Q & A: In Trouble; 1965 CBS Fall Preview

I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or even decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to pull out a few e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to enjoy. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.

I’m looking for a pilot of a TV show called “In Trouble” which aired in 1981 or so, probably as a summer filler. It starred Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson) Deena Freeman, and Lisa Freeman (no relation AFAIK). The only stuff I could find was a listing on IMDB and a publicity still on Deena Freeman’s website. I searched your site and didn’t find it, so you might not have any info on it; but if you do, that’d be great!

“In Trouble” was an ABC sitcom pilot in contention for the 1981-1982 season. Lisa Freeman, Nancy Cartwright and Deena Freeman starred as friends Ivy Miller, Annie Monahan and Janey Zerneck. Doris Roberts co-starred as the school principal.

As the title suggests, Ivy, Annie and Janey were always getting themselves into trouble. In the pilot, the three needed money so they got jobs at a strip club and also held an unauthorized tag sale in the school cafeteria.

“In Trouble” was produced, written and directed by Bernie Kukoff and Jeff Harris through their company Kukoff-Harris Productions. The pilot was not picked up but ABC aired it on Monday, August 24th, 1981 from 8:30-9PM.

UCLA’s Film and Television Archive has a copy of the pilot in its collection.

Just wondering if you’ve ever seen or able to get the Fall Preview show from September 1965? I think it was hosted by Dick Van Dyke and was called “Seven Nights to Remember” or something like that. I’ve seen screen grabs here and there over the years and I’m surprised it hasn’t popped up anywhere. Lost in Space and Hogan’s Heroes premiered that year.

There was no standalone CBS fall preview special for the 1965-1966 season. The network staged an elaborate promotional campaign involving television, radio, and print. The theme was “Hey, Look Us Over!” (adapted from the 1960 musical Wildcat starring Lucille Ball) and the cost was pegged at almost one million dollars.

The campaign was split into three phases: Phase 1 ran from July 15th to August 14th and featured nine-second trailers featuring Saul Bass graphics as well as one-minute preview trailers for new programs. Phase 2 ran from August 15th to August 18th and featured 34 new trailers tagged with the day each program aired as well as 13 one-minute trailers featuring three or four different programs grouped by day of the week, plus additional one-minute preview trailers for every single prime time program. Phase 3 started on September 19th and replaced all of the pre-season trailers and spots with new program-specific trailers to be used through the season.

In addition to some 125 promotional films shown on the network, CBS sent additional trailers and films to its affiliates for local use. Dick Van Dyke was involved in this part of the campaign. The network also provided affiliates with up to five minutes of special footage in which Dick Van Dyke served as “host” to local talent. Affiliates could use this footage to develop individualized on-air promotional pushes for both network and local programs.

“Six days to fateful showdown.” Broadcasting. 6 Sep. 1965: 29.
“The Month in Focus.” Television Magazine. Sep. 1965: 9-10.


  • DuMont says:

    The pilot ‘In Trouble’ garnered a 12.7/22% rating, out of its lead-in, the busted pilot ‘Nuts & Bolts’ which aired at 8-8:30 PM and garnered a 11.8/22%.

  • Patrick McNamara says:

    The 1966 ABC fall preview was called “Seven Nights to Remember.” Not every year has a preview special, and not every preview special is available. They tend to come from private collectors. I know about half the ones I have are from my own recordings. The Internet Archive and Youtube are a good source for many older previews.

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