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Short-Lived and Easily Forgotten TV Shows From the '70s

Glory is a fan of 70s TV entertainment and enjoys writing about the popular and not-so-popular shows and TV movies of that decade.

1970s prime-time shows that disappeared almost as soon as they appeared.

1970s prime-time shows that disappeared almost as soon as they appeared.

To the Short-Lived and Forgotten

Here is a listing of 45 short-lived and possibly easily forgotten 70s television shows. With photos, trivia, plotlines, cast lists, and more, we take a fond look back at those shows that just didn't catch the viewing audience's attention for one reason or another.

Either poorly cast, shoved into the wrong time slot, saddled with unbelievable plotlines, 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 we missed (and you probably can), feel free to write about it in the comments.

So, let's get started with our journey back to 1970s television, shall we?

Publicity photo for Adam's Rib TV series:  Blythe Danner and Ken Howard

Publicity photo for Adam's Rib TV series: Blythe Danner and Ken Howard

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. It starred Ken Howard as 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. As in the movie, the TV show had Adam as an assistant D.A. and his wife as a partner in a law firm. Their jobs often pitted them against each other. This conflict didn't stop in the courtroom, and they were often on opposite sides of issues in their home life, too.

Dena Dietrich, famous for her Chiffon/Mother Nature commercials of the 70s, was Amanda's secretary. Handsome Edward Winter played Kip Kipple, Amanda's law firm partner. Ron Rifkin was Assistant D.A., Roy Mendelsohn. Norman Bartold were District Attorneys, and these two were always the good old boys on Adam's side.

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; Blythe is a two-time Tony winner, first in 1968 for The Miser and in 1970 for Butterflies Are Free.

The American Girls

The American Girls

The American Girls

The American Girls was billed as an adventure drama series. It aired on CBS beginning September 23, 1978 and lasted until November 10, 1978.

Priscilla Barnes played Rebecca Tomkins and Debra Clinger played 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 locations. David Spielberg was their producer, Francis X. Casey, and the news programs anchor/host Jason Cook was played by William Prince.

The American Girls aired in a 9-10 pm time slot up against ABC's ratings winner The Love Boat, so it's easy to see why the show didn't have much of a chance.

A bit of trivia for you: Debra Clinger did a stint on Saturday morning TV as Super Chic on The Kroftt Supershow in 1977. She was part of the singing group who hosted the show Kaptain Kool and the Kongs.

Dennis Cole and Rod Taylor in Bearcats!

Dennis Cole and Rod Taylor in Bearcats!

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Bearcats!

Bearcats! ran on CBS for one season beginning on September 16, 1971, and ending on December 30, 1971. This action-adventure show was set in 1914 and concerned the adventures of Johnny Reach (Dennis Cole) and Hank Brackett (Rod Taylor), who traveled around the American Southwest in a Stutz Bearcat. The guys were 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, 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?

James Sutorius and Roy Poole. Publicity photo for The Andros Targets

James Sutorius and Roy Poole. Publicity photo for The Andros Targets

The Andros Targets

The Andros Targets began on CBS on January 31, 1977 and lasted until July 9, 1977. James Sutorius played Mike Andros, a newspaper reporter for the The New York Forum who focused much of his attention on seeking to expose corruption in a big city, corruption that was often hushed up by the powers that be. He was helped in his fight against corruption by his sidekick and assistant, Sandi Farrell (Pamela Reed). It also starred Roy Poole, Alan Mixon, Ted Beniades, and Jordan Charney.

The Andros Targets couldn't find an audience, and many critics said it was an unrealistic portrayal of an investigative reporter. The series was based on real life reporter Nicholas Gage.

Another Day

Another Day

Another Day

Another Day was a comedy that aired beginning on April 8, 1978 and lasted until April 29, 1978. It starred David Groh as Don Gardner, a young businessman who was just getting by financially. His wife Ginny, played by Joan Hackett, was working to help ease the financial burden.

Adding to the family struggles were two kids: a son Mark played by Al Eisenmann and a 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 and apparently, audiences also weren't into this kind of comedy, as it was canceled after only four episodes.

Chopper One

Chopper One

Chopper One

This Aaron Spelling police drama aired 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) were chopper pilots who were the eye in the sky for officers on the ground chasing after bad guys, not unlike the 80s series Blue Thunder or Air Wolf, only their helicopter wasn't all tricked out with the latest technology.

Some critics likened the show to Adam 12 with rotary blades. Each half hour episode cost about $140,000 to produce (the average hour-long show at that time cost about $90,000 to produce). What caused the high price tag was that two choppers and two pilots were needed in order to get all of that aerial action on film. Even the director was given stunt pay wages as he had to fly in the chopper to direct the scenes.

David Cassidy: Man Undercover

David Cassidy: Man Undercover

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 Cassidy an Emmy nomination.

Cassidy willingly took three years off from the world of music and acting after The Partridge Family ended. NBC thought that maybe he was ready for a new series playing David Shay, a young, married undercover cop. It started on in November of 1978 and lasted for ten episodes before being canceled.

It co-starred Simon Oakland, whom you may recall played much-harried newspaper editor Tony Vincenzo on Kolchak; The Night Stalker series with Darrin McGavin, which was another great 70s show that didn't last as long as it should have!

Critics weren't kind to Cassidy or the show. Most saw it as Cassidy's attempt to revive his career which slumped, according to the critics, after The Partridge Family ended (they didn't like that show, either).

One critic likened the theme song (written and performed by Cassidy) as a "cross between 'Feelings' and the mating cry of a Siberian newt."

