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That’s Entertainment! #7: The Greatest American Hero

From Wikipedia:

The Greatest American Hero is an American comedy-drama superhero television series that aired on ABC. Created by producer Stephen J. Cannell, it premiered as a two-hour pilot movie on March 18, 1981, and ran until February 2, 1983. The series features William Katt as teacher Ralph Hinkley, Robert Culp as FBI agent Bill Maxwell, and Connie Sellecca as lawyer Pam Davidson. The lead character’s surname was changed from “Hinkley” to “Hanley” for the latter part of the first season, immediately after President Ronald Reagan and three others were shot and wounded by John Hinckley Jr. on March 30, 1981. The character’s name was reverted to “Hinkley” after a few months had passed.

The series chronicles Ralph’s adventures after a group of aliens gives him a red and black suit that grants him superhuman abilities. Unfortunately for Ralph, who hates wearing the suit, he immediately loses its instruction booklet, and thus has to learn how to use its powers by trial and error, often with comical results.

William Katt as The Greatest American Hero

On the Season 1 DVD, Stephen J. Cannell notes that the symbol design on the front of the suit is actually based on a pair of scissors that he had on his desk during the design of the uniform. He said that the costume designer asked him what he wanted the suit’s chest emblem to look like. He said he had not really thought about it. The designer then picked the scissors up off the desk, held them upside down, and said “That’s your emblem”. Cannell was fine with that decision.

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TV Listings Flashback #5: July 31, 1972

This edition of the TV Listings Flashback showcases the CBS evening lineup for Monday, July 31, 1972. Specifically, South Bend, Indiana affiliate WSBT-TV Channel 22. Let’s take a look:

WSBT-TV Channel 22 CBS lineup for July 31, 1972

  • 5:00 What’s My Line?
  • 5:30 CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
  • 6:00 Local news
  • 6:30 To Tell the Truth
  • 7:00 Gunsmoke
  • 8:00 Here’s Lucy
  • 8:30 The Doris Day Show
  • 9:00 Suspense Playhouse (Call to Danger with Peter Graves and James Gregory)
  • 10:00 Late local news
  • 10:30 The CBS Late Movie (The Glass Bottom Boat with Doris Day and Rod Taylor)
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Single Cel Organism #3: The Jetsons

It may be hard to believe now, but The Jetsons began its life as a prime time show. It originally aired on ABC during the 1962-63 TV season. Perhaps more notably, it debuted as the first program broadcast in color on ABC.

Single Cel Organism #3: The Jetsons

Here is the full Jetson family, sans Rosey/Rosie the Robot — Judy, George, Jane, Elroy, and Astro. 

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That’s Entertainment! #6: The Cast of Emergency!, 1970s

My current favorite TV show aired its last episode in 1979, but I watch it every week. I’m talking about the 1970s medical drama Emergency!, which aired weekly on NBC from 1972 to 1977 (with a half dozen TV movies in 1978 and ’79). Thanks to Cozi TV I can check out the adventures of Los Angeles County Fire Department Squad 51 and Rampart General Hospital every Saturday evening.

The Cast of Emergency!, 1970s

Here’s a publicity still of the show’s main cast: Kevin Tighe (Firefighter Paramedic Roy DeSoto, L.A. County FD Squad 51) and Randolph Mantooth (Firefighter Paramedic John Gage, L.A. County FD Squad 51) on top, then Bobby Troup (Joe Early, M.D., F.A.C.S., A.C.E.P.), Julie London (Dixie McCall, R.N.) and Robert Fuller (Kelly Brackett, M.D., F.A.C.S., A.C.E.P.) on the bottom.

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TV Listings Flashback #4: November 29, 1973

It’s been awhile since my last TV Listings Flashback, so let’s get right to it! Here are the evening/prime time TV network TV listings from November 29, 1973. This particular grid is courtesy that day’s edition of the Tampa Times. Let’s take a look and then get into the shows. Remember that visiting any of the Amazon show title links below will help me in keeping this site running!

