Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Saturday in 1970

It's February of 2013 and there are hundreds of television stations and yet nothing to watch. Let's go back to September of 1970 and then see what our options were, shall we?

We had 5 main channels--Channel 9 was CBS, Channel 12 was ABC, Channel 5 was NBC, Channel 19 was a UHF independent channel and Channel 48 was NET (now PBS). Secondarily, there was KET, the new Kentucky PBS channel that was 90% classroom programs at that point, and the Dayton channels that could be picked up well enough to watch if the wind was right--Channels 2, 7 and 16. Only once was I ever able to pull in Channel 22 so of course it was that one that TV GUIDE always showed to have the best programs!

It's Saturday, September 5th, 1970. I'm 11 years and 8 months old and I watch a LOT of television! The new school year was just starting and I was in 6th Grade. But let's say I was off sick that week. What would I watch?

Saturday, September 5th:

I usually woke up early on most mornings, school or no school. On Saturdays, the earliest option for me was at 7 AM--PLAY IT SAFE. PLAY IT SAFE was a fun, locally produced game show featuring Cub Scouts learning about traffic safety. Before that, when the stations began signing on for the day, it was all farm programming (even though we lived in the city) and educational shows.

At 7:30, we had BATMAN, although I'm unclear if it was reruns of the Adam West series or the then-recent Filmation cartoons. Either way, if I didn't like the eepisode, at 7:45 I could switch to DAVY & GOLIATH, Art Clokey's gently religious claymation show.

Things really started to get going at 8 AM with a choice between the animated GULLIVER, and already ancient reruns of HECKLE & JECKLE or THE JETSONS. I probably opted for the latter, still an all-time favorite.

For me the rest of the morning would have been BUGS BUNNY/ROAD RUNNER, THE CATTANOOGA CATS, a locally compiled CARTOONS A GO-GO show, HR PUFNSTUF, THE BANANA SPLITS (switched off halfway through to catch ARCHIE) and then either GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE (new)or THE FLINTSTONES (old).

At Noon, the last episode of Cass Elliot's music series, GET IT TOGETHER aired opposite THE MONKEES (old episodes with news songs inserted). On this particular day, however, I opted to catch the debut of Channel 19's MUSIC CONNECTION, an early form of MTV-style music where one would sit for hours watching music videos and performances or just listening to music while watching psychedelic imagery. It started this day at four hours and eventually would take up most of the station's weekends. Things I missed by watching it that day included PENELOPE PITSTOP, UNDERDOG and SUPERMAN (the George Reeves version) as well as AMERICAN BANDSTAND and UPBEAT. In retrospect, I wish I'd watched the latter with guests David Cassidy, The Cowsills, Ron Dante and The Ides of March!

I may actually have tuned out THE MUSIC CONNECTION at 2:30 for HERE COME THE BRIDES, one of my favorite series at the time and one that the local station, for some reason, opted to cut from prime time and run on weekend afternoons instead for most of its run!

They did the same with LAND OF THE GIANTS, which followed it. After that, though, it was golf, tennis or Little League so I'd have been off reading for a while.

At 6, MIDWESTERN HAYRIDE would have been on courtesy of my mother. This longrunning local music show was then hosted by future HEE HAW regular Kenny Price and tonight featured an undoubtedly still clean-shaven, suit and tie wearing Willie Nelson as a guest!

Bob Barker's TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES was always fun at 7.

At 7:30, a failed pilot with Robert Young as a detective would attract my attention NOW but at the time I went for Basil Rathbone in THE MAD DOCTOR on Channel 19, passing up ADAM 12, LAWRENCE WELK and MY THREE SONS. The Claude Rains PHANTOM OF THE OPERA followed but I may have switched to ENGLEBERT HUMPERDINCK or PETTICOAT JUNCTION. If the latter, then I stayed on CBS for MANNIX, one of my favorite detective series.

Although I was probably in bed by 11 PM, an option I had if I couldn't sleep was HUGH HEFNER with Steve Allen and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. I think this was PLAYBOY AFTER DARK although the TV GUIDE just lists it as HUGH HEFNER.

Overnight would have been the usual mix of old movies on the various late, late shows featuring Mitzi Gaynor, Ralph Bellamy, Tony Curtis and Gig Young but I wouldn't have caught any of them.

Coming Next: Sunday Programming!

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