Doc Elliott

Doc Elliott

Doc Elliott

This medical drama series aired on ABC from January 23, 1974 until August 14, 1974.

Handsome James Franciscus played 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 required a plane or four wheel drive vehicle, as his practice covered over 600 square miles.

Neva Patterson played Mags Brimble, the widow of the former town's doctor, who became Elliott's helper. Noah Beery played Barney Weeks, the owner of the town's general store, and Bo Hopkins played Elred McCoy, a bush pilot.

Franciscus went through medical drills to learn how to handle a medical bag, use instruments, and give shots so it would all look 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 Franciscus and lasted for 14 episodes before being canceled. It has yet to be released on DVD.

Dog and Cat

Dog and Cat

Dog and Cat

Dog and Cat was a police drama that aired on ABC beginning March 5, 1977 until May 14, 1977.

A young Kim Basinger played Officer J.Z. Kane, a rookie cop who was partnered with long-time police veteran Det. Sgt. Jack Ramsey (Lou Antonio). This was a light-hearted look at police work and also starred Matt Clark as Lt. Arthur Kipling.

Kane and Ramsey tooled around in Kane's 1966 VW Bug that has a Porsche 9-12 engine in it.

"Dog and cat" is a slang term used to denote a male/female partnership. The series lasted for just six episodes before being canceled.

Firehouse

Firehouse

Firehouse

Firehouse was an adventure/drama series that aired on ABC beginning on January 17, 1974 and lasting until August 1, 1974.

James Drury played Capt. Spike Ryerson, an older firefighter who was a mentor and father figure to the other younger members of Engine Co. 23. Richard Jaeckel played Hank Myers, Michael Delano played Sonny Caputo, Brad David played Billy Dalzell.

The series was inspired by a bestselling book, Report from Engine Co. 28, written by a veteran firefighter.

 Flatbush

Flatbush

Flatbush

Flatbush attempted to be a comedy series. It first aired on CBS 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 played Presto, a cab driver. Adrian Zmed played 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 played 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 its insulting use of stereotypes. I can't say for sure if CBS took his concerns seriously or not, but the show was canceled after only three episodes.

Flying High

Flying High

Flying High

Flying High was an adventure show that first aired 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 played Marcy Bowers, Connie Selleca was Lisa Benton, and Kathryn Witt was Pam Bellagio. These three beautiful characters 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 was never able to make much of a romantic impression on the ladies. Ken Olfson played 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

Ben Murphy as Gemini Man

Gemini Man

The series was first broadcast on September 23, 1976 and lasted until October 28, 1976 before being canceled.

Ben Murphy played Sam Casey, a secret agent who worked for a government organization called INTERSECT. On a 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 invisible for more than 15 minutes in any 24 hour period, he would die.

Gemini Man was actually a revamp of 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.

Get Christie Love

Get Christie Love

Get Christie Love

Inspired by a TV movie, this series was very short-lived. It was TV's attempt at the blaxploitation genre that was so popular on the big screen. It is also significant because it is the second prime time show that had a black female in a lead role (the first being Diahann Carrol in Julia, 1968-1971).

Pretty Teresa Graves played 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 played Sgt. Pete Gallagher, her partner. Her first boss was Lt. Matt Reardon (played by Charles Cioffi—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 because of her work in the Pittman movie and that she didn't want to dilute the impact and importance of that film by doing Christie Love.

The series has never been released onto DVD, but the TV movie has. Also worth mentioning is that 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?

Gibbsville

Gibbsville

Gibbsville

Gibbsville was a drama set in 1940s Pennsylvania. Jim Malloy (John Savage) was a cub reporter at the Gibbsville Courier, partnered with veteran reporter Ray Whitehead (Gig Young), who 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 set in Pottsville, PA, where author John O'Hara grew up.

Frank D. Gilroy, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright, wrote and directed the television movie that was the pilot for this series.

Thirteen episodes of the series were produced, but only six made it onto the air.

Vintage TV Guide Ad for Grady

Vintage TV Guide Ad for Grady

Grady

Grady was a spin-off from the successful sitcom Sandford and Son. It began its run on NBC December 4, 1975, and lasted until March 4, 1976.

Whitman Mayo, who had starred as starred as Grady Wilson, one of Fred Sanford's neighbors and friends on Sanford and Son, moved to Watts, a neighborhood of Los Angeles, so he could spend more time with his daughter, Ellie (Carol Cole) and her family.

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.

Highcliffe Manor

Highcliffe Manor

Highcliffe Manor

Highcliffe Manor ran on NBC from April 12, 1979 to May 3, 1979 and was meant to be a spoof of the old gothic horror tales.

Helen Black (Shelley Fabares) was a recently widowed lady who has inherited a huge stone mansion that sits on a cliff 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 starring Audrey Landers, Jenny O'Hara, Ernie Hudson, and Stephen McHattie.
Many critics complained about the laugh track.

NBC ordered six episodes, but only three aired.

Holmes and Yoyo

Holmes and Yoyo

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 played Det. Alexander Holmes, an accident-prone police officer who managed to send every partner he ever had to the hospital. The police department decided to try out a new robotic police officer in the guise of Det. Gregory "Yoyo" Yonovich (John Schuck) as Holme's partner. Schuck was pulling double duty, playing on the successful detective series McMillan and Wife while working on this series.

Only a few knew that Yoyo was a robot, as he was very lifelike. One of the running gags on the show was having Officer Maxine Moon (played by Andrea Howard) making passes at Yoyo, with very little success.