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.