Sunday, December 29, 2019
1) Paul Williams: I was listening to an Audible Original about Christmas music, and Williams was being all humble about having failed to write a hit holiday-themed song. Hey, Paul, hold your head up! You wrote the music for Emmett Otter!
2) Eddie Murphy: The icon's return to SNL was a critical and popular success and actually made me want to see the show for once.
3) Jack Palance: I was at the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum and saw all kinds of astonishing and remarkable things, but you know what I didn't see? Any trace of the one true TV Ripley host (other than Robert Ripley himself, of course).
4) Mary Tyler Moore: Happy birthday to the late TV legend!
5) Ted Danson: It's pretty cool that two TV performers on the level of Danson and MTM share the same birthday.
6) Quincy Magoo: No, Magoo, I didn't get to your definitive take on Scrooge this year, but I vow that I will next year!
7) Benson: I don't remember having seen the Benson Christmas episode, but I want to! From author Joanna Wilson:
But Benson wows the audience with an elegant yet powerful rendition of “O Holy Night.” This reverent moment comes to us not from Benson, the sarcastic, dry-witted member of the Governor’s staff, but from Robert Guillaume himself, the Tony-nominated Broadway singer and actor who has amazing skills beyond his many TV sitcom roles. This musical moment is followed by the cast of Benson breaking the fourth wall as each delivers his and her own individual holiday greeting to viewers."
8) What's Happening!!: I just want to post these pics again:
9) Father Dowling Mysteries: Decades ran a marathon of this show last weekend, and for an alarmingly long moment, I was envious of people who had Decades.
10) Fruitful Bran cereal: For you young'uns who thought super-high-fiber breakfast started with Colon Blow:
Thursday, December 26, 2019
Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Monday, December 23, 2019
Sunday, December 22, 2019
This week I am in the mood to celebrate the best in holiday television...or at least holiday television.
1) A Charlie Brown Christmas: The definitive Christmas cartoon deserves the top spot this week and probably every week as well.
2) Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper: Have you enjoyed our holiday special installment of the podcast yet? If not, better get cracking. I hope you're not also behind on your Even shopping.
3) Good Times: The Norman Lear sitcom got the In Front of a Live Studio Audience treatment on ABC. Or is it Live in Front of a Studio Audience? or Audience Lives...oh, Merry Christmas, everyone. It SHOULD be Live BEFORE a Studio Audience, anyway.
4) A Family Circus Christmas: The timeless holiday classic covered on the show here performed a Christmas miracle this year: Its Sarah Vaughan song Dreamer dislodged Ed McMahon's performance of Thanksgiving Day from my head for the first time in 4 weeks.
5) Bing Crosby: Get-TV will have a marathon of Der Bingle's holiday specials on Christmas Eve, and it should remind everyone that Bing was more than just this (though it is by far the best rendition of that song ever recorded):
6) Bob Hope: I have been watching the Christmas specials of Bob "Left my wallet in the Ban Gioc waterfall" Hope on Prime Video, but mainly I just like the idea of putting him behind Crosby yet again.
7) Frosty the Snowman: Yes, it premiered outside our time frame, but we all watched it every year...and I still do!
8) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The only reason this one isn't higher is because I haven't seen it yet, and the only reason I haven't seen it yet is because I am saving it because it's one of the all-time best!
9) The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold: We also covered this on the podcast, and if we encouraged just one listener to put it in the annual rotation, we did our jobs!
10) All in the Family: It shared an hour with Good Times, but it loses points for being, well, a rerun considering we saw the same cast last year. Besides, how many Christmas episodes did All in the Family do, huh?
Oh, wait, they did at least 7, and then did more on Archie Bunker's Place. Never mind!
Friday, December 20, 2019
And remember head over to our official YouTube channel for past episodes of the podcast plus episode-specific video playlists for each of them! Happy Even!
ABC went with a rerun of John Denver and the Muppets, the comedy pair of Three's Company and 9 to 5, and a Christmas episode of Hart to Hart. NBC countered with Father Murphy, an episode of short-lived Gavilan, and St. Elsewhere.
*The article we mention from Mark Evanier's fantastic blog is right here. He writes to commemorate the 2010 DVD release of the special.
*Before this special, Hanna Barbera produced a film, Yogi's First Christmas, that aired in first run syndication in 1980. And before that, NBC aired Casper's First Christmas in 1979, a special that also co-starred Yogi and his pals.
*Yogi's Jellystone Park is not a real place, but there is a chain of Jellystone Park campground resorts reaching throughout the USA!
*In Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!, Yogi is sent to San Diego and Cindy Bear to St. Louis, and we hear the song St. Louis performed on the train.
*Macy's (not Gacy's) was founded in 1858. Rival Gimbels was formed in 1887 and clsoed in 1987, but IT was the department store featured in the classic Miracle on 34th Street.
*Super Snooper (a cat) and Blabber (a mouse) premiered on Quick Draw McGraw's show in 1959. Snooper was voiced by Daws Butler, like half of the other characters in this special!
*Yakky Doodle appeared in several H-B cartoons but first got his own segment on The Yogi Bear Show.
*Breezly and Sneezly appeared on Peter Potamus and Magilla Gorilla. The polar bear/seal combo frequently ran afoul of John Stephenson's Colonel Fuzzby.
*Top Cat is arguably the biggest character missing from this series if you don't count the Jetsons, who are years in the future. I mean, a cameo from the distant future would be way more ridiculous than a cameo from the distant past (Flintstones), right?
