As Dreamers Do: American Magic Redux

The Birth of HBO
  • On the night of November 8, 1972, less than 500 homes in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania were hooked up with cable television by Teleservice, now known as Service Electric. Little did these subscribers know they would become part of television history as that night marked the launch of one of the first premium cable channels; Home Box Office.


    Home Box Office is a joint venture of Time-Life, Inc. and Sterling Manhattan Cable.​
    Entertainment News for December 1972/January 1973
  • @Colonel Zoidberg
    Miami Dolphins pull off the first undefeated season in professional football.
    - Sports Illustrated

    Westinghouse and Metromedia gain final approval from the FCC for their fourth network. The soon to be named network is expected to launch in Fall 1974.
    - The Washington Post

    Instead of a merger, Cadence accepts a counteroffer from Walt Disney, Sr. to acquire the Marvel Comics Group. Disney's current licensing agreement with Gold Key is expected to expire by mid-summer of '73.
    - The New York Times

    Tex Avery Enterprises is now hiring artists and animators for its anthology television series, The Wacky World of Tex Avery, which will headline the Westinghouse/Metromedia network's lineups in Fall of '74.
    - Los Angeles Times classifieds.

    CMJ Begins production on In The Night Kitchen with Warner Bros. handling distribution.
    - The Hollywood Reporter

    Filmation makes a head-scratching decision to acquire the North American rights to Dutch comic strip Sjors en Sjimmie (below) or George and Jimmy. Without a pilot, a script or model sheet ready, Lou Scheimer was quick to announce Donny Osmond would voice the blonde Sjors/George, but Sjimmie/Jimmy is rumored to be offered to Michael Jackson or newcomer Larry Fishburne. Sjors/George began in the late 1920's/early 1930's as a Dutch import of Martin Michael Branner's Perry Winkle and the Rinkydinks before building a mythos of his own thanks to creator Frans Piet. About three years ago, Mr. Piet retired from the strip and the reins have been handed to Jan Kruis, who redesigned the characters for a new era.
    - The Hollywood Reporter.
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    Snoopy Come Home (1973 Film)
  • Snoopy Come Home

    Released by Desilu on January 5, 1973

    Directed by
    Bill Melendez

    Produced by
    Charles M. Schulz
    Lee Mendelson
    Bill Melendez

    Songs by
    The Sherman Brothers​
    Entertainment News for Spring 1973
  • A legislative act that hopes to protect the CFL from a proposed merger with the AFL and NFL is introduced in Parliament.
    - The Ottawa Citizen

    The Federal Trade Commission approves CBS's bid to acquire cash-strapped DC Comics the day after approving the sale of Marvel Comics to Walt Disney Productions.
    - The Washington Post

    NBA grants an expansion franchise to New Orleans, which will begin play in 1974.
    - The Sporting News
    Charlotte's Web (1973 Film)
  • Charlotte's Web

    Released on March 1, 1973 by Paramount Pictures

    Produced by
    Hanna-Barbera Productions

    Based on the book by EB White

    Directed by
    Iwao Takamoto
    Charles August Nichols

    Songs by
    Robert B. Sherman
    Richard M. Sherman

    Select voices
    Debbie Reynolds as Charlotte
    Henry Gibson as Wilbur
    Paul Lynde as Templeton
    Agnes Moorhead as the Goose
    Pamelyn Ferdin as Fern Arable
    Danny Bonaduce as Avery Arable

    Charlotte's Web opened to mixed reviews upon its original release. The film would gain greater popularity on home video and on cable in later years.​
    Professional Sports as of 1973
    American League East

    Baltimore Orioles
    Boston Red Sox
    New York Yankees
    Washington Grays

    American League Central
    Chicago White Sox
    Cleveland Guardians
    Detroit Tigers
    Kansas City Monarchs
    Texas Rangers

    American League West
    Los Angeles Angels
    Oakland Athletics
    Portland Beavers
    Seattle Pilots
    Vancouver Mounties

    National League East
    Atlanta Braves
    Brooklyn Dodgers
    Montreal Expos
    Philadelphia Phillies
    Pittsburgh Pirates

