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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)

TV Listings Flashback #3: NBC Prime Time, September 21, 1973

Rather than share the entire prime time schedule as I’ve done before, I want to share this fantastic, large newspaper ad touting NBC’s prime time television lineup from the evening of September 21, 1973. This is the ad as printed in The Cincinnati Enquirer. Click on the ad for a larger version, and then let’s talk about this greatness. Remember that visiting any of the Amazon show title links below will help me in keeping this site running!

NBC Prime Time Lineup, 9/21/1973

OK, first things first. I had never seen that NBC 73 logo before and it is glorious. If anyone has a color specimen please let me know.

Now let’s look at that lineup:

To Tell the Truth was in the midst of its second, syndicated run and was hosted by Gary Moore. It was followed by another syndicated returning game show, The New Dating Game.

Sanford and Son, in its third season, was a Top 10 show and NBC’s only bona fide Friday hit. They followed it was a new comedy, The Girl with Something Extra, starring John Davidson and Sally Field. But it lasted just one season before it was canceled.

81uicucuqcl-_sl1500_Debuting this night was another new sitcom, Needles and Pins. It starred Norman Fell and was a total flop, pulled after just 10 episodes had aired. The final sitcom of the evening was The Brian Keith Show (co-starring Shelly Fabares), a Garry Marshall production. This was its second and final season.

Finally there was The Dean Martin Comedy Hour, or just The Dean Martin Show. It started on NBC in 1965 and had dropped out of the top 30 earlier in the decade. For this season, its last, the show was retooled from its traditional comedy/variety format to one featuring the now-famous celebrity roasts.

While these roasts did little to reverse the show’s ratings slide, they were popular enough to lead to a spinoff series of specials called The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast. These specials aired on NBC from 1974 through 1984.

Dames (1934) dance number screenshot

GFS Home Movies: Dames (1934)

I have made no secret of the fact that I don’t care for movie musicals. But I think what I’m discovering over the years is that there’s a certain type of musical I don’t like. I can’t put my finger on it yet, but there has to be some sort of connection between the musicals I do like — Chicago, Singin’ in the Rain, and now Dames.

Dames (1934) title card

I came across Dames (Warner Bros., 1934) while researching a piece of Popdose on the Flamingos’ version of “I Only Have Eyes for You.” Turns out that the song — composed by Harry Warren and Al Dubin — was introduced in Dames as one of the film’s showpiece musical numbers. And man, what a showpiece it is! More on that in a bit.

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The Venture Bros. Wrapup logo

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “A Very Venture Halloween”

Venture Bros. Wrapup: "A Very Venture Halloween"

Has it really been almost two years since I last wrote about a new episode of The Venture Bros.? Yup, seems so. And now here we are, with 2012 winding down, and we finally have a new episode from Jackson and Doc — “A Very Venture Halloween.” It’s the first holiday-themed installment of the show since “A Very Venture Christmas” all the way back at the end of season one in 2004.

Alright, enough history — let’s get into it. This episode was damn good, and sets the table quite nicely for the upcoming fifth season of the show. For awhile I thought this was going to be a typically light-hearted standalone episode, but Doc Hammer (who wrote this one) took things in a very dramatic direction toward the end.

Let’s get the frivolity out of the way first — Dr. Venture and Sgt. Hatred hang out with Pete White and Billy Quizboy at the compound on Halloween night to see who can win the most money. You see, they’re betting on which “lucky” trick or treaters can make it past the compound’s deadly security systems. Fun stuff, but nothing too heavy. It was rather nice seeing Hatred and getting zero pedophile jokes, so I hope that continues.

The venture Bros. - "A Very Venture Halloween"

The A plot (or maybe B) concerns the boys and Dermott, who head out to spend the night in a real haunted house — the so-called Potter House. Dean, looking rather goth, is the only one brave or stupid enough to actually go in, and he ends up learning the secret of his cloned past. This was a rather bold move on the show’s part, but I think it’s a great idea. They got all the mileage they could out of Dr. Venture hiding this secret, and it’ll be fascinating to watch the fallout now that it’s out.

The second main plot sees the always welcome return of Dr. Orpheus and the Order of the Triad. They host the gathering of the Brimstone Assembly in Orpheus’s place, and it’s quite the group of mystical figures that shows up. The two best parts of this story were the return of The Master (aka H. Jon Benjamin as Santa Claus) and the Hellraiser spoof with the Outrider and Orpheus’s ex-wife conjuring a Pinhead-esque figure that has a toaster for a face and ejects “pleasure toast.” Awesome.

