Friday, December 29, 2017

Show Notes: Episode 3-11: Medical Center "Demi-God"

*"Demi-God," the second episode of season 6 of Medical Center, premiered September 16, 1974, on the CBS television network, airing against What Happened to Helen? on NBC and the Bills playing the Raiders on the season premiere of Monday Night Football.

*Medical Center aired 1969-1976, peaking as the #8 prime time show in its second season. The complete run is on DVD and streaming through Warner Archive.

*The People article Rick mentions is right here. McKenna tanked on ABC in the 1994 season; only 5 of 13 episodes aired. Jennifer Love Hewitt co-starred with Chad Everett.

*Marcus Welby, M.D. with Robert Young (ABC) also aired 7 seasons (1969-1976) and 169 episodes (to Medical Center's 171).

*Marjoe Gortner started preaching at 4. He was in his mid-20s when Marjoe was filmed; that documentary won an Oscar after premiering in 1972. His acting debut came in the pilot movie for what became Kojak.

*Meredith Baxter, who of course appeared in our first season as Elyse Keaton, was 27 when this aired and had starred in Bridget Loves Bernie. She went on to be a regular on Family in 1976, but first she returned in the final season of Medical Center as a different character than the one she plays in "Demi-God."

*IMDB lists no other Marjoes, but there is a producer named Marjoes Corsten.

*TV historian Stephen Bowie's excellent article on the Stanley Milgram/Medical Center connection is right here.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Episode 3-10: Medical Center "Demi-God"

We give our diagnosis of Medical Center, a mid-70s version of that TV staple, the medical drama. Erstwhile and well-dressed Dr. Gannon (Chad Everett) wants to do his job and help a young woman (Meredith Baxter), but she believes in her faith healer husband David (BOTNS fav. and ex-evangelist Marjoe Gortner!). David's father Harmon urges them to have faith...and keep the machine going...but will medicine or faith ultimately save the day? Find out this and more, but mostly listen to us talk about ~MARGOE~!

Check out this episode!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Show Notes: Episode 3-10: The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas

*The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas premiered Monday, December 17, 1973, on the National Broadcasting Company network. We did find evidence of reruns throughout the 1980s. Check out the YouTube playlist for a commercial break segment that aired during one of them.

*GetTV has in fact been showing many rarities for the season, including specials from The King Family, Sonny and Cher, and Bing Crosby, but no cartoons as far as we can tell.

*Proof that Mike was not suffering some bad egg nog when he loaded this special on Amazon Prime:

*Author John Barrett not only created Ted E. Bear, but he apparently wrote...a history of the Wimbledon tennis championships?

*DePatie-Freleng started in 1963 and was bought by Marvel in 1981. The studio also animated Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales (1979, CBS) and The Pink Panther In: A Pink Christmas (1978, ABC)

*Tommy Smothers and brother Dick did not actually destroy television in general, nor the CBS network in particular, but The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour did a lot of rabble-rousing!

*If you'd like to learn more about why cartoon animals don't wear pants, TV Tropes is a good starting point.

*No offense intended by the BOTNS cast to the fine people at Big Lots.

*The Great Bear Scare is the Halloween-themed sequel of sorts from 1983. Tommy Smothers returns as Ted E. Bear, but Hans Conreid steps in for Arte Johnson.

*The SFM Holiday Network was an operation that syndicated movies to stations around the country from 1978 to 1991. SFM also syndicates Make Room for Daddy, Rin-Tin-TIn, and even The Smothers Brothers Show.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Holiday Special: "The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas"

The holidays mean holiday specials--or they used to--and we present second one. Tommy Smothers plays nonconformist Ted E. Bear in "The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas." While the rest of bear society hibernates, Ted wants to stay awake and go to Christmas. Does his dream come true, or does he succumb to the norms of bear society and biology? We get to the bottom of this and risk the ire of the Big Bear lobby by blowing the roof off its secret plans. Listen if you dare!

Check out this episode!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Show Notes: Season 3, Episode 9: Voyagers!

*"Cleo and the Babe" premiered at 7:00 P.M. November 14, 1982, on the NBC television network.

*Voyagers! only lasted 20 episodes.

*Meeno Peluce was born February 26, 1970, and is now a photographer, but he really was in tons of shows in the 1970s and 1980s.

*Jon-Erik Hexum was only 26 when he accidentally took his own life on the set of the short-lived series Cover Up.

*The episode mike mentions with the trial is episode 13, "The Trial of Phineas Bogg."

*We found no evidence of the Voyagers interacting with dinosaurs during the show's run.

*60 Minutes' (which was the #1 show on TV this season) cast/approximate ages at the time of this episode:
Ed Bradley (41)
Morley Safer (51)
Harry Reasoner (59)
Mike Wallace (64)
Diane Sawyer (36)
Andy Rooney (63)

*Lucky Luciano allegedly started modern organized crime in the USA and was likely responsible for countless murders. He's a lot of fun in this episode, though! Oddly enough, despite dozens of arrests, Lucky never served actual jail time.

*Yankee Stadium, "The House That Ruth Built," debuted in 1923.

*The 1927 Yankees went 110-44, destroying the American League, and swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series. 5 other players besides Babe Ruth are in the Hall of Fame, and so is the manager and then-exec Ed Barrow (who we see in a different role in this episode).

*The makers of Baby Ruth candy bars always claimed they named it after Grover Cleveland's daughter, but they launched it in 1921, and as Wikipedia notes, the manufacturer was on the same street as Chicago's legendary Wrigley Field.

*Isaac Newton's theory of gravitation may or may not have been directly inspired from an apple actually falling and plunking him on the head, but isn't it a better story that way?

