ABC Movie of the Week

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Dennis Weaver starred in a famous ABC Movie of the Week, Steven Spielberg's Duel, which premiered in Canada November 10, 1971, was telecast in the United States three days later and had a theatrical release in Europe in early 1973. It eventually had an American theatrical release on April 22, 1983.

The ABC Movie of the Week was a weekly television anthology series, featuring made-for-TV movies, that aired on the ABC network in various permutations from 1969 to 1975.


In the 1960s, movie studios viewed television as a second-rate medium but also as a threat to their theatrical revenue, so they charged high fees for the privilege to broadcast their films, the networks experimented with having films made specifically for TV to lower expenses. NBC created the first weekly umbrella for such films with their World Premiere Movie in 1966, running in a 2-hour time slot.

Until the late 1960s, ABC ran a distant third behind rivals CBS and NBC, leading to jokes about its acronym meaning "Almost Broadcasting Company" or coming in fourth among the three networks. Desperation and a looser corporate structure allowed ABC to consider plans the other networks would not. Barry Diller, then a junior executive at ABC and later a co-founder of the Fox network, is often cited as the creator of the Movie of the Week (MotW), but the concept was actually originated by producer Roy Huggins. Huggins reasoned that many older theatrical films ran shorter than 90 minutes so requiring a 120-minute time slot was unnecessary, his proposal was rejected by all three networks but became the subject of a cover story in Variety magazine. ABC's interest was renewed but they lacked confidence that Huggins could produce an entire season of telefilms by himself, as the Variety article had effectively placed the concept into the public domain, ABC continued to develop it without Huggins' permission or involvement. They approached Universal, which demanded a larger budget than ABC wanted to spend, as well as the exclusive right to produce all future TV movies for ABC, conditions that pushed ABC to control production on their own, assigning them to various studios and production companies. ABC consoled Huggins by allowing him to produce several films, including The Young Country, precursor to Alias Smith and Jones.

The shorter format allowed a smaller budget than previous two-hour films ($350,000 per film compared with NBC's $400,000 World Premiere)[1], it featured the work of producers like Aaron Spelling and David Wolper (both of whom later developed hit series of their own), and was produced by different production companies such as Bing Crosby Productions, Spelling-Goldberg Productions, Thomas-Spelling Productions (partly owned by Danny Thomas) and the network's own ABC Circle Films.

The MotW provided ABC with a ratings hit and, along with Monday Night Football, helped establish the network as a legitimate competitor to rivals CBS and NBC. The films themselves varied in quality and were often escapist or sensationalistic in nature (suspense, horror and melodrama were staples), but some were critically well received. For example, Duel (1971), based on a Richard Matheson short story from Playboy, was director Steven Spielberg's first feature film, catapulting his career and enabling him to move from television to theatrical films.

ABC earned four Emmys, a Peabody Award and citations from the NAACP and American Cancer Society for an airing of Brian's Song in 1972. The 1971-72 season of the series finished as the fifth highest rated series of the year.

The series was documented by Michael Karol in his 2005 book, The ABC Movie of the Week Companion, which was updated in 2008 (ISBN 1-60528-023-2), and by Michael Mckenna in The ABC Movie of the Week: Big Movies for the Small Screen.

Time slots[edit]

The cover shows the Zuni Doll from Trilogy of Terror.

The MotW originally aired on Tuesday nights at 8:30 pm Eastern/7:30 pm Central. Established series The Mod Squad acted as a lead-in from 7:30 to 8:30, bringing the younger demographic, the shorter running time of the film freed the 10 p.m. time slot for a full 60-minute program, initially Marcus Welby, M.D. during the first season. Starting earlier at 8:30 could also prevent viewers from switching to competing movies at 9:00. Beginning with the 1971 season, ABC added a second MotW on Saturday night and adjusted the titles of the shows to the Movie of the Week and Movie of the Weekend, the following season, the Saturday installment was moved to Wednesday night, and the titles were adjusted to Tuesday Movie of the Week and Wednesday Movie of the Week.

During the 1973-74 season, ABC added another movie on Saturday nights to their schedule, this time titled the ABC Suspense Movie, and usually consisting of thriller, mystery and horror type films (some of which were reruns of movies which had originally aired as Movies of the Week).

Title sequence[edit]

The title sequence was designed by Harry Marks[2] and animated by Douglas Trumbull using the slit-scan process that he had created for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The accompanying theme music was an orchestral version of "Nikki", a song composed by Burt Bacharach and named for his daughter, the theme was arranged and performed by Harry Betts.[2]

Over the music was narration voiced by Dick Tufeld[citation needed]. "The Movie of the Week. Presenting the world premiere of an original motion picture produced especially for ABC (or 'for the Movie of the Week' in some seasons)." That would be followed by a promotional teaser for the movie.

The opening for the Saturday Movie of the Weekend featured footage of a silhouetted "rotating cameraman" operating a 35 mm movie camera ([1]). This footage would later be incorporated into the opening of ABC's New York City television station WABC-TV's various movie umbrellas beginning around 1972-73, including and especially their weekday afternoon movie showcase The 4:30 Movie.

