Sunday, June 30, 2019
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
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
Remember to visit our official YouTube channel for past editions of the podcast plus more episode-specific playlists!
*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 Live, Charlie'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
Check out this episode!
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
"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
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
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
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 . 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 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
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?
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Monday, June 17, 2019
Sunday, June 16, 2019
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
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
Remember to check out our official YouTube channel each week for episode playlists, and go there anytime for past episodes!
*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
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."
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Monday, June 10, 2019
Sunday, June 9, 2019
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
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
And remember, you can always check out our official YouTube channel for each episode-specific playlist plus our archive of past episodes!
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
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.
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Here are a few original TV promo spots for the movie:
Monday, June 3, 2019
Sunday, June 2, 2019
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 Stooges: No 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.
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
Disco Devil features Wolfman Jack along with Paul Sand and Russell Johnson.