Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Great Moments in 70s and 80s TV History: Fonz Masters Bobbing for Apples

Season 2's Haunted is a fine example of early Happy Days in addition to being a fun Halloween episode. You get to see Arnold's all decked out, Richie in the classic skeleton garb...

Mr. C handing out candy to wise-acre neighborhood kids who (surprise, surprise) just happen to be played by Garry Marshall's kids...

But best of all is Fonzie's appearance at Ralph's annual Halloween party as The Lone Ranger with Tonto. When Ralph says, "Hey, kemosabe,"  Fonz snaps, "Hey, you watch your guttermouth, Malph!"

The gang convinces Fonz to bob for apples. After Potsie explains the rules, Fonzie just sticks his hand and grabs one. Let's take another look:

Potsie whines that he didn't follow the rules, and Richie suggests Fonz didn't do it the right way. The response: "I didn't want to get my mask wet." "Then it's a good way," Richie adds quickly.




Monday, October 29, 2018

Happy Birthday to Kate Jackson!

BOTNS salutes birthday girl Kate Jackson, seen here on Charlie's Angels in a get-up designed to make her less attractive, but one which, IMO, has the opposite effect:

Saturday, October 27, 2018

YouTube Spotlight: The best Burger King song ever

I heard this jingle many times back in the day, but I don't remember ever hearing it like this! This commercial (also in our YouTube playlist for this week's Halloween episode) is so good, it makes me want to run out and buy Burger King just to reward them for this 40-year-old ad:

Friday, October 26, 2018

YouTube playlist for Halloween is Grinch Night is live!

Our video playlist for this week's Halloween-themed episode is now live! Click below to see Halloween Is Grinch Night, and also go beyond Dr. Seuss with Rich Little! Frank Gorshin! The REAL Boris Karloff pushing steak sauce! And...the last TV interview of Keith Moon?

Show Notes: Episode 5-2: Halloween Is Grinch Night

*Halloween Is Grinch Night premiered on Saturday, October 29, 1977, at 8:00 P.M. on ABC.

It won an Emmy for Outstanding Children's Program in 1978, beating The Fat Albert Christmas Special (Filmation), Once Upon a Brothers Grimm (a two-hour CBS movie with Dean Jones and Paul Sand), Once Upon a Classic's adaptation of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (PBS), and Peter Lundy and the Medicine Hat Stallion (Ya got me).

*The original Grinch special, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, premiered Decmber 18, 1966 on CBS.

*The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat

*You can find a vintage newspaper story of a rebroadcast of the special in 1979 by clicking right here.

*We believe we definitively settled the "prequel or sequel" debate on the podcast, but IF you want to see some alternate views, check out this Grantland article.

*The new Grinch movie from Illumination premieres November 9, 2018.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

5-2: Halloween is Grinch Night

Listen to us yammer and yack about this lost gem of the small screen. The Grinch and Halloween? Has anyone ever seen such a scene?! We give you the why, the where, the Who, the when, and maybe if you're lucky the to what extent! Let's have a good time, let's make a good rhyme, let's have a little fright but try to keep it light, for Halloween is Grinch Night!

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Happy birthday, Johnny Carson!

Johnny Carson, the former King of Late Night, was born on this day in 1925. We've covered Tom Snyder and David Letterman on the podcast, and maybe someday we'll get around to giants like Alan Thicke and Pat Sajak. And THEN maybe we'll cover Carson.

In the meantime, enjoy this clip of Rodney Dangerfield killing it on The Tonight Show. It's ostensibly a Rodney clip, but watch how Carson works with him and lets him get the laughs. Of nothing else, watch Johnny's jacket.

Monday, October 22, 2018

YouTube Spotlight: He's Fired, She's Hired (1984)

Remember when the career gender-based role reversal gimmick was a big deal? I seem to remember the 1983 feature film Mr. Mom as the pioneer here. So naturally, CBS gets in on the action a year later with this bizarre-looking TV movie co-starring Wayne Rogers and Karen Valentine. You can see a vintage promo for this on this week's MASH-centric YouTube playlist, or you can check it out below:

Maybe "bizarre" is the wrong word--no, wait. after seeing Karen Valentine's hairstyle, I think it is. The movie looks comfortably mediocre but refreshingly retro. Imagine it being a thing with the hubby losing his job and coaching his wife into being the bread winner.

