Saturday, June 30, 2012


I saw this highly unusual item from 1975 recently, from an odd source - Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) tweeted it. It's a poster advertising the imminent debut of a new late-night comedy show on NBC:

There's a lot of fun stuff in there; for instance, Billy Crystal is listed as appearing, even though he got cut after dress rehearsal and took a lonely train ride home to Long Island. Albert Brooks is the second-leading draw, after Carlin. And I don't know what channel 20 in New York City was - the whole time I lived there, channel 4 was the only NBC station.

But what's really wacky is the title of the show. As you probably know, Lorne Michaels wanted to call his show "Saturday Night Live," but Howard Cosell beat him to the punch with his own show of that title several months earlier. So when Lorne's show went on the air, it was called "NBC's Saturday Night."

Contrary to what the poster reads, to my knowledge, at no time was the show ever called "NBC Saturday Night - Live." It's possible that some zealous adman thought the show was called "NBC Saturday Night" and then added the "Live" to emphasize that aspect, but then the "Live" shouldn't have been in the quote marks. And it was always "NBC's," not "NBC."

Is it possible that the show had this tentative title at some point prior to its initial airing? I doubt it - since the poster says "tonight's host," it couldn't have been printed much before the show's debut, long after they would have settled on a title. I think it's just another example of advertising people not paying attention.


  1. The only explanation I can think of re the channel number was that in the early days of cable, Manhattan Cable TV and Paragon Cable (north of 96th St) often had different channel numbers. This could have been an ad done by one of them.

  2. That's an astonishingly bad photo ... it would have done little to convince me to sit in front of my tube at 11:30 on a Saturday night.