Sunday, December 29, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #48

It's that transition week between Christmas and New Year's Day, and I am still in a holiday mood, so this list will reflect that.  Happy 2020, everyone!

1) Paul Williams: I was listening to an Audible Original about Christmas music, and Williams was being all humble about having failed to write a hit holiday-themed song. Hey, Paul, hold your head up! You wrote the music for Emmett Otter!

2) Eddie Murphy: The icon's return to SNL was a critical and popular success and actually made me want to see the show for once.

3) Jack Palance: I was at the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum and saw all kinds of astonishing and remarkable things, but you know what I didn't see? Any trace of the one true TV Ripley host (other than Robert Ripley himself, of course).

4) Mary Tyler Moore: Happy birthday to the late TV legend!

5) Ted Danson: It's pretty cool that two TV performers on the level of Danson and MTM share the same birthday.

6) Quincy Magoo: No, Magoo, I didn't get to your definitive take on Scrooge this year, but I vow that I will next year!

7) Benson: I don't remember having seen the Benson Christmas episode, but I want to! From author Joanna Wilson:

But Benson wows the audience with an elegant yet powerful rendition of “O Holy Night.”  This reverent moment comes to us not from Benson, the sarcastic, dry-witted member of the Governor’s staff, but from Robert Guillaume himself, the Tony-nominated Broadway singer and actor who has amazing skills beyond his many TV sitcom roles.  This musical moment is followed by the cast of Benson breaking the fourth wall as each delivers his and her own individual holiday greeting to viewers."

8) What's Happening!!: I just want to post these pics again:

Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting, table and indoor

9) Father Dowling Mysteries: Decades ran a marathon of this show last weekend, and for an alarmingly long moment, I was envious of people who had Decades.

10) Fruitful Bran cereal: For you young'uns who thought super-high-fiber breakfast started with Colon Blow:

Sunday, December 22, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #47

Happy Sunday before Christmas, friends! Happy holidays! Happy Even, even!

This week I am in the mood to celebrate the best in holiday television...or at least holiday television.

1) A Charlie Brown Christmas: The definitive Christmas cartoon deserves the top spot this week and probably every week as well.

2) Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper: Have you enjoyed our holiday special installment of the podcast yet? If not, better get cracking.  I hope you're not also behind on your Even shopping.

3) Good Times: The Norman Lear sitcom got the In Front of a Live Studio Audience treatment on ABC. Or is it Live in Front of a Studio Audience? or Audience Lives...oh, Merry Christmas, everyone. It SHOULD be Live BEFORE a Studio Audience, anyway.

4) A Family Circus Christmas: The timeless holiday classic covered on the show here performed a Christmas miracle this year: Its Sarah Vaughan song Dreamer dislodged Ed McMahon's performance of Thanksgiving Day from my head for the first time in 4 weeks.

5) Bing Crosby: Get-TV will have a marathon of Der Bingle's holiday specials on Christmas Eve, and it should remind everyone that Bing was more than just this (though it is by far the best rendition of that song ever recorded):

6) Bob Hope: I have been watching the Christmas specials of Bob "Left my wallet in the Ban Gioc waterfall" Hope on Prime Video, but mainly I just like the idea of putting him behind Crosby yet again.

7) Frosty the Snowman: Yes, it premiered outside our time frame, but we all watched it every year...and I still do!

8) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The only reason this one isn't higher is because I haven't seen it yet, and the only reason I haven't seen it yet is because I am saving it because it's one of the all-time best!

9) The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold: We also covered this on the podcast, and if we encouraged just one listener to put it in the annual rotation, we did our jobs!

10) All in the Family: It shared an hour with Good Times, but it loses points for being, well, a rerun considering we saw the same cast last year. Besides, how many Christmas episodes did All in the Family do, huh?

Oh, wait, they did at least 7, and then did more on Archie Bunker's Place. Never mind!

Friday, December 20, 2019

Show Notes: Season 7 Holiday Special: Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper

*Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper premiered December 21, 1982 on CBS, following a re-air of perennial fave Frosty the Snowman and preceding the Mickster starring in Bill, a rebroadcast of the 1981 TV-ovie also starring Dennis Quaid. Bill: On His Own was on CBS in 1983.

ABC went with a rerun of John Denver and the Muppets, the comedy pair of Three's Company and 9 to 5, and a Christmas episode of Hart to Hart. NBC countered with Father Murphy, an episode of short-lived Gavilan, and St. Elsewhere.

