Short-Lived and Easily Forgotten TV Series From the '70s
1970's Prime Time Shows That Disappeared Almost As Soon As They Appeared
Compiled here is a listing of 45 short-lived and possibly easily forgotten 70's television series. Offering up photos, trivia, plot lines, cast lists and more we can take a fond look back at shows that just didn't catch the viewing audience's attention for one reason or another: poorly cast, wrong time slot, unbelievable plot lines and more.
There are more 70s shows that fit into this category, but a page this size simply can't list them all. If you can think of one that does (and you probably can), feel free to write about it in the guestbook.
So, let's get started with our journey, shall we?
Ken Howard and Blythe Danner in Adam's Rib
- Adam's Rib was a situation comedy that began its run on ABC on September 14, 1973 and lasted until December 28, 1973.
- Ken Howard was Adam Bonner and Blythe Danner was his wife, Amanda. The show was based on the classic big screen film of the same name that starred Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Keeping theme with the movie, the TV show has Adam as an assistant D.A. and his wife as a partner in a law firm whose jobs often pitted them against each other. Of course, this didn't stop in the court room, they were often on opposite sides of issues in their home life, too.
- Dena Dietrich who was famous for her Chiffon/Mother Nature commercials of the 70's was Amanda's secretary. Handsome Edward Winter was Kip Kipple, Amanda's law firm partner. Ron Rifkin was Assistant D.A. Roy Mendelsohn and Norman Bartold was District Attorney Donahue and these two were always the good old boys on Adam's side of the things.
- Both Ken Howard and Blythe Danner were successful stage actors before taking their roles on the series. Ken won an Tony in 1970 for his work in Child's Play. Blyth is a two time Tony winner, first in 1968 for The Miser and in 1970 for Butterflies Are Free.
Priscilla Barnes and Debra Clinger in The American Girls
- The American Girls: An adventure drama series that aired on CBS beginning September 23, 1978 and lasting until November 10, 1978.
- It was in a 9-10 pm time slot up against ABC's The Love Boat , so it's easy to see why it didn't seem to have much of a chance.
- Priscilla Barnes was Rebecca Tomkins and Debra Clinger was Amy Waddell, two beautiful reporters who worked for The American Report a TV news program. Rebecca was the more experienced reporter, a city girl who was witty, sexy and sophisticated, while Amy, a small town girl, was fresh out of college and had a lot to learn. The pair traveled all over the country in a van that was equipped with the latest technology that allowed them to report stories even from the most remote of locations. David Spielberg was their producer, Francis X. Casey and the news programs anchor/host was Jason Cook played by William Prince.
- Trivia: Debra did a stint on Saturday morning TV as Superchic on The Kroftt Supershow from 1977. She was part of the singing group who hosted the show, Kaptain Kool and the Kongs.
Rod Taylor and Dennis Cole in Bearcats!
- Bearcats! ran on CBS for one season beginning on September 16, 1971 and ending on December 30, 1971.
- Set in 1914 Johnny Reach (Dennis Cole) and Hank Brackett (Rod Taylor) travel around the American Southwest in a Stutz Bearcat. The guys are mercenaries of sorts, taking on a variety of dangerous jobs for rich clients and their fee was determined at the end of their missions. The more dangerous the job the more it would cost. How else would the guys pay for their Bearcat!
- Despite the fact that CBS hyped this show highly, it was up against the highly popular Flip Wilson Show on NBC and ABC's popular Alias Smith and Jones . I don't know, maybe a better name for the series would have helped, too?
James Sutorius in The Andros Targets
- Originally airing on CBS from January 31, 1977 to July 9, 1977. James Sutorius was Mike Andros, a newspaper reporter for the The New York Forum who focused much of his attention on seeking to expose corruption in the big city that had a tendency to be hushed up by the powers that be. He was helped in his fight against corruption by his sidekick and assistant, Sandi Farrell (Pamela Reed). Also starred Roy Poole, Alan Mixon, Ted Beniades, and Jordan Charney.
- Criticized as being an unrealistic portrayal of an investigative reporter.
- The New York Forum's motto was "A Free Press, a Free Country."
David Groh and Joan Hackett in Another Day
- Another Day was a comedy that aired beginning on April 8, 1978 and lasted until April 29, 1978.
- David Groh was Don Gardner a young businessman who was just getting by financially. His wife, Ginny as played by Joan Hackett was working to help ease the financial burden.
- Adding to the family struggles were two kids, son Mark played by Al Eisenmann and daughter, Kelly played by Lisa Lindgren. Rounding out the cast was Hope Summers as Olive Gardner who was the typical complaining mother-in-law who lived with the family.
- Groh didn't want to do another comedy series so fresh after getting out of the series Rhoda. He was really looking for a gritty, realistic dramatic series, but CBS told him that viewers weren't into that kind of series at the time.
