Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Freakin' Weekend (1973)

So much to address here on this Nov. 23-25, 1973, #freakinweekend: the Kings Island Brady Bunch, No. 1 vs. No. 4 and No. 8 vs. No. 9 in college football, the debut of the HP's International House of Pancakes National Football League e-Magnetic Team Standings Board and more!


After a run of seasons in which the networks turned out new series that became some of the most iconic programs of our lives, TV73 came up a clunker. Good Times and Happy Days are going to turn up this winter, but nothing much at all took from the fall debuts. Kojak was the lone new fall 1973 series to qualify for the Nielsen top 30 for the season.

The writers had struck, and there wasn't a single week crammed with debuts, so that the new series might market for each other. Plus, it appears to me that so many highly popular series were still so early in their runs that the brand-new series couldn't peel away viewers. Take Calucci's Department, a pretty compelling setup for Broadway's James Coco in a New York unemployment office. From the little bit of it I've seen, there's no reason for me to think that this show couldn't've found the quirky, low-burn stroke that Barney Miller ultimately found ...

But it was pitted against NBC's red-hot Sanford and Son at 7 Central on Friday nights, and Calucci's Department is going to be finito after 11 episodes. By the way, ABC's 7 p.m. Central Friday entry, The Brady Bunch, is nearing the end, too. The Bradys are all going to Kings Island on Nov. 23, 1973, which is one of my very favorite episodes of this show ...

Indeed, I'm sticking with Channel 3 the rest of this Friday night: The Odd Couple, a Julie Andrews variety special with Perry Como and the Muppets and then a Love American Style ...


Here's the current Associated Press Top 20 in college football:

1. Ohio State 9-0
2. Alabama 10-0 (after beating Louisiana State on Thanksgiving, Nov. 22)
3. Oklahoma 8-0-1
4. Michigan 10-0
5. Notre Dame 9-0
6. Penn State 10-0
7. LSU 9-1 (after losing to Alabama on Thursday)
8. UCLA 9-1
9. Southern California 8-1-1
10. Nebraska 8-1-1
11. Texas 7-2
12. Texas Tech 9-1
13. Arizona State 9-1
14. Houston 8-1
15. Miami (Ohio) 10-0
16. North Carolina State 7-3
17. Tulane 8-1
18. Oklahoma State 5-2-2
19. Missouri 7-3
T20. Kansas 6-3-1
T20. Pittsburgh 6-3-1

So, as you can see, we've got ourselves a pretty compelling Saturday afternoon in front of Channel 3 to look forward to ...

I'm not sure on which Saturday this little Hee Haw snippet aired on Channel 12, but I think Nov. 24, 1973, is a pretty good bet because it was on Nov. 11, 1973, that Louis "Grandpa" Jones of Niagara, Kentucky, had discovered the corpse of his Nashville-suburbs neighbor, David "Stringbean" Akeman of Annville, Kentucky ...

Now on to happier Saturday-night fare ...


NBC's got a pretty good noon Central kickoff in 8-2 Steelers at 6-3-1 Browns ...

But we're not seeing that. Channel 12's got the double-header this afternoon: 3-6-1 Cardinals at 6-4 Bengals at noon and then 7-3 Falcons at 3-7 Jets at 3. Channel 6 is holding fire until 6-3-1 Chiefs at 5-3-2 Broncos at 3. 

Here's where things stand in Week 11 of NFL73, after the 8-3 Redskins beat the 4-6-1 Lions, 20-0, and then the 10-1 Dolphins beat the 7-4 Cowboys, 14-7, on a very happy Thanksgiving ...


  1. It never occurred to me how Pop Up Video might be a good way to talk about augmented reality to people who are ages 35-65.

  2. Here's a little bit from the IMDb bio on the writer, Joe Terry, of this Love American Style segment, "Love and the Blue Plate Special:"

    Joe became homeless for a while, and filled with shame and disgrace, wandered the streets of Los Angeles. But his family never gave up on him. His brother, Alan, did everything imaginable to rescue Joe. And people ... misdiagnosed his problem as being drug related. Then, after being hospitalized in the Cedars Sinai Thalien Psychiatric ward for trying to kill himself, a psychiatrist realized that Joe was schizo-affective.

    And the long process of finding the right combination of drugs to "fix" him began.

    It took almost ten years to find the right combination to restore Joe to "sanity." And for the last ten years, Joe has been dealing with the shame and the guilt of "having had it all" and "having lost everything" to a condition that, although outside his control, was his, and his alone, "failure." Today, Joe is living a quiet existence in a West Hollywood condo, where he is the only non-owner to ever be elected to the Board of Directors (serving for five years now as the Board's Secretary), and he is once again writing (after a ten year retreat from the pen). He believes he is still alive because he has something still to say.

