Sunday, May 19, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #16

1) Tim Conway: RIP.

2) Doris Day: Doris may have been better known as a movie star, but she did have a sitcom that changed its format just about every year. RIP.

3) Peggy Lipton: And RIP to the former Mod Squad star.

4) All in the Family: Enjoyed a weeklong marathon on Get TV ahead of the upcoming re-enactment staged by Jimmy Kimmel and ABC.

5) Laugh-In: A reunion special debuted on Netflix this week, which is cool enough, but it's kind of confusing since the actual shows, which are probably much more appealing, are on Prime Video.  Remember back in the day, when NBC would devote an hour or two of primetime real estate to an all-star tribute to one of its old shows? Now we have to look to streaming.

6) Andre the Giant: Born this day in 1946. Who can forget the irresistible force meeting the immovable object at Mania III?

7) Jane Curtin: She appears in United We Fall, one of the few new shows picked up by ABC for the fall--heck, one of the few new sitcoms, period.

8) The New Twilight Zone: It's coming to Me-TV's schedule next week, perhaps fueled by renewed interest in the franchise.

9) Ronnie Schell: He makes a strong impression as a talent agent in the season 2 Happy Days episode A Star Is Bored. Why is this notable? Amazon Prime added 14 episodes (?) last week, and this one was the only one I hadn't seen on CBS All Access/

10) Harold Lederman: RIP one of the iconic voices of boxing. His passing, on the heels of HBO dropping the sport, is another reminder of my lost childhood. Let's go out on an up note with this compilation of Harold saying, "OK, Jim." The Internet is great sometimes.

Friday, May 17, 2019

This Day in TV History: Play ball!

On his day in 1939, NBC broadcast the first ever televised baseball game, a match-up between Columbia and Princeton. I believe Bartolo Colon started the game for Columbia.

Yes, this is just  a bit outside our timeframe, so how about we all enjoy this promo from WPIX 11 hyping the Yankees against the Indians. You get to hear the classic theme song and the classic WPIX announcer Ralph Lowenstein:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Happy birthday, Nicholas Hammond

The actor was born on this date in 1950. You know, on the podcast we've discussed Captain America, Hulk, even Doctor Strange, but not...

Should we rectify that someday?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Who else is ready for a "Learning the Ropes" DVD set?

Football star and actor Lyle Alzado died on this date in 1992, and, boy, would I love to see a DVD set of his syndicated pro wrestling sitcom Learning the Ropes. Better yet, WWE Network could snap it up and add it to the library!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Listener Poll: Eighties Cartoons

Which eighties cartoon should we discuss this season? Give us your choice by midnight Eastern time, Monday May 20! Inspector Gadget, Jem and the Holograms, or The Real Ghostbusters?

Happy birthday, Bea Arthur!

Bea was born on this date in 1922. We covered The Golden Girls here, but maybe someday we will get around to her first hit:

But do we ever need an excuse to post the theme song from Maude?

Sunday, May 12, 2019

BOTNS Top 10 #15

1) Mama from That's My Mama: We have lots of choices to honor on Mother's Day, but how about someone who's right there in the title of her show: MAMA! Yes, we salute you, Eloise, and TV and real moms everywhere.

2) Maureen McCormick: Good for the former Marcia Brady for calling out anti-vaxxers who were using an old Brady Bunch episode as inspiration. I don't get medical advice from that show. Dating advice, career advice, sliced meats advice--yes. But not medical advice.

3) Pat Sajak: Was recognized by Guinness for being the game show host with the longest run hosting the same show. There seems to be no previous recordholder, meaning they just DECIDED this. How powerful IS Pat Sajak, anyway, that people just want to create records for him?

4) Telma Hopkins: The irrepressible Telma Hopkins (doesn't it feel like she would be called that?) has returned to TV in Netflix's Dead Like Me.

5) Jim Fowler: Speaking of which (sorry), R.I.P. to the longtime Wild Kingdom host and late-night guest, who passed away last week. How's this for a clip: No biggie, just Jim diving out of a helicopter:

6) Jacques Cousteau: The producers of Free Solo will make a documentary about the legendary oceanographer for National Geographic. Cousteau was an accomplished man...but did he ever dive out of a helicopter?

7) Leonard Nimoy: A nice tribute here on MeTV's website contains a lot of cool pics.

8) Marie Osmond: She is taking over on...uh, some daytime gabfest, replacing...uh, someone.

9) Bruce Boxleitner: The actor was born on this day in 1950. Anyone remember this show?

Bruce, Lacey from Caddyshack, Superfly, and Wong from Dr. Strange!

10 (tie): Kim Fields/McKenzie Astin: Both stars of Facts of Life celebrate birthdays today, though one was, well, a little more instrumental to the series' success than the other.

But I'm not embedding a video of her:

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Happy birthday, Martha Quinn!

One of the original MTV VJs, Martha Quinn, was born May 11, 1959. Here's Quinn sharing some music trivia on the channel in 1983. Stick around for the vintage Clearasil ad!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Happy birthday, Pat Summerall!

