Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Yes, it's Bugs Bunny Day, and we should commemorate one of the finest stars of the big screen and small screen ever. the character who would become Bugs premiered on this date in 1938's Porky's Rabbit Hunt.

How many of you learned about Bugs from Saturday mornings on CBS?

Too bad he had to share billing with that Road Runner scrub!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Happy Birthday, Reb Brown!

We'd like to think of him as a friend of the show even if we weren't totally positive about his Captain America movies and maybe kind of minimized his football accomplishments at USC. Happy birthday, Reb!

Click here for our discussion of the 1979 Captain America TV movies!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

BOTNS Top 10 #13

1) Growing Pains/Who's the Boss/Valerie (3-way tie): Make sure you head to the main page or our Facebook page and VOTE for which one of these classic--uh, vote for which of one of these family sitcoms you want us to cover on the podcast this season. Will it be Alan Thicke? Tony Danza? Valerie Harper? Let us know!

4) The Incredible Hulk: Season 1 hit Tubi TV this week. Don't make me angry by not adding the rest of the series, Tubi. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

I mean, I won't get that angry because it's still free and all, but I'd be kinda peeved for a few minutes.

5) She-Ra: The Netflix revival drops another season this weekend, presumably stirring interest in the original incarnation of the character. It's hard to tell because Netflix apparently doesn't think anyone would want to check out that version (You can see season 1 on Tubi, though).

6) Larry "Flash" Jenkins: RIP to the late actor, who played Wardell Stone in the third season of The White Shadow and also had regular roles on Bay City Blues and Finder of Lost Loves.

7) Jay Leno: Happy birthday to the man who did so much to teach America about the facts of life (not the TV show, but the actual facts) on Good Times:

8) T and T: This 1988 syndicated Mr. T vehicle (didn't quite go up in flames like so many of the vehicles on The A-Team) is also on Tubi, and, boy, do I wish I had the stones to place it where I put Hulk:

9) Saved by the Bell: 2/3 of the original cast reunited and took a group pic, and it blew up the Internet, and by "blew up," I mean it prompted a bunch of websites to post the pic and say that it was blowing up the Internet, which proved that...You know, I already forgot why this was notable. At least I had the good sense to rank this below T and T.

10) Ken Kercheval: RIP to the late actor, best known as Cliff Barnes on Dallas. Here's a clip of ken on The $25,000 Pyramid, and in a refreshing change of pace, the celebrity is getting the clues rather than giving them:

Saturday, April 27, 2019

It's National Babe Ruth Day!

Naturally we at BOTNS consider the definitive screen portrayal of George Herman "Babe" Ruth the one delivered by William Lucking on Voyagers!

We discussed the Babe and the entire episode here.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Great Moments in 70s and 80s TV History: AYYYYY!

Many think Happy Days declined when Fonz jumped over a shark, but I think maybe we can trace it to the ill-fated "socially relevant" turn the series suddenly took:

Thursday, April 25, 2019

This Day in TV History: Vega$ premieres on ABC

April 25, 1978 was the first appearance of Vega$ on ABC.  Do you think TV Guide hated the stylized spelling of the title with the dollar sign?

Robert Urich was private investigator Dan Tana on the series, which lasted 3 seasons and was of course shot in...Atlantic City. No, it was Las Vegas.  Greg Morris, Bart Braverman, and Judy Landers co-starred. The series was a top 25 hit when it debuted but then declined, perhaps because its lead-in Charlie's Angels fell out of the top 10.

Would anyone like to see us go back to ABC/Aaron Spelling escapism and explore the world of Vega$ on the podcast?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

And now, a word from THEIR sponsor: Bob Denver and Don Knotts for Bonanza Steakhouse

Can you imagine going out for a chopped steak and baked potato with these guys? I think that kind of special occasion warrants adding on the salad bar!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Listener Poll: Family Sitcoms

Which eighties family sitcom would you like to hear us talk about in season 6? Leave your answer in the comments. Poll closes midnight Eastern time Monday 4/29.

Who's Da Boss?

Valerie/The Hogan Family

Growing Pains

It's National Lost Dog Awareness Day...

...and so we remind you again to be on the lookout for Joe:

You can start by listening to our Run Joe Run episode from season 2 right here.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Happy Birthday, Byron Allen!

Remember, it's Byron's Allen world and we just live in it. BOTNS salutes the mogul, producer, comedian, and--most important--Real People star:

Sunday, April 21, 2019

BOTNS Top 10 #12

Happy Easter, everyone! The holiday has a big impact on our rankings this week...

