Friday, August 30, 2019
Frederick Martin MacMurray starred on Sons through its end in 1972. Let's enjoy the Douglas Family Quintent with special guest vocalist Katie:
Thursday, August 29, 2019
This season, Mike and I discussed the St. Elsewhere finale, with me speculating that the series as a whole is overshadowed by the infamous ending. Yet perhaps that notorious twist is what will make the show be remembered at all in another 20 years. I hate to say it because I think The Fugitive is one of the best series ever, but there aren't many non-genre hour dramas from the sixties that people still talk about today. I happen to think that's an indictment on people, not on those TV dramas, but the point stands.
What are some of your favorite series finales? Do you think every series "must" end with some kind of conclusion that provides closure?
And to tie it in with our time period, here is a cool clip from The Museum of Classic Chicago Television: a clip from a rerun of The Fugitive plus some commercials from the time:
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
In the meantime, and before we return in the fall with season 7, keep visiting here for videos, pics, and other stuff. the weekly Top Ten will continue, and when we start back up with regular episodes, you will be the second to know.
Yes, the second--but you can be the first if you join us in our Facebook group. Visit us here and get the early word on upcoming episodes and surprises, and more importantly, just hang out and talk 1970s and 1980s TV with us. In fact, our Facebook group members are voting right now on a special listener-decided award for the Battys!
Thanks again for your support! To borrow a phrase from Batman in season 6, BOTNS listeners...DISPERSE! (But keep coming back on the regular!)
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
I don't remember many reruns getting this kind of special treatment back then. Sandy talks about the big reaction the original broadcast got, so I guess CBS figured this rebroadcast would get good numbers.
Personally I'd like to see every rerun get a special intro like this. "Hi. I'm Grant Goodeve. When we first broadcast this episode of Eight Is Enough, we didn't anticipate the dozens of cards and letters we received talking about the Who's on First routine performed by Dick and Nicholas."
I also think it's funny that Sandy jokes about showing a Thanksgiving episode several weeks after the holiday. Hey, if they can do that, we can run this post months before the holiday. It's really this intro, though, not the episode itself, that excites me.
(As it happens, November 27 was Thanksgiving in 1980, and CBS ran a new The Waltons, while the preceding and the following Saturday each saw a new WKRP, or so I think. I am unable to confirm the airdate reported by the YouTube poster as December 13, 1980, and in fact, I saw an indication that a different episode aired that evening. )
Monday, August 26, 2019
This clip is from the season 2 episode Going Going Gong in which Rerun auditions to go on The Gong Show as Raj and Dee try to break the Givens kids on the same show. It's a fun episode, though in retrospect it may be a symbol of the show losing its way a bit--emphasizing Rerun and gimmicks.
These kids are fantastic, though it's funny that they seemingly know only one song chorus that they repeat again and again and again. What an infectious bit of music, though!
The play was nominated for several Tony awards, including Best Musical. More importantly, who won the Gong Show? You'll have to watch the episode.
Sunday, August 25, 2019
2) The Doobie Brothers: Arguably the most memorable episode of What's Happening!! is the two-parter with the Doobies, and it has everything--tunes, bootlegging, musicians trying to act... The Best Song category at this year's Batty Awards is going to be LIT!
3) Gary Sandy: The discussion Mike and I have on the pod this week proves that Gary Sandy is still "over" with TV viewers, or at least with us. Anytime you have the likes of Patrick Simmons, a strong enough personality in his own right, compared to YOU, you have done something right. Who is up for more Gary Sandy discussion on BOTNS?
4) Al Dunbar: We struggled to make sense of Al's business model, but we agree that the bootlegger was one cool cat, at least until Skunk Baxter and the Doobies made him back down like a jive turkey.
5) Jim Colucci: The Closer Weekly TV podcast, which I didn't know about until this week, featured an interview with this author, who is following his Golden Girls book with something even better--a "definitive" Love Boat book. Is it too early to give this man a Congressional Medal of Freedom?
6) Monteeg: Kevin Smith is doing an anime (?) version of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and according to this story, it will focus on "unresolved storylines" of the original 80s cartoon.
We can think of something that deserves some follow up:
(Pic courtesy of the He-man.org encyclopedia)
7) Jack Whitaker: R.I.P. Imagine a network today utilizing an "essayist" the way ABC utilized Jack Whitaker.
8) Barnaby Jones: Me-TV, apparently worried its median viewer age might dip below 55, is adding George Utley's favorite series to its weekday lineup. It's nice to freshen up a schedule that needs it, but it's adding it to the not-so-coveted timeslot of 4:00 A.M. I don't think even George would get up that early.
9) Dabney Coleman: I saw an announcement that he's joining the cast of Yellowstone. I don't care what kind of character he is playing, as long as it's a jerk.
