Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fifty Years Ago...the Final Frontier!

The Fall 1966 TV season was a landmark for TV sci-fi/fantasy!
There were at least two series every night in Prime Time (sometimes opposite each other, which in those pre-DVR days drove us NUTS)!
(NO Internet! NO YouTube! NO Streaming Video! NO DVD/Blu Rays! Not even VHS Tapes!)
But, every night, after dinner (and presuming you finished your homework)...
Comedies with monsters/witches/genies/time-traveling astronauts, etc!
Straight sci-fi with The Invaders, and three Irwin Allen series (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, and Time Tunnel!
And, of course, the greatest of all...
Original 1966 NBC promo poster. Art by James (Doc Savage) Bama!
It was an amazing time to be eight years old!
Even though my family had two huge 13" TVs, both of them were b/w, so I didn't see all this stuff in color until the '70 when my dad finally got a color set!
(Some, like Captain Nice, I didn't see in color until VHS and DVD copies were available!)
But even in monochrome, those shows enthralled me.
So, tonite, I'm settling down in front of the tube (a 50-inch flat-screen) with my own mini-marathon of 50-year old sci-fi!
Batman "Shoot a Crooked Arrow" (which, technically, aired on Sept. 7) & "Walk the Straight and Narrow"
Star Trek "The Man Trap"
(Bewitched and Jericho [A spy series set in World War II Europe] also ran on Thursdays, but didn't begin their season until Sept 15th!)
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1 comment:

  1. My memories are similar. I would have watched those shows in black-and-white at the time, since our family didn't get a color TV until the 1970's. (I don't want to sound whiny about it. Probably 90% of Americans only had B&W TV's in 1966.)

    At least we got to see most of these shows when they were new. I've heard that Star Trek wasn't shown in Great Britain until 1969.

    "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was the first Trek episode broadcast in Britain, which is kind of appropriate, since it was the pilot. (Actually, the second pilot, after "The Cage" or "Menagerie," with Jeffrey Hunter as the captain, failed to sell.) "Man Trap," the first episode broadcast in the US, was actually the sixth episode filmed.

    IIRC, Batman premiered in January 1966, as a mid-season replacement for some show that had been cancelled. Trek and those other shows began in autumn, at the start of the new regular TV season.

    The Monkees and The Rat Patrol were both very popular with my third grade classmates, although the latter was not specifically a kids' show.

    Burt Reynolds starred in a detective show called Hawk. It was short-lived, but it was rerun in the 1970's, after he became a big star.

    Captain Nice and Mr. Terrific were both obviously spoofs of the whole Batman/superhero fad. I think It's About Time (the sitcom about astronauts stranded in prehistoric times) was created by the same producer who created Gilligan's Island. Which kind of speaks for itself.

    1966 was the peak of the spy-fi fad. Mission Impossible and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. debuted on TV. The first Derek Flint movie and the first two Matt Helm movies also came out that year. In comic books, Gold Key was publishing a Man From U.N.C.L.E. comic, Harvey had a "Spyman" comic, and Tower published T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. Noman #1, a spinoff from T.H.U.N.D.E.R., also came out in September '66. And in Superman #191, he fought agents of D.E.M.O.N.

    Naturally, DC Comics wanted to cash in on the Batman fad. Batman featured prominently on the covers of Justice League #48 and #49, and guest starred in Jerry Lewis #97.

    And, yes, our pet peeve was that a lot of cool action shows got crammed into the same time slot opposite each other: Tarzan and T.H.E. Cat on NBC, The Green Hornet and The Time Tunnel on ABC, and The Wild Wild West on CBS, all on Friday nights. And, as you say, we had no DVR's or VCR's back then, so you had to choose one or the other.


Thanx for posting!

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