*A very Merry Even to all of our listeners! Now...exit stage left!
Thursday, December 19, 2019
We celebrate the holidays with Yogi Bear and the gang as they try to cheer up a little girl in a jam-packed 23 minutes. How will the big city react to bears on its streets? Will Yogi find any pic-i-nic basket? How much does Augie Doggie really love his Doggie Daddy? How many Hanna-Barbera characters show up? Do we discover the true meaning of Even?
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Sunday, December 15, 2019
This week still trails the following on her career highlights list:
2) Good Times: The sixth season Christmas episode is one of those "talent show" episodes, and you get to see the gals doing En Vogue 15 years before En Vogue did! More importantly, the series should be on all our minds because this Wednesday, ABC's live recreation of an old Good Times episode will feature in the James Evans role one of the only men as cool as John Amos: Andre Braugher!
3) Christmas Comes to Pac-Land: Give me ONE reason this special isn't a staple--oh, wait, I did that last week. Let's just say this one is worth seeing...once.
4) Don Johnson: Yes, the Donaissance continues another week, with two reasons to celebrate today: the Watchmen season finale AND D.J.'s birthday!
5) Schlitz Beer: Look, I'm not saying anything against the official adult beverage of BOTNS, but there's something just so satisfying about celebrating something so inelegantly named:
6) Philip McKeon: R.I.P. to the former Tommy Hyatt.
7) Laura Branigan: Mo Rocca's podcast just spotlighted the late musician and Season 6 two-time Batty nominee.
8) The Love Boat: Me-TV honors the show today with a Christmas episode, and it also has a quiz up on its website. Uh, here's all the quiz you need:
Q: Is The Love Boat awesome?
A: Yes, of course it is.
including a quiz right here.
9) Filmation: Have you heard our new bonus episode yet? Oh, what Filmation could have done with some of our ideas of comic books that should have been TV series!
10) Ed McMahon: I can't let this one go. Even as I enjoy my usual diet of favorites like the Chipmunks' album this holiday season, I can't get this out of my head, and I feel like there should be not only a Christmas equivalent, but a New Year's one as well:
Friday, December 13, 2019
*This episode is a companion to our earlier bonus episode in which we discussed TV shows that should have been adapted as comic books.
*Mike's list, for easy reference:
1) Marvel Two-in-One/Marvel Team-Up
2) Forever People
3) Jimmy Olsen and the Newsboy Legion
4) Mark Trail
5) Bill Hoest's Laugh Parade
Honorable mentions: Nexus, Damage Control, Black Kiss
*Rick's list, for easy reference:
1) Legion of Super-Heroes
2) Green Lantern/Green Arrow
3) All-Star Squadron
4) Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!
Honorable mentions: Not Brand Ecch, Mr. Monster
Listen to the episode for details on the comics and how we would have turned them into television in the 1970s and 1980s!
Note: the actor who played Vinnie on The Odd Couple is Larry Gelman.
Thursday, December 12, 2019
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
How many boxes does that check off on your Nostalgia Bingo card?
2) Robert Reed: I read an article in the New York Post that weekend emphasizing Reed's "diva" behavior on the set of The Brady Bunch, with the excuse being a new book about the show by Kimberly Potts. For example, Reed complained that his character shouldn't enter a kitchen and say it smelled like strawberry heaven because he had read in the encyclopedia that strawberries didn't give off a smell. Personally, I think that's hilarious. More power to you, Bob Reed, for keeping it real.
3) The Cabbage Patch Kids Christmas: Give me one reason this isn't a perennial TV favorite?
What? You say the characters are creepy, the story is kind of lame, it's bizarre...
Hey, I told you to give me ONE reason.
4) The Facts of Life: Decades had a marathon of the show, and Roku Channel added seasons 1 and 2 back, pleasing me since I--uh, pleasing everyone who had been watching from the beginning earlier this year.
5) Hart to Hart: New this month to IMDB TV is the 1980s series about a sophisticated married couple who solves mysteries around the world. Hey, they ought to look into that Natalie Wood case. I hear that's still unsolved.
6) Good Morning, Mickey: Where's this on Disney Plus?
7) Theodore Wilson: Happy birthday to the late great Teddy Wilson, a big favorite of the BOTNS team:
8) Don Johnson: The Donaissance is still going strong, with appearances all over the media promoting Knives Out and Watchmen, plus discussions of the Nash Bridges revival. You know, the only way this comeback tour would be better is if he showed up on Battle of the Network Shows...
9) Crazy Eddie's: I can't be the only one who thinks of these ads each holiday season:
10) R.I.P.: What a horrible several days it was for celebrity deaths. We apologize for leaving anyone out, but shout-outs to writer D.C. Fontana, Rene Auberjonois, Ron Leibman, Shelley Morrison, Carroll Spinney, and Leonard Goldberg:
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
We mentioned on the podcast that pictured are Bruce Willis, Sharon Gless, and Michael J. Fox, but who are the other 8 most talented? And who the heck is on that "blue-ribbon panel"?
Well, one of those panelists is Steven Bochco! The Guide says it commissioned the group to determine a list of performers who could always be counted on to be not just good, but terrific. So the panel consists of "television producers, directors, and casting directors."
The article introduces the concept and gets a few quotes from voters on what makes a TV actor great. Leonard Hill, a producer, distinguishes the ease of TV stars from the intensity of movie stars like Bobby DeNiro (OK, he didn't call him "Bobby.") Bill Persky, then producer and director on Kate and Allie, talks about the ability of a performer to pretty much be himself. However, casting director Phyllis Huffman emphasizes the importance of good technique.
