Friday, July 3, 2020

Captain America (1990) DVD is going OOP

Shout! Factory! gave us a decent DVD of the two CBS Captain America TV movies, and it is still available (and it is CHEAP), but the company's website lists the 1990 theatrical movie "Collector's Edition" as "Going out of print in 2020--Save while supplies last!"

Better act quick to get in on these massive savings--you can save a whopping ONE DOLLAR and get it for 13.98 instead of 14.98 right now. I might get 4 or 5 at that kind of discount!

Is it going OOP because someone else has licensed it for a new special edition or blu-ray? I don't know, but who is with me in saying we could use a Captain America/Captain America II Blu-Ray with extras?  Original promos...making of documentary...Reb Brown and Connie Sellecca commentaries!  Someone make it happen!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

This Day(ish) in TV History: 6/27/75 Part 2--TV after dark!

Way after dark, that is! After our look last week at the TV of June 27, 1975, it's time to go beyond prime time, and let me tell you, this is where things really get interesting.  In prime time, summer was getting in gear with a lineup filled with reruns.  After prime time, we get plenty of reruns--but cool ones! And movies! And--well, let's just get to it.

Source for this piece is an contemporaneous New Hampshire edition of TV Guide.  This edition includes some big BAH-ston channels as well as the local Granite State fare. It sure looks to me like the viewers in the region had some quality channels.  Ah, the days before infomercials! Even though programming essentially ceases at about 4:00 A.M. (If a station broadcasts but TV Guide doesn't list it, does it really broadcast?), the late/overnight schedule here is packed with great stuff.

It's great to see a Greatest Sports Legends here, and this tribute to the Big O sounds like a good one.  I said on our GSL episode that I always thought of it as a weekend afternoon kind of program, but here it is at 10:30 on a Friday night.

Channel 56 has a lot of good stuff, and here we see a Perry Mason, a Best of Groucho (AKA You Bet Your Life), and a Mitchum flick to end the workweek.

Check out the battle at 11:30, where NBC of course has Carson, then still 90 minutes and with a new episode. CBS runs The Last Rebel, which may be the best Joe Namath/Jack Elam Western ever made.  ABC has Wide World of Mystery. It's a far cry from the "Late Night Wars" of the modern era, with every network offering a talk/comedy show or two.

Channel 27, a Manchester independent, follows GSL and local news with a Bowery Boys movie!  That's it as far as TV Guide is concerned, but 27 did run Jack Benny earlier (and also something called Elder American at 8:00).

Let's skip ahead for a moment to 1:00, when NBC follows The Tonight Show with The Midnight Special. Who says NBC wasn't hip? Keep in mind this is several months before the premiere of Saturday Night! Can't go wrong with the Temps (the rest of the lineup, I admit, doesn't seem as groovy), but what is up with "a 'Rock Rap' segment with Carol Wayne?"

Don't worry, folks, it's a music news segment, not the late Wayne doing a pre-Fred Durst medley.

I think my new favorite channel is retroactively channel 38 WSBK Boston), now sadly a MyTV affiliate but a great indie station back in the day.  According to this issue, Laugh Classics is a nightly program. Earlier episodes this week spotlighted Leon Errol and Edgar Kennedy, who shows up again in tonight's pair of comedy shorts.

Channel 5 looks decent, too, with Mission Impossible and an Ealing classic with Alec Guiness. These rebels are running MI before Wide World of Mystery for some reason!

Two final notes: Shout-out to the ABC News on channel 44 for airing with captions.  We here at BOTNS are strong advocates of closed captioning! It's too bad that this captioned showing is the auxiliary one on a PBS station instead of the "main" one earlier in the evening1

Finally, the Crack Research Team at BOTNS assures me that the doctor in residence on House Call is not that Jay Mohr.  I don't think I'd feel comfortable getting stroke advice from the other one.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day, everyone, with a special shout-out to our listeners in, from, and in the general vicinity of our Northern neighbor.

The only purely Canadian series we have covered on the podcast is Beachcombers, but we plan to change that in the future. We have talked about series with Michael J. Fox, Alan Thicke, Dan Aykroyd, and of course we kicked off our explorations of TV movies with Bill Shatner in Pray for the Wildcats.

What other Canadian series should we talk about on the podcast?

Happy National Postal Workers Day!

It's a, eh, well-known fact that, eh, today is National Postal Workers Day. So, er, tip your cap to your favorite beloved civil service warrior saving your bacon on the frontlines.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Henry, not Louis, is the star of this cookout!

Picture a bucolic family scene--music, laughter, and of course food.

Now picture Great Uncle Henry pulling his "Dagwood Bumstead" routine for the umpteenth time, building a sandwich way bigger than he can hope to get in his yap, let alone ingest, to predictable "comic" results:

I mean, do we really need this guy to waste some tasty-looking vittles just so he can feign an attempt to eat a Dagwood sandwich?

Then again, he IS hearing words of encouragement: "Pile it on, Henry!"

Actually, the more I watch this...

the more I think about this...

Yes, I change my mind.  This guy is COOL.  Maybe he can't get the full Dagwood going, but I admire the effort, and I kind of want to do this myself.

Monday, June 29, 2020

National Camera Day reminds us of Candid Camera

On this National Camera Day, I am thking about a TV series that has had multiple incarnations and always seems to to have a revival in the works yet is nowhere near the pop culture phenomenon it was in the BOTNS era; Candid Camera.

One of the forerunners of reality shows like America's Funniest Home Videos and countless others, Camera began as a series of film shorts before heading to TV in 1948! Since then, the show has aired in broadcast syndication, network TV, and cable in a variety of formats and time slots. Creator Allen Funt's son Peter keeps the brand alive, and the company's official YouTube channel is active and runs classic clips on a regular basis.

It's not the same as it was in the 1970s and 1980s, though, when the catchphrase, "Smile! You're on Candid Camera!" was ubiquitous as a way to indicate an embarrassing situation or humorous reveal. Has the concept been genericized by years of imitative hidden-camera projects? I think there is still room today for the old-school incarnations. Some of the old pranks are only too relevant today:

It's easy to envision old episodes or highlight packages showing up on, say, Amazon Prime Video at random one day. For now, it's good that Peter Funt is still out there promoting Candid Camera.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Top Ten #74

1) Mabel King: The other day, I was doing a crossword puzzle with my esteemed girlfriend and Friend of the Show when we saw King was the answer to a What's Happening! clue! That is more than enough reason to top this list.