The former NFL player and longtime voice of the NFC on CBS (then FOX) was born May 10, 1930. It's hard to imagine football in the 1980s without him, but he was also linked to a certain iconic CBS entertainment series. Check out this great clip from A Football Life:

Thursday, May 9, 2019

This Day in TV History: Farewell, Golden Girls

May 9, 1992, NBC broadcast The Golden Girls season finale after 7 seasons and pretty darned close to 200 episodes:

This scene makes me almost as emotional as when Mike and I played Golden Girls Mad Libs in a bonus episode.

Click here for the full episode we did about the series!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #14

1) Ann B. Davis: The late actress was born this day in 1926. Let's take a look at this rare Brady Bunch/Battle of the Network Stars crossover:

2) Alyssa Milano: Is launching a new podcast designed to show everyone how socially conscious she is--I mean, to explore issues related to social consciousness. I can't make fun of Eva Savealot.

3) Cops: Celebrating its 30th anniversary, and obviously the nation's declining crime rates are directly correlated with this landmark series.

4) Shannen Doherty: I don't know if she did it in purpose, but she kinda looks like the biggest star by being the last one to commit to the 90210 revival.

5) Press Your Luck: The upcoming ABC reboot landed Elizabeth Banks as its host.

6) David Hartman: All this talk of turmoil behind the scenes at CBS' morning show makes me flash back to a kinder, gentler time and network:

7) Yogi Bear: Boomerang's SVOD service added a bunch of Yogi-related content, including Yogi's Space Race, this weekend.

8) The Star Wars Holiday Special: Not a single person invited me to their May 4 viewing party. Or do you mean to tell me people are actually celebrating "May the Fourth Be With You" without watching this television classic?

9) The Friar's Club Roasts: Get TV, which I really wish I GOT, announced it is showing two of these old (pre-Dean Martin's Celebrity Roasts) specials this month.

10) Tina Yothers: The former Family Ties star, who was at least the third-most popular Keaton child, was born on this day in 1973.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Happy World Password Day

It's World Password Day, and you know what? We don't care if it is intended to raise awareness of digital security. We're using this as an excuse to post a Bert Convy clip:

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Happy birthday, Max Robinson!

The late newsman Max Robinson made history by becoming the first African-American to anchor a national newscast in 1978 when ABC World News Tonight unveiled a 3-anchor format in the wake of the failed Harry Reasoner/Barbara Walters pairing. Robinson was in Chicago, with Frank Reynolds in D.C. and Peter Jennings in London.

Sadly, Robinson had a troubled tenure at ABC and died at 49 from AIDS. Let's check him out in his prime, talking election coverage, the Ford Pinto, and more in this 1978 News Brief (Plus a mid-break appearance by Norm Crosby pitching Natural Light):

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Yes, it's Bugs Bunny Day, and we should commemorate one of the finest stars of the big screen and small screen ever. the character who would become Bugs premiered on this date in 1938's Porky's Rabbit Hunt.

How many of you learned about Bugs from Saturday mornings on CBS?

Too bad he had to share billing with that Road Runner scrub!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Happy Birthday, Reb Brown!

We'd like to think of him as a friend of the show even if we weren't totally positive about his Captain America movies and maybe kind of minimized his football accomplishments at USC. Happy birthday, Reb!

Click here for our discussion of the 1979 Captain America TV movies!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

BOTNS Top 10 #13

1) Growing Pains/Who's the Boss/Valerie (3-way tie): Make sure you head to the main page or our Facebook page and VOTE for which one of these classic--uh, vote for which of one of these family sitcoms you want us to cover on the podcast this season. Will it be Alan Thicke? Tony Danza? Valerie Harper? Let us know!

4) The Incredible Hulk: Season 1 hit Tubi TV this week. Don't make me angry by not adding the rest of the series, Tubi. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

I mean, I won't get that angry because it's still free and all, but I'd be kinda peeved for a few minutes.

5) She-Ra: The Netflix revival drops another season this weekend, presumably stirring interest in the original incarnation of the character. It's hard to tell because Netflix apparently doesn't think anyone would want to check out that version (You can see season 1 on Tubi, though).

6) Larry "Flash" Jenkins: RIP to the late actor, who played Wardell Stone in the third season of The White Shadow and also had regular roles on Bay City Blues and Finder of Lost Loves.

7) Jay Leno: Happy birthday to the man who did so much to teach America about the facts of life (not the TV show, but the actual facts) on Good Times:

8) T and T: This 1988 syndicated Mr. T vehicle (didn't quite go up in flames like so many of the vehicles on The A-Team) is also on Tubi, and, boy, do I wish I had the stones to place it where I put Hulk:

9) Saved by the Bell: 2/3 of the original cast reunited and took a group pic, and it blew up the Internet, and by "blew up," I mean it prompted a bunch of websites to post the pic and say that it was blowing up the Internet, which proved that...You know, I already forgot why this was notable. At least I had the good sense to rank this below T and T.