    National League Central
    Chicago Cubs
    Cincinnati Reds
    Milwaukee Brewers
    Minnesota Twins
    St. Louis Cardinals

    National League West
    Houston Astros
    Los Angeles Lancers (Formerly Hollywood Stars)
    San Diego Padres
    San Francisco Seals

    National Football League
    Capitol Division

    Dallas Cowboys
    New York Giants
    Philadelphia Eagles
    Washington Heroes

    Century Division
    Cleveland Browns
    New Orleans Saints
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    St. Louis Cardinals

    Central Division
    Chicago Bears
    Detroit Lions
    Green Bay Packers
    Detroit Lions

    Coastal Division
    Atlanta Falcons
    Baltimore Colts
    Los Angeles Rams
    San Francisco 49ers

    American Football League
    Eastern Division

    Buffalo Bills
    Cincinnati Bengals
    Miami Dolphins
    New England Patriots
    New York Jets

    Western Division
    Denver Broncos
    Houston Oilers
    Kansas City Chiefs
    Oakland Raiders
    San Diego Chargers

    Canadian Football League
    Eastern Division

    Hamilton Tiger Cats
    Montreal Alouettes
    Ottawa Rough Riders
    Toronto Argonauts

    Western Division
    BC Lions
    Calgary Stampeders
    Edmonton Eskimos
    Saskatchewan Roughriders
    Winnipeg Blue Bombers

    World Football League (Launching in 1974 along w/ the Metromedia/Westinghouse network)
    Eastern Division

    Jacksonville Sharks
    New York Stars
    Philadelphia Bell
    Washington Ambassadors

    Central Division
    Birmingham Vulcans
    Chicago Fire
    Detroit Wheels
    Memphis Grizzlies

    Western Division
    Houston Texans
    Portland Storm
    Southern California Sun

    National Basketball Association
    Atlantic Division

    Boston Celtics
    Buffalo Braves
    New York Knicks
    Philadelphia 76ers

    Central Division
    Atlanta Hawks
    Cleveland Cavaliers
    Houston Rockets
    Washington Federals (Formerly Baltimore Bullets)

    Midwest Division
    Chicago Bulls
    Detroit Pistons
    Kansas City Royals
    Milwaukee Bucks

    Pacific Division
    Golden State Warriors
    Los Angeles Lakers
    Phoenix Suns
    Portland Trailblazers
    Seattle Supersonics

    American Basketball Association
    Eastern Division

    Indiana Pacers
    Kentucky Colonels
    New York Nets
    Spirits of St. Louis
    Virginia Squires

    Western Division
    Denver Nuggets
    New Orleans Jazz
    San Antonio Spurs
    San Diego Clippers
    Utah Stars

    National Hockey League
    Prince of Wales Conference
    Adams Division

    Atlanta Flames (Coming in 1974)
    Boston Bruins
    Buffalo Sabres
    Montreal Canadiens
    Toronto Maple Leafs

    Patrick Division
    New York Rangers
    Philadelphia Flyers
    Pittsburgh Penguins
    Washington Capitals (Coming in 1974)

    Clarence Campbell Conference
    Norris Division

    Chicago Blackhawks
    Detroit Red Wings
    Milwaukee Admirals (Coming in 1974)
    Minnesota North Stars
    St. Louis Blues

    Smythe Division
    Los Angeles Kings
    Oakland Seals
    Seattle Totems (Coming in 1974)
    Vancouver Canucks

    World Hockey Association
    Canadian Division

    Calgary Broncos
    Edmonton Oilers
    Ottawa Senators
    Quebec Nordiques
    Winnipeg Jets

    Eastern Division
    Cleveland Crusaders
    Indianapolis Racers
    Minnesota Fighting Saints
    New England Whalers
    New York Islanders

    Western Division
    Colorado Rockies
    Houston Aeros
    Phoenix Roadrunners
    San Diego Gulls

    Eastern Division

    Miami Toros
    New York Cosmos
    Philadelphia Atoms

    Northern Division
    Montreal Olympique
    Rochester Lancers
    Toronto Metros

    Southern Division
    Atlanta Apollos
    Dallas Tornado
    St. Louis Saints
    Last edited:
    American Graffiti
  • American Graffiti

    Released by Hyperion Pictures on August 11, 1973

    Directed by
    George Lucas

    Francis Ford Coppola
    Walt Disney, Jr.

