It's killer ANTS, Godzilla in the evenings, failed TV pilots, Savalas advertising razorblades, variety specials, The Bee Gees and more in this seventh entry of Vintage TV Guide Ads!
IT HAPPENED AT LAKEWOOD MANOR was a Made For Television horror picture that had its premiere as the ABC Friday Night Movie on December 2nd, 1977.
The plot concerned a new resort built over an old chemical site. Millions of ants are affected by the chemicals toxicity and begin attacking the guests and construction workers before the place even opens. So not only do you have killer ants, but their bite is lethal since they're saturated with this poisonous chemical.
A small scale disaster movie, the sort popularized by the films of Irwin Allen, this eco-horror, 'Nature Amuck' movie stars Lynda Day George (GRIZZLY, PIECES), Robert Foxworth (PROPHECY), Myrna Loy, Suzanne Somers, Bernie Casey and Barry Van Dyke among others. It was later released on videocassette as ANTS.
Here's an ad for the Gilette Twinjector razorblades. The man pictured is that lover of lollipops, KOJAK himself, Telly Savalas!
Hugely popular singer Barry Manilow did four television variety specials. This is an ad for the third one from Wednesday, May 23rd, 1979.
His special guest was country crooner, John Denver. This special was nominated for two Emmy's and won for 'Outstanding Achievement in Choreography'.
Among the highlights for those interested, Manilow sang the hits, 'Ready To Take A Chance Again', 'Weekend In New England', 'Even Now' and 'Somewhere In the Night'. He also does a production number set to 'Copacabana'. Denver, outside of participating on some songs with Manilow, solos 'What's On Your Mind?'. An elaborate spoof of Hollywood musicals is the programs big number.
Here's an ad for the William Conrad narrated show THE WILD, WILD WORLD OF ANIMALS, a series that ran from 1973 to 1978. The opening show montage and music has stuck in my head since watching it as a kid back then.
Kodak's cutting edge movie camera in 1977!
An ad for the 'What If?' Hallmark Hall of Fame TV Movie THE COURT MARTIAL OF GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER. This 95 minute feature debuted December 1st, 1977. James Olsen (AMITYVILLE 2: THE POSSESSION) played Custer. Among the other cast are Blythe Danner, Brian Keith, Richard Dysart and Anthony Zerbe.
From the November 10th issue of TV Guide is this shot of The Bee Gees. Both Robin and Maurice have died, the former in May of 2012 and the latter in January of 2003. Barry is the sole remaining member alive.
Now this is something you won't see nowadays! An entire week of Godzilla movies on the 6:30 movie! Yes, this was a time you could come home from school, do your homework, have supper, then settle down to some creature features any day of the week... before and after bedtime!
THE NIGHTINGALES was a pilot for an NBC lady cop show starring Marcia Strassman (WELCOME BACK, KOTTER) and Colette Blonigan. Both played undercover policewomen working the Hollywood beat. The show, not part of the networks Fall lineup, apparently was never picked up. There is no IMDB listing for this pilot.
This same night, May 19th, 1979, viewers could stay up late and catch THE INCREDIBLE TWO-HEADED TRANSPLANT (1971) at 11:30 and MONSTER ZERO (1965) at 1:00am on the ABC network.
Two years later in 1981, CAGNEY & LACEY would take off for a successful seven season run for a lady cop double team.
Also on the same night, but on the CBS network, was STEELTOWN, another potential series pilot not on that stations announced schedule.
This one took place in 1963 and, judging by the ad, was an action-drama about social class collision within a small town whose economy is built around a local steel mill. Among the cast are Michael Biehn (THE TERMINATOR), Bibi Besch (STAR TREK 2) and DEATHSTALKER himself, Richard Hill!
This series seems to not have been picked up, either. Unlike THE NIGHTINGALES, the IMDB does have a listing for this 60 minute pilot episode.
Perry King got to (sort of) relive his MANDINGO (1975) days with the 1979 TV Movie, LOVE'S SAVAGE FURY. What a title! This Civil War drama was set during the last days of the war and saw King playing a Confederate soldier in love with Jennifer O'Neill's character, the daughter of a plantation owner played by Raymond Burr. Tons of buried gold figure into this story of North and South. The film was shot in Natchez, Mississippi.
REAL PEOPLE was a popular television series that was something of a light-hearted MONDO CANE for the small screen, but dealing with humorous and amazing scenarios within the United States. The success of this show led to the even more popular THAT'S INCREDIBLE!, which debuted the following year.
These Vintage TV Guides contain an extraordinary amount of cigarette ads. Not only were there several ads for them throughout the digests, but they often would feature them on the back covers, too. Here's one of the more silly, and unusual ones from 1979.
Shot in Hawaii, four women and one man take A VACATION IN HELL when their raft sinks and they end up stranded in the jungle on the other side of the island resort they are staying in. Some natives provide menace, but there's another threat here--the TV level sexual tension between the characters. It's reminiscent of Eastwood's THE BEGUILED (1971).
Priscilla Barnes (THREE'S COMPANY, TINTORERA) and Maureen McCormick (BRADY BUNCH, MOONSHINE COUNTY EXPRESS) are among the cast. This was a trashy TV flick that debuted on the ABC Monday Night Movie, May 21st, 1979.