Dirk Benedict and Jim McMullen in Chopper One
- This was an Aaron Spelling police drama that ran on ABC for 13 episodes starting on January 17, 1974 and ending April 11, 1974.
- Officers Don Burdick (Jim McMullan ) and Gil Foley (Dirk Benedict) are chopper pilots who are the eye in the sky for officers on the ground chasing after the bad guys. It almost makes you think of the 80's series, Blue Thunder or Air Wolf only their helicopter wasn't all tricked out with the latest technology.
- Note that Dirk Benedict would go on, approximately four years later to star on the original Battle Star Galactica as Starbuck. I admit it, I have a very slight memory of Chopper One but I can't say for sure if I watched it regularly.
- Called Adam 12 with rotary blades by some critics.
- Each half hour episode cost about $140,000 to produce. The average half hour show costs about $90,000. What ran the price tag up was needing two chopper pilots, two helicopters, having to pay the city of Los Angeles various fees.
- It aired on Thursday nights from 8 to 8:30.
- The director of each episode was given stunt pay wages because he had to fly in a helicopter to direct all the action.
70s Teen Idol David Cassidy stars in David Cassidy: Man Undercover
- David Cassidy: Man Undercover was a spin off series from a two hour Police Story movie. The movie was highly rated and earned David an Emmy nomination. NBC thought that maybe David was ready for a new series since he hadn't worked on TV since The Partridge Family. David played David Shay, a young married undercover cop. It started on in November of 1978, lasted for 10 episodes before being canceled.
- It co-starred Simon Oakland, who you may recall played much harried newspaper editor Tony Vincenzo on Kolchak; The Night Stalker series with Darrin McGavin which was another great 70's show that didn't last as long as it should have!
- Critics weren't kind to David or the show. Most just saw it as an attempt for David to revive his career which slumped, according to the critics, after The Partridge Family (they didn't like that show, either) ended.
- David willingly took time off (three years) from the world of music and acting after The Partridge Family ended.
- One critic likened the theme song to the series as performed by David (he also wrote it) as a "cross between "Feelings and the mating cry of a Siberian newt."
- David's desire to be an actor started at age 3 when he saw his father, Jack Cassidy performing on the Broadway stage.
James Franciscus as Doc Elliott
- Doc Elliott was a medical drama series that first aired on ABC on January 23, 1974 and lasted until August 14, 1974.
- Handsome James Franciscus was Dr. Benjamin Elliott, a successful New York City doctor who decided to drop out of the big city rat race and take on a new job as a doctor in Gideon, Colorado. Most of his house calls had to be made via plane or four wheel drive vehicles as his practice covered over 600 square miles. Neva Patterson was Mags Brimble the widow of the former town's doctor who became Elliott's helper. Noah Beery was Barney Weeks the owner of the town's general store and Bo Hopkins as Elred McCoy a bush pilot.
- James went through medical drills in that he learned how to handle a medical bag, how to use instruments, how to give shots just so it would look like it was second nature to him (after all, he was playing a doctor!).
- The show's focus wasn't really about medicine, it was about people and their struggles.
- This was the fifth series for James.
- The series lasted for 14 episodes and has yet to be released onto DVD.
Kim Bassinger in Dog and Cat
- Dog and Cat was a police drama that aired on ABC beginning March 5, 1977 and managed to last until May 14, 1977.
- A young Kim Basinger was Officer J.Z. Kane a rookie cop who was partnered with long time police veteran Det. Sgt. Jack Ramsey and played by Lou Antonio. This was a light-hearted look at police work and also starred Matt Clark as Lt. Arthur Kipling.
- Kane and Ramsey tool around in Kane's 1966 VW Bug that has a Porsche 9-12 engine in it.
- "Dog and cat" is a slang term that is used to denote a male/female partnership. The series lasted for just six episodes before being canceled.
James Drury in Firehouse
- Firehouse was an adventure/drama series that aired on ABC beginning on January 17, 1974 and lasting until August 1, 1974.
- James Drury was Capt. Spike Ryerson an older firefighter who was a mentor and father figure to the other younger members of Engine Co. 23. Richard Jaeckel was Hank Myers, Michael Delano was Sonny Caputo, Brad David was Billy Dalzell.
- The series was inspired by a best selling book, "Report from Engine Co. 28", written by a veteran firefighter. I have to admit that I don't recall this series at all. :(
Adrien Zmed and Joseph Cali in Flatbush
- Flatbush attempted to be a comedy series and it aired on CBS beginning on February 26, 1979 and lasted until March 12, 1979.
- The show followed the adventures of five high school graduates who lived in the middle class neighborhood of Flatbush in New York. Together, the five formed the Flatbush Fungos gang and they would roam their neighborhood looking for fun and excitement.
