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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Season Two BATTY Awards

The special blue ribbon nominating panel has convened and issued its nominations for the season two BATTY Awards. Now Rick and Mike have to decide the winners in categories including Best Show, Best Episode, Outstanding Conrad, Best Performance by a Youth, and of course Best Facial Hair/Mustache! Plus, the first ever GENIUS Award!



Check out this episode!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Season Two BATTYS Nominees

The Season Two BATTYs post on Thursday. Monday through Wednesday, check our Facebook page for a list of nominees and the announcement of a new BATTY and make sure to listen on Thursday!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Wishing Summer a Fond Farewell

We here at Battle of the Network Shows consider Labor Day the demarcation line between summer and fall, the beginning of what we like to call "emotional fall." As a special farewell to summer, we now share this YouTube clip from an end of summer of yore. Enjoy now the "final" episode of Dave Letterman's Summer Time Sunshine Happy Hour (August 29, 1985).


Monday, August 21, 2017

"New" 70s and 80s TV Shows

In recent weeks, we looked at DVD releases, but believe it or not, IIIIII'M WALKING ON AIR...the airwaves, that is. Some "new" and returning favorites are on their way back to TV. Here's a look at what's coming to a cable box/antenna/Roku/unspecified device near you:

*Warner Archive Instant added the rest of Eight Is Enough, meaning the entire series is available for your streaming pleasure.

*Antenna TV announced Welcome Back Kotter will be returning in the future, but this summer, it is re-adding Evening Shade and One Day at a Time while giving 227  and What's Happening!!  a break and bumping a bunch of other series around.

*CW Seed, an under-the-rader but free streaming service, now offers the complete Dynasty.

*GetTV added Designing Women to its weekday lineup in June.

*TV One re-added The Cosby Show. I hope it was on clearance.

*Me-TV added The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda earlier, plus introduced Battlestar GalacticaALF, Love American Style, and (on the edge of our era) Swamp Thing. Today it adds T.J. Hooker, The Facts of Life, Cannon, and Hawaii Five-O. Also, Remington Steele came and went this summer.

Don't get used to Rhoda nor Love, as they leave Labor Day. Happy Days will be returning, though.

*Me-TV dropped The Incredible Hulk, but it is on cable's El Rey and on digital subchannel Heroes and Icons. H&I is loaded with BOTNS-era programs like CHIPS, Police Story, Hill Street Blues, Kung Fu, Hunter, Swamp Thing (it's a sister network of Me-TV), Wiseguy, and The Greatest American Hero.

*Hulu is adding tons of episodes of old Fox (the studio/library, not the network) like the MTM Studios efforts (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and more), but it's unclear when that will happen.

 *PRO Classic TV (Peter Rodgers Organization) launched a YouTube channel a few months ago that includes shows like the old The Bill Cosby Show, Celebrity Bowling, The Comedy Shop, and Movin' On.

I am sure I am missing a ton of changes, but this should be enough to tide you over for a while. As always, let us know if you want us to talk about any of these series on the podcast in our upcoming season 3 or beyond!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Upcoming DVD Releases

Last week we looked at some of the BOTNS-era shows that hit DVD in recent months, but today we look at the future...uh, and at TV Shows on DVD to see some of the sets you might want to pick up in the next couple of months--you know, to amuse yourselves in between new episodes of the podcast.

Alice Season 5: First of all, though, let me mention this release that Warner Archive slipped out last week. The fifth season of the long-running sitcom features Robert Goulet, Jerry Reed, and another awkward transition in the "Flo spot."

Just as Belle replaces Flo at the end of season 4--not in between seasons, but with several episodes left--Jolene replaces Belle at the end of season 5--again, not at the end of or between seasons, but with serveral episodes left. Or maybe it's odd that I care so much about the cast dynamics on Alice. As long as Henry is sitting in the counter, I'm good.

August 15

Police Story Season 2: 4 years after season 1, Shout! is finally following up with more of the 1970s anthology series. Typical of a police show DVD--they're never around when you need them.

Rhoda Season 4 and Season 5: Shout! closes this series out this year.  Season 5 will arrive in October, while 4 was already issued as a Shout Select title direct from the company but gets general release on this date. For the unitiated, "Shout Select" means "really expensive."

August 22

Ironside Season 4: Shout! is really full of PEP this summer, is it not? Your favorite wheelchair detective returns, this time in a general release set of season 4 as opposed to the really expen--uh, Shout Select version from 2010.

You know, I just checked a certain major online retailer and noticed it is charging 45 bucks for this set. So these general releases are still generally really expensive. You can just get them from major online retailers now. Well, I guess you can get a deal on shipping that way.

TV Party: The Complete Series: Seminal late 70s/early 80s NYC cable access show comes to video--and Blu-Ray, no less. That deserves a hearty...oi? I don't know; I ain't a punk rock guy. But I'm sure a lot of punks who have grown up and can afford 100-some bucks for the set will be thrilled!
 
August 25

The Magician: The Complete Series: VEI is listing this 1970s short-lived Bill Bixby show for an August 25 release, though it isn't listed anywhere else yet. A lot of people have been anticipating this since it was announced as a title VEI had licensed several years ago. Don't get Bill  Bixby angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry. I mean, he might flub a trick or something.

Would you like to see us cover this on the podcast? Please say yes so that I have an excuse to buy this.

September 12

Night Gallery: The Complete Series:  Universal repackages the 3 seasons into one spiffy complete box set for the first time, but the transfers and extras are the same...OR ARE THEY?

