The Championship was notable for being the first which BBC Television covered from first ball to last.
Reardon saw off veteran Davis
The audience response was so positive - five million viewers for a midnight highlights programme, rising to seven million as the tournament approached a climax - that the schedules were cleared for live coverage of the final.
The viewers were immediately enthralled. Ray Reardon trailed Doug Mountjoy 7-2 in the first round but beat him 13-9 and comfortably despatched the gargantuan Canadian Bill Werbeniuk 13-6 to reach the last four.
Alex Higgins, an instant favourite with a new legion of television viewers who had previously not seen much of him, was beaten 13-12 by Patsy Fagan who won the last three frames on a re-spotted black, black and pink respectively.
Willie Thorne missed a black for the match when leading Eddie Charlton 12-9 and was beaten 13-12.
Charlton then came from 12-8 down to edge Cliff Thorburn 13-12 in the quarter-finals but was beaten 18-14 by Reardon in the semis.
The other semi-final paired the South African left-hander Perrie Mans with 64-year-old Fred Davis, the younger brother of Joe.
Davis put up a great fight, recovering from 16-12 adrift to 16-15, but he missed the pink for 16-16 and was beaten 18-16.
From 10-10 in the final, Reardon pulled away to a 25-18 win, his sixth world championship title in eight years.