TV series pilots[edit]

The series was often used as a platform to show pilots for possible series for the network, it allowed the network to air pilots that it had already commissioned and paid for but had not ordered as regular series. As well, pilots that had already been sold as ongoing series or were being tested such as Kung Fu, The Six Million Dollar Man, Starsky and Hutch, Longstreet, Toma, Alias Smith and Jones and Get Christie Love! premiered here and returned on the regular schedule after minor to major alterations to premise and/or cast. Other programs are sometimes mistakenly believed to have aired under the Movie of the Week banner. Marcus Welby, M.D. is believed to be a MotW but actually premiered after Seven in Darkness and was the lead-out for the Tuesday installment. Still others like Earth II did air during that era, but were actually on other nights under different banners - the ABC Sunday Movie in the case of Earth II.


Most of the actors in non-recurring roles appeared only once or twice in the series. Notable exceptions who appeared in three or more films include Doug McClure, Darren McGavin, Dennis Weaver, Leonard Nimoy, Barbara Eden, Elizabeth Montgomery, Donna Mills, Ed Nelson, Ken Berry, Connie Stevens, Myrna Loy and William Windom.

Many of the telefilms had actors credited as guest stars, special guest stars and "special appearance by," even if the movie was not a pilot for a series. Death Race and The Weekend Nun billed their lead actors as special guest stars. In the unusual case of Assault on the Wayne, all of the first-billed cast members were credited as guest stars.


The series proper ended in 1975 as ABC's ratings collapsed that season. Analysts laid part of the blame on ABC's reliance on the MotW, which had suffered from ratings fatigue as well as a perceived drop in quality in its final season, after that, ABC's made-for-TV movies were either aired as stand-alone specials or shown in time slots that included both original and theatrical movie presentations, notably the ABC Friday Night Movie and the ABC Sunday Night Movie. The Tuesday Movie of the Week would later be incorporated as part of ABC Late Night, a replacement of ABC's Wide World of Entertainment that ran from 1976 to 1982; the late-night version would mainly feature repeats of movies, both made for television and traditional theatrical releases, that were previously seen on ABC and other networks. ABC continued to premiere new TV films on Sunday nights in prime time until 2005.


Cast notes[edit]

* credited as guest star
** credited as special guest star
*** credited as "special appearance by"

Season 1[edit]

Air Date Weekday Title Genre Notes
9/23/69 Tuesday Seven in Darkness drama series premiere
Seven survivors of a plane crash, all blind, must make their way out of the wilderness without any aid.

Starring: Milton Berle, Dina Merrill, Barry Nelson, Arthur O'Connell, Alejandro Rey, Lesley Ann Warren

9/30/69 Tuesday The Immortal science fiction pilot for the 1970 TV series; nominated for 1 Emmy Award
A man flees from a dying billionaire after his blood is found to provide almost miraculous healing and life extension properties.

Starring: Christopher George, Carol Lynley*, Barry Sullivan*, Jessica Walter*, Ralph Bellamy*

10/7/69 Tuesday The Over-the-Hill Gang western/comedy followed by The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again
Four elderly Texas Rangers come out of retirement to oust the corrupt crime boss mayor of a frontier town.

Starring: Walter Brennan, Pat O'Brien*, Edgar Buchanan*, Chill Wills*, Edward Andrews*, Jack Elam*, Andy Devine*, Gypsy Rose Lee*, Ricky Nelson*

10/14/69 Tuesday Wake Me When the War is Over comedy
A German baroness hides an Air Force clerk during WW II, then stages an ongoing "war" to keep him from learning that the war has ended.

Starring: Ken Berry, Eva Gabor, Werner Klemperer, Jim Backus**

10/21/69 Tuesday The Monk unsold pilot
10/28/69 Tuesday The Young Lawyers drama
11/4/69 Tuesday The Pigeon
11/11/69 Tuesday Spy Killer espionage thriller unsold pilot; followed by Foreign Exchange
11/18/69 Tuesday The Ballad of Andy Crocker drama
11/25/69 Tuesday In Name Only comedy unsold pilot
12/2/69 Tuesday Three's a Crowd comedy
12/9/69 Tuesday Daughter of the Mind thriller
12/16/69 Tuesday The Silent Gun western
12/23/69 Tuesday Honeymoon with a Stranger thriller
12/30/69 Tuesday Gidget Grows Up comedy unsold pilot; followed by Gidget Gets Married
After breaking up with Moondoggie, Gidget becomes a United Nations tour guide and begins a love affair with an older Australian agriculture consultant.

Starring: Karen Valentine, Edward Mulhare, Paul Peterson, Warner Anderson**, Bob Cummings**, Nina Foch**, Paul Lynde**

1/6/70 Tuesday Black Water Gold
1/13/70 Tuesday Foreign Exchange espionage thriller unsold pilot; sequel to Spy Killer
1/27/70 Tuesday Carter's Army drama
2/3/70 Tuesday Along Came a Spider mystery
2/10/70 Tuesday The Challenge drama
A disgraced US soldier and big game hunter is recruited to fight a one-on-one war of "surrogates" against his Asian counterpart, the nations vying to win salvage rights to a sunken nuclear-armed satellite.

Starring: Darren McGavin, Mako, Broderick Crawford, James Whitmore**, Skip Homeier, Sam Elliott

2/17/70 Tuesday The Journey of Robert F. Kennedy documentary the only non-fiction Movie of the Week
2/24/70 Tuesday Quarantined
3/3/70 Tuesday Mister Jerico caper unsold pilot
3/10/70 Tuesday The Love War science fiction
3/17/70 Tuesday The Young Country western character names were reused with new premise to create Alias Smith and Jones
Double-crosses abound as various people try to get $38,000 that was embezzled from a Santa Fe bank.

