Thursday, September 12, 2019

Great Moments in 70s and 80s TV History: Cliff Clavin's anticipation

Remember the joy of receiving the new TV Guide in the mail? Well, think about what a big day it was for the fine members of the U.S. Postal service. In season 7's Please Mr. Postman, Cheers' Cliff Clavin tells a trainee she had better get a good night's sleep because...

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Fred MacMurray in The Chadwick Family

While celebrating Fred MacMurray's birthday last month--hey, didn't everyone--we came across this 1974 ABC Movie of the Week: The Chadwick Family, an unsold pilot:

Also in the cast: Kathleen Maguire, BOTNS favorite Alan Fudge, Barry Bostwick, Bruce Boxleitner, and Darleen Carr among others.

According to IMDB, in this dramatic story, A father finds himself taking care of a "family" that in addition to his son and three daughters, also consists of two sons-in-law and his youngest daughter's Chinese boyfriend.

The movie premiered April 17, 1974 against a supersized (sorry) Cannon rerun on CBS and part 2 of a broadcast of Judgment at Nuremburg on NBC. It started at 9:30, an odd time for a movie, because it followed the pilot of Robert Forster's short-lived Nakia:

Anyone remember either of these 1974 projects?

Sunday, September 8, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #32

1) MDA Telethon: Labor Day just isn't the same anymore without Jerry Lewis hosting the annual extravaganza. When Mike and I have our inevitable bitter breakup, I want us to be reunited by Frank Sinatra on national television.

2) The Loch Ness Monster: We don't care what any fancy report says, it'll always be a monster to us, not a dumb, old eel! That is, we can't say definitively that he is not a monster, and the probability is that there is evidence to indicate it may be a possibility...

3) The Carol Burnett Show: The show was the subject of a cool podcast episode from Closer with author Wesley Hyatt, and Roku Channel just added an assortment of episodes from the series' first five seasons.

4) Star Trek: Both the Original Series AND the Animated Series premiered on the SAME DATE--today--in 1966 and 1973 respectively. COINCIDENCE?

Wait, no, I mean...

5) Archie Bunker's Place: Antenna TV celebrated the series' 40th anniversary this week.

6) Alan Thicke: I just want another excuse to post this:

7) Willie Tyler: Happy 78th birthday to Tyler, and we also give a shout-out to Lester.  Yeah, that sentence isn't very impressive in itself, but I didn't move my lips when I wrote it.

8) Heather Thomas: Happy birthday to Ms. Thomas, and who wouldn't jump off a tall building for her, amirite?

9) Bob Newhart: The comedy legend turned 90 this week, and Decades is celebrating all weekend with The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, and Bob. What, no love for his obscure series BN?

10) The Rockford Files: Amazon's free ad-supported streaming service IMDB TV added the classic series for September.

Friday, September 6, 2019

National Read a Book Day: TV-related books

Since it is National Read a Book Day, we are offering some recommendations of books based on series we have spotlighted on the podcast.

Golden Girls Forever by Jim Colucci: A fun book with impressive research.  As I said in a review two years ago I'd be a happy man if every show we covered on the podcast inspired this kind of book--well written, detailed, and offering attractive design and fine production values.

Hailing Taxi by Frank Lovece with Jules Franco: Long out of print, this big 1988 trade paperback does the show justice, offering history, trivia, and critical assessments.

Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live by Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad: The mainstream attention of Jim Miller and Tom Shales' oral history overshadowed this one, but I think it remains the definitive history of the original cast years, and to me that's the most interesting period of the series, anyway. Diehard SNL fans really need to read both, but this is one of my favorite TV books. It was written in 1986 but is available on Kindle.

Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong: Imperfect book, as I wrote here in a review, but essential for fans of  The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Come and Knock on Our Door: A Hers and Hers and His Guide to Three's Company by Chris Mann: An excellent overview of a series that may not be seen as high art but sure gives Mann a lot of interesting stuff to write about. This is a very entertaining book

Mike recommends these two comprehensive TV series histories with episode guides:

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: A TV Companion by Patrick Jankiewicz: This book features a lot of a behind-the-scenes information, including interviews with many of the major players. Although clearly a fan, Jakiewicz doesn't steer clear of some of the backstage the problems or acknowledging weaker elements of the show (um, season two.)

Hardcastle and McCormick: A Complete Viewers Guide to the Classic Eighties Action Series by Deb Ohlin: A fun and surprisingly detailed look at the show, including a number of statistical lists about everything from car chases to various forms of problem-solving violence.


We still await the definitive histories of Silver Spoon, The Facts of Life, and many more!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

May we suggest "Close Encounters"?

Last month's (!) issue of Entertainment Weekly (hey, why change the name of one of the most respected brands in all of quality infotainment) featured a brief piece spotlighting novelist Laura Lippman. This part caught our eyes:

The Last TV Show I Binged
I’m in the middle of a St. Elsewhere binge. I really love and admire it, but it was really hard on its women. I can’t help noticing how much punishment the female characters were put through.

May we suggest checking out the episode Close Encounters? And while we're at it, hey, why not listen to our episode covering the series and zeroing in on Encounters?

Good luck to Ms. Lippman in the ongoing journey through the halls of St. Eligius. Sounds like she has a ways to go before achieving our feat (OK, one of us did it) of watching all episodes on Hulu.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day from all of us at BOTNS to all of you! On this day we salute two of our favorite hard-working Americans:

Sunday, September 1, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #31

1) Valerie Harper: R.I.P. to the sitcom star, whose 1980s sitcom got taken away from her (and is likely underseen today because of the legal issues).

2) Gary Sandy: The former WKRP star captivated us and our listeners this week (just check out our Facebook group). Dare we say that Gary Sandy is...having a moment? And are we confident it's not Patrick Simmons?

3) Eddie Murphy: He captivated the nation, despite not being Gary Sandy, by signing up to host Saturday Night Live this December. All of us who insist on telling everyone else we never watch the show have an excuse to watch it again!

4) Jamie Farr: The veteran actor guested on Hollywood and Levine (Ken Levine's outstanding weekly podcast) this week, and, as usual, he came across as just about the nicest, most gracious guy around.

5) Designing Women: The complete series is now on Hulu! Everyone post in the comments how far into your rewatches you are.

6) The Banana Splits: I don't want to prejudge a movie before--oh, what am I saying. Of course this is going to be terrible:

The Banana Splits Movie Poster

Let's just remember the original and hope that maybe this new version somehow spurs increased accessibility for that one.

7) Conway Twitty: Anyone else see this ad a hundred times back in the day (it's slightly past the BOTNS era, but, come on, we're going to Twitty City)?

8) Gloria Estefan: Happy birthday to the singer of some songs that helped define the 1980s and also helped drive me insane. Please, please don't start singing Conga unless you know a shootout over a drug bust gone bad is going to break out just before the commercial.

9) John Travolta: The former Welcome Back Kotter star made headlines this week by...sort of almost mistaking a drag queen for Taylor Swift at the VMA Awards? I still don't understand why a RuPaul's Drag Race "star" was on stage at all? I feel old. This kind of thing never happened to Gary Sandy.

10) Sonny and Cher: Time Life just released a new best of set of their variety series that costs 100 bucks because, well, because that's how Time Life rolls. I wish I could get Get-TV and watch the episodes there,