A Review of the 1974 TV Guide Fall Preview issue

TV Guide Fall Preview reviews Today is my birthday and I wanted to do something on my birthday for the blog.  I had this idea that I wanted to review something from the year I was born. I thought about it and remembered that I absolutely LOVE Shawn Robare’s 80s TV Guide Fall Preview reviews. It’s a great series and really fun to read. And he covers nearly all of the 80s Fall Preview issues. So, I thought it would be fun to review the TV Guide Fall Preview issue from the year I was born; 1974.

So, yes, I’m totally stealing this topic from Shawn.  But before you go running to Branded in the 80s and narc-ing on me, I showed up at the Branded offices “Godfather-style” and asked permission to use the idea.  Shawn granted me his permission, so we are all square and legal in that respect.   That and my next child will be a masculine child (Shawn deemed it so).

My plan is that this will be an ongoing feature.  I plan to look at a bunch of the 70s Fall Preview issues as well as some of the 90s.  However, this will be an irregular, ongoing feature as it takes time to scan the issues and I have the Oz books read through I’m in the middle of and I’m also gearing up for a Bionic Review feature that will review the Six Million Dollar Man franchise.   So, I’ll squeeze this in as I have time.

Anyway, today, on the day of my birth, I am going to take a look at the 1974 TV Guide Fall Preview issue.

1974 TV Guide Fall Preview issue cover Honestly, I have to say, right off the bat, that is one boring ass cover. WTF, TV Guide?! You couldn’t spruce this up with a ninja or robotic dinosaur? I get a dead tree. Thanks. Happy birthday to me.

So let’s move on from that horrible cover and take a look at the contents of this issue.  I’m going to group these scans into three sections.  First I’ll look at the Fall premier section and talk about all the new shows for the 1974-1975 season.  Next I’ll look at a few house ads for existing and new shows.  Lastly I’ll show you some of the more awesome vintage product advertising.  It should be fun, so let’s get this TV Guide party started.

You can click any of the below images to see them BIGGER.

New Fall TV Show Previews

Friends & Lovers/Nakia
First, on the left, we have the preview for Friends and Lovers starring Paul Sand as well as Penny Marshall. The show was actually ranked 25th but was pulled later in the year and replaced by The Jeffersons in January 1975. On the right we have the show Nakia starring Robert Forster as a Navajo deputy sheriff in New Mexico. It also would be cancelled before the end of the year.

The New Land Sonny Comedy Revue
TV Guide describes the show on the left, The New Land, as a “Swedish Waltons” as if that will lure viewers to watch the show in droves. It does star a very young Kurt Russell, an impossibly young Bonnie Bedelia and Todd Lookinland, the brother of Mike Lookinland (Bobby Brady).  On the right is The Sonny Comedy Revue, which is the evolution of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. Cher and Sonny separated and each started their own variety shows in 1974-1975. However, both of those shows would cease when they decided to start performing together again in late 1975 on the new Sonny & Cher Show.

Born Free/Rhoda
The TV show Born Free was based on a 1966 movie. It starred Gary Collins about a couple who live in Kenya raising a lioness and protecting the local animal population from danger. It was cancelled before the end of the year.
However, the show Rhoda, which was a spinoff of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, starred Valerie Harper as her character from the previous show who moved back to New York from Minneapolis. It would air for 5 seasons and beat it’s parent show in the ratings.

Petrocelli/Get Christie Love!
On the left, Petrocelli began life as a movie called The Lawyer starring Barry Newman. Newman would reprise his role as a Harvard educated, enthusiastic lawyer who moves out of the hustle and bustle of the city to the American Southwest. The show would last for 2 seasons.
Like Petrocelli, Get Christie Love! began as a film, only not a feature but a made-for-TV film. It starred Teresa Graves who was one of the regular performers on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. The TV movie became very popular and spawned this TV show. Unfortunately, budget concerns and rewrites due to Graves becoming Jehovah’s Witness and refusing to do anything too racy would kill the show after 21 episodes.

Little House 1 Little House 2
On the left is the preview page for Little House on the Prairie. Little House would become an extremely popular show and run for 9 seasons. Little House would run on Monday nights for it’s first two seasons then move to Friday nights for the last seven seasons. It starred Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert. It’s strange seeing this early picture of the cast as I am currently watching Melissa Gilbert on Dancing with the Stars and she’s like a cougar now. Weird. Anyway, on the right is one of TV Guide’s house ads for the premier of Little House on NBC.