Starring: Roger Davis, Pete Duel, Walter Brennan, Joan Hackett, Wally Cox

Season 2[edit]

Air Date Weekday Title Genre Notes
9/22/70 Tuesday How Awful About Allan thriller
9/29/70 Tuesday Night Slaves science fiction based on a novel by Jerry Sohl
A man with a steel plate in his skull sees everyone in a town he's visiting leave in a trance-like state every night.

Starring: James Franciscus, Lee Grant, Leslie Nielsen**, Tisha Sterling

10/6/70 Tuesday But I Don't Want to Get Married! romantic comedy
A recent widower with two sons finds himself juggling several women at once.

Starring: Herschel Bernardi, Brandon Cruz, Harry Morgan, Nanette Fabray, Jerry Paris, Shirley Jones**

10/13/70 Tuesday The Old Man Who Cried Wolf suspense
10/20/70 Tuesday Wild Women action unsold pilot
10/27/70 Tuesday The House That Would Not Die horror
11/10/70 Tuesday Tribes drama directed by Emmy award winner Joseph Sargent
A Marine drill sergeant comes to respect a pacifistic hippie draftee.

Starring: Darren McGavin, Jan-Michael Vincent, Earl Holliman

11/17/70 Tuesday The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again western/comedy sequel to The Over-the-Hill-Gang
Three of the gang reunite to help a geriatric comrade, especially after he becomes marshal of Waco and has to face down bank robbers.

Starring: Walter Brennan, Edgar Buchanan, Chill Wills, Andy Devine, Fred Astaire**, Parley Baer, Walter Burke, Lana Wood

11/24/70 Tuesday Crowhaven Farm thriller
12/1/70 Tuesday Run Simon, Run
12/8/70 Tuesday Weekend of Terror
12/15/70 Tuesday The Man Who Wanted to Live Forever thriller
A heart surgeon hired to do research by an ailing magnate finds his benefactor wants to steal hearts to keep living ... including his.

Starring: Stuart Whitman, Sandy Dennis, Burl Ives**

1/5/71 Tuesday Alias Smith and Jones western pilot for the TV series which premiered two weeks later
1/12/71 Tuesday Assault on the Wayne thriller reuses submarine footage from Ice Station Zebra
Cold War intrigue with traitors trying to steal top secret anti-ballistic missile controls being tested on a US nuclear submarine.

Starring: Leonard Nimoy*, Joseph Cotten*, William Windom*, Keenan Wynn*, Lloyd Haynes*, Dewey Martin*, Malachi Throne, Ron Masak

1/19/71 Tuesday Dr. Cook's Garden thriller
1/26/71 Tuesday The Feminist and the Fuzz romantic comedy
A feminist pediatrician and a chivalrous cop butt heads as roommates in San Francisco.

Starring: Barbara Eden, David Hartman, Julie Newmar**, Jo Anne Worley, Farrah Fawcett**, Harry Morgan**, John McGiver**, Herb Edelman**

2/2/71 Tuesday The Point! children animated; narrated by Dustin Hoffman for initial broadcast only
2/9/71 Tuesday Love, Hate, Love thriller
2/16/71 Tuesday Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring drama
2/23/71 Tuesday Longstreet mystery pilot for the TV series on CBS the following season; Stirling Silliphant was writer and executive producer; produced and directed by Joseph Sargent
Insurance investigator Mike Longstreet searches for the party who bombed his home, killing his wife and leaving him blind.

Starring: James Franciscus, Martine Beswick*, Bradford Dillman*, John McIntire*, Jeanette Nolan*, Barry Russo

3/2/71 Tuesday Yuma western
3/9/71 Tuesday River of Gold action adventure unsold pilot
3/23/71 Tuesday In Search of America unsold pilot
3/30/71 Tuesday The Sheriff drama unsold pilot
4/6/71 Tuesday Escape action/science fiction unsold pilot; produced by Bruce Lansbury, who would create the very similar The Magician series in 1973
A famed escape artist has to find a kidnapped scientist who has developed a biological agent that can turn humanity into mindless slaves.

Starring: Christopher George, Avery Schreiber, Marlyn Mason*, William Windom*, John Vernon*, William Schallert*, Gloria Grahame*

Season 3[edit]

Air Date Weekday Title Genre Notes
9/14/71 Tuesday The Forgotten Man drama
A Vietnam War POW escaping after five years finds his wife is remarried, his whole world has changed and he's beginning to suffer PTSD flashbacks.

Starring: Dennis Weaver, Anne Francis**, Lois Nettleton, Pamelyn Ferdin, Percy Rodriguez, Andrew Duggan, James Hong

9/18/71 Saturday The Birdmen action adventure
9/21/71 Tuesday Congratulations, It's a Boy comedy
9/28/71 Tuesday Five Desperate Women thriller
10/2/71 Saturday Sweet, Sweet Rachel thriller concept heavily reworked and recast to create The Sixth Sense
An ESP researcher investigates mysterious happenings surrounding a widow to find out if she's being gaslighted by someone with psychic powers.

