Thursday, February 28, 2019

Golden Girls Mad Libs Volume 1

In this week's bonus episode, we play a couple rounds of Golden Girls Mad Libs, combining two of podcasting's biggest trends -- grammar and senior citizens. We learn a little about parts of speech, the girls themselves, and maybe, just maybe ourselves.

Check out this episode!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #4

The Academy Awards season comes to an end this weekend, and it seems like one of the quietest, dullest ever. It's a good reminder that the real action is not in cinema but in television. No, we don't mean HBO and FX, but 1970s and 1980s TV.

1) Oscar Madison: Still the best Oscar in TV history.

2) David Horowitz: The consumer advocate was a small screen staple during our era with appearances on The Tonight Show and his own Fight Back! Dude could have saved a lot of time by just shaming evil corporations on Twitter.

3) The Golden Girls:  The series continues to be prominent in the culture, and this week we saw an announcement of a Golden Girls Cruise in 2020. This news proves that some things will always endure, like the desire of people to exploit fandom for money.

4) Paul Shaffer: The star of A Year at the Top and some other things will return to TV with a chat show on AXS. It sounds like he will be interviewing...many of the same people who always turn up on AXS.

5) Penny Marshall and Farrah Fawcett: Me-TV's website published a cool article about that time the two starred in a commercial together:

6) Alice: Warner Archive is completing the long-running (some might say too long, but we couldn't possibly comment) series on DVD with the ninth and final season next month.

7) Man from Atlantis: Warner Archive also announced it is releasing the series' pilot movie as a Blu-Ray. You know what that means, right? Yep--Alan Fudge in high-def!

8) Kelsey Grammer: His new legal drama premiered on Fox, and while his constant talk of a Frasier reboot makes us uneasy, we figure at least it keeps him from talking up a Cheers reboot.

9) Roger E. Mosely: Will guest-star on the CBS reboot, but not as T.C. because there is already a T.C. on this version. I guess this establishes that "our" version of the series occurred on Earth-2, and the current CBS telecast depicts events on Earth-1.

10) Jim Henson's Storyteller: Yet more reboot talk, this time centered around Neil Gaiman's plans to launch the beloved Jim Henson series which everyone seems to have loved but no one seems to have actually watched.

Monday, February 18, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #3


Welcome once again to the thing we call the Ten: 10 people, places, shows, things, minerals, or vegetables from the BOTNS universe of shows of the 1970s and 1980s.
1) Abraham Lincoln: On this Presidents Day holiday, let's take some time to remember the ill-fated attempt to copy Welcome Back, Kotter: The late-seventies sitcom Mr. Lincoln, I've Been Thinking, with Honest Abe as a country lawyer who exits the rat race to settle down as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse...or at least he THINKS he can settle down until he sees the motley assortment of misfits in his class.

2) Bob Newhart: His show is on Hulu, as we mentioned last week, and, hey, it's not TV, but he did play the prez in 1980's First Family. That movie was ON TV, so that should count for something. And the ADS were on TV:

3) Regina King: The former 227 star managed to not get massacred on this play:

4) Hal Williams and Marla Gibbs: Friend of the pod and member of our Facebook group (come on over and say hi and join in!) Jim posted this great pic of the 227 stars at a recent event:

Image may contain: one or more people

5) Crime Story: Dennis Farina kicks all kinds of "a" in this underappreciated 1980s NBC period cop show, which just landed on Amazon Prime. OK, so the series went off the rails a bit at some point. Who among us hasn't gone off the rails at some point? And I don't know about you, but I'M not nearly as cool as Dennis Farina was. So there.

6) The Greatest American Hero: Many of us believe the greatest American hero is Al Bundy, but here we refer to the 3 season light superhero fantasy show, which is now on Amazon Prime and which would make a great subject for the podcast. It's hard to believe the series ran only 45 episodes.

7) Wiseguy: The critically acclaimed but seldom watched series is now on Amazon Prime. I detect a theme here...  I think Prime may be helping us program an entire upcoming season.

8) The Brady Bunch house: The surviving cast appealed to the public to help it decorate the house with vintage items as part of its HGTV-supported project to renovate the joint. I'm glad that the show's representatives are showing the same devotion to verisimilitude that was such a hallmark of the series.

9) Love American Style: It was just Valentine's Day week, and what better way to learn about the human condition and the vagaries of romance than by watching this show? Too bad it's not streaming and is way underrepresented on DVD.

10) Paul Williams: We're just not ready to quit Paul Williams yet:

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Show Notes REVISITED: Lowenbrau

On this week's bonus episode of the show, we discussed our encounter with the great Mr. Robert Pine and attached our earlier Lowenbrau episode as a bonus. For those of you who weren't listening to us then, we hereby give you a special encore presentation of the original show notes. This time, we have added a few notes adding context and updating the original info! The "new" notes are in bold below the originals.