The story then divides the most talented into categories, with first up being Dramatic Series. Chosen are: Sharon Gless, Tyne Daly, Bruce Willis, and Cybill Shepherd. Gless is called the most frequently praised of anyone in any category, while co-star Daly "is considered the consummate professional." The mag points out that Daly has won 3 Emmys while Gless has won zero at this point (Gless would win her first at the next ceremony).
It's interesting that the Moonlighting stars are in the dramatic category. Cybill "seems to have surprised everyone" with her work on the show, we read. Mike and I talked about her being underappreciated when we discussed Moonlighting, but here she gets significant praise. Producer Stan Marguiles calls Willis "the freshest character on television."
Next we get to sitcoms, and first up is Bill Cosby, about whom producer David Wolper says, "he's down to earth, he's what life is all about." Uh, we hope not! Shelly Long is praised for her Cheers work, and once again maybe we were a little too defensive of her on our podcast. Also named are Michael J. Fox and John Ritter. The latter choice stands out because this was post Three's a Crowd and pre-Hooperman--not exactly a period you would expect to be his critical zenith.
The final category is Movies and Miniseries (Remember when networks cared about original movies and miniseries), with the honorees Jane Alexander, Joanne Woodward, and Richard Chamberlain. Bochco calls Chamberlain "terribly versatile."
The article closes with a list of the honorable mentions. In alphabetical order, they are Harry Anderson, Bea Arthur, Pierce Brosnan, Margaret Colin, Richard Crenna, Genius Award Winner Ed Flanders, Veronica Hamel, Angela Lansbury, Judith Light, Bob Newhart, Lee Remick, Martin Sheen, George Wendt, Mare Winningham (likely due to her TV movie work at the time), and Alfre Woodward.
A compelling sidebar lists the most overrated actors. The panelists were promised anonymity in exchange for naming the ones who get too much praise. Shelley Long made this category, too (possibly named by only one person), along with Joan Collins, Linda Evans, Peter Strauss, and Daniel J. Travanti ('When I watch him, all I see is ego." This part is all too brief, but my favorite passage is: "Probably three quarters of all the people who are considered stars qualify for this category," grumbles Bochco.
Panelists not named above are: Karen Arthur (director), Jane Feinberg (casting director), Patrick Hasburgh (producer), Lamont Johnson (director), Gene Reynolds (producer and subject of some discussion on previous podcast episodes), and Michael Zinberg (producer).
Sunday, December 1, 2019
1) Ed McMahon: Yes, multiple-time BOTNS superstar and Batty fixture Ed McMahon, perhaps the only person who could knock off the next entry from the top spot on this holiday weekend. Watch the following performance, and you will understand why (it comes about 15 minutes into the above longer clip, but see it below as well):
Why aren't there more Thanksgiving carols? I am going to make this a staple of my household each year before the feast. "It's Thanksgiving Dayyyyyy..."
2) A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: This 1973 special still owns the holiday...but Ed McMahon is catching up.
3) Todd Bridges: What better time to perform 'Summer Dancing" than on a frigid Thanksgiving morning?
4) Bryant Gumbel: Big ups to Bryant for co-anchoring that 1980 parade in all good holiday cheer and for willingly (at least on camera) taking a back seat to McMahon.
5) Greg Gumbel: But just as I was reveling in the performance of Bryant, another of my favorite YouTubers posts this 1990 clip of my favorite Gumbel, Greg. By the way, notice Terry Bradshaw, 30 years ago, doing some pretty serious analysis during this highlights segment:
6) Sesame Street: Another insight gleaned from that 1980 parade footage: Pretty much everything was better back then, including the Street. Compare a recent parade appearance with this classic, simple, elegant performance led by Bob Mcgrath.
7) Marilyn Michaels: She gets a nice segment on the Macy's Parade. I'd love to see her old series The Kopykats. Wait, several episodes are on YouTube? Off I go, but for now here's an appetizer:
8) Underdog: My pick for the best Macy's float of all time. His appearance in 1980 does a lot to turn around the parade after a ghastly-looking Mickey Mouse parade that my household agreed looked like a Malaysian knockoff.
9) Peter Panda: After seeing multiple Child World ads in one sitting, I feel I have to rank the mascot...or it will find me...and hurt me.
10) Wonder Woman/The Powers of Matthew Star: These two series are subject of a weekend-long marathon on Decades, which I still don't get. Star would be enough to pull me away from old Macy's Parade clips!
Friday, November 29, 2019
*More info on Farrell for the People is here. It was indeed a pilot for a potential TV series. Allmovie.com says the central character was too bland and confining for Valerie Harper's talents.
*Sidney Lumet's Prince of the City was released by Orion in 1981 and was well reviewed but not a commercial success. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Adapted Screenplay.
*Send us your dream casts for Twelve Angry Men, but remember it has to include Jack Klugman!
*You Again? lasted two seasons on NBC but was not a hit.
*Check out our YouTube playlist to see intros of all the series discussed in this episode!
Thursday, November 28, 2019
We start to ramp up for season 7 with another round of the TV Guide Game, this time from the summer of '86! When school lets out and the sun stays out longer, what better way to spend your time than in front of the tube? This game includes such luminaries Jack Klugman, John Stamos, Valerie Harper, and two "Seinfeld" dads!
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Imagine the hijinks when the Ropers have to move in with the Brookes!
