June 23, 2012

This week in TV Guide: June 24, 1967

I was a month past seven years old when this TV Guide came out in June of 1967.  What would I have been watching?  And more, would it embarrass me today?

What seven-year-old didn't start off the weekend with Saturday morning cartoons?  I would have, that's for sure.  A lot of my favorites were missing by then, like Alvin, but there was still plenty to watch.  I remember Atom Ant, so that was likely one of them, and I used to watch The Flintstones, although its appeal (like that of The Honeymooners) escapes me today. Secret Squirrel?  Possibly.  Road Runner and Bugs Bunny?  Probably - I'm definitely not embarrassed by them today.  Cool McCool?  Maybe, because I remember it, including the cool theme, but it was on against Road Runner, so maybe not.  Probably Hoppity Hooper but not American Bandstand.

I watched a lot of sports back then - more than I do today, or at least it seems that way - so it was likely I watched the baseball Game of the Week that Saturday afternoon, a totally unappealing matchup between the Braves and Mets, neither of whom were good yet.  Wide World of Sports was on next and I usually watched that, although there was golf on it and I wasn't into golf yet.  I might well have watched Get Smart on Saturday night.  I thought it was funny back then, although I didn't like the love angle with Agent 99.  (Well, I was seven.)  Don Adams, whom I would have recognized from Tennessee Tuxedo, was always a favorite of mine, and he really was brilliant in that show.  It's not something I'd admit to watching today, though. 

I'll bet I watched soccer on Sunday afternoon, as the Chicago Spurs took on the Philadelphia Spartans in a match of the National Professional Soccer League.  Never heard of it?  Back in 1967 there were, if you can believe it, not one but two pro soccer leagues in this country, the other being the United Soccer League.  After this season they would merge to form the North American Soccer League (NASL), which stuck around for a long time.  Without the Spurs and Spartans, though.  The Twins played the Red Sox on Tuesday night, and those two would play again at the end of that season, in a series that decided the American League pennant.  It was a wonderful pennant chase, called The Great Race, that also featured the Tigers and White Sox.  The four teams battled down to the final week, and when the Red Sox beat the Twins on the last day of the season and the Tigers lost, the Red Sox went to the World Series for the first time since the 40s.  They lost.

It was summer and school was out, so I would have watched Lunch With Casey every afternoon - it was a wonderful kids' show, and Casey and Roundhouse were two terrific guys.  It's a tragedy that shows like Casey aren't on anymore, and a tragedy that kids aren't home during the lunch hour to see them.  I watched another kids show in the afternoon, Popeye and Pete; Pete was a talking bird, and Popeye - well, Popeye was Popeye.

Paging through the days of the week, I probably watched The Monkees and The Rat Patrol.  I wouldn't be caught dead with The Monkees today, but I own both seasons of The Rat Patrol on DVD.  I probably watched Combat! and Petticoat Junction, My Three Sons, The Time Tunnel, Bewitched and Batman; today I'd take the war drama.  What I didn't watch then, but would have today, was the educational channel's An Age of Kings, which shows up a lot in these old TV Guides.  This was a series of Shakespearian productions, the history plays, done in historically chronological order in the early 60s.  Incredibly, it's available today in DVD; I wonder if they could have imagined that back then?

I shied away from the serious stuff back then, but there was one news show I remember watching: CBS' four-part series on the Warren Report, which ran Sunday through Wednesday night.  I don't know why I was attracted to that; perhaps I had a vague memory of the assassination, which had happened less than four years prior.  My mother had already started buying books on it, for me to read when I was older and would appreciate it, and she'd saved the newspapers from that weekend, as well as the TV Guide the following January that detaailed how TV had covered it.  Little would I know, as I read through those pages in the years to come, that some day I'd be able to see almost all of it on YouTube.  Clearly, for me it was the shape of things to come.

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