Starring: Alex Dreier, Stefanie Powers**, Pat Hingle, Louise Latham, Steve Ihnat, Brenda Scott, Chris Robinson

10/5/71 Tuesday The Last Child drama
In an overpopulated future USA with a one-child policy, an expectant couple who had lost a newborn try to flee to Canada with a former Senator's help.

Starring: Michael Cole, Harry Guardino, Janet Margolin, Edward Asner, Van Heflin**, Barbara Babcock

10/9/71 Saturday Thief heist
10/12/71 Tuesday A Taste of Evil thriller
10/16/71 Saturday In Broad Daylight thriller
10/19/71 Tuesday Suddenly Single comedy
10/23/71 Saturday Death Takes a Holiday drama remake of the 1934 film
Death takes human form and falls in love with a woman who was supposed to die, so people stop dying.

Starring: Yvette Mimieux, Monte Markham, Myrna Loy, Bert Convy, Melvyn Douglas

10/27/71 Wednesday The Death of Me Yet drama
A KGB sleeper agent who adopted a new identity finds himself and his wife in jeopardy when his former superior discovers he's still alive.

Starring: Doug McClure, Richard Basehart*, Darren McGavin**, Rosemary Forsyth, Meg Foster, Dana Elcar

10/30/71 Saturday A Little Game suspense
11/2/71 Tuesday Two on a Bench comedy
11/6/71 Saturday Revenge! thrlller
11/9/71 Tuesday Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate
11/13/71 Saturday Duel thriller Steven Spielberg's directorial debut
A driver finds himself inexplicably targeted and harassed by a truck and its mysterious driver.

Starring: Dennis Weaver

11/16/71 Tuesday Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones drama
11/23/71 Tuesday The Reluctant Heroes war drama
An Army historian uses his knowledge of historical tactics and languages to lead a unit under attack at a mountain observation post.

Starring: Ken Berry, Jim Hutton, Trini Lopez, Don Marshall, Ralph Meeker, Cameron Mitchell, Warren Oates, Soon-Tek Oh

11/27/71 Saturday The Failing of Raymond
11/30/71 Tuesday Brian's Song drama 8 Emmy Award nominations, 4 wins
Dramatization of professional football player Brian Piccolo's friendship with teammate Gale Sayers and Piccolo's battle with cancer.

Starring: James Caan, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Warden, Shelley Fabares

12/04/71 Saturday The Devil and Miss Sarah
12/11/71 Saturday See the Man Run drama
12/14/71 Tuesday The Trackers western Sammy Davis was an executive producer on this film
An African-American US marshal helps a homesteader track his daughter's abductors, but faces racism at every turn.

Starring: Sammy Davis, Jr., Ernest Borgnine**, Jim Davis

12/18/71 Saturday What's a Nice Girl Like You...? comedy
1/4/72 Tuesday Gidget Gets Married
1/8/72 Saturday The Astronaut drama
1/11/72 Tuesday The Night Stalker horror actually not a pilot, but followed by The Night Strangler on 1/16/73
Newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak tries to convince authorities in Las Vegas that a series of murders was committed by a vampire.

Starring: Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Carol Lynley, Claude Akins

1/15/72 Saturday Madame Sin spy thriller unsold pilot
1/18/72 Tuesday Getting Away From It All comedy
1/22/72 Saturday The People science fiction
A teacher hired by an insular, Amish-like farming community finds the residents have unusual powers of the mind.

Starring: Kim Darby, William Shatner, Diane Varsi, Dan O'Herlihy

1/25/72 Tuesday Women in Chains drama
1/29/72 Saturday The Screaming Woman thriller filmed in Technicolor
2/1/72 Tuesday Hardcase western first live action production by Hanna-Barbera
2/5/72 Saturday When Michael Calls thriller Elizabeth Ashley also appeared in Second Chance three days later
2/8/72 Tuesday Second Chance drama unsold pilot
A world-weary stockbroker buys a ghost town and invites people who want a second chance in life to populate it.

Starring: Brian Keith, Elizabeth Ashley, Kenneth Mars, William Windom, Avery Schreiber, Rosie Grier, Juliet Prowse**

2/9/72 Wednesday Hound of the Baskervilles mystery unsold first pilot for Great Detectives anthology
2/15/72 Tuesday Call Her Mom comedy unsold pilot
Facing expulsion for lacking a house mother, the rowdy APE fraternity hires a feisty, young waitress for the job.

Starring: Connie Stevens, Charles Nelson Reilly*, Jim Hutton*, Van Johnson*

2/22/72 Tuesday Kung Fu western pilot for the series premiering in the fall season
A fugitive Shaolin priest in the Old West tries to help oppressed coolies forced to lay railroad tracks under inhumane conditions.

Starring: David Carradine, Keye Luke, Philip Ahn, Barry Sullivan*, Albert Salmi*, Wayne Maunder*, Benson Fong, James Hong, Robert Ito, Radames Pera

2/26/72 Saturday Two for the Money mystery unsold pilot
2/29/72 Tuesday The Eyes of Charles Sand thriller unsold pilot
3/4/72 Saturday A Very Missing Person mystery unsold pilot
3/7/72 Tuesday The Rookies crime drama pilot for the series premiering in the fall season

Season 4[edit]

Air Date Weekday Title Genre Notes
9/12/72 Tuesday The Longest Night drama
9/13/72 Wednesday The Daughters of Joshua Cabe western first pilot for an unsold series, followed by The Daughters of Joshua Cabe Return
A farmer convinces a prostitute, a con artist and a pickpocket to pose as his daughters to fend off a rival trying to steal his land using homesteading law.