    Screenplay by
    Gloria Katz
    Willard Huyck

    Music Supervisor
    Walter Murch

    Production Company
    American Zoetrope

    Richard Dreyfuss as Curt Henderson
    Ronny Howard as Steve Bolander
    Paul Le Mat as John Milner
    Charles Martin Smith as Terry "The Toad" Fields
    Cindy Williams as Laurie Henderson
    Candy Clark as Debbie Dunham
    Mackenzie Phillips as Carol Morrison
    Wolfman Jack as Disc Jockey
    Bo Hopkins as Joe Young
    Manuel Padilla, Jr. as Carlos
    Harrison Ford as Bob Falfa
    Lynne Marie Stewart as Bobbie Tucker
    Terry McGovern as Mr. Wolfe
    Kathleen Quinlan as Peg
    Scott Beach as Mr. Gordon
    Susan Richardson as Judy
    Kay Ann Kemper as Jane
    Joe Spano as Vic
    Debralee Scott as Falfa's Girl
    Suzanne Somers as "The Blonde" in the T-Bird

    Through a series of vignettes, American Graffiti takes place on one summer night in 1962 when four high school friends cruise the streets of their small town before they must part ways and begin their adult lives.

    The plot and storyline are pretty much the same as OTL, and there were no cuts to the footage before the film's first theatrical release.

    After American Graffiti proved commercially and critically successful, father and son reached a compromise on Lucas's space opera script. Junior will serve as executive producer on said project, but it will be released under his father's label. Walt, who wanted to turn Lucas's story into animated feature, reluctantly agreed to let Junior put the project into live action production.​
    George and Jimmy (1973 TV Series)
  • George and Jimmy

    From left to right: Sjimmie/Jimmy and Sjors/George. Drawn by Jan Kruis.

    Launched on September 1, 1973 on ABC

    Based on the comic strips Sjors van de Rebellenclub and Sjors en Sjimmie, originally created by Frans Piet

    Character designs by Jan Kruis

    Production Companies

    Rex Film

    Executive Producers
    Lou Scheimer
    Norm Prescott
    Hal Sutherland
    Henk Van Der Linden

    English Voices
    Donny Osmond as George
    Larry Fishburne (acting debut) as Jimmy
    Paul Winchell as The Colonel
    Ann Jillian as Sally; The Colonel's daughter
    Dallas McKennon as Dickie; A plus sized boy who serves as a foil to George and Jimmy
    Howard Morris as Alphonse; Sally's boyfriend

    George (Donny Osmond) and Jimmy (Larry Fishburne in his acting debut) are a pair of adolescent mischief makers who like playing sports, watching TV, reading comic books and chasing girls to varying degrees of success. The boys live with the crotchety Colonel (Paul Winchell) and the fashion conscious Sally (Ann Jillian). Speaking of Sally, she often goes out on dates with the smooth charmer Alphonse, but these dates are often ruined by George and Jimmy's pranks. At school, our heroes run afoul of the self-centered farm boy Dickie, who serves as a comical foil for the duo.

    George and Jimmy proved to be the unexpected hit Filmation was looking for, even though they already had a decent ratings draw with Fat Albert.​
    Robin Hood (1973 Film)
  • Robin Hood

    Released on November 8, 1973

    Directed by
    Wolfgang Reitherman

    Assistant Directors
    Grant Simmons
    Ray Patterson

    Additional animation produced by

    Ken Anderson
    Larry Clemmons
    Floyd Norman
    Julius Svendsen
    Xavier Atencio
    T. Hee
    Dave Michener

    Milt Kahl
    Frank Thomas
    Ollie Johnston
    John Lounsbery
    Hal King
    Art Stevens
    Ted Berman
    Cliff Nordberg
    Eric Larson
    Don Bluth
    Dale Baer
    Fred Hellmich
    Burny Mattinson
    Dale Oliver
    Chuck Williams
    Bob McCrea
    Stan Green
    Ed Hansen
    Dan Alguire
    Jeff Patch
    Whitey Larkin*

