Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy Labor Day

Seems like only yesterday the Labor Day holiday songs started flooding the radio. As I sit here on this low cyber-traffic weekend I’m reminded of how, as a kid, September was always a big month. So much to look forward to.

As hard as it is to believe, when the networks unveiled their fall shows it was a BIG DEAL. A real big deal. Remember “NBC WEEK”? When they rolled out their new fare they also offered full-color glossy yearbooks you could send away for. I must’ve had six. Now it’s “NBC WEAK.” CBS had a half hour “preview show” in which they would show snippets of their new shows. It got the highest rating of the week. During the summer you would watch daytime game shows just to see the promos. ABC usually got the jump on the other networks by premiering their new lineup first. THE JETSONS was water cooler stuff.

And to coincide with the new season, US automakers unveiled their new models for the year. All summer they would tease you by showing the cars hidden under large sheets. Major speculation over whether the Chevy Impala’s fins could get any larger. They were already the size of A-frame houses. And what was this new car Ford was introducing called the Mustang?

So what do I have to look forward to this September? The WNBA finals, a new iPod, Adida Techfit Compression football uniforms, and NEXT September -
- the Katie Couric talk show!!  I'm counting the hours.


Carly (Swim, Run, Om) said...

I can vaguely remember what a big deal fall TV was when I was super young. I think the change is because networks will throw money at any idea. Instead of truly investing in quality TV, they'll put anything out there and then support whatever resonates with viewers, i.e. whatever draws in revenue. Unfortunately what resonates with many viewers today is what appeals to the lowest common denominator (the Kardashians, Dancing with the Stars, etc.)

Dan in Missouri said...

I certainly remember when the fall introduction of TV was a big deal. The Fall Preview edition of TV Guide was a big seller.
Those were also the days when you could count on most series getting a full season to sink or fail.
How many of us fondly remember one season favorites? Now it would be three episode favorites.
I can recall when ABC,after a horrible season start, offered a "second season" starting in January.
Most shows had 39 episodes in a season so even if the show was rerun in the summer, only 13 of the best shows would be rerun. Watch them new or wait for syndication or daytime networkk runs.
Many shows didn't rerun during the summer but had replacement shows.
I'm feeling old.


Mary Stella said...

I remember getting excited in mid-summer when the previews of new shows started airing. Lately, I don't get so enthused.

It could also be that I'm mourning the end of True Blood's season. One more episode. *sob*

On the other hand, Boardwalk Empire resumes soon.

wv: proxylv -- Mid-season replacement for Big Love. "You loved one man married to several women. Now watch a man marry several women on behalf of other men."

Max Clarke said...

You're right, September was always a special month when I was a kid. Summer was like stepping out of time, and September was a return to time.

In a way, September was January. The stuff that mattered happened that month, like my birthday.

januaryfire said...

Everyone's schedules are off these days. I remember school didn't start until the day after Labor Day. Now, I have nieces and nephews who start the first week of August. Some school districts start the first week on a Wednesday. Who does that? No wonder everything is all mixed up.

BigTed said...

I too remember when the new fall TV season seemed like an exciting time. I think what's changed is that we've become resistant to the hype, having seen so many highly publicized shows turn out to be dreck (or get canceled in weeks). Also, many of the best shows are now on cable channels, which are less likely to stick to a fall introduction schedule.

Also, the onset of September just reminds us that we still haven't made a dent in the "not good enough to watch, but too good to delete" shows clogging our DVRs.

Tim W. said...

I clearly remember impatiently waiting for the fall preview in the local paper every September, when I was a kid, and combing through it with a highlighter in order to circle all the shows I wanted to see. It was like Christmas and the only good thing about September (I was not a fan of school). My most vivid memory was reading about Knight Rider, when it premiered, and being incredibly excited about this show about a talking car and his crime solving sidekick (or maybe it was the other way around).

On that note, maybe it's just my tastes that have improved, not that the quality of shows have declined.

Paul Duca said...

Does the site where you got the NBC Week cover have other ones, or even better the entire contents?

This is a link to a special promo film for that very season (1965-66), not meant for broadcast--it was for company employees and advertisers.

GRayR said...

I was a teenager in the 60's (15 in 1965) in a small hot New Mexico town. So September was cool, literally, we looked forward to fall and the end of 100 degree days.

Didn't want to admit it but we were looking forward to school again, and the Southeastern New Mexico State Fair, Yeah! Rides, flirting with real girls, playing bingo (I was weird) seeing all the new cars on display, along with the newest in farm equipment.

I collected all the 1966 new car glossy pamphlets and saved them. Still have them stashed out in the garage somewhere.

And the new TV season. We were one of the first towns to get cable back in the 60's so we could get Lubbock, Albuquerque, and LA stations. Life was good.

Thanks for the memories Ken.

Pat Reeder said...