10) Ken Kercheval: RIP to the late actor, best known as Cliff Barnes on Dallas. Here's a clip of ken on The $25,000 Pyramid, and in a refreshing change of pace, the celebrity is getting the clues rather than giving them:

Saturday, April 27, 2019

It's National Babe Ruth Day!

Naturally we at BOTNS consider the definitive screen portrayal of George Herman "Babe" Ruth the one delivered by William Lucking on Voyagers!

We discussed the Babe and the entire episode here.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Great Moments in 70s and 80s TV History: AYYYYY!

Many think Happy Days declined when Fonz jumped over a shark, but I think maybe we can trace it to the ill-fated "socially relevant" turn the series suddenly took:

Thursday, April 25, 2019

This Day in TV History: Vega$ premieres on ABC

April 25, 1978 was the first appearance of Vega$ on ABC.  Do you think TV Guide hated the stylized spelling of the title with the dollar sign?

Robert Urich was private investigator Dan Tana on the series, which lasted 3 seasons and was of course shot in...Atlantic City. No, it was Las Vegas.  Greg Morris, Bart Braverman, and Judy Landers co-starred. The series was a top 25 hit when it debuted but then declined, perhaps because its lead-in Charlie's Angels fell out of the top 10.

Would anyone like to see us go back to ABC/Aaron Spelling escapism and explore the world of Vega$ on the podcast?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

And now, a word from THEIR sponsor: Bob Denver and Don Knotts for Bonanza Steakhouse

Can you imagine going out for a chopped steak and baked potato with these guys? I think that kind of special occasion warrants adding on the salad bar!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Listener Poll: Family Sitcoms

Which eighties family sitcom would you like to hear us talk about in season 6? Leave your answer in the comments. Poll closes midnight Eastern time Monday 4/29.

Who's Da Boss?

Valerie/The Hogan Family

Growing Pains

It's National Lost Dog Awareness Day...

...and so we remind you again to be on the lookout for Joe:

You can start by listening to our Run Joe Run episode form season 2 right here.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Happy Birthday, Byron Allen!

Remember, it's Byron's Allen world and we just live in it. BOTNS salutes the mogul, producer, comedian, and--most important--Real People star:

Sunday, April 21, 2019

BOTNS Top 10 #12

Happy Easter, everyone! The holiday has a big impact on our rankings this week...

1) A Family Circus Easter: An alternate universe has The Keanes as the masters of the holiday special, not Charlie Brown and friends, and nothing against the Peanuts specials I love so much, but...I want to live in that universe.

2) Fred Astaire: He absolutely KILLED IT in his Rankin-Bass 1977 Easter special. Ginger Rogers may have done all the dancing backwards and in heels, but she never did anything that rocked like this:

3) The Easter Beagle: OK, I still feel guilty about that Peanuts slight at #1. By the way, the clip embedded below does have an Easter Beagle promo, but don't you hope all the kids stuck around for Lou Grant?

4) Norman Lear: Jimmy Kimmel has coordinated a live star-studded recreation of All in the Family and The Jeffersons, which is either genius or a terrible idea, but I know I want to see it. But if the man is so powerful and beloved (Lear, not Kimmel), why isn't it easier to see his shows on streaming?

5) Georgia Engel: R.I.P. to the late actress, who died this week at 70. Who knew she was so young when she was on The Mary Tyler Moore Show?

6) Sesame Street: Announced a big summer tour and was recognized by the Peabody Awards. Deservedly so, too; the series was a great one for about--let's see, what year did Elmo join?

7) Laugh-In: A 50th anniversary reunion special will premiere on Netflix on May 14. Of course, if you want to actually watch the series, you have to go to Amazon Prime because Netflix doesn't bother with old stuff. Unless it's new. That is--eh, you know what we mean.

8) Ernie Anderson: ABC's anniversary as a TV network was Friday, which made us think again of the unofficial voice of the network. Any promo with him is gold, but nothing beat him hyping The Love Boat:

9) Don Cornelius: Continues to be the star of my personal TV year as I watch American Soul.

10) The Berenstain Bears' Easter Surprise: Classic example of the Mandela Effect: I could have sworn when I was a kid it was Ester.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Happy birthday. Joey Lawrence!

I feel embarrassed to admit that I thought Joey Lawrence "ruined" Gimme a Break, not because I'm ashamed of my unkind thoughts...but because I actually watched Gimme a Break. Would you like to see us revisit the series for the podcast?

Friday, April 19, 2019

Today in TV History: ABC premieres

The American Broadcasting Company was a radio entity as early as 1943, but on April 19, 1948, the TV network premiered with a broadcast of Henry Morgan's On the Corner. But let's jump ahead 30 years or so to ABC stars in hot air balloons mugging for the camera:

You know, I first watched this thinking, "Wow, the only thing this is missing is Ernie Anderson. Then, whaddya know--BAM!"

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Happy National Columnist Day!

Happy National Columnist Day, everyone!

I like to think that if Tom Bradford were writing a newspaper column today, he would avoid tired topics like politics and divided populace and instead shed light on things that really matter--like how to stretch a budget when you have 8 kids (even if one is "independent."

Check out our Eight Is Enough episode from season 3 right here!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Happy birthday, Roddy Piper!