2) Boba Fett: The star of the Star Wars Holiday Special made headlines last week when a rare action figure hit eBay with an asking price of $225,000!  For that kind of money, I could get all the cool TV Funkos and Megos I want...but if listeners want to take up a collection, we'd be happy to get Boba for the BOTNS studios.

3) Free to Be You and Me: Marlo Thomas' classic 1973 special was subject of a Stars in the House tribute Friday.

4) Cher: A new Time-Life DVD set showcasing her TV career came out this week, and I won't complain about the price because these things are expensive to produce, and...and...well, frankly I'd love to get screeners if you're out there, T-L.

5) Mel Brooks: Happy birthday to the comic legend and creator of When Things Were Rotten!

6) Sam and Diane: Kudos to The Av Club's Vikram Murthi for this thoughtful exploration of one of TV's most notable couples. Even if you don't agree with everything in here, it's a great read.

7) Danielle Brisebois: Happy birthday to the former Stephanie Mills on All in the Family--not to be confused with Stephanie Mills on Solid Gold:

8) Mr. Roarke: Guess which humble podcaster just got this bsdboy for his desk:

9) Lester Crystal: R.I.P. to the man instrumental in the creation of The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. I believe legend has it that PBS told him. "Hey, we want something like that Roger Mudd thing--only sex it up."

10) Jake's Way: On this date in 1980, CBS aired this unsold pilot starring Robert Fuller (Laramie, Emergency) as a Texas sheriff.  Hey, Disney controls this. I'm sure we can expect to see this on Disney Plus soon given the company's commitment to preserving and exhibiting its vast television archive:

Saturday, June 27, 2020

This Day in TV History: A failed pilot and--hey, where's Christie Love? (6/27/75 part 1)

This week in June 1975 was full of repeats, but the networks sprinkled in some pilots, one-offs, and "serious programming."  This night 45 years ago is a good example.

June 27, 1975 saw movie night on CBS: Captain Nemo and the Underwater City and Shaft. Mind you, this is not one of the made-for-TV Shaft (JOHN Shaft!) movies, but it is the original, and can you imagine how much butchering occurred to get it into a 90-minute time slot? And forget about the violence and nudity!

NBC kicked off with a Sanford and Son repeat--one of the Grady episodes produced during one of Redd Foxx's contract disputes. Following Grady and Sanford's Son: reruns of Chico and the Man, Rockford Files, and Police Woman.

ABC led at 8:00 with an "encore presentation" of Kolchak and then the episode of the Odd Couple where Felix uses Oscar's pic for an ad campaign without his permission.  You know, I love The Odd Couple, but it's somehow easy for me to forget that the show was on as late as June 1975.  Its final season ended in March, and it was playing out the string in repeats here.  Also of note: This episode was written by David Duclon, who later helped give us BOTNS hits like Punky Brewster and Silver Spoons. Guest John Byner appears in the clip below.

ABC's Friday night lineup was unstable all season, and on this night it was Failed Pilot Theatre:

Abe Burrows, who wrote the book for the classic Broadway musical, spearheaded this adaptation.  Wikipedia lists it as a "comedy special," but as you see in this vintage listing, it was considered a possible start to a new series.  That seems a lot more likely than the creator of the play turning his baby into a 30-minute package for TV!

Incidentally, I love the language TV Guide used back in the day: "This program is the pilot for a possible series, but it is not on the networks' fall schedules."  In other words, don't get attached to it, readers!

ABC ended the night with some public affairs/prestige-type programming.  That's right: BORRR-RRRING!

No, I am sorry for making light of a program that explored a serious subject.  ABC didn't have much else going on Friday at 10:00, so it decided to air an educational/informative show for the public good.  These kinds of serious, well-intentioned news shows just don't turn up on the networks anymore.

Note a young Peter Jennings is the correspondent here.  Jennings was then anchoring ABC's pre-Good Morning America effort and would become the chief foreign correspondent for ABC News months later. He wouldn't become anchor of World News Tonight for another three years, when ABC tried a multi-anchor format with Jennings, Frank Reynolds, and Max Robinson from different locations.

I like the bit at the end about pre-empting Get Christie Love.  Talk about an abrupt change! Imagine tuning in for that series and getting a sobering look at food shortages, global hunger, and agro-economic policy.

It's so much fun to take a deep dive into this one night of TV that we'll present another look next week, but we will go into late night in 1975!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

This Day in TV History: A mini-mystery proves the fallibility of online TV listings?

Don'cha hate it when archival online TV listings are inaccurate or unclear?

Until the day when there is a single reliable day-by-day TV listings database, we have to cobble together airdates and what-aired-this-days through a variety of sources. One recent find was bothering me:  An Andy Rooney original special appearing in the listings in an original TV Guide for June 24, 1975.

According to the Guide, 45 years ago today, on a night dominated by reruns, CBS premiered Mr. Rooney Goes to Dinner, a humorous look at the pastime of dining out from "Andrew Rooney. " Note that this "close up" does not mention 60 Minutes.  Well, that's because he didn't join that show until 1978. He had been producing TV specials for CBS for several years at this point.

 However, researching the special yielded conflicting info.  The IMDB page says the show premiered April 20, 1976.  The 6/25/74 grid at Ultimate 70s does list the special, but it says it's a repeat. TV Tango is blank for prime time on that night! Wikipedia dates the special as 1978, though from context it appears to be a typo for 1976.

So I wondered, when did this air? Could THE GUIDE be wrong?  Well, my guess is that the Guide showed us what was scheduled that night, but not necessarily what aired, which points out an issue with old magazines as sources.  As for online sources, I think they are drawing from contemporary listings sources like TV Guide and may be subject to the same potential limitations. The spotlight from the time, though, does not have that standard "(Repeat)" designation.

Maybe the show was pre-empted and didn't air until April 1976?  Ah, I looked up what else happened on the date, and here the story takes a sad turn.  On June 24, 1975, the nation witnessed the largest number of casualties in a passenger aircraft disaster to that point when 113 died after Eastern Airlines Flight 66 crashed just before hitting the runway.  I don't know if coverage pre-empted the Rooney show on CBS, but on a summer night, it doesn't seem outlandish to think they might have gone with breaking news instead of the regular non-essential programming.

Below is some coverage from the local NBC station featuring Tom Snyder:

I still don't know the whole story behind Mr. Rooney Goes to Dinner, but my theory is that the special got bumped due to coverage of the horrible tragedy but then aired the next year.  Perhaps it's considered a repeat on Ultimate 70s due to the confusion over the original airdate, or maybe it did actually run in some markets.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Top Ten #73

1) DVP: Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, and a special salute to one of our favorite TV padres, Tom Bradford.

