Friday, October 2, 2015

The Three R's: Reading TV Guide, Writing to TV Guide, and Renewing TV Guide

Long time no see, fellow babies!

Have no fear; your genial hosts have been working feverishly behind the scenes, recording new episodes at a feverish clip, bolstering our podcast's infrastructure, recruiting guest hosts, and doing everything we can to make Season 2 of Hold My Order, Terrible Dresser THE BEST PODCAST SEASON EVER RECORDED OR HEARD*.

To this end, we have a startling array of promotional events happening over the next week and a half or so, starting with this very blog post!

This summer, I had occasion to make my way to The Outer Limits comic store in Waltham, MA. Apart from being a very solidly-stocked comic shop, The Outer Limits also features a great deal of pop culture ephemera from my own childhood period. Yes, this means old newspapers and supermarket tabloids (no sign of the "3 Survive UFO Attack" WKRP issue of the Weekly World News, sadly) and old VHS tapes and toys and such from the '80s. As I crept around the comic back issues, though, I felt my foot nudge something and looked down to a set of four piles of tiny little digest-sized magazines. Dare I dream? I thought to myself. Could this really be?

Yes, I dare, and yes, it was.

So naturally I bought a huge pile of these bad boys. It's all for the podcast, I recited to myself in my head as I greedily scooped them up and took them home. And you know, that's actually almost true! Because even though the first thing I had to do was take a Boston edition issue from 1979 and spend time deconstructing it thoroughly (follow that link for a glimpse at this project), there was also an issue with a lot more direct pertinence, not only to the podcast, but also for this exact second season of WKRP!

It's a lengthy interview with Howard Hesseman, published as episode 4 of Season 2 of WKRP, "Bad Risk," was airing in October of 1979. If you'd asked me before buying these old TV Guides if TV Guide was in any way a bastion of journalism, I'd have shouted, "No!" from the rooftops. And while this Hesseman profile is pretty classic and standard entertainment journalism, it actually delves pretty deeply into Hesseman's background in The Committee, his love of scuba diving (!!!), and his seeming cynicism for every authority figure in his life.

Speaking of real journalism, the other issues I purchased contained articles on the death of public broadcasting (predicted, yes, since the 1970s), the abduction of Patty Hearst, the rise of closed-circuit cameras in fighting crime and the civil liberties implications of such, and questioning the wisdom and appropriateness of the exploitation of the Loud family in PBS's An American Family (which you can bet I'll be revisiting when it's time for the "Real Families" episode of WKRP).

Oh, TV Guide, where have you gone? A nation turns its lonely eyes etc. etc.

Anyway, here's the interview with all contiguous ads intact (click on images to embiggen). Feel free to have a cringe over ads for weight loss aids, cigarettes (remember, kids, black eyes on women are a great way to sell cigarettes!), K-Mart, and home video mail order (yes, even in 1979 people had home video machines!). This particular issue is sadly not a Boston market edition but instead for northern Kentucky, which I suppose is pretty much perfect for WKRP in Cincinnati, no?

More announcements coming Monday, including an invite to an exclusive LIVE event to help celebrate Hold My Order, Terrible Dresser Season 2!


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