanks." No official reason was given, but David Brenner state it was because "the network feared reaction to the gay character."  As topcat observed, Billy Crystal would be the first major gay character on a TV series in "Soap".

Heck, even if you're not expecting, do you want your joy spoiled by hemorrhoids?

Ah, the Vivitar.  It was the workhouse camera in our household.  My mom had one and we used it for years. I still remember that it takes 120 film.

And that wraps up this week in TV history and the great Fall Preview of 1976.  I now return you to the reality of 2019...


  1. Wow that was quite the year of TV specials and bad home make overs. Loving the bionic man/woman - I always watched that.

    1. For some reason, I rarely got to watch 6M Man or Bionic Woman. There must have been something else on that my parents or siblings watched at that time.

  2. That David Brenner sitcom, Snip, never even made it to air, as it was yanked shortly before its premiere, supposedly because one of the lead characters (not Brenner) was gay (This was one year before Billy Crystal in Soap broke the taboo).

    Kind of strange seeing Lorenzo Music front and center in a series when he would be later best known for being unseen (Voices of Carlton, Your Doorman and Garfield, among many others).

    Totally remember watching that season premiere of Sanford and Son set in Hawaii. Thought that the use of background music during the episode (particularly the Mission: Impossible theme), was kind of off-putting and strange. Still seems that way.

    I watched that NBC Saturday A.M. lineup - Well, the Pink Panther and the heavily-edited Walter Lantz cartoons. The over-reliance on live-action programs would seem to be a harbinger of their '90s non-animation schedule.

    1. Make that the Hawaii Five-0 theme. Duhhh...

    2. I remember that episode as well, but it may have been in syndication. I thought it was an odd episode as well.

    3. Wow, I totally missed that "Snip" never aired! That demands an edit!

  3. so many things to comment about this time!

    1) the 70s had a lot of disaster movies in general, but i think airplane ones ruled supreme because we were all suddenly afraid of hijackings and such.

    2) wow, i don't remember it, but that "Holmes & Yoyo" show sounds PAINFUL.

    3) "Putting everything in your home you'd be ripping out 20 years later." -- that's comedy GOLD, son. although, i gotta say, that living room with the blue shag is looking pretty swankadelic to me.

    4) old cigarette and booze print ads blow my mind. unimaginable now.

    5) don't you think "Murder on flight 502" was probably just a half-assed attempt to update "Murder on the Orient Express" somehow?

    6) Bigfoot + the Six Million Dollar Man + the Bionic Woman = peak 70s crossover TV

    7) The Muppets aimed at adults because they knew if they could get the adults to tune in as well, the kids were EASY.

    8) does the Mary Tyler Moore show count for your list of woman's name TV shows?

    9) that episode of MASH was a good one. one of the "less laughs, more quality character building" episodes, especially between Hawkeye and Houlihan.

    10) the "very special episodes" of All In The Family were pretty amazing TV. remember when Edith was assaulted? or after she dies [spoilers?], and Archie is such a mess. sure, by then they had the "cousin oliver" equivalent character, but Carrol O'Connor was just doing amazing work.

    11) Space 1999 was AWESOME. i'm not quite sure what they mean by "Maya, the amazing wonder-woman of Sci-Fi" though

    12) MIRACLE WHIP POPS?? WTF NOOOOOOOOO (i dare you to make them....)

    1. 5) It could be. I'm just wondering where the murder could have occurred where it wouldn't have been witnessed by the rest of the passengers. The bathroom??
      6) It does pretty much sum up the '70's.
      8) Another friend asked the same question. I had to say no. I'm going for one name only here and officially, it was known as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". One I didn't mention that has an obvious connection, but wasn't on air until about 10 years later is "Valerie".
      9) and 10) Maybe I was (still am) just a simpleton, but I never liked when comedies suddenly turned serious. My first memory of that was the death of "Henry Blake" on "M*A*S*H".
      11) Trying to piggy back off of the new "Wonder Woman" TV show?
      12) There are still places I dare not go.

    2. well, All In The Family was never intended to be simply a comedy show -- it was intended to push buttons and challenge people. Same with MASH, really. the comedy made the message go down easier. and that episode with the death of Henry Blake is STILL considered one of the best episodes of television ever, and for good reason, i say.

      you know you want to try one of those Miracle Whip pops...

    3. I get that. But as a 6- or 7-year-old kid, what did I know?

  4. I want to climb into this and just live that week for a week.

    Some of these I remember well and love seeing them as "new series" here. Some I have never heard of. Fun trip.

  5. Wow, I found a gold mine with this blog! I just made an account so I could follow this blog. I love everything about it, especially the old TV Guides. And I'm from the St. Louis area, so that makes this even better! I recently bought several of the 1970s-1980s TV Guide Fall Preview issues online, although they were from the New York edition. The 1970s was my favorite decade, since I grew up during that time. Reading what was on in our area back then on Channel 11 and 30 really brings back some great memories! Thanks so much for this wonderful blog!! I think I'm gonna like it here.

    1. Welcome aboard, Michael. There are lots of back issues of TV Guide to read here. I grew up in the St. Louis area as well, so they are like time capsules to me too. Channel 11 and 30 provided many Saturday and Sunday afternoons of entertainment. Stick around, things get really busy in October as I partake in the Countdown to Halloween.


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