2) Tony Gwynn: Speaking of Padres, here's a rare look--Ok, glimpse--at the late Hall of Famer.

3) Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross: Would you believe that the Keatons were born on the same exact day in the same year (1947)? Would you?

Actually, I don't believe it, and I read it.  It's just too fantastical to comprehend.

4) The Ed Sullivan Show: The classic show is digging into its vaults to upload clips from its archives.  Yes, we'd prefer full episodes to clips, but who are we to complain about free Temptations performances?

5) Al Molinaro: Me-TV spotlighted the great Al Molinaro with a look at his first on-screen appearance, a Green Acres guest spot that it also aired this week. Click this link for more.

6) Bernie Kopell: Happy birthday to the undisputed sexiest man on the Pacific Princess, Adam Bricker himself.  And he was a DOCTOR, too! What a catch!

7) Mariette Hartley: Happy birthday to a star in her own right and one of the best podners James Garner ever had.

8) Michael Keaton: The beloved star of Working Stiffs finally returns to series TV with the just-announced Dopesick on Hulu.

9) Pat Boone: How in the world did this classic not become part of the national fabric?

10) Coach: Antenna TV is celebrating the holiday with a Father's Day marathon because...wait, Coach was a dad? Was he supposed to be that tall blond dumb guy's father?

Saturday, June 20, 2020

This Day in TV History: The Ray Stevens Show premieres on CBS

50 years ago today, a summer replacement series for The Andy Williams Show debuted on NBC. That series was The Ray Stevens Show--or at least, it would become that.  Its original title was the much less elegant Andy Williams Presents The Ray Stevens Show.  The official Ray Stevens YouTube account is nice enough to have posted the first segment from that episode!

I like that title, and in fact I wish every spinoff was named in similar fashion.  Andy Griffith Presents Gomer PyleCheers Presents Frasier. All in the Family Presents The Jeffersons.

And of course we would all have enjoyed Hill Street Blues Presents Beverly Hills Buntz.

There was precedent for that kind of thing.  That very night, ABC broadcast another episode of Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters.  It still sounds goofy!

As for the Stevens show, it lasted till August but didn't return after the summer of 1970. 

Friday, June 19, 2020

Promo Theatre: Buck Rogers, "Space Vampire"

Here's a short but impactful promo that was not online when we made our Buck Rogers playlist for our podcast covering memorable episode Space Vampire. Check out Erin Gray in this one!

The episode originally aired in January of 1980, but NBC reran it on this date 40 years ago!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

This Day in TV History: Ethel Is an Elephant

When I read the synopsis for this half-hour pilot that aired June 18, 1980, I assumed it was an animated special.  A guy walking home from work sees an abandoned, injured elephant and takes her home.

This is indeed live action! Directed by John Astin, the show follows the travails of photographer Eugene Henderson (Todd Susman) as he tries to hide his new friend from Eddie Barth's landlord.

The clip below is taken from an ABC special on unsold pilots:

Tom Shales reviewed this in the Post when it premiered on CBS. Do you think he liked it? 

He's surprisingly not angry about it, but my favorite line is:
Anyone vaguely familiar with the history of situation comedy knows there had to be such a program eventually.

"Hey, Philo, what do you think people are gonna DO with this thing?"
"Well, eventually they'll use it to broadcast a recurring scenario involving an elephant and the man who hides her from his landlord."

"You mean they haven't done that already???"

People was much more elephantish in its Picks and Pans review, stating:
Despite its precious name, this failed pilot isn’t a turkey. A smartly written bit of Aesopian whimsy, it stars Todd Susman as a New York photographer who removes a nail from the foot of an abandoned baby elephant, then gets adopted by the pet and tries to disguise her as a sofa.

Anyone remember this bit of Aesopian whimsy? And how did John Astin get involved?

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Movies and groceries: I miss the late eighties

Courtesy of the great uploader of Canadian material bmuz, here is a glimpse of video rentals in 1989. Remember when everyone sold videos?  Forget video stores, the REAL place to get your hands on Top Gun was the local convenience store or supermarket!  And we're not talking a kiosk, but an actual section within the store:

So many stores devoted so much space to video rentals!

"Plus you can even get your groceries while you're here."

I love that in this clip, you don't even see groceries.  In fact it looks to me like this is just an actual video store. This "video department" is bigger than many grocery stores around today.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Schoolhouse Rock is on Disney Plus, but something is missing...

The true Schoolhouse Rock experience includes this beginning:

It's cool that the shorts are on Disney Plus, and I know we can't turn the block to 1980-whatever, but it just isn't the same without that intro!

Monday, June 15, 2020

This Day in TV History: Hee Haw premieres June 15, 1969

On this day in 1969, CBS gave the world the enduring classic Hee HawWe covered the show on the podcast, but let's take some more time to consider the program today on its 51st anniversary.

The show was purged from the network but lasted forever in syndication and is still fondly remembered, showing up in places like RFD-TV and, of course in the gift shops of Cracker Barrells everywhere.  We give it a special SAAA-LUTE!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Top Ten #72

1) Pierce Brosnan: The Remington Steele is the cover subject of America's #1 periodical: Parade.  Is it just me or would Marilyn Vos Savant make a good Bond villain?

2) Schoolhouse Rock: I know it's been a rough year and academics have been disrupted everywhere, but, kids, now that the essentials are online in the form of these shorts on Disney Plus, there is no excuse for not being educated.

3) John Ritter: This Me-TV article explores Ritter's recurring role on The Waltons. He showed up on the episode we discussed a few seasons ago.

4) Strawberry Shortcake: National Strawberry Shortcake Day celebrates the food, but there's also this:

5) Marla Gibbs: Happy birthday to one of the finest practitioners of service with sass.

6) Skag:  We featured the series yesterday on the site, but I have to admit I just like saying SKAG.

7) K-Tel: I don['t want to hear about Now That's What I Call Music or anything from the last 30 years. The recognized leader in compilations will always be K-Tel.

8) Michael Sloan: The creator of The Equalizer and prolific TV writer/producer was on Ed Robertson's TV Confidential radio show recently. He didn't threaten to blow Robertson away, but I bet he would have if pushed.

9) Burl Ives: Happy birthday to the unofficial Voice of Christmas.

10) Mr. Wrestling II: R.I.P. to the former mainstay of several different big territories back in the day in the grand sport of...jai alai. No, I'm kidding, but how cool would it be if Mr. Jai Alai was a wrestling star and vice versa?

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Promo Theatre: The EPIC debut of Skag!

I complain when a new TV series starts with a 75-minute episode.  Well, it's a good thing I wasn't watching the 1980 premiere of NBC's Skag, which someone thought merited a THREE-HOUR presentation!