*Mike was spot on in referencing the Babe's piano. Legend has it that an intoxicated Ruth heaved a full upright piano into Willis Pond in 1918. The New England Historical Society reports the other version of the story is that Ruth and a bunch of his drunk friends just pushed it in together and left it because it was too heavy to pull out when they sobered up.

*Speedy with Harold Lloyd and an extended cameo by Babe Ruth is a 1928 silent film.

*Shannen Doherty appeared in "Agents of Satan," which took the Voyagers to colonial Massachusetts for the witch trials and to Harry Houdini.

*We give a special shout-out to the comprehensive website and recommend if you want to learn more about the show, visit your local library...but then visit this website. (NOTE: Updated to give the URL of the new and improved version of the site!)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Episode 3-9: Voyagers! "Cleo and the Babe"

This week, we discuss one-season wonder "Voyagers!" Time traveler Phineas Bogg (Jon-Erik Hexum) and 12-year-old Jeffrey (the ubiquitous Meeno Peluce) try to set history straight in a rollicking adventure that features Cleopatra, Babe Ruth, Sir Isaac Newton, and Lucky Luciano! What brings these disparate figures together, how will the Voyagers turn the light from red to green, and how do we manage to squeeze Harold Lloyd into it? Find it all in a book--er, on Battle of the Network Shows!

Check out this episode!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Show Notes: Season 3, Episode 8: Taxi

*"The Great Race" premiered November 6, 1979 on the American Broadcasting Company television network.

*TAXI aired on ABC from 1978 to 1982 and on NBC from 1983-1984.

*The New York article that inspired the series can be found right here.

*The series won a whopping 18 Emmy awards, including the top prize for comedy show in 1979, 1980, and 1981. It also won a Humanitas Prize, which sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it?

*Co-creator Edwin B. Weinberger went by 'Ed." from the age of 8 according to Variety via Wikipedia, and in the same article he said it was "an affectation that got out of hand."

*Notable episodes we mention in the podcast:
"Cooking for Two" S4 E22 (Jim moves in with Louie)
"Jim's Mario's" S5 E22 (Jim buys the restaurant)
"Reverend Jim: A Space Odyssey" S2 E3 (Jim takes the driving test)
"Alex the Gofer" S5 E7 (Alex, uh, becomes a gofer for a theater)
"Louie Moves Uptown" S5 E13 (Louie competes with Penny Marshall for a spot in a ritzy high-rise)

*Louie DePalma was TV Guide's pick for the best TV character of all time in a special edition of the mag in 1999.

*Jeff Conaway was 29 when this episode aired.

*CBS All-Access offers 50 of the series' 114 episodes; Hulu has 75

*The closing title card for the John Walters Company (the production company created by 4 ex-MTM producers, including James L. Brooks and Weinberger, and funded by Paramount), featured the line, "Good night, Mr. Walters," followed by a weary harrumph. Weinberger plays the fictional "Mr. Walters" in the segment. The other notable show the company produced was the short-lived sitcom The Associates, a 1979 legal comedy with Martin Short that reran on A&E in the 1980s.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Episode 3-8: Taxi "The Great Race"

Rick and Mike discuss a classic sitcom, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Alex and Louie in a taxi race, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Andy Kaufman doesn't do much in this one, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Nardo might have to date Louie, eww, eww, eww, eww

Check out this episode!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Show Notes: Season 3, Episode 7: The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder

*This episode aired February 12, 1981, at 12:30 am on the NBC television network.

*Tom Snyder started in radio, moved to TV, and got his big break as a news anchor in Los Angeles in 1970. After Tomorrow, he was a news anchor in New York City, then Los Angeles.

*Tomorrow lasted from 1973 to 1982, but this Tomorrow Coast to Coast phase began in October 1980, as the series moved up from 1:00 to 12:30 (The Tonight Show went from 90 minutes to 60 minute) and added Rona Barrett and a studio audience. Snyder didn't like the new format, nor Barrett, reportedly, and the show ended in first run in December 1981, then aired reruns until David Letterman took over the time slot with Late Night.

*Dan Aykroyd did his Snyder impression 12 times on Saturday Night Live according to Wikipedia.

*The "tini" thing with Snyder began when he went to CNBC in 1993 and started calling his show the "colorcast." He went from inviting the viewer to fire up a colortini to calling for a "simultini" when he took over The Late Late Show on CBS in 1994.

*Ricky Schroeder starred in The Earthling with William Holden, which was produced in Australia and barely released in the USA. Learn more about The Ricker in our Silver Spoons episode.

*Iggy Pop, born James Osterberg, was 33 at the time of this episode. The Stooges, inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 2010, had disbanded in 1974,

*Jerome Smith's The Coming Currency Collapse and What You Can Do About It has a Kindle edition! One Amazon reviewer apparently thinks this 1980 book was written in 2004.

*Gene Shalit was Today's movie critic from 1973 to 2010. It's unknown whether or not he commented on monetary policy in any of his segments.

*Dorothy Green-Pepper gave an L.A. Times correspondent a psychic reading of some kind in 1986, and you can read the story here.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Episode 3-7: The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder "Iggy Pop"

This week, we discuss an episode of NBC's The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder from its final year. Tom sits down with BOTNS returning star Ricky Schroder. Iggy Pop performs three songs, bleeds a little, and chats with Tom. Plus "economist" Jerome Smith warns of impending 1980s doom, and "poet" Dorothy Greene-Pepper talks about loooove while Tom just tries to talk. Sit back, fire up a podtini, and chortle along with a broadcast legend (Tom, not us).

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Extree, extree! BOTNS Comes to YouTube


We've had a YouTube page since almost the beginning, featuring play lists related to each episode "curated" by our very on Rick. Now we've started adding full episodes of the podcast. So far, we have all of season one available, but seasons two and three will follow soon(ish). If you're new to the podcast, catch up*. If you're a regular listener, revisit some of your favorite episodes, and either way, share, share, share.

