This month our blog series is “Potpourri,” and today specifically is “Showpourri.” I thought it would be fun to look at the shows that debuted in 1973, fifty years ago. There were a lot of them. More than 30 shows were new in the fall of 1973; however, only about ten of them were still around the next fall.
Quite a few of these shows were variety shows: Dick Clark, The Dean Martin Comedy Show, Bobby Gentry, The Hudson Brothers, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Mac Davis, and Music Country. We also had several Movies of the Week.
Let’s take a closer look at the other shows that debuted in 1973.
Adam’s Rib: In this half-hour sitcom, assistant district attorney Adam Bonner (Ken Howard) is married to Amanda (Blythe Danner) who is a partner in a law firm. They often face each other in the courtroom which sometimes extends to their personal life. Amanda is also an advocate for women’s rights.
Apple’s Way: Created by The Waltons writer Earl Hamner Jr., this show has a family relocating from Los Angeles to a small town in Iowa where dad grew up. It captures the issues faced from moving from the past-faced city to the rural place where their ancestors grew up.
Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice: Definitely a seventies sitcom. Bob (Robert Urich) and Carol (Anne Archer) are a young couple who are part of the swinging seventies; they are good friends with an older couple, Ted (David Spielberg) and Alice (Anita Gillette), who definitely are not.
Calucci’s Department: Joe Calucci (James Coco) is an office supervisor at the New York State Unemployment Department. He has to deal with red tape, unemployed people truly in need or trying to bilk the system and keep his girlfriend (Candice Azzara) happy.
Chopper One: This one was a bit like CHiPs in the air. Two California policemen (Jim McMullan and Dirk Benedict) fight crime from their helicopter.
The Cowboys: An unusual concept for this decade. The series focuses on a group of seven boys who work on a cattle ranch in the Old West.
Diana: Diana Smythe (Diana Rigg), recently divorced, leaves London and moves to New York City to become a fashion coordinator at a Fifth Avenue Department Store. She learns about life in America from her new friends, copywriter Howard (Richard B. Schull), neighbor Holly (Carole Androsky), window decorator Marshall (Robert Moore), and friend Jeff (Richard Mulligan).
Dirty Sally: imdb’s description of this show was that “crotchety old lady Sally Fergus (Jeanette Nolan) roams the Old West with young companion Cyrus (Dack Rambo).” The major character looks more like she should be on The Addams Family than in the old west.
Doc Elliot: Dr. Benjamin Elliot (James Franciscus) leaves Bellevue Hospital in New York to retreat to Colorado. He made house calls by plane and truck and is the only doctor in the area so he deals with a variety of cases.
Faraday & Co: Frank Faraday has been jailed 25 years for murdering his partner, but he did not do it. When he gets to go home, he learns his secretary gave birth to his son Steve who is also a private eye and the two men go into business together and solve mysteries.
Good Times: In this spinoff from Maude, the focus is Florida Evans, Maude’s housekeeper and her family who live in the Chicago housing projects.
Happy Days: Almost everyone knows about this show and the Cunninghams. The focus of the show is on Richie and Joanie growing up in the fifties with the help of The Fonz.
Hawkins: After his first show was canceled, Jimmy Stewart takes on the role of West Virginia attorney Billy Jim Hawkins.
Kojak: Telly Savalas becomes Theo Kojak a bald, lollipop loving police detective who is tough on criminals but a bit of a teddy bear off I job.
Lotsa Luck: Dom DeLuise stars as Stanley, the manager for a lost and found department at the bus company. He lives with his mother, his sister Olive and brother-in-law Arthur. His best friend is a bus driver he works with and they try to work out Stanley’s life problems. One issue they could not resolve was the fact that the viewers did not like the show.
NBC Follies: I’m not sure who came up with this concept. Vaudeville was dead, but this show resurrected it. It was based on vaudeville with a mixture of comedic skits and musical performances and no host. And no viewers.
Needles and Pins: This show had a great cast including Louis Nye, Norman Fell, and Bernie Kopell. Nye was Nathan Davidson, a women’s clothing manufacturer and this show centered on the employees who work there including new designer Wendy, who was a bit naïve, jumping from Nebraska to New York City.
Roll Out: This sitcom was based on the movie Red Ball Express; an African American staff at the Red Ball Express in WWII deal with being far from friends and family who bond with each other. The Red Ball Express was a real trucking convoy that supplied Allied forces in Europe after D-Day. The trucks were allowed to travel on routes closed to civilian traffic and had priority on other roads. It just never found the balance of humor and heartbreak of M*A*S*H or the wacky entanglements of Bilko. This show probably would have made a great drama if it had been done right.
Toma: Toma was a real New Jersey Detective David Toma (Tony Musante). He was a master of disguise and did undercover work. Like Alfred Hitchcock, you can glimpse the real David Toma in many episodes.
The Girl with Something Extra: John Davidson and Sally Field team up as newlyweds beginning their married life together with all the problems typical couples have and one extra, she had ESP and that causes no end of problems for them. Too bad she didn’t tell the network this show would not survive an entire season.
The New Perry Mason Show: Monte Markham and Sharon Acker became Perry Mason and Della Street. Impossible roles to fill with anyone but Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale.
When the fall schedule came out in 1975, the only shows remaining on the air were Good Times, Happy Days, and Kojak. Since I have already done extensive blogs on Happy Days and Kojak, next week, we’ll take a closer look at Good Times.
4 thoughts on “Shows That Debuted in Fall of 1973: Don’t Get Too Attached”
I wonder if that is the norm to have that many new shows and only a few stick around. I guess there’s only so much room on the TV schedule. Quite the range of shows that tried to make it. I’m not familiar with Good Times so I will be learning something new next week!
I’m always surprised how many seasons have rookie shows canceled. I do think this was an unusual number of bad shows though.
Funny, I remember most of those shows and not just the obvious ones. Apple’s Way and The Cowboys, in particular. Wish I had checked out Hawkins.
I remember watching Apple’s Way. I wish there was a network that aired pilots that never made it or shows that only lasted a season or less.