ABC 1967-1968, A Very Special Season: The Guns of Will Sonnett

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Here’s a 60-second promotional spot for The Guns of Will Sonnett, which premiered on ABC in September of 1967 and ultimately ran for two seasons and 50 episodes, the last of which was not aired until September of 1969, seven months after the 1968-1969 season ended. The network used the slogan “A Very Special Season” and distinctive kaleidoscopic imagery to promote its new and returning programs. New programs included N.Y.P.D., Cowboy in Africa, Good Company, The Flying Nun, Off To See the Wizard and Judd, for the Defense. Due to Labor Day, ABC kicked off its premiere week on Tuesday, September 5th.


  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Gary Owens is the opening announcer; Gerald Mohr (whose voice was heard on other ABC filmed promos that year) handles the rest. The footage seen here, of course, is from the pilot episode, “Ride the Long Trail”, with Claude Akins as the “heavy” [of course, he and his brood get theirs from the Sonnetts at the climax]. This is one of my favorite ABC promos from that period…”No brag- just fact”.

    And yes, you heard right when Gary declared “‘A Very Special Season’ starts September 5th…”. That was the season all three major networks premiered virtually all of their new fall series right after Labor Day, beginning Tuesday, September 5th- due to ABC’s successful launch of their 1966-’67 schedule during the previous September. They got enough viewers to sample their new series between September 8th and 14th, 1966 [never mind that most viewers soon returned to their favorites on “the competition”], CBS and NBC were determined NOT to be at a disadvantage the following season.

    However, 1967-’68 was also the season the networks began cutting back on the number of episodes that made up a full season: 26 became the “standard” (with repeats around Christmas and New Year’s). And when the fall season started a little earlier, most series ended their first-run episodes in March- which meant that repeats started earlier, and viewers found it easier to tune out earlier, as well. The following fall, the networks resumed waiting until mid or late September to premiere their fall schedules {“THE GUNS OF WILL SONNETT”, for example, had its premiere on September 8, 1967; its second season premiere didn’t occur until September 27, 1968}.

  • PB says:

    During the first year or two of the new FOX network they would additional summer eps of some of their shows like 90210 and start their season immediately after Labor day.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    I remember they initially called themselves “Fox Weekend Television” (obviously corporate head Rupert Murdoch’s echoing “London Weekend Television” of the ’60s and ’70s) during the first rwo years. Then they began to add “the rest of the week” to their schedule, slowly, over the next several seasons, until they were operating on a nightly schedule in the fall of 1993.

  • Geno says:

    All these years, I have remembered that great line: “No brag, just fact!”

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