There’s an Important Lesson for Orpheus and the others here, too, but really the whole thrust of the episode is Dean learning the truth from a newly introduced character named Ben (J.K. Simmons). I imagine we’ll be seeing more of him later, but you never know. I don’t know if he’s going to stick with the sullen goth thing, but I’m damn glad we get goofy Hank back.

If “A Very Venture Halloween” proves anything, it’s that this show seems to still be on its game as it prepares for the fifth season early next year. Damn, I can’t wait!

Final grade: A


  • For not the first time, Brock makes an appearance in an episode but says nothing.
  • One of the few things I caught through the jargon in that little medical exam rundown of Dean was early baldness.
  • Ben reminds me of Jeff Bridges as the Dude.
  • Wilhelm Scream appearance.
  • Excellent direction, placing the end of Orpheus’s speech over the image of Dean returning home to deal with the truth about the clones.

Best lines/moments:

  • The entire cold open, with Dean and Hank failing to scare Rusty and Brock on Halloweens past, was outstanding.
  • “Thank you boys, that was… chilling.”
  • “Jefferson, this is not The Craft.”
  • “I have yet to meet a woman that doesn’t dress sexy on Halloween. Witch? No sir, sexy witch. Freddy Krueger? Nope, sexy Freddy Krueger. Hmm. Sexy damn Freddy Krueger.”
  • “That’s what she said.” “Oh, she said nothing of the sort!”
  • As I said before, the whole Hellraiser/Rubik’s Cube bit was gold.
  • “Submit to my toast. My pleasure toast!”
  • “Super fucking run away!”

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CBS Fall 1966 preview logo

Fall TV Preview Madness! (CBS, 1966)

CBS Fall 1966 preview logo

In Fall TV Preview Madness, I present a network television schedule preview special from the distant past. We see the good, bad, and ugly for a network’s entire upcoming fall slate.

I’m counting down the days until the Fall 2012 television season gets underway the only way I know how — by bringing you network promos for TV seasons long gone. Today’s preview is for CBS’s 1966 Fall TV season. Your host for this preview is Garry Moore, a long-time fixture on The Eye.

You’ll see stars this fall on CBS! (* denotes new series.)


CBS Fall 1966 TV Preview - It's About Time

7pmLassie (1954 – 1971)
7:30pm*It’s About Time (Starring Frank Aletta, Jack Mullaney, and Imogene Coca; ended after 26 episodes.)
8pmThe Ed Sullivan Show (1948 – 1971)
9pm*The Garry Moore Show (Ended after 19 episodes.)
10pmCandid Camera (1960 – 1967)
10:30pm —  What’s My Line? (1950 – 1967)

It’s About Time, which lasted one season, was a Sherwood Schwartz romp in the same vein as Gilligan’s Island. The show even borrowed the same props and music. In some ways it was a predecessor to Land of the Lost, or at least until it was completely retooled about halfway through the season.

The Garry Moore Show, while strictly speaking a new program, was actually the third version of the show. This last edition got clobbered in the ratings by TV’s top show, Bonanza.


CBS Fall 1966 TV Preview - A Family Affair

7:30pmGilligan’s Island (1964 – 1967)
8pm*Run, Buddy, Run (Starring Jack Sheldon; ended after 13 episodes.)
8:30pmThe Lucy Show (1962 – 1968)
9pmThe Andy Griffith Show (1960 – 1968)
9:30pm*Family Affair (1966 – 1971)
10pm*The Jean Arthur Show (Ended after 12 episodes.)
10:30pmI’ve Got a Secret (1952 – 1967)

Run, Buddy, Run was a typically broad period comedy about a jazz musician on the run from some gangsters. The Jean Arthur Show was a sitcom about opposing mother-and-son lawyers, with Jean Arthur co-starring with Ron Harper. I barely made it through the preview, Arthur was so shrill.

The big success of the new shows on Monday was Family Affair, which ran for 138 episodes over five seasons. Sebastian Cabot played Giles French, the English valet and the Mr. Belvedere of his day. Family Affair was the #14 rated program for the ’66-’67 season.


