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Thursday, September 12, 2013

TV Guide - 1976 - The Search for Classic Films


 
 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.


18 comments:

John/24Frames said...

Fun and entertaining post Jacqueline. TV Guide was a staple back in those days. Today, there are so many electronic and on line sources, the magazine is just about obsolete. I was with you on scanning the entire magazine in search of movies. In NYC, we had local channels like Channel 5 (WNEW) and Channel 9 (WOR) both of which flooded the screen with classic flicks. The documentary, THE MEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES was a great PBS series with film critic Richard Schickel doing the interviews. Other directors besides Hawks included Hitchcock, Capra, Wellman, Walsh and Vidor among a few others. TCM has re-broadcast at least some of these episodes. Definitely, a must see!

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thanks, John. One of the joys of the antenna days was discovering how far away you could pick up. I grew up in Western Massachusetts, so we got a lot of Connecticut TV, Boston was too far and I guess the hills in between interfered. What a thrill pulling a station from New Haven. Or traveling to another state and checking out the TV at the motel (flicking the dial) -- "Hey, they've got Gomer Pyle here!"

Along with TCM, I should say I'm still a big public TV fan. Most network shows these days just have no interest for me.

ClassicBecky said...

Jacqueline, I swear this little post put a tear in my eye! I was expecting my youngest son in July of '76, and just seeing the set-up of the guide, the BW v. C, the way they called the soap operas "serial", the Merv Griffin show ... I know we have so much more now in the way of classic film, which is great, but I have to say I miss the simplicity. My perfect TV world would be just that plus TCM, period! LOL! I really enjoyed this, Jacqueline...

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Becky, I'm so pleased this brought a happy memory for you. I agree with you on the simplicity. And that some 20-year old rerun of "Leave it to Beaver" or "My Little Margie" could rate a paragraph episode description. Wonderful.

Rich said...

The best part about TV Guide for me was two things: the annual fall TV preview and the crossword puzzle.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

That reminds me of the "Seinfeld" episode where George's father collected TV Guides.

Kevin Deany said...

What a fun post. I was especially intrigued by the last page, the wee hours of Tuesday morning, where a local station was showing the TV show "The Detectives." Being a Robert Taylor fan, I've always wanted to see some episodes of that.

Caftan Woman said...

TV Guide stopped publishing their Canadian edition years ago, but it used to be essential shopping. Who would be on the cover? What great old movies would be shown? The pen was always at the ready to circle the must-sees. To this day I can quote Cleveland Amory reviews.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thanks Kevin. Let's set the Wayback machine so we can set the DVR for "The Detectives."

CW, I remember Cleveland Amory's reviews, oh, yes.

The Lady Eve said...

TV Guide's program entries seem so detailed - I guess I've gotten too used to the brief descriptions provided these days by onscreen menus.

I remember being thrilled with the advent of the VCR and the ability to record (movies) any time day or night. In the early days, though, correctly setting the timer to record could present a challenge.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

The VCR seemed like a miracle when it came out.

I do think that in the days when an old movie could be shown on any station at any time, there was a greater change for younger people to become classic film fans, just because they might be looking for anything to watch. Now they have to have access to TCM or another cable channel showing old movies.

Rick29 said...

Wonderful post that brought back a lot of memories. I also used to scour TV Guide and map out my movie week. In the summers, I would average five movies a day (probably the peak movie-viewing period of my life). Though I love TCM, there was greater variety in the old days (and, alas, also edited films and commercial interruptions). Many of the movies I watched back then seemed to have disappeared completely. I suspect some may no longer exist.

FlickChick said...

Oh, the memories! My first classic film reference! And who can forget the anticipation of the new fall show edition?

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thank you, Rick. I agree that without TCM these days, it's harder to find classic films on TV. Most "filler" these days are infomercials.

FlickChick, I'm touched that so many of us seem to share the same memories of hunting for old movies, and looking forward to the new fall shows preview edition.

Kristina D said...

Great post, brings back same "comfort" memories everyone else has already mentioned, marking up the guide was such a ritual! How oh how did we manage to live with so few channels? I think I learned to read earlier just to find all my toons and monster movies :)

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thanks for stopping by, Krisina. I wonder how many kids learned to read by the TV Guide. I don't suppose those days were any simpler, but TV viewing was.

willmckinley said...

Like many of us, I used to do the same thing when the TV Guide arrived. And as I scanned the TV Guide pages in your post I found myself doing the *exact same thing* I used to do 30 years ago - instinctually filtering anything with the little "BW" icon and skipping over everything else. It's amazing how some things never change. Thanks for this reminder of the good old days that were less good than today, but in some ways a lot more fun.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thanks for sharing your memories, Will--and your technique. This cracks me up: "I found myself doing the *exact same thing* I used to do 30 years ago - instinctually filtering anything with the little "BW" icon and skipping over everything else."