- Joseph Cali was Presto, a cab driver. Adrian Zmed was Socks, the fashion plate of the group who worked at a local clothing store. Sandy Helberg was Figgy, who worked as a grocery store delivery person. Randy Stumpf was Joey, who worked as an apprentice plumber during the day and went to night school pursuing a law degree. Vincent Bufano was Turtle who worked at his family's restaurant.
- This show was not well received, especially by the real life president of Flatbush who demanded that it be taken off the air because of it's insulting use of stereotypes. I can't say for sure if CBS took his concerns seriously or not, but the show was canceled after airing only three episodes.
Connie Selleca, Pat Klous and Kathryn Witt in Flying High
- Flying High was an adventure show that first took flight on CBS September 29, 1978 and lasted until January 23, 1979. It made it for one season, with 19 episodes filmed, but only 15 actually aired.
- Pat Clouse was Marcy Bowers , Connie Selleca was Lisa Benton and Kathryn Witt was Pam Bellagio. These three beautiful ladies had just recently graduated from flight stewardess school and were now working for Sunwest Airlines. The show focused on their adventures on the job and occasionally we got a glimpse into their private lives.
- Howard Platt, as Captain Doug March was the pilot who considered himself a ladies man, but never was able to make too much of a romantic impression on the ladies. Ken Olfson was Raymond Strickland, the passenger relations agent who worked on the ground crew in Los Angeles where Sunwest Airlines was based.
Ben Murphy as Gemini Man
- The series was first broadcast on September 23, 1976 and lasted until October 28, 1976 before being canceled. It has yet to be released onto DVD, but fans of Ben's can always keep hoping!
- Ben Murphy was Sam Casey a secret agent who worked for a government organization called INTERSECT.
- While diving on one mission, Sam was contaminated with radiation from an underwater explosion which rendered him invisible. It was only through the dedicated scientists at INTERSECT that Sam was able to turn visible again, using a special watch they created. By turning the watch off, Sam could go invisible but if he stayed that way for more than 15 minutes in any 24 hour period, he would die.
- Gemini Man was actually a revamp on the David McCallum series, The Invisible Man, that had aired the year before. Leslie Stevens who had created such classic shows as The Outer Limits and had written episodes of McCloud and It Takes a Thief was called into make the show into something that could be sustainable week after week. Gone was the permanent invisibility, Casey could turn his off and on at will. Casey was a swashbuckler, a hero, whereas, Weston (McCallum's character) was a dour scientist who was on the run from just about everyone.
- Ben graduated from college with a degree in political science.
Teresa Graves in Get Christie Love
- Inspired by a TV movie, this series was very short lived and was TV's attempt at the blaxploitation genre that seemed so popular for big screen movies. It is also significant because it is the first prime time show that had a black female in a lead role.
- Pretty Teresa Graves, was Det. Christie Love, a tough as nails African American undercover cop who worked for the Special Investigations Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.
- Michael Pataki was Sgt. Pete Gallagher, her partner. Her first boss was Lt. Matt Reardon played by Charles Cioffi and later in the show he was replaced by Jack Kelly as Captain Arthur Ryan.
- Cicely Tyson was scheduled to play the role of Christie Love, but when her movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman ran over schedule, they called in Teresa. There was some speculation that Cicely had changed her mind about the role of Christie Love because of her work in the Pittman movie. She didn't want to dilute the impact and importance of that film but doing Christie Love.
- The series has never been released onto DVD, but the TV movie has.
- Teresa had a lovely singing voice and began her career in the entertainment field as a member of the group the Doodletown Pipers.
- Sadly, Teresa died in 2002 at age 54, from injuries sustained in a house fire.
- Does anyone else think that Teresa looked like Whitney Houston?
John Savage and Gig Young in Gibbsville
- Gibbsville was a drama set in 1940s Pennsylvania. Jim Malloy (John Savage) is a cub reporter at the Gibbsville Courier. He is partnered with veteran reporter, Ray Whitehead (Gig Young) , who had moved onto bigger and better things, but is now back at the Courier trying to salvage his career after losing a bout with the bottle.
- This NBC series started on November 11, 1976 and finished December 30, 1976. The characters for this series were based on author John O'Hara's writings.
- Gibbsville is actually based on Pottsville, PA, where author John O'Hara grew up.
- Frank D. Gilroy, a Pulitizer Prize winning playwright wrote and directed the television movie that acted as the pilot for this series.
- Thirteen episodes of the series were produced but only six made it onto the air.
Whitman Mayo as Grady
- Grady, this comedy series spin off from the Sandford and Son, began its run on NBC December 4, 1975 and lasted until March 4, 1976.
