Friday, January 31, 2020

Spider-Woman playlist is now live!

After listening to this week's Spider-Woman episode of the pod, click below to enjoy this week's video playlist! See Web Woman! Canadian kids ask Stan Lee about his favorite comic book characters! Vintage footage of Egypt in the 1970s! And if that doesn't make you feel good..."Make a Saturdae!"

Remember you can always visit our official YouTube channel for playlists like this one as well as our archive of past episodes!

Show Notes: Episode 7-5: Spider-Woman

*Spider-Woman aired on ABC in 1979 (September 22-January 5, 1980, to be precise) and only lasted 16 episodes.

Image result for 1979 abc saturday morning

*The debut episode, Pyramids of Terror, aired September 22 at 11:00 A.M. against The All-New Popeye Hour on CBS and The New Adventures of Flash Gordon on NBC.

*The comic book character first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #32, cover dated February 1977. Archie Goodwin and Marie Severin are credited with developing Jessica Drew.

Image result for marvel spotlight 32

*Tarzan and the Super 7, a Filmation animated series, aired on CBS 1978-1980. It was an action-oriented show with one live-action segment, Jason of Star Command.  Jason later "graduated" to his own half-hour Saturday morning series, and much of the rest of the show morphed into a rerun show called Batman and the Super 7 on NBC.

You see, Tarzan and the Super 7 followed The Batman/Tarzan Adventure Hour, also produced by Filmation, which offered reruns of The New Adventures of Batman. So when the whole thing moved to NBC, Batman came back, and--you know, I don't remember Saturday morning cartoons being this complicated.

*Web Woman (Linda Gary) was one of the "Super 7" segments. Legend has it (isn't that much better than an actual source?) that news of this character directly inspired Marvel to come up with a "Spider-Woman."

*The Julia Carpenter version of Spider-Woman was a regular in the 1994 Iron man cartoon.

*Series scribe Jeffrey Scott is indeed the prolific writer of numerous Super Friends and hundreds of other era cartoon episodes.

*Justice magazine remains a mystery to us and our crack research team.

*A massive King Tut exhibition toured the USA from 1976-1979.

*Dullard co-reporter (?) and pilot Jeff is the voice of Bruce Miller, who has only two other screen credits! Here is his IMDB bio, as written by...himself!

Born Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Studied at Bristol University, then trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, England. 1970 moved to South Africa. Played Jesus in Godspell and Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He also had a very successful career as a pop singer. His international movies include Safari 3000 (with Stockard Channing & David Carradine), Oh Brother! and Rogue Lion. These days he is a radio broadcaster and producer of Radio Drama for SAfm Radio in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Episode 7-5: Spider-Woman "Pyramids of Terror"

If you ever wanted to watch a cartoon featuring a spider-powered heroine who also runs a magazine with her know-it-all nephew and sexist photographer as they face off against space mummies, travel the world in seconds, and make Spider-Man look like a dope, then we have the cartoon for you! 1979's Spider-Woman cartoon, based on the Marvel character of the same name, has literally the first episode "Pyramids of Doom."

Check out this episode!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Top Ten #52

1) What a Country: Isn't it about time for a revival of this late great 1980s syndicated sitcom? You can start by listening to this week's podcast episode!

OK, maybe it's not one of the essential shows we have covered, but until someone puts Night Court on a legit streaming service, catching WAC on YouTube may be our best shot at vintage Yakov Smirnoff.

2) Head of the Class: Isn't it about time for--Oh, never mind. It does seem to be a bit of a forgotten show, though, with a run on Antenna TV and a stint on AOL's In2TV (remember that)? its main exposure in recent years.

3) Leonid Brezhnev: Say what you will about the guy, but the Cold War talk on this episode made me miss the jokes about Soviet leaders in the 1980s.

4) John Karlen: R.I.P. to the actor who was perhaps best known for playing Harvey, Cagney's husband. Wait, I mean Lacey. No, it was Cagney. Well, it was Tyne Daly's husband, I know that. Maybe Harvey was married to &.

5) Bob McGrath: The Sesame Street legend made an appearance on The Carson Podcast this week, and it's always great to see he's still around. Plus when asked about phasing out his appearances on the show, he said, "I wasn't gonna stick around if they were gonna let that red SOB Elmo ruin it."

