Sunday, September 6, 2020

The Freakin' Weekend (1974)

Channel 3 at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, 1974 ...


Channel 6 at 7:30 p.m. Friday ...

Channel 6 at 10:30 p.m. Friday ...

Channel 3 at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 ...


In conclusion: TV! Football! 

Comments flow ...


  1. OK, the setup for ABC's Lee Majors Presents Funshine Saturday Sneak Peek, narrated by Don Adams, is that Lee Majors (graduate of Middlesboro High School in 1957 and Eastern Kentucky University in 1962) is at ABC in Hollywood to show a group of children clips of the programs on the network's new Saturday-morning schedule for 1974. There is a clown, Funshine Saturday, who is on his way to the studio with the videotapes of the shows; however, there is also a group of four men in pre-Blues Brothers black-and-white suits and hats determined to interrupt the delivery. They are an organization called, "Public School on Saturday and Sunday, Too," and they are better known by the acronym, "PSSST." One of the four guys is Fred Willard. (Rest in peace, Fred Willard, 1951 graduate of Kentucky Military Institute in Lyndon.)

    This program's sponsor is Nestle. The opening commercials are for Crunch bars ("More Fun to Munch") and Quik ("You Can't Drink It Slow If It's Quik").

  2. I'm not going to go play by play through the wraparound story of this show--rest assured that the children get to see their TV shows, thanks largely to the Six-Million Dollar Man arriving on the scene to work out a big misunderstanding between PSSST and Funshine. Even when I was 6, I just wanted them to get to the cartoon clips, and it took ABC until halfway through this half-hour program to roll out a Schoolhouse Rock snippet. We're going to be getting five Schoolhouse Rocks per Saturday morning, per this show, and that's fine with me. I love Schoolhouse Rock. I'm delighted to learn that "Three Is a Magic Number," which I'm asking my wife and daughter to play at my funeral, was the pilot of the series, and I'm so glad that God sent Lin-Manuel Miranda with the brilliance and diligence to revive it into Hamilton: An American Musical, which saved my family during this stupid pandemic.

    1. I agree with you on this one. "Three Is a Magic Number" is the best Schoolhouse Rock Song, although my personal favorite is "Lolly's Lolly's Lolly's."

    2. When we were figuring out our move back to Kentucky in 2008, we initially considered a storefront building with upstairs living area in downtown Henderson. I was going to change the name of my writing business to "Lolly's" when I re-incorporated in Kentucky and hang out a sign.

  3. ABC's new Saturday-morning series include These Are the Days, about an old-timey family and an obvious bid to horn in on some of that sweet Waltons cash; Devlin, family of motorcycle daredevils/Evel Knievel cash grab, and Korg 70,000 BC, live-action cave people/Planet of the Apes. I'm probably most interested in The New Adventures of Gilligan, which, Lee Majors tells us, will not only make us laugh but also help us "learn how people handle prejudice and other problems." Also, it's the debut season of Hong Kong Phooey, which I always liked. (I had no idea that Scatman Crothers is from Terre Haute!)

  4. And now I have a major, major surprise announcement to make: This Lee Majors show includes, at the end, A COMMERCIAL FOR TOPPS FOOTBALL CARDS! I remember never in my life ever seeing a commercial for Topps football cards, but here it is. This is the season before I started collecting, but, of course, I have come to acquire most of the cards pictured.

    At 26:19, that's a 1974 Bob Hoskins. He was a defensive lineman for the 49ers. I've got that.

    At 26:28, they've switched to the 1973 editions (seriously challenging my willingness to suspend disbelief and buy into the story of this son and father) and blotted out the names and teams. That's 49ers wide receiver Gene Washington on the right (I don't have it) and, I think, Colts kicker Jim O'Brien on the left (I do have it).

    At 26:31, that's Tom Roussel, a Saints linebacker. And at 26:32, that's Pat Hughes, a Giants linebacker. I have them.

    26:41 is the money shot, depicting a sample of 10 1974 cards you might expect to unwrap from a pack you would purchase. This is tough. Not only is the 46-year-old video pretty darn blurry; the names and teams are again whited out.

    The upper-right two are a Jets team checklist and Raiders wide receiver Mike Siani. The bottom-left two are Colts kicker George Hunt and Packers wide receiver Jon Staggers. I have all of those cards.

    The upper-left is Falcons quarterback Bob Lee. I do not have that card, and it is beautiful!

    That leaves five cards that are going to take some work to identify, and I've taken a screen shot to do just that, perhaps during tomorrow night's NFL20 game on TV. EXCITING!