*All episodes remain available through Libsyn, our RSS feed, Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Below, one of our favorite episodes "Let it be Lowenbrau."

Friday, November 24, 2017

Show Notes: Season 3 Episode 6: Knight Rider

*This episode of Knight Rider, "Lost Knight," premiered Sunday, December 9, 1984, on the National Broadcasting Company television network.

*Glen Larson created many series in addition to this one, including Quincy, The Fall Guy, Buck Rogers, and many others, and he also had a hand in previous BOTNS-spotlighted Magnum P.I.

*The series'  theme song, which has the appropriate title "Knight Rider Theme," is credited to Larson and composer Stu Phillips, who also created the theme for Battlestar Galactica and produced Shelley Fabares' hit "Johnny Angel," a fact that fascinates me for some reason.

*The Garthe Knight (the actual son of wealthy industrialist Wilton Knight) episodes are "Goliath" (Season 2, Episode 1) and "Goliath Returns" (Season 2, Episode 17).

*The K.A.R.R. (Knight Automated Roving Robot)--the evil counterpart of K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand) episodes are "Trust Doesn't Rust" (Season 1, Episode 9) and "K.I.T.T. vs. K.A.R.R." (Season 3, Episode 6).  By the way, shouldn't that first episode be called 'Trust DON'T Rust"? Much cooler title.

*Hasselhoff's big break was on The Young and the Restless, not General Hospital, though he did play a doctor--Dr. SNAPPER FOSTER!

*Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run) was a smash hit for Billy Ocean, reaching #1 on the Billboard singles chart in 1984.

*Doug's mom in this episode is played by Lenore Kasdorf (who, we confirm, is not Dawn Wells).Image result for lenore kasdorf

Image result for dawn wells

*The Hassslehoff appearance on Diff'rent Strokes occurs in that show's sixth season's "Hooray for Hollywood Part 1," which also features the first appearance of Sam!

*Check our YouTube channel for this episode's playlist, which includes a sweet custom Knight Rider pinball machine in action.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Episode 3-6: Knight Rider "Lost Knight"

Cool, cool, cool! Master of cool Michael Knight gets into a spot of trouble when his cool talking car K.I.T.T. gets car amnesia and wanders into the wilderness. Luckily for them, cool kid Doug (Jason Bateman) finds K.I.T.T. Oh, and some dudes are trying to blow up a dam or something.

Check out this episode!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Show Notes: Season 3 Episode 5: Super Friends

*The All-New Superfriends Hour aired Saturdays  at 8:00 on ABC against varying competition, most notably the Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Hour.  The next season, it morphed into Challenge of the Super Friends as the heroes waged battle against the Legion of Doom.

*This episode premiered Saturday morning, September 17, 1977.

*Aquaman seems like a questionable choice for a core Friend in retrospect, perhaps, but he was a proven presence in DC animation, having starred in his own Filmation cartoons in the Sixties.

*Wendy and Marvin were two dork--er, teenagerss who accompanied the Super Friends in the first season of the show. Of course they had a dog, too. Of course they did. The subsequent DC comic gave them a little bit of back story, but there wasn't much to them on the cartoon.

*That Super Friends comic book was an in-continuity adaptation of the show running from 1976-1981 and written by DC info guru E. Nelson Bridwell. It was geared to younger readers.

*The pat on the head we love so much:

*Jim Starlin is a longtime comics scribe known especially for his work on "cosmic" characters like Captain Marvel, Nova, and Thanos.

*Gleek apparently has no non-tail-based powers.  He seems a direct creative descendant of Blip, the pet space monkey on Space Ghost.

*Bat Belt Mouse Compartment:

*As best we can tell, Aquaman would not survive LONG in outer space, but he is strong and invulnerable enough to not explode as soon as he is in it. Presumably he needs oxygen, though. Then again, we DO see him flying through space in the opening credits...

*Apache Chief's powers are the ability to grow really, really tall and the ability to track really, really well.

*The BOTNS research time found no link between Alan Moore and this TV show. In fact, a section for editing Wikipedia has this comment:

Is there a source for the "developed by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons" reference in the sidebar? I couldn't find any reference on google that didn't link back here.
Moore would have been 23/24 when this came out, before he started working on Judge Dredd, before he'd done anything except some illustrations for NME. I suspect this is meant as a joke.

*For more info about the voice cast from this version of the series, we recommend heading to acclaimed author Marc Tyler Nobleman's Noblemania page for this great series of interviews.

*El Dorado, a Mexican hero, debuted with the Super Friends in 1981.  He has an array of super powers like strength.

*Finally, here is our web version of our popular DECODER segment.

1) Take the first word in the theme song for this show:

2) Then take the letter next to the muppet right above Zoot in this picture:

3) Then count the number of students in this pic:

4) Finally, what are the Super  Friends doing while Wonder Woman is talking?

Have you figured it out?


Thank you for listening!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Episode 3-5: The All-new Super Friends Hour

With the Justice League movie arriving in theaters, we sell out again, this time talking about the animated and friendly adventures of the Justice League from 1977 in The All-new Super Friends Hour. Yes, you get Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and even Aquaman, but you also get Robin, the Wonder Twins Zan and Jana and their space monkey Gleek, and Native American hero Apache Chief! Plus safety and health tips, craft segments, and the hard-to-beat Decoder. Also, the Secret Four, an escaped tiger, time travelers, and giant cobras! Holy buffets, Batman! What didn't they include?

Check out this episode!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Show Notes Season 3 Episode 4 The Sandbaggers

*The Sandbaggers aired on ITV (United Kingdom) for 3 "series" of 7, 6, and 7 episodes each from 1978 to 1980.

