Remember the good old days before Turner Classic Movies? For the classic film fan, there were no good old days before TCM, but we were a resilient lot who scoured the TV Guide, actually taking notes and memorizing schedules to be able to catch a flick. In these days before VCRs as well, we were known to stay up until four in the morning just to catch that elusive Boston Blackie flick we'd been trying to scratch off our list since we were seven.
These pages are from the TV Guide from July 1976. You'll note the generous episode descriptions of the sitcoms and game shows, and the BW in the little TV screen next to the name if the show was in black and white. (Before this, you'd see a little C to show the program was in color.)
On this first page above we have midday Wednesday, and Johnny Guitar on Channel 27 (which was an independent station out of Worcester, Massachusetts.) Followed by Island of Lost Women. Apparently this was ladies day on good old Channel 27.
Friday night, the wee small hours of the morning, as Frank Sinatra used to sing. Elvis Presley in Spinout and Strategy of Terror with Barbara Rush. These were sixties movies, so they were "new". Clifton Webb is on board with Mr. Scoutmaster (1953), and if you can keep your eyes open until 3:15, there's Bob Hope in Fancy Pants.
Yeah, I know, the CBS lineup of sitcoms was irresistible in this era. But for the movie buffs, we've got Alec Guinness in The Man in the White Suit (1951), and a documentary series on classic film directors Men Who Made Movies, both courtesy of Channel 57 out of Springfield, Mass., which was (and is) a PBS station.
Here in the wee small hours of the morning on Saturday, we've got Crack in the World (1965) and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961), both of which entertain us with atomic bomb scenarios. So helpful to insomniacs. But if you need a little less nuclear option, there's Audie Murphy in 40 Guns to Apache Pass.
Okay, I have to include this one, a movie we've actually covered on this blog: The Woman in White (1948) See here for previous post. This came by Channel 30, which was an NBC station out of Hartford, Connecticut. I've watched lots and lots of old movies on good old Channel 30 back in the day. And there's Shirley Temple on Channel 27. Always independent.
The wee small hours of Tuesday evening. A Cry in the Night (1956) with Edmund O'Brien and Sayonara (1957) with Marlon Brando. Odd to see an add for a product which will put on weight, rather than a weight-loss product.
I stopped buying TV Guide years ago, because I now get something like a zillion channels and watch very little TV. The news, a few history docos, that's it. That, and a passion for one old movie channel that is only reason I subscribe to cable.
Thank you, TCM. There has never been a better time to be a classic film fan.