Table of Contents

updated 05/04/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/04/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Introduction 6
A celebration of TV

Images 8
The moon, a U.S. Olympic hockey team, Clarabell and a war in Vietnam gave us myths, moments and memories

Five Decades

THE 1940s: The Pioneers took TV from the lab to the living room 80

THE 1950s: In the Glory Years, the laughs got wilder but the West got the drop 84

THE 1960s: No kidding, a nun flew and a horse talked in the Silly Seasons 108

THE 1970s: The Age of Archie began with dark comedy, then got the giggles and jiggles 126

THE 1980s: J.R. got shot and networks reeled from the Big Switch to cable 142

News 99
It took a long time, but TV found ways to show us the world through its eye

Game Shows 102
Brainy or banal, win or lose, they kept everyone guessing

Cults 104
You are entering a dimension of weird shows that refuse to die

Voices

Dick Smith, Mel Brooks and Buffalo Bob Smith on making up stars, punching up scripts and moving up in life 106

Pat Weaver, Jerry Della Femina and Alice Playten on shows with class, ads with sass and meals with gas 124

Ruth Warrick, Aaron Spelling and Garry Marshall on soaps, sex, Shirley and some secrets of success 138

Barbara Corday, Bob Pittman, Steven Bochco, and Mrs. Philo T. Farnsworth on Cagney, Mort, Hill Street and the boy who invented TV 152

Commercials 120
Have we got a deal for you!

Soaps 136
Adultery, incest and betrayal: what a pleasant way to spend your weekday afternoon

Sports 140
Thanks to instant replay, now you see it...and now you see it all over again

Second Banana 151
Norton, you're the greatest!

Greatest Exit Ever 156
This man won by a nose

TOP 25 STARS

20 Johnny Carson has poked the pompous and pleased the public for more than a quarter-century

22 Lucille Bail, TV's most beloved entertainer, played a carrot-top cutup, but off-camera she was a power

24 Jackie Gleason roared, "...awaaay we go," and millions of fans are still going along on the honeymoon

26 Walter Cronkite, America's most trusted uncle since Sam, was the newsman we turned to whenever times got tough

30 Sid Caesar, the noblest showman of them all, was a comedic comet who all too quickly vanished from the air

32 James Arness marshaled six-and-one-half feet of strength to guard Dodge City and the eternal verities

34 Mary Tyler Moore proved that women on TV didn't have to be dizzy, docile, dumb or domestic

38 Bill Cosby, that consummate mimic of the kids on his block, grew up to become America's favorite Dad

40 Carroll O'Connor made bigoted Archie Bunker show us our foibles so we could laugh...and learn

42 Milton Berle brought vim, vigor and vaudeville to Tuesday night and sold more sets than RCA

44 Larry Hagman gushes 100 percent crude in his role as human oil slick J.R. Ewing and makes hearts spill over

48 Ed Sullivan, who always promised a "rilly big shew," kept his word with the Bolshoi and the Beatles

55 Alan Alda, the nicest noncombatant, led the 4077th M*A*S*H unit through 11 seasons of ratings wars

56 Carol Burnett was TV's clown princess, a putty-faced Pagliacci who pulled her ear and tugged at our emotions

58 Kermit, television's shortest star, leapfrogged over lesser talents to emerge as the biggest diplasiocoelid in the pond

59 Dick Clark set a long-playing record: He lasted 33 years before stepping down from the bandstand

60 Farrah Fawcett abruptly walked away from Charlie and left everyone wanting more than one date with an angel

62 James Garner held the upper hand in Maverick, then gambled on The Rockford Files and won again

64 Ernie Kovacs, the maniacal madcap who died much too young, pushed laughter—and life—to its limits

66 Barbara Walters became television's mother confessor, luring everyone who was anyone to spill

67 David Janssen, in his wearying pursuit of the one-armed man, kept ahead of the law—and the competition

68 The Beaver sallied forth each week into treacherous Mayfield, a town fraught with the perils of childhood

70 John Belushi took off like a rocket on Saturday Night Live, but he exploded in mid-career

74 David Letterman, who drops watermelons off tall buildings, has made the biggest splat in late-night

76 Ronald Reagan, the great political televangelist, spoke unto his fellow Americans and they believed—in him

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