What We Were Watching 50 Years Ago: New TV in 1971

What We Were Watching 50 Years Ago: New TV in 1971 photo 0

television was changing in the very early ‘& lsquo; 70s. The networks were concentrating much more on adult-oriented shows in prime-time, and also preferred stars handled new shows. PBS ended up being a major gamer with brand-new imported and initial programming. A trailblazing music program premiered (as well as ended up being a social icon), as well as kids’ & rsquo; programs leaned into education and learning and importance.

Which of these new shows were you seeing back then?


The NBC Secret Motion picture series included a revolving schedule of dramatization and mystery movies. Columbo took turns broadcasting in addition to the Dennis Weaver collection, McCloud, which had actually debuted the year prior to, as well as one more brand-new collection McMillan & & Spouse

. Columbo starred Peter Falk as a Los Angels murder investigative. Known for his stogie, old and wrinkly raincoat, and also “& ldquo; just another thing,” & rdquo; Lt. Columbo, that never formally had a first name in the series, was constantly able to identify “& ldquo;

whodunit. & rdquo; McMillan

& Partner The other new series to launching in the NBC Secret Flick franchise business, McMillan & & Spouse, starred film expert Rock Hudson as San Francisco Authorities Commissioner Stewart “& ldquo; Mac & rdquo; McMillan. Additionally including Susan St. James as his better half, that was an amateur detective. They collaborated to resolve various criminal offenses.

What We Were Watching 50 Years Ago: New TV in 1971 photo 1

All in the Family members

The ground-breaking series Done in the Family was the initial sitcom to be taped on video, providing the show a “& ldquo; live & rdquo; sensation. Nearly a sufferer of lower-than-expected scores, the collection ultimately gained an audience and also came to be a long-running hit. It was nevertheless prominent that there were 2 LPs released with clips from the show. (Bear in mind, this remained in the days before VCRs/DVRs, etc).

Upstairs, Downstairs

PBS brought the British series Upstairs, Downstairs to American airwaves as well as racked up a big hit. The initial serialized tale is embeded in Central London in between 1903 and 1930 and also informs the legend of the interpersonal partnerships of the “& ldquo; upstairs & rdquo; household as well as the & ldquo; downstairs & rdquo; slaves. The series was co-created by Jean Marsh (that additionally starred in the program), Eileen Atkins, John Whitney as well as John Hawkesworth, and broadcast for five periods.

Excellent Performances

The longest-running (it’& rsquo; s still on the air )compilation series brings theater, opera, symphonic music, Broadway plays, and also arts documentaries right into our residences. That suggests we have the very best seat in the house for these Excellent Performances.

Soul Train

After originally broadcasting as a 5 day-per-week program in Chicago, radio announcer, Don Cornelius, brought this syndicated music as well as dance program to the airwaves. The program, which aired for 35 years, was tailored toward the African-American audience (although it crossed over to other target markets) and also featured heart, funk, R&B, disco, pop, hip-hop songs, as well as the notorious Spirit Train Dance Line. Heart Train featured real-time and also recorded performances by the largest celebrities, showcased new songs, fashion, and dance relocations.

The Sonny & & Cher Funny Hr

60s songs duo (and also, at the time, couple) Sonny & & Cher, attempted their hand at movies. When that part of their occupation failed, they place their skills to wonderful usage in this CBS range show. They opened up each show in front of their target market, not with a standard monologue, but with a song and comedy small talk between the two. The program included funny sketches, renowned guest celebrities, repeating characters, and also music numbers (a terrific way to showcase Cher’& rsquo; s newest songs). They shut the show with a variation of their hit “& ldquo; I Got You Infant, & rdquo; generally with their youngster Chastity (currently Chaz Bono) in tow.

What We Were Watching 50 Years Ago: New TV in 1971 photo 2

The Animal Set

Before signing up with the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, television symbol (and pet advocate) Betty White held this series, which featured popular visitor celebrities and also their family pets, as well as pet treatment ideas, and wildlife and ecological topics. This collection has actually not been seen because it originally broadcast, yet is obtaining a February 2021 DVD launch.

Star Bowling

The title says it all. Hosted by actor Jed Allen and various bowling professionals, each episode united four celebrities to bowl, as well as the winning team would win prizes for checking out audience members. This program was uncommon in that it aired for 6 syndicated seasons without a network variation. The majority of various other syndicated-only video game shows typically lasted a year or less.

The New Prick Van Dyke Program

Going back to television this season was Penis Van Dyke. This program was not an extension of his classic self-titled collection of the ‘& lsquo; 60s, this was a new show, with new plot and also personalities, and also a brand-new actors. Starring Van Dyke and also Hope Lange (The Ghost & & Mrs. Muir), the program fixated a modern-day couple with teenagers. The sustaining actors included Nancy Dussault (Too Close for Convenience), Fannie Flagg (Honest Cam, Suit Video Game), and also Marty Brill (comic, actor).

The Pebbles & & Bamm-Bamm Program

A short-lived sequel to the traditional The Flintstones, this Saturday early morning anime was based upon teen-aged Pebbles as well as Bamm-Bamm as well as their goofy buddies. Starring Sally Struthers (All in the Household, Dinosaurs) as Pebbles, Jay North (Dennis the Menace) as Bamm-Bamm, Alan Reed as Fred, Jean Van Der Pyl as Wilma, Mel Blanc as Barney and Gay Hartweg as Betty.

Make a Dream

Produced by ABC Information, and also aired from 1971 –– 1976, Make a Desire (not to be perplexed with the non-profit organization) would now be categorized as educational/informational. Each episode was fast-paced and also focused around one subject. Host Tom Chapin would certainly introduce the subject of the week, and then filmed sectors would certainly air with helpful voice-overs as well as tunes carried out by Tom. A few of these tunes were composed by Tom’& rsquo; s bro, singer-songwriter Harry Chapin. The Electric Business & ldquo; HEY YOU GUYS!!! We & rsquo; re gon na turn it on. We’& rsquo; re gon na bring you the power.” & rdquo; The Electric Business was an academic show on PBS that instructed analysis abilities like Laugh-In. With animes, guest stars, tracks, a team of youngsters (aka: The Short Circus, for a while including a pre-Fame Irene Cara), as well as an outstanding adult cast for a youngsters’ & rsquo; program, discovering word as well as syntax was a fun experience for the audience. The original major actors was Rita Moreno, Morgan Freeman, Judy Graubart, Miss Hinnant, Expense Cosby, and June Angela. Guest celebrities consisted of Mel Brooks, Zero Mostel, Carol Burnett, Lorne Greene, Lily Tomlin, and Joan Rivers, amongst numerous others.

The original series broadcast up until 1977. A reboot with a new cast began in 2009 and also ran until 2011.

The Top Ten Television Shows for the 1971 –– 1972 Season (source: A.C. Nielsen)

1. All in the Household

2. The Flip Wilson Program

3. Marcus Welby, M.D.

4. Gunsmoke

5. Sanford & & Kid (premiered in January 1972)

6. Mannix

7. Amusing Face

8. Adam-12

9. Mary Tyler Moore

10. Here’& rsquo; s Lucy Ernie Keeton, when he’& rsquo; s not searching every web page and marking his 1971 television listings of what shows to view, writes from his home office in Maryland.

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