    *fictional artist

    Brian Bedford as Robin Hood, a fox
    Monica Evans as Maid Marian, a vixen
    Phil Harris as Little John, a bear
    Andy Devine as Friar Tuck, a badger
    J. Pat O'Malley as Otto, a bloodhound
    Pat Buttram as the Sheriff of Nottingham, a wolf
    Roger Miller as Allen-A-Dale, a rooster
    Peter Ustinov as Prince John, a lion
    Terry-Thomas as Sir Hiss, a snake
    Carole Shelley as Lady Kluck, a chicken
    Scatman Crothers as Will Scarlet, a bulldog
    George Lindsey as Trigger, a vulture
    Ken Curtis as Nutsy, a vulture
    John Fiedler as Sexton, a church mouse
    Barbara Luddy as Mother Rabbit
    Billy Whitaker as Skippy, a rabbit
    Dana Laurita as Sis, a rabbit
    Dori Whitaker as Tagalong, a rabbit
    Richie Sanders as Toby, a turtle

    "Not in Nottingham"
    "Whistle Stop"
    Written and sung by Roger Miller

    "The Phony King of England"
    Written by Johnny Mercer
    Sung by Phil Harris

    Written by Floyd Huddleston and George Bruns
    Sung by Nancy Adams

    - Robin Hood opened to mixed reviews and an above-average box office gross.
    - The comic book adaptation of the film was the first Disney comic to be printed by Marvel since the acquisition early in '73.
    - After Robin Hood was finished, Wolfgang Reitherman was fired and Walt appointed himself to direct the studio's next animated feature, Beauty and the Beast.​
    50 Happy Years
  • 50 Happy Years

    For most of 1973, the Disney company went all out to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

    The Mouse Factory


    The centerpiece of Disney's golden anniversary celebration was not the purchase of Marvel, nor the release of Hyperion's American Graffiti. It was The Mouse Factory, a weekly TV series that actually launched a year earlier in syndication. In its' first season, The Mouse Factory combined classic Disney cartoon moments with segments featuring celebrity guests interacting with walk-around characters from the parks. For the second season, the show would feature fresh animation courtesy of Grantray-Lawrence.

    Mouse Factory guest hosts as of 1973:
    Wally Cox
    Annette Funicello
    Hayley Mills
    Ann Jillian
    William Shatner
    Olivia Hussey
    Jonathan Winters
    Carl Reiner
    Jim Henson
    Dom DeLuise
    Gene Wilder
    Don Knotts
    Joe Flynn
    Henry Gibson
    John Astin
    Wilt Chamberlain
    Shari Lewis
    Fred Rogers
    Charles Nelson Reilly
    Sid Caesar
    Danny Kaye

    The Art of Walt Disney

    Another centerpiece to Disney's 50th anniversary campaign was Christopher Finch's book The Art of Walt Disney. In later years, Abrams will publish updated versions of this book to include artwork from each new animated film.​
    One fine day in Southampton
  • Parent Teacher Conference
    February 12, 1974

    The Gregg School
    Southampton, England

    Virgil Ramsay Hartwell

    "Good afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Abbott. Please be seated. From the looks of Daniel's grades this term, the subjects where he most excels are doing silly voices at lunch hour and drawing cartoons in his notebook. Here is a brochure for the Richard Williams Studio in London if that's what he wishes to do when he graduates."

    Doug Abbott
    (Daniel's father)

    "Are you calling my boy a bloody idiot?"

    Dr. Hartwell
    "On the contrary, YOU are the bloody idiot. Your son has a lot of potential as an artist and I suggest you acknowledge that fact."​
    Starting a New Life
  • 5 June 1974
    16 year old Daniel Abbott arrives in London for his first day of animation training at the Richard Williams studio in Soho, London.

    Daniel Abbott
    "For the rest of that school year, I crashed on a few couches up and down the street where my parents were living. Sure, I could've just became a street urchin, but I was thankful there were some families that weren't blinded by my dad's war hero image. My Sweet Sixteen money was spent at Edwin Jones buying clothes for the train ride that would change my life."

    "When I got off the train at Waterloo Station, a chauffeur picked me up from the station and drove me directly to Soho Square and the Richard Williams studio."