1) A Family Circus Easter: An alternate universe has The Keanes as the masters of the holiday special, not Charlie Brown and friends, and nothing against the Peanuts specials I love so much, but...I want to live in that universe.

2) Fred Astaire: He absolutely KILLED IT in his Rankin-Bass 1977 Easter special. Ginger Rogers may have done all the dancing backwards and in heels, but she never did anything that rocked like this:

3) The Easter Beagle: OK, I still feel guilty about that Peanuts slight at #1. By the way, the clip embedded below does have an Easter Beagle promo, but don't you hope all the kids stuck around for Lou Grant?

4) Norman Lear: Jimmy Kimmel has coordinated a live star-studded recreation of All in the Family and The Jeffersons, which is either genius or a terrible idea, but I know I want to see it. But if the man is so powerful and beloved (Lear, not Kimmel), why isn't it easier to see his shows on streaming?

5) Georgia Engel: R.I.P. to the late actress, who died this week at 70. Who knew she was so young when she was on The Mary Tyler Moore Show?

6) Sesame Street: Announced a big summer tour and was recognized by the Peabody Awards. Deservedly so, too; the series was a great one for about--let's see, what year did Elmo join?

7) Laugh-In: A 50th anniversary reunion special will premiere on Netflix on May 14. Of course, if you want to actually watch the series, you have to go to Amazon Prime because Netflix doesn't bother with old stuff. Unless it's new. That is--eh, you know what we mean.

8) Ernie Anderson: ABC's anniversary as a TV network was Friday, which made us think again of the unofficial voice of the network. Any promo with him is gold, but nothing beat him hyping The Love Boat:

9) Don Cornelius: Continues to be the star of my personal TV year as I watch American Soul.

10) The Berenstain Bears' Easter Surprise: Classic example of the Mandela Effect: I could have sworn when I was a kid it was Ester.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Happy birthday. Joey Lawrence!

I feel embarrassed to admit that I thought Joey Lawrence "ruined" Gimme a Break, not because I'm ashamed of my unkind thoughts...but because I actually watched Gimme a Break. Would you like to see us revisit the series for the podcast?

Friday, April 19, 2019

Today in TV History: ABC premieres

The American Broadcasting Company was a radio entity as early as 1943, but on April 19, 1948, the TV network premiered with a broadcast of Henry Morgan's On the Corner. But let's jump ahead 30 years or so to ABC stars in hot air balloons mugging for the camera:

You know, I first watched this thinking, "Wow, the only thing this is missing is Ernie Anderson. Then, whaddya know--BAM!"

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Happy National Columnist Day!

Happy National Columnist Day, everyone!

I like to think that if Tom Bradford were writing a newspaper column today, he would avoid tired topics like politics and divided populace and instead shed light on things that really matter--like how to stretch a budget when you have 8 kids (even if one is "independent."

Check out our Eight Is Enough episode from season 3 right here!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Happy birthday, Roddy Piper!

The late Rowdy Roddy Piper, one of the most charismatic TV performers of the 1980s, was born on this date. One of my most memorable pro wrestling moments is this clip from Saturday Night's Main Event saluting Hot Rod before his then-retirement. Check out how humble Piper is in the interview with Mean Gene:

Piper made an appearance when we discussed Saturday Night's Main Event on the podcast.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Tax tips from Ron Glass

Hopefully your income taxes are in order, but it's never a bad time to get advice from TV's Harris, Ron Glass:

Sunday, April 14, 2019

BONS Top Ten #11

1) Norm Peterson: One of our favorite accountants gets his due as we approach Tax Day. In fact, I think this calls for a free beer in celebration.

2) Tom Selleck: More proof that it's Selleck's world and we only live in it: While the new Magnum reminds us how good the original was, Blue Bloods just got renewed for a 10th season.

3) Jack Wagner: What better way to celebrate yesterday's National Record Store Day than by digging up some vintage vinyl from that classic dual threat, the man who was Frisco Jones and who also gave us:

See the source image

4) Fay Furillo: On National Ex-Spouse Day, let us pay tribute to one of the classic televisions pains in the--uh, ex-spouses, Hill Street Blues' Captain Frank Furillo's former wife.

5) The Muppet Show: Given that Disney+ is going to throw a bunch of catalog programming up when it debuts, is there any chance that the original series finally comes out of the vaults for streaming? Please?

