Sunday, April 5, 2020

Top Ten #62

1) The Census: It's Census Week. Can we count on YOU?

2) FOX network: It's prime-time premiere (technically Joan Rivers' talk show kicked off the network months earlier) was April 5, 1987 with Married with Children at 7:00 and The Tracey Ullman Show at 7:30.  Then it actually repeated those two shows for the next two hours!

Here's a great piece on the night from TV Obscurities. And isn't it funny to think of Married with Children as a 7:00 P.M. Sunday show?

3) Brent Musberger: Makes it on the list by virtue of this hat:

By the way, this uploader posted dozens of short clips from the NFC and AFC Championship games, and they are GOLD!

4) Dick Cavett: It's National Nebraska Day, and perhaps the most famous TV star born in the Cornhusker State is the talk show host, author, and Woody devotee:

5) Murder, She Wrote: The series is no longer on Prime Video, but you can catch it on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. Yippee?

6) Frank Gorshin: One of the stars of the Legends of the Superheroes specials entered the world on this day in 1933.

7) The Love Boat: Set a course for Decades this weekend and enjoy the Weekend Binge of the quintessential television program (don't @ me).

8) The 1984 Orange Bowl: Speaking of the Cornhuskers, this isn't exactly the best moment in the state's sports history, but it is one of the most memorable:

9) Max Gail: Happy birthday to the former Wojo from Barney Miller!

 10) Bill Withers: R.I.P.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

New to streaming video in April (don't get excited)

So after consulting different sources and doing some good old-fashioned wearing out of thumb leather by using my remote control, here is what is new to the world of U.S. streaming video in 1970s and 1980s television this month:

Little House on the Prairie (all seasons) --  IMDB TV

Yes, that's it! At least that's all I found. Shout! Factory TV is touting Johnny Carson reruns on its channel, and that's cool, but those episodes and many more are already on Prime Video without ads.  And speaking of ads, this Little House thing isn't so special when you consider the series was on Prime Video proper (ad free, easier to find) until recently. 

Maybe we should be happy that more 70s and 80s shows didn't leave streaming services this month. Murder, She Wrote's first 5 seasons were on Prime before vanishing this week. Will the series move to Peacock, which, like the series, is owned by NBC Universal and has a limited launch on April 15? We'll see.  In fact, let's keep a close eye on all those "throwback" series like Buck Rogers and The Six Million Dollar Man that are currently free on

So there isn't much to get excited about so far in April, but maybe Peacock will not just poach the series NBC has licensed out to other streaming services but will add multiple series that currently are not streaming anywhere. Otherwise, April is looking like a big disappointment for retro TV fans who hoped that some more vintage material might be made available this month.

Friday, April 3, 2020

And now a word from THEIR sponsor: More Ivory Soap

Earlier this week we looked at QB Bert Jones, who played for the Bert Joneses, pitching Ivory Soap.  The brand was fond of clean-cut (read: white) athletes promoting its product. Bert Jones was not an NFL Hall of Famer, but he was a multiyear starter, an All-Pro, even an MVP.

The NBA player that Ivory Soap got, though...

Danny Vranes was a star at Utah (of course!) and the fifth overall pick in the 1981 NBA draft. The 6'7" forward had a few years as a starter in the early 1980s, but in his 7-year career never averaged more than 29 minutes, 9 points, nor 6 rebounds per game.

But he was clean!

Monday, March 30, 2020

And now a word from THEIR sponsor: Bert Jones, Superstar?

I used to think Baltimore Colts quarterback Bert Jones was one of the biggest stars in the National Football League. That is, I assumed he was. After all, he was in all those ads, like the Ivory soap spots:

For a while, I thought he was massively overrated, but that view is as ignorant as thinking that after a practice, Jones uses a deodorant soap. "No way!"

In reality, Jones had a storied career at LSU and is in the College Football Hall of fame, but was not on the elite tier of QBs in the pros.  He was the NFL MVP in 1976, but injuries limited his career. He led the Colts to a solid run in the mid 70s, but that was overshadowed by the likes of the Steelers and the Raiders.

 He was a star but not a superstar, maybe, but he was a national figure with this ad campaign. He also did a print campaign for Chaps by Ralph Lauren, but according to an interview with Jones himself, he only did this one TV spot. I would have sworn he was in a bunch of these. Did I just see this one a thousand times?

One of my favorite aspects of this particular commercial is that Jones, then gearing up for a final season with the L.A. Rams, wears a generic #7 jersey with "BERT JONES" on the front. Or IS it generic?

Maybe Bert Jones is playing for the Louisiana Bert Joneses.  I'd love to get a look at the back of his jersey because I hope it says "BERT JONES" on the back, too.  "And at quarterback for your Bert Joneses...number 7...Bert Jones!"

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Top Ten #61

1) One Day at a Time: The revival of the 1970s/1980s sitcom scored decent ratings in its return on Pop TV, and Pluto TV launched a tribute channel devoted to the original.  Of course, every time I turn it there, it's showing All in the Family, but I guess that's close enough.

2) Amerika: BOTNS investigated an unusual network promo and wound up digging into this 1987 multi-evening event.  That's right, "miniseries" is far too mundane a term for the ABC epic presentation:

3) The Facts of Life Down Under: And this was the movie that started the investigation.  I have to say, at first I laughed at the ad NBC ran to promote it, but if I had to watch this or 14 hours of Amerika today...

4) John Tesh: I can't tell you how thrilled I was when TESH was the answer in a crossword puzzle my girlfriend and I did recently.  I can't tell you because I am very ashamed.

5) Johnny Carson: Shout! Factory TV is touting that Carson reruns are coming in April, but there is already a lot of old Tonight Show on Prime Video, and it's big-time hacked up, but it's great.

6) The Muppet Show: Earlier this week, we looked at and were disappointed by a Vanity Fair website piece claiming to explain why the classic series is not on Disney Plus. It did not.

7) Alex Trebek: Remember the classic episode of Cheers (Season 8's What Is...Cliff Clavin) which features Cliff's spectacular performance on Jeopardy! I had vivid memories of Clavin's shenanigans but forgot how good Trebek was.  The whole thing is great.

