Friday, July 19, 2019

The Moonlighting playlist is now live!

This week's YouTube playlist is now up, and you can click below to see more of Moonlighting, including: Commercials! Promos! Curtis Armstrong! Dolly Parton and Allyce Beasley together at last! All this and more when you click below:

Remember to check our official YouTube channel for more playlists like this and past episodes!

Show Notes: Episode 6-7: Moonlighting

*My Fair David, the fifth episode of Moonlighting's second season, premiered October 29, 1985, on ABC, sandwiched between Who's the Boss/Growing Pains and Spenser for Hire. It aired against Riptide on NBC and an original TV movie called Into Thin Air on CBS.

*The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice is the famous black-and-white episode, it's highly recommended, and it aired two weeks before this one.

*For more talk of Bruce Willis at his Bruno-ist, check out this episode for our discussion of his Seagram's ads from the 1980s, and click HERE for Mike's exploration of his musical career.

*Willis was an arms dealer in an episode of Miami Vice (No Exit) before landing the role of David Addison.

*The Yellow Rose starring Cybill Shepherd and Sam Elliott aired on NBC in the 1983-84 season. The nighttime soap lasted only 22 episodes.

*The limbo originated in Trinidad but was originally tied in with the slave trade. Around the mid-twentieth century, it became the peppy signifier of fun we know today!

*Barbara Bain played agent Cinnamon Carter on Mission Impossible, co-starring with husband Martin Landau.

*The series' theme song, recorded by Al Jarreau and written by Jarreau and Lee Holdridge, reached #23 on the Billboard singles chart and #1 on the AC chart in 1987.

*Check out this fascinating Chicago Tribune piece from the time of the series finale. In it, the author points out the decline of the ratings, implying that the time slot shift to Sunday night was partly responsible, and also quotes TV critic Tom Shales blaming the consummation of the David-Maddie relationship for the decline of the show.  However, it also touches on on-set tensions, production delays, and all the things that added up to a rocky ride.

*Here's another article debunking the "Moonlighting Curse."

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Episode 6-7: Moonlighting "My Fair David"

Fed up with David's antics--limbo party, anyone--Maddie challenges him to act like an adult for a week. Will he, or won't he? Also, some guy gets kidnapped or something. Plus, we put on our own detective hats and try to answer whether the "will they, or won't they?" aspect of the show truly caused its demise?

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

YouTube Spotlight: Back to Thicke

We're running an extra YouTube Spotlight because we want to ensure as many people as possible see THIS:

This number was performed on the 1988 Crystal Light National Aerobic Championship, which alone might merit an investigation if I weren't so fixated on Thicke;s song. Here's a closer look at the tune and analysis of the lyrics if you are interested in doing your own investigation.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Happy birthday, Alex Karras!

The late Webster star and NFL great was born on this date in 1935. Karras' TV career had more variety than you might think; in addition to his family sitcom fame in the 1980s, he was a Tonight Show regular, a member of the Monday Night Football booth for several seasons, and the star of efforts like this:

The 1977 TV movie is an interesting look at the world of pro grappling that I never see discussed in conversations about wrestling movies. It's a worthwhile watch, though, co-starring Nicholas Colasanto, Susan Anspach, Elisha Cook Jr., and Tracey Walter. At first glance it's a movie about a lug of a rassler who wonders if he is right for the woman he falls for, but, hey, he's also being stalked by a homicidal loner!

Read more about the movie here.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #24

1) Bob Uecker: Mr. Baseball steals the show in our Greatest Sports Legends episode this week, as we talk as much about Mr. Belvedere as we do sports and legends. I think we should all thank Ueck for the excuse to watch a ton of old Miller Lite commercials.

Come to think of it, all things considered, was the "Tastes great, less filling," campaign the best in TV history? It should be in the conversation.

2) Terry Bradshaw: I hope Bradshaw is secure enough in his skin these days to not be offended at being runner up to Bob. He still has the 4 Super Bowl rings and his legacy as a surprisingly effective pitchman:

3) Jim Bouton: While we're on a sports theme this week, R.I.P. to Jim Bouton, who (with co-author Leonard Shecter) turned a diary of his season with the expansion Seattle Pilots into one of the most outstanding and influential sports books of all time, Ball Four. Longtime BOTNS listeners will remember we discussed Ball Four the TV series as a "What We'd Like to See" feature back in this episode AND a  "What We Saw" episode here!

4) Love Boat: You know what I would be doing this weekend if I had Decades channel? Figuring out how I inadvertently paid for a streaming package that included it. But THEN I would settle in and watch the Love Boat marathon, coming out of it on Monday in a Stubing stupor.

5) Charlotte Rae: Watching some early Facts of Life on Roku Channel makes me think that if anything, we undersold what a "force of nature" Rae was. I mean, it takes guts and gusto to sell every_single_line with a wink, a wiggle, and a lilt

6) Rip Torn: His greatest TV role came after our time period on The Larry Sanders Show, but I can't imagine seeing him in anything and not being entertaining. Me-TV pays tribute to him, highlighting his appearance on Columbo, here.

7) Quincy: Hey, all this furor over Friends and The Office leaving Netflix MONTHS from now makes me wonder where the heck everyone was when Quincy M.E. just left with little warning? I was fighting the fight back then, folks. Now y'all want to jump on the bandwagon and talk about beloved series switching streaming services? Well, at least Friends and The Office are going somewhere, unlike Quincy, still in limbo.

8) Lynda Carter: Speaking of Me-TV, this article on TV stars who made disco albums in the 1970s would be great even without the picture of her, but with it...

9) Eric Laneuville: Happy birthday to the former St. Elsewhere regular. Hey, would anyone like to hear us cover that one on the pod?

10) Eddie Mekka: Because we can't emphasize too strongly how great that Me-TV disco article is. Did you know Mekka cut a record called Big Boss Man in 1979?

Saturday, July 13, 2019

YouTube Spotlight: Pac-Man Meets the Pittsburgh Pirates

This week's Spotlight focuses on one of the more intriguing items from our Greatest Sports Legends playlist: A 1982 Atari Pac-Man ad featuring the Pittsburgh Pirates:

Now, the info at the end indicates this was a local campaign targeting the Western PA area, but I am intrigued. In how many markets did they do this? keep in mind that though they had won the World Series in 1979, the Pirates had a bad year in the strike-torn 1981 season, finishing well below .500, so they weren't exactly a hot marquee team.