Remember, after each regular BOTNS episode, we offer show notes and a YouTube playlist the day after the podcast premieres.

*Arthur Prysock, the singer of the "Let It Be Lowenbrau" jingle, was a jazz singer who lived from 1929 to 1997. All-Music Guide says: Arthur Prysock was perfectly at home singing jazz, blues, or R&B, but his smooth-as-silk baritone made him a superbly effective (and underappreciated) pop crooner in the manner of his chief influence, Billy Eckstine.

I should mention that even after learning the truth, I STILL want to think it's Lou Rawls each time I hear the song.

*The great Robert Pine's most famous role was as Sgt. Gertraer in the NBC show CHiPs, but he has had a long and varied career. He's still around at age 75 and is the father of actor Chris Pine. I have a feeling this won't be the last we see of Pine on the podcast...

Mr. Pine is now 77, and indeed it was far from his last appearance! Check our archives for our Pick Your Pine episodes.

*Spuds Mackenzie was a Bud Light-loving terrier who rose to fame in the 1980s. He (actually a she, but who's counting) was always surrounded by babes who, of course, also loved Bud Light.

Spuds' real name was Honey Tree Evil Eye (seriously, though supposedly it was Evie for short). How in the world did I not include that in the original notes? Honey Tree lived 1983-1993 and was active in Bud Light commercials from 1987-1989.

*The 1976-1977 Knicks were only 40-42, but in the 1977-1978 season, they finished second in the division and won a playoff series before losing to Philly in the Eastern Conference finals. Hopefully Dolan and his boys saw a good game that night.

Midseason acquisition Bob McAdoo was that team's top scorer. I'm sure current Knicks fans ould love to go back in time to the days of McAdoo and Earl Monroe, Bill Bradley, Clyde Frazier (all were on the 76-77 squad).

*Munich-based Lowenbrau ("Lion's brew") beer was brewed by Miller at the time of this commercial, but now it is part of the massive Anheuser-Busch InBev empire.

And I still don't see it anywhere.

Here's a bonus Lowenbrau ad that made its way to YouTube after we recorded the original episode:

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Got a condo made of stone-a!

On this day in 1923, a team of archaeologists (meddlers?) opened King Tut's tomb. Legend has it that just thinking about this event subjects you to the infamous CURSE....unless you watch this:

Thursday, February 14, 2019

That Time We Met Robert Pine

This week, we talk about a recent opportunity we had to meet the great Robert Pine, patron saint of Battle of the Network Shows! Then to sweeten the deal, we offer an encore presentation of our "Lowenbrau" episode, featuring one Robert Pine!

Check out this episode!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Battle of the Network Shows Top 10 #2

Thanks to all of you who put down some money at Ladbrokes speculating on who would make this week's top 10. Feel free to send us a tip with your winnings. Those Silver Spoons DVDs don't come for free, you know.

1) MASH: Dare I say that MASH is..."having a moment"? Alan Alda reunited surviving members for this week's episode of his Clear and Vivid podcast, and now is a good time to announce that the MASH episode of our podcast is running neck and neck with another one (see below) as the most downloaded of season 5. Just think if there were some channel somewhere that actually showed the reruns!

2) Alan Alda: Speaking of Alda, the former Hawkeye Pierce won a SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award, then won the hearts of millions with his moving acceptance speech. My only regret was that he didn't thank Tuttle.

In an interview with Inc., Alda said this about podcasts:  There's this huge audience for podcasts in the country, and a huge secondary would-be audience if they only knew how to get one.  Mr. Alda, we agree, and we extend a standing invitation to Battle of the Network Shows to get the word out.

3) Hee Haw: Is in the running with MASH as the most downloaded episode of our fifth season. I can't say why because I don't know, but somehow this fact is in the top five of things I am proudest about since we started the show.

4) The Bob Newhart Show: The whole run is finally on Hulu, only about 18 months after it was announced, but, hey, who's counting? This is definitely a series we'll get to someday.

5) Suzi Quatro: She is reportedly "hurt" about not being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I thought I was looking at a parody article when I first saw the headline. Hey, Suze, it's easy to get in there--it's open 7 days a week, and you can get ticket info here:

6) Conrad Bain: Because it was the late Diff'rent Strokes patriarch's birthday this week. You know, growing up and watching the show, I never wished Mr. Drummond were my father. Yet for some reason, I always wished he were my son. That's not weird, is it?

