Fall TV Preview… 50 years ago

As we slowly move into a new and slimmed-down TV season, it’s fun to look back on earlier days and what the television landscape was back then. Because YouTube has literally everything, here’s a fall preview TV special that originally aired in 1970.

This was ABC’s fall TV lineup, and along with shows that would go down in history like The Odd Couple, there were others like The Young Lawyers that are remembered today by only the most astute historians.

One thing I like to do with old shows is look closely for guest stars who later blossomed into well-known names. You’ll see Richard Pryor in The Young Lawyers, and if you’re really paying attention, check out a very young Kim Richards of Real Housewives fame in Nanny and the Professor.  Who else can you spot by watching this video?

1970 was notable for…

This was the first year of ABC’s Monday Night Football, a tradition that continues on to this day, albeit on ESPN. It also saw a flush of shows that catered to baby boomers who were then just entering the workplace. Like today, social justice was on the minds of so many. Scripted shows and news programs alike flaunted their focus on relevant issues.

Watching this show, made two generations ago, I can’t help thinking how some of it looks so incredibly contemporary. Some of it doesn’t, and that’s to be expected. Looking at the overall design, though, there’s something both modern and timeless about this part of our history that seems like it won’t ever go out of style.

Hey, remember movies of the week?

ABC had two slots for movies in its weekly lineup, with a mix of original content and recent theatrical releases. Of course this was a decade before home video rentals and four decades before Netflix, so this is where you got your movies back then. There really wasn’t anywhere else unless you count what were called “revival houses.”

Because, if you think about it, the TV landscape was incredibly different 50 years ago. Of course there were no movie rentals and no DVRs — or even VCRs. Watching live was the name of the game and in most cities there were only three channels with high-quality evening programming. You had to plan carefully. Different people in the house might want to watch different things. Multiple TVs in the home were pretty normal by that point, but there still wasn’t one TV for every person in every home. Compromises were going to be made.

One thing hasn’t changed

Back in 1970, a TV antenna was pretty much the only way to get a television picture in your home. Today in 2020, it’s still the best way. Most people can get dozens of channels of live TV using an antenna, and they’re all free. What’s kind of funny is, some of those channels actually play shows from 1970, today. But you won’t find those channels on cable or satellite. The only way to get them is to shop for an antenna at Solid Signal. If you’re not sure which one to get, call for help at 888-233-7563!


About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.