    Joe has been active as an advocate for patients dying of Aids, with the Actors Fund and the City of West Hollywood, and he has volunteered time at The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center... He is very reclusive, but open to the idea of expanding his horizons. He believes that depression is Natures' way of helping you, of forcing you, to reevaluate who you are, why you are here, who is important to you, and what you can and cannot do... He believes if you bite off more than you can handle, and you fail, depression, and shame, as crippling as they can be -- are tools to help you focus on what's important.

    Joe says he will never act again, will probably never produce again, but will continue to write and to develop film and television products "that are about something."

    Joe is hoping that he will find a way to help people with mental illness. He hopes we all will.

  3. ABC announced this week that Love American Style, in its fifth season, would be done in January. It also announced cancelation of two series that launched this fall--Adam's Rib and Griff--and that brings to 10 the number of new series already canceled.

  4. In March 1973, by the way, Concentration experienced cancellation. NBC had aired the game show since 1958.

  5. I'm 51 years old, and here's my journey with Match Game.

    For roughly my first 25 years, I overrated Match Game and, as a boy and very young man, conflated its bawdiness with its actual funniness. Then, for roughly my next 25 years, I underrated Match Game, thinking it too broad and coarse and emblematic of a model of entertainment to which my heroes--David Letterman, R.E.M., et al--positioned themselves as an alternative.

    But in these wee years of what I hope is a full third quarter-century of the blessing of living on God's green Earth, I've become re-acquainted with Match Game 73 through this HP 1973 project. And, you know what, it's pretty funny. It's not nearly my favorite TV program or nearly even my favorite game show, but it's pretty funny. I like it fine, and I'm thankful for Gene Rayburn, Brett Somers, Richard Dawson and all of them for making it.

  6. There probably exists a really great book about the Big 10 and how its football powers evolved during the 20th century in relation to stuff like industrialization of the Midwest. I wonder about Archie Griffin's roots, for example. I'm pretty sure Chris Schenkel just said that Archie Griffin is a native of Columbus, Ohio; I wonder what brought his family to there.

  7. Also, I wonder when The Big Chill crowd was at Michigan. It seems correct that Kevin Kline, Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, William Hurt, etc. might've been at this 1973 game in Ann Arbor. That would make a terrific setting for a Big Chill prequel.

    I liked that movie. Then I met my wife, and she loves that movie. And now I love it, too. What a blessing it is to meet someone who helps you love life more!

  8. Halftime: No. 1 Ohio State (9-0) 10, No. 4 Michigan (10-0) 0.

  9. Back deep to receive the second-half kickoff is Michigan's Gordon Bell. The Wolverines' center is Dennis Franks. Their tight end is Paul Seal. I love all of these football cards.

  10. ABC's scroll at the bottom of the screen:

    TENNESSEE 6 2nd QTR.

  11. Still 10-0, Ohio State, through three quarters, but Michigan is down to the Buckeye 13. Third-and-2 upcoming ...

  12. STONED! Arnie Jones, now the tennis coach at Olentengy High School in Lewis Center, Ohio, per, powers through Michigan's offensive line to stuff the runner for a loss. The Wolverines settle for a 30-yard field goal, and it's now 10-3 in Ann Arbor.

  13. Michigan forces Ohio State to punt on the ensuing possession. Woody Hayes sends out the punt unit, but his stud freshman punter, Tom Skladany (another of my favorite football cards), is unavailable. He was injured in the first half. The backup's punt is a high flyer but short, and then it takes a giant bounce back into Ohio State territory. Michigan takes over.

  14. It's fourth down just inside the Ohio State 10 for Michigan, and the Wolverines need less than a hard. Coach Bo Schembechler and quarterback Dennis Franklin confer as the officials measure. Here we go. Chris Schenkel and Duffy Daughterty expect a quarterback sneak up the middle, BUT NO! Franklin fakes a handoff to a plunging fullback, rolls right and sprints untouched around the left side of Ohio State's totally fooled defense. It's 10-10.

  15. But this one might yet be decided on the field. There remains more than seven minutes to play, and Archie Griffin has schlepped the Ohio State offense to midfield.

  16. Griffin, however, misses a couple of downs with muscle cramps, and, when he returns for third down, he's brought down three yards short of the first. Hayes elects to punt from the Michigan 44, and, this time, the Buckeyes' backup punter does an excellent job. Michigan takes over at its 10.

  17. Duffy notes that, if this game ends in a tie, the Sugar Bowl pitting No. 2 Alabama (10-0) and No. 5 Notre Dame (9-0) would likely determine the national champion.