*As we mention in the pod, Tubi TV (free, ad-supported) and BritBox (subscription) have all episodes available for streaming.

*"Decision by Committee" is episode 3 of series 2.

*Greg Rucka's Queen and Country comic book series, which inspired Mike to seek out Sandbaggers, ran 32 issues and was followed by several miniseries and novels.

*Click HERE for our look at the Amelia Earhart controversy as portrayed on the, er, original version of In Search Of.

*The Ops Room website devoted to The Sandbaggers is here.

*Vince Gilligan, showrunner of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, is NOT, as far as we know, Ian MacKintosh.

*The SIS (Secret Intelligence Service/MI6) was established in 1909. MI5 is the domestic intelligence unit of the U.K.

*The 60 Minutes Mike Wallace, as opposed to Sandbagger Mike Wallace, was just over 60 when this aired.

*Author Brendan Koerner (The Skies Belong to Us) identifies 1968-1972 as the "golden age" of skyjacking, with over 130 in that period alone. In 1973, new security regulations for passengers took effect and began to reduce the incidence as the decade continued.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Episode 3-4: The Sandbaggers "Decision by Committee"

This week, we look at The Sandbaggers, a classic British espionage series from the late seventies. Action takes a backseat to palace intrigue and political maneuvering as Director of Operations Neil Burnside (Roy Marsden) tries to rescue his primary operative from a hijacked plane. One of us compares this one to the prestige dramas of today, plus we offer "startling" evidence about the whereabouts of missing and presumed dead show creator Ian Mackintosh. NOTE: "Startling" means completely made up.

Check out this episode!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Show Notes: Celebrity Bowling

*Celebrity Bowling was syndicated, but best we can tell, this episode (Leslie Nielsen and Susan Saint James versus Angie Dickinson and Lloyd Bridges) premiered April 30, 1975.

*The series is on Amazon Prime and YouTube but no longer on Hulu.

*McMillan and Wife was part of NBC's Mystery Movie wheel from 1971 to 1977 and starred Saint James, Rock Hudson, and Nancy Walker (plus John Shuck, who is also mentioned in this episode). Hudson was a San Fran police commissioner.

*Police Woman was an Angie Dickinson vehicle lasting 1974-1978 on NBC. Dickinson was undercover police sarge Pepper Anderson.

*Joe Forrester  was a spinoff of anthology Police Story (produced by David Gerber, who also did Police Woman). It only lasted one season (1975-1976) on NBC.

*Leslie Nielsen was in a "frequent guest star" phase, appearing in numerous one-shots and recurring roles all over the place at the time.

*Jed Allan played Don Craig on Days of Our Lives from 1971 to 1985 and had shorter stints on General Hospital and Lassie. He was Steve Sanders' demanding father Rush on Beverly Hills 90210.

*Cheryl Kominsky (now Robinson) is a Hall of Fame bowler who, as this profile puts it, "brought a charismatic charm and movie-star looks to a ladies’ tour dogged by the perceptions of female pro athletes that prevailed at the time. " I still think she could have explained the best ball format better, though.

*White Consolidated Industries started as The White Manufacturing Company, became The White Sewing Machine Company, and eventually purchased Westinghouse's appliance business. Electrolux bought the company in 1986, and the White-Westinghouse brand appears to be dormant.

*The social theory we refer to on the podcast is the "social capital theory" developed by Robert D. Putnam and explained in his 200 book Bowling Alone. According to Wikipedia, He has described the reduction in all the forms of in-person social intercourse upon which Americans used to found, educate, and enrich the fabric of their social lives. He argues that this undermines the active civil engagement, which a strong democracy requires from its citizens. Bowling is just one example of the forms of "social intercourse" that have declined. See also fraternal organizations, Girl and Boy Scouts, veterans groups, etc.

*Evander Holyfield was a former Cruiserweight and Heavyweight boxing champion, while Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff was a pro wrestler whose career peaked with a big feud against Hulk Hogan in the WWF.

*Dan August was a Quinn Martin series on NBC 1970-1971. Check out the awesome opening in our YouTube playlist for this episode.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Episode 3-3: Celebrity Bowling

Celebrity Bowling: seventies celebrities strive to strike in a modified and slightly confusing version of the Sport of Kings! Leslie Nielsen and Susan Saint James face off against Angie Dickinson and Lloyd Bridges. What's not to love? You can almost smell cigarettes and fried food from here, and you never know who might stop by (hint--an Oscar winner!) We picked the wrong week to stop using our Amana Radar Range.

Check out this episode!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Show Notes: Season 3 Episode 2 Three's Company

*"Ground Rules" premiered September 13, 1977, on the ABC television network as the first episode of season 2, while "Double Trouble" aired March 24, 1981, and was the 19th episode of season 5.

*Chris Mann's comprehensive 1998 book covering the series, Come and Knock on Our Door, is out of print but, as we say during the episode, is a must-read for fans of Three's Company.

*The book mentions the no-sex-among-the-roomates edict the show established but also points out how often Jack struck out with all girls, which made the show surprisingly chaste. John Ritter jokes that Jack Tripper got some all the time during the commercial breaks, or else he never would have been able to stand living with two single females.

*Norman Fell and Audra Lindley left the show for the spinoff The Ropers, but it wasn't exactly their idea, and in fact Fell extracted a promise that if the series didn't last a year, they could return to the flagship. Unfortunately for him, it lasted one short "season" and one "full"--28 total episodes--just long enough for the Ropers to be left out.

*The British show that served as the inspiration for Three's Company, Man About the House, was a big success that led to multiple spinoffs, movies, etc. It also spawned a spinoff of its own landlord characters--George and Martha.