6) Bob Uecker: Happy birthday to Mr. Baseball, also one of the subjects of our look at Greatest Sports Legends. It's never a bad time to look at one of these ads:

7) L.A. Law: I had to look it up and verify there really was a show of this name that lasted 8 seasons and over 170 episodes after Harry Hamlin said his career was "completely ended" by playing a gay man in a 1982 movie.

8) Gene Siskel: Happy birthday to the late movie reviewer, who was obviously the second-most prominent critic in Chicago behind...Gary Deeb.

9) The Dukes of Hazzard: The series premiered this date in 1979:

10) Jim Lehrer: R.I.P. to one half of the only news team to rock harder then Huntley and Brinkley.  He also moderated 12 presidential debates, but don't hold that against him.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Head of the Class & What a Country: YouTube playlist is now live!

After you enjoy this week's episode of the podcast. check out the official playlist for it! Explore theme songs, promos, vintage commercials, and! A rap battle! Dan Frischman as you've never seen him before! And you'd better believe there's gonna be plenty of Yakov!

Remember to visit our official YouTube channel each week for episode-specific playlists like this one, along with past installments of Battle of the Network Shows. Thanks for listening!

Show Notes: Episode 7-4: Head of the Class/What a Country

*Thanks again to Jim for suggesting we discuss Head of the Class, and thanks to Yakov Smirnoff for showing us the foibles of our country--nay, the foibles of our peoples.

*Head of the Class aired on ABC from 1986 to 1991, 5 seasons, for a total of 114 episodes. It was on Wednesdays each year until it moved to Tuesday as a replacement series in the Billy Connolly season.

*The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming premiered Wednesday, February 4, 1987 at 8:30 after Perfect Class and preceding Dynasty and Hotel. NBC went with Highway to Heaven, Gimme a Break, The Tortellis, and St. Elsewhere. On CBS, it was Mike Hammer, Magnum P.I., and The Equalizer.

*Maria Borges left the IHP after the third season to attend a performing arts school to be a singer. Fellow classmates Janice and Jawarhalal also left as the show retooled for season 4 with some new cast members.

*Here is the Chicago Tribune article we mention in which star Howard Hesseman expressed concerns over the show.

*Note the lede in this 1990 mention in a Utah paper about Hesseman leaving:
Howard Hesseman, who's starred in "Head of the Class" for four years and whined about it almost that long, is finally leaving the ABC sitcom.

*This 1990 Entertainment Weekly article speculates that the show's impending cancellation was due to it performing as a poor lead-in for Roseanne despite being #21 overall. An interesting quote from showrunner Richard Eustis:
This season, Head of the Class was retooled to showcase Scottish comedian Billy Connolly (in foreground below, with company), who replaced series original Howard Hesseman. His prominence has some old hands griping about their reduced roles. ”They’re such pros that they don’t let it affect their work,” Eustis insists. ”They all know that if this show has renewed life, it’s going to be because of Billy. If you have fewer lines but Billy’s up there saving your job, what do you care?”

*There is no evidence that the Russian academic team was using performance-enhancing drugs to gain advantage in competition.


*Bad Boy Brian Robbins became a director (Varsity Blues) and prolific producer after the show.

*The man who serves as quizmaster is indeed Deadwood's Mr. Wu: Keone Young.

*Famous draws in competition: 1968 Yale-Harvard (29-29), the 2002 MLB All-Star Game, Rocky Balboa and Thunderlips in Rocky III.

*The "trip to Moscow" episodes in 1988 made the show the first American sitcom to film in the USSR. We won't give it away, but there IS a winner in the rematch!

*What a Country aired in first-run syndication from September 1986 to May 1987.

*The Soul Man premiered October 4, 1986. The version we watched is an off-air recording from WPIX in New York.

*Yakov Smirnoff, born in Ukraine in 1951, defected to the USA in 1977. He became a United States citizen on July 4, 1986!  His career as a comedian and actor peaked in the 1980s, but he had a long run headlining his own theater in Branson, Missouri, and still performs.

*The What a Country theme song is by Dick DeBenedictis.

*This show is based on a Britcom called Mind Your Language (1977-1979, 1986).

*"Dick Lewis is watching!" was the centerpiece of a campaign by Newmark and Lewis, a tri-state electronics chain that went under in 1992.

*If you want to hear us rap more on the podcast...keep it to yourself!