*The article we mention from Mark Evanier's fantastic blog is right here. He writes to commemorate the 2010 DVD release of the special.

*Before this special, Hanna Barbera produced a film, Yogi's First Christmas, that aired in first run syndication in 1980. And before that, NBC aired Casper's First Christmas in 1979, a special that also co-starred Yogi and his pals.

*Yogi's Jellystone Park is not a real place, but there is a chain of Jellystone Park campground resorts reaching throughout the USA!

*In Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!, Yogi is sent to San Diego and Cindy Bear to St. Louis, and we hear the song St. Louis performed on the train.

*Macy's (not Gacy's) was founded in 1858. Rival Gimbels was formed in 1887 and clsoed in 1987, but IT was the department store featured in the classic Miracle on 34th Street.

*Super Snooper (a cat) and Blabber (a mouse) premiered on Quick Draw McGraw's show in 1959. Snooper was voiced by Daws Butler, like half of the other characters in this special!

*Yakky Doodle appeared in several H-B cartoons but first got his own segment on The Yogi Bear Show.

*Breezly and Sneezly appeared on Peter Potamus and Magilla Gorilla. The polar bear/seal combo frequently ran afoul of John Stephenson's Colonel Fuzzby.

*Top Cat is arguably the biggest character missing from this series if you don't count the Jetsons, who are years in the future.  I mean, a cameo from the distant future would be way more ridiculous than a cameo from the distant past (Flintstones), right?

*A very Merry Even to all of our listeners! Now...exit stage left!

The YouTube playlist for Yogi's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper is now live!

After you listen to our newest holiday bonus episode, check out our official YouTube playlist. it's loaded with cartoon characters, vintage Christmas commercials, and much more! Click below to start watching!

And remember head over to our official YouTube channel for past episodes of the podcast plus episode-specific video playlists for each of them! Happy Even!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper

We celebrate the holidays with Yogi Bear and the gang as they try to cheer up a little girl in a jam-packed 23 minutes. How will the big city react to bears on its streets? Will Yogi find any pic-i-nic basket? How much does Augie Doggie really love his Doggie Daddy? How many Hanna-Barbera characters show up? Do we discover the true meaning of Even?

Check out this episode!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #46

1) Vanna White: Hey, after umpteen years on Wheel of Fortune, she got a chance to host, and I say good for her, but we all know the real money is in seeing Pat urn the letters. Work it, Sajak!

This week still trails the following on her career highlights list:

2) Good Times: The sixth season Christmas episode is one of those "talent show" episodes, and you get to see the gals doing En Vogue 15 years before En Vogue did! More importantly, the series should be on all our minds because this Wednesday, ABC's live recreation of an old Good Times episode will feature in the James Evans role one of the only men as cool as John Amos: Andre Braugher!

3) Christmas Comes to Pac-Land: Give me ONE reason this special isn't a staple--oh, wait, I did that last week.  Let's just say this one is worth seeing...once.

4) Don Johnson: Yes, the Donaissance continues another week, with two reasons to celebrate today: the Watchmen season finale AND D.J.'s birthday!

5) Schlitz Beer: Look, I'm not saying anything against the official adult beverage of BOTNS, but there's something just so satisfying about celebrating something so inelegantly named:

6) Philip McKeon: R.I.P. to the former Tommy Hyatt.

7) Laura Branigan: Mo Rocca's podcast just spotlighted the late musician and Season 6 two-time Batty nominee.

8) The Love Boat: Me-TV honors the show today with a Christmas episode, and it also has a quiz up on its website. Uh, here's all the quiz you need:

Q: Is The Love Boat awesome?
A: Yes, of course it is.


including a quiz right here.

9) Filmation: Have you heard our new bonus episode yet? Oh, what Filmation could have done with some of our ideas of comic books that should have been TV series!

10) Ed McMahon: I can't let this one go.  Even as I enjoy my usual diet of favorites like the Chipmunks' album this holiday season, I can't get this out of my head, and I feel like there should be not only a Christmas equivalent, but a New Year's one as well:

Friday, December 13, 2019

Show Notes: Bonus Episode: List-o-rama: Comic books that should have been adapted as TV shows

*Don't read this post until you listen to our new bonus episode unless you want our lists "spoiled!"

*This episode is a companion to our earlier bonus episode in which we discussed TV shows that should have been adapted as comic books.