*Norman Fell's habit of breaking the fourth wall by grinning directly at the camera made him the only character who got away with that. Longtime show director Dave Powers was strict about not doing that when he joined the series, and he tells Mann that he asked if he should let Roper continue that gimmick and was told that the audience had come to expect it.

*Don Knotts was a nervous wreck when he joined the show as Ralph Furley because he was unaccustomed to the 3-camera process before a live audience. He had stage fright early in his career and never conquered it.

*Suzanne Somers, embroiled in disputes with the producers, threatened to sue John Ritter and Joyce Dewitt at one point, and a huge rift developed. By the end of the fifth season, she was literally phoning it in, as Chrissy had "left to take care of her mother." She shot her scenes on a separate set, apart from the rest of the cast, and would then fly to Vegas to perform her ongoing stage show.

*21-year-old Jenilee Harrison, former Rams cheerleader, joined in season 5 as Chrissy's farm-raised cousin. In season 6, Harrison was phased out as Priscilla Barnes' Terri Alden moved into the apartment while Cindy went to UCLA.

*The classic theme song was written by Joe Raposo with producer Don Nicholl co-writing the lyrics. (Not that) Ray Charles and Julie Rinker are the singers, though the cast briefly gave it a go (It didn't work). Interesting tidbit: In the original opening sequence, Jack is so flummoxed by a beautiful woman passing by that he falls off his bike. The woman is Somers in a brunette wig.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

3-2: Three's Company Roper v. Furley

This week, we tackle not one but two episodes the zaniest of zany comedies Three's Company and try to decide once and for all: Roper or Furley. In "Ground Rules," Jack, Janet, and Chrissy try to establish some rules for alone or alone-with-someone time in the apartment, and Jack has a man-to-man discussion with Mr. Roper about "building shelves." In "Double Trouble," Jack has to convince Furley that he has a macho twin brother named Austin. Wait till Furley tries to throw a party...for both of them!

Check out this episode!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Show Notes: Season 3 Episode 1 Eight Is Enough

*The classic "Who's on First" routine we hear at the beginning of the podcast--well, sort of--was adapted from similar burlesque routines by Abbott and Costello. Of course, it is common belief that it was perfected by Harvey Korman and Buddy Hackett in the TV movie bud and Lou.

*DVP mentions the comedy team of Marty Allen and Steve Rossi--a dated reference even then, since the duo had been inactive for a decade. The two made many appearances on Ed Sullivan's show, including several of the famous Beatles episodes.

*The real Tom Braden had a much fuller life than we could touch on in the episode. He was not just an author and a father of 8, but he was a longtime CIA operative and the original co-host of CNN's Crossfire!

*OK, here are the Bradford kids' ages at the time the show debuted in 1977:

David (22)
Mary (21)
Joanie (20)
Susan (19)
Nancy (18)
Elizabeth (15) (Hey, Tom gave his wife a few years off--how generous of him)
Tommy (14)
Nicholas (8)

*Meeno Peluce was a prolific child actor in the BOTNS area and is worthy of more discussion, but we have a strong suspicion we will be talking more about him on the show this season.

*The song the Bradfords perform to kick off the benefit show is This Is It, the original theme song of The Bugs Bunny Show on Saturday morning TV.

*Betty Buckley, who sings So-La in the episode "Who's on First," won a Tony in 1983 for her performance in Cats.

*The Eight Is Enough theme song was written by Lee Holdridge and Molly-Ann Leikin. Fred Werner wrote the instrumental that started the show in its first two seasons.

*Nicholas Bradford, from what we can tell, did not burn down the family home, accidentally or otherwise. Perhaps we were thinking of his role in the early 1980s ABC firefighting show Code Red as Lorne Greene's adopted son?

*Ralph Macchio went on to become The Karate Kid after his short stint on EIE.

*Night Ranger formed in 1979, just a bit after this episode aired.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Season 3-1: Eight is Enough "Who's on First?"

In our season three premiere, we tackle the ABC light drama Eight is Enough and its season two finale "Who's on First?" Daughter Joanie needs help putting on a show to raise money for orphans, Nicholas gets put out when no one believes he was abducted by UFOs, Tom gets fed up when Nicholas won't commit to Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" routine, and everyone piles on David when he won't lend his "star power" to the show. Magic, comedy, music, and more! Will David come through? Did Nicholas get abducted by Aliens? Who is on first? (Yes.) We won't spoil the magic in this description, but we will say this is an historic episode for Eight is Enough! Find shown notes and more at our web site.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Season Two BATTY Awards

The special blue ribbon nominating panel has convened and issued its nominations for the season two BATTY Awards. Now Rick and Mike have to decide the winners in categories including Best Show, Best Episode, Outstanding Conrad, Best Performance by a Youth, and of course Best Facial Hair/Mustache! Plus, the first ever GENIUS Award!

Check out this episode!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Season Two BATTYS Nominees

The Season Two BATTYs post on Thursday. Monday through Wednesday, check our Facebook page for a list of nominees and the announcement of a new BATTY and make sure to listen on Thursday!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Wishing Summer a Fond Farewell

We here at Battle of the Network Shows consider Labor Day the demarcation line between summer and fall, the beginning of what we like to call "emotional fall." As a special farewell to summer, we now share this YouTube clip from an end of summer of yore. Enjoy now the "final" episode of Dave Letterman's Summer Time Sunshine Happy Hour (August 29, 1985).

Monday, August 21, 2017

"New" 70s and 80s TV Shows

In recent weeks, we looked at DVD releases, but believe it or not, IIIIII'M WALKING ON AIR...the airwaves, that is. Some "new" and returning favorites are on their way back to TV. Here's a look at what's coming to a cable box/antenna/Roku/unspecified device near you:

*Warner Archive Instant added the rest of Eight Is Enough, meaning the entire series is available for your streaming pleasure.