(Just trying to add a little element of the macabre)

September 26

The Paper Chase Season 3: It's great that Shout! is finally continuing yet another long-stalled series (2009 since previous releases of this one), but would it have killed them to include the handful of episodes in season 4 and just wrapped up the whole deal?

That's not a legal to provoke some deeper question, such as those asked by John Houseman's Kingsfield on the series. I actually want to know.

Greatest American Hero The Complete Series: If you missed your chance to get this great (I'd say "seminal," but I already used the word in this post, and besides, it really doesn't fit here) show earlier, well, guess what? You can get it again and pay about 2-3 times as much as you would have the first couple of times!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Recent DVD releases

It's time again to look at upcoming DVD releases for shows of the BOTNS era. Actually, our last update only brought us to the end of May, so I'll begin with a look at what's out there now, and then I'll be back soon with a look at what's to come in the next few months. Awayyyy we go:

CHIPS Season 6: June 6 brought us the final non-epic season of BOTNS fave and season 1 ender CHIPS. And just out of the goodness of their hearts, the folks at Warner Home Video also made a Complete Series set available. No Jon? NO PROBLEM! As long as the heart and soul of the show, Robert Pine, is still around.

Actually, I tell you, I see Phil Silvers and Julie Newmar are among the guest stars, and I kind of want to see this.

Tales from the Crypt Complete Series: I remember very little about specific episodes. It was on HBO, so everyone kind of hoped to see some nudity, right? Or am I selling this way too short?

Father Dowling Mysteries Complete Series: A reissue of the largely forgotten ABC light drama. Should we cover this on the podcast? If so, the first thing I want to explore is why Tracy Nelson's character is called "Sister Steve."

Highway to Heaven: Messages from Above: A collection of two-part episodes of the series. That's a pretty good idea, now that I think about it. I would like to see some Very Special Episode collections of other shows.

That's My Mama Complete Series: Sony's strategy, as best as I can tell, seems to be to take DVDs that were out of print and combine them into one package that is more expensive than the earlier individual season sets together. In 2017. This is one of the lesser known "blackcoms" of the era but worth a look...at a better price.

Rockford Files Complete Series (also Blu-Ray):  Mill Creek saves you money and shelf space by cramming scores of episodes on like 3 discs. It's a lot better than paying

McCloud Season 1: Reissue of the first portion of the Dennis Weaver NBC Mystery Wheel series.

Jake and the Fatman The Complete Series: Did you know this series ran for 5 seasons with over 100 episodes? Talk about something that just vanished after it went off the air. And it's pretty hard to lose sight of William Conrad (Sorry).

TJ Hooker The Complete Series: Another Sony series (though this release is from Shout) that has seen some cheap DVD releases now getting a really expensive "deluxe" set. If you need every TJ Hooker, though, here it is.

Diff'rent Strokes Season 6: Hot off the presses this week is the latest release of this series, and it's a doozy. Maggie and Sam! Smoking! Kidnapping! Mr. T! Milton Berle!


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Golden Girls Forever by Jim Colucci

Every TV show that runs, oh, more than 5 seasons and 125 episodes or so ought to have its own definitive book, but not many are that lucky. Despite its continued success in reruns and its appeal to multiple demographic groups, I was surprised to see a thick, fancy-looking hardback book devoted to the long-running NBC hit The Golden Girls. Jim Colucci has created what is surely the most comprehensive print collection of  information on the show. It's a slam dunk for anyone who loves the series, but even casual fans will find a lot of interest in here.

The first thing that stands out content-wise about the volume is the access Colucci has gained. Despite its release coming after the death of several key figures, the text makes frequent use of interviews with everyone. He personally interviews bea Arthur, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan and uses archival material for some thoughts of Estelle Getty. He also talks to the producers, writers, and many of the more notable guest stars and supporting players involved with  the show during its 8 seasons.

It starts off with a general history of the show and continues with a selective episode guide. It's surprising that such a hefty book does not include a comprehensive episode guide, but Colucci is not just listing the plots. Rather, he uses the episode chapters to work in other details about the series, how it was made, and the many guests who appeared. If you have a favorite episode, chances are it's included in this section.

Several things stand out from reading this book: 1) Everyone working on The Golden Girls took pride in it and felt they did good work. 2) Bea Arthur could be really prickly as a collaborator. Many stories in here begin with someone talking about how she was cold or distant to them, though they often take pains to say she was a real pro. 3) Estelle Getty's memory issues plagued her from the beginning. Several anecdotes center around her inability to remember lines, an unfortunate circumstance which often annoyed others on the set (including, yes, Arthur).

And I'm not saying this because the author happens to be gay (he mentions this), but there is a significant amount of coverage of the show's appeal in "the gay community," and there is extensive coverage of the fate of Coco, the live-in housekeeper who was axed after the pilot. There are a few appendices asking "Which Golden Girl Are You?" or questions like that, with the respondents being gay showbiz figures. It's no secret that the show has a following in that sector, and I am not complaining, but I will say that while any fan will love this book, gay fans will really  love it.

It's an outstanding piece of work by Colucci and a valuable source of info about a beloved sitcom. The commentary from the cast and creative team is useful, of course, but this book goes the extra mile by getting info from the likes of guest stars (Debbie Reynolds) and even bit players like Quentin Tarantino. 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.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Whatever happened to Coco (and who was he, anyway)? (Golden Girls)

When The Golden Girls debuted on NBC in September 1985, the now-familiar group of 4 gals had company: in fact, live-in company in the person of Coco, a gay houseboy played by Charles Levin in the pilot. Amazingly, the character was suggested  by the network despite NBC's own controversy over the "yeah, he is, but we ain't gonna call him that" Sidney Shorr played by Tony Randall on Love, Sidney just 4 years prior.