*"Battle of the Network Shows was taped before a captive studio audience."

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Episode 7-4: Head of the Class and What a Country

The classroom provides the settings and the Cold War provides the backdrops of these two mid-eighties sitcoms. In Head of the Class, the IHP team faces off a with a team of Russians, and Eric struggles between dueling pulls of cooldom and nerddom. Across the country, Yakov Smirnoff and a band of would-be citizens learn to become good Americans, and one learns that the path to love might lie in remaining true to himself rather than playing it hep. Plus, Yakov raps.

Check out this episode!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Top Ten #51

1) Ace Cannon: Shout-out to Sean Mc for posting a vintage commercial hawking a collection of one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century: Ace Cannon! Check this out: The man's music is truly appropriate for any occasion:

Just look how captivated the partygoers are in this ad. Cannon and his sax could command the room in any setting.

2) Maureen McCormick: In light of the announcement that McCormick is the latest Brady Bunch star to get a show on the network, HGTV should just launch a spinoff channel called BBTV.  You know, Bed and Breakfast TV,. aimed at travelers looking for destinations to enjoy. Wouldn't that be cute?

3) Steve Martin and Martin Short: The two comedy icons are joining forces for a series on Hulu, which excites me may lead to The New Show finally appearing on the service! No, the show itself sounds like it could be good.

4) 48 Hours: Today marks the 38th anniversary of the debut of the CBS newsmagazine (now true crime docuseries) originally hosted by Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy.

Hey, why is Bernie Goldberg asking Dolan's pal about his salary?

5) KISS: Fresh off its guest appearance in our 3-2-1 Contact episode this week, the group enters the countdown at #5 this week. It's not true that the band is selling printed commemorative versions of this list for $9.95 on its website.

6) Jean Stapelton: Happy birthday to the late All in the Family star, who was a few years younger than Marisa Tomei is now when the series premiered.

7) Nicholas Colasanto: It's cool that the performers behind two of the most endearing "daffy" characters in sitcom history were born a year apart on the same day!

8) The Dukes of Hazzard: After a curiously short sting on Prime Video a while back, the series is now on Amazon's IMDB TV service.

9) National Popcorn Day: Eat up, everyone!

Image result for alf popcorn

10) Alan Alda: The star was cool enough to take this 2019 Me-TV Alan Alda quiz and post about it on Twitter.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

YouTube Spotlight: Sonny Bono IS Deacon Dark

One of the more intriguing clips in this week's playlist based on our 3-2-1 Contact episode is this clip from The Love Boat:

Yes, that is the late Sonny Bono as an Alice Cooper/Gene Simmons type (the band is clearly suggesting KISS, but the performance itself is a bit more Cooper, I think), singing Smash It!  This is from the second-season episode Murder on the High Seas/Sounds of Silence/Cyrano De Bricker from March 17, 1979.

What a showman! You have to see this classic to watch his story of looooove unfold, but I think Captain Stubing says it all at the end of the performance: "He's no Jerry Vail."

And admit it, aren't you a little curious about Cyrano De Bricker?

Friday, January 17, 2020

The 3-2-1 Contact playlist is now live!

If you want to see the episode we talk about this week on the podcast, click below to enjoy our 3-2-1 Contact YouTube playlist! You will also see Ace Frehley making Tom Snyder laugh, a clip from the Australian series that inspired Contact, Glenn Scarpelli on Bandstand, and more! You;ll even see...a technical difficulties slide???

And remember to go to our official YouTube channel for past episodes and playlists for each one of them chock full of promos, clips, commercials, and all kinds of stuff!

Show Notes: Episode 7-3: 3-2-1 Contact

*3-2-1 Contact aired on PBS 1980-1988 for 225 episodes. The series is a Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) production.

*An Australian series, The Curiosity Show, inspired Contact, which went much younger with the hosts!

*Thanks to friend of the show Laurie for suggesting this series!

*We talk on the pod about Contact as an afternoon show. Daytime programs on the networks at the time this one aired:

ABC: Ryan's Hope/All My Children/One Life to Live/General Hospital
CBS: Search for Tomorrow/Young and the Restless/As the World Turns/Guiding Light
NBC: Days of Our Lives/The Doctors/Another World

*This episode, Light/Dark, Electromagnetic Spectrum (didn't Mr. Belvedere have an episode with the same title?) is the 38th episode of the first season (the daily show produced 65 in all in S1) from February 20, 1980.

