Eye-Popping Programme Ads From TV Guide’s Glory Days

An exhaustive collection of vintage print advertising for television shows and movies being broadcast on USTV.

Back when TV was still important, the essential magazine purchase for most Americans was TV Guide – your only way of navigating through the networks and local channels with any degree of accuracy. Unlike in Britain, where the BBC and ITV had their own magazines, TV Guide covered the lot and so different channels would take out ads to push their shows, be that newly launched sitcoms and action series, older shows in need of a push or struggling series on their last legs – when people talk about US networks yanking shows off-air before giving them a chance – which they certainly did – it’s worth considering that the likes of Supertrain and the second season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century were given ad campaigns to try to find an audience before they were pulled.

While the ads for TV shows – many of which are lost in the history of TV, doomed to run for a single (often shortened) season – are fun, the ads for movies are possibly more interesting, if only because they often feature alternative promo artwork that you’ll never see elsewhere. UK readers will also be amazed to see films like Friday 13th being shown at 8pm – while these movies were often ruthlessly edited for broadcast, it’s still inconceivable to think of films like this being shown so early in the day even before British TV fell under the control of tiresome authorities with a strictly imposed ‘watershed’.

This is, of course, the tip of the iceberg – there are plenty more to be uncovered and shared.

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One comment

  1. It’s not surprising the Buck Rogers campaign failed, pitching it as Buck Rogers trapped on a coed Devil’s Island suggests fun sexy hijinks. A far cry from the actual episode where the few women shown are very much in the stereotypical ‘old crone’ mould and he’s chasing after a literal man child.

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