You hear different things about why the producers got  rid of the character, but the essence is that while Coco was a popular (and, in 1985, rather novel) presence who was popular with the pilot audience, Dorothy's mom Sophia was a real breakout star. Hence the decision to go with a group of 4 and get rid of Coco. Another consideration was that the dynamic was just better with all gals, the girls might not have much to do besides just sit around if an actual domestic was there, and plus it may have looked like an extravagance for these working ladies to have an actual houseboy. In 2017, I can only say, who actually has a houseboy anymore except for the fabled 1%?

Producers considered comedians Dom Irerra and Paul Provenza (who recalls auditioning in drag), plus future Ferris Bueller stooge heel Jeffrey Jones, for the role, but NBC exec Brandon Tartikoff suggested Levin. The actor had a recurring role on Hill Street Blues as a rather over-the-top gay character, but he reports that pilot director Jay Sandrich told him to tone down all the flamboyant stuff.

As Levin recalls, the role as written was much more "swishy," and he found it hard to reconcile Sandrich's advice with the way show co-creator Susan Harris put Coco on the page. Nevertheless, he played it straight (sorry) in the first reading and thought he blew it. He felt the vibe of disappointment from those who expected him to be Eddie Gregg from Blues.

The night of that audition, an NBC exec called Levin and told him they didn't know what he had been doing, but just show up again and be Eddie Gregg. The actor took this advice the next day in front of an audience and was a hit. Unfortunately for Levin, he wasn't enough of one to survive the pilot, so now Coco remains a lost and largely forgotten character with a cult following.

Levin, who also had a recurring role in Alice, would appear on BTONS season 1 spotlighted program Facts of Life, and also showed up in This Is Spinal Tap, did quite well himself. His biggest post-Girls spot is probably appearing as the Mohel on Seinfeld, though I can't help but recognize him as being part of the 1989 Hulk Hogan vehicle No Holds Barred.

(Note: Thanks to Golden Girls Forever by Jim Colucci for the background info for this post!)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Thanks for a great second season!

We at BOTNS want to thank you for supporting us and for listening to the show! We will be back soon for season 3, but in the meantime, you can continue to help us out by downloading past episodes, reviewing us on Apple Podcasts, and most importantly by spreading the word on social media or just sharing with anyone you think might enjoy our work.

Keep checking in during this offseason for posts about the shows we have already covered, news updates, and of course details about our next Batty Awards. Let us know if there's something you want to be honored at the Battys. Thanks again!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Show Notes: Episode 2-12 Battle of the Network Stars

*In this week's episode, we look at the premiere episode of Battle of the Network Stars, which aired at 8:00 P.M. on November 13, 1976, on the ABC television network.

*The series lasted from 1976 to 1988 and consisted of 19 specials. The 1988 captains were John Davidson, Greg Evigan, and Lorenzo Lamas.

*Highly recommended: this Mental Floss piece we mention on the show, "A Brief History of" the series.

*$20,000 in 1976 money = $87,000 today.

*Holmes and Yo-Yo was a new ABC sitcom for the 1976 season and was yanked after 13 episodes. The series, about a veteran cop who gets a robotic partner, is not to be confused with Future Cop, a 1977 ABC series about a veteran cop who gets a robotic partner.

*"The diminutive Gary Burghoff" is reportedly 5'5".

*The Quest was a short-lived 1976 Western series co-starring Kurt Russell and Tim Matheson.

*Gemini Man was a short-lived 1976 NBC series with Ben Murphy, previously the star of Alias Smith and Jones, as a secret agent.

*Reggie Jackson, AKA "Mr. October," hit 563 home runs in a distinguished Hall of Fame career. After this appearance, he moved to New York and became an even bigger star as a Yankees slugger.

*Rona Barrett was appearing in ABC specials at this time as well as making regular appearances doing gossip and celebrity interviews on Good Morning America.

*U.S. Olympian Mary Decker failed to finish the 3000 meters in the 1984 Olympics after colliding with Zola Budd.

*Lee Majors and Farrah Fawcett were married from 1973 to 1982 but separated in 1979.

*Gymnast Cathy Rigby starred in the 1968 Olympics, then entered acting, where she became famous for playing Peter Pan on stage.

*Dr. Joyce Brothers was a psychologist who became famous for being famous and was a guest star on...just about everything.

*Telly Savalas did indeed claim to give Howard Cosell his first TV role, hiring him when he was a producer on ABC's Gillette Cavalcade of Sports.

*The Superstars competitions, pitting athletes from around the world in a variety of events, aired as a series of TV specials beginning in 1973 on ABC.

*Sadly, Michael Landon never competed on Battle of the Network Stars.



Thursday, June 22, 2017

Episode 2_12: Battle of the Network Stars 1

For our season two finale, we finally take a look at perhaps the ultimate example of the Battle of the Network Shows era, our namesake, Battle of the Network Stars. In this first-ever Battle from 1976, Robert Conrad, Telly Savalas, and Gabe Kaplan lead teams from NBC, CBS, and ABC in athletic competitions for bragging rights and a sizeable prize. Celebrities, Howard Cosell, controversy, swimsuits, short shorts, Speedos, mustaches, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat! This one has it all!