And how about Detective School? This series lasted 13 episodes, July-November 1979, and was not well received in the fall after its summer debut.
CBS ran Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown and Avalanche as a movie double feature, while NBC countered with a new CHiPs and part 1 of MacArthur with Gregory Peck. So maybe this Saturday night wasn't hot stuff all over the dial (although the CHiPs episode is Hot Wheels), but that ABC lineup has a little something for everyone.
Sunday, November 24, 2019
2) The Doobie Brothers: The Batty-winning band keeps making headlines while it waits for news on a Hall of Fame induction. This week it surprised a crowd by bringing out former member and anti-bootlegger Michael McDonald, then announced a forthcoming tour.
3) WKRP: Celebrate Thanksgiving a little early with Patrick Sim--Gary Sandy in the beloved Turkeys Away episode on Me-TV tonight.
4) Banacek: I noticed Cozi was showing the show yesterday, and I thought, "Hey, why didn't anyone tell me Cozi was showing Banacek?" Then I investigated and discovered the next airing was in January. So I guess Cozi isn't really showing Banacek. If it starts showing Banyon, you all have permission to contact me immediately.
5) Salem's Lot: 50 years ago this weekend, CBS aired a miniseries adapting Stephen King's novel. It was directed by Tobe Hooper and starred James Mason, David Soul, and Bonnie Bedelia. Here's a promo for a condensed re-air in 1981:
6) Dwight Schultz: Happy birthday to the former A-Team star who may have done his finest work here:
7) Matt Houston: Because seeing this promo on YouTube reminded me that there just isn't enough Matt Houston in the BOTNSiverse yet. It's "murder by the SEA!"
8) Johnny Cash and Mac Davis: If it's not too early to celebrate Christmas, you can check out their respective 1980s Christmas specials on Get-TV tonight. It's never too early or late to celebrate Mac Davis.
9) Chilly Willy/Breezly and Sneezly: Why is it no one has tried to cash in on the Frozen phenomenon by putting some of my favorite polar cartoons back in reruns or on streaming?
10) Arthur Marks: R.I.P. to the longtime director of numerous TV episodes in addition to classic blaxpoloitation flicks.
Sunday, November 17, 2019
2) The Twilight Zone: Out of our era unless you count the 1985 revival, but so what? I saw a Fathom Events screening of 6 classic episodes plus a documentary, and it reaffirmed what a great show it was.
3) McCloud: Been watching some of this via Cozi, and I love the fact that pretty much all the cliches you want to be true of the show are true.
4) Danny DeVito: Happy birthday to the star of Taxi and so much else. Has anyone ever called him "The tallest man never to reach 5 feet"? Should we make that a thing?
5) Jo Anne Worley: Was anyone over the age of 13 ever so enthusiastic about Kleenex?
6) Richard Dawson: Me-TV ran a great story on its website this week explaining (as well as it can) the man's musical career.
7) Diff'rent Strokes: Speaking of Me-TV, it starts it seasonal TV celebration with Thanksgiving episodes today, including a pair of Conrad Bain and co. Isn't it funny how it's increasingly acceptable to start thinking of Christmas after Halloween, yet no one starts calling for Thanksgiving preparations right after Labot Day?
8) Days of Our Lives: I don't want to say this show is done for, but when everyone in the cast is told their contracts won't be renewed, that's not a good sign. Congrats on a heck of a run.
9) Lorne Michaels: Happy birthday to the fourth-most imitated man in the history of show business, trailing only Marlon Brando, Jimmy Cagney, and of course Barry Bostwick.
10) My Two Dads: While the world (and by world, I mean...well, let's just leave it) waits for this week's debut of the Mad About You revival, true Reisheads anticipate a reunion of this 1987 sitcom.
Saturday, November 16, 2019
It would be an honor to be yelled at by Mr. Ed Asner, who turned 90 yesterday. We talked about Ed here as we praised Lou Grant, and of course we also got a healthy dose of Asner when we explored The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He'll be a 3-timer on the podcast if this ever comes to streaming or DVD:
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
1) The Muppet Show: To me, this is the biggest omission. It's a big chunk of the Jim Henson/Muppet legacy and should be the flagship of a property Disney keeps reviving again and again. The original series should be available to keep the characters vital. Maybe there are music rights precluding a streaming deal, but I have a hard time believing that it's not possible since the first several seasons of the show came out on DVD before Disney just gave up on it with no official explanation.
2) The Incredible Hulk: Some of my personal highlights in the Disney Plus library are the older Marvel Comics cartoon shows--not just Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, but lesser-known efforts like the 1981 Spider-Man and 1979's DePatie-Freleng Spider-Woman. So where, then, is the 13-episode Hulk series that was paired with Amazing Friends for a while on NBC?
I can't figure out why this one is abset. Wikipedia indicates it got a UK video release, but it never made it to DVD in the States. It's frustrating because Disney used the show to do "wacky" Marvel Mash-Ups years ago on Disney XD to complement contemporary Marvel 'toons. So the footage is there, it's presumably all clear. What's the hold-up?
And while you're at it, Disney, how about the 1970s Fantastic Four cartoon, the 1967 Spider-Man, and of course the 1960s Marvel shorts with the awesome theme songs? And I don't see the harm in releasing the live-action 1977 Spidey show with Nicholas Hammond.
See, the more you look into some of this, the more you realize how much more is in Disney's archives.