*The Kiss concert featured in the episode appears to be October 27, 1979, at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene, Texas, part of the Dynasty Tour.  That's not to be confused with the Grant Goodeve Dynasty.

*The Love Boat episode Mike mentions with Sonny Bono as "Deacon Dark" is Murder on the High Seas/Sounds of Silence/Cyrano de Bricker, season 2 episode 25.

*We can find no evidence of Dennis Weaver appearing on 3-2-1 Contact. He doesn't appear in the show's credits on IMDB, and the show doesn't appear in his credits. But, hey, who are we to argue with Wikipedia?

*Tannis Vallely, who played Janice on Head of the Class, was indeed on Contact. Maybe she knows what happened to Dennis Weaver.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Episode 7-3: 3-2-1 Contact "Light/Dark: The Electromagnetic Spectrum"

We here at BOTNS don't just want to entertain. We want to educate, especially for our vaunted 2- 11-year-old demo, and what better way to educate than to talk about classic kids science show "3-2-1 Contact" talking about light by going behind the scenes at a KISS concert?

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

YouTube Spotlight: Pray for the Wildcats:

We had a lot of fun with this week's podcast, and how could we not with a cast of legends like that assembled for Pray for the WildcatsYou can view our playlist for this episode on our official YouTube channel.  One of my favorite clips is this one:

The movie is written by Mark Medoff (adapted form his own play), who later won an Academy Award for Children of a Lesser God. I don't recognize a lot on director Milton Katselas' resume except Report to the Commissioner with Yaphet Kotto.

I tell you who I DO recognize: Hal Linden. Lee Grant. And Marjoe Gortner.

I suspect this spot is being a little selective with the names, though; higher billed are Marjoe's then wife Candy Clark, Stephanie Faracy, and Anne Ramsay (!).  It looks like Audra Lindley and Pat Hingle are in the cast, too.  And Peter Firth seems to be the guy who actually interacts with Marjoe in the actual movie!

Marjoe is even more wild-eyed here than he is in the dancing scene in Wildcats! Here is what IMDB has as a summary:

Marjoe Gortner plays a drug dealer whose car breaks down in a small U.S. town. In turn, the town's people become victim to his unique brand of physical and mental torture.

The movie is written by Mark Medoff (adapted form his own play), who later won an Academy Award for Children of a Lesser God. I don't recognize a lot on director Milton Katselas' resume except Report to the Commissioner with Yaphet Kotto.

I tell you who I DO recognize: Hal Linden. Lee Grant. And Marjoe Gortner.

I suspect this spot is being a little selective with the names, though; higher billed are Marjoe's then wife Candy Clark, Stephanie Faracy, and Anne Ramsay (!).  It looks like Audra Lindley and Pat Hingle are in the cast, too.  And Peter Firth seems to be the guy who actually interacts with Marjoe in the actual movie!

In another clip on YouTube, Marjoe's menacing Teddy tells Ryder to tie everyone up or he'll "cut off your pecker, if you have one."  Looks like a must-see!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Top Ten #50

1) William Shatner/Andy Griffith/Marjoe/Robert Reed: How can I pick one of these gents, the co-stars of Pray for the Wildcats, over the other? Well, I give Shatner top billing because he's Shatner, of course. But otherwise...

2) All in the Family: The prequel to the popular Woody Harrelson/Marisa Tomei series debuted on this date in 1971.

3) Batman: It's outside our normal time frame, but the 1966 version of the Caped Crusader debuted on this date as well. Given how many times Adam West returned to the cowl, I think it's legit to celebrate this version of the character here.

4) Dynasty: Yet another high-profile debut on this date: The prime-time soap debuted on ABC in 1981. We did cover it a few seasons ago, but I'm still not sure I know who started that cabin fire.

5) Kirstie Alley: Happy birthday to the former Rebecca Howe, born this day in 1951.

6) Buck Henry: R.I.P. to the star of so many of the most memorable Saturday Night episodes, in addition to a vast body of work outside of that show.

7) Paul Williams: This week I enjoyed a Fantasy Island episode in which Williams played a man who wished to be part of a harem but found himself as a boy toy for Jayne Meadows.  How can you not love TV of that era?