Starring: Buddy Ebsen, Karen Valentine, Lesley Ann Warren, Sandra Dee**, Jack Elam, Leif Erickson**, Don Stroud, Henry Jones

9/19/72 Tuesday No Place to Run drama
9/20/72 Wednesday Haunts of the Very Rich horror
9/26/72 Tuesday Moon of the Wolf horror
9/27/72 Wednesday Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole drama
10/3/72 Tuesday Playmates comedy
10/4/72 Wednesday Rolling Man
10/10/72 Tuesday Night of Terror thriller directed by Jeannot Szwarc; produced by Thomas Miller and Edward Milkis, who would go on to produce successful sitcoms for ABC
A woman is paralyzed and pursued by enforcers for a crime syndicate who are looking for something left in her possession.

Starring: Donna Mills, Martin Balsam, Chuck Connors, Agnes Moorehead, Catherine Burns

10/11/72 Wednesday Lieutenant Schuster's Wife
10/17/72 Tuesday Goodnight, My Love
10/18/72 Wednesday A Great American Tragedy
10/24/72 Tuesday Short Walk to Daylight disaster
After an earthquake in New York City collapses a subway tunnel, survivors from a subway train try to find a way out.

Starring: James Brolin, Don Mitchell, James McEachin, Abbey Lincoln, Brooke Bundy, Laurette Spang

10/25/72 Wednesday Family Flight drama/disaster produced by Harve Bennett, who would incorporate parts of the plot and footage into the 1974 "Pilot Error" episode of The Six Million Dollar Man, a series he was executive producer on
A small plane with a family onboard is downed in Baja during a storm. They struggle to fix the plane, clear a runway and fly back to civilization.

Starring: Rod Taylor, Dina Merrill, Kristoffer Tabori, Janet Margolin

10/31/72 Tuesday The Bounty Man
11/1/72 Wednesday That Certain Summer drama seminal film dealing with homosexuality; 7 Emmy Award nominations, 1 win
11/8/72 Wednesday The Crooked Hearts comedy/mystery
11/14/72 Tuesday The Victim thriller
11/22/72 Wednesday All My Darling Daughters comedy/drama unsold pilot; followed by My Darling Daughters' Anniversary
11/28/72 Tuesday Home for the Holidays thriller
11/29/72 Wednesday The Heist crime drama
12/5/72 Tuesday The Couple Takes a Wife romantic comedy directed by Jerry Paris
Marital woes ensue when a busy working couple hires a sexy, young, multitalented woman as a "wife" to manage their household and children.

Starring: Bill Bixby, Paula Prentiss, Myrna Loy, Valerie Perrine**, Robert Goulet**, Nanette Fabray**, Larry Storch**

12/12/72 Tuesday Pursuit thriller Michael Crichton's debut as a film director
12/13/72 Wednesday Every Man Needs One comedy
12/20/72 Wednesday The Weekend Nun drama unsold pilot; directed by Jeannot Szwarc; produced by Thomas Miller and Edward Milkis, who would go on to produce successful sitcoms for ABC; inspired by motivational teachings of former nun Joyce Duco; Kay Lenz's professional debut
A cloistered nun has her eyes opened when she enters the outside world to work as a juvenile probation officer during the week.

Starring: Joanna Pettet**, Vic Morrow*, Ann Sothern*, James Gregory*, Beverly Garland*, Kay Lenz

1/2/73 Tuesday Firehouse drama pilot for the TV series airing in 1974
1/9/73 Tuesday The Devil's Daughter horror
1/10/73 Wednesday Trouble Comes to Town drama
1/16/73 Tuesday The Night Strangler horror not officially a pilot; follows The Night Stalker from 1/11/72; followed by Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Carl Kolchak investigates killings in Seattle that seem to be tied to an immortal who needs blood for an elixir to rejuvenate himself every 21 years.

Starring: Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Jo Ann Pflug, Richard Anderson, Scott Brady, Wally Cox, Margaret Hamilton, John Carradine

1/17/73 Wednesday Female Artillery western
A thief fleeing his former gang helps a wagon train of women and children fight them off.

Starring: Dennis Weaver, Ida Lupino, Sally Ann Howes, Linda Evans, Albert Salmi, Nina Foch

1/24/73 Wednesday Go Ask Alice
1/30/73 Tuesday A Cold Night's Death thriller
1/31/73 Wednesday Snatched
2/6/73 Tuesday Divorce His drama star vehicle for Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
Rashomon-style story with dueling accounts of events leading to a divorce. First half is from the husband's perspective.
2/7/73 Wednesday Divorce Hers drama
Continuing from Divorce His the night before.
2/13/73 Tuesday The Great American Beauty Contest comedy/drama
2/14/73 Wednesday The Girls of Huntington House drama
2/20/73 Tuesday A Brand New Life
2/21/73 Wednesday And No One Could Save Her
2/27/73 Tuesday The Connection
2/28/73 Wednesday You'll Never See Me Again thriller
3/6/73 Tuesday The Letters drama unsold pilot; followed by Letters from Three Lovers on October 3
3/7/73 Wednesday The Six Million Dollar Man science fiction first of three TV movies which would lead to the Six Million Dollar Man series
Former astronaut Steve Austin is critically injured in the crash of an experimental aircraft and is given bionic body parts as replacements.

