News of the Week: Fall TV, Goodnight Moon, and the Short Life of the Edsel

In the news for the week ending September 9, 2022, are TV dinners, ketchup stains, Titanic pictures, and the death of a queen.

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New Shows, Old Shows, Good Shows, Bad Shows

Every year around this time I link to guides to the new fall TV season. But maybe I shouldn’t? Because it seems like the launch of the new fall TV season just isn’t a big deal anymore.

When I was a kid, I rearranged my life around the new fall TV season and the new “Fall Preview” issue of TV Guide (I used to collect TV Guide – yes I was one of those people). I would research the shows, pick out the ones that looked promising, and take note of any changes that were happening on my returning favorites. And I still remember the ads for the new Saturday morning cartoons and thinking, “Hey, I’ll have to check that out!” (The new cartoons were never as good as Bugs Bunny and company.) The new fall TV season got me out of the dreary summer of reruns and it was something I looked forward to, like the cooler temps and new school supplies.

It was a Couch Potato Christmas.

But things aren’t like that now. Sure, there are still a lot of reruns during the summer (and an onslaught of depressing reality shows), but there are new, good shows being launched all the time on TV and cable and streaming. The new shows don’t just come out in September; they also start in January, May, and August too. In fact, there are so many new shows now and so many channels, I honestly cannot keep up with all of it.

But having said all that … hey, it’s fall TV season! Here’s TV Guide’s guide to the new and returning shows on broadcast TV, and USA Today has its picks for the 10 best new shows. Time has the 32 most anticipated TV shows, while The New York Daily News has the shows you need to watch and the ones you should avoid. AARP has info about reboots (including a new Quantum Leap and something ghastly called The Real Love Boat), and TV Line has a handy guide to more than 140 shows and when they premiere (I dare you to watch all of them).

There are approximately 27 new vampire shows this fall. I thought we were over that?

Breaking Titanic News

Just when you think there can’t possibly be any news about the famed ship that sank 110 years ago, deep-sea explorers release new sharp, 8K footage of the wreck.

Maybe I Should Have Been a Cab Driver

In 2014, the value of a New York City taxi medallion was $1.4 million (!). It dropped to $79,000 in 2021, but this year it’s up to $137,000, even in this age of Uber and Lyft.

75 Years of Goodnight Moon

I remember a lot of classic books from my childhood — Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George, all the books by Dr. Seuss — but I don’t remember reading or being read Goodnight Moon. My mom may have read it to me, but I honestly don’t remember it and I wasn’t even aware of the book until a few years ago. Sorry!

But if you have kids, you might want to read it to them. It was released on September 3, 1947, and to celebrate the 75th anniversary, there’s a new edition from HarperCollins.

In other moon-related news this week, the Artemis I launch was delayed for a second time.

Your Move, French’s Mustard

Why go to all of the trouble of staining your own shirts with ketchup when you can buy them from Heinz already stained?

Quote of the Week

“Sal, don’t wait too long. I had an aunt, waited so long for her ship to come in, her pier collapsed.”

—Buddy, to Sally, trying to find a boyfriend, on The Dick Van Dyke Show

RIP Queen Elizabeth II, Peter Straub, Bernard Shaw, Barbara Ehrenreich, Richard Roat, Earnie Shavers, Sterling Lord, Inez Foxx, and Marilyn Loden

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor became Queen after the death of her father George VI. She reigned from February 6, 1952, until her death on Thursday at the age of 96.

She was featured in the November 8, 1952, issue of the Post in a feature titled “The World’s Busiest Mother,” which showed what her daily schedule looked like. She also appeared, with husband Prince Philip, on the cover of our April 27, 1963, issue.

Peter Straub was the bestselling author of such horror novels as Ghost Story, The Hellfire Club, Mr. X, The Talisman, and Black House (the latter two he co-wrote with Stephen King). He died Sunday at the age of 79.

Bernard Shaw was the very first chief anchor at CNN in 1980 and was on-air until 2001. He was also known for his work as a correspondent during the Gulf War and moderated the 2000 VP debate between Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman. He died Wednesday at the age of 82.

Barbara Ehrenreich wrote the critically acclaimed book Nickel and Dimed, a look at how hard it is for the average working person to get by. She died last week at the age of 81.

Richard Roat was a character actor who appeared on such TV shows as Seinfeld, Friends, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Cheers, 24, and The Doctors, as well as movies like Heart and Souls, Corvette Summer, and Westworld. He died last month at the age of 89.

Earnie Shavers was a heavyweight boxer who scored 68 knockouts in his career. He died last week at the age of 78.

Sterling Lord was the literary agent who handled Jack Kerouac’s book On the Road. He also represented Art Buchwald, Jimmy Breslin, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Nicholas Pileggi, and many other writers. He died on Saturday at the age of 102.

Inez Foxx, along with her brother Charlie, sang the original version of the song “Mockingbird.” She died last week at the age of 79.

Marilyn Loden came up with the phrase that is used a lot today in politics and culture, “the glass ceiling.” She died last month at the age of 76.