3) Star Wars: Droids: Speaking of animation, where is this short-lived 1985 ABC cartoon show? This and Ewoks have been AWOL for years, with no legitimate DVD release. I'm not enough of a Star Wars fan to know if everyone is embarrassed by these as they are the Holiday Special (which I won't even bother to list). As far as I know, this hasn't been drummed out of canon. It's short, inoffensive, and I remember the advertising but very little of the actual series. Why not throw it on Plus?
4) Room 222: OK, this is a super long shot, but let this be a representative for the vast amount of Fox television shows Disney now owns--shows I fear will languish in the infamous Vault that Disney said it was unlocking with the creation of Plus. The Simpsons is all well and good (though apparently in the wrong aspect ratio right now), but it's one measly show out of the huge Fox back catalog. Room is a series we have talked about in our Facebook group. It's family friendly "vintage" programming that would boost the old-school TV live action category on the channel, one of the weakest areas at launch.
Here are some other programs that meet that criteria but have the following strikes against them: they are "old" but not Disney-branded like, say, movies like The Barefoot Executive:
*The Ghost and Mrs/ Muir
*Nanny and the Professor
OK, I may be pushing it now, but I'm not even asking for Trapper John M.D. There may be licensing deals blocking some of these shows, but not all of them, and Disney could throw up more Fox shows. What worries me is that it doesn't consider them "worthy" unless it can remaster them for HD presentation. As much as I wish Disney would take a Prime Video approach and throw up whatever it has even if it looks funky, I don't know that that's gonna happen. But there are hours of family-friendly programs on hand.
5) The Wonderful World of Whatever in Color: Over the years, Disney has had multiple anthology programs on all the networks. Much of the featured programming is on Disney Plus, but wouldn't it be great to see the old intros and outros as they originally aired? While poking around, I saw a Disneyland TV special from the 1960s, but there is so much more. Even if you ignore the episodes that "just" presented an old Disney movie, there are lots of documentaries and theme park specials to show, and some of them have already been available on streaming and DVD. Make them available on Plus!
6) Mousterpiece Theater: Longtime Disney Channel observers will remember this charming series in which George Plimpton introduced classic Disney animated shorts, and he did it exactly the way you would envision and hope he would. I'd love to see this again. Come to think of it, there is a lot of programming from the "premium channel" days that would supplement the Plus catalog. Remember Duck Presents? Shows like this offer nostalgia for adults and the opportunity to provide--here;s that word I generally dislike--curation for people who don't want to wade through the service for classic shorts.
7) National Geographic Explorer: I admit I don't know a whole lot about this, but it's been on for over 30 years, and there are lots of Nat Geo TV specials in the vault, too. One thing that stands out when you look at Disney Plus today is how paltry the National Geographic section is. Not all of us are put off by non-fiction programming made before 2010, but I fear the attitude is that we are. i'd rather see some cool old science specials than current episodes of the likes of Dr. Pol.
8) Empty Nest: You know, it's kind of crazy that I am advocating for Fox and Nat Geo library shows when Disney is sitting on all the Touchstone shows like The Nutt House and Mama's Boy and...
OK, they're not all winners, and I know The Golden Girls is locked in at Hulu (though, wait, Disney now runs Hulu...). I'm not even a fan of Empty Nest, but I have to say it's odd that a series that ran 7 seasons and 170 episodes from a high-profile production company (the same team as Golden Girls) is relegated to runs on diginet Laff and has never received a home video release nor a streaming run.
9) ABC Circle Films: This outfit was folded into ABC proper and may own the rights to Moonlighting (ideal for Hulu) and tons of 1970s made-for-TV movies. Most of them would probably be better fits for Hulu, but, hey, while we're digging around, let's not forget all those movies like The President's Plane is Missing and Nightmare in Badham County (definitely a better fit for Hulu).
10) Vic's Vacant Lot: Unearthing this 1980s ESPN kiddie show hosted by tennis guru Vic Braden would give some co-branding opportunities, some sports programming, and--OK, this is an even longer shot than most of the others on this list, but I'd love to see it.
So let's just make one last entry:
11) Just about everything else: Just give us all of it, Disney. Don't worry about "overwhelming us with choice." If you want, make a Disney Plus for the rubes and a Disney Plus Plus with an extra authentication for those of us who want to wade through your archives like Scrooge plowing through the coins in his money bin!
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
2) Sesame Street: Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of the debut of the show on PBS. I'll never not be sad that the show is now primarily an HBO program, but it's good that it's still around.
3) The Doobie Brothers: Still riding the wave of their Batty success, the Doobies continue to make headlines. And then there's this fantastic recent upload:
4) Spider-Man: Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man stars in multiple series on the new Disney Plus service that debuts today, though (sadly) this one isn't available:
5) Fonz and the Happy Days Gang: The good news is CBS has made this short-lived 1980s cartoon available in Manufactured on Demand format. The bad news is it's 35 buck. "Hey, CBS! Price gouging isn't COOL, you dig?"
6) Laverne and Shirley in the Army: Well, this DVD set is "only" 25 bucks, but it's half as much material. By the way, sit and think about that for a minute if you missed this when it was on originally: They made a cartoon of Laverne and Shirley joining the Army.
7) Good Times: The classic show, covered here on the podcast, will be part of the next ABC live Norman Lear stunt night. I'm curious to see who they cast, but I'm more curious which castmembers return for a "surprise cameo."
8) Rhonda Shear: Happy birthday to the former host of USA's Up All Night. It's a little outside our time frame, but I think we should acknowledge one of the Mount Rushmore of TV movie hosts, along with Robert Osbourne (TCM), Bob Dorian (AMC), and Colonel PoopyBritches (Channel 82's Kiddie Laff Matinee).