It's funny to see manager Chuck Tanner trying to track down his starting middle infield of 2B Johnny Ray, who was one of my favorites as a kid for his "J-Ray" nickname; and SS Dale Berra, who was one of my favorites as a kid for his massive cocaine habit (just kidding!). Berra would become a notorious figure in baseball circles as the Pittsburgh drug trials blew up, but for now, the guy just wants to Hoover up those Pac-pellets.

As for the game, I was never an Atari man--we had like every other system except that one--but this version of Pac-Man was reviled even though it was a huge seller. it was a big hit in the Bucco clubhouse, though!

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Greatest Sports Legends YouTube playlist is now live!

If you are a fan of sports in general, hilarity, Pittsburgh sports, or Mr. Belvedere, you will want to check out this week's massive YouTube playlist. Click below to see Terry Bradshaw sing! Bob Uecker on The Tonight Show! The Immaculate Reception! Iron City beer! And speaking of beer, plenty of Miller Lite commercials with Mr. Baseball himself!

Enjoy, and remember to visit our official YouTube channel for past podcast episodes and playlists like this one!

Show Notes: Episode 6-6: Greatest Sports Legends

*Greatest Sports Legends aired in first-run syndication from 1972-, producing 207 episodes. In this week's podcast, we discuss the profiles of Terry Bradshaw (May 1987) and Bob Uecker (July 1985).

*The series featured multiple hosts over the years, including Jayne Kennedy (who hosts the Uecker episode) and George Plimpton, but also jocks (ex- and current) like Tom Seaver and Reggie Jackson.

*Despite what Rick says on the podcast, the New England Patriots have won 6 Super Bowls, with quarterback Tom Brady winning all of them.

*Here's a cool pic from Pinterest of the old Sears catalog NFL merch:

*Terry Bradshaw played QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1970-1983, then entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1989. he started his broadcasting career in 1984 as a color commentator on CBS' NFL game coverage, then moved to FOX and became a studio analyst.

*Check out Franco Harris' Immaculate Reception in our YouTube playlist this week!

*Willie Stargell, the "guest host" for the Bradshaw episode, is himself a Hall of Famer, entering the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988 after a 21-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he hit 475 home runs.

*Bob "Mr. Baseball" Uecker was a career .200 hitter.

*Mr. Belvedere aired 1985-1990 on ABC. Let us know if you want us to cover it on the podcast!

*There are no plans for a Belvedere revival...none that we know of, anyway.

*Ahmad Rashad is a former NFL Pro Bowl Wide Receiver and sportscaster who was NBC's main sideline reporter during the Michael Jordan years.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

6-6: Greatest Sports Legends Terry Bradshaw and Bob Uecker

This week, we look back at an unofficial TV genre, weekend dad TV, the kind of show that might fill the gap between the early game and the late game. Greatest Sports Legends combines interviews and documentary footage to cover the great athletes of the day. In a typical episode, Willie Stargell interviews Terry Bradshaw. Then an atypical episode parodies the show buy focusing on legendary bad player, raconteur, announcer, and actor Bob Uecker.

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Steve Dorff and Friends: Growing Pains

As promised on our Growing Pains episode, a review of Steve Dorff and Friends: Growing Pains, Theme from Growing Pains and Other Hit T.V. Themes. Even before I listened to the CD, I felt disappointed. The liner notes revealed that the album featured new recordings of the various theme songs by Dorff and others. I would have preferred the original versions, but this issue seems to plague TV soundtracks. Nevertheless, I dug into the 35 minutes of this album. Before I get into the individual songs, I should mention that most use a lot of generic eighties soft rock production that I don't care for--the electric piano sound that launched a thousand ballads, highly processed, harmonized guitar lines, drum machines, etc. That said, Dorff does have a knack for writing catchy melodies.

"Growing Pains Theme: As Long As We Got Each Other": This remake of the duet version features B.J. Thomas and Dusty Springfield. It clocks in at over 4 minutes, but it doesn't sound weird that way. With an added verse and many added choruses, it feels more like a duet that the truncated versions, and Dorff didn't add a bridge or any extra parts really. Instead, he leans on the best aspect of the song--the chorus. At the end, Thomas and Springfield vamp over background singers repeating "As long as." You know, this one works.

"Spenser: For Hire Theme": The highlight for me. I liked this theme back when, and I like it here. It combines some cooler eighties synth sounds (the kind that could almost fit with Miami Vice) with a melody and general arrangement that would have worked on a seventies detective show. Saxophone and admittedly cheesy guitar trade melody lines, and strings (or string-like sounds) add that seventies touch.

"My Sister Sam Theme: Room Enough for Two": Kind of weird. Kim Carnes couldn't make the recording session, so Jill Colucci (the writer of two songs I've never heard of) fills in. It opens with a one-minute instrumental intro, and then Colucci sings the very brief lyrics. I guess Dorff and lyricist John Bettis never wrote a full-song version of this one.

"Murphy Brown Suite: Like the Whole World's Watching": I don't get this. From what I can tell, Murphy Brown didn't have much of a theme song, so I don't know where this originally appeared. I'm also not sure what makes it a suite. Anyway, vocal group Take 6 gives a spirited performance, singing a capella for about half the song before some drums and other instruments join. They also sing Murphy Brown's name a bunch of times. Baffling.

"F.Y.I.": Another instrumental, and I dig this one. This must have served as the theme for Murphy's TV news magazine F.Y.I., and it fits. Energetic piano drives most of the song, although Dorff makes room for a wailing guitar solo, too. It sounds a little like early Bruce Hornsby and the Range. A lot more exciting than a ticking stopwatch.

"Growing Pains/'Aloha' Episode: Swept Away": You know, I kind of like this one, too. The cheese factor goes up, and yet it feels more like a soft, spreadable cheese than a hard cheddar. Christopher Cross plays tasteful lead acoustic guitar, and various synths play various mellow sounds. You can really visualize the Hawaii montage that must have gone along with it. No doubt, Mike fell in love, Jason and Maggie had some alone time, Carol learned about Hawaiian culture (and maybe fell in love, too), and Ben did something goofy (hula dancing, surfing, finding a cursed idol?). Anyhow, a nice calm song.

"Growing Pains/'Graduation Day' Episode: This is the Day": B.J. Thomas returns for this catchy tune produced very much in the same style has the theme song. I'm pretty sure it might hold a record for the most key changes in one song. In fact, I'd swear it had key changes in the middle of lines. I can't figure out the point of view. Some parts sound like Jason and Maggie talking to Mike, but other parts sound like Mike talking to them: "I believed with every part of my heart/I would catch that one falling star for you/Oh, it might be a shade overdue/But this is the day."