Check out this episode!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

And Now...a Word from THEIR Sponsor: Jim Perry for Morton Salt

It's not difficult to envision Jim Perry as a consummate pitchman. He's so polished in all  his game show work, and his Sale of the Century stint indicates he is comfortable pushing product. One of my favorite YouTube uploaders, Bionic Disco, just posted an early Perry commercial that throws me a bit, though. He just looks so...young in this one. Check it out:



At first, I am taken aback by the haircut, but as I settle in and get past that (OK, it may have taken me a few watches), I am THERE. I want that salt.  I mean, I want that salt he has right there in the ad. I want to take that little jar and chug that Morton's Lite Salt. If this were Sale of the Century, I'd throw away $10--the value of two questions--just for a heaping portion of salt. He wouldn't even have to sweeten (or salt?) the deal by throwing in a set of shakers.

The poise, the delivery, the confidence--even in the 1970s, Jim Perry was the man.

Monday, June 19, 2017

TV Guide Game Ephemera: Game Shows Edition

In our recent Game Shows episode, we also played another round of "The TV Guide Game." This time, we looked at Saturday morning, October 27, 1984, from the October 27-November 2 1984 edition of TV Guide.



Brooke caught herself
a Burgess Meredith (Cameron from Search)!

Great art one, plus the great David Morse
and Valerie Bertinelli.

Great art two!

Great art three!

Most of the schedule we used.

Not made up.

What good is a T.J. Hooker ad
without Shatner?

We mentioned this Lynda Carter/Loni Anderson
vehicle in our Wonder Woman episode.


1984 in music!

Ghosts of episodes past and possibly fu-CHA.

Did someone call Matt Houston
a cut-rate Magnum?

File under What We'd Like To See!

Rick's been watching this show recently...
strictly for research...TV research.
Listen. An episode featured Burt, OK?
Give the guy a break.

Possibly the greatest sentence ever written.




Friday, June 16, 2017

Show Notes: Episode 2-11: Game Shows

*The Face the Music episode we cover aired in syndication  in 1980; the Sale of the Century aired at 10:30 A.M. on NBC in 1985. A commenter on YouTube believes the latter aired in November.

*Jim Perry was born in New Jersey but first hosted game shows in Canada.  He was the first emcee of Card Sharks (1978-1981) but was busy with Sale of the Century and other work when the series was revised--hence the use of Bob Eubanks and Bill Raferty.

*In addition to his work on Face the Music, Tommy Tedesco was a regular on Fernwood 2Night  and of course played on countless recordings. As Mike mentions, his son Denny directed The Wrecking Crew documentary that features him.

*Renae Jacobs, a contestant on the episode of Sale of the Century that we watched for the podcast, was April O'Neil on the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series that premiered in 1987. She also starred in Masters of the Maze on The Family Channel.

*CBN was a cable network from 1977 to 1988, when it became CBN Family Channel. It later morphed into Family Channel, Fox Family, ABC Family, and is now Freeform. It hasn't aired anything like Face the Music reruns in a long, long time.

*Summer Batholomew won the 1975 Miss USA pageant representing California, edging Miss Alabama and North Carolina. She had a short stint on a version of Wheel of Fortune. A clip of that pageant is in our playlist for this episode!

*Ron Ely's stint as Tarzan on the NBC series lasted 1966-1968. Besides his acting career, he hosted several Miss America pageants

*Fred Dryer was an NFL player turned actor who starred on NBC's 1980s action series Hunter.

*Lisa Donovan, the vivacious singer on Face the Music, still performs, and according to her website had a stint in Nunsense in Las Vegas.

*Make me Laugh aired in 1958, 1979-1980, and in 1997. The "classic" version is the 79-80 one, which was syndicated and featured Booby Van as host.

*Sale of the Century began as an NBC daytime series in 1969 with host Jack Kelly of Maverick fame, then later Joe Garagiola. After becoming a success in Australia, producers brought it to the USA in 1983, where it aired on NBC until 1989. A syndicated version also hosted by Perry ran from 1985 to 1986.

*The TV Guide game at the end of this episode uses the October 27-November 2, 1984 edition and focuses on Saturday morning, 8:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M.

*The Get Along Gang cartoon was inspired by a greeting card line.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Episode 2_11: "Face the Music" and "$ale of the Century"

This week, we dive into the world of game shows with a look at the syndicated "Face the Music" and NBC's fast-paced "$ale of the Century." Plus, an all-new TV Guide Game! Will one of us go home with a brand-new car?!



Check out this episode!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Show Notes: Episode 2-10: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

🎵🎵🎵 HE-MAN 🎵🎵🎵

*This episode, "Castle of Heroes," is #57 in the "first season" of the series and premiered in syndication on November 9, 1983.

*Filmation Studios cranked out animation and live action programming for over 25 years. We may well revisit more of its work in the future!

*The Mattel toy line that spawned this series began in 1981 after several years of development.  Mattel had to fight off a lawsuit that claimed the concept was a ripoff of Conan. The Princess of Power line that introduced She-Ra debuted in 1985.

*The action figures came with mini-sized comic books that introduced the characters and the universe. There was also a DC Comics series in the early 1980s.

🎵🎵🎵 HE-MAN 🎵🎵🎵

*Skeletor (Alan Oppenheimer) apparently started out as a minion of Hordak, but much like with Darth Vader, I refuse to believe he was ever subordinate to another super villain.

*The voice of He-Man/Prince Adam is John Erwin, who did other voice work for Filmation in various Sabrina and Archie (as Reggie) series. He also had a recurring role on Rawhide.