8) Dianne Kay: Happy birthday to the former Nancy on Eight Is Enough, prominently featured in this promo campaign:

9) John Candelaria: This weekend I watched a compressed version of a May 1984 Pirates/Dodgers Game of the Week from Three BY GOD Rivers Stadium because why not? Vin and Joe were in the booth, luminaries like Steve Sax and Pedro Guerrero played for the Dodgers, and how about that immortal 1984 Bucco outfield: Joe Orsulak, Marvell Wynne, Doug Frobel!

But it was cool seeing tall lefty The Candy Man on the mound for the Pirates.

10) Quincy, M.E.: Yes! Another "new" Quincy promo is on YouTube! Nothing better to take my mind off world events than seeing a good one of these:

Oh, man. A virus? It had to be a virus episode?

Saturday, March 28, 2020

BOTNS Investigates: Part 2 on the Facts of Life meets Amerika

Only in the magical world of 1980s television could Australia collide with a Soviet-occupied United States with an assistance from Edna Garrett and her plucky band of Eastland alumni! Yesterday we looked at an NBC promo for its original telefilm The Facts of Life Down Under (calling it a "telefilm" gives me way more joy than it should), a spot mocking the competition: night one of ABC's sprawling, much-hyped miniseries Amerika:

I had forgotten all about this event, which starred Kris Kristofferson, Robert Urich, Mariel Hemingway, and many more in a 7-part depiction of America in 1997, 10 years after a Soviet conquering of the nation (just how they did it is unexplained in the movie).  It was a big deal at the time, though.  Before we look more into it, let's address the fact that the great David Letterman made the definitive statement on the TV night of February 15, 1987 with the piece that leads off this clip:

Amerika did indeed beat The Facts of Life Down Under in the ratings on Sunday night, but as the night went on, it wasn't exactly dominant and even got beat by NBC's Thursday night lineup. Ratings went down as the event progressed, and it was not a flop, but was nowhere near the success its massive budget and hype would have led ABC to envision.

As ABC's special Viewpoint town hall-type show with Ted Koppel shows, the program drew controversy and criticism, and if it seems quaint now that a TV miniseries should draw such debate, remember this was 1987 and the Cold War was still a strong presence in everyday life. One noted US/Soviet "expert," Ted Turner, was disgusted by what he saw (a little bit) and ripped it on ABC. His own TBS announced it would offer an "alternative viewpoint" in its programming the week of Amerika.

According to the 1987 UPI article linked above, Turner thought the movie was "redneck" and was peeved by the notion of any kind of occupation of either superpower by the other.

One of my favorite contemporary clips reporting on the controversy is this CNN bit reporting on Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca's move to pull ads from the broadcast because the programming is too intense and not conducive to selling automobiles:

Amazing info from Wikipedia: ABC instigated the miniseries in part in response to an op-ed piece by Ben Stein (yes, that one) in the wake of The Day After. Stein suggested ABC make a movie dramatizing the threat of the Soviet Union by showing the effect of an occupation on the American people.

This is all pretty heavy! I think I'm ready for another look at The Facts of Life Down Under:

Friday, March 27, 2020

BOTNS Investigates: NBC goes low to promote The Facts of Life Down Under

The other day I was watching promos and ads on the YouTube channel of the great SeanMc when a promo for The Facts of Life Down Under popped up.  I never actually saw this movie (though I remember Mike's deep dive into The Facts of Life Goes to Paris), so I was curious to see how NBC promoted it. Let's take a look:

"Harry, this is BORING!"

Amazing, isn't it, to think that NBC wasn't confident enough in its long-running (then in its eight season) juggernaut sitcom.  Instead of just telling the nation about this Premiere Movie Event, it spent precious airtime mocking...mocking...Russia? Serious movies? Quality television? 

I was puzzled trying to think of what the ad referenced. The Day After? No, that was years earlier, unless this was a rerun, but would that warrant a blatant shot? A TV premiere of White Nights?  No, it wasn't that.  A special one-night network presentation of What a Country? No...

Well, investigation reveals what the opposition was on February 15, 1987. The TV program this ad is teasing is of course...Designing Women on CBS!

No, it's not. Yes, that sitcom was on at 9:00 P.M. on this Sunday, but the real opposition was on ABC: the first part of Amerika, a 5-night event miniseries:

Aha! how could I have forgotten the then-controversial (but now kind of a footnote?) television spectacular? More on that tomorrow, including the TV personality who linked these two competing programming choices in hilarious fashion at the time, but first, back to that NBC promo above.

Does anyone else think the dad in the living room looks kind of like Jeffrey Tambor crossed with the "I'm a BIG fan" guy?  And why are there not Tony Hoty NFL on CBS promos all over YouTube?

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Here's why the Muppets aren't on Disney Plus--no, wait, actually it isn't

One of my biggest complaints about Disney Plus since its launch is the distinct lack of vintage Muppets material. Most conspicuous by its absence is The Muppet Show, and there has been no official explanation for its status.

So I was excited to see a headline in my feed this morning proclaiming,
Why Doesn’t Disney+ Have More Muppet Stuff?
The curious case of Disney’s Muppet erasure, explained.

Let me save you some time: This Vanity Fair article, while an excellent summary of what Muppet material is NOT on Disney Plus, does not "explain" the situation--at least not in terms of, you know, answering the question in the headline.
What we get is speculation that outgoing Disney CEO Bob Iger didn't care for the property because it wasn't his acquisition.  There are informed comments from a Jim Henson biographer and some comments that refute possible culprits like music clearances.
What we don't get is any word from Disney (to its credit, the mag asked Bob Iger and Disney Plus for comment; I think it's funny to think of Bob Iger sitting down at this point in time and explaining in detail why a 45-year-old TV show isn't on his company's streaming service) nor any facts that would explain why Disney Plus doesn't have more muppet stuff.
We will just have to keep waiting. The article does provide a few nuggets indicating hope for the future. My hope has been that they have been doing something with the original series--perhaps some kind of remastering to get it ready for a big debut alongside forthcoming original series Muppets Now.  For now, thanks for nothing, Vanity Fair!

(Click here to hear our episode discussing Steve Martin on The Muppet Show)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

YouTube Spotlight: Alex Karras endorses The Transformers

"Folks, these robots are hot."