- Whitman Mayo starred as Grady Wilson, one of Fred Sanford's neighbors and friends who moved into Watts, a neighborhood of Los Angeles so he could spend more time with his daughter, Ellie, and her family.
- Carol Cole was Ellie Wilson Marshall with Joe Morton as her husband, Hal. Jack Fletcher was Mr. Pratt, the Marshall's landlord and Alix Elias was Rose Kosinski, one of the Marshall's neighbors.
- When Redd Foxx walked out on the series Sanford and Son, instead of shutting down production, the producers gave Grady (Whitman Mayo) the opportunity to step into the limelight while Foxx was gone. He did so well filling in for Foxx (much to Foxx's dismay) that he was offered his own series.
Shelley Fabares and Stephen McHattie star in Highcliffe Manor
- Highcliffe Manor aired on NBC from April 12, 1979 to May 3, 1979.
- Was meant to be a spoof on the old Gothic horror tales.
- Helen Black (Shelley Fabares) was a recently widowed lady who has inherited a huge stone mansion that sits off the coast of Massachusetts. It was the home of a "think tank" of sorts, populated with a wide assortment of strange characters. They all want to get rid of Helen so they can get on with their plans of cloning all the world leaders.
- Also starred Audrey Landers, Jenny O'Hara, Ernie Hudson, Stephen McHattie.
- Many critics complained about the laugh track.
- NBC ordered six episodes but only 3 aired.
Richard B. Shull and John Schuck in Holmes and Yoyo
- Holmes and Yoyo was a comedy series that began its run on ABC September 25, 1976 and lasted until December 11, 1976.
- Richard B. Shull was Det. Alexander Holmes an accident prone police officer who always managed to send every partner he ever had to the hospital.
- The police department then decided to try out a new robotic police officer in the guise of Det. Gregory "Yoyo" Yonovich (John Schuck) as Holme's partner. Only a few knew that Yoyo was a robot, as he was very life like; one of the running gags on the show was having Officer Maxine Moon as played by Andrea Howard, making passes at Yoyo with very little success.
- This has made many lists as being one of the worst TV series ever produced.
- It was schedule against the successful series The Jeffersons on CBS and the first half of Emergency on NBC.
- Producers and network executives hoped it would pull viewers, especially children, away from its competition because of the slapstick silliness of the show.
- Schuck was pulling double duty, playing on the successful detective series McMillan and Wife while working on this series.
Christopher George Was The Immortal
- Handsome Ben Richards (Christopher George) was a race car test driver who was 42 years old but looks 25. That's because he was immune to aging and every known disease because he had special blood. His problems began when he donated blood to save the life of his aging and wealthy employer who decided to imprison Richard and use him as his own "fountain of youth".. Richards manages to get away and then spends the rest of his time trying to stay one step ahead of the bounty hunter out of get him and bring him back into the wealthy man's clutches.
- George always considered himself a competent actor and one that was reliable as well, which, he believed were the two main reasons he was in demand. (I would like to add that he was darn nice to look at, too!)
- This series ran for 15 episodes and rumors had it that a 2016 DVD release would happen, but so far, nothing.
- Sadly, Christopher died of a heart attack at age 54 (some sources list 52) on November 28, 1983.
McLean Stevenson in In The Beginning
- This very short-lived and easily forgotten McLean Stevenson series that aired on CBS from September 20 1978 to October 18, 1978.
- It was an update of sorts of the classic 1944 film Going My Way that starred Bing Crosby. Stevenson was conservative priest, Father Cleary, who always found himself at odds with Sister Agnes (Priscilla Lopez), who was very liberal in her attitude toward sinners. The comedy was their interactions with each other and the multitude of characters that came into the mission in Baltimore.
- There were nine episodes filmed, but only five were broadcast. This was Stevenson's second attempt at a series since leaving M.A.S.H with the first being another short-lived venture called The McLean Stevenson Show.
- After the series cancellation Stevenson wanted to go on a bit of a personal hiatus but was coaxed by Norman Lear to start work on a new series Hello Larry.
- Stevenson claimed he never regretted leaving the series M*A*S*H, because it was just time for him to find other opportunities.
Karen Valentine in Karen
- Karen was a mid season comedy replacement series starring Karen Valentine that began it's run on ABC on January 30, 1975 and lasted until June 19, 1975.
- Karen was Karen Angelo, a single woman who worked at an organization in Washington, D.C. called "Open America", that spent it's time seeking out and exposing crooked politicians and doing lobbying work for citizen's concerns.
- Denver Pyle who would go on to work in The Life and Times of Grizzley Adams and The Dukes of Hazzard, starred in the pilot , but his character would be taken over by actor Charles Lane in the remaining episodes.
- Also starring Dene Dietrich, Aldine King, Alix Elias, Will Seltzer and Oliver Clark.
