With only three channels to choose from, did we have better television choices back in 1969?
A look at the Fall TV Schedule tells us this:
Sunday Nights: The Ed Sullivan Show was still required viewing back in 1969 ... it aired against The F.B.I. and Walt Disney's Wonderful World Of Color. (Earlier evening fare included Lassie, Land of the Giants, Wild Kingdom and The Bill Cosby Show. Depending on what time dinner was served on any given Sunday Night, I might have watched The Bill Cosby Show ... unless my younger sister had already commandeered the television set to watch Lassie.) Most likely after Ed I switched over to Bonanza (although by 1969 this program had pretty well run its course for me ... incredibly it would air for another four years and, by 1969, had already been a Sunday Night fixture for ten!!!) or The ABC Sunday Night Movie. I don't think I've ever seen an episode of The Leslie Uggams Show and wasn't a fan of The Bold Ones either. Most of my friends were hooked on Mission Impossible but, other than the ultra-cool theme song by Lalo Schiffrin, this one never really grabbed me either.
Monday Night we had Music Scene (which I did watch, naturally!), something called New People, Harold Robbins' "The Survivors" and Love, American Style on ABC, Gunsmoke, Here's Lucy, Mayberry R.F.D., The Doris Day Show and The Carol Burnett Show on CBS and My World and Welcome To It, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In and The Monday Night Movie on NBC. I was still a big "Laugh-In" fan in '69 and, in that respect, I wasn't alone ... much of the country was ALSO tuned in and Laugh-In ended up being the #1 Television Show of the Year ... but I'll also admit to seeing more than a few episodes of "Love, American Style", too!
On Tuesday Night it was one of MY favorite shows, "Mod Squad" on ABC, followed by the Movie of the Week and then Marcus Welby, M.D., one of my Mom's favorite TV shows. (As "hip" as it seemed at the time, "Mod Squad" SURE looks dated nowadays!!! lol I guess it can best be described as television's version of what THEY thought was hip!!! These seemed to be a current trend, trying to lure in more younger viewers as programs like "Room 222" also tried to show the world through teen-aged eyes.) CBS gave us Lancer, The Red Skelton Hour, The Governor and J.J. and The CBS News Hour, which, at that time, incorporated 60 Minutes into their programming. Over at NBC we had I Dream Of Jeannie (starring Barbara Eden's well-hidden navel), The Debbie Reynolds Show, Julia (starring the beautiful Diahann Carroll ... I liked that one, too) and The NBC Tuesday Night Movie.
Wednesday Night on ABC gave us The Flying Nun and The Courtship of Eddie's Father ... I don't think I've ever seen a single episode of either of these two so-called television classics ... I was most likely tuned into The Glen Campbell Good-Time Hour on CBS, which is how I happened to be one of the ones that caught the video of The Beatles performing "Get Back" on the Apple Rooftop that we wrote about a couple of weeks back. But after Glen, I DID switch over to ABC to watch "Room 222", another one of my then-favorite shows. (As mentioned above, I can only imagine how dated this one must look today!) Other Wednesday Night television fare included The Virginian, The Kraft Music Hall, Medical Center, The ABC Wednesday Night Movie, Then Came Bronson and Hawaii Five-O, whose theme song was a BIG hit for The Ventures that year.
On Thursday Nights I did a bit of channel surfing (and this was in the PRE-remote days, too, when you actually had to get up out of your seat to change the channel!!!) I'd start the night with Family Affair on CBS, then switch over to That Girl and Bewitched on ABC. Then we'd watch This Is Tom Jones, another one of my Mom's favorites before ending the night with The Dean Martin Show on NBC. If you didn't watch THESE shows, you were probably watching The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Daniel Boone, The Jim Nabors Show, Ironside, Dragnet, It Takes A Thief or The CBS Thursday Night Movie.
Friday's gave us Get Smart, The Good Guys and Hogan's Heroes on CBS before their Friday Night Movie, High Chaparral (another one of my favorites) on NBC, followed by The Name of the Game and Bracken's World or Let's Make A Deal (my Dad's favorite show), The Brady Bunch (brand new in 1969 and now a permanent, historic part of pop culture), Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, Here Comes The Brides (starring new heart-throb Bobby Sherman, who was also tearing up the pop charts by this time with his hits "Little Woman" and "La-La-La, If I Had You") and Jimmy Durante Presents The Lennon Sisters. (Really?!?!? In 1969?!?!?)
Saturday's kicked off with either the back-to-back hits The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game or, depending on the guests, we might instead watch The Andy Williams Show. (Typically, we skipped the competition, which on CBS was The Jackie Gleason Show.) Then came My Three Sons, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction and Mannix on CBS or The Lawrence Welk Show and Hollywood Palace on ABC or Adam-12 and The Saturday Night Movie on NBC.
Emmy Winners for the 1969-1970 Television Season were:
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES: My World And Welcome To It (Sheldon Leonard, Executive Producer, Danny Arnold, Producer)
OUTSTANDING DRAMATIC SERIES: Marcus Welby, M.D. (David Victor, Executive Producer, David J. O'Connell, Producer)
OUTSTANDING VARIETY OR MUSICAL SERIES: The David Frost Show (Peter Baker, Producer)
OUTSTANDING NEW SERIES: Room 222
OUTSTANDING CONTINUED PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A DRAMATIC SERIES: Robert Young, Marcus Welby, M.D.
OUTSTANDING CONTINUED PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A DRAMATIC SERIES: Susan Hampshire, The Forsythe Saga
OUTSTANDING CONTINUED PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A COMEDY SERIES: William Windom, My World and Welcome To It
OUTSTANDING CONTINUED PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A COMEDY SERIES: Hope Lang, The Ghost And Mrs. Muir
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN DRAMA: James Brolin, Marcus Welby, M.D.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN DRAMA: Gail Fisher, Mannix
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN COMEDY: Michael Constantine, Room 222
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN COMEDY: Karen Valentine, Room 222.
As for the actual television ratings for the '69 season, THESE are the shows that finished in The Top Ten:
1. ROWAN AND MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN (NBC) Rating 26.3
2. GUNSMOKE (CBS) 25.9
3. BONANZA (CBS) 24.8
4. MAYBERRY R.F.D. (CBS) 24.4
5. FAMILY AFFAIR (CBS) 24.2
6. HERE'S LUCY (CBS) 23.9
7. THE RED SKELTON HOUR (CBS) 23.8
8. MARCUS WELBY, M.D. (ABC) 23.7
9. WALT DISNEY'S WONDERFUL WORLD OF COLOR (NBC) 23.6
10. THE DORIS DAY SHOW (CBS) 22.8
Other notable programs with 20 million or more viewers: The Bill Cosby Show (22.7), The Jim Nabors Show (22.4), The Carol Burnett Show (22.1), The Dean Martin Show (21.9), My Three Sons (21.8), Ironside (21.8), The Johnny Cash Show (21.8), The Beverly Hillbillies (21.7), Hawaii Five-O (21.1), The Glen Campbell Good-Time Hour (21.0), Hee Haw (21.0), The ABC Movie Of The Week (20.9), Mod Squad (20.8), The NBC Saturday Night Movie (20.6), Bewitched (20.6), The F.B.I. (20.6), The Ed Sullivan Show (20.3), Julia (20.1), The CBS Thursday Night Movie (20.0) and, just missing, Mannix (with 19.9)