That's My Mama/Sons and Daughters
On the left is the preview for That’s My Mama starring Clifton Davis (Amen) and Ted Lange (The Love Boat). Theresa Merritt starred as “Mama” but you may remember her better as Adam Sandler’s maid in Billy Madison or Aunt Em in the musical The Wiz. Check out a TV Guide house ad for this show.
Sons & Daughters was a coming of age tale set in the 1950s, but unfortunately it ran directly against Little House on the Prairie and was crushed in the ratings. It subsequently only lasted 9 episodes.

The Manhunter/Lucas Tanner Paper Moon
The Manhunter was a crime drama about a 1930s private investigator. The show starred Ken Howard who would go on to star in the popular show The White Shadow. David Hartman starred in Lucas Tanner as a former ball player/sports writer who becomes an English teacher in Missouri. He is often at odds with the other faculty due to his unorthodox teaching style. The show would also feature a recurring role by a young Robbie Rist who you may know better as Cousin Oliver from the Brady Bunch or the keyboardist from Kidd Video. Paper Moon is another TV show based on a feature film. The film made Tatum O’Neal a star and also starred her father, Ryan O’Neal. The TV series starred a very young Jodi Foster in the O’Neal role. It would only last 13 episodes.

Movin' On Harry O
Movin’ On stars Claude Akins and Frank Converse and was a direct response to the CB radio craze sweeping the nation in the 70s. Two truck drivers traveling from town to town and meeting different characters along the way. It would last for 2 seasons.
Harry O stars David Jansson (The Fugitive TV series) as a cop who is forced to retire but opens up his own private detective practice.

Sierra Police Woman
The show Sierra was partially inspired by the success of Emergency!. It featured the efforts of park rangers in upholding federal law and effecting wilderness rescues.
Police Woman starred film vixen Angie Dickinson as undercover cop Pepper. The show was spun off from the popular police drama Police Story and last for 4 seasons.

Rockford Files/Chico and the Man
As you can see, detective shows were big in the mid-70s. The Rockford Files starred the awesome James Garner as Jim Rockford, a former convict (wrongly convicted, of course), who now works as a private detective to pay the bills. Essentially, this was conceived for Garner as sort of a “Maverick as a modern detective”. The show would run for 6 seasons and include a bunch of TV movies. It’s weird, CT and I were just talking about this show as he’s watching it on DVD right now.
Chico and the Man was a very 70s show. It starred Jack Albertson and Freddie Prinze, Sr (Yes, the father of thespian Freddie Prinze, Jr). It was the first major TV series to be set in a Mexican-American neighborhood. It ran for 4 seasons. After the third season, however, Freddie Prinze would commit suicide and the show would not be able to recover.

Planet of the Apes The Texas Wheelers
The Planet of the Apes TV series would star Roddy McDowell (who also starred in the movies). However, the show directly competed with Sanford and Son and Chico and the Man and therefore never received good ratings. Only 14 episodes were created.
The Texas Wheelers is action packed with a star studded cast. Among the cast were Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Gary Busey (craziness personified), Jack Elam (Cannonball Run) and Lisa Eilbacher (Beverly Hills Cop).

Night Stalker/Kodiak Night Stalker house ad
The debut of one of the shows that influenced The X-Files, The Night Stalker starring Darrin McGavin (The dad from A Christmas Story). It featured newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak as he investigates strange cases often with supernatural or unexplained causes (werewolves, zombies, witches, etc). It would only last about a season, but there would be a reboot of the concept in 2005 starring Stuart Townsend. The show remains very popular today and has influenced many of the supernatural television shows of today. Kodiak was a half hour adventure show following an Alaska state trooper named “Kodiak” McCay and his Eskimo sidekick, Abraham Lincoln Imhook. It only lasted 4 episodes but 3 of those episodes had some form of the word “death” in the title.

TV Guide House Ads

I showcased a few of the house ads up top with Little House on the Prairie and The Night Stalker. Let’s look at a few others.

Born Innocent
Ahh, a Linda Blair made-for-TV movie.  And it’s a “girls in jail” movie called Born Innocent. Yes, this is definitely the 70s.  Actually, this apparently was a pretty big deal at the time. It became the highest rated TV movie of 1974 and featured graphic scenes not shown on television before this. Most particularly, the movie had an all female rape scene in the showers where Blair’s character is violated with a broomstick. So yeah, this film was very controversial and created such an outcry that for many years afterward the rape scene was edited out of the movie.