Starring: Lee Majors, Darren McGavin**, Martin Balsam**, Barbara Anderson

3/13/73 Tuesday The Bait crime drama unsold pilot; based on Dorothy Uhnak's first novel; her third novel, The Ledger, was adapted to become Get Christie Love!, a 1974 Movie of the Week and pilot
A female police detective volunteers to act as a lure to trap a serial rapist-murderer.

Starring: Donna Mills, Michael Constantine, William Devane, Noam Pitlik, Thalmus Rasulala, June Lockhart

3/14/73 Wednesday Class of '63 thriller
3/20/73 Tuesday Beg, Borrow or Steal caper
3/21/73 Wednesday Toma crime drama pilot for the TV series premiering on October 4

Season 5[edit]

Air Date Weekday Title Genre Notes
9/11/73 Tuesday Deliver Us from Evil drama
9/12/73 Wednesday She Lives!
9/18/73 Tuesday Dying Room Only horror
9/26/73 Wednesday Hijack! thriller
Two long-haul truckers with a secret load must contend with a mysterious and murderous group who wants to steal their cargo.

Starring: David Janssen, Keenan Wynn, Lee Purcell, William Schallert

9/29/73 Saturday Runaway! disaster
A train with nonfunctional brakes coming down a mountain from a ski resort careens toward the end of the line.

Starring: Ben Johnson, Ben Murphy, Darleen Carr, Ed Nelson, Martin Milner**, Vera Miles***

10/2/73 Tuesday Isn't It Shocking?
10/3/73 Wednesday Letters from Three Lovers drama second unsold pilot for a series; follows The Letters
10/6/73 Saturday The Alpha Caper heist unsold pilot; rare TV appearance by Henry Fonda
A parole officer facing mandatory retirement joins three of his parolees to steal gold bullion from an armored truck.

Starring: Henry Fonda, Leonard Nimoy, James McEachin, Larry Hagman**

10/9/73 Tuesday Shirts/Skins
10/10/73 Wednesday Don't Be Afraid of the Dark horror
10/16/73 Tuesday The Third Girl from the Left
10/17/73 Wednesday The Man Who Could Talk to Kids
10/23/73 Tuesday The President's Plane Is Missing political drama
A news agency reporter suspects a conspiracy when Air Force One crashes during an international crisis but the President's body is not found.

Starring: Peter Graves, Buddy Ebsen, Arthur Kennedy, Rip Torn, Louise Sorel, Joseph Campanella

10/27/73 Saturday Money to Burn
10/30/73 Tuesday Ordeal
10/31/73 Wednesday Guess Who's Sleeping in My Bed?
11/3/73 Saturday Linda
11/6/73 Tuesday The Girl Most Likely to... black comedy story by Joan Rivers, who also co-wrote the teleplay
A homely but brilliant college girl who becomes beautiful after a car crash and reconstructive surgery creatively murders people who had wronged her.

Starring: Stockard Channing, Ed Asner**, Jim Backus**, Joe Flynn**, Chuck McCann**, Fred Grandy, Ruth McDevitt, Warren Berlinger, Larry Wilcox

11/7/73 Wednesday My Darling Daughters' Anniversary comedy unsold pilot; sequel to All My Darling Daughters
11/10/73 Saturday Death Race war drama also known as State of Division
Two American pilots in a P-40 with a damaged wing are pursued across the desert by an obsessed Nazi general in a commandeered Panzer tank.

Starring: Doug McClure**, Roy Thinnes, Lloyd Bridges, Eric Braeden

11/14/73 Wednesday Trapped suspense
A man trapped overnight in a department store must fight to survive vicious guard dogs patrolling the store.

Starring: James Brolin, Susan Clark, Earl Holliman, Robert Hooks**

11/20/73 Tuesday The Affair
11/24/73 Saturday Scream, Pretty Peggy
11/27/73 Tuesday Cry Rape!
11/28/73 Wednesday Outrage drama based on a true story
A doctor in an idyllic suburb takes extreme action when nobody wants to stand up to uncontrollable young residents terrorizing the community.

Starring: Robert Culp, Marlyn Mason, Beah Richards, Jacqueline Scott, Ramon Bieri, Mark Lenard, Nicholas Hammond

12/4/73 Tuesday A Summer without Boys
12/5/73 Wednesday Blood Sport
12/8/73 Saturday Maneater
12/11/73 Tuesday The Cat Creature horror teleplay credit and story co-credit to Robert Bloch
An Egyptology professor helps investigate feline-tinged deaths that stalk everyone who comes in contact with a cursed amulet.

Starring: Meredith Baxter, David Hedison, Gale Sondergaard, John Carradine*, Keye Luke*, Stuart Whitman**

12/12/73 Wednesday Message to My Daughter
12/18/73 Tuesday What Are Best Friends For?
12/19/73 Wednesday Pioneer Woman
1/6/74 Sunday Indict and Convict
1/8/74 Tuesday The Death Squad crime drama
A disgraced cop is reinstated and recruited to infiltrate a "death squad" within the department that's killing criminals who have escaped justice.

