A Review of the 1973 TV Guide Fall Preview Issue
Welcome to the second installment of my TV Guide Fall Preview reviews. This is a feature that I sort of “borrowed” from my good friend Shawn Robare over at Branded in the 80s. He covered mostly the issues from the 1980s, I’ll start taking a look at issues from the 70s as well as the 90s.
I previously reviewed the 1974 Fall Preview issue for my birthday last year. I love looking back at these old Fall Preview issues to see the debut of popular shows when they were brand new as well as see well known actors in TV shows that have long since been swallowed up by time. These issues also provide great full page ads for some of the new shows as well as some great vintage ads for products that haven’t been seen in years.
So, let’s dive right into this installment with the Fall Preview issue from 1 year before the previous installment. This article is going to run long. There’s just so much information and ads to show you, so prepare for a ton of information to come your way. Starting now:
Here is the cover to the 1973 TV Guide Fall Preview issue.
There are several very popular shows that debuted this year.
Like last time, I’ll divide this article into three parts. In the first part I’ll look at all the new shows that are debuting in 1973. Following that I’ll look at full page ads for TV shows and movies and at the end I’ll show you some awesome vintage advertising from this issue. It should be lots of fun.
So, let’s begin by taking a look at all the brand new shows for the 1973 TV season (which, technically, began in Sep 1972).
The Bob Newhart Show (left) first debuted during the 1973 fall season. This is a great show and one of my favorites. The Bob Newhart Show would become immensely popular following The Mary Tyler Moore Show for its first three seasons. The show would eventually last 6 seasons and air its final episode on April Fool’s Day, 1978.
Another very popular show, The Waltons (right), would debut this season as well. Again, this show would become extremely popular and last for nine seasons before bowing out in 1981. I remember this show but never really liked it. I thought it was boring as balls.
The TV show M*A*S*H (left) was based on the 1970 Robert Altman movie. M*A*S*H would become a ratings phenomenon and go on 8 seasons before airing its final episode in Feb 1983. That final episode garnered the highest ratings of any single episode of a TV show then or since.
Yul Brenner was probably most closely associated with the role of the King of Siam from the stage and movie musical versions of The King and I than any other of his roles. He toured in the traveling stage production until just before his death. The non-musical television adaptation, Anna and the King (right), was an attempt to repeat that success. It didn’t work and the show was cancelled after 13 episodes.
The Men (left) was an umbrella title for three separate TV shows made by three different studios. It was a spinoff of the weekly NBC Mystery Movie. Each installment of the anthology series would rotate and air every third week. The first series in the rotation was called Assignment Vienna and starred Robert Conrad as Jake Webster, an American agent in Austria posing as a bar owner. He’s real job, though, was tracking down spies and criminals for the US government. The second series was called Jigsaw and featured a Police Detective that disliked proper police procedure and protocol but was effective in “piecing together” crimes like a puzzle. The final series was called The Delphi Bureau and starred Laurence Luckinbill (Sybok from Star Trek V). Luckinbill starred as an American agent with a photographic memory who works for an obscure anti-espionage department in the US government. That last one actually sounds like a show that would air today (See The Mentalist, White Collar, Suits, etc).
The NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie (right) began its life the previous season as just The NBC Mystery Movie. It’s where the TV show Columbo got its start. After its success, the group was moved to Sunday and The NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie was born with three more shows. Those shows were Banacek, starring Hannibal Smith himself (George Peppard) as a Polish-American insurance investigator (?) in Boston. Cool Million featured a security/retrieval expert whose fee was $1 million per job. Madigan, the third show, featured Richard Widmark reprising his role from a 1968 movie he had made about an NYPD detective. This particular incarnation of the NBC Mystery Movie would only last a season. Both Madigan and Cool Million would be canceled by the end of the season to be replaced by three more detective shows.
Ghost Story was an anthology series akin to Night Gallery or Alfred Hitchcock Presents. It dealt exclusively with stories involving ghosts, vampires, witches and the supernatural. It was hosted by Sebastian Cabot. The show predates and has nothing to do with the 1979 Peter Straub novel or 1981 movie of the same name. After 13 episodes this series was renamed Circle of Fear and changed focus away from the supernatural. It lasted only nine more episodes. You can find the entire Ghost Story TV Collection on DVD.
Bridget Loves Bernie was a comedy about an Irish Catholic schoolteacher (Meredith Baxter) and a Jewish cab driver (David Birney). Sandwiched in the time slot between All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show it was #5 in the ratings for the year. However, the network canceled the show after 1 season due to all of the hate mail they received about the inter-religious marriage. To this day, Bridget Loves Birney is the highest rated show to ever be canceled after just one season. Baxter and Birney would marry in real life after the show went off the air.