Unfortunately, this is the only trace of the movie I see on YouTube, though I do note the presence of a 10/10 review (!) on IMDB calling this "feature film quality." Judging by the promo, I think I lean to the other review: "  Of the bland comedies made on the subject matter during this period, "He's Fired, She's Hired" is probably blander than most and rather typical of the genre. "

However, why take the word of two IMDB reviewers when the contemporary review of The New York Times' John O'Connor is online?

My favorite lines from the review:

Alex Grier, played by Wayne Rogers with what appears to be a vocal impersonation of Peter Falk

That brings Annabelle into the world of Madison Avenue, which, in this version of agents and clients, is rather heavily weighted with homosexuals.

The head of the agency is Freddie Fox, portrayed with weary ferocity by Elizabeth Ashley. When not on her exercycle, Freddie is looking in a mirror and moaning, not without reason, ''I look like an old muppet.''

Not without reason!

Anyone else kind of want to see this?

Sunday, October 21, 2018

On this day in 1957, Jailhouse Rock starring Elvis Presley premiered with a special opening in Memphis.


On May 26, 1981, this premiered on ABC:

Which is better? You make the call!

(Click here to learn more about the above photo by listening to our Happy Days episode)

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Happy birthday, William Christopher

OK, so we didn't talk much about Father Mulcahy in this week's MASH episode, and so it isn't close to Christmas yet.  Still, when it's the late William Christopher's birthday, I see it as a good excuse to share this commercial--one that's not in our YouTube playlist this week!

Friday, October 19, 2018

MASH playlist is live!

The return of the podcast means new episodes each Thursday and our YouTube video playlists to accompany each one! This week, we take a closer look at the world of MASH with promos, commercials, and more!

Click the embedded link above to enjoy a glimpse of W*A*L*T*E*R, Alan Alda doing a cartwheel, Gary Burghoff teaming up with Dean Martin, arguably more Wayne Rogers than you see in the Tuttle episode, a look at the MASH toy line...and more!

Show Notes: Episode 5-1: MASH

*Tuttle, from season 1 of MASH, premiered January 14, 1973 at 8:00 on CBS. It's written by Bruce Shelley and Dave Ketchum, directed by William Wiard, and produced by Jonathan Tuttle (sorry couldn't resist).

*The series aired from 1972 to 1983--11 seasons and 256 episodes. Harry Morgan and Mike Farrell joined in season 4 (essentially replacing MacLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers), David Ogden Stiers (for Larry Linville) in season 6. We will surely talk about them when we cover the "later years" of the series!

Larry Gelbart left the series after season 4, and co-executive producer Gene Reynolds left after season 5.

*The finale drew a record 125 million + viewers on February 28, 1983.

*Ratings-wise, MASH never ended a season as the top-ranked show on TV. Its final season was its highest-ranked at number 3. It was always a top 10 show, though with the exception of its debut campaign (#46) and fourth season (when it moved from Tuesday to Friday and then back midseason, finishing 15 overall).

*We recommend this excellent piece for a great look at the series' syndication history: Before it even entered off-network syndication, CBS was airing reruns some late nights AND every weekday at 3:30.   So even in 1978, the show was on all the time!

*Robert Altman's 1970 feature film was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award and was #54 on the initial AFI 100 list in 1998.

*Author Richard Hooker created the original MASH novels.

*Click here for the definitive guide to the 8 action figures (including Klinger in drag), 3 vehicles, and headquarters set released by Tristar in 1982.

*Anachronism alert: Captain Savage is indeed a real comic book title, but it is a 1968 Marvel comic. The titular character is a Navy captain who was spun off from Sgt. Fury.

*James B. Sikking, who has a short appearance in Tuttle, would later gain greatest fame as Howard Hunter on Hill Street Blues.

*Perhaps the other big American pop culture work dealing with the Korean War is The Manchurian Candidate (novel 1959, movie in 1962).

*Trapper John M.D.  aired 7 seasons and 151 episodes on CBS. According to an article on Digital Spy:
Seeking royalties, M*A*S*H's producers (who were independent of CBS) took Fox to court, claiming the series was a spin-off of their show, but Fox insisted that it was a spin-off from the *movie*.
The court decided in Fox's favour and Trapper John MD went on to last seven seasons (that's five seasons more than M*A*S*H's "official" spin-off, the critically reviled AfterMASH).
*The P.A. announcers were actors Todd Susman and Sal Viscuso.
*Ill-fated spinoff W*A*L*T*E*R got a pilot (directed by Bill Bixby), but only aired once--July 17, 1984--and even then it was pre-empted on the West Coast for the Democratic National Convention.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

5-1: MASH "Tuttle"

We start season 5 with a true classic--MASH! To give supplies to a local orphanage, Hawkeye invents Captain Tuttle, but his best laid plans turn into a madcap scramble when Burns wants to meet the mysterious Tuttle.