Hurricane Savages
Television movies were obviously big business in the 70s. We talked about Born Innocent above, now we have two more.  Hurricane was about a couple on vacation when a deadly hurricane strikes. It starred Larry Hagman (Dallas) and Jessica Walters (Arrested Development). Savages starred Andy Griffith as a successful LA lawyer/hunter who hires a local gas station attendant to be his guide during a hunt in the Mojave Desert. When Griffith accidentally shoots a prospector, Griffith decides he must also kill his guide to eliminate all witnesses and preserve his reputation. Sounds a bit hardcore for Griffith, but I like it.

SMDM promo
Here’s a house ad promoting ABC’s primetime lineup anchored by one of my favorites, The Six Million Dollar Man (reviews coming soon!). Steve Austin is bookended by two of the new shows we saw above; The Texas Wheelers and Kodiak.  What they don’t show you in this ad is that after The Texas Wheelers was Kolchak The Night Stalker.

Star Trek promo Happy Days promo
Here are a couple of house ads for popular TV shows. On the left we have an afternoon block of programming featuring Gilligan’s Island and the original Star Trek. On the right is an ad for the upcoming new (second) season of Happy Days.

Saturday cartoon ads
Ad for Saturday morning shows on NBC.  You can see Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and a show called Emergency +4.  It was a cartoon spin off of the live action TV show Emergency!.  I didn’t even know this existed.  Here’s the intro to the cartoon.

Vintage TV Guide Product Ads

Now lets take a look at some of the vintage ads for 70s products.  I like the vintage Glad packaging as well as the Bacardi/Coke ad.  You don’t see a lot of soda/liquor ads anymore.  Burger King is introducing onion rings and you can mail away for eight 8-track tapes for 99 cents.

Also check out the mail away Lincoln-Kennedy penny.  You can buy a penny for a $1 + shipping.  All they did was graft a Kennedy head onto the penny.  So they’ve defaced US currency and are selling it to you for 100 times it’s face value.  AMAZING.

Click any of the images below to see them BIGGER.

Glad sandwich bagsWet Ones wipesBacardi and CokeFuture floor waxGerber baby foodBK onion ringsWhirlpool freezersChef's SurpriseRCA music clubBetty Crocker recipe cardsLincoln Penny

If you want to see more images, there are some I didn’t use in my TV Guide Fall Preview issue photo set on Flickr.


9 Responses to “A Review of the 1974 TV Guide Fall Preview issue”

  1. smurfwreck Says:

    I just started watching Sigmund and the Sea Monsters on Netflix streaming. Sid & Marty Kroft must have been high all the time.

    It’s weird seeing Mark Hamill popping up in TV shows like this (and 8 is Enough). I love looking back through these older Fall Preview guides to see who was hitting the circuit during pilot season…

  2. Me too. Seeing all of these young faces is just mind blowing.

  3. There didn’t NEED to be a splashy cover. It had been three months of dry repeats of shows that were crappy the first time around.

    The fall season was an EVENT. They used to do a show on Friday to introduce all the new cartoons that were gonna be on Saturday. It was a BFD.

    I remember reading that “Bewitched” called it quits when it fell to a 21 share. These days =nothing= gets a 21 share.

    • Because it was an EVENT, they should have used a splashy cover. A dead tree is not something you use to advertise an EVENT.

      Just sayin’.

      • Hey, you might think so, but where else were ya gonna go for you TV info? It’s kind of like the networks themselves: As cutthroat as it was, there were very defined and constrained avenues for competition. In some ways they didn’t have to try so, y’know, they didn’t.

        Fun fact: I went to school with Robbie Rist.

      • Haha, true. However, TV Guide would try on these covers a few years later. I’m just lamenting that they decided to “take the year off” on the year I was born.

      • It’s not a dead tree, it a tree in the fall which is very appropriate for a fall issue. Yes it is a bit spartan looking but it was the 70s.

  4. You know who wrote for the original Nightstalker? David Chase, creator of the Sopranos.

  5. I hope you can help me with this question. Im looking for the name of a live action tv show, with specially trained agents who would recover stolen or like in one of the episodes it was some sort of endangered species. The agents had this handler who sat in a special chair and monitored the agents on their mission. One of the agents was a legend who did not like having a leash around him.

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