    Richard Williams (below):
    "I had known Doc Hartwell for a number of years...I met him in '63 at a screening of one of my early short films at the University of Southampton, where he earned his teaching credentials. Doc sent me some Xeroxes of these drawings Daniel did in his notebooks. I didn't meet Daniel in person till the very day he came to my studio. But from the Xeroxes I got from Doc, I could tell right away Daniel had so much talent and so much potential as an artist."

    Dinner Between Father and Son
  • One fine night at the Tam O'Shanter in Hollywood...


    " is Beauty and the Beast coming along?"

    "We've already starting filming the live action reference, but a couple of the animators proved to be much too enthusiastic when Dolly came to the soundstage."

    "Well, pop, you get what you paid for."

    Later on...

    "What's happening with that space project you and George are doing?"

    "He's typing the rough draft of the script and he said he'll put it on your desk next month."​
    The Fourth Network Launches!
  • Special thanks to @overoceans for the name suggestion.

    September 17, 1974

    After several years of planning, the Westinghouse and Metromedia joint venture was finally launched. It was the first night of programming for the new Standard Broadcasting Company (SBC). The first images presented by the new network was President Gerald Ford [1] addressing viewers from the Oval Office with a speech welcoming the new network as if it were the birth of a foreign dignitary's child. The second program was SBC chairman John Kluge ushering viewers into a new era of television, with a promise to create and cultivate content to make the network distinguish itself from the competition.

    The first actual program shown by SBC was Millie the Model, a primetime animated series co-produced by Walt Disney Productions and Grantray-Lawrence. Based on a comic book Marvel created during their Timely days, Millie the Model stars Ann Jillian as the voice of the titular character. Supervising the animation was Marc Davis, whose experience with female protagonists in the Disney animated films of the 1950's proved critical to Millie's translation into the small screen.

    In the coming months, SBC would present Jim Henson's television pilot Sex and Violence. To kick off its Saturday Morning offerings, SBC would present The Wacky World of Tex Avery, which would serve as an anthology series for characters like Kwicky Koala.

    Also in the coming months, SBC would also take a chance on the American Basketball Association, the World Hockey Association and World Football League in hopes of using these rebel leagues as stepping stones towards one day acquiring the rights to bigger events.

    As we speak, SBC is ordering a Star Trek: Phase Two pilot from Gene Roddenberry and Desilu.

    Also, SBC hopes to open up a timeslot for Walt Disney's weekly anthology series, which is currently airing on NBC under the Wonderful World of Disney title.

    SBC O&O stations
    WNYW New York
    KTTV Los Angeles
    WFLD Chicago
    KTVU San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose
    WTTG Washington, DC

    [1] Yes, Nixon still resigned.​
    Entertainment News for Fall 1974
  • Well, that's because both companies IOTL owned a lot of stuff during the buyout. However, at this point ITTL, there is more competition afoot in the world of entertainment, so if Disney were to buy Fox then and there rather than here and now, I'd argue that it would be a better thing overall.

    And this is coming from one of MANY people who were dumbfounded by the purchase IOTL!

    Alan Ladd, Jr. confirms 20th Century Fox is up for sale.
    - The Hollywood Reporter

    Justice Department approves the sale of Columbia Pictures to CBS.
    - The New York Times

    SBC's WFL coverage lags slightly behind ABC's Monday Night Football in TV ratings.
    - TV Guide

    Is SBC biting off more than they can chew? Experts resoundingly say No.
    - Variety

    Mounting pressure from Canadian lawmakers forces the CFL to walk away from merger talks with the NFL and AFL.
    - The Toronto Star
    In the Night Kitchen (1974 Film)
  • In the Night Kitchen

    Released on Thanksgiving Weekend 1974 by Warner Bros.