This great Thanksgiving-ish ad for the Transformers toys (part of our Transformers episode playlist) features NFL'er/actor Alex Karras, but not in his 1970s best mode. No, this is the kinder, gentler 1980s Karras, the Uncle George of Webster.  In fact, his calm, measured tones, though perhaps inappropriate for conveying the urgency Hasbro wants parents and grandparents to get, makes me surprised he doesn't turn to his right and say, "Don't worry, Web, we'll get one for you, too."

"Go now while stars have a good selection," is a reasonable message, yes, but it's not exactly a Crazy Eddie ad. I'd like to think Karras worried that if he unleashed his full pitchman charisma, department and toy stores across the nation would make Black Friday a bloodbath of stampeding toy-crazed consumers.

And how about that surreal moment in which Karras mouths the "more than meets the eye" tagline!

My favorite part, though, is the gentle wonder with which Karras opens the ad: "It's a working microscope!" Gee whiz. What will they think of next?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

On this National American Diabetes Association Alert Day...

let us consult the great Wilford Brimley, who after starring in Our House--wait, what is up with the name of this day? It has both "National" AND "American" in the title like it needs to cover both.  What is this, Major League Baseball?  Anyway, enjoy a video:

Monday, March 23, 2020

Happy Birthday, Teresa Ganzel!

Someone should do a documentary about the lesser-known TV blondes of the BOTNS era. Sure, Loni Anderson, the Heathers, and Dolly Parton (hey, she was on TV a lot) got most of the attention, but don't forget the second tier.  that level has the likes of Teri Copley, Lydia Cornell, and today's birthday gal, Teresa Ganzel, who seemed to be on The Tonight Show almost as much as Doc Severinsen.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Top Ten #60

1) The Transformers: Our season finale this week takes a look at those lovable, cuddly little--wait, no, sorry I was thinking of Care Bears. I always get those shows mixed up.

2) Kenny Rogers: R.I.P. to one of the biggest icons of the BOTNS era.  You have to have been around to understand how huge Kenny was in the late seventies and early eighties. By the way, how happy must have have been that The Gambler was such a big hit and he wasn't forever known as The Coward of the County?

3) William Shatner: Let's also celebrate the life of one of the true living legends, a man who, amazingly, is 89 years old.  Well, all except for one part of him which is still fairly new.

4) Lyle Waggoner: R.I.P. to the star of The Carol Burnett Show, Wonder Woman, and more.

5) Joe Gannon: If I wanted any TV doctor treating me in the time of a global would be Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.  But Dr. Gannon would be up there on the list.

6) Nipsey Russell: I celebrated World Poetry Day yesterday in the only way I knew how: Watching Nipsey Russell as a panelist in the latter portion of The Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour.

7) Bob Costas: Happy birthday to Costas, one of the best in the business. It's become fashionable in some quarters to hate on him for being "sanctimonious," but I loved him on NBC when I was growing up, and his Later was tremendous.  As a virtual birthday treat to Mr. Costas, here's a vintage Mickey Mantle clip, also starring giant feet:

8) The Rutles: Maybe the best movie ever made about The Beatles, All You Need is Cash, debuted on NBC on this date in 1978.

9) Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Just added to Prime Video this week. I never watched this show, but I bet it was much richer and better produced than Jm J. Bullock's The Storyteller.

10) Robert Reed: Hey, did you know Robert Reed played William Shakespeare on Fantasy Island? He didn't play IN, say, Hamlet, mind you; he played William Shakespeare--a skirt-chasing, saucy William Shakespeare. It's on Crackle, so what are you doing sitting here and not watching that season 6 episode?

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Weekend pick-me-up: Quincy M.E. yelling at people

We put this in last week's Top Ten, but it's awesome enough to deserve its own post.  This fabulous clip combines all of the emotions we have right now--fear, anger, sadness, worry--into a package guaranteed to bring joy.  That's right, it's a compilation of Quincy getting ticked off at people:

Friday, March 20, 2020

Show Notes: Episode 7-12: Transformers

8Thanks again to our friend Tim for suggesting some Transformers episodes to choose from, and please check out the great 20th Century Pop podcast he does with co-host Bob.

*The Transformers aired from September 1984 to November 1987 for a total of 98 episodes.

*The episodes we cover in this podcast are episodes 33 and 34 of season 2: Auto Bop (November 13, 1985) and Prime Target (November 14, 1985).

*Tonka's GoBots were actually ahead of Hasbro's Transformers at every step in the USA--first to toy shelves, first cartoon to air, first animated feature--but history made the Transformers the victor, and many think the GoBots are imitators. Well, Transformers were first to Battle of the Network Shows!

(Frank Welker did indeed voice multiple characters for both series.)

*The Transformers: The Movie debuted in theaters August 8, 1986, between seasons 2 and 3 of the series.As we mention, it starred Orson Welles, Lionel Stander, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy in addition to the regular cast.

*Bob Budiansky. the Marvel Comics creator/editor who created much of the toy line's mythos, explains in this interesting clip that he left the franchise because of the pressure to keep introducing new characters/toys:

*Anyone out there who would like us to cover Manimal as we mention on the show? Wait, we know there ARE some people who will say yes. We withdraw the question.

*According to this look at Charles Dickens' swear words, no one really knows the origin of the expression, "What the deuce?"

*Studio 54 was known as being exclusive, but in my defense, it did have a diverse clientele, too. I mean, where else would you see Bella Abzug, Andy Warhol, and Bruce Jenner? OK, maybe The Love Boat, but where else?

*If you don't remember Batty nominee Eric Raymond, go here for a refresher.

*And click here for our G.I. Joe episode and our thoughts on Hector Ramirez. Do you think this is the "real" Hector in Prime Target?

*The First Boer War was fought 1881-1882, and the Second Boer War was fought 1899-1902.  By the time of the Third Boer War, Michael Bay produced but did not direct.

*As the Kitchen Sinks is a fictional soap opera in the Hasbroverse.  According to this Transformers wiki,:

On the one occasion that the Autobots were shown watching the show, the plot centered on a supposed affair between Donna and Gordon, which, if true, would mean that Jack was unaware that Sheryl had hidden a will, having substituted a fake document in its place.
A deleted line from the episode expands on the complexities—the will belongs to Bob, and reveals that he named Katy as his true heir! Dun-dun-dunnn! This all becomes too much for the girl in the show, though, as she is then forced to ask: "Who's Bob?"

