20 Classic TV Guide Magazine Covers From the 1980s (PHOTOS)
Magnum, P.I.: December 27, 1980
The crime drama series starred Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, a private investigator in Oahu, Hawaii. Selleck, sporting his character's signature ‘stache and one (of many) boxy Hawaiian shirts, was featured in a story with the tongue-in-cheek title, “I Don’t Want to Look Macho.”
The Golden Girls: January 31, 1987
Beatrice Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty graced an illustrated cover by artist Richard Amsel, who drew many TV Guide
covers for over a decade. The series even made TV Guide
’s list of 60 Best Series of All Time in 2013.
Miami Vice: July 27, 1985
Illustrator Richard Amsel channeled Miami Vice
's Floridian location (and pastel colored costumes) in this cover with leads Don Johnson, as Detective James Crockett, and Philip Michael Thomas, as Detective Ricardo Tubbs.
Dynasty: October 23, 1982
Linda Evans and Joan Collins, stars from ABC’s successful soap opera, both dazzled in red fiery red in a profile about the show's wickedest women. The sinful series even had Aaron Spelling (who would later helm Beverly Hills, 90210
and Melrose Place
) as an executive producer.
M*A*S*H: February 12, 1983
A farewell salute issue, with a special fold-out cover, depicted the actors who brought to life a team of fictional army surgeons and doctors on duty during the Korean War. The cover was released right before the show’s finale, which was the most-watched ending in television history.
Family Ties: April 27, 1985
Michael J. Fox (who took time off from the series to film Back to the Future
) and the cast came together for a picture that revealed just how strong their "family ties" were on and off the set.
Growing Pains: August 9, 1986
As long as we got each other...! The original Seaver family (with Alan Thicke as the patriarch and Kirk Cameron as the charming oldest son) graced the cover to show that growing pains didn't have to be so, well, painful. Another daughter later joined the family, and Oscar winner Leo DiCaprio even got his start on the show as a troubled teen.
Dallas: March 27, 1982
Larry Hagman may have appeared as an angel here, but his role as crooked oil tycoon J.R. Ewing was anything but. One of the biggest cliffhangers in TV history led to the nail biting question, "Who shot J.R.?" In 2012, Hagman reprised his role in the Dallas
reboot that followed his character's descendants.
Knots Landing: August 24, 1986
Lisa Hartman and a young Alec Baldwin met success in a Dallas
spinoff series. The soap opera followed the marriages of four couples living in a fictitious Los Angeles suburb.
The Muppet Show: August 1, 1981
Miss Piggy quickly became a fan favorite out of Jim Henson’s many Muppets. Her popularity led to her book, Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life
, which landed on The New York Time
’s bestselling list from June 1981 to January 1982. Naturally, she deserved her own solo up close and personal solo cover.
21 Jump Street: August 20, 1988
Before he was Capt. Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp got his start as young officer Tom Hanson. The popular police drama featured a young group of investigators (including Holly Robinson Peete, pictured) whose fresh faces allowed them to go undercover to bust teenage criminals. The series inspired the 2012 movie of the same name, starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.
Webster: June 14, 1986
Emmanuel Lewis met instant fame as Webster, the charming and precocious orphan adopted by a wealthy white family.
Diff’rent Strokes: February 2, 1980
What'chu talkin’ bout Willis? The series centered around two boys from Harlem adopted a rich businessman living on Park Avenue. Conrad Bain, who was the surrogate on-screen dad to Todd Bridges and Gary Coleman, appeared as the mixed-race family that tackled difficult topics of the time, such as racism, drugs, and abuse.
Illustration by Robert Amsel
Three’s Company: September 24, 1983
Two girls and one guy managed to be single, and platonic, roommates in this sitcom—of course, misunderstandings and innuendos still ensued. The late John Ritter, Joyce Dewitt and Suzanne Somers were the original cast members, with Jenilee Harrison later replacing Somers. This particular cover was also illustrated by Richard Amsel.
The A-Team: March 10, 1984
George Peppard (Hannibal), Dwight Schultz (Murdock), Dirk Benedict (Face), and Mr. T (Baracus) bought their "A" game as the A-Team
, four Vietnam vets trying to help others while on the run after being framed for a crime. A 2010 movie was later made, with recognizable actors Liam Neeson as Hannibal and Bradley Cooper as Face.
Illustration by John Thompson
The Dukes of Hazzard: July 12, 1980
Daisy dukes and Dodge chargers were all art of Hazzard County. John Thompson illustrated the Duke boys (played by Tom Wopat and John Schneider), their bright orange “General Lee” and their infamous cousin Daisy (Catherine Bach), who always found themselves getting into trouble.
Knight Rider: June 25, 1983
Before he was on Baywatch
, David Hasselhoff ruled the peacock network as Michael Knight, a tech-savvy crime fighter assisted by K.I.T.T., his artificially intelligent and self-aware '82 Pontiac Trans Am.
Moonlighting: October 24, 1987
Known as the first successful “comedy-drama”, the series starred Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd as private detectives with undeniable chemistry. The on-screen couple made fans swoon with their quirky jokes and romance.
Happy Days: April 23, 1983
Viewers rocked around the clock waiting for Richie, Potsie, Ralph Malph, Fonzie and the rest of their friends to appear at Arnold's/Al's Drive-In. Here, Henry Winkle ("The Fonz") appeared with Linda Purl, who played his steady girlfriend, Ashley. Perfectomundo!
Who’s The Boss?: November 23, 1985
Tony Danza charmed his way onto everyone's hearts as Tony Micelli, a widower, father and retired baseball player who became a housekeeper for Angela Robinson Bower (Judith Light) and her feisty mom, Mona (Katherine Helmond).
Flash back to the '80s: a decade when bigger was better, from bright neons to boxy blazers to bold dramas on TV. And through each season of your favorite '80s show, TV Guide Magazine was there to "cover" your favorite stars. We recently asked fans to vote for their favorite magazine cover from that decade, and the clear winner was December 27, 1980 issue, featuring Magnum, P.I. star Tom Selleck. See the cover above, plus other ones of classic shows from the era.