Art Carney and Bruce Solomon in Lanigan's Rabbi
- Lanigan's Rabbi was based upon the mystery novels of Harry Kemelman and this short lived 1977 series starred Art Carney as Police Chief Paul Lanigan who along with his best friend, Rabbi David Small (Bruce Solomon) investigate and solve crimes in a small California town.
- The series was broadcast on a rotating basis on NBC's Sunday Mystery Movie that also boasted episodes of McMillian and Wife, Columbo and McCloud. Only four episodes of this particular series managed to be shown before NBC canceled the Sunday Mystery Movie.
- In the pilot movie for the series, our Rabbi was played by Stuart Margolin who couldn't continue with the series because of scheduling conflicts. Bruce Solomon, was then cast to fill the role. You may recall had a role on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and his character ran away with Mary.
Gregory Harrison and Heather Menzies in Logan's Run
- This 14 episode CBS series ran from September 16, 1977 to January 7, 1978.
- The world has been ravaged by nuclear war. The survivors live in a domed city where all their needs are met. It sounds like paradise, but the catch is, no one can live beyond the age of 30 because of the limited space and supplies. When it's time for termination, you can either take part in the "carousel" (the execution process) or you can be like some who become "runners" and who seek to find safety in the "Sanctuary" that exists beyond the walls of the city. That sounds easier said than done, because runners are pursued every step of the way by "Sandmen" (police assassins).
- Logan (Gregory Harrison) a Sandman, begins to question the system and meets Jessica,(Heather Menzies) a woman soon destined for termination. Together they decide to try for the Sanctuary and spend the series being pursued by another Sandman determined to stop them from getting out of the city.
- The series is on DVD having been released in 2012.
Kevin Brophy as Lucan
- Lucan was an adventure drama series that began its run on ABC on December 26, 1977 and lasted until December 4, 1978. The series began it's life as a successful TV movie.
- Kevin Brophy was Lucan a young man who had spent the first 10 years of his life out in the wild being raised by wolves. He was rescued by kindly Dr. Hoagland played by John Randolph who took him under his wing and over the course of the next 10 years, spent his time teaching Lucan the ways of civilized society When a fire at the lab of Hoagland's takes the life of one man, Lucan is blamed for the death. He takes to the road, not just running from a cop known as Prentiss played by Don Gordon, but also to seek out his real identity and to find his parents.
- Living in the wild for the first years of his life, did have some advantages, he was able to use the skills learned from the wolf pack in order to evade his pursuer, Prentis and anyone else who was a threat to him. The series lasted for 11 episodes.
David Hartman in Lucas Tanner
- Lucas Tanner was a drama that began its run on NBC September 11, 1974 and ended on August 20, 1975 with 22 episodes.
- David Hartman was Lucas Tanner, a successful baseball player and sportswriter who gives up both when his wife and son are killed in an accident. He decides he wants to start a new chapter in his life, so he moves to St. Louis and gets a job as a teacher at Harry S. Truman Memorial High School. He has a hands on, friendly approachable style that makes him a popular teacher with his students, but not so popular with his fellow teachers who like the old school method of teaching. Robbie Rist played Glendon Farrell, a little boy who lived near Tanner and would come over just to talk.
Ken Howard Was The Manhunter
- The Manhunter was a detective drama began its run on September 11, 1974 on CBS and lasted until April 9, 1975. It starred Ken Howard as Dave Barrett an ex marine who lost his best friend during a bank robbery.
- Set during the depression years of the 1930s we watched as Dave gave up his farm life to take on the role of a private detective with a mission; he was going to arrest as many gangsters as he could. His mission took him all over the country and he only returned home to visit his sister, Lizabeth played by Hilary Thompson and his father, James played by Ford Rainey and his mother, Mary, played by Claudia Bryar.
- Was up against popular ABC series Get Christie Love and NBC's Petrocelli.
- Notable Guest Stars: Greg Morris, Claudia Jennings, Sam Elliot, Mark Hamil, Monte Markham, Denver Pyle, Joan Van Ark.
Jackie Cooper and Mark Wheeler in Mobile One
- Mobile One was an adventure series that began its run on ABC September 12, 1975 and lasted until December 29, 1975.
- Jackie Cooper was Peter Campbell a veteran news reporter who covered news from his mobile news unit called KONE which was new technology at the time. Julie Gregg as Maggie Spencer, his producer and handsome Mark Wheeler as Doug McKnight, the cameraman rounded out this cast.
- I have to admit i have no recollection of this show at all, possibly because it ran up against Sanford and Son and Chico and the Man on NBC and Big Eddie and M.A.S.H on CBS.
Lawrence Pressman and Elinor Donahue in Mulligan's Stew
- Mulligan's Stew was a comedy drama series that began its run in October of 1977 and lasted until December of 1977.