The late Rowdy Roddy Piper, one of the most charismatic TV performers of the 1980s, was born on this date. One of my most memorable pro wrestling moments is this clip from Saturday Night's Main Event saluting Hot Rod before his then-retirement. Check out how humble Piper is in the interview with Mean Gene:

Piper made an appearance when we discussed Saturday Night's Main Event on the podcast.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Tax tips from Ron Glass

Hopefully your income taxes are in order, but it's never a bad time to get advice from TV's Harris, Ron Glass:

Sunday, April 14, 2019

BONS Top Ten #11

1) Norm Peterson: One of our favorite accountants gets his due as we approach Tax Day. In fact, I think this calls for a free beer in celebration.

2) Tom Selleck: More proof that it's Selleck's world and we only live in it: While the new Magnum reminds us how good the original was, Blue Bloods just got renewed for a 10th season.

3) Jack Wagner: What better way to celebrate yesterday's National Record Store Day than by digging up some vintage vinyl from that classic dual threat, the man who was Frisco Jones and who also gave us:

See the source image

4) Fay Furillo: On National Ex-Spouse Day, let us pay tribute to one of the classic televisions pains in the--uh, ex-spouses, Hill Street Blues' Captain Frank Furillo's former wife.

5) The Muppet Show: Given that Disney+ is going to throw a bunch of catalog programming up when it debuts, is there any chance that the original series finally comes out of the vaults for streaming? Please?

6) Bob Dorian: All this talk of Turner Classic Movies' 25th anniversary has me a little nostalgic for the guy who was doing it years earlier on American Movie Classics:

7) The Greatest American Hero: Fans are enjoying a weekend-long marathon on Decades.

8) Card Sharks: It returns to our rankings after the announcement that Joel McHale will host the upcoming revival. His experience hosting shows like Talk Soup demonstrates he has the skills to navigate a fast-paced game show while discerning whether 9 is in fact higher than 7.

9) John S. Ragin: Shout out to the late Dr. Astin on Quincy, who died on this date in 2013. Astin was basically a good man who was just trying to do his job even if sometimes he JUST DIDN'T UNDERSTAND!

10) Wizards and Warriors: This article on Me-TV's website this weekend claims the short-lived Jeff Conaway fantasy series could have been Game of Thrones of the 1980s if not for running on Saturday nights. But it's a fun article.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

This Day in TV History: ABC's lineup Wednesday April 11, 1979

Watch the promos for these programs, all voiced by the great Ernie Anderson, and tell me you don't wish you were in 1979, sitting on the sofa with a Swanson and a Milwaukee's Best sixpack:

The first series is about a family of orphans whose parents die in a sailing accident and start living with a fisherman played by Clu Gulager. Hey, at least you get to see Hawaii! Amazingly, these episodes are online if you look around.

This particular clip shows that classic late 1970s ABC blend of titillation and modesty: "It'll fit some of me...but it won't fit enough of me."

The Charlie's Angels tease seems to give away the whole gimmick. I mean, we weren't really expecting definitive proof of a haunted house, but Ernie flat-out tells everyone it's "a very human madman" doing the shenanigans.

As for The Hal Linden Special...well, do we need to be sold on that? That's a rather saucy-looking shot of Linda Lavin, by the way.

Special thanks to SeanMC for posting this on his excellent YouTube channel!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

New rarity on Prime Video: Tucker's Witch (1982, CBS)

Lost in the shuffle amidst a wave of classic TV for Prime Video last week was the rare 1982 CBS series Tucker's Witch, with all 12 episodes now available to stream:

Tim Matheson and Catherine Hicks star as a married P.I. team with a twist--yes, she's a witch! Barbara Barrie and Alfre Woodward also appear in the light detective series, which debuted Wednesday nights at 10:00 P.M., following Alice  and Filthy Rich, but was quickly yanked from the regular schedule before a brief return in the spring. Apparently witchcraft was no match for bitchcraft--the series went up against Dynasty and Quincy M.E. (you see, Quincy, uh, liked to bitch about stuff).

It's cool to see an obscure show like this pop on Prime. Anyone remember this series?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

This Day in TV History: Capital News premieres on ABC in 1990

A newspaper drama from MTM starring Lloyd Bridges and co-created by David Milch! How is a series with this pedigree so rare? Maybe because it only lasted 13 episodes, including the pilot.

Look at the rest of the cast: Helen Slater, Chelsea Field, a young Kurt Fuller, an even younger Wendell Pierce, and, hey, the guy who played Jay Leno in The Late Shift!

I have no memory of this series at all, but I'd like to see it. ABC canceled it after the pilot and first 3 regular-length episodes. Milch and a former Washington Post writer developed this series. Perhaps the most compelling fact about this flop? Lloyd Bridges' character is named "Jo-Jo."

Monday, April 8, 2019

Happy birthday, Gary Carter!

Since we gave a shout to the Toronto Blue Jays in yesterday's Top 10 list, how about a nod to the other Canadian team in Major League Baseball during the BOTNS era: The Montreal Expos! One of the franchise's most celebrated players had a reputation for never meeting a camera he didn't like, so it's easy to find commercials with the late Gary Carter, born on this day in 1954.

