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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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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. 

What's on TV?

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.
The High Chaparral title card

TV Listings Flashback #2: July 3, 1970

Here are the evening/prime time network TV listings for the Newburgh, NY market on Friday, July 3, 1970, as published by the The Evening News. As you might expect, the schedule was full of reruns on the eve of the July 4th holiday.

Remember that visiting any of the Amazon show title links below will help me in keeping this site running!

Channel 2 (CBS)

  • 7:30 Get Smart – Smart and 99 mistaken for doctor and his nurse by hoodlums. (R)
  • 8:00 He & She – Hollisters celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary by being remarried in gala fashion. (R)
  • 8:30 Hogan’s Heroes – Hogan and cronies staggered by urgent order from London. (R)
  • 9:00 Ten Little Indians, Hugh O’Brian, Shirley Eaton (1964), suspense thriller

Channel 4 (NBC)

  • 7:30 The High Chaparral – Buck and Manolito leave to operate the own recently purchased spread. (R)
  • 8:30 The Name of the Game – Dan Farrell tries to help young Mexican-American boxer. (R)
  • 10:00 Bracken’s World – Starlet Rachel Holt and new black trainee at Century Studio begin dating. (R)

Channel 5

  • 7:00 I Love Lucy
  • 7:30 Truth or Consequences
  • 8:00 To Tell the Truth
  • 8:30 David Frost

Channel 7 (ABC)

  • 7:30 The Flying Nun – Sister Bertrille becomes writer of Advice to the Lovelorn newspaper column. (R)
  • 8:00 The Brady Bunch – Cindy’s favorite doll is missing and she accuses Bobby of taking it. (R)
  • 8:30 The Ghost & Mrs. Muir – Joe Flynn guest stars as Mr. Turner, devil who makes a deal for Claymore’s soul. (R)
  • 9:00 Here Come the Brides – Jeremy and Joshua play roulette wheel and win a Tacoma saloon. (R)
  • 10:00 Love, American Style – Contemporary tales of love. (R)

Channel 9

  • 7:00 What’s My Line?
  • 7:30 Baseball – New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies
  • 10:30 Candid Camera

Channel 11 (WPIX)

  • 7:00 Please Don’t Eat the Daisies
  • 7:30 Beat the Clock
  • 8:00 Baseball – New York Yankees vs. Washington Senators

Channel 13 (PBS)

  • 7:00 Man Against His Environment – “Operation Reentry” (R)
  • 7:30 New Jersey Speaks for Itself – “I Quit: Personal Protests Against the War” (R)
  • 8:00 Book Beat – Leonard Slater, author of The Pledge interviewed.
  • 8:30 NET Playhouse – “The Seagull” (R)

Show Notes

  • Channel 5 (WNEW) was one of the strongest and most popular independent stations in America in the 1970s. The station became the New York FOX affiliate in 1986 and changed to WNYW.
  • Some of the shows airing on this day had already ended their original network runs. Many years ago the summer really was a time for networks to air just about anything they wanted, usually old reruns.
  • The Mets beat the Phillies, 4-3.
  • The Senators beat the Yankees, 4-3.

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Little House on the Prairie cast photo

TV Listings Flashback: #1 June 9, 1980

Here are the evening and prime time network TV listings for the Pittsburgh, PA market on Monday, June 9, 1980, as published by the Beaver County Times. As you might expect, the schedule was full of reruns, with a scheduled baseball game being one of the few pieces of original programming.

Remember that visiting any of the Amazon show title links below will help me in keeping this site running!

Channel 2 (CBS)

  • 8:00 WKRP in Cincinnati – Everyone at the station is convinced Johnny has gone mad when he claims God talked to him. (R)
  • 8:30 Channel to Pittsburgh – Host Marlynn Singleton
  • 9:00 M*A*S*H – A critically injured patient faces permanent paralysis or death unless he is operated on within 20 minutes at the poorly equipped 4077th. (R)
  • 9:30 House Calls – Amos arranges a dinner appointment for Charley on the same night and in the same restaurant where he has already made a date with Ann. (R)
  • 10:00 Lou Grant – Billie is placed in the custody of a chauvinistic policeman (Richard Jaeckel) during a grand jury case involving a popular game-show host. (R)

Channel 4 (ABC)

  • 8:00 One in a Million – Cushing does a complete turnaround and becomes a loveable guy after suffering what he thinks was a heart attack. (R)
  • 8:30 Baseball

Channel 6 (NBC)

Channel 13 (PBS)

  • 8:00 A Day With Conrad Green – A pretentious New York theatrical agent (Fred Gwynne) discovers that he must cope on his own when he loses his long-time assistant in this Israel Horowitz adaptation of a Ring Lardner short story.
  • 9:00 Mark Twain: Beneath the Laughter – By re-creating incidents from his life and work, the dark side of the famous writer’s character not generally known by the public and the cynicism that provoked his humor are revealed. (R)
  • 10:00 Jazz at the Maintenance Shop – “Bill Evans Trio” Bill Evans, piano; Marc Johnson, bass; Joe LaBarbera, drums

Show Notes

  • The reruns from the more popular shows were from: WKRP (season 2); M*A*S*H (season 8); House Calls (season 1); Lou Grant (season 3); Little House (season 6).
  • One in a Million starred Shirley Hemphill from What’s Happening!!, and lasted just 13 episodes.
  • Not sure what the baseball game was supposed to be, as the Pittsburgh Pirates were off that Monday.
Space Patrol helmet instructions

Make Your Own 1950s Space Patrol Helmets!

In the 1950s there were two genres that ruled the TV and radio airwaves — space adventures and westerns. One of the most popular space-themed shows was Space Patrol, which aired on ABC from 1950 through 1955. Kids not only loved Space Patrol and the adventures of Commander-in-Chief Buzz Corry (Ed Kemmer) and his crew, they wanted to be like them too.

And so we come to this charming little nugget from television’s golden age, as Commander Corry tells kids how they can make their very own Desert Crash Helmet from household parts.

Notice the part where he holds up a picture featuring an article in the August 1953 issue of Woman’s Day that tells you which parts to use.

Space Patrol helmet instructions

That looks pretty nifty, huh? I bet you’d like to see what that looks like in color, right? Well here you go!

Space Patrol helmet instructions

(via Flickr user pcarsola)

Man, they just don’t things like this for kids anymore do they?

But wait! In that very same issue of Woman’s Day is another set of instructions; this one for a pair of Captain Video emergency helmets.

Captain Video helmet instructions

(via Flickr user pcarsola)

Personally I think the Captain Video helmets are cooler.