*Hannibal of Carthage (born 247 B.C., died in the 180s) was a legendary general and renowned military strategist, not just the dude who rode an elephant through the Alps into Italy. But he did do that, which is pretty cool.

🎵🎵🎵 HE-MAN 🎵🎵🎵

*Mattel did not make a Blackbeard action figure, unfortunately, but there are several cool figures of the historical figure, including a Pirates of the Carribbean tie-in and a "historical"one from Accoutrements.

*The real Blackbeard straddled the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries and is one of the most infamous pirates in history. He died quietly of natural causes surrounded by loved ones who sang sea shanties at his bedside.

No, actually, he suffered a violent death in battle. Doesn't that make you feel better?

🎵🎵🎵 HE-MAN 🎵🎵🎵

*In fairness to Orko, he comes off as buffoonish sometimes in part because his powers do not work in Eternia as they do on his home planet.

*The 1987 movie with Dolph Lundgren, Courteney Cox, and Frank Langella  is indeed a Cannon production. It draws more from the toys themselves than from the cartoon, and Prince Adam is not even a part of it. According to Wikipedia, a proposed sequel was recycled for the Jean Claude Van Damme vehicle  Cyborg when Cannon had to bail due to being unable to afford the licensing fees.


🎵🎵🎵 HE-MAN 🎵🎵🎵



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Episode 2_10: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe "Castle of Heroes"

In this episode, we take another look at the animated toy tie-in phenomenon of the mid eighties with the granddaddy of them all He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Skeletor's "friend" Monteague, a toad-like wizard, unleashes Hannibal and Black Beard on Eternia in a plot to recruit He-Man into his army and, um, take over the universe or something. Listen. He drank a bunch of martinis with his pinky before he hatched the plan. He probably doesn't even understand it. Will Monteague prevail (doubtful)? Will Orko annoy us (probable)? Will we get to the bottom of Skeletor's anatomy (doubtful, but we'll try)? Plus, a band-new game: PICK YOUR PINE.



Check out this episode!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Show Notes: Episode 2-9: Wonder Woman

*Third-season episode "Disco Devil" premiered Friday, October 20, 1978, at 8:00 P.M. on the CBS television network.

*The Diana Prince as Kind of emma peel "depowered" version of the Wonder Woman character lasted from 1968 to early 1973. Diana voluntarily gave up her powers so she could become more of a secret agent (I'm sure cashing in on the spy craze--albeit a few years late--was a nice coincidence).

*The Cathy Lee Crosby pilot movie aired on ABC in March 1974. It's not a direct pilot for the eventual series; the concept was changed after the modest success of the  Crosby version.

*FX Networrk showed Wonder Woman reruns weekdays when it launched in June 1994.

*The series theme song was composed by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel, who also did the themes for Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. Fox co-wrote the Love American Style theme with Arnold Margolin.

*Wolfman Jack (1938-1995) did indeed start on a blowtorch border radio station heard all over the country, but he also appeared in syndication, on Armed Forces Radio, and even in New York City for a year.

*Here is the official site for the Touchdown Club, which hosted the Timmie Awards event Rick attended years ago and kind of saw Lynda Carter: http://dctouchdownclub.com/

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Episode 2_9: Wonder Woman "Disco Devil"

This week in a crass attempt to cash in on the Wonder Woman movie, we take a look at the 1970s TV show and Lynda Carter's definitive performance as the Amazon princess. This one features some of our favorite discussion topics: superheroes, seventies fashion, unique guest stars, and disco. Wonder Woman has to stop an espionage ring using telepathy to steal state secrets, but she also has to survive going to a disco.



Check out this episode!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Mork & Mindy...the Game

I recently had the chance to play the vintage Mork & Mindy board game with friends of the show Amy, Dann, and Tina (and June watching)*. We had a good time playing this silly and slightly complicated game--or complicated till we got a handle on its rules and oddities (like 6-sided dice labeled with 1, 2, and 3), and it offered ample opportunity to utter, "shazbot," and other Orkan words, so who can complain?

*Tina donated this game to Amy's collection, which includes a number of TV-related games, and we also played a 1970s game about the sinking of the Titanic. Really.

Check out some pictures and minor commentary below!

The full board. Lots of Morks, fewer Mindys.
"Na-no, na-no"? We think not!
Grebbles equal money, but money seems very un-Orkan.
I'm not a Nimnul! I'm not!

"Gleek"? I thought this was about Mork and Mindy,
not the Wonder Twins.
So cheerful and so pink!
"SHAZBOT!=NUTS!"? Kayooooooooooooo.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Show Notes: Episode 2-8: Mork and Mindy

*"Mork's Mixed Emotions premiered Thursday, February 20, 1979, at 8:00 P.M. on the ABC television network.

*The OJ Simpson episode we reference is "Mork the Gullible," also from season 1, in which Robert Donner's  eccentric Exidor character begins worshipping the Juice.  We'll save you the trouble: Simpson does not appear in the episode.

*It is believed there are about 1,500 independent record shops in the USA today, including several in Boulder, Colorado.

*Mork premiered as a Thursday 8pm series, then moved to Sundays at 8pm for season 2. When ratings slipped, ABC switched back to Thursdays, but the damage had been done.

*Ralph James voiced Orson as well as Mr. Turtle in the Tootsie Pop ads (see an example in our YouTube playlist for this episode).

*The article I reference in the episode, a great oral history leaning on interviews with the show's writers, is right here.