9) Scooby-Doo: Warner Brothers has a scheme to create a--say it with us--"shared universe" of animated features, and it will start with perhaps its flagship character. I already regret encouraging this with a spot on this list, but let's hope for the best.
10) Barry Frank: R.IP. to a man many not know, but a man who had tremendous influence on the television industry. Frank was the IMG big shot who represented many sportscasters and also was instrumental in the creation of classic series like one of our favorites:
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Why do we present a picture of the Doobies on a day focusing on stress relief? No reason.
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
I'm just thankful Mike has never called me a blockhead or threatened to slug me during an installment of the TV Guide game...yet.
Monday, November 4, 2019
2) Don Johnson: Watchmen, Knives Out, a Nash Bridges revival...the Donaissance continues, but it won't be complete until a reissue of this with remastering and bonus tracks:
3) Arsenio Hall: New standup special on Netflix confirms that...Arsenio is still around.
4) Dennis Miller: Happy birthday to the best Weekend Update anchor of all time, IMO, who also has a nice gig hosting Fridays on Turner Classic Movies this month.
5) The Wizard of Oz: Today in 1956 was the first televised showing of the film, which went on to charm millions of adults and terrorize millions of kids each year around Thanksgiving for decades.
6) Walter Mercado: R.I.P. to the astrologer who was a fixture on TV for years. You can't tell me that knowing Spanish would in any way be a requirement to enjoy something like this:
7) Good Morning America: The ABC morning staple premiered on this day in 1975.
8) Kari Michaelsen: Happy birthday to the former child star from Gimme a break. She of course was the middle daughter. Or was she Samantha? Or the blonde?
Well...I know she wasn't The Chief.
9) Diff'rent Strokes: Today also marks the anniversary of this classic sitcom, which we cover on the podcast right here. Come to think of it, I think Diff'rent Strokes covered more serious issues during its run than Good Morning America did. Plus Strokes had a cuddlier star than David Hartman--Conrad Bain.
10) Tom Shales: Happy birthday to the former Washington Post TV critic, though for some reason I have the feeling he'd be kind of grumpy about being included on this list. Sorry, Mr. Shales, but while we respect your work, you're no Gary Deeb.
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Bouton put up much of the money for the product after two fellow Portland Mavericks associated created the concept. Big League Chew is still around today.
I was not a huge gum kid, seeing it mostly as an obstacle in the wax pack separating me from my baseball cards, but you got to love Big League Chew. In fact, you have to admire that a product so clealry patterned after something dangerous and illegal (for kids) is so successful. this tobacco imitator broke through in a way candy cigarettes never did, and this kind of marketing had a lot to do with it.
Monday, October 28, 2019
Sunday, October 27, 2019
2) Bay City Blues: As we enjoy the World Series this week, let;s remember the 1983 Steve Bochco dramedy even if nobody else does (except ESPN Classic, which did rerun the series years ago).
3) Al Burton: R.I.P. to a guy who had an amazing TV career. Not only did he produce shows like The Jeffersons and Fernwood 2Night and create Charles in Charge (hey, let's not speak ill of the recently deceased), but he has co-songwriting credits on Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes. And who could forget his theme for this Elliot Gould sitcom:
4) The Bradys: It seems like every week, HGTV announces some new Brady Bunch project combining alumni of the beloved show with some kind of home-related concept.
To be honest, I'm getting a little tired of it.
5) Disneyland: On this date in 1954, the first Disney series on TV debuted, and it was named after the new theme park. Of course it led to numerous incarnations of Disney anthology shows through the years, including the BOTNS era. I can live without Song of the South being on Disney +, but how about we lobby for something like this that should have an actual snowball's chance of being on there?
6) Room 222: The Closer magazine classic TV podcast interviewed Karen Valentine to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the classic high school show and also featured her in a big article on its website.
7) Ned Wertimer: Ralph the Doorman's birthday was today, but there aren't a lot of Ned Wertimer clips out there, so let's watch co-star Sherman Helmsley on Soul Train:
8) Joe Garagiola: Speaking of baseball, remember all those times we heard Vin Scully call the Series on NBC? Well, Joe wasn't as revered, but...he was often there, too!
9) Ghost Story: Get ready for Halloween with Decades' weekend binge of the early 1970s anthology series also known as Circle of Fear.. Hey, wait, nobody gets this channel. Looks like we got a rock.
10) Dick Van Patten: I recently heard Tony Figueroa say on the TV Confidential radio show that he heard DVP was very protective of the kids on Eight Is Enough. We don't need more reason than that to put him on the list!
Thursday, October 24, 2019
*Kristoff St. John
*King Kong Bundy
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
*Tommy Westphall Universe: For those unfamilar with this phenomenon, click here for a quick read. We thank the Westphall snow globe for hosting the Sixth Batty Awards.
*According to IMDB, Richard Mulligan and Richard Moll never worked together on camera, but Moll's Night Court co-star Marsha Warfield did become a regular on Mulligan's Empty Nest.
*The Pittsburgh drug scandals plagued Major League Baseball and the Pirates in the 1980s, with a series of trials in 1985 and multiple suspensions. The mascot was even involved! I recommend this excellent book by Aaron Skirboll for the whole story.