10) Tom Seaver: Pats QB Tom Brady lost an effort to gain a trademark on 'Tom Terrific," partly because, hey, pal, Tom Seaver already has that nickname. We celebrate any victory of baseball over football, the 1970s over the 2000s, and Captain Kangaroo over Deflategate.
Friday, August 23, 2019
And remember to check out our official YouTube channel for more playlists like this plus past episodes of the show!
*Doobie or Not Doobie is a two-parter from middle of the series' second season, premiering January 28 and February 4, 1978.
*Here is a link to our Love Boat episode, in which we discuss the very show that followed this What's Happening!! in 1978.
*Here is the TV Party article on the history of What's Happening!!
*The 1975 Cooley High film was a smash before inspiring the loose adaptation in the TV series. The first version was a single-camera dramatic pilot, but Fred Silverman suggested retooling it into the format that became popular.
Wikipedia claims that the movie also inspired The White Shadow, and many websites repeat that, but the only source I can find for that tidbit is one solitary Huffington Post article on Erykah Badu, who is a big fan of the film.
*I personally think that Henry Mancini's theme song for the show ranks among his best work right along with The Pink Panther and Moon River.
*The Doobie Brothers did not appear in What's Happening Now!!
*As Mike alludes to, Doobie guitarist Skunk Baxter is a missile defense expert--and a self-taught one, no less! Read this great piece from Business Insider to learn his story. The article mentions Baxter was a reserve police officer in the L.A. area. I'd like to think his frontier justice approach to apprehending Al Dunbar in the episode inspired his entry into law enforcement.
*Fred Berry, who was part of the dance group The Lockers, died at 52 in 2003.
*For more on the strange death of brief semi-regular Ray Vitte, look at this article. Vitte died in police custody under mysterious circumstances after a conflict with the cops.
*The same website explored the departure of Mabel King from the series, using comments from Ernest Thomas. Essentially, she disliked the stereotypical maid role she had and departed when she was unable to influence the creative direction.
Thursday, August 22, 2019
We take it to the streets in our season 6 finale with a real Doobie--er, doozy. Join us as we groove to the infamous Rerun bootlegs the Doobie Brothers episodes of What's Happening!! Does it live up to memory or play a bit like a poorly recorded bootleg of a major rock act in a high school gym? We'll let you know, but how can you go wrong with laughter's the best medicine and music is the doctor?
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
The movie starred Automan's Desi Arnaz Jr. and The Jeffersons' Mike Evans as teenagers who decide to sail from California to Hawaii. The movie, which is available on Prime Video, is very well reviewed on IMDB.
It premiered January 16, 1973 on CBS against an ABC TV movie take on Frankenstein and the second half of a The New Doctors episode on NBC. The Voyage of the Yes also features Scoey Mitchell, Beverly Garland, Della Reese, Steve Franken, and Dick Powell Jr.! The series pilot apparently has it all--drama, race relations, and a shark! Click here for Made for TV Mayhem's take on the movie.
Monday, August 19, 2019
I mean, he comes across as very pleasant and a regular guy, but, man, I want to see some urgency.
(Click here for our whole St. Elsewhere video playlist.)
Sunday, August 18, 2019
2) Betty White: Isn't it always appropriate to put Ms. White in a top ten list? She is very good in Close Encounters, the Elsewhere episode we talk about on BOTNS.
But we don't need an excuse to put her on the list!
3) Welcome Back, Kotter: Antenna TV is running a marathon this weekend. All over the country, millions of kids are annoyed at the reminder that school starts soon...yet simultaneously delighted by Gabe's charming story of the time his Uncle Saul accidentally boarded a school bus instead of the commuter train.
4) The Bold and the Beautiful: For the first time in it's over-30-year history, the show won the important soap opera demo of women 25-54 years old. I suppose it helps that there are only, what, 4 soaps on the air now.
5) Rue McClanahan: A woman in the star's native Ardmore, Oklahoma, opened an AirBNB with a Golden Girls theme. No, it doesn't resemble the show's set. No, it doesn't come stocked with cheesecake. No, it doesn't--Look, it has pictures of the cast, OK? What else could you want from it?
6) Magic Johnson: The NBA legend celebrated his 60th birthday by releasing a list of his 60 favorite TV shows. What a fantastic idea, and we forgive him for neglecting Automan. Fun fact: We have covered 6 of his shows on our podcast, and you may hear us talk about another very, very soon (HINT: It ain't Judge Mathis).
7) Real People: The police shut down a promotion tied to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel that had Amazon offering gasoline for 30 cents a gallon. Heaven forbid people save money. the whole thing reminded me I finished watching Real People's first season on Prime Video, and about 35% of each episode is people mocking, ranting about, or otherwise complaining about gas shortages and prices.