*In and Out with Kevin Kline premiered September 1997 and was a modest success. It earned Joan Cusack a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination and also co-starred BOTNS fave Tom Selleck.

*Just the Ten of Us aired on ABC from 1988-1990, meaning it does fall into our timeline. I stand by my dislike of the show, but does anyone want to hear us cover it?

*Jeffrey Jacquet, who appeared in some first season episodes as Eugene, is now retired and practicing law in L.A. according to Wikipedia.

*Conrad is a 'SAG New Media Web Series and can be found here.

*The Mork and Mindy cartoon was part of the Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour, which aired on ABC Saturday mornings in the 1982-1983 TV season. See an example in the playlist!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Episode 2_8: Mork and Mindy "Mixed Emotions"

In 1978, aliens walked among us in the form of Robin Williams in his breakout role as Mork from Ork. In "Mixed Emotions," a little encouragement and a kiss from Mindy (Pam Dawber) release Mork's emotions all at once. They overwhelm in a flurry of comic activity. We discuss this and more, including the complexities of Orkan anatomy, the shape of Jay Thomas' face, and Conrads.



Check out this episode!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Show Notes: Episode 2-7: Search, "The Murrow Disappearance"

*This episode premiered on NBC September 13, 1972, at 10:00 P.M.

*The TV movie that launched the series, Probe, aired February 11, 1972.

*Name of the Game (1968-1971) rotated Tony Franciosa, Gene Barry, and Robert Stack as its leads.

*According to Hugh O'Brian's interview for the Archives of American Television, Hugh O'Brian asked for the rotating leads situation because he didn't want to do the whole series. Other sources have indicated the network asked for it.

*TV Obscurities reported that the series was renamed Search to avoid conflict with a local TV news show called Probe.

In fact, check out these great pieces (and their comments) for more tidbits about the series:
http://senensky.com/ends-of-the-earth/
http://www.tvobscurities.com/articles/search/

The TV Obscurities article reprints excerpts from negative reviews of the first episode (what were they thinking?) and has some specific numbers about the show's ratings/lack thereof from the get-go.

*Doug McClure died of lung cancer at the age of 59.

*I believe it was the Warner Archive Podcast, a great pod with people who were truly committed to bringing Search to the modern world, that referred to Grover as a savant.

*Mary Frann guested in the episode "Operation Iceman" and later went on to play Joanna Loudon on Newhart.

*The theme music was composed by Dominic Frontiere.

*Hugh O'Brian was born in 1925, making him 47 when this episode aired. His swagger made him seem...well, actually, still about 47, but easily twice as cool as most men half his age.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Episode 2_7: Search "The Murrow Disappearance"

This week, we introduce you to one of the shows that inspired the podcast. In Search, private security agents use a high-tech approach to solve problems. "The Murrow Disappearance" features Hugh O'Brian, one of three rotating lead actors, as suave, unflappable Hugh Lockwood plus a crew of technicians led by the grouchy Burgess Meredith and the sassy Angel Tompkins. Plus, we say the word "cool," like, 300 times.



Check out this episode!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Guest Star Theatre: Silver Spoons - Bob Danish

A good show can't live on its main cast alone. Think of all the great supporting characters on shows like Seinfeld, Newhart, and The Simpsons, or even someone like Frasier from Cheers, who went from recurring character to main cast member to star of his own show. On Silver Spoons, dquare-jawed buffoon Bob Danish (John Reilly) has that same potential, although he only appears in two season one episodes "Falling in Love Again" and "Won't You Go Home, Bob Danish?"

In "Falling in Love Again," he shows up near the end as a foil for Edward as Kate uses him to make Edward jealous. Still, Reilly and Bob Danish make the most of it, and the audience learns the basic elements of Bob Danish. Bob Danish is a pilot, and that makes Bob Danish cool. Bob Danish takes everything in stride, even his romantic rival declaring his love in front of him and all of Carnegie Hall. If you're a kid, Bob Danish calls you Scooter.

"Won't You Go Home, Bob Danish?" gives Bob Danish the spotlight, and while all the Bob Danish basics remain intact, Bob Danish gets more room to move and, dare I say it, some depth. In this episode, Bob Danish buzzes Edward's house in his airplane, thinking Kate's there, only to crash the plane in the backyard. His parachute conveniently lands at the back of the set, but he injures his leg when Edward and Ricky cut him down. The plane belonged to his girlfriend, who shows up and dumps him, and Bob Danish becomes an unwelcome house guest (except to Scooter Ricky who invited him to stay in the first place).


Let's work through the episode by working through the Bob Danish Handbook.

PLAY IT COOL

When Edward asks what happened, Bob Danish says, "Well, Eddie, I'd say we had a, uh, bit of a plane crash."

When Bob Danish struggles to walk to his plane (before it explodes), Edward tells him he's hurt his leg. Bob Danish says, "It's all right. I've got a backup."

When Bob Danish knocks over a vase, he says, "First the plane crash, and now this. Ever have one of those days?"

When Edward yells at him about the chaos in the backyard--burning plane, debris everywhere, burning greenhouse, firefighters everywhere--Bob Danish says, "My goof, OK?"


When Bob Danish sees Kate...


When Kate rolls her eyes and leaves the room...


SCOOTER

Bob Danish continues to call Ricky Scooter, even after Ricky requests he call him Ricky, and this leads to a short vaudeville routine.

BOB: My dad used to call me Scooter, Scooter.

RICKY: Your dad used to call you Scooter Scooter?