7) Julie Adams: Some of you may remember the actress, who died this week, as the female lead in Creature from the Black Lagoon, but in the BOTNS universe, she is forever the star of The Jimmy Stewart Show! Well, if you don't count Jimmy Stewart.

8) Michael Learned and Loretta Swit: Learned got past her crushing loss at the Battys and appeared on the TV Confidential radio show and podcast. Swit got past her crushing loss at the Battys and appeared on the TV Confidential rad--Wait. I'm being told Swit was not nominated for a Batty. Ouch. I guess not everyone at MASH is having a moment. However, she is raising a lot of money for animal-related charitable causes, which I guess is a little more important.

9) One Day at a Time: The third season premieres on Netflix this weekend, reminding people that the original CBS sitcom exists (maybe?).

10) Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd: The two generated buzz by posing together and looking fabulous in an Instagram post. They might have been higher, but Smith made a reference to time not having "past" instead of "passed" in the post. (Michael Learned and Loretta Swit got past things; time  just passed) Jaclyn just missed out on an Outstanding Hair Batty, but she need not worry about similar heartbreak if we ever institute an Outstanding Speller category.

Not ranked: Major Frank Burns, Shelley Hack, The Twilight Zone (1985-1989 version), Pinky Tuscadero

Monday, February 4, 2019

BOTNS Top 10! Our exclusive power rankings debut!

We're confident of three things: 1) Gabe Kaplan is a great bet in a footrace, 2) People love lists and rankings and 3) At least since the decline of United Press International, there has been no consistent "power ranking" of the hottest people, shows, and inanimate objects in the world of 1970s and 1980s television.

That's why we are changing the game today with the first edition of our newest website feature: The BOTNS Top 10. This week's list is Batty-centric, but future installments will take a broader look at the vast Battle of the Network Showiverse (including the Norman Learverse).

We thought of presenting these rankings as 2-11 in a nod to our long-time coveted special demographic, but we are doing this the conventional way: 1-10 in descending order of power-ness. Got it? Here we go!

1) Hill Street Blues: Arguably the big winner of the Batty Awards with a show-tying 3 wins (see below) including the prestigious Best Series and Genius trophies.

2) Michael Conrad: "Let's be careful out there" is now joined by "Genius Award winner" as the most common phrases associated with the late actor.

3) Robert Pine: Because we must give due credit and respect to the original inspiration for the Genius Award!

4) Best of the West: Tied Hill Street Blues with 3 wins and had a strong overall night, proving either that BOTNS has a keen eye for quality or that 1981 audiences were imbeciles...or both.

5) Ray Charles: Perhaps the coolest single individual and a clear favorite of the Blue Ribbon Committee and the voters themselves. This might be the biggest thing to happen to Ray since singing America the Beautiful at WrestleMania II.

6) Jessica Walter: Impressed us as much as Ray Charles with her stellar turn as Doctor Strange foe sorceress Morgan le Fay. If only she could cast a spell to banish Jeffrey Tambor to another dimension...

7) Alan Fudge: It's a cliché to describe anyone as "fortunate just to be there," but Biggest Dope nominee Alan "Hot" Fudge scored a victory just for being in the mix. It's one more small step in the Fudgeissaince the podcast hopes to inspire.

8) Lowenbrau: Reports are that sales of the Official Adult Beverage of BOTNS went through the roof during the Battys. Somehow when they came back down, they landed in the cornfield and on Junior Samples' head.

9) Erin Gray: Came home emptyhanded this time but solidified her status as a BOTNS legend.

10) Paul Williams: 0 for 3 at the Battys, but damned if "The Hell of It" hasn't been in our heads all week.

Not ranked (and possibly nonexistent): Tuttle, Leonard Frey's mustache, Wooden plank from The Waltons, Jamie Foxx

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Batty Awards #5 by the Numbers

The fallout from the Battys lingers in the air like the hairspray at the Carringtons' residence, and we are continuing to break down the latest version of our most prestigious event. Here is a list of the Battys by the numbers:

431: Number of times Wilona says "Mmm" or "Hmm" in the end credits version of Batty-award-winning theme song for The Jeffersons (estimate)

75/25: Approximate ratio of melancholy to hopefulness in the Batty-winning theme song for Hill Street Blues

47: Number of times Roy Clark teased Outstanding Hair nominee Buck Owens over his follicle situation (estimate).

25-30: Approximate number of minutes it took Mike and Rick to regain equilibrium after returning from the astral plane

9: Number of noms (including Best Series and Best Episode) for Hee Haw, which won no Battys

4: Number of times Rick sighed when contemplating Jaclyn Smith in the Outstanding Hair category

3 Number of Battys won by Hill Street Blues and Best of the West, making them tied for top overall honors.

2: Number of nominees who one might reasonably presume flung fecal matter at one time (Bear from B.J. and the Bear and [REDACTED])

1: Number of potentially actionable implications made about Glen Larson during the ceremony

1: Number of career award nominations (including this one) for the wooden plank that concussed John Boy on The Waltons.

