Sunday, December 13, 2020


Nick at Nite is known for originally hosting old TV shows from the 1950s through the 1970s. Then it became known for old TV shows from the 1980s through the 2000s. Now, it has a lot of original programming and I really don't know what they do now. In 1995, Nick at Nite published a magazine. There was only one issue and was published in conjunction with Nick at Nite's 10th anniversary. Let's see what classic TV goodness it gives us.

The magazine starts off with a timeline of television history from the birth of the word 'television' (1900) to the birth of Nick at Nite (1985). They also reveal what several classic TV stars first jobs were before making it big: Judd Hirsch was in a Listerine commercial, Agnes Moorehead was in Citizen Kane, Bob Denver worked in a grocery store, and Jackie Gleason was a diver(!) in the water follies. There's also a handy guide to the 39 countries where I Love Lucy airs so you know where you will never be without I Love Lucy. Sheila James Kuehl (Zelda, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis), Clint Eastwood, Nancy Kulp (Ms. Hathaway, Beverly Hillbillies), Sonny Bono, and Fred Gandy (Gopher, The Love Boat) all ran for political office. Kuehl, Eastwood, Bono, and Grandy won their races. Kuehl continues to serve on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and was the first openly gay California legislator. Eastwood served as mayor of Carmel, California from 1986 to 1988. Bono would represent California's 44th district in the House of Representatives from 1995 until his death in 1998. Grandy would represent Iowa in the House of Representative from 1987 to 1995 and unsuccessfully run for governor. Nancy Kulp would run for the House of Representatives in Pennsylvania in 1984. A Democrat in a heavily Republican district, Kulp was an underdog and her chances faded even more when former co-star Buddy Ebsen recorded radio ads attacking her. She lost with 33% of the vote.

We then have an overview of actor Michael Burns who began acting in an episode of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and would go on to play Blue Boy in "The LSD Story" of Dragnet 1967. Burns is currently a professor emeritus of history at Holyoke University. The magazine then gives you a short scene from Blue Boy and finger puppets.

Yes, they even give you cubes of LSD.

The original idea of several shows are revealed including The Dick Van Dyke ShowMary Tyler MooreTaxi, and The Partridge Family. Nick at Nite then adds lyrics to various instrumental-only theme songs thus ruining them forever. Nick at Nite then gives the TV history of counter culture (hippies, beatniks).

There is an article on fashion and how today's designers go back to classic TV for some inspiration. There's then an article on negative reviews that classic TV shows received. "The stinkeroo of all time!" (1964 review of Gilligan's Island, 1964-1967). "Show's chances look slim." (1970 review of The Partridge Family, 1970-1974). "Should soon be extinct from Nielsen malnutrition." (1969 review of The Brady Bunch, 1969-1974). "Should sell a lot of cigarettes." (1951 review of I Love Lucy, 1951-1957).

We have a Barbara Eden as Jeannie pull-out
poster for the guys.

And a John Travolta as Vinnie Barbarino pull-out poster for the ladies.

They do an interview with TV show collector James Comisar who has memorabilia from The Honeymooners, Dragnet, Batman, Get Smart, and dozens of other shows. It's actually quite interesting. You can learn and see much more at his website.

A reprint of the very first Dobie Gillis story takes up five pages and is the longest feature in this magazine which is very disappointing considering all the material Nick at Nite had to work with. There is an article on "lost" TV episodes featuring original Honeymooners sketches, the 1966-69 version of Doctor Who, a couple of pilots, and more. Plus, last but not least, six degrees of separation of a bunch of TV stars.

The magazine ends with a 10th anniversary examination that you mail in to get a Nick at Nite merit badge. My mom filled it out, got every answer right, and didn't mail it in! We could've been royalty but instead our lives remained the same.

The 37 greatest episodes ever!

If you would like to support my writing or research, you can buy me a cup of coffee over on Ko-fi.

I'm covering all my bases. I'm asking for 37 things this year along with my usual request for cold, hard cash and I want to make sure I get everything. If you and Santa somehow get me the same stuff, we can just return it and get me something I didn't get from the list. 2020 sucked butt and I refuse to have 2021 suck the same way.