TV Guide from 1984

January 3, 2011

Andrew Hicks

There were a few years, when I was younger and alone a lot more, that I made a concerted effort to read lotsa books as a New Year’s resolution. My full-on book reading has dwindled over the years and is quick becoming a thing of the past the more Sarah grows as a walking, talking person.

Now I’ll check out an issue of Rolling Stone or Entertainment Weekly from the library every couple months, start reading it, leave it somewhere out of the way, forget about it, renew it, still not finish reading it, then finally skim through the remaining pages as I’m walking to the book returns desk. That’s how I learned who Paramore was. (HINT: It’s a contemporary musical act.)

Anyway, most of my reading is done online, and it’s all attention-deficitty. My only reading material in print so far in 2011 is a copy of TV Guide from February 1984 that I bought from a comic book shop like 20 years ago. I grew up an obsessive, nostalgia-driven TV and music freak, and I found stuff like old issues of TV Guide to be fascinating pop-culture artifacts.

I just found that TV Guide in a box of stuff in the basement. Stuff I’d packed away probably ten years ago and never opened back up. I don’t have much use for it now, so it’s headed for the recycle bin or a thrift store donation bag. But for a quick moment, while I should be writing about something intelligent, I’m gonna take my 27-year-old TV Guide out for one final spin.

On the cover, the Winter Olympics. Nothing too fancy. Cover price: 50 cents. Highlights inside include:

    Page A-7 — A two-paged Let’s Review the Facts ad from R.J. Reynolds tobacco that says, “Studies which conclude that smoking causes disease have regularly ignored scientific evidence to the contrary.” There are probably a dozen cigarette ads scattered through the rest of the magazine, all featuring beautiful, white-teethed, active people whose lives are enhanced by nicotine and tar. Just typing all this makes me want to go smoke. 

    Page A-24 — Listings for NBC’s powerhouse Saturday sitcom lineup of “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Silver Spoons,” “We Got it Made” and “Mama’s Family.” Three of the four were in regular syndication when I was a kid, but I only ever saw one TBS rerun of “We Got it Made” in a hotel room during a vacation one time when I was like 13. It’s about maids in a hotel so, you know, the title is kinda like a play on words.

    Page A-74 — The joy of realizing I could’ve watched a brand new “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” is coupled with the pain of realizing that in 1984, Nickelodeon ceased programming at 7 pm. This was a cable world pre-Nick at Nite. Horrifying.

    Page A-120 — A two-page ad spread for the Rotation-Freedom Diet, which didn’t actually admit they “made false, misleading, and unsubstantiated claims in advertising” until 2006, after marketing the diet under six other names. You gotta admit that’s a pretty good reign of diet-fraud terror, and it’s preserved right here in the old TV Guide I’m about to get rid of.

Twenty-seven years you lasted, issue of TV Guide packed in a box in my basement. That’s a run that could rival even the Rotation-Freedom Diet people.


Me with 5-month-old Sarah.

5 Responses to “TV Guide from 1984”

  1. Kate Hayes Says:

    Yes, it’s definitely harder to read actual books when you have little ones at home! I read “Mayflower” last year, and was very proud of myself. But it also made me feel like a really bad parent for a few days. The TV Guide thing kills me…mainly because it proves that you can write about ANYTHING and make it interesting. Kudos! (Adorable picture, BTW.)

  2. buddah eskew Says:

    a blast from the past, what no Nell Carter? she was tons of fun…really liked Mama’s Family though. Thanks for the time warp Andrew.

    • dadsdaytime Says:

      I looked around a little bit on Wikipedia and found out Gimme a Break was part of NBC’s Thursday lineup, leading into Family Ties and Cheers. Nell Carter was actually only 712 pounds of fun, which is 1288 shy of a ton.

  3. We have an old vynal suitcase filled with 1912 New Yorker Magazines that you might like to peruse sometime in the future.

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