tv guide
Anatomy of a TV Guide

channel knobI can remember looking forward to walking down to the corner store each week to pick up the new TV Guide. The first thing I would do was to scan the weekly movie listings. I always loved looking for the horror movies on Saturdays and Sundays, or whatever matinees there were. I'd watch anything. Of course, along with picking up the TV Guide, I'd grab some licorice shoelaces, black licorice whips, malt balls, and maybe a Big Hunk bar. If cash flow permitted, I could also get the most recent Gold Key comic off that tall round rack. With such a limited selection of TV shows to watch, I really cherished my favorites. "McHale's Navy", "The Addams Family", "Combat", yes, those were the days...

The images shown on this page are scans from a TV Guide from November, 1961. I was in the first grade that year. It's great to go back and look, and remember all those shows we've forgotten!

tv guide page

Here we are in November of 1961 . For those of you lucky enough to remember exactly where you were and what you were doing at the time, I salute you. As for myself, I can assure you that I was in a first-grade classroom dreaming of coming home and watching television.

I remember when "Gunsmoke" was actually called "Marshall Dillon" The proof is in the page! Technically, "Gunsmoke" went into syndication as "Marshall Dillon". Wasn't it great when there were few enough shows that they actually got their own episode details? There was so much to this magazine, all for a hot 12 cents! The ads were great too, especially when they advertised my favorite shows such as the case with "Sea Hunt".

And so perfect were the times when cartoons actually got their own spots in the guide, describing just which shorts we were going to see! That's just one of the things that made this such a special era; there were few choices and even fewer channels . You could truly appreciate what little there was. But to us then, it seemed like there was a lot on TV, and in a way, there was. It wasn't such overkill like it is today.

channel knobThere was nothing more frustrating than having a great movie or show listed in the guide to not be on. On these ocassions when I tuned in, there was something else in its place! One Saturday night the guide listed "The Thing" at 6:00 pm. I'd never seen that movie before, but my Mom did, and she was describing it so well that I was ecstatic, and almost beside myself waiting for six o'clock! When the time came, and I tuned in faithfully to channel 12, and "Bad Day at Black Rock" came on instead. x the unknown clip I felt like writing one billion letters to TV Guide in protest. They owed us third graders an explanation! That was the only thing I hated about the TV Guide. They never explained why a show wasn't on. That being said, I usually forgave them the next day. However, some of these instances turned out to be happy accidents for this was how I first saw the classic "X, The Unknown".

channel knobChannel 12 was for me, the mecca of televsion. CH12 offered the best movies constantly, and reruns of my favorite shows on a daily basis. It didn't get any better than and costello meet frankenstein clipI watched the entire run of Abbott & Costellomovies and was likewise introduced to the entire run of Hope & Crosby "Road" pictures.the road to morocco clipThere were so many dreary Winter days spent inside watching these great old comic classics. I favored the Abbott & Costello movies the most because they featured my favorite Universal monsters. There was still a little bit of scare-even with the comedy-that kept me spellbound in front of our old black and white set. The Hope & Crosby shows had lots of great action mixed in with the comedy, and those too, were looked forward too every Sunday. Both of these great movie series' were on every Sunday at noon.

tv guide page

channel knobI had completely forgotten about "Kukla, Fran, and Ollie" . Here, they are listed as only "Kukla and Ollie". This also leads me to remember others I'd forgotten about like Beanie and Cecil, Romper Room and "Jeff's Collie" which was the pre-cursor to Lassie. Interestingly, My name is Jeff, and we had a collie-several of them in fact.

What I looked forward to the most when buying a TV Guide was the movie listings near the front of the book. It wasn't until I was in the third grade that I actually went so far as to go to the store to buy the TV Guide.

My mom never had to put it on her shopping list. Each week, I'd make sure there was one in the house. There were usually great horror movies on Saturday nights and in the afternoons. I guess this week in 1961, there weren't any on. Maybe that was the week I actually got my room cleaned.

I also recall Saturday mornings with Superman, The Lone Ranger, My Friend Flicka, Sky King, Roy Rogers, Bomba, the Jungle Boy, and Highway Patrol . After all of that, there was usually a movie on at noon, and in the afternoon, we'd all sit around and watch Jon Gnagy the master artist work miracles with his chalks and charcoals.