Sunday, August 16, 2015

30 Photos That Defined Moments in '70s Television

The 1970s were known for extremes, perhaps nowhere more than on television. PBS and C-SPAN launched, but so did "The Love Boat" and "Three's Company." Shows dramatized slavery in America and the Holocaust while still leaving room for escapist fare like "The Bionic Woman" and "The Incredible Hulk"
The Incredible Hulk is an American television series based on the Marvel Comics character The Hulk. The series aired on the CBS television network and starred Bill Bixby as David Banner, Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk, and Jack Colvin as Jack McGee.
Mary makes it after all - When "The Mary Tyler Moore" show premiered on September 19, 1970, it offered audiences something they had never seen before: a television show starring a working, single woman. The character was originally pitched as divorced, but executives at CBS nixed the idea, concerned that viewers might think Moore's character had left her TV husband on her previous CBS sitcom, "The Dick Van Dyke Show."
Monday Night Football - On September 21, 1970, ABC and the NFL teamed up to find out if America was ready for some more football. The answer was a resounding yes, resulting in a ratings juggernaut. One of the secrets to its early success was the contrast between erudite sportscaster Howard Cosell, center, and folksy former quarterback "Dandy" Don Meredith, right. They started with Keith Jackson, left, who was replaced in 1971 by Frank Gifford.
'Won't you be my neighbor?' - The Public Broadcasting Service, or PBS, launched in October 1970, inheriting shows like "Sesame Street," Julia Child's "The French Chef," and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" (pictured) from its predecessor, National Educational Television. Those programs, plus "Masterpiece Theatre" and "Great Performances," provided all Americans with rare access to arts and educational programming.
'Those were the days' - All in the Family," Normal Lear's groundbreaking sitcom, premiered on CBS on January 12, 1971. The show found comedy in some of the most contentious issues, such as race, religion, sexuality and war, primarily through endless, hilarious confrontations between conservative Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) and his liberal son-in-law. A highlight of the show's second season was when guest star Sammy Davis, Jr., playing himself, planted a surprise kiss on Archie's cheek.
It's the real thing - In July 1971, the McCann Erickson advertising agency debuted its "Hilltop" spot for Coca-Cola and made advertising history. In the ad, young people from many nations sing that they'd "like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company." The song was commissioned for Coke but crossed over and became a bona fide pop hit: A version reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on January 15, 1972.
Love, peace ... and soul! - On October 2, 1971, music showcase "Soul Train" made the transition from local Chicago TV to national syndication. The show was considered by many to be the "black 'American Bandstand,' " popularizing R&B acts as well as African-American fashion and dance moves. Creator and producer Don Cornelius hosted the show from its debut until 1993.

The end of variety - The Beatles kicked off the British Invasion in 1964 on "The Ed Sullivan Show," a highly rated variety show. By the 1970s, the traditional variety format was in steep decline, all but gone from prime time by the end of the decade. Among its notable late incarnations were "The Flip Wilson Show" (1970-74) ,"Donny & Marie" (1976-79) and "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour" (1971-74, pictured), which was later revived as "The Sonny & Cher Show" after the pair's much-publicized divorce.
'They're all gone' - ABC's coverage of the Munich Olympics in 1972 was interrupted when Black September, a Palestinian terrorist group, took 11 members of the Israeli delegation hostage. Sportscaster Jim McKay anchored 14 hours of live coverage of the crisis, culminating in his report that all the hostages were dead. "In life, your greatest fears and your greatest hopes are seldom realized," McKay told a stunned nation. "Our worst fears have been realized tonight."
Hawkeye, Trapper John and Hot Lips - Inspired by the 1970 Robert Altman film, the CBS sitcom "M*A*S*H" chronicled the highs and lows of an American mobile army surgical hospital unit in South Korea. Though set during the Korean War, "M*A*S*H" was seen by many as an allegory for the Vietnam War, which was still being waged when the series premiered on September 17, 1972. The series ran for 11 seasons. Its final episode, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," was watched by a record-setting audience of nearly 106 million viewers.