*Antenna TV announced Welcome Back Kotter will be returning in the future, but this summer, it is re-adding Evening Shade and One Day at a Time while giving 227  and What's Happening!!  a break and bumping a bunch of other series around.

*CW Seed, an under-the-rader but free streaming service, now offers the complete Dynasty.

*GetTV added Designing Women to its weekday lineup in June.

*TV One re-added The Cosby Show. I hope it was on clearance.

*Me-TV added The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda earlier, plus introduced Battlestar GalacticaALF, Love American Style, and (on the edge of our era) Swamp Thing. Today it adds T.J. Hooker, The Facts of Life, Cannon, and Hawaii Five-O. Also, Remington Steele came and went this summer.

Don't get used to Rhoda nor Love, as they leave Labor Day. Happy Days will be returning, though.

*Me-TV dropped The Incredible Hulk, but it is on cable's El Rey and on digital subchannel Heroes and Icons. H&I is loaded with BOTNS-era programs like CHIPS, Police Story, Hill Street Blues, Kung Fu, Hunter, Swamp Thing (it's a sister network of Me-TV), Wiseguy, and The Greatest American Hero.

*Hulu is adding tons of episodes of old Fox (the studio/library, not the network) like the MTM Studios efforts (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and more), but it's unclear when that will happen.

 *PRO Classic TV (Peter Rodgers Organization) launched a YouTube channel a few months ago that includes shows like the old The Bill Cosby Show, Celebrity Bowling, The Comedy Shop, and Movin' On.

I am sure I am missing a ton of changes, but this should be enough to tide you over for a while. As always, let us know if you want us to talk about any of these series on the podcast in our upcoming season 3 or beyond!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Upcoming DVD Releases

Last week we looked at some of the BOTNS-era shows that hit DVD in recent months, but today we look at the future...uh, and at TV Shows on DVD to see some of the sets you might want to pick up in the next couple of months--you know, to amuse yourselves in between new episodes of the podcast.

Alice Season 5: First of all, though, let me mention this release that Warner Archive slipped out last week. The fifth season of the long-running sitcom features Robert Goulet, Jerry Reed, and another awkward transition in the "Flo spot."

Just as Belle replaces Flo at the end of season 4--not in between seasons, but with several episodes left--Jolene replaces Belle at the end of season 5--again, not at the end of or between seasons, but with serveral episodes left. Or maybe it's odd that I care so much about the cast dynamics on Alice. As long as Henry is sitting in the counter, I'm good.

August 15

Police Story Season 2: 4 years after season 1, Shout! is finally following up with more of the 1970s anthology series. Typical of a police show DVD--they're never around when you need them.

Rhoda Season 4 and Season 5: Shout! closes this series out this year.  Season 5 will arrive in October, while 4 was already issued as a Shout Select title direct from the company but gets general release on this date. For the unitiated, "Shout Select" means "really expensive."

August 22

Ironside Season 4: Shout! is really full of PEP this summer, is it not? Your favorite wheelchair detective returns, this time in a general release set of season 4 as opposed to the really expen--uh, Shout Select version from 2010.

You know, I just checked a certain major online retailer and noticed it is charging 45 bucks for this set. So these general releases are still generally really expensive. You can just get them from major online retailers now. Well, I guess you can get a deal on shipping that way.

TV Party: The Complete Series: Seminal late 70s/early 80s NYC cable access show comes to video--and Blu-Ray, no less. That deserves a hearty...oi? I don't know; I ain't a punk rock guy. But I'm sure a lot of punks who have grown up and can afford 100-some bucks for the set will be thrilled!
August 25

The Magician: The Complete Series: VEI is listing this 1970s short-lived Bill Bixby show for an August 25 release, though it isn't listed anywhere else yet. A lot of people have been anticipating this since it was announced as a title VEI had licensed several years ago. Don't get Bill  Bixby angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry. I mean, he might flub a trick or something.

Would you like to see us cover this on the podcast? Please say yes so that I have an excuse to buy this.

September 12

Night Gallery: The Complete Series:  Universal repackages the 3 seasons into one spiffy complete box set for the first time, but the transfers and extras are the same...OR ARE THEY?

(Just trying to add a little element of the macabre)

September 26

The Paper Chase Season 3: It's great that Shout! is finally continuing yet another long-stalled series (2009 since previous releases of this one), but would it have killed them to include the handful of episodes in season 4 and just wrapped up the whole deal?

That's not a legal to provoke some deeper question, such as those asked by John Houseman's Kingsfield on the series. I actually want to know.

Greatest American Hero The Complete Series: If you missed your chance to get this great (I'd say "seminal," but I already used the word in this post, and besides, it really doesn't fit here) show earlier, well, guess what? You can get it again and pay about 2-3 times as much as you would have the first couple of times!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Recent DVD releases

It's time again to look at upcoming DVD releases for shows of the BOTNS era. Actually, our last update only brought us to the end of May, so I'll begin with a look at what's out there now, and then I'll be back soon with a look at what's to come in the next few months. Awayyyy we go:

CHIPS Season 6: June 6 brought us the final non-epic season of BOTNS fave and season 1 ender CHIPS. And just out of the goodness of their hearts, the folks at Warner Home Video also made a Complete Series set available. No Jon? NO PROBLEM! As long as the heart and soul of the show, Robert Pine, is still around.

Actually, I tell you, I see Phil Silvers and Julie Newmar are among the guest stars, and I kind of want to see this.

Tales from the Crypt Complete Series: I remember very little about specific episodes. It was on HBO, so everyone kind of hoped to see some nudity, right? Or am I selling this way too short?