I remember all the hoopla over the fall season. Somehow, it all tied together with the Labor Day Jerry Lewis Telethon, which was the last thing you saw on TV before the first day of school the next day. A horribly depressing thought for me, mitigated somewhat by the new fall TV shows and the upcoming State Fair of Texas in October.

I also used to make it a point to buy the extra-thick TV Guide with a page of info on each new show. Somehow, they made all the shows seem like something exciting you had to check out, even though in retrospect, we now know that many of them were along the lines of "Super Train," "Captain Nice" and "Me and the Chimp." Maybe it seemed so exciting because there were so many fewer entertainment options back then. Or maybe we just had much better professional BS artists.

John said...

What, you don't like the Chevy Volt?

Dave-El said...

I used to live for the Fall Preview issue of TV Guide. That was the stuff. Before the internet, this was probably the first time I knew which shows were going to be on and when. Picking shows I wanted to watch and which shows I thought would sink or swim was like circling picks on the NCAA Basketball March Madness bracket.

gottacook said...

I don't know about Supertrain and Me & the Chimp, but Captain Nice was a midseason premiere and wouldn't have been promoted in September. When I was 10 1/2, we had just gotten our first color TV (for the first Super Bowl); during the same month, January '67, both Captain Nice and the somewhat similar Mr. Terrific premiered on different networks (and both lasted only half a season). Captain Nice was more interesting and had the virtue of being a Get Smart offshoot of sorts; around the same time, I had paperback tie-in novels for both Captain Nice and Get Smart (same author, same publisher).

Phillip B said...

Remember when a friend allowed me to sneak into his fathers' den, where his Dad kept his treasured collection - a complete set of TV Guide fall preview issues.

Also remember that the year "Get Smart" premiered. Don Adams hosted the NBC fall preview show which was aired on our local station. My mother fell off the couch laughing and I never had a problem getting the family TV switched to see him.

Mom also loved "Star Trek" and "The Monkees" so -- except for having to go to my room to watch Laugh-In on a 19 inch black and white screen -- I was a very lucky kid.

benson said...

Three things for the price of one...

In keeping with the lament of this post...just read where the number of Nielsen households has dropped again. (So don't let higher rating fool you)

Don't know where the Volt comment came from, but test drove one a few weeks ago. By far the best drive I've ever had. Instant torque. Wonderful ride. (But 41K is too rich for my blood)

I too collected fall preview issues of TV Guide. Have about 25 of them. I guess I could Tivo the TV Guide channel preview this year.

HogsAteMySister said...

The Rugby World Cup. In Nu Zillans. Come on down.

Pat Reeder said...

To Gottacook:

Since you seem to be a "Captain Nice" connoisseur, did you have any of the comic books? I actually did, which is largely why I remember that show. If you'd like one, it's for sale here:

BTW, I also had some of those "novels" adapted from TV shows. Oddly enough, I recall that I had a couple based on "The Brady Bunch" that were really good. I hated that TV show, but apparently, whoever was putting out the paperbacks figured they'd be sold on the strength of the cover photos, so they didn't actually read what was inside. Someone who was hired to write them turned out a couple of really funny, almost surreal books that would never have gotten within a hundred yards of becoming "Brady" TV scripts.

xjill said...

I still get really excited about Fall TV and all my friends do as well. The difference is there are thousands upon thousands more avenues for them to get info. I often wonder where and how in this "day and age" people decide to watch a new show (or not). Also different is that networks cancel things after one episode. What was the point of putting it on the air to begin with?

I, too, remember getting every excited when the TV Guide Fall Preview issue would come out.

I do not think people wanting to have a communal experience and a fun/engrossing show to talk about has changed a bit.

Just think, two years ago MF wasn't on the air, and almost every single one of my co-workers watches that one.

Naz said...

As a kid in the 60's I looked forward to the "new fall season" on TV because back then we had reruns from June until September.

I did love the hour long Lucy Desi shows that were shown during the summer. Although they were reruns, they were new to me. Their Connecticut home brought lots of celebs but I was too young to really know who they were.

gottacook said...

Pat Reeder: No, I had never heard of the comic books. The novels (by William Johnston) were pretty good, or so I thought as a preteen - besides the Captain Nice novel, I had the second and third Get Smart books, Sorry, Chief! and Get Smart Once Again. Apparently the Get Smart series eventually ran to 10 books. Johnston apparently also wrote some (all?) of the Brady Bunch novels you mention. I just now found this article about him online:

Matt Patton said...

I lived in a school district that began school on a Wednesday -- the Wednesday before Labor Day. It was a bit weird, but it was also a short week that allowed the teachers and students to get used to each other before the real work began. The main thing I remember liking in those days was shopping for school supplies. We got our list the first day of school and went out to K-Mart to buy the stuff afterwards. Oh, and we got our new textbooks, which was sort of fun. I never had the coolest lunch-box . . .