- Lawrence Pressman was Michael Mulligan a high school teacher/football coach who was married to Jane, played by Elinor Donahue. They had three children of their own and suddenly found themselves having to take in Michael' sisters four children when she and her husband are killed. The Mulligan children and their new adopted siblings have a tough time adjusting to each other as each family raised their children with different values and morals.
- The differences of the children and their interactions and troubles that came about because of these differences is what producers hoped would provide the comedic and dramatic elements.
Claude Akins and Jerry Reed in Nashville 99
- Most recall Jerry Reed as a successful country singer, songwriter and musician, but Jerry did get bitten by the acting bug for a while and starred in the series of Smokey and the Bandit movies with friend, Burt Reynolds. But, Jerry also tried his hand at several short-lived TV series, one being Nashville 99 that aired in 1977.
- Nashville 99 was a replacement series for The Sonny and Cher Show that was pulled from the CBS schedule.
- Jerry played Detective Trace Mayne and Claude was Lt. Stonewall Jackson Huff. His badge number was 99. Jerry's character offered up the comedic relief and musical interludes.
- There were only four episodes filmed and it was never picked up as a regular series.
Bonnie Bedelia and Kurt Russell in The New Land
- The New Land was an adventure series that began its run on ABC September 14, 1974 and lasted until October 19, 1974.
- Based on the feature film The New Land (also called The Emigrants) that starred Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman.
- Bonnie Bedelia was Anna Larsen and Scott Thomas was her husband, Christian, they were Swiss immigrants who were trying to build a life together, with their children, in the wilderness near Solna, Minnesota. Along for the adventure was Rev.Lundstrom, Christian's brother, as played by Donald Moffat and his wife, Molly as played by Gwen Arner. Lou Frizzel was Murdock the owner of the local general store.
- The show lasted for six weeks, airing 6 of the 13 episodes before getting hit with the cancellation axe.
Rod Taylor and Andrew Stevens in The Oregon Trail
- The Oregon Trail ran on NBC from September 21, 1977 – November 30, 1977.
- Evan Thorpe (Rod Taylor), a widower, decided to pack up his kids, Andrew, William and Rachel and head for a better life in the Oregon Territory. Joining a wagon train, he finds himself the captain when then original leader proves to be unfit for the job.
- Fellow traveler, Margaret Devlin (Darlene Carr) was the romantic interest Evan on this trip. Luther Spraque (Charles Napier) was a hardened scout who had no patience for the "citified" folks traveling on the Oregon Trail.
- Notable guest stars: Claude Akins, Bill Bixby (who directed 2 episodes), William Shatner, Stella Stevens, and Robert Pine.
- The complete series was released onto DVD in 2010.
James Earl Jones as Paris
- Paris was a police drama began its run on CBS on September 29, 1979 and ended on January 15, 1980.
- James Earl Jones was Woody Paris a police captain who also taught a course in criminology at a local college. Paris was the head of a special Metro Squad that was designed to work on solving the really tough cases. Lee Chamberlain was Woody's understanding and supportive wife, Barbara. Hank Garrett was Deputy Chief Jerome Bench who was Paris' boss. Working with Paris were four young police officers, Stacey Erickson as played by Cecilia Hart, Charlie Bogart as played by Jake Mitchell, Willie Miller as played by Mike Warren and Ernie Villas portrayed by Frank Ramirez.
Edward Winter and Casey Swaim in Project UFO
- One of my favorite short lived series was this Project UFO created by Jack Webb of Dragnet fame.
- It's based on Project Blue Book the official name of the program the United States Air Force managed that investigated U.F.O. encounters. While most of their investigations proved that in most instances the sightings were either faked or cases of mistaken identity, there were about 30% that could not be satisfactorily explained. It is these cases that the show dramatized.
- The series was produced by Colonel William T. Coleman who was the real life head of Project Bluebook. Even though this show lasted for two seasons, beginning in 1978, lots of folks seem to have forgotten about this show which lasted from February 19, 1978 to August 30, 1979.
- During the first season, the two investigating Air Force Officers were Major Jake Gatlin (William Jordan) and Staff Sgt. Harry Fitz (Caskey Swain). In the second season, Jordan was replaced by Edward Winter as Captain Ben Ryan.
Stu Gilliam and Hilly Hicks in Roll Out
- This situation comedy began its run on CBS October 3, 1973 and ended on January 4, 1974. The setting was World War II and we got to watch the exploits of the men of the 5050th Trucking Company known as the "Red Ball Express". Stu Gilliam played Cpl. Sweet Williams, one of the drivers for the unit that specialized in getting supplies to the soldiers at the front line. Hilly Hicks was co driver Pfc. Jed Brooks. The unit was commanded by Capt. Rocco Cavalli as played by Val Bisoglio. Mel Stewart was career military man, Sgt. B.J. Bryant.