*Jayne Kennedy was a star on NFL Today, a host of Greatest Sports Legends, a Miss Ohio, an actress, and more. Jayne Meadows was an actress in movies like Lady of the Lake, a game show panelist, and one-half of a well-publicized marriage with Steve Allen.
So there's really no reason to confuse them...yet I mix up the names all the time.
*Rhea Perlman had a short-lived CBS sitcom in 1996 called Pearl (also starring Malcom McDowell), and did make a guest appearance on an episode of Hot in Cleveland.
*Michael Richards had his own eponymous sitcom shortly after Seinfeld but later had a recurring role on the TV Land original Kirstie, which starred Kirstie Alley. She was on Cheers, which may be why I thought Rhea Perlman and Richards were on a show together...but then again, consider that I keep mixing up Jayne Kennedy and Jayne Meadows.
Monday, October 21, 2019
2) The Doobie Brothers: Last week they received one of the most prestigious honors a performer in their field can get...and they also were nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
3) Ed Flanders: Stupid Flanders. Everyone always thinks HE'S so great with his dumb mustache and his--Oh, ED Flanders! Yes! Congratulations to this season's Genius Award winner.
4) Shelley Long: Edged our Cybill Shepherd for Outstanding Female Performer, and if you think Cybill had a tantrum, shame on you for perpetuating that dated stereotype that successful, talented women are hypercompetitive and "difficult" and can't appreciate each other's acclaim.
No, Shepherd was just glad Christine Baranski didn't win it.
5) Ted Danson: Seriously, is it time to just name Ted Danson Emperor?
6) Alan Thicke: The Thickening of Battle of the Network Shows continues in 2019 with his wonderful exasperation, and because I need to get some video in this post, here it is again:
7) Moonlighting: The theme song lost a valiant battle against Cheers but put up a good fight, much like the knock-down drag-out battles between Cybill Shepherd and--hey, wait, you almost got me again.
8) Gary Deeb: Perhaps no other season 6 individual captured hearts and imaginations like former media critic Gary Deeb. Here's MY criticism of the media: Why isn't there more archival footage of Gary Deeb critiquing stuff?
9) Solomon Grundy: Has anyone ever explored a possible link between Grundy and fellow Batty nominee Cocaine? I'm not saying, but I'm just saying. The paranoia, the irritability, the general edginess, the pallor...
10) Bob Uecker: I can only speak for myself, but of all the people who didn't win (let's say that instead of losers to pay tribute to Ned Flanders), the one I most wish I could give an award to is Bob Uecker. Rest assured we put him in the front row inside the snow globe.
Friday, October 18, 2019
Winners are listed in bold below:
Best Sitcom Ensemble (Listener Award)
The cast of What's Happening!!
The Seavers (and others) form Growing Pains
The cast of Cheers
The Doobie Brothers (What's Happening!!)
Eddie Sands (Hardcastle & McCormick)
Eric Raymond (Jem and the Holograms)
John Hurt (Donahue)
Al Dunbar (What's Happening!!)
The Riddler (Legends of the Superheroes)
Solomon Grundy (Legends of the Superheroes)
Outstanding Performance by a Youth
Ernest Thomas (What's Happening!!)
Jeremy Miller (Growing Pains)
Danny Cooksey (Growing Pains)
Dominic Lerner (Jem and the Holograms)
Outstanding Performance by a Non-Human
Cocaine (Growing Pains)
The Coyote (Hardcastle & McCormick)
Tape recorder (What's Happening!!)
Frasier Crane (Cheers)
Maddie Hayes (Moonlighting)
Jason Seaver (Growing Pains)
Mr. Carlin (St. Elsewhere)
Phil Donahue (Donahue)
Outstanding Facial Hair
The Doobie Brothers (What's Happening!!)
Cliff Clavin (Cheers)
Dr. Craig (St. Elsewhere)
Willie Stargell (Greatest Sports Legends)
Phil Donahue (Donahue)*
Sam Malone (Cheers)
Jem (Jem and the Holograms)
Jayne Kennedy (Greatest Sports Legends)
Lena Lerner (Jem and the Holograms)
Mike Seaver (Growing Pains)
Huntress (Legends of the Superheroes)
*Chosen by random number generator
Outstanding Performance as Oneself
Ed McMahon (Legends of the Superheroes)
Phil Donahue (Donahue)
Gary Deeb (Donahue)
Buddy Ebsen (Hardcastle & McCormick)
The Doobie Brothers (What's Happening!!)
Bob Uecker (Greatest Sports Legends)
Takin' It to the Streets performed by The Doobie Brothers (What's Happening!!)
Gloria performed by Laura Branigan (Automan)
Limbo Song performed by David Addison (Moonliughting)
All Night Long performed by Various Artists in the Jem Jam (Jem and the Holograms)
Gimme performed by The Misfits (Jem and the Holograms)
Oustanding Theme Song (with vocals)
Jem and the Holograms
Hardcastle & McCormick
Outstanding Theme Song (instrumental)
Legends of the Superheroes
Greatest Sports Legends
Outstanding Supporting Performance by a Male
Kelsey Grammer (Cheers)
John Ratzenberger (Cheers)
George Wendt (Cheers)
Frank Gorshin (Legends of the Superheroes)
Alan Hale Jr. (Growing Pains)
Outstanding Supporting Performance by a Female
Kristy Swanson (Charlie's Angels)
Barbara Bain (Moonlighting)
Rhea Perlman (Cheers)
Laura Branigan (Automan)
Betty White (St. Elsewhere)
Jan Hooks (Tush)
Outstanding Performance by a Male
Ted Danson (Cheers)
Alan Thicke (Growing Pains)
Bruce Willis (Moonlighting)
William Daniels (St. Elsewhere)
Adam West (Legends of the Superheroes)
Outstanding Performance by a Female
Shelley Long (Cheers)
Cybill Shepherd (Moonlighting)
Jayne Kennedy (Greatest Sports Legends)
Jem (Jem and the Holograms)
Mabel King (What's Happening!!)