This Week in History

Ford Introduces the Edsel (September 4, 1957)

Here’s the 17-minute film that introduced the infamous car, and here’s Jay Leno going for a ride in one with Martha Stewart. She actually owns the house built by Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford and the president of Ford Motor Company from 1919 until his death in 1943.

Posted to YouTube by Jay Leno’s Garage

The Price Is Right Premieres (September 4, 1972)

The iconic game show debuted 50 years ago this week, but it should be noted that this was the debut of the show called The New Price Is Right. Because there was an earlier edition of the show, hosted by Bill Cullen, that ran in the late ’50s/early ’60s. (And it’s actually a better show.)

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Zenith’s Space Command (September 8, 1956)

Technology that’s so convenient you can shut off the television from the other room while your wife is trying to watch her new favorite fall show!

National TV Dinner Day

Can you call any meal you eat while watching television a “TV dinner”? No! It has to come in the form of a tray with separate compartments for the meat, the vegetable, and the dessert. Think Swanson (in fact, the Swanson TV dinner tray made it into the Museum of American History in 1987). There are plenty of frozen dinners now, but I don’t know if you can call them “TV dinners” in the strictest sense.

I might be wrong, but I don’t think they even put the word “TV” on frozen meals anymore, do they? I miss that.

Saturday is National TV Dinner Day, and with the aforementioned fall TV season upon us it’s the perfect time to celebrate, with a sad little tray of food you cook in the microwave and eat alone in front of the TV, hoping for a better life. I kid! I actually like a lot of frozen dinners. Some are quite terrible and stretch the definition of the word “food,” but some are quite fantastic. One of the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life comes from a frozen dinner, and even pasta, which used to come out all rubbery and strange, now comes out fine. Scientists must have perfected the pasta/microwave technology in the past several years.

Here’s a commercial for Swanson from 1955. That’s game show host Jack Narz talking about his wife Mary Lou. Remember I mentioned Bill Cullen earlier? Narz was married to his wife’s sister.

Uploaded to YouTube by Vintage Fanatic

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

U.S. Open Finals (September 10 and 11)

The women’s final airs on ESPN Saturday at 4 p.m. ET and the men’s final airs Sunday at the same time and place.

Uncle Sam Day (September 13)

This is the day we celebrate America’s Uncle Sam, not your Uncle Sam. Though if you want to buy him something, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

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Comments

  1. One of the worst parts of the old TV seasons (series run Sept – May and then summer reruns) was the cliffhanger. Waiting all summer for that next episode. Loving summer but could not wait for September. Not easy.

  2. I remember watching the old “Price is Right” (on a B&W TV!) I remember seeing the premiere of the New version! (I was always a Hollywood Squares/What’s My Line kind of guy myself!

  3. You’re right Bob, the new fall TV seasons aren’t a big deal anymore for many of the same reasons it also hasn’t been (for years) of introducing the following year’s new auto models. Both scattered throughout the year of new versions of the same old thing: generic trucks, SUV’s, crossovers, rent-a-car style 4-door sedans…

    Like any new auto preview magazines, I can’t be bothered picking up the Fall Preview TV Guide, or any issues of it anymore for that matter. It wasn’t always this way. TV Guide (even into the early 2000’s) had some awesome covers. Psychedelic covers of each of the Fab 4 in 2000, and 3 or 4 of Marilyn in 2001. But yes, the Fall Preview covers up to 1998 had beautiful artwork with minimal wording.

    Many of the best artists in the business like Richard Amsel created some of the greatest covers in the 1970’s and 80’s. Anyone who’d laugh at collecting TV Guide would shut up right quick at seeing his covers, Al Hirschfeld’s, Peter Max’s. and many others. Oh yeah, that artist named Norman Rockwell also. Ever heard of him?

    The original ‘Quantum Leap’ (1989-’93) was/is one of my favorite shows. Didn’t know about the new version. Checked the trailer, don’t hate it; need to watch an episode to be fair. We’ll see…

    Thanks for including the Post links for our beloved Queen Elizabeth II here also.

    I never knew about Inez Foxx’s original version of ‘Mockingbird’ from ’63 (my bad) when I wrote a record review of Carly Simon’s ‘Hotcakes’ for my high school paper a number of years ago, that included her version of the song with James Taylor. Truthfully the whole album is kind of a ‘Best of’ (like The Car’s Candy-O) even though it wasn’t.

    Immensely enjoyed the video of Jay Leno and Martha Stewart. Fantastic! Loved the first episode of ‘The New Price Is Right’ from 50 years ago this week. The original commercials were great. Watched a couple of older episodes from 1957 and ’59 and enjoyed them too. One aired when I was a day old. “Just look at these beautiful appliances that do everything for you automatically, at the push of a button!”

    The biggest difference was Bob Barker’s (new) version was more interactive like ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ whereas the old one was more like ‘What’s My Line’ and ‘To Tell the Truth’. Loved your whole feature here on the TV dinners. No, the word TV is nowhere to be found anymore. We had those dinners a lot in the Space Age ’60s. Mom loved every minute of it, too! That wonderful chicken and gravy, tater tots, delicious hot apple pie for dessert? Oh yes.

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