- When the men weren't delivering supplies, they found their fun at a nightclub near their base which was run by Madame Dalacort as played by Penny Santon.
- This series was actually based on a real transportation unit that existed during WW2.
Gary Collins in The Sixth Sense
- The Sixth Sense not to be confused with the big screen Bruce Willis movie of the same name starred Gary Collins was Dr. Michael Rhodes, a parapsychologist, who worked at a major university.
- Each week we were treated to stories about ghosts or ESP and how the good Dr. worked to solve mysteries that centered around these events. It was an ABC series that started on January 15th, 1972 and lasted until December 23, 1972 with a total of 25 episodes filmed.
- It was a popular enough series that it could draw some popular stars of the day to do guest spots, folks like Lee Majors, Stephanie Powers, June Allyson, Joan Crawford, Mariette Hartley, Steve Forrest, to just name a few.
- It has never been released onto DVD but has been shown in syndication with Rod Serling's Night Gallery . Both shows were highly (and badly) edited going from each a 60 minute show to 30 minutes for this venture.
Mildred Natwick and Helen Hayes The Snoop Sisters
- The Snoop Sisters starred Helen Hayes and Mildred Natwick as elderly sisters who had a knack for running across mysteries.
- This series lasted for only four 90 minute episodes and was inspired by of all things, an ABC TV movie Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate from 1971 which starred Hayes and Natwick in different roles.
- The series, starting in 1972 and ending in 1974 was part of the NBC Mystery Movie and was shown on a rotating basis, sharing it's time slot with Banacek, Tenafly and Faraday and Company.
- The series also made quite a bit of stir when they had as a guest star popular 70s rock star Alice Cooper in an episodes titled The Devil Made Me Do It. Alice's character was called Prince.
- Released onto DVD should you wish to watch it again or for the first time!
Jeffrey Kramer and Jack Elam in Struck By Lightning
- Struck By Lightning was a very short lived series that aired on CBS from September 19, 1979 to October 3, 1979. A grand total of three episodes aired before being pulled from the schedule. Eleven episodes had been filmed, and eventually they did run the entire series in England in 1980.
- What happens when science teacher Ted Stein (Jeffrey Kramer) discovers that he has inherited the run down Victorian Brightwater Inn. Well, he decides to sell it, that is until he discovers that the handyman, Frank, is really Frankenstein's creature. Frank is a little scary to look at, but in in fact he is kind, sweet and a little bit clumsy. Also starred Mille Slaving, Bill Erwin, Richard Stahl and Jeff Cotler.
Edward Andrews and Harrison Page in Supertrain
- This train would zoom from New York City to Los Angeles in 36 hours. It was a high speed nuclear powered bullet train that had all the comforts of home... a pool, restaurant, shopping centers. It was sort of a Love Boat on rails with guest stars each week having some sort of personal problem to solve before the end of each episode.
- It was a 60 minute comedy drama that aired on NBC for just 9 episodes, starting on February 7, 1979 and ending May 5, 1979. It has been considered one of the biggest and most expensiveTV flops of all time.
- It starred Edward Andrews as Harry Flood, Harrison Page as George Boone, Robert Alda as Dr. Dan Lewis, Patrick Collins as Dave Noonan, Nita Talbot as Rose Casey, Aarika Wells as Gilda, Bill Nuckols as Wally, Michael Delano as Lou Atkins, and Charles Brill as Robert
Dack Rambo in Sword of Justice
- Handsome Dack Rambo was Jack Martin Cole a rich playboy who was framed for embezzlement and sent to prison. While there he learned all the tricks of the trade; how to pick locks, tap phones, crack safes and the like and when he is released from prison he becomes an avenger, going after white collar criminals like the ones who set him up. He always left a calling card, the three card from the deck of cards, three being the number of years he spent in prison.
- The series lasted for nine episodes and costarred Bert Rosario and Alex Courtney and had yet to be released onto DVD.
- It lasted for one season starting on September 10, 1978 – July 11, 1979 with a total of 9 episodes to its credit.
- Some have likened this show as a mixture of The Saint and The Count of Monte Cristo.
Leif Garrett, Alex Rocco and Vincent Van Pattern in Three for the Road
- Don't confuse this with the 1987 movie of the same name that starred Charlie Sheen.
- This TV series is from 1975 and starred teen idols Vince Van Patten and Leif Garrett. Character actor Alex Rocco played their dad. After his wife dies, Pete Karras, a freelance photographer, played by Rocco, decides to sell his house, buy an RV and take himself and his two sons, Endy and John, played by Leif and Vince on adventures around the country. Of course, each week the trio met all kinds of average, every day kind of people on their travels and would some how get mixed up in their lives.