I don't know if NBC was really excited about the Karl Malden show or just thought, let's get rid of this in as few chunks of possible, but that's a while lot of Skag.  It's not The Winds of Skag.  It's not Lonesome Skag. It's not Skag: The Final Battle. It's just Skag.

The gritty depiction of a Pittsburgh steelworker and his family didn't last very long, though it received good reviews. Piper Laurie told Shock Cinema, "I guess people didn't want to watch a series about the difficulties in a blue-collar family. That, I think, could have been a very fine series had it continued.  It was a quality show."

If you were ever going to get America to watch a series about Pittsburgh steelworkers, it would have been January 1980, when the City of Champions ruled baseball and football! It wasn't meant to be, though.  Maybe Skag should have featured Willie Stargell and Terry Bradshaw.

Maybe that pilot just scared off everyone. I mean, I might watch a series about the difficulties in a blue-collar family, but maybe only for an hour at a time.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Happy birthday, Marv Albert!

The longtime voice of the NBA is not only a revered sportscaster, but he is also a valued alumnus of Late Night with David Letterman! Happy birthday, Marvelous Marv!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

This Day in TV History: The Facts of Life "Dope" airs plus Reb Brown!

On June 11, 1980, The Facts of Life talked about dope--and we don't mean the Biggest Dope category in the Battys.  No, Sue Ann (one of the crew who departed after the first season) succumbs to the peer pressure brought on her by a clique of in-crowders and smokes some pot.  Hilarity ensues, with Sue Ann's book report coming out as gibberish.

Also in this episode, Tootie and Natalie buy bongs and bring them back to the dorm with cheerful grins. And did I mention one of the in-crowders is a young Helen Hunt?

Dope is the 13th episode of Facts and just about the only new episode broadcast network viewers had on that Wednesday night.  NBC had Real People, Diff'rent Strokes, and Quincy reruns surrounding it.  ABC led off with a new episode of Family (wrapping up its run with a 13-episode fifth season), then showed repeats of Charlie's Angels and Vega$.

CBS ran an encore presentation of BOTNS favorite Captain America! The week before, it was part 1 of the original TV movie, and tonight was the second half.  Following that was Getting Married, a 1978 TV movie with Richard Thomas, Mark Harmon, Bess Armstrong, Vic Tayback, Audra Lindley, Van Johnson, Richard Deacon, and more! Publicity photo below from Amazon:

Bess Armstrong Mark Harmon- Getting Married 1978 CBS TV press ...

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

This Day in TV History: Tales from the Crypt premieres on HBO

The horror anthology was never one of my favorites, but it's important to remember that HBO original series didn't start with Sex and the City!  Here is a great vintage promo hyping the first season:

The show ran all the way till 1996 and has been syndicated around the world--it even spawned a spinoff Saturday morning cartoon--but you won't find it on HBO Go/HBO Now even though the entire series was released on DVD in the 2000s and again in a complete box set in 2017.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Happy Birthday, Donald Duck!

June 9 is the official birthday of Donald Duck according to Disney. On this date in 1934, The Wise Little Hen marked the character's screen debut.

Let's celebrate by watching this clip of Elton John singing Your Song in Donald Duck regalia in Central Park.  The concert aired on HBO.

Wait, wait, wait. We can't celebrate one of our finest screen stars without watching one of the greatest TV cartoon show theme songs ever. Let's enjoy the opening of Donald Duck Presents:

My favorite part is when Donald promises "crazy stuff!"  That's right, ANYTHING GOES when Duck presents!

Monday, June 8, 2020

This Day in TV History: Bill Conrad IS Turnover Smith!

Turnover Smith.

Say it again: Turnover Smith.

Now say it in ALL CAPS as we can all imagine William Conrad saying it: TURNABOUT SMITH!

On this day in 1980, ABC aired an hourlong pilot for a series called Turnover Smith with Conrad. Note this is not to be confused with the novel Turnover by Thone Smith. Is it a football show? A light comedy/drama about a pastry chef?  Whatever the reason for it, the name is spectacular! 

I know without even seeing a frame of footage, nor without even knowing the premise of the series, that I want to watch a television program called Turnover Smith. Let's go to Lee Goldberg's The Best TV Shows that Never Were for more info. 

Wait, it's not in here! D'oh! Tons of pilots listed, including one with Conrad as a "cop-turned-college-security-chief and part-time football coach at a Hawaii university." THAT intrigues me. I want to know about Turnover, though, so it's time to go to the definitive source: People magazine's Picks and Pans column:

William Conrad is a delightfully cranky criminologist trying to checkmate a chess-obsessed strangler. The pace of this TV movie is fast, and James Darren is fine as the calculating killer even if, from opening to end game, none of it makes much sense.

Also starring: Belinda Montgomery, Hilly Hicks, Nehemiah Persoff, james Darren, Cameron Mitchell, and Nita Talbot.

TCM's database has more info:

Criminology professor William Conrad uses scientific methods, advanced computer technology, his expertise in chess, and the leg work of several of his students to track down a crazed killer in San Francisco. Pilot to another series which Conrad (as executive producer as well as star) hoped would put him back to work regularly following the retirement of "Cannon" several years earlier, it was filmed in 1978.

His expertise in chess! Looks like ABC just burned this off (along with a Glen A. Larson cop show pilot with Doug mcClure, Nightside) on a Sunday night distinguished by the Tony Awards on CBS.  However, I'm kind of interested in seeing this! 

I'm more interested after finding this picture on ebay:

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Top Ten #71

1) Julia: Through Philo, I have access to Aspire, which used to show Room 222 and The Flip Wilson Show. I had totally forgotten about this, but the Diahann Carroll sitcom, notable for featuring a lead African-American actress in a role as a nurse (as opposed to a servant), is a charming and well-made series worth revisiting.

2) The Carol Burnett Show: Shout Factory TV! added all 11 (highly edited) seasons of the series, and Pluto TV is now running episodes, but be aware that Prime Video has the series, too, including many hour-long versions.

3) Ron Ely: Check out this Face the Music episode posted this week (thanks very much to the uploader!) and check out how well Ely straddles the line between detachment from what's going on and enjoying what he's doing.  I get the sense it's not his dream job and he thinks it's ridiculous, but he is gonna be suave and have a good time:

4) My World and Welcome to It: The 1970 Emmys on this date made this show the big comedy winner, also giving top acting honors to star William Windom.

5) Marcus Welby: On the drama side, the Emmys picked Welby and star Robert Young.