His Ivory commercials (It's "honest" soap!) got a lot of airplay in the 1980s when Carter had moved to the Mets. The Hall of Fame catcher died way too early in 2012.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #10

1) James Garner: It's always a good time to celebrate one of TV's most beloved stars, but today is the late legend's birthday.

2) Twiki: In honor of National Robotics Week, we salute one of our favorite robots. I wish I were more like Twiki: Just watch how smooth he is with the lady bots:

3) Lisa Whelchel: Another one of her brilliant ideas: Hosting Collector's Call on MeTV, which premieres tonight.

4) Al McGuire: When it's NCAA March Madness time, I think of Al McGuire. Specifically, I think of Al and Dick Enberg on NBC's coverage. I realize they weren't known for their tournament work because CBS had the rights, but why quibble if we have a chance to post a vintage NBC college hoops opening?

5) Pamela Sue Martin: The former Nancy Drew earned a role in the CW's upcoming remake. Hopefully they don't cast Parker Stevenson to take all her screen time again.

6) Toronto Blue Jays: The franchise played its first official game on this date in 1977!

7) Michael Landon: Reelz's special on Landon tonight reportedly posits a link between the star's cancer death and Little House shooting near a contaminated nuclear site. That would be ironic considering nuclear fallout was about the only thing that didn't cause problems for the Ingalls family.

8) Bob Hope: I gotta tell ya, folks, I wish that Prime Video had more than just a bunch of his Christmas specials, but it's cool that many of those are now available for streaming.

9) Hugh O'Brian: Check out BOTNS immortal Hugh in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp now on Amazon Prime Video. Then check him out at his most "suave and de-boner" as we discuss Search in one of our earlier seasons.

10) Kathie Lee Gifford: As Kathie Lee is forced out--uh, "retires" from Today, don't lose track of her rich television legacy. Yes, she was annoying millions of viewers as far back as 1985 (She didn't annoy people on Name the Tune).

Not ranked: Bill Cosby

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Happy birthday, John Ratzenberger's a little-known fact that John Ratzenberger turns 71 today. Hopefully no Cliff Clavins out there will tell us this PSA is actually from 1990 and therefore just outside our standard time frame:

Friday, April 5, 2019

And now...a word from THEIR sponsor: This kid loves bologna

Fans of TV of the BOTNS era surely remember the maddening Oscar Meyer bologna theme song, a ditty exceeded only by the Oscar Meyer hot dog song in its ability to annoy. So of course we want to share a commercial featuring it!

The time frame doesn't match at all, but I'm not 100% convinced this isn't a young Terry Bradshaw.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Mr. Smith Goes to Nowhere

By popular demand (OK, really we just wanted to write more about it), let's take a closer look at one of early-Eighties NBC's more notorious flops (and that covers some ground): Mr. Smith.

When Mr. Smith debuted September 23, 1983, it had it all: proven vets behind the scenes in Stan Daniels and Ed. Weinberger (who voiced the title character), a proven box office star (C.J., the orangutan from Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can), and a cushy slot leading off NBC's blockbuster Friday night lineup, which included Jennifer Slept Here, Manimal, and For Love and Honor.

Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Viewers rejected those 2 out of 3, though, and the premiere did poorly. It garnered mostly negative reviews and became a bit of a joke for NBC, only airing 13 episodes before being yanked in December. In January, Friday night on the Peacock would go: Legmen, The Master, and Lorne Michaels' The New Show.

Of course, none of those series lasted, either!

Mr. Smith is a runaway orangutan named Cha Cha (Mr. Smith is his code name) who winds up in an experimental lab, then drinks an experimental potion that gives him an IQ of 256. Naturally, he runs a political think tank in Washington D.C. Even better, his secretary is Batty Award winner Leonard Frey!

I remember this show being "a thing," but not actually watching it. Am I crazy for wanting to see this now?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

This Day in TV History: TV Guide debuts

On this day in 1953, newsstands unveiled the first issue of TV Guide. Before on-screen programming guides and the Internet, the Guide was the bible of tube lovers everywhere. Today collectors still love to find old issues, and we at BOTNS like to use 1970s and 1980s editions for our TV Guide game!

Here is one of the great Fall Preview issues from the BOTNS era, the 1983 issue. New shows highlighted on the cover: AfterMASH! Hotel! And you know that in 1983 it was NBC that brought us the show about a talking orangutan: Mr. Smith!


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

This Day in TV History: Dallas premieres

On this day in 1978, Dallas premiered on CBS. It began as a miniseries but was quickly turned into a regular series for the fall season after folks got a look at the ratings.

The series became a cultural touchstone, lasting the entire decade of the Eighties before concluding a long run in May 1991.

It's available on DVD and in streaming on IMDB Freeview. Would anyone like to see us devote an episode of the podcast to this iconic nighttime soap?

Monday, April 1, 2019

Happy April Fool's Day!

