Sunday, August 14, 2011

More TV Guide Blurbs (1980)

I recently wrote about a small item in a 1974 issue of TV Guide called "Tomorrow's History". I wasn't sure if it was merely a small blurb used to take up empty space on a page to fill it out, or if it was some kind of official or unofficial "mission statement" for TV Guide. I also had no idea whether it was a one-time item or if it was used occasionally in various issues whenever needed. It looks like I now have some answers to those admittedly unimportant questions.

March 22-28, 1980 TV Guide cover

I just found the same "Tomorrow's History" piece in the March 22-18, 1980 Eastern New England Edition issue (#1408) too. It looks exactly the same as the one that appeared in 1974. Obviously this means that it did indeed appear more than once. If I just happened to randomly find it in two issues six years apart, it would seem safe to figure that it is in others as well.

Here's the March 1980 "Tomorrow's History" blurb:

And here is the full page that it appeared on and where it was apparently needed to take up a little otherwise empty space:
TV Guide Page A-60

This same issue actually provided me with three more of these "blurbs"--all very different in topic and size from each other. I'll show each one up close, and also what it looked at on the page that it appeared. Since it does seem that they are little space holders it's useful to see what they looked like on the page.

This one, titled "Vital Statistics" is a tiny and rather uninteresting bit of trivia about how CBS paid six million dollars for the rights to air the last Super Bowl game. Something that makes it a bit more interesting is the thought that companies are now paying close to what CBS paid to telecast the entire game simply for a 30-second commercial slot during Super Bowl games of today! (Note the ad for Channel 4's Evening Magazine with Barry Nolan in the full page scan)

TV Guide Page A-41

Speaking of the Super Bowl, here's another blurb simply titled "Sports". It seems to be a bit like the "Tomorrow's History" bit--with TV Guide relating its importance in a world full of many (televised) sporting events. (Note the cool WLVI Channel 56 ad for the movie "Judgment at Nuremburg" on this page)

TV Guide Page A-68

Finally, here's a blurb called "Network Addresses", which lists just that. It's funny to look back at a time when people not only communicated with something like a television network by writing an actual letter, and also to recall a time before cable took off when there were basically only three "real" networks (plus PBS of course). I wonder what would happen if you were to send a letter to one of these addresses today? Would it actually make it to the offices of ABC, CBS, NBC or PBS? Would it actually be answered by another letter?

TV Guide Page A-90

As much as I'm interested in TV Guides from the 1970s and 80s now, I never really saw or read them much when they were new. My parents would sometimes subscribe to the magazine and my mother would give them to me after the cover dates had passed. Since they weren't anything all that "special" at the time I just never seemed to get around to reading the articles and stuff like that. I also didn't really check out the listings, since they were already old by the time I got ahold of the issues. I just held onto them until it came time to toss them out. Perhaps someone who actually bought and read TV Guide on a regular basis in the 1970s and 80s would have a familiarity with these little blurbs and remember seeing them in the magazine from time to time. It's possible that they wouldn't. I've noticed that they're placed in a rather unassuming way that allows you to kind of ignore them as you're scanning through the listings. Unlike paid ads geared to get your attention, these little pieces sort of blend in with the page and don't really stand out. Kind of refreshing actually!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Time Traveling in Style (aka Nice Rack!)

I've been interested in picking up one of those old wire display racks for TV Guides that you used to see near the cash registers in stores back in the day. I sort of stumbled on the idea by mistake while searching for vintage TV Guides on eBay. Every once in a while an old display rack will pop up while doing one of these searches, and of course I always think it would look very smart to have some of my "better" issues sitting in one of these racks. Now, just exactly where one of these racks would actually go in my house is a different question all together. It's a question I didn't think I'd need to address any time in the near future though--as the occasional rack that would show up on eBay always seemed to go for a pretty hefty sum (i.e. out of my price range).

For example, here are the last two TV Guide display racks that I saw come up for auction on eBay and their final selling prices:

This one ended back in the middle of July (2011). It had opened at $7.99 and it ended up going for $88.99 (yes, I just typed Eighty-Eight Dollars And Ninety-Nine Cents!). Shipping on this item was $9.99, meaning that the final cost to the buyer was $98.98. That's almost one hundred bucks for a little display rack!

This second rack was sold just recently at the end of July. Bidding on this one opened at $9.99 and closed at $88.88 (eleven cents cheaper than the first one). With the $7.60 shipping cost the total to the buyer was $96.48.

As you can see, these little oddball items aren't the most common things to find, and thus they tend to go for a pretty high price when more than one interested party sees them up for auction. As a seller I always hope to have multiple people interested in my items. But as a buyer I always hope to be the only one looking for whatever it is I'm looking for, of course.

Last week I was visiting with my Mom. When I arrived at her house I saw a small pile of random stuff sitting on her porch. She said it was stuff she was putting out for a relative's yard sale. Wouldn't you know, there was a TV Guide display rack sitting on top of a box--looking like it was set out specifically for me! I told Mom the story about how I was semi-searching for one of these little items and she let me have it. So now I'm the proud owner of this:

My very own TV Guide display rack!
A few mid-1970s TV Guides sitting in the rack
Closeup of the rack with a '75 Fall Preview and a Bicentennial issue on display
As can be seen, this rack was for both Reader's Digest and TV Guide. It is of the same physical style as the second eBay one above, but it has the same label style ("America's Television Magazine" with a B&W TV Guide logo) of the first one. I'm not really sure how old any of these racks actually are, but it would seem like ones with red labels with the black and white TV Guide logos would be of an earlier vintage (1960s?) than the one with a brown, "wood grain" label and the "Check Out With TV Guide" slogan (1970s?).

This blog obviously doesn't have any insightful tidbits from ancient issues of TV Guides, or interesting television show listings from the 1970s, or anything like that. Instead it's just a chance for me to show off my new "toy". While it's rather mundane-looking, I'm pretty excited to actually have one of these racks, and am looking forward to putting some special issues in it. Perhaps it would be a good place to put issues that I find "bloggable" material in--sort of like a "TV Guide IN/OUT box" as it were. It's also a pretty neat little story about how I came to own this piece of retail history by happenstance and coincidence. Now all I need is a nice La-Z-Boy recliner to sit in while grabbing an old TV Guide from my rack to do a little time traveling...