7:30pmDaktari (1966 – 1969)
8:30pmThe Red Skelton Hour (1953 – 1970)
9:30pmPetticoat Junction (1963 – 1970)
10pm —  CBS News Hour

No new shows for CBS on Tuesdays, which makes sense since Daktari and The Red Skelton Hour were Top 10 programs. Petticoat Junction was in the Top 30.


7:30pmLost in Space (1965 – 1968)
8:30pmThe Beverly Hillbillies (1962 – 1971)
9pmGreen Acres (1965 – 1971)
9:30pmGomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (1964 – 1969)
10pm — The Danny Kaye Show (1963 – 1967)

Once again, CBS stuck with familiar favorites rather than roll out any new shows. The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Gomer Pyle were all Top 10 shows in ’66.


CBS Fall 1966 TV Preview - Jericho

7:30pm*Jericho (Starring John Leyton, Don Francks, and Marino Masé; ended after 16 episodes.)
8:30pmMy Three Sons (1965 – 1972)
9pm —  The CBS Thursday Night Movies

Before there was a short-lived Jericho on CBS several years ago, there was a short-lived Jericho on CBS in the ’60s. The first one was a World War II drama about a top-secret counterintelligence team (Code Name Jericho) behind enemy lines, giving the Nazis what for.


7:30pmThe Wild Wild West (1965 – 1969)
8:30pmHogan’s Heroes (1965 – 1971)
9pm* —  The CBS Friday Night Movies

Nothing new on Friday in terms of scripted shows, although CBS did add a second night of movies to the schedule.


CBS Fall 1966 TV Preview - Pistols 'n' Petticoats

7:30pmThe Jackie Gleason Show (1962 – 1970)
8:30pm* —  Pistols ‘n’ Petticoats (Starring Ann Sheridan, Ruth McDevitt, and Douglas Fowley; ended after 26 episodes.)
9pm*Mission: Impossible (1966 – 1973)
10pmGunsmoke (1955 – 1975)

Pistols ‘n’ Petticoats had nothing to do with Petticoat Junction, just to be clear. Nothing like some good ol’ period racism to get the laffs going. I have no idea why this preview didn’t include any footage from Mission: Impossible, but if I had to hazard a guess I’d say it wasn’t ready in time. Nevertheless, it and Family Affair were the only new CBS shows from ’66 to gain any traction.

ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - You'll Love it!

Fall TV Preview Madness! (ABC, 1985)

ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - You'll Love it!

In Fall TV Preview Madness, I present a network television schedule preview special from the distant past. We see the good, bad, and ugly for a network’s entire upcoming fall slate.

I’m counting down the days until the Fall 2012 television season gets underway the only way I know how — by bringing you network promos for TV seasons long gone. Today’s preview is for ABC’s 1985 Fall TV season. ABC only returned 11 scripted series in 1985-86, compared to 15 for CBS and 18 for NBC. They also had the most shows from the previous season not returning, with 16.

By season’s end, ABC had two just shows in the ratings Top 10 (Dynasty and Who’s the Boss?), and six in the Top 30.

Here’s the 1985 ABC Fall preview (in two parts), complete with an appropriation of Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” You’ll love it!  (* denotes new series.)


ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - MacGyver

7pmRipley’s Believe It or Not! (1982 – 1986)
8pm*MacGyver (1985 – 1992)
9pm — The ABC Sunday Night Movie (1965 – 1998)

Although Murder, She Wrote owned the 8pm timeslot, MacGyver held his own. The Richard Dean Anderson show was moved to Mondays in 1986 and stayed there for six seasons.


8pmHardcastle and McCormick (1983 – 1986)
9pm — Monday Night Football (1970 – 2005)

After football season ended, ABC ran a movie in MNF’s timeslot.


ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - Growing Pains

8pmWho’s the Boss? (1984 – 1992)
8:30pm*Growing Pains (1985 – 1992)
9pm — Moonlighting (1985 – 1989)
10pm*Our Family Honor (Starring Eli Wallach; ended after 13 episodes.)

I have very fond memories of ABC’s Tuesday night lineup of this era, although I don’t remember Our Family Honor at all. For at least a few years, Who’s the Boss?, Growing Pains, and Moonlighting were appointment viewing in my house. Oh and hey, notice anything off about that Growing Pains preview? Those scenes were from the pilot, which had Chrissy Seaver played by Elizabeth Ward. Tracey Gold took over for the start of the first year.


ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - The Insiders

8pm*The Insiders (Starring Nicholas Campbell and Stoney Jackson; ended after 13 episodes.)
9pmDynasty (1981 – 1989)
10pmHotel (1983 – 1988)

Meh. I don’t remember The Insiders at all — despite its awesome use of Genesis’ “Just a Job to Do” — and I had absolutely no interest in either of the two soap operas (although I did dig Linda Evans).


ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - Lady Blue

8pmThe Fall Guy (1981 – 1986)
9pm*Lady Blue (Starring Jamie Rose; ended after 13 episodes.)
10pm*Dynasty II: The Colbys of California (1985 – 1987) and 20/20 (1978 – present)

Man, that Lady Blue promo looked like every cop show parody I’ve ever seen. I’m surprised her sergeant didn’t tell her, “You’re out of line! I”m gonna get yer bade one day woman cop!”

I don’t remember watching The Fall Guy, but I know I had this brown pickup from the show, and it was one of my favorite toys.


ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - Spenser: For Hire

8pmWebster (1983 – 1987)
8:30pmMr. Belvedere (1985 – 1990)
9pmDiff’rent Strokes (Ran from 1978 – 1985 on NBC; ended after 19 episodes on ABC.)
9:30pmBenson (1979 – 1986)
10pm* —  Spenser: For Hire (1985 – 1988)

I remember watching Webster, but remember very little about the show itself. I loved Mr. Belvedere, but Diff’rent Strokes needed to be put out of its misery by this time. I only got into Benson thanks to countless reruns on WPIX Channel 11 in New York. Never did get into Spenser: For Hire, although I suspect I’d appreciate it now.


ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - Hollywood Beat

8pm*Hollywood Beat (Starring Jack Scalia and Jay Acovone; ended after 14 episodes.)
9pm*Lime Street (Starring Robert Wagner; ended after 5 episodes.)
10pmThe Love Boat (1977 – 1986)

I had never heard of those first two shows until today. The Love Boat, aka Hollywood Squares on Water, is the kind of kitschy show that could never be made today. Unless it starred a bunch of reality show burnouts.

NBC Fall TV Preview (1975)

Fall TV Preview Madness! (NBC, 1975)

NBC Fall TV Preview (1975)

In Fall TV Preview Madness, I present a network television schedule preview special from the distant past. We see the good, bad, and ugly for a network’s entire upcoming fall slate.

Today’s preview is for NBC’s 1975 Fall TV season, dubbed the Superseason. The network debuted nine new series, hoping to build on the successes of young hits like Little House on the Prairie, Chico and the Man, and Sanford and Son. Their boldest play came on Thursday, where the entire prime time lineup was filled with freshman shows. Here’s a quick promo from ’75.

Unfortunately, success proved elusive for these new programs, none of which lasted past the 1975-76 season. Thursday in particular was rough, as NBC was up against ratings powerhouses like The Waltons and The Streets of San Francisco. This marked the beginning of a very rough time for the Peacock, which didn’t really recover until the salad days of the 1980s.

This preview is hosted by Lloyd Bridges, star of the new police drama Joe Forrester (one of 1975’s casualties). Let’s check out the Superseason!

In case you don’t feel like watching the whole thing, here’s a recap of the quality entertainment you can catch on NBC in ’75 (* denotes new series):


NBC 1975 Fall TV Preview - The Invisible Man

8pm*The Invisible Man (Starring David McCallum; ended after 13 episodes.)
9pm — NBC Monday Night at the Movies (Aired on various nights from 1963-1999.)

Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans should recognize many of the shots from The Invisible Man, as they were blatantly stolen by a later series called The Gemini Man. Two of that series’ episodes were later spliced together to create the rifftastic Ben Murphy TV movie Riding with Death.


NBC 1975 Fall TV Preview - Joe Forrester

8pmMovin’ On (1974 – 1976)
9pmPolice Story (1973 – 1978)
10pm*Joe Forrester (Ended after 23 episodes.)


NBC 1975 Fall TV Preview - Doctors' Hospital

8pmLittle House on the Prairie (1974 – 1983)
9pm*Doctors’ Hospital (Starring George Peppard; ended after 13 episodes.)
10pmPetrocelli (1974 – 1976)

Check out William Daniels in that Doctors’ Hospital clip, warming up for his iconic portrayal of Dr. Mark Craig on St. Elsewhere.


NBC 1975 Fall TV Preview - Ellery Queen

8pm*The Montefuscos (Ended after 9 episodes.)
8:30pm*Fay (Starring Lee Grant; ended after 10 episodes.)
9pm*Ellery Queen (Starring Jim Hutton; ended after 22 episodes.)
10pm*Medical Story (Ended after 11 episodes.)