6) Bob Dorian: All this talk of Turner Classic Movies' 25th anniversary has me a little nostalgic for the guy who was doing it years earlier on American Movie Classics:

7) The Greatest American Hero: Fans are enjoying a weekend-long marathon on Decades.

8) Card Sharks: It returns to our rankings after the announcement that Joel McHale will host the upcoming revival. His experience hosting shows like Talk Soup demonstrates he has the skills to navigate a fast-paced game show while discerning whether 9 is in fact higher than 7.

9) John S. Ragin: Shout out to the late Dr. Astin on Quincy, who died on this date in 2013. Astin was basically a good man who was just trying to do his job even if sometimes he JUST DIDN'T UNDERSTAND!

10) Wizards and Warriors: This article on Me-TV's website this weekend claims the short-lived Jeff Conaway fantasy series could have been Game of Thrones of the 1980s if not for running on Saturday nights. But it's a fun article.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

This Day in TV History: ABC's lineup Wednesday April 11, 1979

Watch the promos for these programs, all voiced by the great Ernie Anderson, and tell me you don't wish you were in 1979, sitting on the sofa with a Swanson and a Milwaukee's Best sixpack:

The first series is about a family of orphans whose parents die in a sailing accident and start living with a fisherman played by Clu Gulager. Hey, at least you get to see Hawaii! Amazingly, these episodes are online if you look around.

This particular clip shows that classic late 1970s ABC blend of titillation and modesty: "It'll fit some of me...but it won't fit enough of me."

The Charlie's Angels tease seems to give away the whole gimmick. I mean, we weren't really expecting definitive proof of a haunted house, but Ernie flat-out tells everyone it's "a very human madman" doing the shenanigans.

As for The Hal Linden Special...well, do we need to be sold on that? That's a rather saucy-looking shot of Linda Lavin, by the way.

Special thanks to SeanMC for posting this on his excellent YouTube channel!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

New rarity on Prime Video: Tucker's Witch (1982, CBS)

Lost in the shuffle amidst a wave of classic TV for Prime Video last week was the rare 1982 CBS series Tucker's Witch, with all 12 episodes now available to stream:

Tim Matheson and Catherine Hicks star as a married P.I. team with a twist--yes, she's a witch! Barbara Barrie and Alfre Woodward also appear in the light detective series, which debuted Wednesday nights at 10:00 P.M., following Alice  and Filthy Rich, but was quickly yanked from the regular schedule before a brief return in the spring. Apparently witchcraft was no match for bitchcraft--the series went up against Dynasty and Quincy M.E. (you see, Quincy, uh, liked to bitch about stuff).

It's cool to see an obscure show like this pop on Prime. Anyone remember this series?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

This Day in TV History: Capital News premieres on ABC in 1990

A newspaper drama from MTM starring Lloyd Bridges and co-created by David Milch! How is a series with this pedigree so rare? Maybe because it only lasted 13 episodes, including the pilot.

Look at the rest of the cast: Helen Slater, Chelsea Field, a young Kurt Fuller, an even younger Wendell Pierce, and, hey, the guy who played Jay Leno in The Late Shift!

I have no memory of this series at all, but I'd like to see it. ABC canceled it after the pilot and first 3 regular-length episodes. Milch and a former Washington Post writer developed this series. Perhaps the most compelling fact about this flop? Lloyd Bridges' character is named "Jo-Jo."

Monday, April 8, 2019

Happy birthday, Gary Carter!

Since we gave a shout to the Toronto Blue Jays in yesterday's Top 10 list, how about a nod to the other Canadian team in Major League Baseball during the BOTNS era: The Montreal Expos! One of the franchise's most celebrated players had a reputation for never meeting a camera he didn't like, so it's easy to find commercials with the late Gary Carter, born on this day in 1954.

His Ivory commercials (It's "honest" soap!) got a lot of airplay in the 1980s when Carter had moved to the Mets. The Hall of Fame catcher died way too early in 2012.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #10

1) James Garner: It's always a good time to celebrate one of TV's most beloved stars, but today is the late legend's birthday.

2) Twiki: In honor of National Robotics Week, we salute one of our favorite robots. I wish I were more like Twiki: Just watch how smooth he is with the lady bots:

3) Lisa Whelchel: Another one of her brilliant ideas: Hosting Collector's Call on MeTV, which premieres tonight.