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

BOTNS Special Investigation: "Gordon Jump as himself" on "Caroline in the City"

Mike and I were both amused by the sheer randomness of one of Gordon Jump's appearance on a second-season episode of Caroline in the City as we considered his credits. The fact that he appears as himself somehow makes it even more random.

Of course, Jump, though best known for his role as Arthur Carlson on WKRP, made scores of guest appearances in his distinguished TV career. Still, this one is peculiar. We launched a Special Investigation to get the details. Why did Gordon Jump, of all people, make an appearance on Caroline in the City, of all shows, in 1997, of all years?

Well, we have no idea. Couldn't find anything explaining it.

But we did watch the episode!

Jump has but a small cameo in Season 2's  Caroline in the City, and he isn't even named. In fact, he's not even germane to the main plotline, that of Caroline's assistant/love interest Richard getting involved (professionally...or is it more?) with a wealthy art patron played by Ann Magnuson.

He's identified not as Gordon Jump, not as "Jumpman," not even as, "The guy from WKRP," but as the Maytag repairman! The joke is that Caroline's sassy friend Annie (Amy Pietz was not just sassy but SAUCY in this one--one of the more underrated 90s sitcom characters, for my money) lets the thrill of being recognized for a foot powder commercial go to her head.

She receives, then expects, preferential treatment. On a date, she drops the "Do you know who I am?" card and is denied, only to see Jump breeze right in and be seated.
"Thanks for fitting me in!"
It's an amusing gag, and while we can quibble about wasting the great Gordon Jump on a throwaway bit, that's the genius of it--that out of nowhere Gordon Jump shows up to this restaurant as the example of someone more famous than Annie.

How did this come about? Was he a big fan of the show? Was he a big fan of Amy Pietz (wouldn't blame him)? 

Sorry, we don't know. We DO know that he wasn't the only familiar face in Caroline and the Kept Man.

Comedy legend Rose Marie plays Stella, a senior Caroline is reading to as part of a volunteer program. Guess what? She's sassy, too, subbing the erotic A Tale of Two Cities for the Dickens novel Caroline thinks she is reading.

Sadly, Marie's Dick Van Dyke Show co-star Morey Amsterdam, who appeared with her in a season 1 episode of Caroline had died before this one was produced. However, another comic standout--less accomplished but with his own following--shows up as the maitre'd at the restaurant:

Yes, it's Larry Thomas, AKA the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld!

So we don't have answers about Jump's appearance, but we have several other familiar faces, making this a worthwhile journey out of the BOTNS era and into February 1996.

We regret to inform you we have one more unsolved mystery here: Why in the heck is he billed as playing "Himself" in quotation marks? Maybe this version is considered an alternate-universe Gordon Jump who should not be confused with "our" Earth-Prime version of Gordon Jump.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Happy Birthday, Greg Evigan!

Happy birthday to Greg Evigan, perhaps (and by perhaps we mean not really at all) best remembered for his role in BOTNS-semi-favorite A Year at the Top:

We talked about Mike's journey to track this down in a bonus episode.

Would you like more Greg Evigan again someday on the podcast? OK, OK, we hear you loud and clear. That's a 10-4.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Happy Birthday, Jack Colvin!

"Don't get me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." That's what David Banner said on The Incredible Hulk. You know who didn't care?

Crusading reporter Jack McGee, that's who.

Happy birthday to the late Jack Colvin, who played one of our favorite TV journalists. Remember, Colvin was actually next billed on the series behind Bixby and Lou Ferrigno.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Happy birthday, Adam Rich!

You know how old Adam Rich is today? He's...Well, does it matter? He's still around, and good for him.

To us he will always be best known as...DVP's partner in their classic spin on "Who's on First?"

(Those binoculars are so big that when he looks in them he can see the reunion movies.)

We need your VOTE part 1

As we prepare season 5, we'd once again like our listeners to help us choose a couple of the shows we'll discuss. In part 1, we want to know which "Rural" show y'all'd like us to pontificate on. Let us know in the comments for this post by Sunday, October 21, at our Facebook Page, Facebook Group, or through e-mail. Y'all's choices are:

  1. The Dukes of Hazzard
  2. Carter Country
  3. Hee Haw
We'll be back with another chance to vote later in the season.

Video playlist for Fame Game #4

Remember, please listen to this week's bonus episode, our fourth installment of the Fame Game, before watching this playlist if you don't want to spoil the game.