- The show lasted for one season, with 12 episodes filmed. Folks like Larry Hagman, Stephanie Powers, Dean Stockwell, Tim Matheson and Christopher Stone all did guest stints on an episode or two.
Jack Elam and Mark Hamill in The Texas Wheelers
- The title sounds more like a soap opera than comedy. I actually have a very vague recollection of this series because it starred Mark Hamill, who I always thought was a really cute guy.
- In 1974, Jack Elam starred as Zack Wheeler, a lovable layabout father who is saddled with taking care of his 4 kids after their mother dies.
- This was an ABC comedy that aired for a whole whopping 4 episodes (even though 11 were filmed) before disappearing from the ABC schedule. Later on in July of 1975 the remaining episodes were actually aired, not that anyone seemed to care. A young Mark Hamil and Gary Busey co-star.
- Of course big things were Mark's future...in a galaxy far, far away in of course the Star Wars trilogy of movies. Mark has also made his "mark" on the voice of the Joker in Batman: the Animated Series from 92-95. His most recent voice work is as Skips on The Regular Show.
Dick Van Dyke in Dick Van Dyke and Company
- Emmy award winning actor Dick Van Dyke came back to episodic TV with his series Van Dyke and Company which was really a variety series (which seemed to be all the rage in the 70's) that included singing, dancing and of course, comedy sketches. The show lasted for just 12 episodes and was up against some already well established and popular shows like The Waltons on CBS , Welcome Back Kotter and Barney Miller on ABC.
- Big name guest stars like Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Hal Linden to just name a few guest starred each week to help Dick with his hilarious madness.
- Also, showing up were big name musical stars like John Denver, KC and the Sunshine Band, Bobbie Gentry and more.
- It is also of note that fans of Andy Kaufman would have a regular occurring role on the show.
Oliver Clarke and Beverly Archer in We've Got Each Other
- We've Got Each Other was a situation comedy that began its life on CBS on October 1, 1977 and lasted until January 14, 1978.
- Oliver Clark played Stuart Hibbard and Beverly Arches was his wife, Judy. Stuart worked out of his home for a catalog company, "Herman Gutman Mail Order Catalogs".
- Judy worked as the office manager for photographer Damon Jerome as played by Tom Poston, a man who was a great photographer, but very absent-minded when it came to other areas of the business. Judy's nemesis was highly self centered model, Dee Dee Baldwin played by Joan Van Ark. Stuart's nemesis was next door neighbor Ken Redford as played by Martin Kove.
- Martin Kove, would go on to work in one of his best known roles, the 1980s crime drama Cagney and Lacey as Det. Victor Isbecki .
- Joan Van Ark would go on to work in the 80's series Knots Landing as Valerie Ewing.
Caren Kaye, Scott Baio and Larry Breeding in Who's Watching the Kids
- This 1979 sitcom ran on NBC for 11 episodes. Starring Caren Kaye and Linda Goodfriend as Stacy Turner and Angie Vitola, two friends who are living their dreams by sharing an apartment together and working in a Las Vegas bar the Club Sand Pile.
- The comedy in this show was provided by the fact that each girl was the guardian to a younger sibling, Stacy had her 9 year old kid sister, Melissa (Tammy Lauren) and Stacy had her 15 year old brother, Frankie played by teen heart throb Scott Baio. Both of these kids were forever coming up with ideas to get them and everyone around them into trouble. Frankie liked to think of himself as a ladies man and often tried to find ways to spend time with the other attractive women who worked at the club.
- Larry Breeding was next door neighbor Larry Parnell, a journalist who would often act a a babysitter for the kids. Breeding was an up and coming star, he had work in this series, but in 1979 he took another role in the sitcom The Last Resort which lasted for 15 episodes before being cancelled. He would go on to make appearances in other shows but sadly, he was killed in a car accident on September 28, 1982 at age 36.
- Who's Watching the Kids was cancelled after 11 episodes and both Scott and Lynda went back to Happy Days as both had roles on that show, Lynda's character would eventually become Ritchie Cunningham's wife. Scott of course played Chachi who would get a spin off from the show in the form of Joanie Loves Chachi in 1982.
Greg Evigan and Paul Shaffer in A Year at the Top
- This series aired for five episodes on CBS beginning on August 5, 1977 and ending on September 2, 1977.
- Paul Shaffer (who would later gain fame working on The David Letterman Show ) co stars with Greg Evigan and the two portray struggling singer/musicians who make a deal with the devil's son, Frederick J. Hanover (Gabriel Dell) to have a year of success. Co starring Nedra Volz, Priscilla Morrill, and Julie Cobb. Mickey Rooney starred in the pilot episode only.
- Evigan would go onto to work in the popular series BJ and the Bear.
- Shaffer would go on to find fame as bandleader and side kick to David Letterman.
© 2011 Glory Miller