6) On Our Own: In a welcome surprise this week, Prime Video added the 1977-78 sitcom with Bess Armstrong, Lynne Greene, and Dixie Carter (both hamming and vamping it up). Made in New York, the series was produced by David Susskind's company.  Susskind helped develop Alice--since HBO Max isn't adding old series like that, how's about letting Prime have it?

7) John Chancellor and David Brinkley: The duo premiered as co-anchors on NBC Nightly News this date in 1976.  It wasn't until August, though, that they started fighting crime with their arsenal of high-tech gadgetry each night after the broadcast.

8) Dean Martin: Dino would have been 103 today, so let's have a drink in his honor. What? I made a similar joke in the column a few weeks ago? Well, what can I say. I don't like rehearsal, either.

9) The Powers of Matthew Star: Me-TV just called this one of the most interesting sci-fi shows of the Eighties, and it is biased, having just added it to its schedule, but it makes a good case in this story.

10) Peggy Pope: R.I.P. to the late actress who was best known for her role in the movie 9 to 5 but also made tons of TV appearances and had recurring roles on Alice (do you feel the momentum building?) and Soap.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Top Ten #70

1) Sesame Street: Gets the top spot because, out of all that--buzzword alert--content available on HBO Max, this is the closest thing to what we could consider a "vintage" television series.

2) KITT: Did you know it was Autonomous Vehicle Day? If you see one today, but it a beer.

3) Mr. Belvedere: The surviving cast reunited on Zoom for charity--yes, all of them, even Brice Beckham.

4) John Houseman: One of the original bad asses of the small screen called out T.J. Hooker in a promo we shared earlier this week.  When he talks, people tremble.

5) Richard Herd: R.I.P. to the prolific non-Karl Malden who, long before he was Wilhelm on Seinfeld, starred in shows like T.J. Hooker.  I hope this finally quashes that long beef with Houseman.

6) Night Court: The final episode aired this date in 1992. It's not, I would just like to point out, on HBO Max.

7) Sharon Gless: happy Birthday to Cagney! Or is ir Lacey. Damn it, I always do that.  Happy birthday to the fine star of Switch!

8) Celebrity Comedy Football Classic: We mentioned this earlier this week. Hal Linden you have the juice to make this happen: We NEED a release of this program!

9) Steven Kampmann: Happy birthday to one of the forgotten alumni of Newhart, the first two seasons' Kirk, and also a writer on WKRP.

10) Matlock: Or perhaps I should say, "Maaaaaaatlooooock!" It gets a marathon on Decades this weekend.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Is this the secret origin of the Vlasic stork?

This excellent YouTube account posted another winner this week. It may be the first Vlasic pickles ad to feature its familiar-sounding stork pitchman.  It appears to tell his secret origin!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Promo Theatre: Look out, T.J. Hooker!

NBC is bringing it on Saturday night, and it ain't messing around! Buried in the middle of this collection of non-music segments from Friday Night Videos is this amazing promo for the next evening's lineup on the Peacock network.  You should see a spot for Diff'rent Strokes when you hit play below:

We hear Danny Dark turn from light: Arnold WHOMPS a thief to dark: "Will triumph turn to tragedy?" One of my favorite network promo characteristics is the jarring tone shift that happens in a matter of seconds, especially in the family sitcoms!  Another funny part of the spot is that the jaunty theme music is still playing while Kimberly realizes her dad was shot.

Then it's right back to lightness with whatever this Frog People business is.  Even better, we get the original bad-ass himself, John Houseman, calling out T.J. Hooker from his perch on the red-hot Silver Spoons! I love Houseman's lumberjack look here.  The man is clearly ready to roll up his sleeves and get down and dirty to prove that Hooker is indeed "dead meat."

I guess Cutter to Houston on CBS wasn't even worth of a mention!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Shows that could be--nay, SHOULD be--on HBO MAX

I write this on the eve of AT&T's big debut of HBO MAX, a confusingly named streaming video services that promises a "curated" collection of "content" from our favorite "brands."  Of course "curated" usually means, "you're not gonna get as much as you want."

In this case, I fear that the service will deliver big hits like South Park, Friends, and The Big Bang Theory but will not dive deep into the company's holdings the way the late, lamented Warner Archive Instant did.  So for our fellow fans of 1970s and 1980s television, here is a list of programs that were on Warner Instant and therefore I assume could be on HBO Max.  We're not talking only rarities, but a lot of this is infinitely more interesting to me than the shows that are already running multiple times a day in syndication.

1) Harry O: David Janssen's atmospheric, often-great private eye show was one of the highlights of Warner Archive Instant and is largely forgotten now.

2) The Man from Atlantis: This genre show has the advantage of being in just about every Warner Archive magazine advertisement I've ever seen!

3) Search: We already talked about it on the site many times, including of course, this episode, but it's worth mentioning again.

4) The Jimmy Stewart Show: Can't get much bigger in terms of star power than Jimmy, and since so many of his movies are controlled by other mega corporations, how about the gentle sitcom? And while you're at it, HBO Max, the Hawkins TV movies are welcome, too.

5) Flo: How many of us would relish the chance to fire up HBO max and blast that Hoyt Axton theme song?

6) The Practice: Not the legal drama, but the medical sitcom--the Junger/Witt Danny Thomas vehicle.

7) Logan's Run: Name value alone has to make it a contender.

8) Shaft: The TV movies from the 1970s would complement the  theatrical movies, and they seem to make a new one every 10 years, so the "brand" is still relelvant. By the way, the fact that the original Shaft movies aren't on the lists of movies available at launch nor coming in June is a red flag for a company bragging about how much content it will have.

9) Wizards and Warriors: Well, it's not like it's going to hog bandwidth--the light fantasy/adventure series lasted 8 episodes.

10) Beyond Westworld: I don't think there's much connection to the current HBO series, but aren't you curious?  This has even less episodes than Wizards and Warriors, but anything with Connie Sellecca is worth watching.

Of course it goes without saying that long-running series not streaming anywhere right now, like Medical Center, Eight Is Enough, The FBI, Night Court, and Alice should be there as well!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

"Sports" shows that can tide us over until live sports return.

The last several months, broadcast networks and sports channels filled airtime with "classic" games (often not nearly vintage enough for my tastes), and while some sports are already back--auto racing, MMA, German soccer--there is still a void.  Here is a list of "pseudo sports" the TV networks could be rolling out in reruns.  Make no mistake, as far as we here are concerned, "psuedo" means "awesome." Sports Illustrated once called them "trash sports," but at BOTNS, we love 'em.

