Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) TV Guide Ad

It took nearly a decade for Stanley Kubrick's mind-blowing 2001: A Space Odyssey to air on U.S. network television, finally making its broadcast premiere on February 13th, 1977, on NBC's "Big Event." I remember it clearly, because I begged my folks to let me stay up and watch it (spaceships), but they only agreed to let me watch until my regular bedtime, as I had school the next day. On the east coast, it started at 8 PM, and my bedtime was nine (hey, I was only twelve!).

So... I only got to see the whole "dawn of man" sequence and maybe the PanAm shuttle docking with the space station before being hustled off to bed.

Now, at the tender age of twelve, I probably would have struggled mightily with the deliberate pace of the film and lack of action, but I was already a spaceship special effects junkie (thanks to Star Trek and Space: 1999), and was deeply disappointed that I didn't get to see more of the actual "space odyssey."

I didn't actually see the entire movie until I was at art school in '83 or '84, watching it in pan & scan on my tiny portable B&W television set. I didn't see it widescreen until it came out on DVD.

16 comments:

  1. If I has to chose the best scifi movie of all, I will chose this one.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I saw it in the theatre when I was 5 or 6. My dad was and is a pretty cool guy. Sadly I don't remember much of it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I feel your pain, Christopher! Bedtime has been the culprit for many a kid who wanted to stay up and watch a classic show. Kids today don't know how lucky they have it with DVRs and such. I remember when the original Planet of the Apes came on network television and I missed most of it. First, my sisters made me take a bath and I missed the intro to the movie. Then, I had to go to bed around the time of Taylor's trial. I didn't see the full movie for another decade (although I saw snippets of the other movies over the years). I finally saw all five films when I was 19 and in college. It was freaky, because I had all of these movies jumbled up in my head.

    But to stay on topic, I was able to see 2001: A Space Odyssey (completely) when it came on one of the premium channels in the early 80's. It may have been Showtime or The Movie Channel. Of course, I was spoiled from having seen a lot of other movies and shows. But eventually, I came to appreciate the film and the amazing work of Kubrick. The sets, costuming and models were just incredible and still hold up today. And I really dig the back-lit panels for the computer monitors. The only thing that bugs me about the movie was the news clip that the astronauts watch, which looks horribly dated.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for posting the TV Guide debut of 2001 on network television. I watched it as a boy in '77, although until today I thought it had aired in '79 post STAR WARS. I wonder how it did on on February 13th, 1977 pre-STAR WARS? I watched it because I loved SPACE:1999 since '75.

    SGB

    ReplyDelete
  5. Saw 2001 for the first time as a 13 year old, watchign it on the CBC here in Canada. It made no sense at the time, but it's since become an all-time favourite.

    Found a link to the NBC broadcast promo:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAZgLxuBtbo

    ReplyDelete
  6. Enjoyed the post, Christopher. I think 2001 is one of those rare films that doesn't just lose something on TV; it loses EVERYTHING on TV. In fact, I was terribly disappointed when I saw it on the BBC at the age of 14.
    In fact, I wrote a blog post along those lines for Amazing Stories, here: http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2015/05/genre-movies-lose-everything-small-screen/

    ReplyDelete
  7. If Steve had grown up in the New York City area he'd have been treated to the entire Planet Of The Apes series at a schoolkid-friendly time -- they played regularly on "The 4:30 Movie" from WPIX in Secaucus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, man. That would have been nice. I grew up in a medium-sized town in Mississippi with only the networks, TBS and Showtime/Movie Channel. Eventually, I caught a five-movie marathon on WGN out of Chicago (around 1989). But I was always a fan.

      Delete
  8. I'm sorry, but as far as I'm concerned the only reason this is not the most over-rated science fiction film of all time is because a guy named Cameron came along decades later and unleashed a wee bit of nonsense called "Avatar."

    ReplyDelete
  9. Christopher I am glad you posted the TV GUIDE promos for 2001 airing in 1977. I always thought I saw it in 1979 as a boy.

    SGB

    ReplyDelete
  10. I remember seeing 2001 listed in the Showtime program guide during the early months of 1981, along with the Special Edition of Close Encounters. Unfortunately, I was only ten at the time and I wasn't as interested in watching it as I was Close Encounters. A couple years later I found an old copy of Clarke's novel at a Goodwill store and decided to check it out. After reading the book, I desperately wanted to see the movie but had to wait until it aired on local television, which was a terrible way to view such a magnificent film for the first time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, that was it. Showtime had it.

      Delete
  11. Here in the UK, I believe Kubrick complained when 2001 was shown on the BBC in its original aspect ratio, but with stars in the black bars above and below the image for decoration!

    I didn't see it till 1986, but I'd been fascinated by it for a while, even read the book which is easier to follow ultimately, but the mystery the movie has is one of its strengths, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I saw it at the theater in 1968, along with Barbarella, Planet of the Apes, Bullitt, Rosemary's Baby, Romeo & Juliet, Hang 'em High, a great time for film and music.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I remember this broadcast. I was 15. I taped the audio - video recorders weren't common yet - and listened to it over and over.

    Seeing it in the theater at age 6 turned me into a spaceflight and science fiction fan - basically put me on the course I still follow. Like this - http://spaceflighthistory.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  14. Once again your memories are very in line with mine. I had the same bed time and was 10 years old that year of 1977. I probably got to watch about the same amount of this as you did. And I didn't get to see the whole thing until I was in college in the Fall of 1986 when it was played one Saturday night in the community room in my dorm. Same pan and scan vhs. Since then I have seen it a half dozen more times on my DVD version. I should upgrade to the Blu-ray! I love it when you post the TV guide pages. I used to study the TV guide every week. Still do but it's not the same thrill as back then.

    ReplyDelete