"The Oldest Rookie Theme": This theme to the short-lived Paul Sorvino The Oldest Rookie, um, awesome. Electronic percussion and rhythmic synths churn under the sunny main melody (played on harmony guitars natch). Then blues harmonica adds a dash of incongruity before a heavier "riff" section (just imagine two or three or a dozen guitar players moving to the front of the stage, then riffing together). At the end of that section, electric piano and more blues harmonica trade back and forth (just imagine the keytar player and Bruce Willis moving to the front of the stage and facing off) before transitioning back to the main melody. If The Oldest Rookie had been a hit, everyone would know this song.

"Just the Ten of Us Suite: Just the Six of Us/Doin' It the Best I Can": I don't mean to pick on the talented guys in Take 6 (they sing lovely harmonies and seem full of joy), but again, weird. I guess it qualifies as a suite by actually having two parts, though. The first part, which takes up the bulk of the running time, features the guys from Take 6 (hence the title) doing an a capella variation on "Doin' It the Best I Can." That ends, and without transition, the actual original recording from the show kicks in. If you don't remember this Growing Pains spinoff or its theme, it features Bill Medley (fresh off his Dirty Dancing resurgence) giving it his considerable all in this spirited, positive-thinking theme. Like the show itself, it doesn't quite live up to Growing Pains.

"Whattley By the Bay Theme": Whattley By the Bay featured on CBS Summer Playhouse, a good reason for not having heard of it. Richard Gilliland (J.D. from Designing Women) played, to quote IMDB, "a big-city newspaper editor [who] decides return home to the town where he grew up." A pleasant instrumental in the same spirit as "Swept Away."

"Medley: Every Which Way But Loose Theme, I Just Fall in Love Again, Through the Years": The true disappointment of this album. I admit some of that disappointment comes from my own expectations, but it does seem like a missed opportunity. The liner notes explain that Dorff accompanies his own vocals on piano, which seems fair enough, and that the singers best known for the included songs join him: Eddie Rabbitt, Anne Murray, and Kenny Rogers. You can imagine it on a variety show or an awards show. Dorff sits alone at the piano in the spotlight and starts singing, then out of the shadows steps Eddie Rabbitt. The crowd goes nuts, Rabbitt takes over the vocals. The same happens for the other two songs, and then all three join Dorff for a final rousing chorus of "Through the Years" (or better yet the Growing Pains theme). Alas, this doesn't happen. Dorff does start alone, but then Rabbitt and Murray only join him with subtle background vocals. Rogers at least gets a chorus of "Through the Years." I didn't know the "Every Which Way But Loose Theme," but I recognized "I Just Fall in Love Again" from my mom's love of Anne Murray, and of course "Through the Years" was a big crossover hit.

Final thoughts: Going back through a second time to write this, I ended up a little more positive on the album overall than I thought. The instrumentals definitely stand out and seem more adventurous than some of the other pieces. Then again, the two Take 6 pieces show a willingness to experiment. I just didn't get the experiment. Music played a huge part of TV in the BOTNS era, and I wish there were more collections out there.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #23

1) Ralph Hinkley (AKA Ralph Hanley): On this extended holiday weekend, there is no better personification of our nation's essential awesomeness than the Greatest American Hero himself!

2) Mad Magazine: News that the mag is ceasing publication bummed me out. Much of what I knew about 1970s and 1980s pop culture, I learned from reading Mad.

3) Arte Johnson: R.I.P. to the Laugh-In star, who was a fixture on TV in general in the BOTNS era. Cartoons, game shows, variety shows--he was everywhere!

4) Olivia De Havilland: Not a major TV presence, but, come on, she just turned 103!

5) Dolly Read Martin: The Playmate and actress was on the TV Confidential podcast in a delightful appearance. Any excuse to watch some old Tattletales episodes is all right by us.

6) Lee Iacocca: The former Chrysler leader, one of the business icons of the Eighties, died this week at 94.

7) Ringo Starr: Born on July 7, 1940, the former Richard Starkey did a little drumming but is of course best known for this TV special:

8) Captain America: Hey, speaking of Independence Day and America, don't forget this guy! One of our greatest (but not THE greatest according to TV--see #1) superheroes got a shot at TV stardom in the late 1970s, and while it didn't work, well, we got a podcast episode out of it.

9) Ryan's Hope: The ABC daytime soap premiered this day in 1975 and lasted till 1989.

10) Remington Steele: The weekend binge on Decades is celebrating this NBC series.

Friday, July 5, 2019

The Growing Pains playlist is now live!

Happy Independence Day weekend, everyone! After listening to this week's Growing Pains podcast, check out the YouTube playlist for the show. Click below to see Stan Lee! Jeremy Miller imitates Columbo! Alan Thick sings something called...Sweaty and Hot! All this plus vintage promos, PSAs, commercials, and bloopers! This might be the most packed playlist we've ever assembled, so don't ya dare miss it!

Remember to check our official YouTube channel for more playlists like this as well as past episodes of the podcast!

Show Notes Episode 6-5: Growing Pains

*The two episodes we discuss on the podcast are Season 2 Episode 15. Thank God It's Friday, which aired 8:30 on February 10, 1987; and Season 3 Episode 10, This Is Your Life, which premiered November 10, 1987.

*Growing Pains edged Valerie and Who's the Boss to win our listener's choice poll. The series aired 7 seasons (1985-1992) and 166 episodes on ABC.

*Tracy Gold's sister Missy was the governor's daughter on Benson.

*Kirk Cameron's feature film career included 1987 body-switching comedy Like Father Like Son with Dudley Moore and 1989 debate-team drama Listen to Me.  The latter flopped after attempting to capitalize on the fact that it featured a debate about abortion!

*We didn't mention it on the pod, but Cameron also headlined the two-season WB sitcom Kirk.

*Thick of the Night was a late-night syndicated talk show that lasted less than a year. Before that, however, Alan Thicke did have a popular daytime show in Canada.

*Keep watching this site for more info on the CD by Steve Dorff that we talk about in this episode!

*Andrew Koenig (Richard "Boner" Stabone) (1968-2010) was the son of Star Trek's Walter Koenig.

*Want more fun facts about Growing Pains? We recommend this cool Mental Floss article.

*College guy and party maven Roland Taylor on Thank God It's Friday is portrayed by Justin Williams, who also appeared as a contractor in season 5's two-parter The New Deal.

*Kristy Swanson was Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the 1992 film.

*Nancy Reagan's appearance on Diff'rent Strokes was April 30, 1983's The Reporter.

*It's difficult to find precise tonsillectomy rates, but the incidence of the procedure declined in a major way in recent decades--both in real life and, more importantly, on sitcoms.