1) Battle of the Network Stars: Of course! We may have drawn inspiration from this program when creating our podcast, you know.  The nation was captivated by The Last Dance, so I think the logical next step is a documentary on the Gabe Kaplan/Robert Conrad controversy. In the meantime, they can show the original episodes.

2) Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes Read more here about this series of specials, no doubt imitating our #1 choice.  The events kicked off with Phyllis George against O.J. Simpson in ping pong (!) and Ed Anser vs. Lola Falana in a marathon (!) among many other great events. They say history is written by the victors, and maybe Battle "won," but 2020 viewers will gain from seeing this series.

3) US Against the World : Here's an interesting NBC special that takes the Battle gimmick and pits the USA against the UK and "the rest of the world" in a series of events.  I'm looking at the list of stars, and it's loaded--Don Rickles, Chevy Chase, Roger Daltrey, Kate Jackson...Some stars I didn't expect, like Rod Taylor and Marty Feldman.  And would it surprise you to hear that Ed McMahon was a host?

Check out this Rod Taylor site for great info on this 1977 event, including this cool pic:

4) Celebrity Bowling: Maybe we can't understand the rules, but we here at BOTNS love us some celebrity bowling. This show is perfect for these troubled times--low stakes, low impact, and low cost.  Some might even use the term "low rent," and we that a bad thing?

5) Rock N Roll Sports Classic: ABC followed its own success with this made-for-TV event starring the likes of The Jacksons, Rod Stewart (who was also in US Against the World), and of course the biggest star of all at the time, Leif Garrett. What could be more ROCK AND ROLL than competing in goofy events on network television?

You'd better believe two things: 1) Rod is kicking soccer balls during this event and 2) BOTNS icon Ed McMahon is a host. make that THREE things, actually, because another BOTNS icon, Alex Karras, is the OTHER host!  Here is a closer look at the 1978 event.

6) The Superstars: OK, we had to get to "real" athletes at some point. didn't we? After a two-hour event in 1973, ABC turned the IMG production into a recurring series until the mid 1980s, when NBC picked it up. World-class athletes from team and individual sports competed in a variety of events to determine a champion, and for a while, Renaldo Nehemiah was dominant!

7) ABC Celebrity Comedy Football Classic: I know just enough about this to know I want to see it--I really, really want to see it--but not enough to rank it higher.

8) Celebrity Billiards: This California-based Minnesota Fats series just makes eligibility for our list by virtue of making it to 1971.  VCI Entertainment released a few episodes on DVD years ago, but since then I don;t think anyone has done anything with this. Fats versus a celebrity in billiards + trick shots = the format. That's it.  That's enough for me!

9) Sports Challenge: Granted, this is sports trivia, but you get to see accomplished athletes competing, with classic clips sprinkled throughout.  All this and Dick Enberg in snazzy sportcoats! ESPN Classic showed these years ago, so they are in the vaults.

10) Celebrity Tennis: I have never seen any of this syndicated weekly mid-1970s program, but I am sure at least one Van  Patten is involved. More importantly, the producers of Celebrity Bowling are involved, so we know the show is legit.  Jed Allan even hosted this one, too.  Apparently celebrities formed doubles teams and played each other for prizes for the audience, much like the bowling show.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Happy Memorial Day!

BOTNS salutes all of those who sacrificed their lives in defense of the USA, and we hope all of our listeners everywhere have a safe and healthy day!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Top Ten #69

1) Justice League: Snyder cut? BAH! If HBO Max really wants to reward/gain subscribers, it will give us a remastered version of the 1997 pilot.  But since that is outside our time frame, here's a look at the Super Friends, who are also more compelling:

2) Fred Willard: As beloved as he became in later years through appearances in the Christopher Guest movies and--well, wow, what wasn't he in--perhaps his best work was as the clueless sidekick Jerry Hubbard on Fernwood 2Night.

(BTW, shout-out as well to the late Phyllis George, who we talked about earlier this week.)

3) Brothers: On National Brother's Day, let's recall one of the forgotten long-running series of the 1980s, Brothers, which aired on Showtime--OK, now I can see why it was forgotten--in the second half of the decade.  The main "hook" was that it featured an openly gay character, but the sitcom ran for 115 episodes!

4) Henry Winkler: Props to the star for sharing a glimpse of Fonzie's jacket on The Tonight Show Friday night, but, uh...didn't I already see that in person at the Smithsonian? Did Henry Winkler steal the Fonz's jacket from the Smithsonian?

5) The Powers of Matthew Star: Speaking of Happy Days, the series returns to Me-TV in June, but the big story is that this 1982 NBC series will be on the channel as well! granted, it's only Sundays at 6:00 in the morning, but it's one hour they won't be showing Andy Griffith!

6) The Dean Martin Show: On this day in 1974, NBC aired the last episode of Dino's variety show.  You think they might have had a drink or two to celebrate?

7) Gary Burghoff: Happy birthday to the star of AfterMASH!

8) Head of the Class: Warner Archive is bringing out the first season on DVD next month. Still no word on What a Country!

9) T.J. Hooker: Decades has a marathon this weekend.  But wait. Is a certain crusty acting veteran coming after Hooker? More on this in a Promo Theatre post later this week!

10) St. Elsewhere: Just because! We just talked about the series, but here's a syndication promo that was just uploaded. It doesn't really strike me as a 4:00 P.M. show, though:

Friday, May 22, 2020

ABC's The Happy Days of Garry Marshall

I finally had a chance to watch last week's ABC special, The Happy Days of Garry Marshall. It's a pleasant, sentimental way to spend a couple hours.  It's tempting to make a comparison to the movies of a certain director.producer, but that's too easy. So I won't.

For classic TV fans, it's maybe a little disappointing that half the special is devoted to the feature films. Let's face it, Marshall's TV work will never be as esteemed as Norman Lear's, but he had a distinguished record of creating hits, and the special had to tear through the TV portion of the resume. Worse to my eyes, it blew right past The Odd Couple and only focused on three sitcoms: Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and Mork and Mindy. I'm not saying I expect 10 minutes on Blansky's Beauties--OK, part of me hoped for that--but more on Odd Couple, or at least more detail on the process of Marshall the producer, would have been nice.

Of course, there is one grim factor surely influencing the decision to focus on the shows the special focuses on: People aren't around from The Odd Couple anymore. The 3 shows that are spotlighted have representatives who can talk on camera (it's still jarring to realize Robin Williams isn't here, though).