  5. The NBC Saturday Morning Preview Revue features a bunch--and I mean, a bunch--of Sid and Marty Krofft marianettes in a variety show hosted by Jimmy Osmond. This program reflects an alternative vision for childhood entertainment and interests that was also very present in the 1970s. I haven't quite thought this through, but it occurs to me that there were back-to-school aisles and pages in the Sears Wishbooks for these children, too. Clowns and other fantastic things were apparently a big deal with these kids--me, not so much. They didn't seem much interested in officially licensed products; I was/am. That's OK. I'm glad network television serviced those children, too, and I was still more than happy to sit at the lunch tables with them--we were friends. But the point is that the 7 p.m. ABC program was definitely more my lane, and there's something about this 7:30 NBC show from its outset that leaves me a little unjazzed.

    1. I wonder if these kids ended up being the Dungeons 'n' Dragons, Doctor Who types.

  6. Sponsors: "Libby's Libby's Libby's on the Label Label Label" and Mr. Bubble.

  7. Also, these kids also chewed more gum than I did. There are gum commercials in this show.

    McDonald's, by the way, is working both sides, running the same "You Deserve a Break Today" commercial with a symphony orchestra in both shows.

  8. On comes a walking television, “Mr. TV,” to introduce three new shows:

    Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch (talking motorcycles and cars)

    Run Joe Run (starring a real German shepherd)

    Land of the Lost (attractive, time-traveling family and terrifying dinosaurs)

    The clips are dropped in among Jimmy’s big “Down By the Lazy River” number (in a suit like Elvis in the famous Hawai’i satellite telecast) and a complicated production in which Family Affair/Tom Sawyer Johnny Whitaker danced with giant puppets to “By the Sea.”

  9. Now here's the big circus finale, and NBC has really buried the lede for my money. There is a very short clip of cartoons based on Emergency and Star Trek, both of which interest me. And there is a mention (but no clip) of The Jetsons, which is one of the three or four best cartoons of my entire boyhood.

    Strong finish but no score. ABC wins. (CBS failed to qualify, by the way--it's Socko Saturday program, which aired opposite the ABC show at 7 and was hosted by the Hudson Brothers, does not appear to be available on YouTube.)

  10. I'm excited to watch this Sept. 7, 1974, Tennessee-UCLA college-football game, but Chris Schenkel opens the Channel 3 show with the key baseball scores on this Saturday, Sept. 7:

    -- Yankees trail Detroit, 6-3 in the sixth;
    -- Orioles beat the Indians, 3-2 (breaking Baltimore's run of five straight shutout victories);
    -- Red Sox and Brewers are tied, 3-3 (he didn't say the inning) and
    -- Dodgers and Reds, 5 apiece (again, no inning).

  11. This is a good opportunity for me to basically wrap up coverage of MLB74, because even though the A's are great and about to win their third straight World Series, the truth is that heartbreaking NFL74 is afoot, and I imagine that will be pretty much that for my day-to-day interest in MLB74. One of the most disheartening things about my little 1974/68/69/70/71/72/73/74 projects of the last eight years has been how willing I am to forgo sports and stuff that genuinely interested me in the day because of the opportunity to pay attention to the Dolphins and Christmas pretty much every day as opposed to in their seasons.


  12. It's interesting how wider access makes a person more narrow--me, anyway. And I'm not alone, for sure. Everybody imagined the internet as opening us to more diversity of thought (and marketed it that way), and, instead, many of the ways we actually have come to use it have made us more closed and ignorant than we were 20 years ago.

    But there's good stuff, too. It's a tremendous tool, and we will learn how to use it to love one another better because that's what God wants.

    1. I think there are advantages to going deep instead of broad.

  13. MLB74 division races at the start of Saturday, Sept. 7:

    -- A's (79-67) lead the Rangers by 8.5 games and Royals by 9.5 in the A.L. West;

    -- Red Sox (72-62) lead the Yankees by 1, the Orioles by 3 and the Indians by 5.5 in the A.L. East;

    -- Pirates (73-63) lead the Cardinals by 2, the Phillies by 7 and I don't know why Chris Schenkel didn't give any scores from the N.L. East;

    -- Dodgers (84-51) lead the Reds by 2.5 and Braves by 9 in the N.L. West.

  14. Here's a tremendous movie about MLB74. It spends a lot of time on Hank Aaron, as it should. You know all of the stories, but it's still good. I just finished I Had a Hammer. I knew a lot of the stories, but it was still great.