BOB: No. He just called me Scooter, Scooter.

REFER TO YOURSELF IN THE THIRD PERSON

Bob Danish* does this on a fairly regular basis, but he doesn't stop there. He also has at least two nicknames for himself: The Great Dane and Roberto Danishero.

Along the same lines, he refers to his dad as "The greatest man who ever walked the Earth, my dad Dan Danish**," multiple times.

*Ricky almost always refers to Bob Danish as Bob Danish and not Bob or Mr. Danish.

**Sad but true, the greatest man who ever walked the Earth, Bob Danish's Dad Dan Danish, died after a piano fell on him.

This brings us to that "depth" I mentioned earlier, as we dig into the lesser known chapters of the Bob Danish Handbook.

BOB DANISH KEEPS MEMENTOS

He has a whole photo album but not just of photos. It includes parsley from the one date he had with Kate, and later he adds a handkerchief.

EVEN BOB DANISH HAS FEELINGS

After a few days, Bob Danish has made himself at home, eating a sandwich with "some kind of beef" on it (prime rib) and even taking a message about an urgent call for Edward. He can't remember the details but thinks Larry or Harry called. Then he finds a note his pocket. Frank called.

Edward has had enough and wants to kick him how...so he allows Kate to volunteer. She did cause this problem she argues, and Edward doesn't argue back even though she should. She can't help it if Bob Danish digs her.

Anyhow, Kate tells off Bob Danish, and his veneer of cool finally gives. What man's wouldn't if Erin Gray told him she didn't like him?

Crushed Bob Danish.

Kate feels bad about it and wants to fix it. Edward volunteers but only so someone else will, which Ricky does (technically, it is Ricky's fault).

REAL MEN DON'T CRY

Bob Danish has packed up most of his stuff when Ricky finds him. He's still feeling lousy about the whole week, what with the plane and Kate--"That gal's the greatest thing since Lava Lamps"--hurting him that he almost cries, but the greatest man who ever walked the Earth, Bob Danish's dad Dan Danish, told him real men don't cry. Well, the other greatest man who ever walked the Earth, Ricky Stratton's dad Edward Stratton III, told Ricky otherwise, that expressing your feelings and crying helps.

Bob Danish gives it a try, a real try, weeping with great sound and fury, enough to bring Edward and Kate out from the library. Bob Danish liked crying, and he's ready to leave.


EXIT COOL

Bob Danish gets his composure back, calls Ricky Ricky, and offers a romantic, near poetic exit line. Kate asks who wrote it. Bob pulls something out of his pocket and says, "Some clown at a match factory." Cool.


FINAL THOUGHTS

The writers and John Reilly do a bang-up job with Bob Danish. I'd like to think Reilly's performance in "Falling In Love Again" inspired them to write this episode, but I wish they'd brought him back (even if I can't readily see those episodes).  Sure he had a great exit, but characters don't change that much in sitcoms, and he could have lived to annoy again.

Imagine an episode where Ricky, Edward, and Bob Danish end up stranded on an island together after he crashes another plane. Imagine an episode where Ricky, Edward, and Bob Danish end up stranded in the jungle together after he crashes another plane. Imagine an episode where Ricky, Edward, and Bob Danish end up stranded in Denmark after a snowstorm grounds Bob Danish's plane.

Reilly has had a prolific, varied career as a primetime guest star and regular in soaps but far fewer comedy credits than this performance would suggest (multiple of episodes of Arli$$ and Son of the Beach among others). Too bad, but in this age of TV revivals, one can dream of a new show called...BOB DANISH.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Call this number on the telephone and get your subscription to ROLLing Stone

I remain unsuccessful in tracking down that Tom Selleck/National Review ad, but another favorite spot from my youth is on YouTube. It features Paul Shaffer, star of "A Year at the Top," as we discussed in a recent "What We'd Like to See."

Check out the advert below:



Shaffer is in top-notch "smarmy, sincere, both, or does it matter" mode.  There are two types of singing in this commercial: Paul's seemingly impromptu jingle at the end, which is great, and the Rolling Stone theme song that takes up much of this spot.  This song is horrible.

I saw this ad all the time back in the day, but I wasn't a subscriber. It's a good thing because not only does that song make me want to avoid signing up, but it is enough to make me want to cancel if I were a subscriber.

"I want to READ all there IS
about rock and roll"

Embarrassing. The way he sings "rock and roll" is cringe-inducing.

"Know about the people
who touch my soul"

Even worse. The overwrought "emotion" in the singing makes this instant appalling self-parody, as opposed to Shaffer's knowing self-parody.

Bless whoever is singing it because the guy is really trying to "rock out," but straining to rock out rarely brings positive results. It's one of the phoniest tunes I have ever heard, and it should have killed any cred RS had left after 20 years of publication.

I'm sure Shaffer knows how ridiculous it all sounds, but he doesn't care. His little half-assed rhyme at the end almost does the impossible: makes us forget about the other song.  It can't quite accomplish that.

On the bright side, it's 30 years later, and I remembered the Shaffer part, but I had totally forgotten the rest of it. So maybe all of you will get it out of your minds in the next couple decades or so.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Show Notes: Episode 2-6: Silver Spoons

*"Me and Mr. T" premiered Saturday, October 16, 1982, at 8:30 P.M. "Twelve Angry Kids" premiered January 15, 1983 in the same slot, and the series aired on NBC, of course.

*The daytime reruns of Silver Spoons aired weekdays on NBC in 1985.

