(Pictured, L to R: James Taylor, George McGovern, Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones, Eleanor McGovern, and Carole King at a Hollywood benefit for McGovern’s presidential campaign.)
(I wasn’t planning to write one of these this week, but I find that I lack the bandwidth to write or think about anything but the deep and distant past lately.)
October 28, 1972, was a Saturday. Newspapers continue to headline the latest developments after presidential advisor Henry Kissinger’s Thursday announcement that that “peace is at hand” in Vietnam. Yesterday, South Vietnamese President Thieu announced that his country “has not agreed to anything yet.” North Vietnam has already accused the United States of backing out of the deal because Thieu won’t agree. At 10:30 Eastern time this morning, President Nixon delivers a paid campaign speech to a nationwide network radio audience that touches on a wide variety of subjects including Vietnam. After the speech, Nixon departs on a campaign trip to Ohio and Illinois. Last night, Democratic candidate George McGovern told a radio audience that Nixon should call a special session of Congress after the election to give lawmakers the chance to override vetoes of nine recent spending bills that would have funded a variety of social programs. Today, future Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Davis and future country singer Brad Paisley are born. Movie and television director Mitchell Leisen dies at age 74.
In college football today, most of the top teams win, including #1 Southern California, #2 Alabama, #3 Nebraska, and #4 Ohio State, which beats Wisconsin 28-20. The biggest upset is #7 Colorado’s 20-17 loss to Missouri. Four games are played in the NBA. The Milwaukee Bucks are 8-and-1 after a 96-92 win at Philadelphia. The Bucks have the second-best record in the NBA; the Boston Celtics are 9-and-0 and idle today. Four games are on the ABA schedule, including the Carolina Cougars’ 141-109 blowout of the Virginia Squires. Other winners are the Indiana Pacers, Kentucky Colonels, and Utah Stars.
In Phoenix, the Arizona State Fair opened yesterday and runs through November 12. Opening-night main stage entertainer Bob Crane drew a sparse crowd; his music and comedy show featured an appearance by his Hogan’s Heroes co-star Robert Clary. Barbara McNair headlines tonight, with Doc Severinsen tomorrow. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and Woodstock are on the cover of this week’s TV Guide with the headline “Good grief! Another Charlie Brown special.” Saturday morning shows today include Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, The Funky Phantom, Lidsville, and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Tonight, CBS airs All in the Family, Bridget Loves Bernie, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and Mission Impossible. ABC presents Alias Smith and Jones, The Streets of San Francisco, and The Sixth Sense. NBC primetime is taken up by the 1963 theatrical movie It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
At KHJ in Los Angeles, noon-to-3 jock Mark Elliott is on the cover of the music survey dated October 24. The new #1 song at KHJ is “I’ll Be Around” by the Spinners, which knocks “My Ding-a-Ling” by Chuck Berry to #2. “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash is up to #3. Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party” falls to #4 from #2. The Eagles’ “Witchy Woman” is up to #5 from #8. The first hit by the Doobie Brothers, “Listen to the Music” is at #6. Three songs are new in the Top 10: “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy, “Freddie’s Dead” by Curtis Mayfield, and “I’d Love You to Want Me” by Lobo. They replace Michael Jackson’s “Ben,” the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin,” and “Everybody Plays the Fool” by the Main Ingredient. The lone debut on the KHJ Thirty is “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by the Temptations at #29. The new #1 album in Los Angeles is Carney by Leon Russell; last week’s #1, Chicago V, is down to #4. Between them are the Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed and the Superfly soundtrack.
Perspective From the Present: On this weekend, I am in junior high, and I likely spent Saturday afternoon listening to the Wisconsin/Ohio State game on the radio. It wouldn’t be long before I bought “Freddie’s Dead” and “I’d Love You to Want Me” on 45s, if I didn’t have them already. The Peanuts special featured in TV Guide during this week is not The Great Pumpkin, which debuted in 1966 and probably also aired during this week. It’s You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown, in which Linus runs for student-body president. It aired on Sunday night of this week, nine days before Election Day, and it was followed by the American TV premiere of the Beatles movie Yellow Submarine. Which I think I remember watching.
5 thoughts on “October 28, 1972: Days of Future Passed”
Within six months, KMPC, Los Angeles, which has been employing Crane as a fill-in for morning man Dick Whittinghill since mid-1972, would offer Crane Whittinghill’s job and a salary of $300,000 (2 million and change adjusted). Crane says no—he wants to act.
Word gets to Whittinghill, who makes sure nobody subs for him from then on—he pre-tapes his shows when he goes on vacation.
And Whit survives in his job until July 30, 1979, when he “retires” to a Sunday hour (he’ll later say he was pushed). Bob Crane, of course, didn’t survive—he was beaten to death 13 months and a day earlier, 16 miles from where he drew that meager crowd at the Arizona State Fair in ’72.
Who, in 1972, would think Bob Dylan would write an essay 50 years later about “Witchy Woman?”
“My Ding-a-Ling” takes all kind of abuse (“This was his only #1?”) but Chuck sang it with such gusto that I guess, why not. He was a genius but left behind a sordid trail of….stuff, yet the clues were there all along hidden in plain sight.
And Bob Crane’s ding-a-ling couldn’t be satisfied. Someone remarked that if technology had moved a little faster he wouldn’t have needed to haul around all that heavy camera equipment that was used to bludgeon him to death.
Oh, regarding the survey, the stunning “If I Could Reach You” by the Fifth Dimension never fails to raise the goosebumps. So many great records made by that group.
Another great blog, jb. I’ll Be Around, Listen to the Music and Papa Was a Rolling Stone all hold up magnificently 50 years later, even if the middle one could be considered overplayed on some oldies outlets.
And as for the TV side, get this: The Nielsen ratings for this week ranked All in the Family number one and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World at number two. Which means there were plenty of viewers who decided to watch the sitcom on CBS and then switch to the movie (which was making its TV debut) 30 minutes past its start. Also, in a few weeks CBS would replace Mission: Impossible with The Carol Burnett Show and get even higher ratings on the network’s already-hot Saturday night schedule.
Another Nielsen note: While You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown would also make the top 10 for the week, the debut of Yellow Submarine was a notable bomb. I could be wrong, but I think its ratings were so disappointing that the film couldn’t get much if any sales on local TV stations thereafter.
I always thought Top 40 of ’71-’72 was when it started to drop off after that ’66 through ’70 golden era. However, reading these 50th anniversary retrospectives the last two years, the hits of ’71 are damn strong in their own right.
Somehow, I’m guessing the hits of ’73-’74 won’t get the same reappraisal. Except from this blog.
I maintain that it was a damn cultural injustice that they put Charlie Brown’s name in the title of the show instead of Linus’s. Of course Charlie Brown’s not elected — he’s not running!
(As the link mentions, the show was originally developed and advertised under the title “You’re Elected, Charlie Brown.” Depending on what you read, it either aired with that title the first time and was changed for rebroadcasts, or was hastily changed not long before the first airing. A Newspapers dot com search from 1972 shows papers at the time using the “You’re Elected, Charlie Brown” title.)