Not only have we covered a lot of fools on our podcast, but we've also talked about a lot of dopes. Today we salute our last 3 Biggest Dope Batty winners:
See the source image

See the source image

Sunday, March 31, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #9

1) Cheers: This week, new sitcom Abby's drew numerous comparisons to Cheers, and The Big Bang Theory surpassed Cheers as the longest-running multi-camera sitcom of all time. My big

2) Janet Jackson: BOTNS congratulates the star of Good Times for entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this weekend, apparently based on some kind of career she had after abandoning television.

3) Danny DeVito: The Taxi star has a prominent role in Tim Burton's new live-action Dumbo.

4) Night Court: Returns to Laff, though I'm still hoping it somehow comes to Amazon Prime. Who cares about things like multibillion dollar headquarters plans when Night Court and Alice are out there waiting to be streamed on Prime Video?

5) Gabe Kaplan: Happy birthday to the former Mr. Kotter, or as we like to refer to him after watching Battle of the Network Stars, The World's Fastest Comedian.

6) Quantum Leap: Celebrated its 30th anniversary this week. Our dream episode would involve Sam leaping into Fred Silverman's body and attempting to change the course of NBC history.

7) William Shatner: After making the list for his 88th birthday last week, Shatner learns this week that the series he is going to host, The UnXplained, will debut on History. The show sounds like a sort of companion piece for the ongoing revival of BOTNS fave In Search Of.

8) Punky Brewster: It debuts on Tubi TV--the logical next step for those looking for more high-octane action and adeventure after burning through the Magnum and A-Team reruns Tubi had added.

9) Mary Cadorette: The actress was born today in March 31, and as a birthday gift, we're gonna assure her that she was not the reason Three's a Crowd was so lame.

10) Count von Count: He was the number one choice in this list of iconic TV vampires. So why is he only #10 here? Well, this gives the guy the chance to list 9 more numerals, of course.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Happy birthday, Dianne Kay!

Dianne Kay, who played Nancy Bradford on our beloved (well, my beloved, at least) Eight Is Enough, was born on this day. Check out these two promos and tell me you don't want to sit down and watch the heck out of the show all over again:

Show Notes: Listorama--TV Shows that would make good comic books

We hope you enjoyed our newest bonus episode, a listing of 70s and 80s TV shows we'd like to have seen become comic books. Here is a handy rundown of our picks and some notes on what we discussed, but please download and listen to the pod first!

Mike #1 The Learverse
#2 Magnum P.I.
#3: Search
#4: In Search Of
#5: The White Shadow

Honorable mentions:
Sandbaggers, Voyagers, The Incredible Hulk (adaptation of the TV series)

Rick #1 Maude
#2 The Greatest American Hero
#3: Gemini Man
#4: Miami Vice
#5: Battle of the Network Stars

Crisis on Infinite Earths is the landmark 1985 miniseries that served as a turning point in DC comics continuity. It's going to be a crossover event in the CW's Arrowverse TV shows this fall.

The British Magnum comics Mike mentions appeared in 1982, and you can get a good look here at the definitive Magnum Mania site. An in-depth review here proves was pretty awesome!

Gold Key Comics were published for just over 20 years. It featured a lot of titles starring licensed characters and properties.

Just because:

Gil Thorp continues as a newspaper comic strip to this day! Creator Jack Berrill started it in 1958, and after his death in 1996, the first person to take it over was the co-author of the Left Behind series!

We couldn't find a cartoon drawing of Rona Barrett, but I want this magazine:

See the source image

Also couldn't find a Jack Davis illustration of Bea Arthur, but there is this:

We'd love to hear what you think of our ideas and also if you have any suggestions of your own! Thanks for listening to the show, and get ready for our next season, coming soon to wherever you get your podcasts!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

List-o-rama: TV Shows That Should Have Had Comic Books

Back in the BOTNS era and before, many TV shows had licensed comic book adaptations, but many more didn’t. Rick and Mike pick five each that should have had their own comic, suggest possible details like look and format, and Mike even offers to write some of them! Join us for this mixed media adventure.

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

BOTNS salutes David Janssen

The late star of The Fugitive was born on this date in 1931, and though his peak was in the Sixties, we'd love to get him on the podcast eventually, whether as Harry OO'Hara, U.S. Treasury, or even through his role in this 1972 movie of the week on ABC:

Tomorrow on Battle of the Network Shows...

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Happy birthday, Leonard Nimoy...or is it?

There is a preponderance of evidence that suggests today is the late Leonard Nimoy's birthday. But we can't rule out the possibility that more evidence will turn up at some point that disproves the conventional wisdom.

In addition to hosting BOTNS favorite In Search Of, Nimoy edged into our era through Mission Impossible, on which he played master of disguise Paris. In this excerpt, Nimoy gets across his essential coolness without a word--with a great sweater, yes, but without a word:

Saturday, March 23, 2019

BOTNS Top 10 #8

1) Search: This week's Warner Archive podcast celebrates the 10th anniversary of the WA label and highlights one of its proudest achievements: Getting this cult series out on DVD! Check out our discussion of the show from our season 2 right here.