*Mike's list, for easy reference:
1) Marvel Two-in-One/Marvel Team-Up
2) Forever People
3) Jimmy Olsen and the Newsboy Legion
4) Mark Trail
5) Bill Hoest's Laugh Parade
Honorable mentions: Nexus, Damage Control, Black Kiss

*Rick's list, for easy reference:
1) Legion of Super-Heroes
2) Green Lantern/Green Arrow
3) All-Star Squadron
4) Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!
5) Prez
Honorable mentions: Not Brand Ecch, Mr. Monster

Listen to the episode for details on the comics and how we would have turned them into television in the 1970s and 1980s!

Note: the actor who played Vinnie on The Odd Couple is Larry Gelman.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

List-o-rama: Comics That Should Have Had TV Shows

Adapting comics into TV and movies has become all the rage in Hollywood. Well, we have our own suggestions for comics that should have become shows in the BOTNS era!

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #45

1) Gavin MacLeod and Marion Ross: I stumbled on a PBS My Music special devoted to showing old Christmas TV performances from the likes of Mitzi Gaynor, and it was hosted by the dream team of Captain Stubing and Mrs. C.

How many boxes does that check off on your Nostalgia Bingo card?

2) Robert Reed: I read an article in the New York Post that weekend emphasizing Reed's "diva" behavior on the set of The Brady Bunch, with the excuse being a new book about the show by Kimberly Potts. For example, Reed complained that his character shouldn't enter a kitchen and say it smelled like strawberry heaven because he had read in the encyclopedia that strawberries didn't give off a smell.  Personally, I think that's hilarious. More power to you, Bob Reed, for keeping it real.

3) The Cabbage Patch Kids Christmas: Give me one reason this isn't a perennial TV favorite?

What? You say the characters are creepy, the story is kind of lame, it's bizarre...

Hey, I told you to give me ONE reason.

4) The Facts of Life: Decades had a marathon of the show, and Roku Channel added seasons 1 and  2 back, pleasing me since I--uh, pleasing everyone who had been watching from the beginning earlier this year.

5) Hart to Hart: New this month to IMDB TV is the 1980s series about a sophisticated married couple who solves mysteries around the world. Hey, they ought to look into that Natalie Wood case. I hear that's still unsolved.

6) Good Morning, Mickey: Where's this on Disney Plus?

7) Theodore Wilson: Happy birthday to the late great Teddy Wilson, a big favorite of the BOTNS team:

8) Don Johnson: The Donaissance is still going strong, with appearances all over the media promoting Knives Out and Watchmen, plus discussions of the Nash Bridges revival.  You know, the only way this comeback tour would be better is if he showed up on Battle of the Network Shows...

9) Crazy Eddie's: I can't be the only one who thinks of these ads each holiday season:

 10) R.I.P.: What a horrible several days it was for celebrity deaths. We apologize for leaving anyone out, but shout-outs to writer D.C. Fontana, Rene Auberjonois, Ron Leibman, Shelley Morrison, Carroll Spinney, and Leonard Goldberg:

Leonard Goldberg trading Card (Producer) 1991 Starline Hollywood Walk of Fame #161

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

TV Guide's "Most Talented Stars of 1986"

This week's bonus episode featured a TV Guide game based on the June 7-13, 1986 issue, the cover story of which proclaims, "A Blue-Ribbon Panel Picks 11...THE MOST TALENTED STARS ON TV."

We mentioned on the podcast that pictured are Bruce Willis, Sharon Gless, and Michael J. Fox, but who are the other 8 most talented? And who the heck is on that "blue-ribbon panel"?

Well, one of those panelists is Steven Bochco! The Guide says it commissioned the group to determine a list of performers who could always be counted on to be not just good, but terrific. So the panel consists of "television producers, directors, and casting directors."

The article introduces the concept and gets a few quotes from voters on what makes a TV actor great. Leonard Hill, a producer, distinguishes the ease of TV stars from the intensity of movie stars like Bobby DeNiro (OK, he didn't call him "Bobby.") Bill Persky, then producer and director on Kate and Allie, talks about the ability of a performer to pretty much be himself. However, casting director Phyllis Huffman emphasizes the importance of good technique.

The story then divides the most talented into categories, with first up being Dramatic Series. Chosen are: Sharon Gless, Tyne Daly, Bruce Willis, and Cybill Shepherd. Gless is called the most frequently praised of anyone in any category, while co-star Daly "is considered the consummate professional." The mag points out that Daly has won 3 Emmys while Gless has won zero at this point (Gless would win her first at the next ceremony).