Banyon (left) was a period detective drama starring Robert Forster as private eye Miles Banyon. Taking place in the ’30s, Banyon would accept any case for $20/day. His office was next to a secretarial school and he had a deal with the school’s mistress that he would get a new “secretary in training” each week. The show would only last a season.
Unfortunately, The Little People (right) has nothing at all to do with Darby O’Gill. It does however have to do with Brian Keith as a pediatrician in Hawaii. He is joined by his daughter, played by Shelly Fabares, and native Hawaiian nurse Puni played by Keith’s real life wife, Victoria Young. The show had ratings problems and would change its name to The Brian Keith Show in its second and final season.
The Streets of San Francisco (far left) was about two homicide detectives on the SFPD. The steely veteran detective was played by Karl Malden and the upstart was played by an impossibly young Michael Douglas. The show became very popular and would last for five seasons.
Kung Fu (middle) starred David Carradine in the role that made him famous. The show would last for 3 seasons and spinoff one TV movie sequel and two separate TV show spinoff series. Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon, would make his acting debut in the TV movie as Carradine’s previously unknown son, Chung Wang.
Search (right) was a science fiction show by the producers of Star Trek and The Outer Limits. The show centered on a high tech private investigations firm called World Securities Corporation. WSC would send out operatives on investigations. These operatives would carry high tech gadgets like miniature “scanners” which are small video camera/telemetry units that can be attached to jewelry like a ring or cuff links. The show only lasted about 13 episodes. The hardware featured in the show was so far ahead of the time that viewers had a hard time relating to it.
Hec Ramsey (left) was an interesting show. It was a western, but it was set in the latter days of the Old West. The character of Hec was played by Richard Boone is probably most well known for playing Paladin in Have Gun Will Travel. Hec was a former gunfighter and law man who had hung up his guns and accepted a job as a deputy police chief. Hec had become interested in the then-emerging science of forensics and uses early forensic tools to solve crimes. The show would air under the umbrella series The NBC Mystery Movie on Sunday nights. It was sort of a proto-CSI, but set in the Old West. How awesome is that? Despite good ratings, however, Hec Ramsey was cancelled after 2 seasons due to contract disputes between Boone and the production company.
The Rookies (right) was created by uber-producer Aaron Spelling as a followup to his successful Mod Squad. It started as a movie of the week that was turned into a pilot. The show followed a group of rookies as they adjusted to being police officers. The show also showcased the off duty lives of the rookies. This more realistic interpretation of police work was becoming more popular during this time. The Rookies was popular enough to run for 4 seasons.
The New Bill Cosby Show (left) was a mostly variety type show which featured guest stars performing in comedy skits. The show was a way to capitalize on Cosby whose popularity was at an all time high. Unfortunately, the show competed against Monday Night Football and was subsequently canceled after 1 season. I’m sure Bill was thrilled that TV Guide put the Midol ad on the same page as his show.
Maude (right) was a spin-off of All in the Family. The title character was played by the great Bea Arthur. Bea originally played the character of Maude on that show as the character was Edith Bunker’s outspoken politically liberal cousin. Within the show, Maude’s maid was Florida Evans as played by Esther Rolle. The character would become so popular that she would spin-off into her own series. That series was Good Times. Maude would become extremely popular finishing in the top 10 in ratings for the first 4 seasons (#4 twice). Suddenly, in season 5, the ratings plummeted and the show dropped out of the top 30. The show was reworked for the 6th season but Bea decided to stop playing the character and the show was canceled.
The Julie Andrews Hour (left) was just that, an hour variety show that similar to several other variety shows of the time. The show would only last a season after the network kept shifting the time slot and it was eventually clobbered in the ratings when it went up against The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show.
The Paul Lynde Show (right) was a sitcom starring the very popular comedian Paul Lynde. Back in October, the Nerd Lunch podcast actually talked about Paul Lynde’s infamous Halloween Special which would air 2-3 years after this show. The show was perceived as a copy of All in the Family and did poorly in the ratings as a result. It would only last one season.
And it’s amazing how everything on TV featured the name of the main actor in the show. Mary Tyler Moore Show, Paul Lynde Show, Bob Newhart Show, Julie Andrews Hour, etc, etc. I’m surprised Maude wasn’t named The Bea Arthur Show.
For some reason, this particular issue that I have doesn’t include an entry for The Six Million Dollar Man which started as a regular series mid-season in Jan 1973. I know it was included in some TV Guide issues. Maybe this is just a quirk of the particular region of my issue. I don’t know. I did find a photo of the page (above), but it’s not super clear as someone literally just took a photo of the page.
So those were the new shows airing for the 1973 season. Let’s take a look at some of the page ads for TV shows that show up throughout the issue.