  18. About four minutes to go, and Franklin has passed Michigan out to the 36. Gil Chapman runs for the first down!

  19. That's the first third-down conversion by any team in the second half ... 3:36 to go ...

  20. Franklin play-action ... dodges the OSU rush ... spears Shuttlesworth at the Buckeye 48 ... first down ... inside 3 minutes ...

  21. This dude has been fantastic. He's six-of-eight passing in the second half.

  22. It's his throwing hand. Dang.

    On for Michigan is Larry Cipa.

    Another eight or 10 yards would get to within the field-goal range of Michigan's kicker, says Duffy.

  23. Randy Gradishar with a giant third-down stop for Ohio State ... 1:06 to go ... fourth down coming from the Ohio State 41 ... Schenkel: "You must remember that, in college football, the goal posts are on the end line and not the goal line, meaning that's an extra 10 yards for a field-goal try ..."

  24. Oh, my word, Schembechler is going for the field goal! It's going to be a 58-yard attempt or so. On comes his walk-on kicker, a shot-putter, Vietnam War veteran and dad, Mike Landry ...

  25. Wide left by a bit. Duffy: "It missed by a foot, Chris!"

  26. And now, of course, the ball returns to the Ohio State 20, which I had forgotten, and which, of course, explains Schembechler's logic.

  27. MICHIGAN INTERCEPTS! There are 58 seconds to play, and Michigan has intercepted at the Ohio State 35!

  28. Chapman up the middle for 5 ... Cipa incomplete ...

  29. Landry's coming back on for the field goal on third down ...

  30. OK, it’s on to Keith Jackson at the Los Angeles (Calif.) Memorial Coliseum for the 43rd meeting between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins. Southern Cal leads the series, 23-13-6. I have no idea who is going to win this game, and I’m going to have a blast finding out.

  31. Over footage from the last several UCLA-USC games, Keith Jackson tell us that the 21-20 Southern Cal win in 1967 is the best college-football game he has ever seen. "Whatever happens in 1973, you'll see it next on ABC!"

  32. I am with a whole lot of people who feel this is college football's most beautiful series.

  33. I'm rooting for USC. I like their uniforms (a little) better.

  34. But, in fact, UCLA's wishbone offense does rally, and it's 14-10 with 6:21 to go in the first half. Lee Grosscup is all excited about the ball handling of UCLA's backup quarterback, John Sciarra, who faked to the first back diving into the line, let a second go through and then handed off to a third on the Bruins' touchdown play. And then we get a simply fantastic New York Life commercial with a middle-aged guy in a golf shirt and khakis stumbling and spinning his way through uniformed football players for a kickoff-return touchdown while his wife and children cheer madly for him from the sidelines. "Don't let us down!" yells the wife. "I want to go to college!" yells a son. These commercials were just great. I loved them then (because of the football), and I love them again now (because of the middle age) (and the football).

  35. My word, this really is a beautiful football game. Say you're a 51- or 53-year-old person trying desperately not to be swallowed by the now ... and you want to be reminded of when you were a kid and it was just natural and easy to have faith in the Next ... Saturday dusk, Monday school still a million miles away but somehow Christmas near, smell of supper, safe in your parents' care ... then this game ... the perfect uniforms, the sweeps and the ball handling, Keith Jackson's staccato narration but occasional "fumBLE!", the comedic relief of the New York Life commercials, the ecstasy of the Los Angeles (Calif.) Memorial Coliseum crowd ... this game is for you, brother.

    Halftime: USC 17, UCLA 10. And here comes the Southern Cal marching band ...

  36. The blimp, the city, the band, the choreography, the crowd, the infrastructure ... surely, this must've made God so happy. I mean, I love watching my daughter come up with some kooky, intricate play with other kids--imagine what it would be like to watch all of these children put together this spectacle.

  37. Interesting. We just had a Holiday Inn commercial in which two couple sets of friends both independently turn up at a Holiday Inn restaurant for date nights. They decide to share a table and enjoy the evening together. There's no indication of Holiday Inn being a hotel--it's positioned as a good venue for a night out on the town. The closing tag is, "GOOD FOOD, GOOD FRIENDS, TOGETHER." Certainly, the Holiday Inn dining room near Cardinal Point was a prime date-night spot for my parents; I wonder if this Channel 3 telecast is where Dad got the idea.

  38. One of the actors in this commercial, by the way, was the dude who played Sgt. Joe Getraer on CHiPs, Robert Pine. Oh, my gosh, he is actually married to the woman who played his wife on the show! That is wonderful.