It's interesting that the Moonlighting stars are in the dramatic category. Cybill "seems to have surprised everyone" with her work on the show, we read. Mike and I talked about her being underappreciated when we discussed Moonlighting, but here she gets significant praise. Producer Stan Marguiles calls Willis "the freshest character on television."

Next we get to sitcoms, and first up is Bill Cosby, about whom producer David Wolper says, "he's down to earth, he's what life is all about." Uh, we hope not! Shelly Long is praised for her Cheers work, and once again maybe we were a little too defensive of her on our podcast. Also named are Michael J. Fox and John Ritter. The latter choice stands out because this was post Three's a Crowd and pre-Hooperman--not exactly a period you would expect to be his critical zenith.

The final category is Movies and Miniseries (Remember when networks cared about original movies and miniseries), with the honorees Jane Alexander, Joanne Woodward, and Richard Chamberlain. Bochco calls Chamberlain "terribly versatile."

The article closes with a list of the honorable mentions. In alphabetical order, they are Harry Anderson, Bea Arthur, Pierce Brosnan, Margaret Colin, Richard Crenna, Genius Award Winner Ed Flanders, Veronica Hamel, Angela Lansbury, Judith Light, Bob Newhart, Lee Remick, Martin Sheen, George Wendt, Mare Winningham (likely due to her TV movie work at the time), and Alfre Woodward.

A compelling sidebar lists the most overrated actors. The panelists were promised anonymity in exchange for naming the ones who get too much praise. Shelley Long made this category, too (possibly named by only one person), along with Joan Collins, Linda Evans, Peter Strauss, and Daniel J. Travanti ('When I watch him, all I see is ego." This part is all too brief, but my favorite passage is: "Probably three quarters of all the people who are considered stars qualify for this category," grumbles Bochco.

Panelists not named above are: Karen Arthur (director), Jane Feinberg (casting director), Patrick Hasburgh (producer), Lamont Johnson (director), Gene Reynolds (producer and subject of some discussion on previous podcast episodes), and Michael Zinberg (producer).

Sunday, December 1, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #44: Special Thanksgiving Weekend Edition

I want to give special thanks to the YouTube channel 80s Commerical Vault. I clicked on something with the innocuous name "Thanksgiving special," figuring I'd watch a few random commercials, and ended up watching a huge chunk of a 1980 Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade as originally covered by NBC. This week's Top Ten is inspired by that fantastic piece of archival video.

1) Ed McMahon: Yes, multiple-time BOTNS superstar and Batty fixture Ed McMahon, perhaps the only person who could knock off the next entry from the top spot on this holiday weekend. Watch the following performance, and you will understand why (it comes about 15 minutes into the above longer clip, but see it below as well):

Why aren't there more Thanksgiving carols? I am going to make this a staple of my household each year before the feast.  "It's Thanksgiving Dayyyyyy..."

2) A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: This 1973 special still owns the holiday...but Ed McMahon is catching up.

3) Todd Bridges: What better time to perform 'Summer Dancing" than on a frigid Thanksgiving morning?

4) Bryant Gumbel: Big ups to Bryant for co-anchoring that 1980 parade in all good holiday cheer and for willingly (at least on camera) taking a back seat to McMahon.

5) Greg Gumbel: But just as I was reveling in the performance of Bryant, another of my favorite YouTubers posts this 1990 clip of my favorite Gumbel, Greg. By the way, notice Terry Bradshaw, 30 years ago, doing some pretty serious analysis during this highlights segment:

6) Sesame Street: Another insight gleaned from that 1980 parade footage: Pretty much everything was better back then, including the Street. Compare a recent parade appearance with this classic, simple, elegant performance led by Bob Mcgrath.

7) Marilyn Michaels: She gets a nice segment on the Macy's Parade. I'd love to see her old series The Kopykats. Wait, several episodes are on YouTube? Off I go, but for now here's an appetizer:

8) Underdog: My pick for the best Macy's float of all time. His appearance in 1980 does a lot to turn around the parade after a ghastly-looking Mickey Mouse parade that my household agreed looked like a Malaysian knockoff.

9) Peter Panda: After seeing multiple Child World ads in one sitting, I feel I have to rank the mascot...or it will find me...and hurt me.

10) Wonder Woman/The Powers of Matthew Star: These two series are subject of a weekend-long marathon on Decades, which I still don't get. Star would be enough to pull me away from old Macy's Parade clips!