March 24, 2009
Ray Stevens: TV Week, June 1970
Delving into my collection of Ray Stevens items once again we come across a June 1970 issue of a local magazine equivalent to TV Guide. This particular magazine, which you can click and see bigger, is called TV Week. A magazine issued in the New England area, subtitled "The Hartford Courant". The week covered is June 14-20, 1970. Ray is on the cover...sitting on a beach...with a blond beach sun bather walking up behind him. You can also click the program listing and see Ray's program at 7:30pm.
There is a little article contained inside the magazine promoting Ray's summer TV show. In fact, this was the debut episode of Ray's summer show for Andy Williams. The guests on the debut show were: Andy Williams himself plus Lulu and Mama Cass plus Solari and Carr, Billy Van, and The Flying Silvermans. It describes a skit called "Who is Ray Stevens??" and says the show is taped in Toronto, Canada. The replacement show for Andy is officially called Andy Williams Presents: The Ray Stevens Show??. Apparently a lot of jokes were used centered around the concept of Ray's rise to fame and low-key demeanor in spite of his world-wide popularity thanks to "Everything Is Beautiful". Although Ray had Top-40 pop hits prior to 1970, including two Gold records for a pair of novelty songs, "Ahab the Arab" in 1962 and "Gitarzan" in 1969, this particular song made him a super-star and it won him a Grammy, became a multi-million seller, plus it was heard every week on his TV show throughout the summer months.
The program aired on NBC-TV at 7:30pm on Saturday evening for 1 hour. His competition on CBS was The Jackie Gleason Show plus a major league baseball game between The Red Sox and the New York Yankee's. At 8pm, at the start of the second half hour of Ray's show, you had a New York Met's baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies get underway on an ABC-TV affiliate...plus there was The Newlywed Game on another ABC affiliate. So, on Ray's debut week he was up against some long-standing programs. I wonder what the weekly rating's report looked like back then? I know that had I been around in 1970 I certainly would've been watching Ray's show.
I looked in the program listings for Hee-Haw of which I am a fan, and I knew that the show in 1970 was still on CBS-TV. I searched the world over and finally found Hee-Haw listed on Wednesday nights at 7:30pm. Of course, when the show left CBS in 1971, it went into syndication for 21 more years. This TV Week starts off with Sunday and ends on Saturday. I was born in 1976 but I'm an amateur collector of TV Guide and in all of my time reading/collecting TV Guide, it's always started on Saturday and ran through Friday. This magazine, however, isn't exactly TV Guide so that's probably why it's put together differently. Some more interesting things is during this point in time movies filled the airwaves at night. I knew of the phrase "late, late movie" but this issue shows just exactly why that phrase came into being. Each day of the week there's a section set aside to promote the late night movies. One of the things that will be noticed right away on this late night movie section is that every movie has a series of X's after them. Now, now...this doesn't mean the movies are X-rated...i'll explain...
When I first glanced at the section and saw of these movies and after their description it would have an X or an XX or an XXX or an XXXX. Well...I knew it wasn't a rating of how good or bad an X-rated film may be...so I looked in the front of the magazine and an X is how this magazine rated typical movies: A one X is "poor" and five X's means "excellent". Nevertheless, it would certainly grab a person's eyes if they casually looked at the movie section and they see all of those X's showing up after the movie without reading the description's first. It's curious as to why the magazine would choose to use an X to rate mainstream movies.
In my younger days...like say 8 and 9...10 years old...back in the mid 1980's we had a late, late movie program called Nite Owl Theatre hosted by a man named Fritz, who goes by the name "Nite Owl". He would show movies late at night on Friday following the local newscasts. You click this image and you will be able to see those ratings that were given to movies that were certainly not X-rated...