    Directed by
    Chuck Jones

    Based on the book by

    Maurice Sendak

    Production Company

    Musical score by
    Dean Elliott

    Songs by
    Carole King

    Jackie Earle Haley as Mickey
    Mel Blanc, Hal Smith and Stan Freberg as the Bakers

    The film follows the graphic style of the book for the most part. However, in order for the film to receive a G rating, there were many alterations made to remove the controversial nudity from the source material. Such alterations were made without Sendak's consent and he was not made aware until the film was released.​
    Island at the Top of the World
  • Island at the Top of the World

    Released by Walt Disney, Sr. on December 20, 1974

    Island at the Top of the World is still pretty much the same as OTL. While Island was a more modest hit ITTL, it was unable to unseat Night Kitchen from the #1 spot at the box office.

    Just like IOTL, Island at the Top of the World was originally released in a roadshow package with Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too.

    The Hyperion blimp lives on as the official Hyperion Pictures logo. The Art Deco H, which was introduced at the beginning of American Graffiti, was criticized for being too bland and dull.​
    Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974 Short)
  • Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too

    Directed by
    Ray Patterson
    John Lounsbery

    Production Companies
    Walt Disney Productions

    Buddy Baker

    Sebastian Cabot as the Narrator
    Sterling Holloway as Pooh
    Paul Winchell as Tigger
    John Fiedler as Piglet
    Hal Smith as Owl
    Junius Matthews as Rabbit
    Ralph Wright as Eeyore

    Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too was the first assignment for animator Ron Clements, who would go on to co-direct many Disney animated films with John Musker.​
    State of the Animation Industry as of 1975
  • Walt Disney Productions is hard at work on Beauty and the Beast, which will be released this Thanksgiving. Also on the horizon for Disney: The Rescuers in 1977, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1978 and either Rapunzel or The Snow Queen in 1979.

    On the small screen, Millie the Model has paid major dividends for Disney and Grantray-Lawrence. This year, they will produce The Country Bears, a series based on the Country Bear Jamboree attraction at The Magic Kingdom.

    Rookies at Disney or Grantray-Lawrence: Ron Clements, Glen Keane and Andy Gaskill.

    After Night Kitchen proved to be a sleeper hit, CMJ has fast-tracked Where the Wild Things Are for a 1977 release. In the meantime, look for Yankee Doodle Cricket, the sequel to A Cricket in Times Square, which will air in primetime on SBC.

    After the commercial failure of The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat, Ralph Bakshi is attempting a comeback at Famous Studios.

    Hong Kong Phooey proves to be another hit for Hanna-Barbera while Valley of the Dinosaurs and Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch fall by the wayside. Dumbfounded by the curveball thrown by Filmation's George and Jimmy, HB quickly grabs the North American rights to a Belgian comic created by Pierre Culliford, aka Peyo.

    Tex Avery proves he's still got the Midas touch with his SBC anthology series The Wacky World of Tex Avery. Tumbleweed Tex, Einstone, Pompeii Pete, Freddy the Fly, Power Pooch, Kwicky the Koala and others supply the belly laughs in segments that rotate from week to week.

    Toronto-based Nelvana is taking small baby steps toward bigger projects in the coming years. Their first production is an anthology series for CBC called Small Star Cinema. Look for Nelvana's first TV special, Christmas Two Step later this year.

    DePatie-Freleng has wrapped production on the theatrical short series Hoot Kloot. In the meantime, The Dogfather, another theatrical short series, is set to wrap production next year. Look for The Oddball Couple and Return to the Planet of the Apes on Saturday mornings this fall.

    The Richard Williams studio in London is hard at work juggling between TV commercials, pilots and animated title sequences for live action films. Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure is set to debut in 1977. In the meantime, Scotland Yard has deployed several constables to guard Williams' offices in Soho. In the past year, Williams received many death threats from disgraced RAF lieutenant Doug Abbott, whose 17 year old son Daniel is an aspiring animator receiving on the job training at the studio.
    Entertainment News for Spring 1975
  • Nancy Drew author sues MCA for breach of contract.
    - The Los Angeles Times

    20th Century Fox nervously awaits bids from parties interesting in purchasing the studio.
    - Variety

    SBC suffers first ratings flop with Nancy Drew.
    - TV Guide

    Has SBC flown too close to the sun with Nancy Drew? Critics are split.
    - The New York Times

    Walt Disney, Jr. celebrates 29th birthday with new girlfriend.
    - People magazine.

    NBA and ABA begin formal negotiations towards a possible merger.
    - The Sporting News