4) Al McGuire: When it's NCAA March Madness time, I think of Al McGuire. Specifically, I think of Al and Dick Enberg on NBC's coverage. I realize they weren't known for their tournament work because CBS had the rights, but why quibble if we have a chance to post a vintage NBC college hoops opening?

5) Pamela Sue Martin: The former Nancy Drew earned a role in the CW's upcoming remake. Hopefully they don't cast Parker Stevenson to take all her screen time again.

6) Toronto Blue Jays: The franchise played its first official game on this date in 1977!

7) Michael Landon: Reelz's special on Landon tonight reportedly posits a link between the star's cancer death and Little House shooting near a contaminated nuclear site. That would be ironic considering nuclear fallout was about the only thing that didn't cause problems for the Ingalls family.

8) Bob Hope: I gotta tell ya, folks, I wish that Prime Video had more than just a bunch of his Christmas specials, but it's cool that many of those are now available for streaming.

9) Hugh O'Brian: Check out BOTNS immortal Hugh in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp now on Amazon Prime Video. Then check him out at his most "suave and de-boner" as we discuss Search in one of our earlier seasons.

10) Kathie Lee Gifford: As Kathie Lee is forced out--uh, "retires" from Today, don't lose track of her rich television legacy. Yes, she was annoying millions of viewers as far back as 1985 (She didn't annoy people on Name the Tune).

Not ranked: Bill Cosby

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Happy birthday, John Ratzenberger's a little-known fact that John Ratzenberger turns 71 today. Hopefully no Cliff Clavins out there will tell us this PSA is actually from 1990 and therefore just outside our standard time frame:

Friday, April 5, 2019

And now...a word from THEIR sponsor: This kid loves bologna

Fans of TV of the BOTNS era surely remember the maddening Oscar Meyer bologna theme song, a ditty exceeded only by the Oscar Meyer hot dog song in its ability to annoy. So of course we want to share a commercial featuring it!

The time frame doesn't match at all, but I'm not 100% convinced this isn't a young Terry Bradshaw.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Mr. Smith Goes to Nowhere

By popular demand (OK, really we just wanted to write more about it), let's take a closer look at one of early-Eighties NBC's more notorious flops (and that covers some ground): Mr. Smith.

When Mr. Smith debuted September 23, 1983, it had it all: proven vets behind the scenes in Stan Daniels and Ed. Weinberger (who voiced the title character), a proven box office star (C.J., the orangutan from Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can), and a cushy slot leading off NBC's blockbuster Friday night lineup, which included Jennifer Slept Here, Manimal, and For Love and Honor.

Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Viewers rejected those 2 out of 3, though, and the premiere did poorly. It garnered mostly negative reviews and became a bit of a joke for NBC, only airing 13 episodes before being yanked in December. In January, Friday night on the Peacock would go: Legmen, The Master, and Lorne Michaels' The New Show.

Of course, none of those series lasted, either!

Mr. Smith is a runaway orangutan named Cha Cha (Mr. Smith is his code name) who winds up in an experimental lab, then drinks an experimental potion that gives him an IQ of 256. Naturally, he runs a political think tank in Washington D.C. Even better, his secretary is Batty Award winner Leonard Frey!

I remember this show being "a thing," but not actually watching it. Am I crazy for wanting to see this now?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

This Day in TV History: TV Guide debuts

On this day in 1953, newsstands unveiled the first issue of TV Guide. Before on-screen programming guides and the Internet, the Guide was the bible of tube lovers everywhere. Today collectors still love to find old issues, and we at BOTNS like to use 1970s and 1980s editions for our TV Guide game!

Here is one of the great Fall Preview issues from the BOTNS era, the 1983 issue. New shows highlighted on the cover: AfterMASH! Hotel! And you know that in 1983 it was NBC that brought us the show about a talking orangutan: Mr. Smith!


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

This Day in TV History: Dallas premieres

On this day in 1978, Dallas premiered on CBS. It began as a miniseries but was quickly turned into a regular series for the fall season after folks got a look at the ratings.

The series became a cultural touchstone, lasting the entire decade of the Eighties before concluding a long run in May 1991.

It's available on DVD and in streaming on IMDB Freeview. Would anyone like to see us devote an episode of the podcast to this iconic nighttime soap?

Monday, April 1, 2019

Happy April Fool's Day!

Not only have we covered a lot of fools on our podcast, but we've also talked about a lot of dopes. Today we salute our last 3 Biggest Dope Batty winners:
See the source image

See the source image