R.I.P. Judith Crist, a name I remember well from religiously reading TV Guide magazine as a boy. The New York Times remembers the ground-breaking film critic:
Her commentary had many homes: The New York Herald Tribune, where she was the first woman to be made a full-time critic for a major American newspaper; New York magazine, where she was the founding film critic; and TV Guide, which most defined her to readers. Her reviews appeared there for 22 years at a time when the magazine blanketed the country, reaching a peak readership of more than 20 million.
She was the “Today” show’s first regular movie critic, a morning fixture on NBC from 1963 to 1973. And she wrote for Saturday Review, Gourmet and Ladies’ Home Journal.
A Harris Poll of moviegoers in the 1960s cited her as their favorite critic. In 1968, Film Quarterly called her “the American critic with the widest impact on the mass audience.” When TV Guide decided to dismiss her in 1983 to replace her column with a computerized movie summary, executives told her they might come crawling back to her in six months to beg her to return. The magazine was deluged with letters, and asked her back three weeks later. She was given a raise and stayed until 1988.
That last anecdote intrigued me -- I do vaguely remember when her long-running movie column disappeared and then made a comeback. Indeed, here's how TV Guide played it when they replaced her column:
And two months later, when they brought it back (in time for the 1983 Fall Preview issue):