The special glosses over unpleasant issues like the notorious discord on Laverne and Shirley, and it feels very shallow, but it's a nice way to relive childhood memories if you grew up on Marshall sitcoms.  The movies, to me, don't get the benefit of nostalgia, and so I'm not as interested. Credit, though, to the production for getting the likes of Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, and Richard Gere to share memories and appreciations. For that matter, there aren't too many of the performers on the TV side who aren't represented.  It's a well-made look at the prolific writer/director/producer, and at the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, I'd rather see clips and bloopers from 40-year-old series than most of what ABC is showing nowadays, so I approve. I would prefer to see clips from something like this (even if Marshall didn't have a whole lot to do with it)...


 than the same old stories about Happy Days, but I realize I'm in the minority.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

This Day in TV History: 40 years ago tonight, an intriguing night of television

The three broadcast networks offered an intriguing night of television May 21, 1980--animation, original movies, and old favorites.

CBS started the night with Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over, a special I do not remember but surely have been watching if I had the chance. There must be dozens of these primetime Bugs and Looney Tunes specials that no one runs and that aren't on Boomerang--but this one is available for a price on YouTube! It features 3 new Chuck Jones toons.

Then CBS follows with a spinoff of Rhoda--an animated spinoff! Yes, it's Carlton Your Doorman, a failed pilot run here as a special. Lorenzo Music voices the titular role as he does on the sitcom; like Rhoda, this is an MTM production. Unlike Rhoda, it didn't lead to anything...yet it did win an Emmy for best animated special!

NBC has perhaps the blandest lineup this Wednesday night--a rerun of Real People, an hourlong Diff'rent Strokes rerun, and a Quincy repeat. People profiles Famous Amos, and at 10:00, the M.E. tackles the issue of elder abuse.  The interesting choice is the Strokes episode--a Thanksgiving episode broadcast in the middle of May. The second half-hour originally aired as Hello Larry, but it seems it was already retconned as an episode of the successful show 9as it appears in DVD and in reruns today).  They sure weren't giving up on Larry, were they?

Back to CBS, which followed its animated hour with The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank. Remember Erma Bombeck? Well, as a child of the era, I may not have read her newspaper columns about the humorous foibles of suburban life, but, oh, do I recall the book collections being all over the place. This TV movie adaptation of Bombeck's work, originally aired in 1978, stars Carol Burnett and Charles Grodin and was intended as a series pilot. Unfortunately, "critics hated it."

How about ABC's lineup, you ask? Well, if you need a little excitement, the network has you covered with Perry Como's Bahama Holiday. The Captain and Tennille and Loretta Swit join the scenery to produce "the next best thing to visiting Nassau."

After that special comes Murder Can Hurt You, a 1980 TV-movie I have been meaning to see after hearing frequent references on Gilbert Gottfried's podcast. The spoof of TV detective/cop shows stars Don Adams, Gavin Macleod (as Kojak), Tony Danza (as Baretta), Roz Kelly, Victor Buono (as Ironside), and many, many more!

What a night of television! What would you watch out of this collection of entertainment?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

R.I.P. Phyllis George

Pioneering sportscaster Phyllis George died last week at the age of 70.  She had a distinguished television career that included stints on CBS Morning News and Candid Camera, but I was just watching her on this great clip courtesy of the Classic Sports YT account:

The team works well here. Phyllis and Irv are likable and just easy to watch, and Brent is--well, Brent is Brent! The whole crew is in good form, but what's up with guest analyst Alex Hawkins? Hawkins was a sort of lovable rogue who was fired several times by CBS (including after this 1977 season when he was busted for drunk driving and marijuana possession) and a fixture on Atlanta broadcasts for years, but he brings very little to the table in this one. Maybe he didn't follow the league that closely except for the Falcons, but he begs off a basic set-up question from Brent.

But we are here to celebrate Phyllis George, who was known for doing features but is solid here at the desk in this role.  She received all kinds of sexist hatred just for appearing on The NFL Today, but each time I watch one of these vintage clips, I see (granted with hindsight) the former Miss America is a great broadcaster and effective pro football personality if not a seasoned journalist.  In 2020, with standards having changed so much, it seems kind of quaint to think of the criticism she received not just for being a female, but for landing in so many broadcast newsy roles without a news background.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Retro Fan Magazine catches up with Reb Brown, TV's Captain America!

The current issue of RetroFan magazine gives the cover spotlight to BOTNS favorite. We talked about the 1979 CBS Captain America movies here, and we also found him in a Facts of Life episode. Of course he's been in all kinds of other roles in his career, but this interview focuses on his stint as the Sentinel of Liberty.

My biggest takeaway is that Brown seems like a great guy--humble, friendly, and thankful to the fans and for his experience as Cap. He keeps using the word "purity" to describe what compelled him to the character.

Here are some other items that strike me:

*He says the reason the movies didn't go to series was that Marvel jacked up its licensing fee and there would have been no budget left to do anything but show him riding his motorcycle in his living room. He adds that it broke his heart it didn't become a series.

*He was not asked to be in the 1980s Hulk movies on NBC but would have loved to have done them.

*Similarly, someone reached out to him about doing a cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and he was game, but then they never got back to him.  Boo!

*He got the part while under contract with Universal and getting a meeting with producer Allan Balter. They just clicked, and the part was his.

*Unfortunately, they didn't ask him about this:

It's a cool interview in another fine magazine from the folks at TwoMorrows Publishing.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Top Ten #68

1) Garry Marshall: Say what you will about the legendary producer.director/writer, but it's not bad to get a 2-hour network special in prime time 4 years after you're gone.  I haven't seen it yet, and so I can't verify that it devoted a good 10 minutes to...

2) Loni Anderson: Friday marked the 40th anniversary of The Fantastic Funnies on CBS, and Anderson was an adept host who actually seemed to enjoy talking about comic strips.  Check out this post for more.

3) Darth Vader: Yesterday we mentioned Darth's work promoting the Saturda-morning lineups of both ABC and CBS in 1977.  Oh, how I wish I could share (or just SEE, for that matter) footage of Vader choking Jim Backus--a battle that must have rivaled Solomon Grundy vs. Ed McMahon--but we will have to settle for this:

4) Kathleen Sullivan: Happy birthday to the former broadcaster, born this day in 1953.  Remember when for about 6 months it seemed she was gonna be the Next Big Thing?

5) Mannix: If you're not getting enough two-fisted investigators in your life--I know i am not--Decades has you covered with a marathon of Mannix this week. So I'm gonna post this awesome TV Land promo because it still cracks me up:

6) The Krypton Factor: Hey, with everyone hungering for live sports to come back, why doesn't ABC show reruns of the ultimate in human competition?

7) Jerry Stiller: R.I.P. to the star of...well, lots of things, but we were intrigued by The Stiller and Meara Show when we looked at June 1986 in our most recent TV Guide Game podcast.