8) The Fall Guy: Decades ran a weekend marathon of the show.  Hey...a-hey, hey!

9) Jeopardy! The "Greatest Ever" tournament is drawing big numbers for ABC in prime time, but personally I still say I find it illegitimate if if doesn't include Chuck Forrest.

10) Keno Nagasaki: R.I.P. to the guy who figured in some of the best pro wrestling on TV that I ever saw: 1989 NWA.

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Pray for the Wildcats video playlist is now live!

Have you listened to this week's episode? Do you still want MORE Shatner? MORE Reed? More Andy? MORE Angie? MORE Marjoe? More dirtbiking?

Well, click below to enjoy our YouTube playlist for Pray for the Wildcats.  You'll see vintage promos, clips, and commercials with the cast of the movie, explorations of other notable TV movies, and more!


And remember to hit our official YouTube channel for past episodes and accompanying playlists for each of them! But whatever you do...pray for the wildcats!

Show Notes: Episode 7-2: Pray for the Wildcats

*We hope you enjoy our first foray into TV movies this episode! Let us know if you'd like to hear us do more in the future!

*The ABC Movie of the Week was a staple of the primetime lineup from 1969 to 1975. This Mental Floss article lists some other notable examples if you want to check out more of the telefilms.

*Pray for the Wildcats premiered January 23, 1974 on ABC, followed by Doc Elliott (a short-lived medical drama with James Franciscus). CBS offered The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, Cannon, and Kojak.

NBC countered with Chase (the first show by Stephen J. Cannell) and The Questor Tapes (a pilot for a proposed Gene Rodenberry series). This episode of Chase featured Pat Harrington, Mel Torme, Larry Manetti, and Sherry Jackson.

Pray for The Wildcats - 1974 - Movie Poster

*The 1974 AMA Motocross National Championship season saw Jimmy Weinert emerge on top. Sam Farragut does not appear in the official standings.

*According to Wikpedia, the movie was shot in Baja California, with a studio outside Tucscon standing in for the Mexico portions.

*It's commonly thought humans can survive several weeks in the desert without food but only several days without food.

*Click here for the Film Threat piece we mention on the podcast, complete with the reference to Andy Griffith's horrible dream!

*Wildcats received several legitimate home video releases, but a new Blu-Ray edition of the movie, complete with a new audio commentary, is on the way from Kino-Lorber, scheduled for release March 3.  So the movie is on YouTube now, but it may not be for long!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Episode 7-2: Pray For the Wildcats

We dive into the wild world of made-for-TV movies with a real whopper, Pray For the Wildcats. Ad men William Shatner, Robert Reed, and Marjoe Gortner try to seal the deal on a campaign by taking a dirt bike trip across Baja with a malevolent Andy Griffith! Plus Angie Dickinson!

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

2019 BOTNS Show of the Year!

It's time to begin a new annual tradition: the selection of a Show of the Year! To be the Show of the Year, a TV program need not be the "best." It need not even be "good" nor even "coherent." 

Also, this is not one of our shows--so, not a podcast episode. It doesn't need to be something we covered on the show in 2019. It is outside the world of the Battys. It just has to be something that made an impact in the past year, something that provided joy, entertainment, or massive confusion.

I am pleased to announce that the Battle of the Network Shows Show of the Year for 2019 is...


Yes, the 1979 cartoon aired just one season and 16 episodes on ABC, but it brought me immeasurable happiness with its bizarre villains, nonsensical storylines, and utter disinterest in internal logic.

See the source image

I could go on and on about the show itself (and maybe I--and Mike--will at some point; would you like to see us cover this on the pod?) but let me focus on some of the more symbolic reasons this is Show of the Year.

Spider-Woman showed that even in the vast and famous Disney library there are gems lurking and that we shouldn't ignore the value of the back catalog when considering the streaming services proliferating. Sure, Disney + is thriving because of originals like The Mandalorian, but folks like me (and I suspect many of our listeners) are just as excited to see 40-year-old TV cartoons.

The series has an important spot on Disney +, too. If you go to the Marvel section and sort by year (doesn't everyone have the instant impulse to find the oldest material first on any streaming service?), guess which TV/movie appears first? The '67 Spider-Man? No. The live-action 1977 Spidey series? No. The 1967 Fantastic Four cartoon? No.  

