Before we begin: my dad recently moved into a different house, and in the process the final piece of his TV Guide stockpile was discovered. Having now collected the entire 1970-1997 set from him, there is only one big hole remaining: May 1980 through April 1982. This hole exists because of me -- as a kid I took that portion out of the stack to look at it, and they wound up in a different area of Dad's house, where they were eventually trashed.

So, now that I had confirmed I had all I would get from Dad, I went to eBay to see if I could find the missing two years, or possibly anything after 1997. I had never looked up TV Guides on eBay before, and now that I have, I realize how lucky I truly am. It turns out just about every TV Guide is available on that site.....but they're ALL for sale INDIVIDUALLY.

Barely anybody sells their TV Guides in lots, and the ones that do sell them four or five at a time. If I had to gather TV Guides this way, it would have taken me something like forty years and 15,000 dollars. I wondered why no one else had been writing similar pieces to this online, and now I know why.

As for finding TV Guides within your region, forget it. Needle in haystack. There were many, many different variations of TV Guide produced for every area of the United States, and a lot of the ads in them are local. I never would have seen the ads from Portland stations like KPTV and KATU if Dad hadn't saved them.

What I really don't understand are the sellers who are offering one single ad clipped out of an issue. No one really falls for this, do they?

If anyone ever actually sees a sizable lot of TV Guides from 1980, 1981 or early 1982, be sure to send me an E-mail. But as for right now, it's time to move on to today's time period....


Being an avid watcher of Tiny Toons at this time, it gave me great pleasure at the supermarket to see its four central characters getting their own TV Guide cover. And the humor was intact: Plucky had been gagged from singing by his own scarf and Hamton was singing out of a TV Guide (how meta). "Kids" shows very rarely got TV Guide covers, and I loved that Tiny Toons was deservedly getting this kind of special attention.

It meant, however, that not everyone in TV Guide's predominantly adult audience was going to understand what was going on.


There's also an article on cartoons in development that mentioned things like the Aladdin TV series about two years before it got on the air. Most kids like me did not have access to Daily Variety and were never privy to how long it took our TV shows to simmer in development.

Note that aside from the new Panther stuff, nothing in this entire paragraph ever happened. (And that's including "Tom and Jerry: The Movie" getting rave reviews in Europe -- surely they aren't that stupid.)

Do you ever wonder why all adult animation in the US is humor-based? Did you ever think "How come no one's ever given an action cartoon a try in prime time?" The answer is they did, once. Batman The Animated Series was given a nighttime run opposite 60 Minutes during December 1992 and January 1993. The ratings were savagely bad, and the experiment was dropped. And it may be because of this that no one will try it again. "If something like THIS couldn't hack it..."


Hapless single mother + baby in peril = 90's network TV movie.

It's crazy how many TV movies I saw being promoted in these issues, considering today, you can count the number of movies produced for broadcast television on a mitten-covered hand. I only scanned in these two because they were all the same, and they took themselves oh-so-seriously. "Witness The Shocking True Tragedy!" "It was a story of LUST! BETRAYAL! HOMICIDE! *gunshot sound*" There were at least three per week. So many murders, so many "true stories," and SO. MANY. BABIES.

And when an event that would make for a salacious TV movie got any sort of press, you'd better believe that TV movie would exist within a month. One big news story in 1992 was the "Long Island Lolita," Amy Fisher, who had an affair with a married man and then tried to kill his wife when he broke things off with Amy. It was full of sex and violence and as an added bonus, that couple's last name was "Buttafuoco," which is as close as you can possibly get to saying something really vulgar on TV without actually saying it. At least, this is why I figure David Letterman's most famous running gag consisted of nothing but the word "Buttafuoco." He loved that word.

So shortly after all this went down, there were three Long Island Lolita TV movies within one week.

NBC got theirs out first and then ABC and CBS premiered their versions on the same night, at the same time.

Wow, how many famous actresses today got their start playing Amy Fisher? Did Fox run their own version starring Angelina Jolie and just didn't promote it?

File this under "So early-era Fox it hurts."

"Love Hewitt"?? As in....Jennifer Love Hewitt?? Or is there someone else simply named "Love Hewitt" out there?

No, it is indeed Jennifer Love Hewitt in the ripped jeans. I guess I didn't recognize that face because it wasn't crying.

At some point I want to make a second "Simpsons Ad Gallery" installment of TV Guide Advertising, but I'm posting this one early because it contains what is surely the worst example of adding "man" to everything Bart says in his ads.

Growing up in a religious household, you better believe I saw this one. They don't actually find the Ark in it. They just interview people who claim to have found it once, complete with dramatizations of their stories. But no proof of anything. So, this being said, the comparison to Al Capone's vault is very truthful. "If you thought finding nothing was exciting, imagine finding nothing when trying to unlock the secret of mankind!!"

Not only is that a real description of a Wonder Years episode, it's one of the BEST ONES EVER, I swear.

I could have sworn Dr. Quinn premiered in 1992, but here is the promo for the TV movie that started the series -- airdate January 1, 1993. File this under "So early 90's PC it hurts."

One day later, the first episode of the regular series aired. And immediately, it's the first "plague" episode. They didn't waste any time!

This is the situation: 1992 had just ended. The previous fall was CRAMMED with 90210 ripoffs, all of which nosedived and crashed -- not a single one survived to see the light of 1993. Fanatics of 90's teen soaps only had room in their hearts for 90210 and Melrose and that was it. So by the time "Class of 96" showed up, you might think it didn't stand a chance. ....You'd be right, but at least they tried something SLIGHTLY different by starting the characters off in college.

"Where I Live" is the most forgotten TGIF show of them all. I've never seen it mentioned in TGIF clickbait image galleries, and I HAVE seen Getting By mentioned! Several times!

I guess people just couldn't take so much Black Cool at once. Look at them! They're just so hip -- I can't handle the fresh!

Sometimes these promos for feature films that make their way to television under-represent them, but this is a very accurate ad for Superman III.
It looks just as stupid as the movie is. You know exactly what you're getting.

What follows now is what may be one of my favorite ads I've ever scanned in. I don't even like the show it's for, I just REALLY like how it's promoted.

This is, of course, an ad for the series premiere of PBS's Ghostwriter. But whatever it is doesn't matter. It's perfectly promoted.

"What is this thing?" I wept.