  39. OK, here’s Keith to talk about 1974 on ABC Sports. They're going to do some kind of “international race of champions” pitting 12 drivers from different kinds of racing on the same track, in the same types of vehicles. Also, The Superstars will be back, and Keith is excited about the debut, in Year 2 of the show, of an obstacle-course event. He has in for a short interview, Bob Seagren, the USC pole-vaulter who won the first, 1973 Superstars competition. (At one point this spring, I did a heck of a lot of reading about The Superstars and had gathered all of these clips, and I planned a big #freakinweekend about it, but I think I got busy and never did it.)

  40. And then it's on to brief interview with John Wooden. UCLA has won 75 straight men's college-basketball games, and it has back Bill Walton and Keith/Jamal Wilkes.

  41. With all of the college football this weekend, there is no episode of ABC's Wide World of Sports, but next Saturday gets back to regular fare for that show:

    -- Tournament of Thrills Auto Daredevil Championship from Tampa, Fla.;
    -- World Invitational High Diving Championship from Athens, Greece, and
    -- National Acrobatic Skiing Championships from Sun Valley, Idaho.

  42. Crafty running and passing by UCLA's backup quarterback, John Sciarra, results in a couple of first downs, and the Bruins are out to the 36. UCLA's yell leaders are doing some kind of rhythmic call and response that I can't make out; USC counters with a guy on a megaphone leading a chant, "GET! THAT! BALL!" Grosscup points out that a tie sends UCLA to the Rose Bowl.

  43. Six minutes to go and counting ... UCLA has a third-and-6 upcoming ... Sciarra scrambles out of the pocket ... upended by a USC pursuer ... SOMERSAULTS AT THE MARKER ... less than a foot to go, Keith Jackson surmises ... fourth down coming ...

  44. Handoff to first man through, James McAlister ... ohh, it's close ... FIRST DOWN! ... Grosscup: "I'll tell you, partner; this is almost too much!" ... 5:13 to play ...

  45. Sciarra drops back ... obliterated by a rusher ... FUMBLES! ... USC RECOVERS! ... Trojans take over at 4:50 with UCLA 43 ...

  46. We're down to 3:13 on the game clock, and there is, of course, no overtime in CFB73, and yet this YouTube video has almost two hours to go. This could be very exciting.

  47. Punt ... UCLA takes over at its 11 ...

  48. Interception. Grosscup: "That might put it in the cooler."

  49. Ray Kennedy in the Dec. 3 Sports Illustrated had a very entertaining wrap-up on "the entire menu of college football served up over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Nine of the nation's top 10 college teams met in matchups arranged by that Great Mover and Shaker of Schedules—ABC-TV. All told, six undefeated records were put on the line. Four conference titles were at stake. Both Rose Bowl berths were decided. And, as usual, when all was computed and disputed, the answer to the ultimate question of Who is No. 1? satisfied practically nobody."

    No. 1 is now Alabama after a 21-7 win at Louisiana State on the Friday after Thanksgiving (at 5:35 p.m., a kickoff selected so that the game on ABC would not have to compete with My Fair Lady on NBC). And here's how SI ranked the regions:


    1. USC (9-1-1)
    2. UCLA (9-2)
    3. Arizona State (10-1)


    1. Alabama (10-0)
    2. LSU (9-1)
    3. North Carolina State (8-3)


    1. Penn State (11-0)
    2. Pittsburgh (6-4-1)
    3. Temple (9-1)


    1. Oklahoma (9-0-1)
    2. Notre Dame (9-0)
    3. Michigan (10-0-1)


    1. Texas (8-2)
    2. Houston (9-1)
    3. Texas Tech (10-1)

  50. I've never had a potato chip that I didn't like, and certainly Golden Flake chips have been nothing but a stone-cold delight any time I've gotten to eat them. That said, I really prefer a thick-cut potato chip, and I prefer them a little crinkled and very salty.

  51. The LSU quarterback whom Bear Bryant complimented (but was unsure of his name) was Mike Miley, whom baseball-card me knew more as an Angels shortstop. Mike Miley was one of at least two players included in the 1977 Topps baseball set who was killed that year. The other was Danny Frisella. In my neighborhood in 1977, if you were using your new Mike Miley or Danny Frisella in one of our living-room-floor games, you were obviously inviting all sorts of horrible misfortune upon you and your family.

  52. Crazy! The Jets did use one of Richard Todd's Alabama teammates, Greg Gantt, as its punter for a couple of years. Gantt was the "Punt Bama Punt" punter.

  53. Bear Bryant sounds about as confident and at ease as a guy who is on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the No. 1 college-football team in the whole country and who can rest easy that he's going to get to eat all of the Golden Flake potato chips he wants to eat the rest of his life. The boys and girls in Alabama who huddled around their TV sets for this show didn't even have to wait for the Perry Como special to get into the Christmas spirit. Bear Bryant is Santa Claus.