The 1978 Dr. Strange TV movie? No.

The 1979 Captain America? No.

Well, gee, now I'm upset again that all that stuff is missing. The point, though, is that the very first thing people see, the symbolic oldest piece of Marvel content on the service, is Spider-Woman. For fans of vintage television, that means something.  

I am tempted to figure out a way to auto-play the show all day and rack up the streams because I want Disney + to give us more like this show.  Well, I shouldn't say more like this show because there is nothing like this.  That's why it's so much fun and one reason why it is Show of the Year.

Monday, January 6, 2020

2019 BOTNS Entertainer of the Year

Battle of the Network Shows hereby starts a new annual tradition by naming an Entertainer of the Year for 2019.  In choosing this performer, we consider all of what we consider the BOTNS universe, not just the shows and people we discussed on the podcast in the calendar year.

In fact, to be our Entertainer of the Year, one need not even be alive! Much like the beloved series we talk about on our show, people can enlighten us, impress us, and, yes, entertain us even if they are 30-50 years old.  Maybe especially if they are 30-50 years old.  The work lives on forever!

Our 2019 Entertainer of the Year is...Ed McMahon!

Edward Leo Peter McMahon Jr. has made multiple appearances on the podcast, yet not once in his most famous role: Johnny Carson's sidekick on The Tonight Show (His ALF appearance was in support of...Alf, not Carson). And we haven't even covered him in his best role: the wiecracking cut-up to Dick Clark's straight man on Practical Jokes and Bloopers. The fact that he gets it done each time is testament to his brilliance as a performer.

In 2019, he charmed us with his brilliant Batty-nominated performance in Legends of the Superheroes: The Roast (losing only to singular sensation Gary Deeb). He told jokes, he kept the program moving, and he did a convincing job of selling the punishing strikes from Solomon Grundy.  You really get the feeling Grundy's ham hocks do even more damage than Carson's barbed tongue.

If that wasn't enough, though, Ed taught us all the true meaning of Thanksgiving in this remarkable number:

This presentation is no less spectacular for having occurred 40 years ago. McMahon brought so much goodwill and cheer--and, to be fair, a certain amount of vaguely creepy unease--that it lasted throughout the entire holiday season. Ever since I discovered this, I find myself wishing every day was Thanksgiving Day.

In today's busy world, it's a challenge to pull that off. However, at the click of a button, Ed can make you feel it IS that special time if only for a few moments. That combined with his other outstanding work makes him our Entertainer of the Year for 1979. Congratulations, Ed McMahon!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

BOTNS Top Ten #49

1) Carl Weathers: You think he peaked in the 1980s? Think again, and move over, Baby Yoda, for the greatness that is Weathers as Greef Karga in The Mandalorian.

2) Vic Tayback: I don't want any dingy broads (or dingy dudes) refusing to celebrate the late Tayback's birthday. He died way too young at 60.

3) It's a Living: The 1980s sitcom, not widely seen in recent years (I think it was on Logo for a while) debuted on Antenna TV this week.

4) Wheel of Fortune: The forever-running game show debuted on this date in 1975. Kids have Sesame Street to help learn the alphabet, adults have Wheel for those valuable refreshers.

5) Neil Innes:  Many, many people have tried to get humor out of the whole world of The Beatles. No one has topped Innes, who died this week.  All You Need Is Cash, with songs by Innes, may be the funniest TV special of all time despite being an absolute flop when it aired on NBC in 1978.

Wow, I just checked, and its opposition that night was a repeat of Charlie's Angels followed by Perry Como's Easter by the Sea and an airing of the 1976 disaster movie parody The Big Bus. Shame on you, 1978 America!

6) Lisa Whelchel: Her Collector's Call series on Me-TV gets a second season beginning next Sunday. She is a grandmother according to her Twitter feed. Excuse me while I go cry in my Edna's Edibles collectible cookie tin.

7) Bonnie Franklin: Happy birthday to the late Franklin, star of One Day at a Time, certainly not a dingy broad.

8) My Three Sons: Season 5 MOD DVDs came out this week. At this rate, CBS will get to our era, the 1970 season or so, in about 2042.

9) Jack Sheldon: R.I.P. to the voice of Schoolhouse Rock's I'm Just a Bill and, lest we forget, a sidekick of good ol' Merv Griffin:


10) Wild Kingdom: The longtime staple of syndicated weekend programming actually debuted on this date in 1963, and...zzz....sorry, what? It debuted in 196...zzz....Sorry, but is it wrong to say I never made it through an entire episode?