*A handful of PSAs, recycling G.I. Joe PSAs, were produced but never aired. You can see one in this week's YouTube playlist, and here is another one here:

*Thanks to everyone for supporting us in another fun season, and please stay tuned for some surprises and of course the postseason Batty Awards...and we already have big plans for season 8!

Transformers playlist is now live!

After joining us for our discussion about The Transformers, click below to enjoy our YouTube playlist for the episode. You will see toy commercials--uh, apart from the show itself--a PSA about stealing cars, a trip back in time to Studio 54, and is that Vin Diesel breakdancing? Plus we step outside our normal time frame as Optimus Prime meets a previous BOTNS icon!

And remember you can hit our official YouTube channel for past episodes of the podcast and video playlists for all of them. It's more than meets the eye!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

7-12: Transformers "Auto-Bop" and "Prime Target"

Nothing screams the eighties more than break dancing and transforming robots. You wouldn't expect to find them in the same place, but "Auto-Bop" does just that as Blaster and Tracks help some break dancers stop the Decepticons from hypnotizing patrons of Club Dancetron in order to build an office building. Plus, a big game hunter and his immortal butler try to capture Optimus Prime!

Check out this episode!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Rolling Stone's 50 best sci-fi shows of all time list

Rolling Stone just published a list of the 50 best science fiction shows of all time, and while I loved season 1 of The Mandalorian, I think its presence at number FIVE is a signal that there's a whole lot of recency bias goin' on.  Did everything on TV just suck before 2015? No, I don't think so, and I won't even get into shows that could/should be on the list, but the presence of so many series that are so new surprises me (click here for it, but beware, they have giant ads and it crashed my browser). One of them has been on the air only a few weeks!

Doctor Who tops the BOTNS-era shows at #4, though that includes the modern stuff, so maybe that means the highest-ranking BOTNS show is Star Trek: The Next Generation, which ended in the 1990s. Similarly, Quantum Leap started in 1989 and went into the next decade. So you could make the argument that the top "pure" BOTNS-era show on the list is Space:1999 at #31.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Top Ten #59

1) Henry Winkler: Who is the face of our Battle of the Network Promos episode? Gotta be this guy in the upper right.

2) Nell Carter: A runner-up has to be Force of Nature Nell Carter, who singlehandedly made it look like NBC was actually a big deal:

3) Eight Is Enough and Three's Company: On this same blessed day, these two classics premiered on  ABC. Both shows, of course, went for the exact same episode and shared identical sensibilities. You could have swapped DVP and John Ritter and had the same result.

4) Quincy, M.E.: I think every season, Quincy had to deal with some kind of contagious outbreak of something and the suits WHO JUST DIDN'T GET IT. We could use a lot more men like Quincy, but then that's been true for 35 years.

5) The Carol Burnett Show: Prime Video keeps adding more seasons of the long-running classic--the edited versions, yes, but still, it's nice to see this show get such a big (if unpublicized) rollout on streaming.

6) Jimmy Baio: Happy birthday to one of the stars of our recent Soap episode, still a teen idol even at 58.

7) Tenspeed and Brownshoe: Shout! Factor's deal this week to nab streaming rights for most of the Stephen J. Cannell library surely means a renaissance for this show and not just 10 more outlets showing 21 Jump Street.

8) Earl Pomerantz: R.I.P. to the creator of BOTNS favorite Best of the West and an accomplished producer, TV writer, and blogger.

9) Alan Alda: He's the subject of a glowing profile in today's Washington Post. His big thing is listening.  Hey, I hope he listens to our podcast!

10) The state of Indiana: It takes several watches--and, yes, I have given this several watches--to realize it isn't a tourism board promo, but a local TV promo. All this is missing is a young Woody Boyd narrowly avoiding a tractor accident!

Friday, March 13, 2020

The Network Promos playlist is now live!

After you listen to this week's new episode of Battle of the Network Shows, click below to see the promos we discuss! Plus Bill Anderson covers Still the One!  Nell Carter brings the house down! More hot air balloons! And Flip Wilson and Gladys Knight try to keep CBS on top!

And remember to visit our official YouTube channel for episodes of the podcast as well and playlists for each of them!

Show Notes: Episode 7-11: Network Promos

*We hope you enjoy this detour into the promotional aspects of BOTNS-era network TV--an area that is often under-discussed but fondly remembered!

*The Chicago Teddy Bears aired for 13 episodes in 1971 on CBS. Set in 1920s Chicago, it somehow failed despite a cast including Marvin Kaplan, John Banner, and Art Metrano!

*Gimme a Break aired 6 seasons, 1981-1987, on NBC. Never a big hit, it was a modest success for the network and now airs in reruns on Antenna TV.

*Still the One by Orleans appeared on the Waking and Dreaming LP and made it to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

*CBS was the #1 rated network in total viewers for the 1984-1985 season, but after the 1985-1986 season, NBC was #1 for the first time ever (it had tied with CBS twice, but it was years ago) behind The Cosby Show, Golden Girls, and more.

*Here is an interview with Jake Holmes, who wrote jingles like Be All That You Can Be and many, many others/

*Check out our previous discussion of Charlotte Rae here in our Facts of Life episode.

*Who do you think won the battle of the network promos?

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Episode 7-11: Battle of the Network Promos

Back in the seventies and eighties, the big three networks used elaborate promotional campaigns involving memorable slogans, catchy jingles, celebrity appearances, and everything from picnics to fantasy sequences to hot air balloon rides. This week, we pit some of these campaigns against each other in a heated, yet celebratory competition.

Check out this episode!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Top Ten #58

1) Soap: I'll confess, a small part of me is disappointed nobody boycotted the podcast because we covered it this week.

2) Joan Van Ark: The iconic star of Spider-Woman was the guest of honor on the TV Confidential podcast last week, but there was not enough talk about the show; by not enough, we mean hardly any.

3) Charo: Happy International Women's Day to one of our favorite international women.  Maybe crossing the International Date Line so many times is how she shaved 10 years off her official age!