On the left is a full page ad for the premier of Movie of the Week The Daughters of Joshua Cabe starring Buddy Ebsen, Lesley Ann-Warren and Sandra Dee. This was produced, again, by uber-producer Aaron Spelling. Buddy Ebsen played the titular Cabe, a rancher who, in the wake of a new homesteading law, is about to lose his land and hires three ladies with varying criminal skills (prostitute, pickpocket and thief) to pretend to be his daughters. The movie was popular enough to receive two sequels, The Daughters of Joshua Cabe Return in 1975 and The New Daughters of Joshua Cabe in 1976. On the right are house ads for the series premier of The Waltons as well as the 5th season premier of The Mod Squad.
Here’s a two page half ad for the Friday evening lineup of ABC. At 8pm is The Brady Bunch which was just starting it’s fourth season. However, this particular ad states that this will be a preview special where the Brady kids are previewing and introducing ABC’s Saturday morning children’s shows. I actually found the first few minutes of that preview special on YouTube. At 8:30 is the third season premier of The Partridge Family, at 9:00 was the third season premier of Room 222, 9:30 featured the third season premier of The Odd Couple and 10:00 was the Garry Marshall anthology series, Love American Style. Earlier in 1972, Love American Style aired an episode titled Love and Happy Days starring Ron Howard, Anson Williams and Marion Ross. It was a failed TV pilot Marshall bought. It proved popular enough, and with the 50s nostalgia kicking in after a successful premier of Grease on Broadway, that the episode was reworked into the TV show Happy Days. You can also see in the upper right an ad for the season two premier of CBS’ The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.
On the left is an ad showcasing a collection of ABC’s Saturday morning cartoon shows starring popular musical groups. It shows cartoons for Jackson 5ive, The Osmonds and The Brady Kids. It’s interesting that the ad calls it The Osmond Brothers because the cartoon was actually called just The Osmonds. On the right is a full page ad for a Liza Minelli television concert presented by Singer. It was produced by legendary director/choreographer Bob Fosse.
On the left is a special news investigation into drugs and addition. It was hosted by David Frost, the guy that went on to famously interview Nixon. On the right is a full page ad for the TV movie The Longest Night starring David Janssen (Dr Kimble from The Fugitive TV series), Sallie Shockley and Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman from The Six Million Dollar Man).
On the left is what I assume to be an ad for daily re-runs of the TV western Bonanza which was in its final season in 1972. It’s odd that the ad doesn’t even mention the name of the show, but again, it had been running since 1959, so everyone probably already knew what this was an ad for. In 1972, new episodes of Bonanza were airing on Tuesday nights opposite the Bea Arthur show Maude. On the right is an ad for the fifth season premier of Here’s Lucy guest starring Lloyd Bridges.
The ad on the left shows 3 different shows. I talked about brand new TV show The Rookies up above. It looks like this also advertises the Network Television Premier of the original The Odd Couple starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Absolutely one of my favorite movies. I literally just watched it the other night. On the bottom of the ad is The New Price is Right hosted by Dennis James. Most of you may be shaking your head wondering what the hell is THAT? Well, for those that don’t know, The Price is Right debuted in 1972. From 1972 to 1980 there was a weekly syndicated nighttime edition of the show that coincided with the daytime show. The daytime show was hosted by Bob Barker and the nighttime show was hosted by Dennis James. However, the nighttime show dropped the NEW moniker pretty quick after the second season. Dennis James did actually fill in for Barker during his only absence from hosting the daytime version of the show due to illness (1974).
On the right, you can see an ad for Truth or Consequences, which was also hosted by Bob Barker. Bob quit the show in 1975 to focus solely on The Price is Right. Under that is an ad for To Tell the Truth which was a panel game show featuring four celebrity guests trying to guess the occupation of a described guest with an unusual occupation.
In this last part, let’s take a look at some of the fun vintage 1970s advertising that was scattered throughout the issue. Click any of the images to see them BIGGER.
What a great vintage McDonald’s ad. I love this.
I’m in love with the Jay Ward lookalike artwork on the Big Wally can. And I didn’t realize Hydrox cookies were as old as they were. I just thought they were cheap knockoffs of Oreos.
I love all vintage Hamburger Helper ads. All of them.
I totally remember this shampoo if only for the funky bottles in their funky colors.
I love how the ad on the left not-so-subtly infers that you’ll be working construction if you don’t buy yourself a Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. And on the right is another awesomely vintage Champale ad. It’s crazy, Champale advertised EVERYWHERE in the ’70s. Here’s another full page ad for Champale from the 70s featuring a rapey-looking mustached gentleman and his next victim.
That’s the bulk of the 1973 TV Guide Fall Preview issue. To see the full set of scans check out my Flickr set here.
Stay tuned, more TV Guide Fall Preview issue scans from the 70s and 90s will be coming.