Saturday, January 4, 2020

YouTube Spotlight: Miami Vice and 1980s PSAs

Among the most intriguing clips in this week's YouTube playlist devoted to Miami Vice are a pair of 1980s PSAs. Surprisingly, Edward James Olmos' intensity in his MADD spot is matched by...Phillies legend Michael Jack Schmidt!

The obvious route for the MADD ad would be, hey, let's let Eddie glower at the camera, but he takes a different path. He doesn't even look at the camera till halfway through, instead focusing on pictures of victims, then rubbing his eyes to show despair.  He is intense but subdued, more desperate than angry, and it's an effective approach.

As for Schmidt, could this be a "Do as I say, not as I do," deal? Well, as far as I know, Schmidt only ever admitted to using amphetamines, but there was hearsay introduced in court proceedings that accused him of using some harder stuff. I mean, he WAS rich, famous, and in baseball in the late 1970s and early 1980s. You do the math.

The PSA is a great one no matter what. Schmidt's midwestern accent (Ohio counts, right?) makes him sound more sincere. The main word I would use to describe his manner, though, is incredulous.  This is almost as much impact as Jason Seaver asking, "Cocaine?"

Friday, January 3, 2020

Miami Vice YouTube playlist is now live!

After enjoying our season 7 opener, click below to check out our official Miami Vice-themed video playlist!

You will find promos, interviews, music videos (of course!) and much more! And remember to visit our official You Tube page for past editions of the podcast and video playlists for each episode!

Show Notes: Episode 7-1: Miami Vice "Smuggler's Blues"

*Smuggler's Blues is the fifteenth episode (some sources list it as 16 depending on how they count the pilot) of the first season of Miami Vice. It premiered February 1, 1985, at 9:00 P.M. on NBC.

Bloopers and Practical Jokes kicked off the night on NBC, followed by V: The Series and then Vice. ABC went with Benson, Webster, Street Hawk, and Matt Houston. CBS offered The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas (by far the highest-rated program of the evening), and Falcon Crest.

*Miami Vice ran 5 seasons (1984-1990) and 112 episodes, mostly on Fridays with a few appearances on Sundays and Wednesdays at the beginning and end. It was only a top-10 show (#9) in its second season.

*Drug lord Esteban Calderone is Tubbs' nemesis in season 1.

*Anthony Yerkovich, creator of Vice and exec producer for a very short time, now runs this restaurant:

*Did Brandon Tartikoff really inspire the series by jotting down "MTV Cops"? Brian Cronin writes an excellent piece about that legend and puts the creation of the series in context.

*Jan Hammer's theme song charted as high as #27 and won several Grammy awards. It was a cornerstone of the show's first soundtrack LP, which also featured Glenn Frey's hits Smuggler's Blues and You Belong to the City along with Phil Collins; In the Air Tonight.

That album reached #1, and a follow-up, Miami Vice II, featured Collins' Take Me Home. Amazing that they did a Miami Vice III with Sheena Easton, the Hooters, and Don Henley (Dirty Laundry)

*South of Sunset aired once--yes, once--on October 27, 1993 and was axed by CBS. A handful of unaired episodes of the Glenn Frey detective show aired on VH1, of all places, years later.

*Frey's character Jimmy Cole does indeed disappear in this episode, but he sort of "returns" in season 2's Trust Fund Pirates as we learn about what happened to him secondhand via fellow smuggler Jackson Crane (the great Gary Cole).

*Read more about Frey and his role on Vice here.

*Here is an article from The Miami Herald discussing the impact of the show on the city.

*We talk on the pod about the show running out of ideas, and here is a fascinating read from 1986 exploring the idea that the writers were already running dry!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Episode 7-1: Miami Vice "Smuggler's Blues"

Season 7 launches with an explosive start as we delve into quintessential eighties drama Miami Vice! Guns, cars, boats, airplanes, swagger, fashion, music, explosions, weird dancing kids, Glenn Frey, Richard Jenkins--this one has it all and then some! Crockett and Tubbs go undercover to Colombia to buy some drugs to stop a kidnapper/murderer in Miami. We think.

Check out this episode!