Sunday, October 6, 2013

TV Movies-1975

The 1970's are said to have been a Golden Age for made-for-TV movies. There were certainly a lot of good ones but many were actually pilot films, some of which sold and some of which didn't. Here we see every single TV movie I watched in 1975. Most were new that year but a  few were reruns from earlier years. Even the worst of them now maintain some interest but the best? Well, it really was a whole separate art form back in the day.

The Count of Monte Cristo-Easily my favorite TV movie that year. Richard Chamberlain, Tony Curtis and Louis Jourdan in a literate but old-fashioned swashbuckler.

The Girl Who Came Gift-Wrapped-Karen Valentine was finding post-ROOM 222 success in TV movies, here co-starring with Richard Long and Farrah Fawcett. Long, though, died later that year.

The Feminist and the Fuzz-Topical comedy with Barbara Eden, Julie Newmar and a pre GMA David Hartman.

The Missing Are Deadly-Leonard Nimoy and Ed Nelson in a tense story about an incurable virus about to be let loose.

Miles To Go Before I Sleep-Mackenzie Phillips and Martin Balsam bond in this Hallmark Hall of Fame film.

The Rookies-Pilot for the later TV series with Darren McGavin in the role later taken over by Gerald S. O'Laughlin.

Terror in the Sky-Doug McClure, Roddy McDowall and Leif Erickson in an AIRPORT-style thriller.

Roll, Freddy, Roll-Tim Conway should have been a big hit in TV movie comedies but it never happened. This one, though, was from the folks who brought you THAT GIRL.

A Cry For Help-Robert Culp as a DJ trying to prevent a caller's suicide. Probably a pilot.

Dead Man on the Run-Unsold pilot with a post MI Peter Graves a s government agent.

Strange Homecoming-A Hitchcock-style thriller with Robert Culp, Glen Campbell and a young Leif Garrett.

Nevada Smith-Pilot for Lorne Greene's short-lived post-Bonanaza western series, based on the Steve McQueen movie.


The Daughters of Joshua Cabe-Enjoyable western/comedy pilot with the above cast. Never sold in spite of three tries.

The Daughters of Joshua Cabe Return-Here's another try with a  whole different cast top lining Dan Dailey feather than Buddy Ebsen.

Magnificent Thief-The padded out pilot for Robert Wagner's late sixties IT TAKES A THIEF TV series.

Longstreet-James Franciscus stars as a newly blind detective. The later series would feature Bruce Lee in a recurring role.

The Blue Knight-Lloyd Bridges was Joseph Wambaugh's beat cop in this gritty TV movie pilot.

The New Blue Knight-George Kennedy was slightly less gritty in this slightly less gritty second pilot which DID become a series.

Runaway-Disaster movie about a runaway train in the snow, starring Ben Johnson and Martin Milner.

All Creatures Great and Small-Simon Ward and Anthony Hopkins in the TV movie version of James Herriot's popular book about veterinarians. Not exactly a pilot but led to the long-running UK/PBS series  a few years later.

Ellery Queen-Jim Hutton made an endearingly klutzy master detective in this pilot for one of the 70s best series.

Switch-Another pilot, this one for the semi-successful series about a con man and a detective pulling stings. Eddie Albert and Robert Wagner starred with future CAGNEY AND LACY star Sharon Gless.

The Canterville Ghost-This was a fun romp on the classic ghost comedy with David Niven, James Whitmore and Maurice Evans.

Congratulations It’s a Boy!-Bill Bixby and Diane Baker in an attempt at an edgy sitcom-style plot.

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman-A terrible, shot on video rewrite of the 1966 Broadway musical with David Wilson as the worst Superman ever.

Adventures of the Queen-Robert Stack as the Captain of a luxury liner in a  pilot that loos like it would have been a serious version of the later LOVE BOAT formula.

A Matter of Wife...and Death-Yet another pilot, this one with Rod Taylor as Burt Reynolds' SHAMUS character.

The Last Bride of Salem-Lois Nettleton and Bradford Dillman in one of many well-done supernatural dramas from this period.

A Girl Named Sooner-Highly-publicized film about a near-feral girl being raised by a middle-class couple played by Richard Crenna and Lee Remick. 

The Legend of Lizzie Borden-Liz Montgomery's attention-getting post-BEWITCHED bio-project is still talked about!

Sarah T, Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic-Linda Blair's 2nd "teen in trouble picture"has probably her best performance.

Crossfire-James Farentino undercover as a dirty cop. A Quinn Martin pilot.

Hurricane-Larry Hagman and Martin Milner head a good cast of familiar TV faces as hurricane hunters. A pilot?

This Is the West That Was-Post ALIAS SMITH AND JONES Ben Murphy as Wild Bill Hickok.

Death Among Friends-A dull pilot with a woman detective played by Kate Reid, a London stage actress whom I was introduced to with this movie.

Death Cruise-A murder mystery at sea. Richard Long's final film.

Terror On the 40th Floor-a scaled down version of THE TOWERING INFERNO from the year before. John Forsythe stars.

The Last Child-a 1971 sci-fi drama with modern implications as a couple, including MOD SQUAD's Michael Cole, attempts to flee to Canada to avoid the US rule of only one child.