*Alan Hale Jr., AKA Jonas "The Skipper" Grumby, was 66 at the time This Is Your Life aired.

*Cast member Jeremy Miller is active in the media discussing a Growing Pains revival, but there are no firm plans right now. The series is complete on DVD and is in reruns on Antenna TV.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

6-5: Growing Pains "Thank God It's Friday" and "This is Your Life"

This week, we take a long, hard look two episodes of our Eighties Family Sitcom listener poll winner Growing Pains. In "Thank God It's Friday," Mike faces a tough decision when he finds himself at a cocaine (cocaine?!) party! Then a tonsillectomy sends Ben on a long, strange trip that includes the Skipper and a stunning heel turn by Danny Cooksey! Pull on your favorite pastel baggy sweater and cozy up to your hi-fi for Growing Pains.

Check out this episode!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #22

1) Max Wright: The veteran actor died at 75 this week. Remember, he wasn't just the dad on a sitcom about a talking alien. He was also the straight man on a sitcom about a talking alien.

2) Ed Asner: We'd like to congratulate the 89-year-old star for landing a spot on Briarpatch, the upcoming USA network anthology series from Sam Esmail. We'd also like to think he would accept our congratulations with a gruff deflection.

3) Bob Dorian: R.I.P. to the host of American Movie Classics from the days when it was actually good! Dorian's fun facts and easygoing style made prime time on the old AMC a welcoming place for lovers of old movies.

4) Cookie Monster: The Seasame Street veteran sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame this week to rave reviews.

5) Superman: According to DC Comics, today is the official birthday of the Man of Steel, who hit newsstands in Action Comics #1, dated June 1938.

6) David Garrison: The second-best character on Married With Children (and second place is no shame on a series with Al Bundy) was played by the great David Garrison, who was born this day in 1952. He also co-starred with Jason Bateman in one of the great lost sitcoms of the Eighties, It's Your Move:

7) Nancy Dussault: Happy birthday to the Tony-award-winning actress, born this day in 1936 and--wait, she won TONY awards? I am ashamed to say I knew her as Henry's wife on Too Close for Comfort.

8) Bob Ley: Happy trails and a pleasant retirement to the guy Chris Berman called the Conscience of ESPN. That's a lot better than Bob "Lay Lady" Ley.

9) All Creatures Great and Small: The beloved series of books about a Yorkshire veterinarian is going to get a reboot. I'm often wary of reboots, but this one is surely classy and well intentioned because it's British.

10) Gavin MacLeod: The 88-year-old BOTNS-era icon appeared on Gilbert Gottfried's podcast this week. Ed Asner scoffed, "That young whippersnapper? Big deal. I was on that podcast 4 years ago!"

Saturday, June 29, 2019

YouTube Spotlight: Donahue

Let's take a closer look at one of the cool clips in this week's YouTube playlist based on our Donahue episode.

Who better to host a special about the bible of television's anniversary than Phil? Well, Ok, maybe a few, but a lot more would be worse!

The mag celebrated the milestone with a book and with this NBC broadcast on Sunday, October 21, 1979. It aired as part of the network's The Big Event series of EVENT programming. I don't see the whole special online, but I would love to get a copy.

Here's the description from the Paley Center's online catalogue:

This special, hosted by Phil Donahue, looks at an era of history as it was portrayed on television. This special includes clips of programs and interviews with such personalities as Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Michael Landon, William S. Paley, Norman Lear, and others.

The entire description is here. It sounds pretty good!

Friday, June 28, 2019

The DONAHUE YouTube playlist is now live...caller!

This week on the YouTube playlist, we have the actual full-length Donahue episode we cover on the pod along with...David Letterman! Milton Friedman and Bernie Sanders! Marlo meets Phil and tells us we are Free to Be You and Me! And just what the heck was that Three's a Crowd game show? All this and more when you click below!

Remember to visit our official YouTube channel for past editions of the podcast plus more episode-specific playlists!

Show Notes: Episode 6-4: Donahue

*As of today, the Donahue episode we discuss is available on YouTube. It aired February 16, 1981, according to the uploader.

*Phil's series aired in syndication from 1970 to 1996, a record run for a nationally syndicated talk show.

*Donahue also appeared on The Today Show throughout the Eighties. After his syndicated series, he co-hosted a CNBC program with Vladimir Posner, then headlined an MSNBC show.

*Despite the sensationalist reputation The Donahue Show earned over the years, it also won 10 Emmys, and Donahue got a Peabody Award.

*Phil and Marlo Thomas married in 1980 and are still together. You can see their on-show meeting in our YouTube playlist this week!

*Donahue was born December 21, 1935, making him 83 today.

*Then Chicago Sun Times critic Gary Deeb is long retired and, sadly, has no social media presence. Here's an interesting 2003 article about a mini-controversy involving him and a Chi-town media personality. this 1975 Time piece (subscription required, unfortunately) described him as the wolf-man of the airwaves!

*The leading advocacy group for censorship on TV today is probably the Parents Television Council, founded in 1995 and still active.

*The hit list of broadcast shows targeted for advertiser boycotts according to an alleged 500,000 concerned voters:

Dallas, Soap, Saturday Night LiveCharlie's Angels, Three's Company

You can see our episodes on the last three in our archives.

And the syndicated ones:

Three's a Crowd, The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game.

*Chuck Barris created short-lived game show Three's a Crowd (September 1979-February 1980). It was hosted by Jim Peck and featured the premise, "Who knows a man better, his secretary or his wife?" Wikipedia reports:
According to Barris in his first autobiography, The Game Show King, the protests against the show—as well as the sometimes-evident lack of fun the contestants seemed to be having on it—prompted him to retreat from television production entirely

*Alan Thicke hosted a tamer version of Three's a Crowd for GSN in 1999.

*Sally Jessy Raphael hosted her own syndicated daytime talk show from 1984 to 2002.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

6-4: Donahue "The Clean Up TV Campaign"

Is the caller there? Is the caller fed up with filthy TV? Well find out how people felt in 1981 as silver-haired TV talk legend Phil Donahue talks to Pastor John Hurt of the Clean Up TV Campaign and Chicago TV critic Gary Deeb. What shows did 1980s churchgoers find the most offensive? How did the Campaign actually want to clean up TV? What did the studio audience think? Plus which BOTNS favorite does Gary Deeb call a "toilet show"?

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Promo Theatre: The classy marketing of the B.J. and the Bear revamp

I think this promo shows what NBC thought it needed to do to promote B.J. and the Bear after B.J. hired the lady truckers:

"Forget the funny animal, get Judy Landers pouring liquids on herself!"

Click here for our season 5 look at the series.