2) The Brady Bunch Hour: TV Shows on DVD reports a giant box set commemorating the Bunch's 50th anniversary--a collection including all the movies, spinoffs, and the original series. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BRADY BUNCH HOUR? No Rip Taylor duets with Ann B. Davis, no sale.

3) Here's Boomer: TV Shows on DVD also announced the ill-fated attempt to make a series star of the lovable pooch is coming to DVD. The bad news is it's MOD, which stands for "Manufactured on Demand" and "expensive"--as in MSRP of $50 for 22 half-hour episodes ($25 per season).

Early 1980s NBC! Can we possibly resist doing a podcast episode about this show? Well, at that price, maybe we can.
Here's Boomer, Season 1

4) Sidney Freeman: I'm not so sure I believe this story, but Alan Alda says Allan Arbus was so convincing as the resident therapist on MASH that he approached him for advice off camera.

5) Diahann Carroll: Back in the news as her character from the original Dynasty is going to be played by Michael Michele in the ongoing revival. I was tempted to not rank her just so I wouldn't have to look up how to spell Diahann. Classy actress, sketchy name.

6) Sesame Street: A Twitter question asked which of 4 characters you'd want to be stranded with on a desert island, and even if for only 8 hours or so, the response proved the show still has a hold on us. For the record, Oscar.

7) Thomas Magnum: The arrival of the original Magnum P.I. on Tubi TV this week is a welcome reminder that this is the one true Magnum (with the possible exception of former U.S. champion Magnum T.A.).

See the source image

8) William Shatner: The star of such legendary TV series as T.J. Hooker,  Rescue 911, and Barabary Coast...had...a...birthday...this...week. He's 88 years old, folks. 88!

9) Hal Blaine: The late Wrecking Crew drummer played on iconic BOTNS-era TV staples like I Think I Love You, Love Will Keep Us Together, and In the Air Tonight. OK, just seeing if you were paying attention on that last one, but he did drum on the other two and countless other huge recordings.

10) Hunter: Hey, Decades is showing a Hunter marathon this weekend! Bring your...bring your...wht do Hunter fanatics consume when they get together? I'm thinking Coors and nachos.

Not ranked: Roseanne Barr, Jason Bateman, Barbara Walters

Sunday, March 17, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #7

1) Jed Allan: Another R.I.P. to the longtime soap star and host of Celebrity Bowling.

2) The Keaton family: Is there a more quintessentially Irish-American family than the Keatons from Family Ties?

OK, there are many, but did any of them win 5 Emmys and finish in the Nielsen top 10 3 years in a row?

3) Sam Malone: Maybe he isn't exactly the most Irish character on TV, either, but he sure got lucky enough times.

4) Scarlett (AKA Shana O'Hara): Could take out Black Widow with ease.

5) The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold: I love how every St. Patrick's Day, families all over the nation gather around the television set and participate in the annual tradition of viewing this enduring holiday classic.

Wait, they don't? What is wrong with this country, anyway? Just for that, the top 10 is disassociating itself from St. Patrick's Day the rest of the way.

6) Irish Spring soap: Except for this 1979 ad featuring Cindy Morgan from Caddyshack:

7) Card Sharks and Press Your Luck: ABC can't get enough of revived game shows and plans to introduce new versions of these two staples. Personally, I never saw the appeal of the lowbrow Press Your Luck and much preferred the sophisticated game play of people yelling "Higher!" or "Lower!" while Jim Perry turned over giant playing cards.

8) Lotsa Luck: OK, we can't quit you, St. Patrick's Day: Antenna TV runs a marathon of the short-lived Dom DeLuise sitcom today.

9) Norman Lear: Eloquent as ever at the age of 162 as he bemoans Netflix's cancellation of One Day at a Time, but why couldn't he have spent some time getting the original and BOTNS-era version streaming somewhere?

10) Bert Convy: You see, Mike was watching a series we plan to cover when--hey, wait. Since when do we have to explain ranking Bert Convy?

Not ranked: Lori Loughlin, Pat Harrington, Carroll O'Connor

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day weekend from BOTNS!

May we suggest celebrating by having Christmas in March and revisiting The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold?

We discussed this Rankin-Bass special in our first holiday episode.

Remember to avoid the imposter leprechauns this year, though. Remember when they tried to fool Inspector Gadget?

Friday, March 15, 2019

R.I.P. Jed Allan

We at BOTNS hoist a Lowenbrau for the late Jed Allan, who passed away last weekend at the age of 84. A lot of the coverage mentioned his role on Santa Barbara, and this warm tribute by Ian Ziering centered around his playing Steve Sanders' father on the original Beverly Hills 90210.

We salute him for his role as emcee of that classic example of 1970s pop culture, Celebrity Bowling. As we discussed in a season 3 episode, Allan brought a certain charm to the series with his easygoing yet confident manner on the set, his snazzy dressing, and his--well, his attempts to explain that cursed "best ball" format (Hey, that was a tough task for anyone).

