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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We Have Last Week's, And We have Next Week's...

I have previously expressed that this is the Golden Age of Television.
And it is, in so many ways.
With the advent of YouTube, and DVDs, and Tivo, we are no longer at the mercy of the concept of "Least objectionable programming".
We can watch what we want, when we want.
We can stop the picture to go to the bathroom.
We never have to hold it in anymore.
So what's missing?
For me, it's the TV Guide.
I know that you can still find it at the checkout in the supermarket, but since it went Life Magazine size, rather than Reader's Digest size, all it is now is a glorified tabloid, with too much difficult to find information.
The old TV Guide had character.
And as I was growing up, it became more and more the highlight of my week.
Anticipating it's appearance, and receiving it.
And I'd read it cover to cover.
All the way from the first yellow page, called "New York Teletype", to the last yellow page, called "Hollywood Report"
If you subscribed to it, it would arrive in Wednesday's mail, for shows that would begin that Saturday.
My mother subscribed to it.
Because it was cheaper than if you paid retail for it in the supermarket or at newsstands.
I beckoned, yea pleaded for her to drop the subscription.
Because you could pick it up at the supermarket or at newsstands on Tuesday.
Or even Monday.
This would satisfy my Jones for it, and give me extra time to plot out my programming choices for the week.
The way it was laid out made it very easy to do that.
It also gave me more time, in our one-TV home, to plead my case for watching "Checkmate" instead of "Hazel".
With my mother's innate fondness for "Hazel", this was usually an exercise in futility.
But the TV Guide would occasionally provide me with the information that the coming week's episode of "Hazel" was a rerun.
I thought that might give me a fighting chance.
It was "Hazel".
Rerun or not, it was her show of choice.
I was invariably screwed.
It also helped me plot my pleas to stay up past my bedtime I there was something I could convince my mother was worth it.
This occasionally worked.
She finally relented and dropped the subscription, leading me to my Monday hunts.
The TV Guide was still a great navigational device.
And it provided some wonderful stories and reportage.
It also provided a great ongoing discussion in my house.
See, once the week was up, and the current TV Guide became obsolete, nobody rushed to toss it into the garbage.
So early in most weeks, we usually had three TV Guides on the premises.
And the following conversation would usually take place:
My Father:(Picking up one of them) Is this the TV Guide?
Me: No. That's last week's.
My Father: (Picking up another one) What about this one?
Me: That's next week's.
My Father: (Frustration mounting) Okay.  We have last week's and we have weeks. Where's THIS week's??!!
This is what I miss most about the TV Guide.
I don't know if anyone else ever had that conversation.
But we had it constantly.
And I miss it.


My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not
e-books. But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one. If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:



  1. We must be kin. However, the newsstand in my neighborhood never got TV GUIDE before Wednesday. It was a ritual to plan out the week's viewing. I also loved coming the daytime schedule for old, seldom-seen reruns. Years later, a friend of mine who collected them willed his collection to me (1958-1972). Almost every episode was in the lot. I still have them all. They came in very handy for my books about TV.

  2. that should say COMBING instead of coming above.

  3. Didn't your local newspaper supply its own TV listings? Mine did.

  4. Kirk, of course it did. But it was just for that day. The Sunday editions had a week's worth, but it started with listings for that Sunday. It left you no time for planning and plotting.
    And it had no style or character, like TV Guide did..

  5. I bought some TV Guides from the 1960's on Ebay, and they are fun to look at again. The first thing that struck me was how lengthy the program descriptions were, often with a separate list of the guest cast. Eventually these became one-sentence summaries at best. And the box designating a COLOR show is a hoot.

  6. On the shows I worked on, we always made a special effort to devise a story that would provide a good two-line description for TV Guide.

  7. The reason that I wanted to learn how to read was so I could read TV Guide. We also had this week's and next week's. There was nothing like the Fall Preview issue. It was usually twice as thick because it had all the write ups (in the color pages) and ads for the new shows in glorious black and white. Couldn't wait for that issue.

  8. • We also did the "last week's / this week's "next week's" thing.
    • My mom would tear off the TV Guide cover if she didn't like the star(s) in the photo.
    • I could never understand why calendars started the week with Sunday when everyone knew the week began with Saturday.
    • I memorized the show and movie descriptions ("In this classic episode, Lucy airs her marital problems on TV."
    • When Adrienne Barbeau got a letter published in TV Guide, we imagined what she looked like while she was reading the magazine.
    • Gotta say, I love me some Hazel.
    • Also cannot stand what masquerades as TV Guide now. We canceled our subscription after noticing that David Boreanaz appeared every four pages, which probably irritated him too.

  9. There were far worse shows than "Hazel". And there were far better shows than "Hazel".
    Trouble is, in my house, those shows were always on opposite "Hazel".

  10. There is a chance you're qualified for a complimentary $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

  11. You might be qualified to receive a Apple iPhone 7.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."