Strange New World-A pilot retooling the GENESIS TWO concept with John Saxon but without Gene Roddenberry.

The Forgotten Man-Dennis Weaver a s a returning POW whose friends and family have all died or left town.

It Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer Guy-Controversial black comedy about a woman raping a man, remembered by me chiefly as the first time I ever saw Paul Sorvino, a favorite ever since.

Betrayal-Jack Palance in the pilot to his short-lived cop series, BRONK.

The Barbary Coast-William Shatner and Dennis Cole in a WILD WILD WEST type western series about an undercover agent who's a master of disguise. For the later series, Doug McClure replaced Cole.

Matt Helm-Tony Franciosa had been fired from THE NAME OF THE GAME but bounced back here playing a mellower version of Dean Martin's big-screen super spy.

The Invisible Man-David McCallum starred in this pilot and its short-lived series before it was retooled for Ben Murphy.

Promise Him Anything-Totally forgettable sex comedy about a dating service leading to a lawsuit.

The Big Rip-Off-Tony Curtis heads a cast that includes Larry Hagman in one of many variations on THE STING from this period.

Swiss Family Robinson--Martin Milner as the father of the family stranded on an island both here and in a subsequent series.

Isn’t It Shocking?-From the director of WARGAMES and BLUE THUNDER, Alan Alda is a small town sheriff dealing with sudden deaths of senior citizens.

Smile Jenny, You’re Dead-The pilot for David Janssen's HARRY O private eye series, vaguely reminiscent of Travis McGee.

The Night Strangler-The often forgotten 2nd KOLCHAK pilot with Darren McGavin.

Dr. Cook’s Garden-a 1970 intellectual horror film with Bing Crosby wonderful, cast against type as a kindly old country doctor who deciders whether his patients get to live or die.

Gidget Grows Up-Karen Valentine is perfect as the former sitcom character now in more adult situations. Paul Lynde has a great role as well.

Katherine-The first time I ever saw Sissy Spacek was here as a Patty Hearst type. Art Carney and Henry Winkler co-star.

Three For the Road-Pilot to a short-lived series with the great Alex Rocco as the father of Leif Garrett and the almost ubiquitous Vince Van Patten.

Call Her Mom-Connie Stevens as the sexy young house mother for a fraternity. Smells like a failed pilot to me.

Sweet Hostage-My favorite Linda Blair film in which a manic Martin Sheen kidnaps a simple-minded country girl and tries to educate her in many ways. 

The UFO Incident-Estelle Parsons and James Earl Jones as Betty and Barney Hill who claimed to have been kidnapped by aliens.

Once Upon a Dead Man-Rock Hudson and Susan St James in the pilot for the long-running and above-average McMILLAN AND WIFE series. 

Born Innocent-Linda Blair's controversial teenage girl delinquent gets gang-raped movie.

Conspiracy of Terror-A fun pilot with Michael Constantine and Barbara Rhodes as a mismatched married couple a la Nick and Nora Charles, here investigating satanic cults.

Ellery Queen: Don’t Look Behind You-An earlier, failed EQ pilot which has a great cast and is quite good once you get around the miscasting of Peter Lawford. Lawford's quite good here, mmd you. He's just not Ellery.

Murder On Flight 502-Yet another cast of familiar faces including Ralph Bellamy, Snny Bono and Farrah Fawcett (Majors) in yet another airplane thriller.

Guilty or Innocent: The Sam Sheppard Murder Case-We saw this one at school. George Peppard as the real-life  doctor accused of murdering his family. 


  1. I used to love these movies! You could tell pretty quickly which ones were pilots and which ones were standalone movies.

    Some of my impressions: "Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy," well, you don't see the words "rape" and "comedy" to describe movies anymore.

    "Daughters of Joshua McCabe," should have went to series, same with "The Over-The-Hill Gang Rides Again," that had some old cowboy movie veterans team up.

    We also had the similarly themed "All My Darling Daughters," with Robert Young. This had the sequel "All My Darling Daughters Get Married." I believe this was remade with John Laroquette fitting...Karen Valentine.

    "Switch" always seemed to me to be an "It Takes a Thief" rip-off, with Eddie Albert replacing Malachi Throne. I recall some episodes having Charlie Callas who would show up, and not do anything.

    "Isn't it Shocking," I knew it wasn't a pilot because Alan Alda was already in a show. It was exciting though and Ruth Gordon was of course amazing.

    "Lizzie Borden." So controversial, the Philadelphia ABC affiliate pre-empted it until Sunday night at 11:30!

    I remember "Barbary Coast" being good. I think the Western genre was winding down at this time though.

    Also the pseudo-sex comedies, "Coffee, Tea or Me," and "The Girl who came Gift-wrapped," with Karen Valentine. These were every bit as titillating as "Love, American Style."

    I read somewhere online of a mid-70s "Thin Man" pilot. If you can find this, I'll be your friend for life.

  2. It Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer Guy-Controversial black comedy about a worm raping a man.
    I just can't visualize a worm raping a woman!!!

  3. What was the name & premesis of the UNsold pilot starring a post-Bewitched Liz Montgomery & Paul Lynde? tyvm!