Monday, June 24, 2019

YouTube Spotlight: Hardcastle explains medical insurance

This great medical insurance ad displays that everyman quality Brian Keith could bring to the small screen. A recent post of this 1987 commercial let us upgrade it for our Hardcastle and McCormick playlist this week. Let Brian explain the Medicare Gap to you:

I really like how laid back yet methodical he is. The pencil gives him instant credibility, even if he's really just circling printed numbers.

This whole thing could be a scam for all I know, but BK has me wanting to sign up.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #21

1) Hardcastle and McCormick: Yes, the subject of our latest podcast episode--all the high-octane thrills and good-natured mismatched partner camaraderie you could ask for--but enough about Battle of the Network Shows; you might want to check out the series sometime, too.

2) I Married Dora: When was the last time you thought of this series? Check out yesterday's post for a closer look at this short-lived sitcom co-starring Daniel Hugh Kelly and Elizabeth Pena. Now, more than ever, we can use a sitcom celebrating defrauding the government by manipulating the system to circumvent immigration rules!

3) Michael McDonald: In an entertaining but low key (yet deeply soulful) appearance on The BS Report with Bill Simmons, McDonald talked with good-natured charm about that infamous What's Happening!! episode.

And it's always a good time to watch this:

4) Bryant Gumbel: Watching NBC celebrate 25 years of Today at its current Rockefeller Plaza studio makes you realize, hey, Bryant may have been a handful, but he was no Matt Lauer.

5) Jane Pauley: She did a great job on the show and had to deal with Bryant Gumbel.

6) Greg Gumbel: Because a few weeks ago, I stumbled on the fact that he was 73 years old, and I have been trying to work that in somewhere ever since.

7) T.J. Hooker: It's the big binge on Decades this weekend, so grab a six-pack and...uh, a donut or two and enjoy a marathon of what was once called The Best Damn Cop Show on TV.

OK, maybe it was Shatner himself who called it that, but it counts.

8) Mary Hart: She premiered on Entertainment Tonight on this date in 1981 and spent 30 years on the program. Plus she was guest timekeeper for the main event at Wrestlemania III!

9) Doctor Who: Classic episodes are turning up everywhere, now streaming 24/7 on Pluto. Remember the good old days when the biggest "controversy" over the series was figuring out when the hell the local PBSstation was running it?

10) Jim Belushi: A wide-ranging interview with Decider gave the website a reason to post this, an instant contender for the What We'd Like to See category:

Saturday, June 22, 2019

YouTube Spotlight: I Married Dora goes out in memorable fashion

Welcome to YouTube Spotlight, a weekly feature in which we highlight a video from each week's episode-specific YouTube playlist! This week, we discussed Hardcastle and McCormick on the show, and one of the most intriguing videos from the list is:

Imagine tuning in to watch an unheralded sitcom in that pre-Internet era and seeing it end like that. Maybe you'd be aware it was the series finale because you read that in a blurb in the morning paper's TV listings or in TV Guide it was designated as such, but this must have had quite the kick.

I Married Dora starred the late Elizabeth Pena as a Salvadoran illegal alien domestic who marries her boss, played by H&M's Daniel Hugh Kelly, to stay in the USA. Hijinks ensued, but ratings did not, and the series only lasted 13 episodes. I guess the creators just decided, "Eh, what the heck," and went with this hilarious final scene, and I for one love that they did.

Despite the talented cast, including a young Juliette Lewis, Dora had little impact on Friday nights in ABC's Fall 1987 lineup, but the premise and that finale have given it some notoriety. Two of my trusty reference books here go out of their way to highlight the wild conclusion.

Another amusing aspect of the series: As TV Obscurities describes:

Rarely has a television network felt the need to air a disclaimer warning viewers that what they were about to see was illegal. But that’s just what ABC did prior to its special sneak preview of I Married Dora [35]. Why was a disclaimer necessary? Because the series was about a widower who married his housekeeper to prevent her from being deported. That was, and is, against the law, but ABC must have felt the unlawful premise of the series was worth any whispers of impropriety.

For some reason, I really want to see that disclaimer.

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Hardcastle and MccCormick playlist is now live!

There's a phrase I never expected to type! Our weekly video companion to the podcast is now available, this time focusing on Hardcastle and McCormick! See the theme songs we mention in our episode! Learn the secret of the typewriter thing at the end of the Stephen J. Cannell shows! Plus moments from Tracy Scoggins, Buddy Ebsen, and even Colonel Flagg! And do you remember I Married Dora? All this and great vintage promos when you click below:

Remember to check our official YouTube page for more playlists like this one, plus past episodes of the podcast!

Show Notes: Episode 6-3: Hardcastle and McCormick

*Hardcastle and McCormick ran 1983-1986--3 seasons and 67 episodes--on ABC. The episode we discuss this week, Killer B's, premiered Sunday, November 6, 1983, at 8:00 P.M.

*The book Mike mentions is available right here.

*Check out our YT playlist this week for both versions of the series' theme song, Drive and Back to Back. Which do YOU prefer?

*The series was a top-15 hit its first season but dropped quickly.

*I Married Dora with Daniel Hugh Kelly aired 13 episodes in the 1987-88 season on ABC. Check out our YouTube playlist this week for a glimpse of the short-lived sitcom.

*Barnaby Jones, which starred this episode's guest star Buddy Ebsen, lasted 8 seasons on CBS. Ebsen was 75 when Killer B's aired.

*Thunder Road is a 1958 United Artists picture with Robert Mitchum and Gene Barry.

*Tracy Scoggins was not on Baywatch, but, oh, I tried to find her. She was on the 1984 Hawaiian Heat.

*Quinn Martin (1922-1987) was indeed a real person. He produced The Fugitive and The Invaders in addition to Barnaby Jones and other BOTNS candidates like Cannon, The Streets of San Francisco, and Dan August.

*The 1985 series Stingray DID feature a character named Stingray, but it wasn't a man named Bob Stingray, but a guy nicknamed Stingray after his car. His car wasn't named Bob Stingray, either, but was an actual Stingray car.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

6-3: Hardcastle and McCormick "Killer B's"

Start your ignition, rev your engine, put the pedal to the metal, and accelerate into a high-octane episode full of high-octane action, high-octane bickering, and high-octane Buddy Ebsen! Our spark plugs are firing on all cylinders as we pull one of those sweet spin aroundy moves and, um, hydroplane into "Hardcastle and McCormick." Yeah, we’re car guys. So what?

Check out this episode!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Happy birthday, Joe Piscopo!

