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A look at TV shows
on ABC in 1966

Rocky & bullwinkle on DVDHoney West on DVD

 

 

Classic Commercials on DVDMothers in Law on DVD

Rat Patrol
Rat Patrol

Peyton Plce
Peyton Place

Rat Patrol 1966 TV show
The Rat Patrol

1966 TV Shows  photo
Love on a Rooftop

Bewitched / 1966 TV Shows
Bewitched

Green Hornet TV show
Green Hornet

ABC 1966 TV Shows
Hawk

Combat / ABC 1966 TV Shows
Combat

1966 TV
Pruitts of Southampton

The Fugitive TV show 1966
The Fugitive

1966 TV magazine
Man Who Never Was


Saturday Morning TV Shows: 1966

Batman TV Shows on DVD / Superman on DVD

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1966 TV Shows1966 TV programs on ABC
by Billy
(the Cathode Kid)
Ingram

"Do you remember when networks actually had preview weeks and didn't introduce new shows at almost any time of year?

"It would often be heart-rending when a show you simply had to see was opposite something you knew your parents always watched (we only had one TV in those days! and it used to be that kids' preferences were second to parents) - or fights would break out when you wanted one show and your sister wanted another, totally frivolous show.

"I'd like to think that my family wasn't the only one as obsessed with their viewing schedule." - Dara

 

ABC 1966 TV ShowsIn the sixties and early-seventies, the networks presented hour-long looks at their new fall schedule to tantalize viewers and encourage network loyalty.

Often the new shows (that all premiered in early September) had no footage ready when the preview specials were set to air in August. These series were announced with all-out endorsements from the show's stars. Other times, what little raw footage the producers had was crudely spliced together with hastily added sound effects and voice-overs. Special material was then filmed to bridge the clips.

Here is a look at one of the most unusual fall preview shows, the 1966 ABC network preview - '7 Nights To Remember'.

Batman 1966Batman was the biggest hit for ABC in the network's twenty-some year history and 'Bat-mania' was a raging national phenomenon in the summer of 1966. Had Batman and Bewitched not come along when they did, some people believe ABC (on a long losing streak) would not have survived into the seventies.

The alphabet net wisely took advantage of their stroke of Bat-luck and made Batman and Robin the framing device for an hour special hyping their new 1966-67 programs.

Batman TV show 1966 photoThat's the situation that sets up the ridiculously flimsy premise of this special - The Dynamic Duo are called into duty when one of the shows on the network's schedule is stolen. Below is ABC's fall schedule for '66. Can you guess which show is missing and where it belongs? (Of course you can't, but the answer lies at the end of the page.)

MONDAY

Iron Horse Video clip promo for
the Monday Night schedule

7:30 - Iron Horse
This was a horse opera with a difference - it's a train the show's about. Starred Dale Robertson as a guy who wins a railroad in a card game.
Made it into a second season.

Rat Patrol 1966 TV Shows8:30 - Rat Patrol
This World War II action series set in North Africa was one of only three ABC shows to hit the top 25 in 1966-67.

Jeeps with attached machine guns roar over desert dunes in search of Rommel's army. Starring Christopher George, Rat Patrol ran for two years. Get The Rat Patrol on DVD now!

9:00 - Felony Squad
The title was changed from Men Against Evil after this preview special was broadcast. This action drama ran for three years and starred Howard Duff.

9:30 - Peyton Place
The third of five years on the air for this popular half-hour soap opera, on two nights a week in 1966-67 (down from THREE the year before).

Big Valley10:00 - Big Valley
Western melodrama in the second of four years. Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Long, Linda Evans, Peter Breck, and Lee Majors. This show was the Dynasty of it's day.
Get The Big Valley on DVD now!

TUESDAY

Video clip promo of the
Tuesday night schedule

1966 TV Shows7:30 - Combat
The longest running TV show about WWII - lasted even longer than the war. 1966-67 was the last of a five-year run.

Don't look for a Combat reunion show. Star Vic Morrow was killed in a helicopter crash in 1982 on the set of "Twilight Zone: The Movie." Another cast member, Dick Peabody (who played the "gentle giant" Littlejohn on the series) died of prostate cancer in December 1999. Rick Jason, who starred as tough infantry officer Lieutenant Gil Hanley, committed suicide on October 18th, 2000.

Rounders8:30 - The Rounders
Chill Wills doing his best Walter Brennan imitation in this Dukes of Hazzard sitcom predecessor
based on a 1965 movie (also starring Wills) about a couple of randy small town boys, the girls they chase, and the old codger that constantly tries to rip them off. Story of my life...

1966 TV Shows9:00 - The Pruitts of Southampton
ABC had high hopes that Phyllis Diller (star of many popular mid-sixties movie comedies) could be the network's Lucy. And they should have been right.

Phyllis played a rich, spoiled heiress who loses all of her money but must pretend to still be rich for tax reasons. The show flopped unexpectedly (even after a mid-season retooling) but was still one of the funniest programs on the air in 1966.

1966 TV Shows9:30 - Love on a Rooftop
Starring Peter Duel, Judy Carne and Rich Little. Critically acclaimed, this program lasted one year - but was brought back in reruns as a summer replacement series in 1971 to capitalize on Judy Carne's popularity on Laugh-In.

1966 TV program photo10:00 - The Fugitive
The last episode of this series in spring, 1967 had 72% of all TVs in the nation tuned in. The one-armed man did it.