4) Pray for the Wildcats: One of our highlights of this season is now available in glorious Blu-Ray form thanks to Kino-Lorber. I can't decide which is more tempting a justification for purchase: the chance to finally appreciate the subtleties in Marjoe Gortner's performance or the chance to see what feels like 45 cumulative minutes of dirt biking in high-def.

5) Voyagers!: The whole series is now available for free on the NBC app, so you can check out the Babe Ruth/Cleopatra episode we discussed.

6) The A-Team: The final episode aired in 1987. I don't have vivid memories of the event, but word was the pitier of fools was pitied.

7) Rita Moreno and Sally Struthers: This ad is both terrible and strangely compelling:

8) Spenser for Hire: Here's a reminder that if the Mark Wahlberg Netflix movie looks totally ludicrous, the Urich series is free on IMDB TV.

9) Kim Fields: The former Tootie Ramsey returns to series TV (OK, OK, she has had multiple big roles since then, but that's the one that counts around here) in an upcoming Netflix sitcom starring Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps, and not Mark Wahlberg.

10) The Family Circus: Last weekend marked the 60th anniversary of the heartwarming comic panel that inspired one of our early holiday special episodes.  Yes, last weekend. Who is responsible for forgetting to put it in last week's list? You guessed it, that lovable scamp from the strip who is always running around giggling, is often apparently invisible, and is always blamed by everyone else: Jeffy.

Friday, March 6, 2020

The "Soap" playlist is now live!

After hearing us discuss Soap on the podcast, check out our playlist for this episode! Click below to see promos, PSAs, commercials, and more! Ernie Anderson AND Rod Roddy! Scavenger Hunt and the return of the Bad News Bears! And Robert Mandan implores you to buckle up!

And remember to visit our official YouTube channel for more playlists like this as well as back episodes of the podcast!

Show Notes: Episode 7-10: Soap

*Thanks again to friend of the show Amy for suggesting we discuss Soap!

*Soap aired from 1977-1981, 4 seasons and 85 episodes, on ABC. It was a 9:30 PM show on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

*The pilot premiered September 13, 1977 at 9:30, against boxing on CBS and Sex and the Married Woman on NBC.  It preceded Family on ABC and followed two Happy Days episodes and Three's Company.

*Here is an interesting EW profile on Susan Harris from a couple years ago.

*And here is the TV Guide profile on Harris that appeared when the show was on the air.  Thanks to  for hosting this and many other great archival materials of the show in its website supporting Soap: The Unauthorized Inside Story.

*The same site has the infamous Newsweek piece we discuss.

*Here is the TV Series Finale podcast interview with Jay Johnson that we reference.

*Who's YOUR favorite Baio? Scott? Jimmy? Chris Baio of Vampire Weekend?

*The Major is played by Arthur Peterson Jr. According to Wikpedia, Peterson starred in ABC's first sitcom, a show called That's O'Toole!

*1979's Scavenger Hunt featured not only Richard Mulligan and Dirk benedict, but Scatman Carothers, Tony Randall, Cloris Leachman Willie Aames, and many more! The Fox picture is on DVD and Blu-Ray.

*Vega$ premiered in 1978 on ABC, about 7 months after Soap did.

*Jay Sandrich's thoughts on Soap are in this piece.

*Witt Thomas Productions also created It's a Living, Blossom, and Herman's Head among many others plus the series we mention on the show.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Episode 7-10: Soap "Pilot"

Part soap opera parody, part socially relevant comedy, Soap broke new ground in the late seventies and early eighties, stirring up controversy months before it ever aired. Writer Susan Harris and and a stellar cast covered everything from feminism to gay rights to ventriloquism. Confused? You won't be after listening to this episode of Battle of the Network Shows.

Check out this episode!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Top Ten #57

1) Mary Hart and John Tesh: The definitive Entertainment Tonight hosts (sorry, Leeza Gibbons and Robb Weller) reunited this week, and you better believe it feels so good.

2) The Beachcombers: Yes, it's customary to put the focus of the podcast at number one in the Top Ten, but, come on, TESH!

Plus it's still hard to forgive this:

3) John Madden: Tony Romo is receiving $17 million a YEAR from CBS to broadcast NFL games. You know who never got 17 mil a year to broadcast NFL games? Jimmy Cefalo, that's who. But this week we salute legendary John madden, who paved the way for megadeals like this for NFL analysts.

4) Geri Jewell:  March is National Cerebal palsy Awareness Month, so how about a shout-out to Blair Warner's cuz?

5) WPSX TV: This PBS station, now WPSU, launched on this date in 1965. For me, it was the home of many of my favorite shows as a kid--Sesame Street, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, The McLaughlin Group...

6) Catherine Bach: Happy birthday to the former Daisy Duke. No comment necessary...or advisable.

7) Hawaii Five-0: The OLD version, that is. The current version announced it is ending after the upcoming season 10, meaning the original tops it with its umptee--(checks)--its 12 seasons.

8) Ron Howard: Happy birthday, Opie Cunningham!

9) National Brain Injury Awareness Month: Never forget the time a batty-nominated wooden plank nearly kept John Boy out of college.

10) Alan Thicke: It's the late singing sensation's birthday, and you know what we haven't watched in a while?

Friday, February 28, 2020

The Beachcombers playlist is now live!

If you're not familiar with that hip new opening of Beachcombers we mention on this week's pod, or if you're not familiar with The Beachcombers, period, check out this week's video playlist!  You'll get all kinds of Canada with clips, promos, interviews, PSAs, and more!

And remember to visit our official YouTube channel for more episode-specific playlists like this and past editions of the podcast!

Show Notes: Episode 7-9: The Beachcombers

*Thanks to Steve for suggesting some Canadian television for us! You can check out his In Search Of podcast here.

*Alpha Flight is a Marvel Comics Canadian superhero team that first appeared in The Uncanny X-Men in 1979.

*The Beachcombers aired 1972-1990, 19 seasons, a staggering 387 episodes! it aired in more than 50 countries, topped many "favorite show" polls, and was the longest-running "drama" series in Canada until Degrassi junior High

*We believe Season 14's episode Blue Light Special premiered Sunday night, February 2, 1986.

On United States TV that night, ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney  premiered Help Wanted: Kids,  which was followed by that other family-friendly instant classic...Octopussy.