8) Marty Pasko: R.I.P. to the comics scribe and animation/TV writer and editor.  he worked on things as diverse as Thundaar and Simon and Simon and also did a lot of work on this one:

 9) The Equalizer: A female-slanted reboot starring Queen Latifah will hit CBS next season.

10) Scooby-Doo: Speaking of reboots, they're giving another shot at this franchise with Scoob, and--you know what, the original show is easy enough to find. Maybe we can just watch some of that.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

RetroFan magazine looks at Saturday morning!

I give my strongest recommendation to RetroFan magazine, now a bi-monthly publication that offers a great blast of nostalgia in a visually appealing package.  Originally I wanted to spotlight the latest issue's cover story this week, but since it's Saturday morning, let me highlight a different piece: Part 1 of a look at network Saturday morning preview shows!

Andy Mangels is a prolific writer, producer, and historian whose Retro Saturday Morning column appears in each issue. This time, he covers those half-hour or hour specials the networks used to spotlight the new and returning programs kids would see on the Fall network Saturday schedule. Often airing on Friday nights, these extravaganzas might combine animation with live action, Saturday stars with special guest stars, music with comedy--in short, all kinds of goofy stuff might happen, as Mangels shows in his article.

(Remember that Mike looked in depth at one of these specials right here on the website!)

The only frustrating thing about reading the story is how little of the subject matter is readily available, or even available, period. Mangels states at the beginning most of these programs are rare and that they are licensing nightmares that will never see legit home video release. Therefore we have to rely on clips for most of these (some are intact online), and Mangels' excellent research uncovers a lot of cool details.

I won't give away those details here, but I think my biggest takeaway is the awesomeness of the year 1977. Not only did ABC, CBS, and NBC all have preview specials. but Darth Vader appeared in two of them.  On ABC he apparently introduces some clips from shows like Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels. On CBS, however, he force-strangles Jim Backus!

Not to be outdone, NBC's C'mon, Saturday! features the gimmick of a kid (the then-star of Annie on Broadway) programming the network's weekend mornings. Her special advisor is Mister Wister, played by Leonard Nimoy, who, Mangels reports, sings "Turn, turn, turn your dial, right to NBC," to the tune of Row Your Boat!

There are tons of fun tidbits like that in this lengthy story, and it's illustrated with vintage ads, screenshots, and promo pics. So if you want to go back in time and see how the networks promoted their Saturday morning lineups--and why wouldn't you--and want to revisit Kaptain Kool and the Kongs, Jimmy Osmond, and the Banana Splits, pick up this issue of RetroFan.

Friday, May 15, 2020

This Day in TV History: Fantastic Funnies on CBS

40 years ago today, CBS led off its Thursday night with Fantastic Funnies, a charming look at the comic strips.

Why did CBS do this special? I don't know. But it seems like back then, networks did that more often: just run specials on interesting topics for prime-time programming.  Loni Anderson, who would voice Blondie in a 1987 animated special, is an enthusiastic host, and she puts in the work, doing multiple hair style and wardrobe costumes to introduce each segment. Often her look is designed to match the particular strip she introduces.

The special, co-produced by longtime Peanuts animation figure Bill Melendez, uses some interesting techniques to adapt a print medium for a TV special. There are multiple animated segments, for one thing, including the screen debut of Marmaduke. We see cool footage of the cartoonists talking about and, even better, drawing their characters.


 Perhaps the biggest takeaway, though, is the sheer amount of music in this special. There are original songs like a musical video about reading "the funnies." There is a number from the stage play Annie. Anderson herself even sings various theme songs associated with comic strip characters like Popeye.

There is even a segment from CBS show WKRP  with Johnny Fever reading Flash Gordon during a Cincinnati newspaper strike. A little something for everyone! I am not sure it's the most coherent special, but it sure is entertaining and an outstanding watch for any comic strip fan.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Great Moments in 70s and 80s TV History:Spider-Man Meets Some Guy

One of the highlights of the underappreciated 1981 Spider-Man animated series is this cameo.  Check out this scene from episode 4, Curiosity Killed the Spider-Man:

Spidey ponders, "Say, where have I seen that guy before? time to worry about it now."

And to think I was excited to see Black Cat in this episode!

Monday, May 11, 2020

This Day in TV History: Rankin Bass do Tolkien

On Sunday, May 11, 1980, ABC premiered a Rankin/Bass movie, a two-hour J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation: The Return of the King.

The producers did The Hobbit in 1977 and enlisted another all-star cast for this follow-up. Wikipedia has the date wrong, by the way; listing its premiere as November 11, 1979.

By the way, remember a couple days ago when we talked about NBC's TV movies airing May 8 and May 9 1980 and how it promoted Capricorn One as 'coming soon"? Well, it WAS soon--May 11! Was it too confusing to just tell people "Sunday"?

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Top Ten #67

1) MAMA: 
Expectations for Mother: 95% of all TV moms
Reality for Mother:

Just kidding! Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mom and all the other muthas out there.

2) Reb Brown: The one true Captain America (arguably) is the cover subject of the newest edition of the delightful Retro Fan magazine.  We'll write more about it later, but we highly recommend the piece and the mag in general.

3) Mayberry R.F.D./Matlock: Both series are getting plenty of play on Me-TV as part of its Mayberry month promotion. Why don't we celebrate with a classic moment from former Royals slugger JOHN Mayberry:

4) Ken Berry: Speaking of Mayberry and Mama's Family, Me-TV published a list of things you never knew about Ken Berry. Hmm. yes, I suppose there are some people who haven't devoted their lives to exhaustive Ken Burry study, so we do have a duty to educate them.

5) Family Ties/Facts of Life: Antenna TV's marathons this weekend celebrate Mother's Day with Elyse Keaton and Edna Garrett (she did have a son, but he was a bit of a tosser).

6) Nurse: The 1981 show is forgotten now, but it is Nurses Week, and Michael Learned did win an Emmy for the series:

7) Mrs. C: As ABC prepares to celebrate Garry Marshall with a two-hour primetime special on Tuesday, we offer a salute to one of the friskiest TV moms out there, Marion Cunningham.

8) Teri Copley: Happy birthday to Ms. Copley, who won a nationwide rocket science competition to win the role of Mickey on We Got It Made.

9) Laverne and Shirley: The final episode of the long-running hit sitcom aired on this date in 1983, but its final moments featured neither Laverne nor Shirley!

10) Alex Karras: The NFL released its 2020 schedule this week, which I really see as an excuse to post another Alex Karras commercial (also starring Alice's Celia Weston):