The ex-SNL star was born this day in 1951. This ad inspired that classic debate: Who would win in a fight, Bruce Lee or Joe Piscopo?

Sunday, June 16, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #20

From all of us at BOTNS to all of you, Happy Father's Day!

1) Skip Caray: The longtime voice of the Atlanta Braves followed his father Harry and preceded his son Chip into baseball broadcasting, and since he was so identified with TBS for so long, what better time to put ol' Skip on our rankings?

2) Ted Turner: Again, we recommend you check out this week's TBS episode of the podcast, and ted should really be number one. Yet of all the things Ted was, we're not 100% sure he was a great dad. Maybe about 40%. Or, more appropriately, about 40.05.

3) Tom Bradford: One of our favorite TV dads is equally adept at column writing, displaying exasperation, and who's-on-firsting.

4) Howard Cunningham: Truth be told, as a TV dad, the Happy Days patriarch may only be a B+. But as a hardware store owner, he's a solid A, no doubt!

5) Doggie Daddy and Augie Doggie: On this holiday, we celebrate the love, the devtotion, the downright obsession Doggie Daddy had for his son. Hey, come to think of it, it was a little creepy, wasn't it?

6) Jack Albertson: "The Man" was born this day in 1907.

7) Christopher Knight: TV 's Peter Brady gave an extensive interview to Decider discussing some of his favorite Bunch episodes.

8) Webster: The 80s family sitcom is returning to Antenna TV next week. I'm sure somewhere little Web is pumping his fist and exclaiming, "Suck it, Cozi TV!"

9) Burt Reynolds: If you've ever wanted a piece of Burt (though maybe not one of his pieces), his heirs are giving away everything except certified ABC gum in a massive estate sale.

10) This guy: We know he's a great dad because his kids learn so much from him!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

YouTube Spotlight: Cable Music Channel

In this week's Spotlight, we take another look at the Cable Music Channel, the short-lived alternative to MTV. Check out this awesome promo from this week's YouTube playlist devoted to TBS:

Irreverent and exciting...and with Steve Miller! All with I Love L.A. building in the background.

Cable Music Channel launched in October and was gone by December. Ted Turner offered it to cable systems gratis and was, so he said, backed by operators looking for leverage against MTV. Yet the venture was a big money loser, and Ted quickly sold to MTV, which essentially turned it into VH1. that's an oversimplification, but do we really want to know the whole story of Cable Music Channel?

Actually, I do! There has to be a good book or at least long oral history piece in here somewhere, right?

Also from our playlist is this presentation of the channel's debut. Note the attempt at swagger and the assertion that it won't carry the smut that MTV does!

Friday, June 14, 2019

The TBS playlist is now live!

This week, we supplement yesterday's look at Superstation TBS with a host of promos, commercials, and even Nikita Koloff clotheslining David Crockett. Goodwill Games, Bill Tush, and the Beaver, Wally, and Eddie as guest VJs! Plus the Three Dog Night TBS jingle!

Remember to check out our official YouTube channel each week for episode playlists, and go there anytime for past episodes!

Show Notes: Episode 6-2: TBS

*We hope you enjoy our first episode about not just a show, but a network! Are there any others you think merit the same treatment?

*WTCG (some say it stood for Turner Communication Group; legend has it that it stood for Watch This Channel Grow) was an Atlanta station that went national via satellite transmission in 1976. It changed call letters to TBS and adopted the Superstation identity in 1979.

*Associated Artists Productions (AAP) was a distributor of theatrical product to television. It's most famous for the AAP logo that appeared at the beginning of many Looney Tunes and Popeye shorts on TV for years.

*Ted Turner reportedly said TBS was built on wrestling, the Atlanta Braves, and The Andy Griffith Show.

*Launch dates of the spinoff networks:
CNN: June 1, 1980
Headline News: January 1, 1983 (but started a year earlier as CNN 2)
TNT: October 3, 1988
Cartoon Network: October 1, 1992
Turner Classic Movies: April 14, 1994

*TBS is currently not using Turner Time! Programs start on the half-hour.

*Night Tracks aired 1983-1992.

*John Sterling, the radio voice of the New York Yankees since 1989, was the Braves' play by play guy from 1982 to 1987 and also did the Hawks games, as Mike recalls.

*The original song At the Hop was a #1 song in 1958 (after being released in 1957) for Danny and the Juniors. See the NBA on TBS version in this week's YouTube playlist!

*Still the Beaver began as a Disney Channel original (after a CBS TV movie), then migrated to TBS as The New Leave It to Beaver from 1986-1989.

*Tush aired 1980-1981 on TBS.

*Country singer Bobby Bare hosted a show on The Nashville Network in the 1980s; you can see him and John Prine perform together in a clip on our YouTube playlist this week. Remember to check out our official YT page each week for official episode playlists plus past installments of the podcast!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

6-2: Super Station WTBS

This week, we break format to look back at the original cable super station WTBS, including Mike's memories of it as the cool independent channel in Atlanta, Rick's memories of it on cable in Pennsylvania, an overview of its influence on the TV landscape, a discussion of the mercurial Ted Turner, plus talk of the America's Team the Atlanta Braves, wrasslin', and of course the programming from cartoons to WTBS' early attempts at original content. We also check out short-lived sketch comedy show "Tush."

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Great Moments in 70s and 80s TV History: Dick Van Dyke owns a carnival?

He sure does! According to The New Scooby-Doo Movies, the legendary TV performer has a sideline as a carnival operator. Velma spotted him, and then Dick himself confirmed it. In fact, the guy does everything at the Barrel of Fun, including serving as ticket taker and barker:

Monday, June 10, 2019

Happy birthday, Rich Hall!

They ought to have a word for when you celebrate the date you came into the world...

Sunday, June 9, 2019

BOTNS Top 10 #19

1) Cheers: Yes, one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, a beloved TV classic, and most importantly, subject of the season 6 opener of Battle of the Network Shows, is number one this week! Listen to a cold one, down our podcast, and have a few episodes. Or something like that.

2) Cliff Clavin: I mean, after all, Mike did say that Cliffie may be one of the greatest television characters of all time!

3) Donald Duck: Mr. Duck turns 85 today. Pretend I said that in a totally stellar Donald Duck voice and not that I tried but wound up slobbering all over myself and making the neighbor's dog howl.

Oh, and by the way, what the quack is THIS?

4) Michael J. Fox: And Mr. Fox turns 58. Man, it doesn't seem so long ago he was touting the choice of a new generation:

5) The Brady Bunch: A giant new DVD box set released this week offers the complete series, the cartoon spinoff, The Brady Brides, The Bradys, but sadly, not the variety show. And many fans are disappointed it's not a Blu-Ray collection, but I don't know. It kind of feels weird to have this show on anything more advanced than Betamax.