CBS aired 60 Minutes and Part 1 of Sins. NBC's lineup was Punky Brewster, Silver Spoons, a rerun of The Cosby Show, Amazing Stories, and Part 1 of Peter the Great.

*Here is a lot of info on the origins of the series.

*And here is the article that refers to the show as "widely panned by critics."

*Spinoff Constable Constable  lasted 4 episodes in 1985. The New Beachcombers TV movie (with Dave Thomas) aired in 2002 but didn't lead to anything except another movie,  Beachcombers Christmas in 1984.

*The series seems to have been mostly snubbed in awards competition, with Robert Clothier (Relic)'s Gemini win for Best Supporting Actor in 1986 standing out.

*For our favorite bacon and liver recipes, head, just kidding. How could we pick ONE favorite bacon and liver recipe?

(NOTE: We made a casual reference to Molson in this episode, which we taped before the shooting that occurred at a factory in Milwaukee.  No mockery of that serious situation was intended)

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Episode 7-9: The Beachcombers "Blue Plate Special"

This week, we head north to Canada to take a look at venerable institution The Beachcombers. In "Blue Plate Special," Nick and the gang to save local cafe Molly's Reach from getting bulldozed for condos. Meanwhile ne'er-do-well Relic tries to sabotage their efforts from the inside so that the can profit from them later.

Check out this episode!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Top Ten #56

1) Charo: The incomparable Charo headlines our most recent podcast, and it may not be the last time.  Just wait until we do our Charo on The Love Boat Omnibus episode!

2) It's a Living: Amazon Prime video added season 1 of this 1980s series, and after seeing it again for the first time in years, we can't wait...

to see what other 1980s shows they might add.

3) Janet Du'Bois: R.I.P. If Larry Dallas personifies the wacky TV neighbor, Willona Woods personifies the foxy TV neighbor.

4) Spider-Man: When we talk about great TV personalities who constantly reinvent themselves (as opposed to the consistent branding of a Charo), we should talk more about Spidey.  His 1981 cartoon, now on Disney Plus, is no Spider-Woman--much of it actually makes sense--but it's quite entertaining.

5) The Jeffersons: Decades ran a "Weekend Binge" of the show, an essential component of anyone's Black History Month education.

6) Marc Price: The performer turned 52 yesterday, which made me think about the fact that if we ranked the most beloved characters on Family Ties, Skippy would probably rank no lower than third.  That scares me.

7) National Chip Day: Let's all celebrate the underrated member of the Kate and Allie cast, Frederick Koehler, whose portrayal of Chip helped--wait, we're being told it's Tortilla Chip Day.

8) He-Man: Kevin Smith's Netflix reboot of the franchise garnered big-time buzz when some casting news came out last week. How about Paul Giamatti as Monteeg?

Image result for he-man monteeg

9) Edward James Olmos: Happy birthday, Mr. Olmos, sir.

(Rick respectfully nods, shuffles aside, and turns around without making eye contact)

10) Abe Vigoda: Happy birthday to the living legend, a true giant in TV who it seems will be with us forever.  Wait, we're being told--Really? 2016? Seriously?

Friday, February 21, 2020

Charo playlist is now live!

After enjoying this week's podcast, get even more Charo by checking out our video playlist for the episode!  You'll see music, comedy, and more! Plus Soupy Sales as Paul Revere! Jane Russell for--well, just take a look! And what was the deal with those Bicentennial Minutes?

And remember to visit our official YouTube channel for playlists like this each week as well as past episodes of the podcast!

Show Notes: Episode 7-8: Charo

*Charo was born in Spain in--Wait, before we get into that, let me say that I personally kind of like there being a bit of mystery with the TV icon that is Charo. So I will include her personal bio details at the end of this post in case you would like to preserve the intrigue.

*Charo the TV special premiered on ABC May 24, 1976 at 8:00 P.M., followed by a showing of The Andromeda Strain. NBC countered with The John Davidson Show and Muhammad Ali vs. Richard Dunn in a heavyweight boxing match. Ali retained his heavyweight championship with a fifth-round TKO. It's unclear how Davidson fared.

*Charo and the Sergeant was created by Aaron Ruben (Andy Griffith, Gomer Pyle) and co-starred BOTNS fave DVP (at least in the pilot, which aired August 24, 1976 on ABC).

*Charo made 10 guest shots on The Love Boat and 3 on Fantasy Island. According to this Me-TV piece, she was only surpassed by Florence Henderson and Marion Ross for appearances on the former.  She was not on The Muppet Show, though!

*Magic Mountain in Valencia, California, opened in 1971 and was bought by Six Flags in 1979.

*Xavier Cugat was married to Charo 1966-1978. The Cuban-born bandleader was in multiple films in the 1940s but was never on The Muppet Show.

*Love Will Keep Us Together by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield was an album track from Sedaka in 1973, and the Captain and Tennille's cover was the number one single of 1975.

*Mannix aired on CBS for 8 seasons from 1967 to 1975.

*Beatrice Colen (1948-1999) was Etta Candy on the Wonder Woman TV series as well as carhop Marsha on Happy Days.

*Mike is 100% correct--It IS Jane Curtin in the One-a-Day vitamin commercial!

*Viva Valdez ran May-September 1976 on ABC. The sitcom about a Mexican-American family in East L.A. was a summer replacement series that didn't stick after its 12 episodes aired.

*The Bicentennial Minutes aired nightly on CBS from July 1974 to the end of 1976. Many are indeed online. A prominent person told viewers what happened 200 years ago on that date.

*Wintergreen Life Savers do indeed make sparks when you chew through them, not when yoy lick them. Thanks to Crack Research Team Intern Laurie for pointing this out!

*Charo's official birth year is 1951--she has legal backing to that effect--but that would make her 15 or 16 when she married Cugat and, more importantly, that would make her 14 on Ed Sullivan's show.  After watching many of her TV appearances, including clips from the 1960s, it seems reasonable to believe she was born in 1941, as official documents (she later claimed were wrong) indicate. There is also a story floating around that she was born in 1945.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Episode 7-8: Charo!

Charo! World-renowned flamenco guitarist! Charo! Frequent guest on the Love Boat! Charo! Mysterious! Charo! We couldn't do a podcast about seventies and eighties TV and not eventually talk about Charo! In this case, we talk about her 1976 variety special with bandleader Frank DeVol and special guest star Mike "Mannix" Connors! Say it with us one more time. Charo!