Out on the small screen - On November 1, 1972, ABC's movie of the week, "That Certain Summer," told the story of a teenager forced to come to terms with his divorced father's homosexuality. Starring Hal Holbrook, left, and Martin Sheen, it was the first sympathetic portrayal of gay characters on network television.
And then came 'Maude' - The fourth CBS comedy to make this gallery and the second from producer Norman Lear, "Maude" (1972-1978) starred Bea Arthur as an outspoken feminist -- about as far to the left as Archie Bunker was to the right. The series was a spinoff of "All in the Family," where the character first appeared as Edith Bunker's cousin, a natural foil to Archie. Like its predecessor, "Maude" dealt with issues considered taboo for television, most notably abortion in the two-part episode "Maude's Dilemma." CBS affiliates in many parts of the country refused to air the episode.
'Conjunction junction, what's your function?' - On Saturday mornings, the musical vignettes of "Schoolhouse Rock!" (1972-85) educated a generation of children about math, grammar, science and American history. Tom Yohe and George Newall were the original creative forces of the series, along with singer/songwriter Bob Dorough.
Return of the King - On January 14, 1973, Elvis Presley wished the world "Aloha from Hawaii." The concert special aired live via satellite to more than 40 countries and an audience of more than 1 billion, its promoters claimed. Unfortunately for Elvis' fans on the mainland, the United States was not among those watching live because the show took place on the same day as Super Bowl VII. The concert was eventually broadcast in an expanded version in April. The soundtrack album reached No. 1 on Billboard's charts. It was the King of Rock 'n' Roll's last album to reach No. 1 in his lifetime.
Watergate hearings - Soap operas and game shows paled in comparison to the real-life drama of the Watergate hearings that were broadcast live starting in May 1973. It was during these hearings that U.S. Sen. Howard Baker Jr. uttered his famous question that came to define the scandal for many: "What did the President know, and when did he know it?"
Law and order - Inspired by the popularity of gritty, urban police movies like "The French Connection" (1971) and "Serpico" (1973), television was hit with a wave of police and detective shows in the early 1970s. Among the many notable series were "Columbo" (1971-78), "Kojak" (starring Telly Savalas, pictured, from 1973-78), "The Rockford Files" (1974-80), "Police Woman" (1974-78), "Baretta" (1975-78) and "Starsky and Hutch" (1975-79). Police were so ubiquitous, they even crossed over into workplace sitcoms such as "Barney Miller" (1975-1982).
Battle of the Sexes - Five-time Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King "struck a proud blow for herself and women around the world," according to the New York Times, when the 29-year-old defeated 55-year-old Bobby Riggs in a match watched by millions on September 20, 1973. Riggs, a former professional player, had declared women's tennis inferior to men's and said no female player of any age could defeat him.
'I am not a crook' - President Richard Nixon used this now-infamous phrase during a November 1973 news conference in, of all places, Disney World. "People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook," Nixon said, referring to the Watergate scandal. "Well, I'm not a crook. I've earned everything I've got."
Nixon's final address - Less than a year after declaring he was "not a crook" -- and 22 years after telling the nation "I am not a quitter" -- Nixon announced in a televised address that he would resign from office. "In leaving it, I do so with this prayer: May God's grace be with you in all the days ahead," Nixon said in the address on August 8, 1974.
'Ba-ba-barino!' - Welcome Back, Kotter" premiered on September 9, 1975, unleashing a charismatic young actor named John Travolta on the world. Travolta, second from left, played Vinnie Barbarino, one of the "Sweathogs," a group of underachieving high school students under the tutelage of former Sweathog-turned-wisecracking teacher, Mr. Kotter. The show's theme song, John Sebastian's "Welcome Back," reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on May 8, 1976.
HBO steps into the ring - HBO, or "Home Box Office" as it was then known, launched on November 8, 1972. By the spring of 1975, the fledgling regional cable network had grown to a modest 100,000 subscribers. But on September 30, 1975, the network began transmitting via satellite, beginning with the "Thrilla in Manila" fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. After that, cable subscribers climbed into the millions.