Father Dowling Mysteries Complete Series: A reissue of the largely forgotten ABC light drama. Should we cover this on the podcast? If so, the first thing I want to explore is why Tracy Nelson's character is called "Sister Steve."

Highway to Heaven: Messages from Above: A collection of two-part episodes of the series. That's a pretty good idea, now that I think about it. I would like to see some Very Special Episode collections of other shows.

That's My Mama Complete Series: Sony's strategy, as best as I can tell, seems to be to take DVDs that were out of print and combine them into one package that is more expensive than the earlier individual season sets together. In 2017. This is one of the lesser known "blackcoms" of the era but worth a a better price.

Rockford Files Complete Series (also Blu-Ray):  Mill Creek saves you money and shelf space by cramming scores of episodes on like 3 discs. It's a lot better than paying

McCloud Season 1: Reissue of the first portion of the Dennis Weaver NBC Mystery Wheel series.

Jake and the Fatman The Complete Series: Did you know this series ran for 5 seasons with over 100 episodes? Talk about something that just vanished after it went off the air. And it's pretty hard to lose sight of William Conrad (Sorry).

TJ Hooker The Complete Series: Another Sony series (though this release is from Shout) that has seen some cheap DVD releases now getting a really expensive "deluxe" set. If you need every TJ Hooker, though, here it is.

Diff'rent Strokes Season 6: Hot off the presses this week is the latest release of this series, and it's a doozy. Maggie and Sam! Smoking! Kidnapping! Mr. T! Milton Berle!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Golden Girls Forever by Jim Colucci

Every TV show that runs, oh, more than 5 seasons and 125 episodes or so ought to have its own definitive book, but not many are that lucky. Despite its continued success in reruns and its appeal to multiple demographic groups, I was surprised to see a thick, fancy-looking hardback book devoted to the long-running NBC hit The Golden Girls. Jim Colucci has created what is surely the most comprehensive print collection of  information on the show. It's a slam dunk for anyone who loves the series, but even casual fans will find a lot of interest in here.

The first thing that stands out content-wise about the volume is the access Colucci has gained. Despite its release coming after the death of several key figures, the text makes frequent use of interviews with everyone. He personally interviews bea Arthur, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan and uses archival material for some thoughts of Estelle Getty. He also talks to the producers, writers, and many of the more notable guest stars and supporting players involved with  the show during its 8 seasons.

It starts off with a general history of the show and continues with a selective episode guide. It's surprising that such a hefty book does not include a comprehensive episode guide, but Colucci is not just listing the plots. Rather, he uses the episode chapters to work in other details about the series, how it was made, and the many guests who appeared. If you have a favorite episode, chances are it's included in this section.

Several things stand out from reading this book: 1) Everyone working on The Golden Girls took pride in it and felt they did good work. 2) Bea Arthur could be really prickly as a collaborator. Many stories in here begin with someone talking about how she was cold or distant to them, though they often take pains to say she was a real pro. 3) Estelle Getty's memory issues plagued her from the beginning. Several anecdotes center around her inability to remember lines, an unfortunate circumstance which often annoyed others on the set (including, yes, Arthur).

And I'm not saying this because the author happens to be gay (he mentions this), but there is a significant amount of coverage of the show's appeal in "the gay community," and there is extensive coverage of the fate of Coco, the live-in housekeeper who was axed after the pilot. There are a few appendices asking "Which Golden Girl Are You?" or questions like that, with the respondents being gay showbiz figures. It's no secret that the show has a following in that sector, and I am not complaining, but I will say that while any fan will love this book, gay fans will really  love it.

It's an outstanding piece of work by Colucci and a valuable source of info about a beloved sitcom. The commentary from the cast and creative team is useful, of course, but this book goes the extra mile by getting info from the likes of guest stars (Debbie Reynolds) and even bit players like Quentin Tarantino. I'd be a happy man if every show we covered on the podcast inspired this kind of book--well written, detailed, and offering attractive design and fine production values.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Whatever happened to Coco (and who was he, anyway)? (Golden Girls)

When The Golden Girls debuted on NBC in September 1985, the now-familiar group of 4 gals had company: in fact, live-in company in the person of Coco, a gay houseboy played by Charles Levin in the pilot. Amazingly, the character was suggested  by the network despite NBC's own controversy over the "yeah, he is, but we ain't gonna call him that" Sidney Shorr played by Tony Randall on Love, Sidney just 4 years prior.

You hear different things about why the producers got  rid of the character, but the essence is that while Coco was a popular (and, in 1985, rather novel) presence who was popular with the pilot audience, Dorothy's mom Sophia was a real breakout star. Hence the decision to go with a group of 4 and get rid of Coco. Another consideration was that the dynamic was just better with all gals, the girls might not have much to do besides just sit around if an actual domestic was there, and plus it may have looked like an extravagance for these working ladies to have an actual houseboy. In 2017, I can only say, who actually has a houseboy anymore except for the fabled 1%?

Producers considered comedians Dom Irerra and Paul Provenza (who recalls auditioning in drag), plus future Ferris Bueller stooge heel Jeffrey Jones, for the role, but NBC exec Brandon Tartikoff suggested Levin. The actor had a recurring role on Hill Street Blues as a rather over-the-top gay character, but he reports that pilot director Jay Sandrich told him to tone down all the flamboyant stuff.

As Levin recalls, the role as written was much more "swishy," and he found it hard to reconcile Sandrich's advice with the way show co-creator Susan Harris put Coco on the page. Nevertheless, he played it straight (sorry) in the first reading and thought he blew it. He felt the vibe of disappointment from those who expected him to be Eddie Gregg from Blues.