Best Episode (that we covered)
Power Play (Cheers)
Best Show (that we covered)
Robert Pine Genius Award: Ed Flanders (St. Elsewhere)
Finally, we want to give a special thanks to our listeners for your support and for inspiring us as we completed another fun season. We had a great time making them and hope you enjoyed hearing them.
Stay tuned for more bonus episodes and news on season 7!
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Check out this episode!
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
This is a huge week for the Doobies because not only do they have a chance to get into the Rock Hall, but they are nominated for at least one Batty Award, a new listener-voted prize! Will they win? Will they be in the mix for other Battys? Which Doobie do you be?
Find out soon on the Battys!
Monday, October 14, 2019
9:00 AM: Marathon of nominated series and shows: Catch up on all the programs the BOTNS team will discuss on the big show.
3:00 PM: Pre-Pre-Battys Special hosted by Vince McMahon and Jesse "the Body" Ventura: A close look at the major storylines heading into the sixth Batty Awards. Special interviews by Mean Gene Okerlund.
4:00 PM: Pre-Battys Special hosted by Bill Tush and Ed McMahon: An even closer look at the major storylines heading into the sixth Batty Awards but with slightly more upscale sponsors. Special interviews by Jayne Kennedy and Willie Stargell.
6:00 PM: The Hector Ramirez and Rona Barrett Special: Two of television's preeminent journalists sit down with some of the most intriguing personalities who captured the audience's imagination this past season.
7:00 PM: The Official Battys Red Carpet Special hosted by Ted Knight and Billie Newman: See the stars make their way to [location yet to be revealed] for the ceremony while hearing the latest chatter about the awards show. Also featuring roving reporter Jack McGee.
8:00 PM: The 6th Batty Awards: It's 1970s and 1980s TV's biggest night as stars, also-rans, and inanimate objects gather for the prestigious ceremony celebrating the best of Battle of the Network Shows' sixth season.
???: The Official Battys Post-Show Presented by Lowenbrau: Wrap-up of the highlights of the Battys hosted by ALF and Grossy from CHiPs.
????: Really Late with Tom Snyder: A final look back on the events of Batty Night featuring veteran broadcaster Snyder along with the celebrities still sober/alert enough to appear on camera, plus an assortment of random "civilians."
Sunday, October 13, 2019
2) Patrick Simmons: Or is it Gary Sandy? Check out this week's bonus episode if you haven't already, and then look at the show notes to find out why music is The Doctor.
3) Rip Taylor: R.I.P. Rip. If it starts raining confetti, point up at the sky and thank the Ripper for moments like this:
Wow, Rip Taylor would have made an excellent addition to the cast of Happy Days.
4) Julia: Aspire paid tribute to the late Diahann Carroll Saturday with a marathon of her notable sitcom. If only more than a couple thousand people (like me) had access to Aspire.
5) Dean Martin: Amazon Prime Video, through its arrangement with Shout! Factory TV, added several interesting Dino videos this week: 1975 special Dean's Place and two different listings for Dean Martin's Red Hot Scandals of 1976, which confuses me since it looks like there were only one of those made.
6) William Shatner: The icon was at an autograph show in the BOTNS area this weekend, but unfortunately we didn't get a chance to go and ask him about Barbary Coast. There's always next time.
7) Robert Forster: A BOTNS salute to the late actor. To be honest, I've never seen a full episode of Banyon, but I'm betting if Forster is starring in a Quinn Martin Production, it's pretty cool.
8) Phil Collins: We send "get well" wishes to the reportedly ailing Collins, who defined a decade when his music had a prominent role on one of the most influential television programs of the 1980s.
I'm talking, of course,about Take Me Home's use as the closing theme of Saturday Night's Main Event.
9) Demond Wilson: Happy birthday to Wilson, born on this day in 1946 and of course best known for creating the role of Son.
10) Marie Osmond: Happy birthday as well to Osmond, in part because it gives us an excuse to post another Rip Taylor clip:
Friday, October 11, 2019
*Why was Gary Sandy not in The New WKRP in Cincinnati? It's unclear. A Los Angeles Times article from the time of the revival's 1991 debut in syndication says Sandy and Jan Smithers expressed interest in doing guest shots, but this Sun-Sentinel article says:
Gary Sandy and Jan Smithers have been out of contact, but if they can be located and coaxed aboard, they'll be welcome.
If they can be located? The article makes it seem like everyone got the gang back together (or many of them) for a new go-round and just decided to wing it and find the others if they could.
*The Doctor reached #9 on the pop charts in 1989.
*Here's the Isaac Hayes performance of Shaft at the Oscars. Can YOU spot background dancer Gary Sandy?
*The Falcon and the Snowman was a 1985 Orion motion picture based on a true story and a 1979 book.
Thursday, October 10, 2019
On our recent "What's Happening!!" episode, Mike suggested that WKRP actor Gary Sandy and Doobie Brother Patrick Simmons share an uncanny resemblance. Now he puts Rick to the test to see if he can differentiate between Sandy or Simmons, and we learn a few things along the way!