TV Listings Flashback: November 29, 1973

I’m going to focus on just the three big networks although you can see what PBS and the local independent station had in store that evening too.

Channel 8 (WFLA – NBC)

  • 6:00 Local news / NBC Nightly News
  • 7:00 What’s My Line?
  • 7:30 To Tell the Truth
  • 8:00 The Flip Wilson Show with guests Richard Pryor and Tim Conway
  • 9:00 Ironside “The Hidden Man” – POW returns home, discovers that revenge-crazed son of hoodlum looking for him.
  • 10:00 NBC Follies – Sammy Davis Jr. welcomes guests Milton Berle, Johnny Brown, Michael Landon, Carol Lawrence.
  • 11:00 Local news
  • 11:30 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson with guests David Brenner, Lana Cantrell, Erich von Daniken.
  • 12:30am Tomorrow (Tom Snyder)

Channel 10 (WLCY – ABC)

  • 6:00 ABC Evening News
  • 6:30 Beat the Clock
  • 7:00 Hollywood Squares
  • 7:30 Wait Till Your Father Gets Home
  • 8:00 The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau “Cousteau in the Antarctic. Part I. South to Fire and Ice”
  • 9:00 Kung Fu “The Soldier” – Young Army officer’s cowardice witnessed by Caine.
  • 10:00 Billy Graham Upper Midwest Crusade
  • 11:00 Local news
  • 11:30 Wide World of Entertainment
  • 12:00am The Dick Cavett Show

Channel 13 (WTVT – CBS)

  • 6:00 Local news
  • 7:00 CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
  • 7:30 Truth or Consequences
  • 8:00 The Waltons “The Bequest” – Grandma informed she has come into inheritance.
  • 9:00 Playhouse 90 “Catholics” starring Trevor Howard, Martin Sheen, and Cyril Cusack
  • 11:00 Local news
  • 11:30 The CBS Late MovieThe Bad Seed” starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, and Eileen Heckart.

Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s

Few things indicate that a TV show has broken through into pop culture at large like getting its own set of trading cards. Naturally, most of these programs don’t really need or deserve a trading card set, but that’s another topic altogether. While some shows — particularly ones heavy on action or in the sci-fi/fantasy genres — lend themselves to interesting cards, more often than not you just got a still photo of some cast member that says, “Remember that this was a person on our show? So do we.”

Regardless, let’s look take a trip back to the days when you could find cards for almost any show imaginable, issued by giants of the field such as Topps, Donruss, and Fleer.

Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the '70s, '80s, and '90s: ALF


Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the '70s, '80s, and '90s: Growing Pains

Growing Pains

Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the '70s, '80s, and '90s: In Living Color

In Living Color

Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the '70s, '80s, and '90s: Knight Rider

Knight Rider

Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the '70s, '80s, and '90s: Beverly Hills 90210

Beverly Hills 90210

Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the '70s, '80s, and '90s: Happy Days

Happy Days

Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the '70s, '80s, and '90s: The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk

Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the '70s, '80s, and '90s: M*A*S*H


Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the '70s, '80s, and '90s: Three's Company

Three’s Company

Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the '70s, '80s, and '90s: V


Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the '70s, '80s, and '90s: Welcome Back, Kotter

Welcome Back, Kotter

Vintage NBC Promo Slides

Many, many years ago, when television technology was still somewhat crude, stations used still images to promote upcoming shows or events. Often they used slides that were simply projected to the screen.

Of course, the need for these slides is long past but they remain a fascinating reminder of a simpler TV age. And so I was thrilled to come across a series of them for sale on eBay recently. According to the seller of these slides, they were used by NBC affiliate WRC-TV Channel 4, and were shown thanks to a piece of technology called a film chain. The film chain allows a station to convert a slide into an electronic signal and project it to a TV camera for broadcast.

I’m not certain of the dates on these, but I suspect many of them are from the 1950s and ’60s. I know the 1960s are in play because several of these slides feature the classic and underappreciated NBC snake logo. In any case, I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. Let’s look at some vintage slides!

(Click on any image for the full-size version.)