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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vintage TV Guide Ads: The Awesome 80s, Tough Guys & the Macabre Part 1


This was one show I looked forward to back then and here's the premiere from Friday night, November 6th, 1981. I had first seen Palance up on the big screen the previous year in WITHOUT WARNING (1980) and this eerily intimidating actor was now carving a creepy niche for himself on television with this bizarre series. This first episode includes a Czechoslovakian cathedral adorned with the bones of over 40,000 skeletons and a museum of criminality in Germany with medieval masks made to fit the crime of the wearer.

Above and below are three ads for the short lived western series starring legendary tough guy William Smith, J. Eddie Peck, Howard E. Rollins Jr., John Di Aquino and wrestling legend Terry Funk.

The series revolved around five elite law enforcers maintaining peace in "Wildside" territory. William Smith was the fast gun leader, his skilled gunfighting son, an explosives expert, a knife fighter and a master rope wrangler. Famed action-exploitation director Jack Starrett guest starred as a renegade general ransacking towns in his search for gold. Meg Ryan also was among the shows cast.

Sadly, the series didn't catch on and only lasted for six episodes. It debuted on ABC at 8pm, March 21st. 1985. There was also another ABC series that was debuting after it at 9pm that likewise was canceled before it really had a chance to catch on called EYE TO EYE starring Charles Durning.


This intense movie brought Farrah Fawcett a good deal of critical acclaim and was, at the time, the highest rated television movie of all time. It occasionally airs on various cable and satellite channels.



Check out this article above and below from December, 1982 about the best video games of that year. Remember how we were all in awe of Atari and the other systems as they brought the arcade experience into your home.

I had an Atari 2600 and do recall playing such games as PIT FALL, YARS REVENGE and favorites like MISSILE COMMAND, CENTIPEDE and SPACE INVADERS. An Atari 7800 came later with games such as KARATEKA and JOUST.

Intellivision was a pretty interesting system in its own right. My favorite game to play on it was ROBOTRON 2084.

Yes, those were the days back in the 80s! Would you wanna go back?


Above is the TV Guide ad of the Network Television Premiere for the Clint classic EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE (1978), Clint's biggest box office success at the time.

The hit sequel to the above film. At the time, and for a good number of years, Clint Eastwood movies were on television almost on a weekly basis.

This was one of Clint's cop thrillers that didn't veer too far from DIRTY HARRY territory. It's one of the few films I thought Sondra Locke looked good in. It's also one of Eastwood's most violent pictures as well as one in which he directed himself.


Shows and other television specials like these were a big deal back then and now the closest we get is the Dancing With the Stars thing.

I never watched this series that ran for two seasons, nor do I remember it, but it sounds like fun.

I never watched ST. ELSEWHERE but little did I know that my favorite show of all time, CHEERS, did a crossover episode with that series!

Chevy ad from 1985. My, my how these things have changed over time. I used to own a Caprice Classic myself, and the station wagon at the bottom left is like the one my parents had that we would make trips to two different drive in theaters in.

I never saw the first film on this CBS double header, but I did stay up to watch CRASH! (1977); once on Shock Theater and again on its Network Television Premiere as the CBS Late Night Movie, Friday, November 6th, 1981. I haven't seen it years but the film revolves around a hospital bound man who plots the death of his wife. Only she survives and ends up possessed by a magical idol that also takes the wheel of a driverless car to both take out her enemies and blow things up in spectacular fashion. It's directed by Charles Band.

Formerly known as THE LEGACY (1978), this was the Network Premiere of this England set Occultism movie about a couple who end up at a creepy mansion and run afoul of satanism that includes several OMENesque death scenes. Sam Elliott (FROGS), who would later appear in numerous westerns would also later become associated as the voice uttering the popular slogan, "Beef--it's what's for dinner."



Franco Macabro said...

Cool article man, took me back to the 80's alright! I played a lot of those games on the Atari, I remember one of my first video game experiences was with the E.T. video game, I also played a system called Odyssey, which was kind of Atari's competition.

But yeah, back than, having a those first game systems in your home was the ultimate in coolness, you had an Atari you were a cool kid.

Fazeo said...

Awesome article, talk about a flood of memories!

Though I don't remember that Western show Wild Side, wished I did, it looks like a lot of fun, love the cast.

I owned a 2600(and later a 7800) and had many of those games. Pitfall was such a breakthrough went it was released, we all thought its graphics were amazing. I miss that era.

Thanks again for another fantastic walk down memory lane.

Ed said...

Cool stuff, I love this kind of thing.

venoms5 said...

@ Fran: Oh, yeah, the Odyssey. They mention that one in that article. There was a lot of them, but Atari was the best, as you said. Hell, I wouldn't mind going back!

@ Fazeo: Thanks, my friend, glad you liked it! Part two is up now and part three (I had so many left over, I figured I'd throw another entry onto it) will be up tomorrow.

@ Ed: Yeah, me too, Ed!

Shaun Anderson [The Celluloid Highway] said...

Excellent work Brian - y'know the one thing I have never been able to get into is video games. Even as a kid, they just didn't do anything for me. I've never so much as owned a games console. I thought the ads for the Clint Eastwood films were great...I'm a huge fan of Clint.

venoms5 said...

Thanks, Shaun. I was never huge on the arcade, but did delight upon receiving an Atari 2600 one Christmas morning. I do recall great frustration in playing this awful game called STARMASTER. I couldn't make heads or tails of it. You just fly through blank space for what seemed like an eternity before anything shows up, lol. I do own a PS2 and PS3 and have several games, most of which I have never played nor finished, lol.

There's plenty of Clint ads spanning the three parts and more to come. He was HUGE here on television during the 1980s. The one ad I was startled to come across was the TV movie from Abel Ferrara, THE GLADIATOR, a vigilante movie in the spirit of THE ROAD WARRIOR shown in part 2. Never seen it, but would like to, and ditto for the William Devane revenge thriller, THE OTHER VICTIM from part 3.

Maldoror said...

"It's one of the few films I thought Sondra Locke looked good in"

She also beautiful here::

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