WEDNESDAY

Batman TV ShowVideo clip of the
Wednesday night lineup

7:30 - Batman
Debuted in midseason (early 1966) and quickly occupied TWO spots on the top ten.
Batman was the first midseason hit show ever. From 1966 forward, the networks began seriously programming a second season.


Batman promos

Proving to youngsters at an early age that life isn't fair, Batman was on opposite Lost in Space on CBS.

1966 TV Shows8:00 - The Monroes
The title was changed from Wild Country before the show debuted; it's the story of five orphaned kids in the 1880s heading West to the promised land. Along the way they take on an Indian companion and then battle a ruthless land baron for their own property.
Starring a young Barbara Hershey and western movie stalwart Ben Johnson, this show lasted one season.

1966 TV Shows9:00 - The Man Who Never Was
Considered one of the most preposterous premises ever. A guy forgets who he is, and he's being chased. This show was filmed all over Europe, cost a fortune, starred Robert Lansing and lasted only half a season. Same basic concept as 'The Bourne Identity' with Matt Damon so it could have been effective...

Peyton Place TV show9:30 - Peyton Place
In 1964-65, Peyton Place was number 9 and number 20 for the season, but slipped out of the top 25 the next year.

Even today, a community (or office) with a lot of shady dealings going on is referred to as a "Peyton Place".

1966 TV Shows10:00 - Stage 67
With no regular host, 'Stage 67' was an ambitious and expensive weekly musical or dramatic presentation with top writers and producers. This attempt to revive the anthology format lasted only one season.

THURSDAY

Video clip promo of the
Thursday night schedule

Batman7:30 - Batman
Hottest show of early 1966, ratings started to slide as Bat-mania (and the show's quality) wore off.

For the 1967-68 season, Batgirl was added to the cast of regulars and the show went to one night a week. A year later, Batman was gone and That Girl moved into this timeslot for a long run.

ABC pioneered the idea of shows broadcasting more than one night a week - Shindig, Batman and Peyton Place are examples from the 60s. They did it again a few years ago with 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire'.

F Troop 8:00 - F Troop
The last of a two year run. If only it had died there...

1966 TV Shows8:30 - The Tammy Grimes Show
Dick Sargent costarred in this super-flop that lasted only four weeks. Coincidentally (three years later), Sargent took over the role of Darin on the show that followed this one.
\

9:00 - Bewitched
The third of eight years. 'Bewitched' was the only show ABC could count on for top ten ratings week after week, year after year - and it continued to run strong for the next three years.

That Girl photo9:30 - That Girl
The first of five years. The sixth year would have had Donald and Ann-Marie marry, but the show ended and they only got as far as Don's bachelor party.

10:00 - Hawk
The second series for Burt Reynolds. The second failure as well. Here he was supposed to be a full-blooded Native American detective on the streets of New York.

FRIDAY

Green HornetFriday

7:30 - Green Hornet
With Batman the hottest show on TV, ABC rolls out a favorite masked hero from radio's golden age. This was a more serious approach to super heroes that failed to pick up the Batman audience, lasting only one season. Starring Van Williams and Bruce Lee as Kato.

8:00 - Time Tunnel
The most expensive show ever produced before 1966.

TimeTunnelTime ran out just a year later for this Irwin Allen spectacular. The hour long sci-fi show won an Emmy Award for incredible special effects, the only show on ABC Friday nights in 1966 to ever crack the top ten (and did it only once).

1966 TV Shows10:00 - 12 O'Clock High
The last of three seasons, this
World War II air action drama was ultimately shot down by friendly fire (poor lead-ins).

Both 'Green Hornet' and 'Time Tunnel' failed to live up to very high expectations, what should have been a winning night went down in flames.

 

SATURDAY

Robert Carradine7:30 - Shane
David Carradine headed this one season western (based on the hit movie), a precursor to Carradine's more successful western show 'Kung Fu'.

War, westerns and weirdoes was the order of the day on all three networks in 1966.

8:30 - Lawrence Welk
This music program for the old folks show went for sixteen years on ABC, and eleven more in syndication. Big ratings winner.

1966 TV Shows9:30 - Hollywood Palace
The second of six years, this musical-variety program had a different guest host each week. Very much like the 'Ed Sullivan Show', which was a hit on CBS.

10:30 - ABC Scope
Documentaries produced by ABC news, this was year two of four.

SUNDAY

voyage 1966 TV ShowsVideo clip of the
Sunday Night schedule

7:00 - Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
The third of four years on ABC. The monsters kept getting sillier each week, it seemed.
Great underwater effects.

THE FBI8:00 - The FBI
Debuted in 1965, lasted until 1974 - never a top ten hit, but a solid, consistent player.

Ford sponsored the show and provided all of the cars, despite the fact that the feds were using Chevys. The FBI started using Fords a few years later...

9:00 - ABC Sunday Night Movie
Listen to this montage of films that ran on this series during the 1966-67 season. How many can you recognize? This movie package was another expensive ratings bomb for ABC in 1966.

 

  Batman TV ShowBatman and Robin discover the missing show in the final scene from this Fall Preview Special.

The 'missing show' in question was The Milton Berle Show, positioned Friday nights right after The Time Tunnel.

It was a massive failure - ABC signed Berle for five years but his variety show lasted only until January, 1967. Holy NO residuals!

When the smoke cleared, only Bewitched, Lawrence Welk and Rat Patrol were in the top 25 for the season; mighty Batman started the season in the top ten and ended up in the bottom thirties.

 

 

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