0: Number of times the word "fey" was uttered during the ceremony (perhaps the biggest upset of the night)

0: Number of Battys won by The Waltons, Hee Haw, When Things Were Rotten, and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.

Special Section: Paul Williams by the Numbers!

3: Number of Batty nominations for Paul Williams
2: Number of Paul Williams imitations attempted during the awards
0: Number of Battys won by Paul Williams

Friday, February 1, 2019

Your official Batty Awards 5 list of winners!

Congratulations to all the nominees and especially this season's Batty winners! Remember to listen to the podcast if you don't want the awards spoiled, but if you want a handy list, here you go.

Winners are listed in bold below:

Outstanding Guest Star

Erin Gray (B.J. and the Bear)
Hugh O'Brian (Charlie's Angels)
Lorne Greene (Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew)
Paul Williams (Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew)
Dennis Franz (Hill Street Blues)
Christopher Lloyd (Best of the West)

Outstanding Performance as Oneself

Johnny Cash (Hee Haw)
Melba Montgomery (Hee Haw)
Freddy Fender (Hee Haw)
Ray Charles (Saturday Night Live)
Peter Lawford (The Jeffersons)

Outstanding Performance by a Youth

Meeno Peluce (Best of the West)
Euchariah (Halloween Is Grinch Night) (played by Gary Shapiro, not Gary Parsons as Rick misstated during the ceremony)
Shaun Cassidy (Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew)
Pamela Sue Martin (Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew)

Outstanding Performance by a Non-Human

Grinch (Halloween Is Grinch Night)
Max (Halloween Is Grinch Night)
Bear (B.J. and the Bear)
The wooden plank (The Waltons)
Tuttle (MASH)

Outstanding Hair

Farrah Fawcett (Charlie's Angels)
Jaclyn Smith (Charlie's Angels)
Buck Owens (Hee Haw)
Peter Hooten (Doctor Strange)
Paul Williams (Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew)

Outstanding Facial Hair

Doctor Strange (Doctor Strange)
Parker Tillman (Best of the West)
Freddy Fender (Hee Haw)
Mick Belker (Hill Street Blues)
Dennis Franz (Hill Street Blues)
George Jefferson (The Jeffersons)

Biggest Heel

Frank Burns (MASH)
Grinch (Halloween Is Grinch Night)
Parker Tillman (Best of the West)
Morgan LeFey (Doctor Strange)
Mr. Mike (Saturday Night Live)
Sheriff of Nottingham (When Things Were Rotten)

Biggest Dope

Alan Fudge (Charlie's Angels)
Prince John (When Things Were Rotten)
The Citizens of Transylvania (Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries)
Ed Lauter (BJ and the Bear)
Junior Samples (Hee Haw)
Dan Aykroyd as Tom Snyder (Saturday Night Live)

Best Song

The Hell of It performed by Paul Williams (Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries)
I Walk the Line performed by Johnny Cash (Hee Haw)
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights performed by Freddy Fender (Hee Haw)
What'd I Say performed by Ray Charles (Saturday Night Live)
That's Rock and Roll performed by Shaun Cassidy (Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries)

Oustanding Theme Song (with lyrics)

Hee Haw
The Jeffersons
Best of the West
When Things Were Rotten
B.J. and the Bear

Outstanding Theme Song (instrumental)

Charlie's Angels
Saturday Night Live
Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries
The Waltons

Hill Street Blues

Outstanding Performance by a Male

Sherman Helmsley (The Jeffersons)
Roy Clark (Hee Haw)
Alan Alda (MASH)
Daniel J. Travanti (Hill Street Blues)
Greg Evigan (B.J. and the Bear)
Ralph Waite (The Waltons)

Outstanding Performance by a Female

Farrah Fawcett (Charlie's Angels)
Kate Jackson (Charlie's Angels)
Jaclyn Smith (Charlie's Angels
Isabel Sanford (The Jeffersons)
Jessica Walter (Doctor Strange)
Michael Learned (The Waltons)

Robert Pine Genius Award: Michael Conrad (Hill Street Blues)

Best Episode (that we covered)

The Calico Kid Returns (Best of the West)

Best Show (that we covered)

Hill Street Blues

Thanks to all of the nominees and even those who didn't quite make the list. The blue ribbon nominating committee made some tough choices, to be sure.

Stay tuned for more bonus episodes and news on season 6!