I've decided to focus here on a version that I figured would have received a lot of coverage in TV Guide. It is the film "S.O.S. Titanic" from 1979. The reason I thought there wold be a lot of material about it in TV Guide is that it was a made-for-TV movie. On a personal note, it's very possible that I saw the premiere of this movie on September 23, 1979. It was sometime around 1980 that I first discovered and became interested in the story of the Titanic. I don't know exactly how I was introduced to it, but it could have very well been this movie. I know that not long after this time I read Clive Cussler's book "Raise the Titanic" for the first time and was really hooked. And I also know that I saw "S.O.S. Titanic" when it was replayed on ABC a couple years later.
But now let's look at what was in TV Guide in reference to the debut of "S.O.S. Titanic". Here's the cover of the September 22-28, 1979 issue (the week of the premiere of the movie):
I expected a pretty big write-up in Judith Crist's "This Week's Movies" section. But apparently ABC didn't make the movie available for a preview. Because of that it only got a minor mention in the article. Here it is anyway:
TV Guide also didn't have it's usual "Close-Up" article about the movie--most likely also because of the lack of preview screenings. Here is the listing for 9:00 on Sunday, September 23, 1979 (Page A-50). The description here seems to have benefitted from some sort of a screening though--as it mentions that the movie is "salvaged" by it's "realistic sets and special effects. This would indicate that the person who wrote this had seen the movie--and felt that the acting, writing and/or directing weren't all that great, but the special effects and sets were of good quality.
While there wasn't a whole heck of a lot written about "S.O.S. Titanic" in this issue of TV Guide, ABC did spring for a very nifty ad for the movie that covered the bottom two thirds of a two-page spread on pages A-50 andA-51. Here it is:
I remember liking "S.O.S. Titanic" as a kid, but have not seen it in many years. I'd like to check it out again and see if it lives up to my hazy memory of it--or if there was a glaring reason why it didn't warrant a preview screening and why TV Guide indicated it was mainly worth seeing because of it's sets and special effects.