    That our black citizens have an ounce of hope left for this country is so inspirational and admirable. I'm really getting a lot out of the 1619 podcast. This point that Nikole Hannah-Jones talks about in the first episode (addressed here in an interview with Pierre-Antoine Louis of The New York Times) ... yes ... wow ...:

    You begin your essay by talking about your father, who hoisted an American flag in your front lawn for years when you were a child. You described this as being an embarrassment when you were young, but then you realized “no people has a greater claim to that flag than us” — “us” being black Americans. Is this statement meant to be a patriotic one?

    Absolutely — I mean, surprisingly, because I’ve never considered myself a particularly patriotic person. But what I’m arguing is that our founding ideals were great and powerful. Had we in fact built a country based on those founding ideals, then we would have the most amazing country the earth has ever seen.

    But black people took those ideals very literally, and have fought to make those ideals real. And because of that, I say that we are — as much as the white founders whom we recognize — that we are the founding fathers of this country.

    So yes, it is patriotism, but not that type of blind, performative patriotism that is simply about trying to camouflage the nation’s sins and not trying to fight for the true ideals. But the type of patriotism, I think, that says: If you love your country, you have to fight to make your country the country that it should be.

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  16. Here are some of the other topics hit on in the MLB74 movie:

    -- the renovation of Yankee Stadium (and the Yankees playing home games at Shea Stadium);

    -- Alvin Dark's taking over the A's from Dick Williams and Herb Washington's joining them after two championships;

    -- the first full season of the Steve Garvey/Davey Lopes/Bill Russell/Ron Cey infield in Los Angeles;

    -- the Reds' slow start (as of Sept. 7, their 82-54 is the second-best record in all of MLB74);

    -- that 34 pitchers threw at least 250 innings each;

    -- the good Rangers in Billy Martin's first season as manager (outfielder Jeff Burroughs, who always reminds me of the Steve Miller Band for some reason, was the A.L. MVP);

    -- the revolutionary surgery on Tommy John's elbow;

    -- Bob Gibson's 3,000th strikeout;

    -- George Steinbrenner's illegal donations to President Nixon's re-election campaign;

    -- Boston's pitching Rick Wise 12 innings on a cold, wet opening day and then totaling only 49 innings pitched all season (he had gone at least 220 each of the last five; won 15, 13, 17, 16 and 16 games, and was an All-Star in 1971 and '73)

    -- the Yankees' overtaking Boston in September, only to eventually lose out to the Orioles, who won 28 in a 34-game late stretch, and

    -- Mike Marshall's amazing 106 appearances with the Dodgers.

  17. I would've liked the movie to have talked a little bit about the Indians and the Phillies, who both have had pretty good seasons. Cleveland was near the top of the A.L. East for a lot of the season, and that surprised me. The Indians have got some good young hitters (breaks my heart that Oakland let George Hendrick get away). And the Phillies have now assembled most of the core that is going to make them so good for the second half of the decade. I've really enjoyed sorting the baseball cards of these two teams this summer.

  18. The movie says that Don Sutton was the Dodgers' ace, and this surprised me. I've always thought of him as one of the very best No. 2 starters I've ever seen. But I always have thought of Andy Messersmith as that team's ace. (Or maybe even Marshall, though he was a reliever.) (And, by the way, it's so crazy that the Dodgers had All-Stars in both the 1970s and 1980s named "Mike Marshall.")

  19. But, pishposh, it's a very entertaining movie, and I enjoyed it (and all of MLB74 thus far).

  20. The UCLA-Tennessee game has been a lot of fun. This is college-boy Jim Lampley's ABC debut (and Don Tollefson's). Condredge Holloway has thrown a beautiful touchdown pass to Stanley Morgan. There have been commercials for Holiday Inn. It's time to get our Canadian Olympic Coins for the Montreal 1976 Summer Games. And we've learned there's going to be a new rookie on the new season of The Rookies. It's 10-3, Vols, at the half.

  21. Schenkel with the wrap: “What a way to begin a new NCAA college-football season here on ABC—an emotional, 17-17 tie.”

    The opposing coaches in this game were Dick Vermeil for UCLA and Bill Battle for Tennessee. Vermeil brought his old UCLA quarterback, John Sciarra, to the Eagles as a defensive back. (Like Holloway, Sciarra apparently couldn’t find any NFL teams who wanted to play him at quarterback and had initally sought to play in Canada.) Battle ended up losing the Tennessee job a couple of years later when the Vols decided to turn over the program to their old star, Johnny Majors. Battle then went in a whole other line of work, and it sounds like he probably came out OK.