Check out this episode!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Top Ten #55

1) Doctor Who: You discussed what on our podcast this week?
No, who.
OK, you discussed who?
That's what I'm asking, who did you discuss.
That's right.

2) Neal Sabin: Kudos to the head of Me-TV for giving Ed Gross a candid, informative interview on the Closer podcast.

3) Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown: As much as we appreciate A Special Valentine with the Family Circus, Charlie OWNS the holidays.

4) Fantasy Island: Speaking of appreciation, it shouldn't take a panned horror movie adaptation to make you appreciate the original, but...

5) Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal: Remember when the Academy actually tried to put a decent host out there, one who could add value to the show, rather than just give up?

6) Sid and Marty Krofft: The iconic brothers received a star on the Walk of Fame last week. I can only hope the star sprang up, shot fire out of its mouth in a psychedelic pattern, then marched away singing a catchy pop tune.

7) Rick Moranis: In exciting news, the SCTV star returns to acting by appearing in...Well, you know what? Let's just remember the fun we had watching him on SCTV, eh?

8) Marv Albert: Yesterday's All-Star Game makes us think of one of the legendary voices of the NBA, but also someone posted (again) this classic NFL moment for which Marv was at the mic for NBC in 1986:

9) The Hollywood Squares/Match Game Hour: Credit to Dave Holmes for this hilarious piece on this oddity running nightly on Buzzr.

10) Room 222: Just because (looks northward, nods).

Friday, February 14, 2020

Doctor Who playlist is now live!

The video playlist for this week's Doctor Who episode of the podcast is now available! Click below to see lots of Tom Baker and friends on the telly, including vintage clips, adverts, and more! And what is Bill Walton doing here?

Remember to hit our official YouTube channel anytime for more playlists as well as past episodes of Battle of the Network Shows!

Show Notes: Episode 7-7: Doctor Who "Genesis of the Daleks"

*Thanks again to listener Thomas M. for suggesting this episode!

*Doctor Who premiered on the BBC Saturday November 23, 1963.  The arc we talk about, Genesis of the Daleks, is from the series 12th season (first with Tom Baker), and it aired March 8 through April 12, 1975 on 6 consecutive Saturdays.

*According to this website, the arc aired on WETA in Washington D.C. (to name just one PBS station) in June 1981 at 6:30 P.M. for a week, but the U.S. premiere was in 1978.

*Tom Baker is the Fourth Doctor, following (in reverse order) Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, and William Hartnell. Baker played the role for 172 episodes from 1974 to 1981, when he was replaced by Peter Davison.

*The failed Fox revival starred Paul McGann in a TV movie/backdoor pilot in 1996. The movie did well in the UK but flopped in the USA, though the Eighth Doctor remains in continuity and is a presence in other media.

*Many of the early years of the series are lost, though the BBC is restoring episodes, often using animation, with help of audio and video footage from around the world. Most of the missing (or destroyed or deteriorated) episodes are from seasons 3 through 5. A new restoration just got a release date this month.

*Companions in Genesis are Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan. Smith is one of the more iconic "companions," and Sullivan only appeared in this 12th season. Actor Ian Marter later wrote Doctor Who novels.

*The highest-rated arc in the UK for Doctor Who, including the modern era, is the City of Death storyline starring Baker and premiering in Season 17 (1979). There is a catch, though--a strike sidelined ITV, leaving BBC without its biggest competition.

*Marvel Comics featured the Doctor for the first time stateside in Marvel Premiere #57, which began a 4-part saga. The company launched an ongoing title in 1984 reprinting material originally printed in Britain.

*Davros is played by Michael Wisher in this serial but also by multiple other performers over the course of the series. According to Wikipedia, Wisher based his portrayal on Bertrand Russell!

*The head of BBC One during this time period was...Bryan Cowgill! No relation to either one of us...we think.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Episode 7-7: Doctor Who "Genesis of the Daleks"

We travel through time and space with the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), Sarah, and Harry as they try to stop the genesis of the Daleks at the hands of Davros. He's quite mad, you know? We also do our best to understand a little of the history of the Doctor Who phenomenon.

Check out this episode!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Top Ten #54

1) Murder, She Wrote: This week's BOTNS looks at the long-running mystery show. It's not just for your grandmothers, folks!

Your great aunts love it, too!

2) Michael Constantine: Perhaps the most interesting performance on Murder Takes the Bus, the episode we discussed, came from Constantine, whose pivotal turn as [REDACTED] played a huge role in Jessica [REDACTED] and clearing [REDACTED] in the murder of [REDACTED], and who also prevented Sheriff Amos and Jessica from enjoying some hot [REDACTED].

3) Terry Bradshaw: The co-star of our look at Greatest Sports Legends had a big week, conducting on-field post-Super Bowl ceremonies without embarrassing himself and announcing a reality show centered on his family that surely will embarrass himself.

4) Robert Conrad: If there's one thing that stood out to us when we talked about Battle of the Network Stars, it was Gabe Kaplan's shorts. But if there's TWO things, one of them has to be Conrad's insane hypercompetitiveness. His performance in the relay race controversy helped elevate a contrived made-for-TV pseudo contest into an over-the-top ridiculous contrived made-for-TV pseudo contest. Rest in peace!

5) Gene Reynolds: R.I.P. also to one of the creative forces behind MASH and Lou Grant.

6) L.A. Law: Mere days after its first appearance in the BOTNS Top Ten, the (mostly) M.I.A. show is named one of the shows Disney is licensing to IMDB TV.

7) Unnamed Long Island Pizza Parlor: On this National Pizza Day, let's remember the local hangout where the Seavers could not just enjoy a pie, but connect with teenage drug den operators.

8) Sam Elliott: The rugged star danced--we think--in one of the more popular Super Bowl ads.

9) Jm J. Bullock: Happy birthday to the Too Close for Comfort scene stealer. Do you think that on the set, he rallied Ted Knight and the others by saying, "Come on, people, there's no I in Jm, and there's no I in team!"

10) Kirk Douglas: Great movie actor, sure, but he was never on Love Boat nor Fantasy Island. How big a star could the guy have been if he was never on Love Boat nor Fantasy Island?