Live from New York, it's Saturday Night! - The sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live" made its debut on October 11, 1975. Chevy Chase (pictured), John Belushi, Gilda Radner and the rest of the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" gave fans of cutting-edge comedy and popular music a reason to stay home on Saturday nights. Chase, the show's first breakout star, would leave the series after just one season. He was replaced by Bill Murray on January 15, 1977, setting a precedent for regularly introducing new cast members.
'Hello, Angels' - From left, Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and Farrah Fawcett played a trio of private detectives known as "Charlie's Angels" in an ABC TV movie on March 21, 1976. Their series of the same name debuted that September. The show was part of a trend at ABC, along with "Three's Company" and the "The Love Boat," criticized by an NBC executive as "jiggle TV" -- shows built around the sex appeal of young women in revealing outfits.
It's time to get things started' - On September 20, 1976, Kermit the Frog made the leap from PBS to syndication with "The Muppet Show." Kermit was joined by Miss Piggy, who had previously appeared as "Piggy Lee"; Rowlf the Dog, who got his start shilling dog food in Jim Henson-produced commercials; and newcomers like Fozzie Bear. Each episode featured a notable guest star, such as actress Julie Andrews (pictured here in 1977).
An American saga - The 12-hour ABC miniseries "Roots," which aired for eight consecutive nights in January 1977, remains one of TV's landmark programs. Based on Alex Haley's best-selling novel, "Roots" starred LeVar Burton, center, as Kunta Kinte, a West African youth kidnapped into slavery and shipped to America. The show then follows 100 years of Kinte's descendants in America. The series' final episode still ranks as the third highest-rated telecast in U.S. history.
Fonzie jumps the shark - Norman Lear's Archie Bunker might have yearned for a simpler era, but producer Garry Marshall gave us one on January 15, 1974, when his series "Happy Days" premiered on ABC. The show offered a nostalgic look at the life of teenagers in the 1950s. It ran for 11 seasons and was rated in the top 20 for eight of them. Many people say the show's turning point came in a September 1977 episode, when the Fonz -- a cool, popular character played by Henry Winkler -- water-skis over a shark to help his friend Richie get out of a bad situation. This scene inspired the phrase "jumping the shark," which describes a good thing that takes a downward turn in quality after resorting to something extreme or gimmicky.
'Ain't we lucky we got 'em?' - As "All in the Family" led to "Maude," "Maude" led to "Good Times." Producer Norman Lear built the spinoff around Maude's housekeeper, played by Ester Rolle, second from left. The comedy depicted, with notable realism in its early seasons, the challenges of an African-American family living in difficult economic circumstances.
A Texas saga - The soap opera returned to prime time with the premiere of "Dallas" on April 2, 1978. The series chronicled two wealthy Texas oil families, the Ewings and the Barnes. Originally intended as a five-episode miniseries, the show was picked up for a second season and ran until May 1991. Its blend of wealth, power and sex provided a blueprint for popular prime-time soaps that followed, such as "Falcon Crest" and "Dynasty."
From alien to star - Producer Garry Marshall created two successful spinoffs from his hit show "Happy Days." The first, "Laverne & Shirley," starred Garry's sister Penny and "American Graffiti's" Cindy Williams as roommates in 1950s Milwaukee. The second spinoff was decidedly stranger: an alien who visits Richie and Fonzie in the '50s returns to Earth (specifically Boulder, Colorado) to observe our culture in the 1970s. Robin Williams played the titular "Mork from Ork," a role that made him an instant star. Pam Dawber played Mindy, the woman who befriends, protects and ultimately marries Mork in the show's fourth and final season.
America held hostage - On November 8, 1979, four days after the start of the Iran hostage crisis, ABC began running a nightly 20-minute special report devoted to the story. Three weeks later, ABC's Ted Koppel took over as fill-in anchor. On March 24, 1980, the show was renamed "Nightline."
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