8) Martin Mull: Happy birthday to the former Barth (and Garth) Gimble!
9) Carol Burnett: The Paley Center announced it is celebrating her and Norman Lear (We're not ranking HIM yet AGAIN this week!), Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin, and Carl Reiner. What better way to honor Ms. Burnett than by...making more seasons of The Carol Burnett Show available on Prime Video?
Well, I'd appreciate it. Man can't live on Real People alone.
10) Gail Fisher: The late actress was born on this date in 1935. If she were around today, she would be especially delighted to learn Mannix made the prestigious Magic Johnson 60.
Friday, August 16, 2019
And remember to check out our YouTube channel for past podcasts and playlists like this for every episode.
*Close Encounters is the seventh episode of the series' third season and premiered Wednesday, November 20, 1985 at 10:00 P.M.
*The crossover with Cheers occurs in the episode titled...Cheers! It is the season 3 finale from 1985.
*Ed Flanders died too young at 60 in 1995.
*The series was finally added to Hulu in 2018, but only season 1 is available on DVD.
*The infamous series finale aired May 25, 1988. Here is a compelling piece by Matt Zoller Seitz on the legacy of the episode. He discusses many of the meta aspects we mention on the podcast. Entertainment Weekly asked a group of cast members to comment on the finale in 2012. And here author Sean Munger provides more perspective, arguing that the producers got to do the finale they really wanted to end the fifth season before being renewed by NBC at the last minute.
*The Emmy year Mike highlights is 1984, when Elsewhere received writing noms for 4 different episodes, winning for season 2's The Women, while the other two slots went to Hill Street Blues.
*The astronaut in this episode is played by David Ackroyd. The other grandfather of Dr. Craig's granddaughter is played by prolific character actor Ramon Bieri.
*Betty White guested as Captain Gloria Neal in this episode and the earlier season 3 episode Red, White, Black and Blue.
*Oliver Clark, John Doe #6 here, played Ed Herd in a recurring role on The Bob Newhart Show alongside Jack Riley's Mr. Carlin.
*According to IMDB, the sequence where John Doe #6 changes the channels and hears snippets of various theme songs is edited on Hulu. WKRP, Newhart, Hill Street Blues replace Star Trek, Dragnet, and Leave It to Beaver.
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Check out this episode!
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Sunday, August 11, 2019
2) Ed McMahon: As we mention on the show, Eddie Mac inaugurates the Three Timers Club with his prominent role in this week's podcast, following appearances in CHiPs and ALF. The prize is a yellow blazer and a six-pack.
3) Reading Rainbow: Friday was Book Lovers' Day, which reminds us all that while TV is great, so are books--like Total Television, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, and of course, A Book by Desi Arnaz.
4) Smokey Bear: The iconic fire safety advocate turned 75 this week. One question: When did he lose his middle name, "The"? It's like he just stopped using it and everyone went along with it. Shows how much power the guy still has.
5) Norman Lear: They're doing more Lear sitcoms as live specials later this year, and frankly I think people are gonna get sick of ol' Norm. The good news is ABC hasn't revealed which shwos will be adapted, meaning Hot L Baltimore is still in play!
6) Buck Rogers: Seasons 1 and 2 are now available for streaming free on the NBC app.
7) Shelley Hack and Tanya Roberts: The box cover art for the forthcoming Charlie's Angels Blu-Ray set from Mill Creek gives these two pretty much equal footing with the others, and I think that's a big win for them.
8) American Graffiti: Premiered today in 1973 and inspired the great blend of nostalgia, family humor, and elephant dancing that we know as Happy Days.
9) Duran Duran: Believe it or not, this week also saw the celebration of Duran Duran Appreciation Day. I don't know about you, but EVERY day is Duran Duran Appreciation Day around HERE, Jack!
10) Bruce Willis: Did you remember that Bruce hosted the Emmy Awards in 1987? I sure didn't. This week's announcements that the upcoming Emmys will be hostless makes us yearn for the days when you could get some random star to do it. The next year, John Laroquette was the emcee, and then it was the triumvirate of Jay Leno, Candice Bergen, and Jane Pauley!
Friday, August 9, 2019
Check out our official YouTube page for past podcast episodes and more playlists like this one!
*As we mention, Warner Archive released these on DVD years ago as a Manufactured on Demand package. Actually, were they released...or did they escape? [RIM SHOT]
*Special credit to Marc Tyler Nobleman for the excellent work he did on his great blog Noblemania. He tracked down many of the participants of Legends of the Superheroes and conducted invaluable interviews. Check out his site for a closer look at these remarkable superhero shows!
*Here's a look at the actress who plays Giganta, Aleshia Brevard, born Alfred Crawford.