The night of that audition, an NBC exec called Levin and told him they didn't know what he had been doing, but just show up again and be Eddie Gregg. The actor took this advice the next day in front of an audience and was a hit. Unfortunately for Levin, he wasn't enough of one to survive the pilot, so now Coco remains a lost and largely forgotten character with a cult following.

Levin, who also had a recurring role in Alice, would appear on BTONS season 1 spotlighted program Facts of Life, and also showed up in This Is Spinal Tap, did quite well himself. His biggest post-Girls spot is probably appearing as the Mohel on Seinfeld, though I can't help but recognize him as being part of the 1989 Hulk Hogan vehicle No Holds Barred.

(Note: Thanks to Golden Girls Forever by Jim Colucci for the background info for this post!)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Thanks for a great second season!

We at BOTNS want to thank you for supporting us and for listening to the show! We will be back soon for season 3, but in the meantime, you can continue to help us out by downloading past episodes, reviewing us on Apple Podcasts, and most importantly by spreading the word on social media or just sharing with anyone you think might enjoy our work.

Keep checking in during this offseason for posts about the shows we have already covered, news updates, and of course details about our next Batty Awards. Let us know if there's something you want to be honored at the Battys. Thanks again!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Show Notes: Episode 2-12 Battle of the Network Stars

*In this week's episode, we look at the premiere episode of Battle of the Network Stars, which aired at 8:00 P.M. on November 13, 1976, on the ABC television network.

*The series lasted from 1976 to 1988 and consisted of 19 specials. The 1988 captains were John Davidson, Greg Evigan, and Lorenzo Lamas.

*Highly recommended: this Mental Floss piece we mention on the show, "A Brief History of" the series.

*$20,000 in 1976 money = $87,000 today.

*Holmes and Yo-Yo was a new ABC sitcom for the 1976 season and was yanked after 13 episodes. The series, about a veteran cop who gets a robotic partner, is not to be confused with Future Cop, a 1977 ABC series about a veteran cop who gets a robotic partner.

*"The diminutive Gary Burghoff" is reportedly 5'5".

*The Quest was a short-lived 1976 Western series co-starring Kurt Russell and Tim Matheson.

*Gemini Man was a short-lived 1976 NBC series with Ben Murphy, previously the star of Alias Smith and Jones, as a secret agent.

*Reggie Jackson, AKA "Mr. October," hit 563 home runs in a distinguished Hall of Fame career. After this appearance, he moved to New York and became an even bigger star as a Yankees slugger.

*Rona Barrett was appearing in ABC specials at this time as well as making regular appearances doing gossip and celebrity interviews on Good Morning America.

*U.S. Olympian Mary Decker failed to finish the 3000 meters in the 1984 Olympics after colliding with Zola Budd.

*Lee Majors and Farrah Fawcett were married from 1973 to 1982 but separated in 1979.

*Gymnast Cathy Rigby starred in the 1968 Olympics, then entered acting, where she became famous for playing Peter Pan on stage.

*Dr. Joyce Brothers was a psychologist who became famous for being famous and was a guest star on...just about everything.

*Telly Savalas did indeed claim to give Howard Cosell his first TV role, hiring him when he was a producer on ABC's Gillette Cavalcade of Sports.

*The Superstars competitions, pitting athletes from around the world in a variety of events, aired as a series of TV specials beginning in 1973 on ABC.

*Sadly, Michael Landon never competed on Battle of the Network Stars.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Episode 2_12: Battle of the Network Stars 1

For our season two finale, we finally take a look at perhaps the ultimate example of the Battle of the Network Shows era, our namesake, Battle of the Network Stars. In this first-ever Battle from 1976, Robert Conrad, Telly Savalas, and Gabe Kaplan lead teams from NBC, CBS, and ABC in athletic competitions for bragging rights and a sizeable prize. Celebrities, Howard Cosell, controversy, swimsuits, short shorts, Speedos, mustaches, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat! This one has it all!

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

And Now...a Word from THEIR Sponsor: Jim Perry for Morton Salt

It's not difficult to envision Jim Perry as a consummate pitchman. He's so polished in all  his game show work, and his Sale of the Century stint indicates he is comfortable pushing product. One of my favorite YouTube uploaders, Bionic Disco, just posted an early Perry commercial that throws me a bit, though. He just looks so...young in this one. Check it out:

At first, I am taken aback by the haircut, but as I settle in and get past that (OK, it may have taken me a few watches), I am THERE. I want that salt.  I mean, I want that salt he has right there in the ad. I want to take that little jar and chug that Morton's Lite Salt. If this were Sale of the Century, I'd throw away $10--the value of two questions--just for a heaping portion of salt. He wouldn't even have to sweeten (or salt?) the deal by throwing in a set of shakers.

The poise, the delivery, the confidence--even in the 1970s, Jim Perry was the man.

Monday, June 19, 2017

TV Guide Game Ephemera: Game Shows Edition

In our recent Game Shows episode, we also played another round of "The TV Guide Game." This time, we looked at Saturday morning, October 27, 1984, from the October 27-November 2 1984 edition of TV Guide.

Brooke caught herself
a Burgess Meredith (Cameron from Search)!

Great art one, plus the great David Morse
and Valerie Bertinelli.

Great art two!

Great art three!

Most of the schedule we used.

Not made up.

What good is a T.J. Hooker ad
without Shatner?

We mentioned this Lynda Carter/Loni Anderson
vehicle in our Wonder Woman episode.

1984 in music!

Ghosts of episodes past and possibly fu-CHA.

Did someone call Matt Houston
a cut-rate Magnum?

File under What We'd Like To See!

Rick's been watching this show recently...
strictly for research...TV research.
Listen. An episode featured Burt, OK?
Give the guy a break.

Possibly the greatest sentence ever written.