Let's all fire up our Amana ranges and cook up a memorial feast for Mr. Allan!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #6

1) Luke Perry: 90210 isn't really in our era (and I don't know how many remember his late eighties stint on Another World(, but I bet a lot of us saw quite a bit of ol' Luke back in the day, and it's a shame he's gone so soon.

2) Ed Asner: He'll be in a later episode of the ongoing streaming program Doom Patrol, but he earns the high spot because as I heard people debating the possible conflict of interest of ESPN announcer Jessica Mendoza taking a prominent job with the Mets, I kept wondering how Lou Grant would react.

3) Shazam! : The Filmation 1970s show is on DC Universe, looking good and apparently with the morals! How in the world do kids learn right from wrong these days without the likes of Captain Marvel, Isis, and BraveStarr telling them what's what?

4) Punky Brewster: I saw a few extremely heartwarming episodes this week. Is the world blind or just a little unkind? I'm surprised no one has thought about reviving this with Punky as a single mom raising a rambunctious preteen.

5) Lisa Whelchel: She just had another one of her brilliant ideas: hosting an upcoming original series for Me-TV showcasing pop culture

6) Jan Michael-Vincent: Shout-out to the late Airwolf star. I hate to be the one to say it, but all things considered...74 years was a pretty good run, no?

7) Paul Reiser: One half of My Two Dads finally found a home for that Mad About You revival he's been pushing for seemingly half a decade, and it's...Spectrum Cable? Why the heck wouldn't Sony put this on its own Crackle?

8) Alex Trebek: The legendary Jeopardy! host announced he is fighting pancreatic cancer. It's easy to take the show for granted, but don't forget his work on Classic Concentration in the BOTNS era. It's fun to revisit those earlier shows now and see the more casual, looser, but still excellent Trebek.

9) In the Heat of the Night: Kind of on the edge of our timeframe, but several seasons were just added to Prime case you haven't gotten enough of it airing 10 times a day on places like WGN.

10) King Kong Bundy: How can I forget the memorable Saturday Night's Main Event episode in which the dastardly Bundy broke Hulk Hogan's ribs, setting up their WrestleMania II main event. The wrestler died at 61 this week after a distinguished career that included acting roles in Moving and on Married with Children. He even inspired the creator of the latter by frequently putting his hand down his singlet like Al Bundy later would. No, actually he inspired the name "Bundy," but I like my story, too.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Vanilla Extract Epidemic: Time for a BOTNS investigation?

Hey, remember early in the podcast's run when, while discussing Tom Hanks in "Say Uncle" on Family Ties, we speculated on the efficacy of using vanilla extract to get drunk?

Well, it's happening in Atlanta, folks!

Uncle Ned approves! Well, the OLD bottle-chugging, maraschino cherry-gulping, Alex-slapping Uncle Ned would, but maybe the reformed Ned would speak out against this.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #5

1) Regina King: I mean, she won an Oscar, so that's a pretty big deal, especially considering we all assumed Jackee would be the one from 227 to win an Academy Award.

2) Nathaniel Taylor: Shout-out to the late great actor, who died this week after a career that would have been distinguished if it had only included his role as Rollo, my favorite auxiliary character on a series (Sanford and Son) that was loaded with them.

3) The Golden Girls: Have you listened to the bonus episode we dropped this week? We delve into Golden Girls Mad-Libs, and the results are more satisfying than a night with...a delicious cheesecake. Where did you think we were going with that?

4) Little House on the Prairie: Amazon Prime just rolled out the entire series for your viewing pleasure--if "pleasure" means enjoying pestilence, fires, armadillo attacks, Mrs. Oleson's nagging, mumblety peg accidents, and all the other calamities that hit Walnut Grove each week.

5) Katherine Helmond: Is it wrong that after hearing of her passing this week, all I wanted to do was imitate Tony Danza saying, "Mona"?

6) Good Times: The entire series hit the Starz app this week. Come for the work of Esther Rolle and Genius Award winner John Amos, stay for the great closing version of the theme song.

7) Diff'rent Strokes: It returns to Starz this week, but it goes a notch below Good Times because Danny Cooksey was never on Good Times.

8) Erin Gray: In this clip, recently posted on the excellent Bionic Disco YouTube channel, Ms. Gray shows why she's a BOTNS favorite. I don't remember being quite as...enthusiastic about the cars in the B.J. and the Bear episode we talked about on the podcast.

9) Ken Berry: And also on that same YT channel, in this spot for Kinney Shoes, the late versatile performer proves he's not to be outdone by--oh, who are we kidding, he's a nice guy, but he's totally outdone by Erin Gray.

10) Jaclyn Smith: She did us all a service this week on The Hollywood Reporter's podcast It Happened in Hollywood by assuring us that all the hair on Charlie's Angels was real, unlike the wigs and extensions they use today. Yep, David Doyle was all natural.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Golden Girls Mad Libs Volume 1

In this week's bonus episode, we play a couple rounds of Golden Girls Mad Libs, combining two of podcasting's biggest trends -- grammar and senior citizens. We learn a little about parts of speech, the girls themselves, and maybe, just maybe ourselves.

Check out this episode!