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Looking back at what was on the box in 1966

By Black Country Bugle User  |  Posted: January 14, 2010

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LOOKING through old TV magazines can be a fascinating experience, as vintage programmes that were once watched religiously every week, or even every evening in some cases, set the memory in motion.

They’re full of our favourite TV stars and personalities of old times, many of whom may have ended up as pinups.

Take a stab at a year, then a particular day, and that’s just what Alan Keeling has done to entertain us with his next offering of ‘Yesterday’s TV’. The year was 1966 (England had yet to win the World Cup), the month April, and the day Thursday 28th, and leading the way that particular afternoon at 4.45pm as the kids arrived home from school was The Tingha and Tucker Club presented by the first lady of Children’s TV at that time, Jean Morton.

Puppets Two Koala puppets kept the nation’s youngsters enthralled and thousands ended up joining the Tingha and Tucker Club. Have Bugle readers any memories of those far off days of children’s TV, now those young viewers are well into their 50s? Here’s what followed: 5.00: “Junior Criss Cross Quiz”, in which Danny Blanchflower (the famous footballer) asked all the questions and kept the score.

5.25: “Fury”, with an episode called “Visiting Day”. This programme starred Bobby Diamond as Joey and Peter Graves as Jim and told the story of a black stallion. It was a repeat from 1959 — no change there then! 5.55: ITN News, followed by ATV Midlands News at 6.05.

6.15: ATV Today with Reg Harcourt and Gwyn Richards in the hot seat.

6.35: “Crossroads” with Noele Gordon as Meg Richardson.

7.0 : “Weaver’s Green”, a reflection of life and drama surrounding the practice of a country vet, with Megs Jenkins as Dotty Armstrong. This was an Anglia Television production.

7.30: “Bonanza”, the classic Western starring Lorne Greene as Ben, Michael Landon as Little Joe and the cuddly Dan Blocker as Hoss. In this particular episode called “Ride the Wind” the Pony Express is attacked by the Paiute Indians, co starring Rod Cameron as Curtis Wade and Deforest Kelly as Tully.

8.25: “The Rifleman”, with Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford his son Mark in an episode called “The Marshall.” Guest stars included James Drury and Warren Oates.

Although it was billed as a brand new series for ATV, this particular episode was first shown in 1958.

8.55: ITN News (in the days before News at Ten).

9.10: “This Week”, a half-hour programme with reports, comments and interpretations of Britain and International Affairs, fronted by Alistair Burnet.

9.40: “The Fugitive”, a classic series in which Richard Kimble, played by David Janssen, was forever on the run and being pursued by Lt. Gerard, played by Barry Morse. This programme had many of us teetering on the edge of our seats every week, and in this particular episode Lt. Gerard was falsely accused of a crime and sentenced to death in a mountain community which held itself beyond the law. Guest star was Bruce Dern who played Cody.

Eagle 10.35: “Shadow of the Eagle” starring Richard Greene (made before he became a household name as Robin Hood) in a swashbuckling feature film with Greta Gynt.

11.50: For those who were still up it was time for “Dateline”, a closer look at the top news stories of the day presented by Reginald Bosanquet, followed at no fixed time by “The Epilogue”. On this occasion it was delivered by the Reverend Phillip Cliff, Chaplain of Westhill College, Selly Oak in Birmingham.

In 1966 there were two periods when the network closed down altogether in the week (perhaps to recharge the batteries), for a few hours in the afternoon and all through the night, and if we were sat bleary-eyed in front of the screen as the last programme finished for the day, the little dot would disappear into infinity to be replaced by the test card the following day.

It seemed that Thursday evening viewing in April 1966 was dominated by imports from the US; Bonanza, The Fugitive, and the slightly dated Rifleman.

Fury was constantly repeated as the series was co-produced by ATV’s sister company, ITC.

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