Friday, December 20, 2019

What was on TV December 6 through 12th, 1980

After a long hiatus of TV Guide (not to mention regular) posts, I'm back with a look into television 1980-style.  The Guide had yet to make the leap to the square-bound, cable-thick version.  Sorry, it's still only 3 networks for you. Choose your television viewing wisely.

The crew's body parts explode into space as Santa breaks the protective vacuum of the Levi Ship.

While this article mentions Atari and Nolan Busnell and despite being published 3 years after the release of the Atari 2600, it focuses on arcade video games, completely missing the writing on the wall.

My dad always received a bottle of booze for Christmas. I think those days have passed.

Looks like the kids have discovered late-night cable.

"Uncle Floyd's" show didn't last 40 years, but it came close to 25.

My kids never tried to make a steak on a toaster, but they did try to make a full grilled cheese sandwich in one.  It did not end well.

Geraldo Rivera would go from no respect to the butt of jokes after hosting "The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault" six years later.

As much as I enjoy the convenience, selection and prices of online shopping, I miss the days of Christmas shopping at stores like Kmart.  There was something to browsing the aisles that's more enjoyable than scrolling through Amazon.

You could play "Mary had a Little Lamb" on that keyboard, as long as you stayed in the same octave.

The last hurrah of the fur industry.  I recall my sister receiving a rabbit fur coat for Christmas some time around this.

I wonder what Chris Moser and Linda Mauck though of "Jackass".

1980 was an odd year for Saturday morning television.  It still had the cornerstones of Superfriends and Looney Tunes, but introduced "Scrappy Doo", "Fonz and the Happy Days Gang", "Richie Rich" and "Plastic Man and Baby Plas".  There were a couple highlights (for me) of "Thundarr the Barbarian" and "Drawing Power".

I really wish I could find "I'm Soooo Ugly!" on Youtube. Sounds like a classic Afterschool Special.

The one memory I have of the above episode of WKRP is Gary Sandy slicking his hair back and dressing like Herb while taking his job.  I'm not sure why it required that except for comedic effect, of course.

"Freebie and the Bean" was a 1974 film.  How it became a 1980 TV series is beyond me. Way to stay topical, CBS. It only lasted 9 episodes.

NBC President Brandon Tartikoff: "This Boomer show is tanking.  What can we do?"
NBC Marketing: "Ehhh, make him talk?"
Tartikoff: "Dynamite!  Go with it!"

Tartikoff: "And give him a guest appearance on CHiPs!"

Despite my love for Snoopy and the whole Peanuts gang, when they appeared in costume like this, it was kind of creepy.

As a kid, the leap Lou Grant took from curmudgeonly and cantankerous boss on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" to serious, hard-hitting newsman on "Lou Grant" was offputting.

Based on the line-up, I'm going with "Country".  Hoyt Axton fought dirty.

And why was it a Christmas without Snow?  Because John Houseman wouldn't allow it.  Don't believe me?  Watch it for yourself.

Both the 70's and 80's had those oddly-named dramas.

Lots of  Jack Davis in this issue.  I'll admit, I almost said "Mort Drucker". I never realized how similar their art is.  "Number 96" must refer to it's rank in Nielsen's, because it didn't last long.

ABC President Anthony Thomopoulos: "Mork and Mindy's losing its market share. What can we do?"
ABC Marketing: "Give them a baby?"
Thomopoulos: "Nah, it's not doing that bad.  How about a chimp?"
Marketing: "Genius!"
Thomopoulos: "But keep that baby thing in mind..."

Magnum, P.I.? Pfffft.  That'll never last.

"Marie! Like you've never seen her before!"  You mean without her brother Donnie?

It would be 4 years before my family bought a microwave.  But when we did, I skipped last hour of high school to come home and make bacon in it.  True story.

A pre-Karate Kid Ralph Macchio. In 1980 he would play Chooch Bambalazi in the Mad Magazine produced Animal House ripoff "Up the Academy". Hey, I don't make this stuff up.

Just in time for Christmas, elves will set your house on fire.  Meanwhile, Wheel-barrow elf''s eyes are going to put him on the naughty list.

Remember, you can't spell "Die from Heart Attack" without Dietac.

Air popcorn makers seemed like a godsend to me. I could make it in my room whenever I wanted.  I was in for a big disappointment.  Even butter didn't help it. I have heard people use them to roast coffee beans now.

It would take another 31 years before the FCC passed a law regulating the volume of commercials which now have to be the average of the show they accompany. 

Robert MacKenzie muses "there are no studies, as far as I know, to discover if television children grow up to be boring."  I can answer that: No, because I'm fascinating.  But this article is actually about the PBS series "3-2-1 Contact" which I'd forgotten about until now.  I instantly remembered it's catchy jingle and for some reason that frog that blinks its bulgy eye after catching an inchworm during the opening. 

And that brings us to the end of another week in TV Guide.  Stay tune, there's more to come.


  1. Love it. I know looking back, you sometimes forget the bad and remember the good. But I would love to spend a carefree weekend just flicking through the old channels watching this stuff.

    And I agree, I miss actually shopping. In fact, I try to still do it when I can. I browsed my local Sears a couple of weeks ago, for the nostalgia and, sadly, for the last Christmas it will be open. Time marches on.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours, Tom! Thanks for all the great posts.

    1. Our Sears has been closed for a few years now. I take my kids to the Family Dollar store for Christmas shopping for a pseudo dime store feel, but it's not the same. Glad you enjoyed the post, Joe, and Happy Holidays to you!

  2. Snoopy's Musical on Ice. Doesn't that mean its postponed? Hyuk-yuk-yuk.

    This weeks episode of SNL is noteworthy for two reasons: The debut of the "Fish Heads" music video ("Fish heads, fish heads. Roly-poly fish heads...") directed by Bill Paxton(!), and the first speaking appearance of Eddie Murphy ( He debuted the week before as an extra in a sketch). He's making a return appearance as host tonight (Dec. 21st)- How's that for tying together?

    1. >Snoopy's Musical on Ice. Doesn't that mean its postponed? Hyuk-yuk-yuk.
      Good one.

      >The debut of the "Fish Heads" music video
      Ah yes, the Billy Mumy song. I didn't know Bill Paxton directed!

      >the first speaking appearance of Eddie Murphy
      I still wasn't allowed to watch SNL at this point. My mom thought it was way too suggestive. I wouldn't see it until the Billy Crystal/Martin Short years.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...