(I would totally buy a standalone Brady Brides, incidentally.)

6) Dr. Teeth: Famed musician Dr. John died this week, which makes me think of the musician he inspired:

7) Jeopardy! This show has never been hotter than it was in the last few months, though I still fondly remember the incredible run of Chuck Forrest:

8) Punky Brewster: Word has it that the show will return next year.

Every time I turn around
Another reboot's getting off the ground
What's gonna be?
Guess we'll just wait...and see

9) John Barbour: The former Real People personality (and co-creator) had a spectacularly all-over-the-place appearance on the Talk is Jericho podcast, linking about 10,000 JFK conspiracy theories, implicating almost everyone except Skip Stephenson in the process.

10) Paul Darrow: R.I.P. Darrow, who starred in British cult hit Blake's 7, a show I never saw but probably read about in Starlog:

Saturday, June 8, 2019

YouTube Spotlight: from the "Cheers" playlist, "It's Not Easy"

Welcome to the beginning of our sixth season of Battle of the Network Shows! Each Saturday this season, we are going to pull one video from our YouTube playlist for that week's episode and spotlight it here in case you don't have time to check out the whole list.

This week's list for Cheers is here, and we do recommend you open it and look at all the cool stuff in there, but today let's zero in on this:

As uploader Gilmore Box notes in his comments, this ABC sitcom didn't last long--only 7 episodes, in fact--but it stars Ken Howard AND Bert Convy! Plus Carlene Watkins from BOTNS fave Best of the West, Jayne Meadows, Billy Jacoby (who played a wise-ass in tons of shows of the era), and if that ain't enough, Evan Cohen, the boy next door on The Ropers!

The premise is a little convoluted, to be sure, but did it deserve to crash like it did? There is an episode online if you want to judge for yourself. I'm a known sucker for Bert Convy, Actor, but I find this one kind of funny.

Friday, June 7, 2019

The Cheers playlist is now live!

The YouTube playlist for our season 6 opener devoted to Cheers is now live! Click below to see the cold opens of the two episodes we discuss, Ted Danson talking with Johnny Carson, Shelley Long singing on the Emmys, and many more moments in and out of character from the cast! Plus We've Got It Made, The Tortellis, and Dr. Ruth teaming with George Wendt!

And remember, you can always check out our official YouTube channel for each episode-specific playlist plus our archive of past episodes!

Show Notes: Episode 6-1: Cheers

*As you can tell from listening to the podcast, selecting episodes to talk about was particularly difficult this time out. The ones we went with are:

Season 2, episode 1, Power Play, which premiered Thursday, September 29, 1983, at 9:00 P.M.; and season 3, episode 14, The Heart Is a Lonely Snipe Hunter, which premiered Thursday, January 10, 1985, at 9:00.

*As we mention, this episode focuses on The Diane Chambers era (seasons 1-5), and somewhere down the road, we will look at the Rebecca Howe years (seasons 6-11). overall Cheers ran 11 seasons and 275 episodes.

*The series' low initial ratings in its first season are legendary. It finished 74th in 1982-1983, then climbed significantly the next two years (starting its climb even before The Cosby Show, apparently fueled by critical acclaim and viewers finding it in reruns) and was a reliable top 10 performer the rest of its run.

*Cheers earned 28 Emmys and 117 nominations; perhaps most impressive is its streak of being nominated for Outstanding Comedy for all 11 of its seasons (with 4 wins). Among the cast, the big winner was Rhea Perlman, who won Outstanding Supporting Actress (Comedy) 4 times.

*Gary Portnoy performs theme song Where Everybody Knows Your Name, which he co-wrote with Judy Hart Angelo.

*We Got It Made ran one season on NBC and one later season in first-run syndication. It starred Tom Villard and Matt McCoy (and for a while, Stepfanie Kramer of Hunter) but was built around Teri Copley.

*It's Not Easy only lasted 4 episodes on CBS!

*On the Sunny Side of the Street was written in 1930 by Jimmy McHugh, and you can see it sung in the cold open of The Heart Is a Lonely Snipe Hunter in this week's YT playlist.

*According to Wikipedia, the snipe hunt tradition dates back to the 1840s. I bet Abe Lincoln was involved in one somehow.

*Iconic TV director James Burrowes is still active at 78 and still highly sought after to direct multicamera sitcom pilots. He directed about 240 Cheers episodes, then all of Will & Grace. In recent years, he had stints on Man with a Plan and Superior Donuts.

*For further reading, we recommend this excellent oral history from GQ. Also, go digging in Ken Levine's outstanding blog; he has scores of great posts about the show.

*As always, check out our official YouTube page for a playlist specific to this episode as well as past installments of our podcast!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

6-1: Cheers "Power Play" and "The Heart is a Lonely Snipehunter"

We start season six with one of the all-time greats, exploring the Diane years of "Cheers." First, Sam and Diane finally give in to their feelings, only things take a little longer to get going that Sam hoped. Then Diane meddles on behalf of Frasier, getting him invited on a fishing trip that turns into a snipe hunt for the haughty shrink.

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

On this Day in (sort of) TV History: The Wrath of Khan!

On this day in 1982, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan premiered. It's considered one of the best TV-to-feature film efforts and spotlights not only the cast of the original Trek, but also small screen icons like Kirstie Alley and, of course, Ricardo Montablan!

Here are a few original TV promo spots for the movie:

Monday, June 3, 2019

Happy birthday, Scott Valentine!

We didn't cover a Nick episode when we discussed Family Ties, but we celebrate Scott Valentine's birthday nevertheless. Here is a cool vintage interview from Today as the actor promoted an anti-crack project he spearheaded:

Sunday, June 2, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #18

1) Casey Kasem: Yesterday we kicked off National DJ Month with a look at Wolfman Jack, but today let's salute the great Casey Kasem, known for his radio countdown, his cartoon voices, and his TV voice-overs. Don't forget his syndicated television countdown show, though:

2) Leon Redbone: R.I.P. to the performer of this classic theme song:

3) David Letterman: A new season of his Netflix talk show debuts this weekend, and the guest list looks staggeringly unappealing to me, but it's still Dave.

I still would rather see Larry "Bud" Melman, Chris Elliott, and Jeff Altman, though.

4) Dr. Ruth: A new documentary about her premieres on Hulu, but she got her start on the first incarnation of Lifetime. No, she wasn't being threatened in a deserted house by Perry King.