Starring: Robert Forster, Michelle Phillips, Claude Akins, Mark Goddard, Melvyn Douglas**

1/9/74 Wednesday Shootout in a One-Dog Town
1/15/74 Tuesday Mrs. Sundance western
A Pinkerton detective leaks a rumor that the Sundance Kid wasn't killed in Bolivia in order to lure Etta Place out to lead him to the Wild Bunch.

Starring: Elizabeth Montgomery, Robert Foxworth, L. Q. Jones

1/16/74 Wednesday Scream of the Wolf thriller
1/19/74 Saturday Skyway to Death disaster exteriors filmed at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
A disgruntled former employee's sabotage strands a group of passengers in an aerial tram high above a mountain as high winds approach.

Starring: Bobby Sherman, Ross Martin, Stefanie Powers, Tige Andrews, John Astin**, Joseph Campanella, Ruth McDevitt, Severn Darden

1/22/74 Tuesday Get Christie Love! crime drama pilot for the TV series premiering September 11
1/23/74 Wednesday Pray for the Wildcats
1/26/74 Saturday Heatwave! drama
Complications upon problems as a young, expectant couple try to escape a brutal heat wave by fleeing to a cabin in the countryside.

Starring: Ben Murphy, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres, David Huddleston*, John Anderson*, Robert Hogan, Dana Elcar

1/29/74 Tuesday The Girl Who Came Gift-Wrapped romantic comedy Richard Long's penultimate role, before Death Cruise
A men's magazine publisher experiencing a midlife crisis falls in love with a naive Wisconsin girl sent as a gag "gift" for his birthday.

Starring: Richard Long**, Karen Valentine, Louise Sorel, Tom Bosley, Dave Madden, Reta Shaw, Farrah Fawcett

2/2/74 Saturday Killdozer! science fiction/horror
An extraterrestrial force from a meteorite possesses a bulldozer and starts killing a construction crew working on a remote island.

Starring: Clint Walker, Carl Betz, Neville Brand, James Wainwright**, Robert Urich

2/5/74 Tuesday Can Ellen Be Saved?
2/6/74 Wednesday Cry Panic!
2/9/74 Saturday The Elevator disaster
Tensions rise as a group of people, including a claustrophobic armed robber, are trapped in an overloaded elevator in a skyscraper after hours.

Starring: James Farentino, Roddy McDowell, Craig Stevens, Don Stroud, Teresa Wright, Myrna Loy**, Carol Lynley**, Arlene Golonka**, Barry Livingston

2/12/74 Tuesday I Love You, Goodbye
2/13/74 Wednesday The Morning After drama
2/16/74 Saturday Live Again, Die Again thriller
A young woman is the first person to be revived from cryogenic suspension, but someone wants to ensure that her resurrection is brief.

Starring: Donna Mills, Cliff Potts, Walter Pidgeon, Mike Farrell, Geraldine Page**, Vera Miles**

2/23/74 Saturday Hitchhike!
2/26/74 Tuesday Killer Bees
2/27/74 Wednesday Unwed Father
3/2/74 Saturday Houston, We've Got a Problem drama
Fictional tales about family and health problems besetting flight controllers at Mission Control as they labor to bring Apollo 13 home safely.

Starring: Robert Culp, Clu Gulager, Gary Collins*, Sandra Dee**, Ed Nelson***, Steve Franken

3/6/74 Wednesday The Stranger Who Looks Like Me
3/9/74 Saturday Mousey
3/12/74 Tuesday Wonder Woman action unsold pilot; not related to the 1975 TV series
Wonder Woman races to recover a secret list of American agents from a criminal mastermind.

Starring: Cathy Lee Crosby, Ricardo Montalbán**, Andrew Prine*

3/13/74 Wednesday The Hanged Man western
3/20/74 Wednesday Men of the Dragon action American-produced chopsocky filmed on location in Hong Kong
An American kung fu master and his Chinese blood brother search for his sister, kidnapped by human traffickers in Hong Kong.

Starring: Jared Martin, Katie Saylor, Robert Ito, Joseph Wiseman**

4/3/74 Wednesday The Gun and the Pulpit western Paul Junger Witt was the executive producer
A headstrong gunslinger assumes the identity of a murdered preacher and convinces a town to stand up against a crime boss.

Starring: Marjoe Gortner, Slim Pickens, David Huddleston, Geoffrey Lewis, Pamela Sue Martin, Estelle Parsons**, Jeff Corey

4/10/74 Wednesday Murder or Mercy?
4/16/74 Tuesday The Last Angry Man
4/17/74 Wednesday The Chadwick Family drama unsold pilot
4/23/74 Tuesday Planet Earth science fiction second unsold pilot for a Gene Roddenberry concept; follows Genesis II
20th century man Dylan Hunt, awakened from suspended animation in a post-apocalyptic world, visits a female-dominated society to find a missing surgeon.

Starring: John Saxon, Janet Margolin, Ted Cassidy, Diana Muldaur*

5/7/74 Tuesday The Story of Pretty Boy Floyd

Season 6[edit]

Air Date Weekday Title Genre Notes
9/10/74 Tuesday Hurricane disaster
9/11/74 Wednesday Savages suspense
9/17/74 Tuesday The Sex Symbol drama fictionalized biography of Marilyn Monroe
9/18/74 Wednesday The Day the Earth Moved disaster Bobby Sherman was one of the producers
Aerial photographers race to save the residents of a tiny town when their photos indicate an earthquake is imminent.

