Sunday, January 15, 2023

In Memoriam: Barbara Walters (1929 - 2022)

Following Barbara Walters' passing just two weeks ago, I remembered that I had this December 1, 1979 issue of TV Guide, featuring her on the cover.  The issue also included an article written by Miss Walters, herself.  I scanned the article, as well as a few other pages, and thought I would share them here.

One her famous "Barbara Walters Specials" was airing that week.

For this special, she was interviewing Suzanne Somers, Sylvester Stallone, and Stevie Wonder.

In her article, she wrote about the various people she had sat down with in past interviews.

Here are just a few of the other TV listings from that week.  Since it was December, there were a lot of Christmas shows and specials airing.

The Hollywood Christmas Parade (formerly the Santa Claus Lane Parade) was continuing it's annual tradition, which started in 1928.  The grand marshals this year were husband and wife, Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood.  Two years later (almost to the day), Natalie Wood would die tragically, at the age of 43.

John Denver and the Muppets were hosting their own Christmas special.  The very first Muppet film, The Muppet Movie, had been released earlier that year.

RCA Records released a soundtrack album, featuring songs from the television special.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer was continuing it's tradition of airing annually, since making it's television debut in 1964.  And Johnny Cash was hosting his own Christmas special, "A Johnny Cash Christmas."

Two early "pay television" companies were "ON TV" and "SelecTV."  Later they merged and became "ON/SelecTV."  This week, both companies were pushing the film, Saturday Night Fever, in their TV ads.

Sears was advertising stereos, calculators and typewriters.....electronic devices that would make good Christmas gifts.

Just a few years later, my mom would purchase an electronic typewriter from Sears.  The model was "The Scholar" (seen below), instead of "The Graduate" shown in the ad above.  The models are almost identical.  My mom made the purchase, after she decided to go back to school and earn her masters degree.  And I ended up typing many college papers on it, myself.  I recently donated the typewriter to my local Goodwill store, but I took a picture of it before saying "goodbye."

Michael Landon was the current spokesperson for Kodak and was advertising another perfect Christmas gift, the Kodak EKTRA camera.

And last up, is this Pepsi-Cola sweepstakes ad, to win a trip for four to Walt Disney World.  There was only one Disney park in Orlando at this time.  The entry form on the next page had been torn out, but I don't really remember sending it in.  If it was, we didn't win.

Barbara Walters did many of her famous Barbara Walters Specials over the years, beginning in 1976.  As I find more TV guide ads for her specials, I will add them to this post.

Rest in peace, Barbara Walters!


Dean Finder said...

The majority of the pictures of my childhood were taken by my parents using various models of those Kodak 110 cameras. The one in the ad is one of the models without a built-in flash, so you can to plug a "flashbar" with a dozen flashbulbs into a socket in the top.

TokyoMagic! said...

Dean, I was given a Kodak Instamatic "X-15" for Christmas, when I was 10 years old. (I've posted a pic of it here before.) It took a 126 film cartridge, and the pictures came out "square." I liked the wider size of the pics taken with 110 film, so later I started borrowing my brother's Kodak "pocket camera"....especially for trips to Disneyland. I've posted a lot of pics taken by that camera. And I remember those flash bars or "Flip Flash®." I sure purchased a lot of those!

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, wow, I am way behind. I was very surprised to learn that Barbara was in her 90s when she passed. Those “Barbara Walters Specials” were HUGE back in the good old days, I’m not sure people would understand what an event they were. But… I’m not sure I ever saw a single one.

“Stevie Wonder can see far better than most of us”. WHOA. My mind is blown. Did Barbara ever write a memoir? I big “tell all” that you could buy at the airport? I wish that article was less about Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, and more about Sandy Duncan. But nobody asked me.

