A Year in TV Guide: 1989 is a year-long project to review all 52 issues of TV Guide magazine published during 1989. Every week, I’ll share my thoughts about the issue of TV Guide published exactly 30 years earlier. My goal is to examine what was written about television three decades ago while highlighting the short-lived and forgotten TV shows on network television during 1989.
June 17th, 1989
Vol. 37, No. 24, Issue #1890
On the Cover: Donna Mills, by Charles William Bush
This week’s issue includes seven articles:
- Inside Knots Landing, by Donna Mills
- After Father Knows Best, by Mike Littwin
- Arnie Becker is Practicing Too Much Romance and Not Enough Law, by Lois Brenner
- Rating Presidential Hopefuls, by Phil Dusenberry with Howard Polskin
- Cops Follows Real Police into Action, by John Weisman
- When TV Stars Come to Play in Manhattan, by Cindy Williams
Once again, I skipped the cover article. I haven’t seen a single episode of Knots Landing and didn’t really need to learn why Donna Mills decided to leave the show after nine seasons. I did read the article about Father Knows Best, despite never having seen any episodes of that show, either. Timed to coincide with a “Father Still Knows Best: A Father’s Day Special” marathon on
CBS CBN Family Channel, the article examines how the child actors on Father Knows Best (Billy Gray, Lauren Chapin, and Elinor Donahue) were nothing like the characters they played.
I skimmed the article about Arnie Becker, a character on L.A. Law. Apparently, he isn’t doing a great job as a divorce lawyer. I also skimmed the article about Cops. I guess I never realized how seriously critics took the show when it debuted. There was nothing like it on television in 1989.
I skipped the articles about presidential hopefuls and TV stars partying in Manhattan.
TV Guide Insider
[TV Guide Insider includes the following features: Grapevine, Soaps, Sports View, Video Cassette Report, and Cheers ‘n’ Jeers.]
Lawrence Eisenberg’s Grapevine includes tidbits about Joe Regalbuto’s saxophone playing, Joan Van Ark’s running, Bob Saget’s dream of writing and directing, and more. Alan Carter shares stories about Julia Barr, Clayton Prince, and ABC senior-vice president of daytime programs Jo Ann Emmerich in Soaps. Mel Durslag’s Sports View tackles how televised sports schedules are developed.
Prices from the Video Cassette Report for movies on VHS: Alien Nation ($89.98), Cocoon: The Return ($89.98), Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects ($89.95), Midnight Cop ($89.95), Parents ($89.98), Price of Bel Air ($89.95), Twins ($89.95). Cheers ‘n’ Jeers praises busy actor Nicolas Coster, applauds the Financial News Network for getting rid of Take Five (lengthy commercials “deceptively presented as news”), criticizes Rodney Dangerfield’s dirty language on his recent HBO special, and laments the end of a pregnancy storyline on One Life to Live.
R.C. Smith reviews The Morton Downey Jr. Show but does very little reviewing. Downey’s attitude is discussed and Smith offers examples of the sort of guests the show books. There’s a negative tone to the review, even if it doesn’t come right out and say anything particularly negative about the show or Downey.
The Program Section
[The Program Section includes the following features: TV Guide Plus, This Week, This Week’s Movies, Four-Star Movies, This Week’s Sports, Channel Directory, Pay-TV Movie Guide, TV Crossword Puzzle, Letters, and Horoscope.]
TV Guide Plus
[TV Guide Plus includes the following categories: In The News, On the Grapevine, and Soap Opera Guide.]
There are three In the News reports this week. The first examines how the cable industry hopes to attract viewers during the summer while the networks are offering mostly reruns. The second ponders the fate of NBC Sports announcer Vin Scully. The third reveals the networks aren’t having much trouble moving correspondents and journalists into, and out of, China.
On the Grapevine contains three reports about Delta Burke and Gerald McRaney losing and gaining weight, Patch Johnson on Days of Our Lives losing his eye patch for a week, and what happened when Cops traveled to the Soviet Union.