*Was Charlie Callas really banned from The Tonight Show for shoving Johnny Carson? The Carson estate claims it's an urban legend, and The New York Times, in adding a correction to its obit of Callas, goes so far as to outright state it did not happen. However, as this article's comments show, people do remember Callas shoving Carson. The same piece has a Carson rep refute the story. However, the footage isn't available, as far as we can tell, and isn't that the one sure way Carson Enterprises could refute the tale--by releasing the footage? Mark Evanier adds some perspective here, including an intriguing alternate theory.
*Mordru's battle with the JLA, JSA, and the Legion of Super Heroes is in the original Justice League of America #147 and #148.
*Which is the better phrase from the specials: "Joy of the oppressed, wonder of the multitudes," or "Superheroes disperse!"
*There is no truth to the rumor that Retired Man is being developed as an Arrowverse spinoff for the CW network.
*We may not have known much about Alfie Wise, who plays The Atom, but according to Rotten Tomatoes, he was evidently some sort of good luck charm to film luminary Burt Reynolds. Though his movie appearances were usually nondescript (this description could also apply to the actor's participation in such busted TV pilots as Call Her Mom and Young Tom Christian), Wise could always count on a moment or two to shine whenever cast in a Reynolds vehicle.
*Green Arrow was in the first season of the Super Friends cartoon series, getting a prominent role in the episode Gulliver's Gigantic Goof.
Thursday, August 8, 2019
Check out this episode!
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Monday, August 5, 2019
Sunday, August 4, 2019
Well, it could!
2) The Odd Couple: Decades is showing a weekend marathon of the classic sitcom, and I and many others who had access to WPIX in the 1980s can tell you it's a show that never gets old.
3) Desi Arnaz Jr.: On Automan, he was a bit of a nebbish, but back in the day he made hearts melt all over the world. Check out our friend Steve's post in our official Facebook group (just ask to get in) for proof!
4) Harley Race: R.I.P. to the former NWA heavyweight champ. he got national exposure in the 1980s WWF, but let's remember the kick-as 1970s Race:
5) Nick Buoniconti: I really wish HBO would make available some old Inside the NFL episodes to pay tribute to the late Miami Dolphin-turned-TV host. It's difficult for people who weren't around to understand the impact of the show in the 1980s. In a time when highlights were NOT available on demand, you got game analysis and sweet NFL Films footage each week.
6) Merlin Olsen: Because I love the way he invites us to watch Father Murphy at the end of this NBC promo. It's somehow both stilted and folksy. "We're looking forward to seeing you..." Wait, aren't I gonna be seeing YOU?
7) Alan Thicke: Hey, THIS still hasn't gotten old:
8) One Day at a Time: The first two seasons of the original non-woke version of the sitcom are on Crackle. Honestly, it's possible that this has been true for months and I just forgot because it's Crackle. Have you seen any What's New on Crackle in August stories? I haven't, either, and I looked for them!
9) Tina Cole: Happy birthday to one of the reasons the Dodie years of My Three Sons were watchable.
10) Richard Belzer: After the man has appeared in seemingly dozens of shows and become the linchpin of the Tommy Westphal Universe, I still remember the birthday boy (born today in 1944) for this.
Friday, August 2, 2019
And remember to check out our official YouTube page for past episodes and playlists like this one!
*Automan aired just one season (not even) in 1983-84 on ABC.
*Murder MTV premiered at 8:00 P.M. Monday, March 12, 1984, followed by Why Me? and opposing Bloopers and Practical Jokes on NBC and Scarecrow and Mrs. King on CBS.
*Tron is a summer 1982 Disney film that performed below expectations at the box office but is well enough remembered to have spawned video games, cartoons, even a sequel in 2010.
*Heather McNair's Wikipedia page is quite sparse, but her other credits include playing Marion Davies in Chaplin (1992).
*Laura Branigan died at the age of 52 after a pop career led by her mega-smash 1982 single Gloria.
*Her Life as a Man got this review in the Christian Science Monitor in 1984. The author calls it an "excellent drama" but doesn't mention Joan Collins nor Robert Culp.
*Emerald Point N.A.S. was also a one-season wonder at this time. The CBS primetime soap starred Dennis Weaver, Sela Ward, Patrick O'Neal, Susan Dey, and Richard Anderson among others.
*Cool facts about Chuck Wagner: He was on a non-celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, he once toured as ringmaster for Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey, he was in the original Broadway cast of Into the Woods.
*Folks, dare we cover Manimal next? While Automan is fondly recalled in many circles, Glen A. Larson's other 1983 series is a staple of "worst of" lists.
Thursday, August 1, 2019
Someone might kill an up-and-coming pop star (Laura Branigan) unless Walter and Automan stop them. Along the way, Automan straps on a holographic guitar and rocks out. Why? It's the eighties, baby! Why else?