Starring: Jackie Cooper, Cleavon Little, Stella Stevens**, William Windom

9/24/74 Tuesday The Great Niagara drama filmed on location in Niagara Falls, Ontario
In Depression era Canada, a man who once survived the plunge over the Falls wants his sons to follow in his footsteps.

Starring: Richard Boone, Michael Sacks, Randy Quaid, Jennifer Salt, Burt Young

9/25/74 Wednesday The California Kid drama produced by Howie Horwitz (77 Sunset Strip, Batman)
When a sailor's car is pushed over a cliff by a sheriff at a speed trap, his hot rodder brother comes to town to investigate and to get revenge.

Starring: Martin Sheen, Vic Morrow, Michelle Phillips, Nick Nolte, Stuart Margolin

10/1/74 Tuesday The Stranger Within science fiction
10/2/74 Wednesday Death Sentence
Starring: Cloris Leachman, Laurence Luckinbill, Nick Nolte, Alan Oppenheimer, William Schallert
10/23/74 Wednesday Bad Ronald
10/29/74 Tuesday The Mark of Zorro unsold pilot
10/30/74 Wednesday Death Cruise drama/mystery produced by Aaron Spelling, with the non-mystery aspects very similar to his later Love Boat series; Richard Long's final role before his sudden death
Three couples given free tickets to a Caribbean cruise experience marital problems before they're murdered one by one.

Starring: Richard Long, Polly Bergen, Edward Albert, Kate Jackson, Tom Bosley, Celeste Holm, Michael Constantine, Cesare Danova

11/6/74 Wednesday The Great Ice Rip-Off caper
11/12/74 Tuesday All the Kind Strangers thriller
11/13/74 Wednesday The Gun drama anthology of stories about a single firearm
A pistol passes from frightened homeowner to potential workplace shooter, barrio family, theater robbery, police disposal and finally a child's accident.

Starring: Stephen Elliot, David Huffman, John Sylvester White

11/19/74 Tuesday It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy comedy
A middle-aged family man hitchhiking home is abducted and molested by a beautiful young woman, then finds himself disbelieved and ridiculed.

Starring: Paul Sorvino, Michael Learned, Adam Arkin, Bob Dishy, Jo Anna Cameron, Graham Jarvis

11/20/74 Wednesday Panic on the 5:22
11/26/74 Tuesday The Godchild
12/3/74 Tuesday Betrayal
12/11/74 Wednesday The Tribe
12/17/74 Tuesday Roll, Freddy, Roll! comedy written and produced by Bill Persky and Sam Denoff (That Girl)
A mild-mannered father tries to regain the admiration of his young son by setting the Guinness world endurance record on roller skates.

Starring: Tim Conway, Barra Grant, Jan Murray, Scott Brady, Robert Hogan, Henry Jones, Ruta Lee

1/7/75 Tuesday Let's Switch! comedy
A harried housewife and a frazzled women's magazine editor-in-chief swap careers and families for a week to experience how the other half lives.

Starring: Barbara Eden, Barbara Feldon, Barra Grant, Penny Marshall, Joyce Van Patten, Richard Schaal, Pat Harrington, Ron Glass

1/8/75 Wednesday The Missing Are Deadly thriller
A teenage boy steals a lab mouse from his father's virology institute to get attention, not knowing it's infected with contagious, deadly bacteria.

Starring: Ed Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Gary Morgan, Kathleen Quinlan, Marjorie Lord, José Ferrer**

1/14/75 Tuesday Satan's Triangle horror
A Coast Guard team answering a distress call in the Bermuda Triangle finds a sole survivor on a boat and possibly demonic forces at work.

Starring: Kim Novak, Doug McClure, Alejandro Rey, Ed Lauter, Jim Davis, Michael Conrad

1/15/75 Wednesday The Hatfields and the McCoys
1/21/75 Tuesday The Abduction of Saint Anne
1/28/75 Tuesday The Daughters of Joshua Cabe Return western second of three unsold pilots; follows The Daughters of Joshua Cabe; followed by The New Daughters of Joshua Cabe (not an ABC Movie of the Week)
2/5/75 Wednesday All Together Now drama
2/11/75 Tuesday The Trial of Chaplain Jensen drama based on a true story
2/12/75 Wednesday A Cry for Help
2/19/75 Wednesday The Family Nobody Wanted
2/26/75 Wednesday Someone I Touched
3/4/75 Tuesday Trilogy of Terror horror self-contained anthology with Karen Black in three unrelated roles
3/5/75 Wednesday The Desperate Miles
4/2/75 Wednesday Dead Man on the Run
4/15/75 Tuesday Swiss Family Robinson
4/29/75 Tuesday Returning Home
4/30/75 Wednesday Starsky and Hutch police drama pilot for the series premiering in September
5/7/75 Wednesday Matt Helm mystery pilot for the series premiering in September
5/13/75 Tuesday The First 36 Hours of Dr. Durant
5/14/75 Wednesday Promise Him Anything

See also[edit]


  1. ^ p.xxii McKenna, Michael The ABC Movie of the Week: Big Movies for the Small Screen Scarecrow Press, 2013
  2. ^ a b "The ABC Movie of the Week Opening by Harry Marks". TVparty. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 


External links[edit]