My Journey Through 1970s TV: Sundays in 1971

My Journey Through 1970s TV: Sundays in 1971


Time to begin year two of my 1970s TV journey. From here on we’re likely to run into more shows already covered in the previous year, which is fine – that means there will be more space available to talk about new ones. 





The ABC Sunday Night Movie


The FBIwas a great show last year and is still great this season. Otherwise, nothing new to see here. Moving on.



The Wonderful World of Disney

The Jimmy Stewart Show


The Bold Ones: The New Doctors/The Lawyers


This was not one of the better seasons for the venerable Disney series – anyone remember Hacksaw? The Strange Monster of Strawberry Cove? Lefty, the Dingaling Lynx? But if you were a regular viewer you caught one classic: a re-cut, two-part version of the criminally underrated movie The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. Great cast, great story, catchy songs, and Goldie Hawn’s film debut – what more could you want? 



I reviewed The Jimmy Stewart Show back in 2014, after the one-season series was released on DVD. Check that piece out for the verdict, but to summarize – Stewart is wonderful as expected as a small town college professor, his TV family was not particularly well-conceived or cast, and John McGiver is terrific as Stewart’s fellow faculty member. 



Of course I’ve watched Bonanza, and I’ve watched both of the Bold Ones series. Of the two “The Lawyers” is far better – seeing E.G. Marshall as a doctor after his iconic run as an attorney on The Defenders is a tough adjustment. 




CBS Sunday Night Movie

Cade’s County


Just one show left to cover on this night, and I thought it was a pretty good one. Thanks to TV Land (which has never received the appreciation it deserved for resurrecting so many short-lived, forgotten series), I’ve seen several episodes of Cade’s County, and I enjoyed them.


If 1970 had a trend, it was shows about maverick young professionals shaking up the stodgy establishment with new ideas. Early indications suggest that a trend for 1971 was the migration of veteran film actors into television series: The Jimmy Stewart Show, The Smith Family (starring Henry Fonda), and Glenn Ford here.


Ford plays Sam Cade, Sheriff of Madrid, a fictional southwestern county. He enforces the law alongside deputy J.J. Jackson (Edgar Buchanan, no longer at the Junction but still movin’ kinda slow). Ford’s movie western credentials served him well here; some actors just look right in a desert setting with a rifle slung over their shoulder, and Ford is one of them. He is instantly credible as a capable, compassionate lawman that knows his territory and the people in it. 



As is typical of shows from this era there were interesting guest stars in nearly every episode. The pilot featured Darren McGavin as a hit man, Loretta Swit as the local girl he used to date, and Carl Betz as a crime boss headed up the river unless Cade is killed before he can testify. Most episodes are on YouTube if you’re curious to check it out.



Shows Missed:

The Don Knotts Show (1970)

San Francisco International Airport (1970)

Nancy (1970)

The Headmaster (1970)

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