*Arnold Jackson/Drummond's guest appearance was in Season 1's "The Great Computer Caper."

*Harry Reasoner was on 60 Minutes from its launch in 1968 to 1970, when he was lured to ABC to be an anchor before returning to CBS and 60 Minutes until 1991.

*The TV movie pairing Mr. T and John Navin Jr. is The Toughest Man in the World (1984) and is on Amazon Prime Video.

*The A-Team debuted January 30, 1983, after Super Bowl XVII (The Redskins beat the Dolphins).

*Correction: I referenced Bobby Heenan calling King Kong Bundy a walking condominium, but it was actually Gorilla Monsoon. I regret the error.

*Best as we can tell, here are the legit heights of the following performers:
Mr. T=5'10" (though I suspect he was billed as taller in his WWF appearances, I can't confirm it)
Joel Higgins=5'11"
Erin Gray=5'7"

*Two of my favorite long-neglected 80s sitcoms are Its Your Move (1984) with Jason Bateman and David Garrison, plus Best of the West (1981) with Joel Higgins and Meeno Peluce. The former is MIA except on YouTube, but the latter is slated for an MOD DVD release from CBS/Paramount in the future.

*Leonard Lightfoot, Edward's attorney and right-hand man in season 1, left the series because...? Unfortunately, we could not find out, and nobody seems to know, though there is apparently a rumor that he was fired for bringing a gun to the set one time  (!)

*We also are unable to confirm the persistent rumor that Ricky Schroeder's parents, jealous of Bateman's talents, had him removed from the show after the second season.

*IMDB runs this Schroeder quote without attribution:
When I turned 18, my agent was like, 'You should change from Ricky to Rick.' So I thought it was a good idea. Rick never really fit. I tried for 18 years to make it work, and no one wanted to call me Rick. It should always have been Ricky. That's what it always should have been, so I'm going back to it.

*The show's theme song, "Together," was written by Rik Howard and Bob Wirth.

*John P. Navin Jr., who stars as Ox in both episodes we cover, has the distinction of being the first ever bar patron on Cheers, as the IMDB reports. His last acting credit is in 1993! he won a "Young Artist Award" for his work on the short-lived sitcom Jennifer Slept Here, but will he win a Batty? Time will tell!

*Remember to check our YouTube channel for a playlist including good looks at some of the people we talked about who were not in these episodes, like Alfonso Ribiero and John Houseman and some of the series' notable guest stars.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Episode 2_6: Silver Spoons "Me and Mr. T" and "Twelve Angry Kids"

This week, we look at two episodes of classic eighties sitcom Silver Spoons. First, Ricky (Ricky Schroder) struggles to fit in at his new school and deal with a bully named Ox. Ricky's dad Edward (Joel Higgins) doesn't help matters by hiring a bodyguard for Ricky...Mr. T (Mr. T). After a different incident, Ox sues Ricky, and Ricky requests a jury of his peers--kids. Plus, the BOTNS return of Erin Gray and the BOTNS debut of Leonard Lightfoot!



Check out this episode!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Photo Parade: NBC Saturday Morning Preview Revue (1974)

For our Run Joe Run YouTube play list, Rick found a clip of the NBC Saturday Morning Preview Revue from 1974, starring Jimmy Osmond (the youngest Osmond), a bunch of Sid and Marty Krofft puppets and characters, and a certain brown and black German shepherd. As per usual, the Kroffts created something equal parts gaudy, loud, and creepy. You should watch the whole play list, but if you're short on time, I've embedded the video below, and if you're even shorter on time, I've posted a bunch of screen grabs to pique your interest (or warn you far, far away). Shows previewed include Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch, Run Joe Run, Land of the Lost, Emergency +4 (an animated Emergency that included a team of 4 kids helping out), Go! (a live action show introduced by...the dudes from Emergency)*, Star Trek: The Animated Series, and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.

*This preview mentions a segment where Jon Voight will tell kids about kayaking on whitewater. I can't help imagining his introduction. "Hey, kids. In my movie Deliverance, you might have seen me canoeing on whitewater and getting into some real jams. Now I want to tell you about the real-world fun and risks of kayaking on the rapids."



Petey the Peacock tries to pass himself off as the NBC Peacock
and steal the show with his shrill vocal stylings. He gets the hook
immediately but somehow ends up in almost every number.
Creepy puppets part one.
Creepy puppets part two, slightly inappropriate puppets part one.

Jimmy Osmond sings and dances with the creepy puppets.
We need to get one of these for our show.

Look who's in the audience--Joe (Heinrich of Midvale)!
Joe (Heinrich of Midvale) puts up with Petey.
Petey wears Jimmy down and gets to do a number
with Dina Dinosaur. "Ain't she sweet?"

Johnny Whitaker and all the Ooze family (plus Petey natch)
from Sigmund and the Sea Monsters perform a number.
The Sigmund preview promises the debut of Rip Taylor's
Sheldon the Sea Genie.
Creepy puppets part three. Cooooool.
Jimmy "The Prince" Osmond with creepy puppets part--I lost count.
Creepy, etc. The Electric Mushroom.
So much happening here, making so little sense
(those yellow things are like giant mop heads with lips).
"Down in front!"
Seriously, how can that poor girl see anything?
Creepy puppets part whatever, slightly inappropriate puppets part two.
Because things weren't creepy enough--
bring in the clowns!
The commercials in the clip include this one, where this kid
talks very sensibly to mothers about the economic and health
benefits of Kool-Aid for the whole family.