Friday, February 7, 2020

Show Notes: Episode 7-6: Murder, She Wrote

*Murder, She Wrote aired on CBS for 12 seasons and 264 episodes from September 1984 to May 1996, and there were also 4 TV movies.  The first 5 seasons are available on Prime Video, and the complete series is on DVD.

*Season 1 Episode 19, Murder Takes the Bus, premiered Sunday, March 17, 1985, at 8:00 P.M. on CBS. Preceding it was 60 Minutes, and following it was Crazy Like a Fox and Trapper John M.D.

ABC countered with Ripley's Believe It or Not, Brubaker (the 1980 Robert Redford film), and Foul-Ups, Bleeps, and Blunders. The NBC lineup that night included Silver Spoons, Punky Brewster, Knight Rider, and a rerun of The Burning Bed.

*Angela Lansbury played Agatha Christie sleuth Miss Marple in 1980's The Mirror Crack'd, which was originally supposed to kick off a series. Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson, and Kim Novak co-star. Sadly, they are among the only stars who didn't show up on Murder, She Wrote.

*A guest star who IS in this episode of Murder, Terence Knox, was indeed still a regular on St. Elsewhere when this aired.'

*Mike mentions on the show what Jimmy Hoffa says in The Irishman about facing a knife as opposed to a gun. Here is the quote from the source material, the book I Hear You Paint Houses:

Frank Sheeran tells Charles Brandt: "Bill Isabel told me that Jimmy said, 'You always run away from a man with a knife and toward a man with a gun.' I don't know about that. You have to know the circumstances.  He's right if you can startle the man with the gun, because he doesn't expect you to come at him. Jimmy did the right thing in these circumstances. But if you go toward the man with a gun who cannot be startled, the closer you get the more you improve his aim.  Most of the time you don't see the knife until you're cut with it. The best thing to do is to be a choirboy."

*Angela Lansbury won numerous Golden Globes for the series yet never won an Emmy despite a record 12 nominations. She lost Emmys to: Tyne Daly, Sharon Glass (Cagney and Lacey), Dana Delany (China Beach), Patricia Wettig (Thirtysomething), Kathy Baker (Picket Fences), and--most surprising to me--Sela Ward for Sisters.

*At this time, there are over 40 official "Jessica Fletcher"novel in our world. In the Murder, She Wrote world, who knows how many novels she wrote? We're not sure she even keeps track.

*Father Dowling Mysteries with Tom Bosley aired 1989-1991 on NBC and then ABC.

*This series was a top-10 show in 8 of its first 11 years, never finishing lower than #13.  It crashed in its final season, falling to #58 overall after an ill-fated move from its longtime Sunday 8:00 timeslot to Thursday at 8:00/

*You can see a clip from Lansbury's Positive Moves exercise video in this week's YouTube playlist. We chose a PG-rated selection.

Murder, She Wrote playlist is now live!

After listening to us discuss Murder, She Wrote on the podcast, take a look at our video playlist for this episode. You'll find A Whole Lotta Lansbury as she sings, shills, and performs with Bea Arthur! Plus appearances by Linda Blair, Rue McClanahan, Larry Linville, and many more! And of course there's clam chowd-ah!

And remember to visit our official YouTube channel for episode-specific playlists as well as past installments of the podcast.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Episode 7-6: Murder, She Wrote "Murder Takes the Bus"

On a dark and stormy night, America's favorite mystery writer/amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher takes a bus ride with a bevy of guest stars. While they hole up in a roadside restaurant, a passenger gets murdered, and everyone's a suspect (except Jessica and Amos natch). Whodunnit? Whydunnit? Will Jessica figure it out, or will they all fall victim one by one? Most importantly, will they make it to the Sheriff's Conference in time for Amos to get some potato soup? Let the man have his potato soup!

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

YouTube Spotlight: Chariots of the Gods?

As a treat for this week's YouTube playlist devoted to our look at Spider-Woman, we wanted to give a little taste of one of the seminal "aliens & pyramids" works of the 1970s.

Erich Von Daniken's book, originally published in Germany in 1968, swept the USA in its English translation by Michael Haron. The German documentary of the same name (seen here in the trailer) was a box office hit here in 1970, and Von Daniken's best seller continued to be popular well into the 1970s despite a lack of critical appeal and a wave of authorities debunking its fantastic claims.

Chariots Of The Gods.jpg

Of course, the book has another BOTS connection. Alan Landsburg's re-edited version of the film, In Search of Ancient Astronauts, and follow-up In Search of Ancient Mysteries, inspired the TV series In Search Of... with Leonard Nimoy replacing Rod Serling as narrator/host. if only In Search Of... explored some of the amazing phenomena featured on Spider-Woman!

Monday, February 3, 2020

BOTNS Investigates: The Voice of Spider-Man

When preparing the show notes for the latest episode, the Crack Research Team thought it might be enlightening to discover who actually voiced Special Guest Star Spider-Man in Pyramids of Terror, the debut installment of Spider-Woman. Unfortunately, the series has generic credits for voices, listing everyone who has a role in any episode, not just any particular one, and they aren't matched with the characters.

Well, it's 2020, so this should be easy, right? Well, not so much. IMDB and don't help. Wikipedia doesn't help.

According to this article, Paul Soles voices Spidey in both his appearances on Spider-Woman, but he sure sounds different in his return in episode 7. The Kongo Spider. I believe the article is incorrect. Soles voiced Spider-Man in the immortal 1967 cartoon series (which should be on Disney Plus NOW), but it certainly isn't him in both Spider-Woman appearances, and maybe not even in either one.

Adding to the confusion, Spider-Man's voice in his 1981 solo series is Ted Schwartz. I love that, by the way, and want it to sink in for a minute: Ted Schwartz.

Image result for 1981 spider-man"

(Schwartz (1934-2014) was also Thrasher in G.I. Joe and starred in a Transformers arc as well.)

In Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends a year later, Dan Gilvezan is Spidey.

Image result for spider-man amazing friends"

And just for the record, 1977's live-action series stars Nicholas Hammond.

Image result for spider man 1977 nicholas hammond"

So that's 5 different Spider-Men in about 5 or 6 years, and I still don't know who it is in Pyramids of Terror.

Does anyone know this man's secret identity?

Or this one?