Once you do, though, click below to enjoy a young Julia Louis-Dreyfus on stage, Ray Combs, Secret Deodorant, the trailer for Trouble Man, and more!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Fame Game Four: Shooting for .500

After a crushing defeat in the last Fame Game, Mike returns to the hot seat to see if he can guess another BOTNS-era performer, personality, or character and get his record up to 2-2, plus an astounding amount of "Caroline in the City" discussion.

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The best thing about the 1990 Captain America movie

Say what you will about the Cap feature film, but it has one big thing the 1978 TV movies lack: a laugh-out-loud piece of political propaganda at the end of the credits. How often have you seen something like this in any movie, let alone a cheesy superhero movie?

We are not making any commentary for or against The Environmental Protection Act of 1990, but it is funny seeing it pop up at the end of a DVD, and it must have been a scream to see this in a theater, assuming you stuck around long enough.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Captain America 1990 vs. Captain America 1979

In our episode looking at the 1970s Captain America TV movies, we made a brief mention of the 1990 feature film starring Matt Salinger. I actually came across the DVD at the local library and watched it for comparison purposes. Allow me to borrow the "Tale of the Tape" gimmick used so well by Nick Bakay to compare the 1990 one with the 1979 versions (for simplicity, we'll combine the two 1970s TV  movies since we talked about both on our podcast).

Star's life before playing Cap:
1979: Reb Brown played football at USC
1990: Matt Salinger played "Burke" in Revenge of the Nerds
Edge: 1979

Main villain:
1979: Christopher Lee being a bad-ass
1990: Red Skull in bad makeup
Edge: 1979

Directed by:
1979: The great Rod Holcomb and Ivan Nagy
1990: Albert Pyun
Edge: 1979

1979: Sun-dappled 1970s West Coast America
1990: Europe and, of course, Cap's wartime hometown of...California?
Edge: 1979

Does it have Ned Beatty and Darren McGavin?
1979: No.
1990: Yes, it has both!
Edge: Finally one for the motion picture. Gotta give this to 1990.

Followed by:
1979: The Paper Chase, The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas
1990: A drive back home from the theater made longer by the knowledge that you spent upwards of 20 bucks on tickets and concessions to see it.
Edge: 1979

When you break it down, it's clear that the original Cap movies are the best. However, there is one big edge (apart from McGavin and Beatty, natch)  that the 1990 theatrical version has. We will talk about that one tomorrow because it deserves its own post.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Happy Birthday, Judy Landers!

Today is the (cough cough) birthday of 70s/80s TV icon Judy Landers, and while we haven't talked too much about her on the podcast yet, she may show up in our upcoming season.

In the meantime, enjoy this YouTube clip of--wait, she's married to former Dodgers pitcher Tom Niedenfuer? Tom Niedenfuer? Could that be any more random?

Well, in that case, let's enjoy this 1986 clip of sportscaster Warner Wolf's plays of the week, complete with an excerpt from Ray Knight charging the mound on Niedenfuer. The funny thing is, this massive brawl is only the second-most famous Knight baseball fight from that year, trailing his infamous showdown with Reds OF Eric Davis.

So...happy birthday, Judy Landers! Audrey, sorry we missed your birthday in July.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Happy birthday to the late Fred Travalena!

Who grew up watching TV in the BOTNS era without seeing "funnyman" Fred Travalena at one time or other? Actually, we usually saw him one time AND the other...and again...and again.

Here are a few clips from his official YouTube channel, including a surprisingly (to me, at least) earnest patriotic song from The Tonight Show:

Friday, October 5, 2018

Happy birthday to the late Jeff Conaway!

Jeff Conaway (October 5, 1950-May 27, 2011) was of course Bobby Wheeler on Taxi, but you don't need us to tell you that. He'll remind you in this cool ad for a now-defunct talent agency:

Remember, folks, please don't call the number in the ad even if you think you have what it takes!

You can grab our episode talking about Taxi right here!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Reboots, Remakes, and Returns: Magnum P.I.

Following up on a recent bonus episode, we take a little time to discuss the pilot of the Magnum P.I. remake. Mike saw it, Rick didn't, so he asks some questions, and Mike offers some answers about the most important topics: mustaches, mustaches, and mustaches.

Check out this episode!