[Although TV Guide published the first and last names of those who wrote letters, for privacy reasons I will only be sharing the first name and the first letter of the last name.]
Three of the seven letters respond to an article criticizing soap operas for redeeming rapists published in the May 27 issue. Here they are:
Waggett failed to mention the most controversial rape story currently going on: On Days of Our Lives, rapist Jack Deveraux’s crime was supposedly a “crime of passion,” and therefore went unpunished. The show wants viewers to believe that Jack only raped his victim because he “loved” her. Now the soap has this rapist romancing a young virgin. What’s tragic is that the many girls who watch this show may actually end up believing that rape is somehow romantic.
Making heroes out of rapists is like saying that women love to be humiliated and degraded. Genie Francis is keeping this idea alive all by herself. Not only did she fall in love with a rapist (Luke), but in her current role on Days of Our Lives, she was tied to a bed and left in a cabin all day by a man who supposedly loves her. When he got back, she was mildly upset, but ended up making love to him in the same bed!
See my review of the January 7th, 1989 issue for the Channel Directory to the Toledo-Lima Edition.
- [Cable Close Up] First Born (A&E, Saturday at 10PM)
- U.S. Open Golf (ABC, Saturday at 1:30PM/Sunday at 2PM)
- Songwriters’ Hall of Fame 20th Anniversary Gala (CBS, Thursday at 9PM)
- Evening at Pops (PBS, Friday at 9PM)
Do You Remember…?
Saturday, June 17th, 1989
10PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) WEST 57TH (CC); 60 min.
Scheduled: A 1988 report on children in need of organ transplants; a January segment on the 1964 Mississippi murders of civil-rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner; a February piece on an Arizona company that claims to market new inventions; and an April profile of the Cowboy Junkies. Correspondents: John Ferrugia, Steve Kroft and Karen Barnes. (Repeat)
Sunday, June 18th, 1989
8PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) HAVE FAITH (CC)
Father Tuttle (Frank Hamilton) wields a ruler to enforce classroom discipline and Sally (Francesca Roberts) anoints herself Mac’s secretary. (Repeat)
[New day and time.]
Monday, June 19th, 1989
8:30PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) HEARTLAND (CC)
The Staffords dodge an offer from an agribusiness representative, and wind up in the cellar when a tornado hits. (Repeat)
10:30PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) DOCTOR, DOCTOR(CC)–Comedy
Mike (Matt Frewer) continues to have problems reconciling his personalized medical methods with those of his partners, putting his practice in critical condition.
Tuesday, June 20th, 1989
8PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) SUMMER PLAYHOUSE (CC)–Science Fiction; 60 min.
Return: A third season of comedy and dramatic pilots not on CBS’s announced fall schedule opens with the intergalactic adventures of two “Microcops” (William Bumiller, Shanti Owen), who land on Earth in hot pursuit of a cosmic crook named Cloyd (Page Moseley), only to discover that on this planet they are of cellular size.
Wednesday, June 21st, 1989
8PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) HARD TIME ON PLANET EARTH (CC)–Adventure; 60 min.
After coming to the rescue of a kiddie-show host, Jesse (Martin Kove) tries to help one of the man’s fans, who says his father’s life is in danger.
9:30PM ABC (24) (6) (7D) (21) ROBERT GUILLAUME (CC)
Edward (Robert Guillaume) wonders if he hasn’t shrunk as a shrink when two members of his group start seeing one another.
The dull summer repeat season is definitely in full wing. There’s so little of interest this week, TV Guide only included four Close Ups in this issue, the fewest I’ve seen so far in 1989. There are also no advertisements for network or cable shows. Finally, whoever originally owned this issue tore out the 16-page coupon section. I hope they saved a bunch of money.
That’s it for this issue. Check back next week for my review of the June 24th, 1989 issue of TV Guide. As always, hit the comments with any thoughts or reactions.