As always it’s fun to see the ads, both for products, and for the latest TV specials and events. I still haven’t seen “The Sound of Music”, so I didn’t tune in a 7:00 on NBC. Do they still do a Hollywood Christmas Parade? I remember seeing a John Denver special when I was a kid, it was the first time I saw Steve Martin (this was long before SNL). He sang a song and had a butterfly on his nose. At least I think this was on a John Denver special.

The Sears ads especially make me wistful for the days when Sears had everything you could want or need. I bought a typewriter because it was *just* before word processors were a thing that everyone owned. It was a good one too, but… it’s long gone.

Maybe you DID win the Pepsi-Cola sweepstakes, and it’s just going to take a little longer to receive the notification. Don’t give up hope!

Thanks, TM.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, those Barbara Walters specials really were a big deal, back in the day. I don't think I ever watched one all the way through, but I know I watched the individual segments at times, if there was someone I was interested in seeing interviewed. Oh man, if she had interviewed Sandy Duncan, I would have watched that! Wait, maybe she DID interview Sandy Duncan at some point?

Barbara Walters wrote her autobiography in 2008, but I don't know how much of a "tell all" it was. I haven't read it, but I do remember at the time it came out, she revealed that in the 1970s, she had had an affair with U.S. Senator, Edward Brooke, who was married at the time of their affair.

They do still hold a Hollywood Christmas Parade every year, but they skipped 2020 for safety reasons. It doesn't really seem all that safe to be holding a parade yet, since we are still in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, but hey....if Disneyland can do it, then why not everyone else!

Steve Martin may have appeared on an early John Denver special. I know that he appeared on both The Smothers Brothers and Sonny and Cher "comedy hours," before he was really famous.

And I also miss the Sears stores of the "old days." Gee, someone REALLY ran that company into the ground!

Chuck said...

Loved the article by Barbara Walters. It’s funny - I remember her and those specials all through the time I was growing up, but the only one I can remember actually watching was Jane Fonda’s 1988 apology for going to North Vietnam.

I also vividly remember watching John Denver’s Muppet Christmas special with the whole family. Everybody loved the Muppets in our house, and John Denver was AOK, too. Pretty sure the soundtrack album showed up under the tree that year. I think that’s also the year my sister got a Miss Piggy angel ornament from my grandmother, although that might have been the year we both got sets of six “crystal” (clear plastic) angel ornaments. I still have those; they are the last ornaments we put up each year, right after the ceramic ones I made in Sunday School.

My first stereo looked an awful lot like the one in the Sears ad. That appeared by the fireplace (where Santa dumped the loot he brought every year) on Christmas morning in 1981. I still have it…in a box…but unlike many other things I own I know exactly where that box is.

Thanks, TM! Always a pleasure dropping by.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, funny....I kind of remember hearing about Jane Fonda apologizing, but I guess I didn't know that it was on one of the Barbara Walters specials. I hope she also talked about 9 to 5, my favorite Jane Fonda film of all time. Seriously. Speaking of that film, the only Barbara Walters interview that I can recall watching all the way through, is her interview with Dolly Parton. I'm sure I watched a few others, I just can't remember who the celebrities were, now.

I know that I haven't seen that John Denver special, but I'm not sure why I wouldn't have watched it. I remember seeing the Muppets first film in a movie theater, when it was first released. It's still weird to think that they are owned by "Disney" now. But then again, everything is owned by Disney now.

I still have my Sears stereo, packed away. And mine also looked very similar to the one in the TV Guide ad. My mom gave it to me, so when I got a better stereo system years later, I couldn't bear to get rid of the old one. I wonder if it would still work today?

Chuck said...

I wonder the same thing about my own system. The only reason I haven’t used it in years is that the record player stand that I used to keep it on - a hand-me-down from my parents that it fit on perfectly - disappeared in a move. We think it was accidentally left behind in a warehouse when our stuff was delivered out of storage after two-and-a-half years overseas. I’m sure I could get a replacement, but that would require effort, and those cartoons aren’t going to watch themselves!