Shortly before Norman Lear’s groundbreaking sitcoms explored ethnic stereotypes for real comedy and impact, there was The Montefuscos, which looks like a bad Italian joke played out for a half hour. Nine episodes was nine too many I suspect. Fay was probably decent, and Lee Grant did earn an Emmy nomination for her acting, so that’s got to be worth something. Oh, and that’s Joe Silver playing the ex-husband.

Medical Story was an anthology drama, and it looks like it could’ve been OK. It’s pretty cool to see a very young Beau Bridges bucking the medical establishment.


8pmSanford and Son (1972 – 1977)
8:30pmChico and the Man (1974 – 1978)
9pmThe Rockford Files (1974 – 1980)
10pmPolice Woman (1974 – 1978)

No new shows debuted on Fridays in 1975, which might explain why it was the network’s most successful night.


8pmEmergency! (1972 – 1977)
9pm — NBC Saturday Night at the Movies (1961 – 1978)

NBC did air some new made-for-TV movies on Saturday, but otherwise they played it safe.


NBC 1975 Fall TV Preview - The Family Holvak

7pmThe Wonderful World of Disney (1961 – 1981)
8pm* — The Family Holvak (Starring Glenn Ford; ended after 10 episodes.)
9pm —  The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie (1971 – 1977)

The Family Holvak seems like a pretty transparent attempt to attract fans of The Waltons. The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie rotated between four different titles in ’75 — Columbo, McCloud, McMillan & Wife, and newcomer McCoy (starring Tony Curtis). I guess there was something about having a Mc in front of your last name that made you a good lead. McCoy lasted one year and was replaced in the Mystery Movie lineup for 1976 by Quincy, M.E. Those movies proved popular enough to spin Quincy off into its own series.

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Bubble Guppies

A Parent Reviews Children’s Television: Bubble Guppies

My son likes to watch kids’ shows on TV, which means I have to watch kids’ shows on TV. I’ve had plenty of time to form opinions on these shows, and now you get to read them. Today: Bubble Guppies.

(Previous entry: Thomas & Friends)

Bubble Guppies

Bubble Guppies — Pictured (l t r): Molly, Goby, Nonny, Deema, Oona, Gil, and Mr. Grouper.

Some kids’ shows are tolerable. You can get through them but wouldn’t ever seek them out on your own. Others are painful to watch (I’m looking at you, Dora the Explorer). You suffer through because you love your children. And some are enjoyable in their own right. You gladly watch them with your kids, and you may even tune in after they’ve gone to sleep for the night.

I think that out of all the shows I get to (have to) watch because of my son, Nick Jr.’s Bubble Guppies is my current favorite. It’s a cousin of sorts of another Nick Jr. show, The Backyardigans, but is far superior in almost every way. Let’s break it down:

In Bubble Guppies, the main characters (shown above) live in Bubbletucky and go to school together. As you might expect, the show is all about setting up and delivering a lesson of some sort, and learning about various topics along the way. The show trades heavily on skit humor and upbeat, modern singing and dancing. A perfect example of the latter is the “Outside Song” that is performed in every episode. I’m going to warn you now that once you watch this, it will be stuck in your brain for days.

In fact, the music really is the star of the show. From the insanely catchy theme song to the incidental music, it’s all very professionally produced and executed. Imagine if the performances on Glee didn’t make you want to stab your brain with a Q-Tip and you get the idea.

As for the humor, it’s really hard for a show to pull off jokes that adults can appreciate but that doesn’t zoom over kids’ heads. I think for the most part Bubble Guppies pulls this trick off quite well. It’s very cute and earnest without pandering or being too saccharine. Think of it as an alternate SpongeBob universe that isn’t completely demented.

The voice acting is very well done. The producers found a good group of kids to play these characters — Angelina Wahler as Deema being my favorite — and Tino Insana is a perfect fit as Mr. Grouper. He reminds me just a bit of Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) from The Princess Bride.

Visually, I dig the show. It’s bright and colorful, and the CGI is really snappy. It moves quickly but isn’t hyper, which again can be hard to pull off.

Overall, I really like Bubble Guppies in case you couldn’t tell. As I was browsing YouTube clips I saw a lot of comments from adults that enjoy the show in a non-ironic way. I am now one of them.