5) Julia: I happened to be able to catch a little of Aspire network the other morning and was glad to see this sitcom (barely in our time frame) is still on there. But what the (triple) deuce happened to Room 222?

6) Scooby-Doo Meets the Three StoogesNo reason other than I watched this last week. I have a soft spot for those celebrity team-up editions of Scooby. Oh, what I wouldn't give to have seen Shemp or Curly team up with the gang instead of Curly Joe, though.

See the source image

7) The Brady Bunch home: HGTV still hasn't given a date for its TV show based on the renovation of the original Bunch domicile, but I love this pic. Don't play ball in the house!

8) Later with Bob Costas: Nothing against Carson Daly, but the end of his run in the timeslot only reminds me of the great chat show Costas started in 1988.

Hmm, actually, I guess this is kind of a dig against Carson Daly, but he seems like a nice guy, so I don't want to be mean.

9) Norman Lear: Still basking in the glory of the success of the live specials on ABC last week, and who can blame him? But, Norm, ol' pal, how about using your renewed power to do something that will really change the world--like getting Hot L Baltimore on DVD?

10) Alex Trebek: We saluted him when he announced his pancreatic cancer diagnosis, and we are happy to salute him now that he has announced he is almost in remission!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

June is National DJ Month

Yes, it's a monthlong fist bump for the disc jockey. Why not kick off the celebration by revisiting our season 2 look at Wonder Woman? We've all been in a club when the DJ pulls a gun on us, right?

Disco Devil features Wolfman Jack along with Paul Sand and Russell Johnson.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Happy Birthday, Clint Eastwood!

May 31, 1930 saw the arrival of Clint Eastwood, who was certainly more a movie star than a TV star during the BOTNS era, but don't forget his awesome anti-crack PSAs of the 1980s:

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Next Week on Battle of the Network Shows...

Happy Birthday, Ted McGinley!

On this day in 1958, Theodore Martin McGinley was unleashed on the world with the mission to eradicate as many popular shows from TV as poss--No, we're not gonna rip Ted. It wasn't his fault, and besides, he did cool stuff like appearing in this as for a March of Dimes campaign:

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Hit Parader Hotline!

Want to get the latest news and gossip on HEAVY METAL? Well, I have no idea how you can do that today, but back in 1988 you could call 1-900-660-METL and get everything you need:

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

This Day in TV History: ET gets a movie critic

According to IMDB, May 28, 1982 was when Leonard Maltin joined Entertainment Tonight as movie reviewer; Wikipedia says May 29. We're going with Friday, May 28, because why wait another day to celebrate?

Unfortunately, clips of Maltin's review segments are hard to find online, but here's one from 1985:

Maltin's segment was the highlight of the show for me. I liked his 1-10 scale, which I think was uncommon for critics back in the day, and it was great when he did that slight pause before announcing his rating for a movie.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Happy Memorial Day!

From all of us at BOTNS, Happy Memorial Day, and let's all take a moment to think of those who sacrificed their lives for the country.

Does anyone else remember this Army video playing on TV often in the 1980s?

Sunday, May 26, 2019

BOTNS Top 10 #17

1) All in the Family: The Live in Front of a Studio Audience recreation of AITF was a smash for ABC Wednesday night.

2) The Jeffersons: Ditto. The live stunt was a big success. But wouldn't one way to pay tribute to Norman Lear be to make sure his programs are available on streaming uncut and accessible for all? Some of AITF is on Crackle, and The Jeffersons is on Starz, but I don't think either of those shows has ever been on Netflix, Hulu, nor Prime Video.

3) Farrah Fawcett: it was lost in the hubbub over the Learverse special, but ABC did well with a Farrah Fawcett documentary this week.

4) Bronk: Warner Archive announces the short-lived Jack Palance series is coming to DVD.

And how fun it is to say BRONK?

BRONK. Bronk. Bronk. BRONK! Bronky bronk.

5) Steve Kroft: After 40 years (!) with 60 Minutes, the young whippersnapper is retiring from the series.

6) Tour of Duty: In honor of Memorial Day, let's remember the 1987-1990 Vietnam War series.

7) China Beach: In honor of Memorial Day, let's remember the 1988-1991 Vietnam War series that guys were afraid to admit they watched.

8) MASH: In honor of Mem--You know what, this series is on all the time everywhere, so do we really need a special reason?

9) Philip Michael Thomas: The Miami Vice star turns 70 today. Did you know that he coined the term EGOT despite never having been nominated for any of those awards?

According to Vanity Fair via Wikipedia:

 "...Thomas took to wearing a gold medallion emblazoned with the letters "EGOT", which stood for "Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony." As Thomas told an interviewer in 1984, "Hopefully in the next five years I will win all of those awards."

10) John Wayne: Also born on this date was the man best known for this enduring piece of Americana Swing Out, Sweet Land (1970). Check out this clip featuring William Shatner, Ross Martin, and BOTNS faves Lorne Greene and Hugh O'Brian. Can it be that Shatner isn't in the BOTNS universe yet?

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Happy birthday, Karen Valentine

Happy birthday to one of the Seventies' most popular TV stars and a first-ballot member of the Hall of Adorable, Karen Valentine. She was big on Room 222 and The Hollywood Squares and also starred in her share of TV movies. Just watch this clip if you want a sense of her appeal:

Oh, how I wish Room 222 were on Hulu right now!

In this speech, she gives shout-outs to James L. Brooks, who went on to The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Taxi (among many others) and Gene Reynolds, who went on to MASH (among others). Both teamed up again for Lou Grant. You can go to our archives for our episodes on all those series, and maybe someday we will talk about Room 222!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Reboot scorecard

Here's a quick look at how the 70s/80s TV reboots fared at the network upfront presentations recently:

MacGyver: CBS renewed it for season 4 with some changes. This is probably #2 on my periodic "This is a thing?" list.

Hawaii Five-0: Renewed for season 10 and still going strong for CBS. It's clearly King Reboot right now.

Magnum P.I.: Much less strong, but still renewed for a season 2 in hopes it will build with help from international markets.

Lethal Weapon (well, it's a reboot of an 80s MOVIE): Canceled after 3 seasons, and it had enough behind-the-scenes drama for twice that.

SWAT: And here is the #1 program on my periodic "This is a thing?" list! It's coming back to CBS for a third season.

Dynasty: This low-rated revival will come back for a third season on The CW.

Murphy Brown: The only outright flop on the list. It didn't catch on critically nor commercially and will not be back on CBS.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Happy birthday, Jimmy Stewart!

Happy birthday to James Maitland Stewart (1908-1997), who was in a few movies but is of course best remembered for Hawkins and for his 1971 sitcom:

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?