Friday, February 28, 2020

The Beachcombers playlist is now live!

If you're not familiar with that hip new opening of Beachcombers we mention on this week's pod, or if you're not familiar with The Beachcombers, period, check out this week's video playlist!  You'll get all kinds of Canada with clips, promos, interviews, PSAs, and more!

And remember to visit our official YouTube channel for more episode-specific playlists like this and past editions of the podcast!

Show Notes: Episode 7-9: The Beachcombers

*Thanks to Steve for suggesting some Canadian television for us! You can check out his In Search Of podcast here.

*Alpha Flight is a Marvel Comics Canadian superhero team that first appeared in The Uncanny X-Men in 1979.

*The Beachcombers aired 1972-1990, 19 seasons, a staggering 387 episodes! it aired in more than 50 countries, topped many "favorite show" polls, and was the longest-running "drama" series in Canada until Degrassi junior High

*We believe Season 14's episode Blue Light Special premiered Sunday night, February 2, 1986.

On United States TV that night, ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney  premiered Help Wanted: Kids,  which was followed by that other family-friendly instant classic...Octopussy.

CBS aired 60 Minutes and Part 1 of Sins. NBC's lineup was Punky Brewster, Silver Spoons, a rerun of The Cosby Show, Amazing Stories, and Part 1 of Peter the Great.

*Here is a lot of info on the origins of the series.

*And here is the article that refers to the show as "widely panned by critics."

*Spinoff Constable Constable  lasted 4 episodes in 1985. The New Beachcombers TV movie (with Dave Thomas) aired in 2002 but didn't lead to anything except another movie,  Beachcombers Christmas in 1984.

*The series seems to have been mostly snubbed in awards competition, with Robert Clothier (Relic)'s Gemini win for Best Supporting Actor in 1986 standing out.

*For our favorite bacon and liver recipes, head, just kidding. How could we pick ONE favorite bacon and liver recipe?

(NOTE: We made a casual reference to Molson in this episode, which we taped before the shooting that occurred at a factory in Milwaukee.  No mockery of that serious situation was intended)

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Episode 7-9: The Beachcombers "Blue Plate Special"

This week, we head north to Canada to take a look at venerable institution The Beachcombers. In "Blue Plate Special," Nick and the gang to save local cafe Molly's Reach from getting bulldozed for condos. Meanwhile ne'er-do-well Relic tries to sabotage their efforts from the inside so that the can profit from them later.

Check out this episode!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Top Ten #56

1) Charo: The incomparable Charo headlines our most recent podcast, and it may not be the last time.  Just wait until we do our Charo on The Love Boat Omnibus episode!

2) It's a Living: Amazon Prime video added season 1 of this 1980s series, and after seeing it again for the first time in years, we can't wait...

to see what other 1980s shows they might add.

3) Janet Du'Bois: R.I.P. If Larry Dallas personifies the wacky TV neighbor, Willona Woods personifies the foxy TV neighbor.

4) Spider-Man: When we talk about great TV personalities who constantly reinvent themselves (as opposed to the consistent branding of a Charo), we should talk more about Spidey.  His 1981 cartoon, now on Disney Plus, is no Spider-Woman--much of it actually makes sense--but it's quite entertaining.

5) The Jeffersons: Decades ran a "Weekend Binge" of the show, an essential component of anyone's Black History Month education.

6) Marc Price: The performer turned 52 yesterday, which made me think about the fact that if we ranked the most beloved characters on Family Ties, Skippy would probably rank no lower than third.  That scares me.

7) National Chip Day: Let's all celebrate the underrated member of the Kate and Allie cast, Frederick Koehler, whose portrayal of Chip helped--wait, we're being told it's Tortilla Chip Day.

8) He-Man: Kevin Smith's Netflix reboot of the franchise garnered big-time buzz when some casting news came out last week. How about Paul Giamatti as Monteeg?

Image result for he-man monteeg

9) Edward James Olmos: Happy birthday, Mr. Olmos, sir.

(Rick respectfully nods, shuffles aside, and turns around without making eye contact)

10) Abe Vigoda: Happy birthday to the living legend, a true giant in TV who it seems will be with us forever.  Wait, we're being told--Really? 2016? Seriously?

Friday, February 21, 2020

Charo playlist is now live!

After enjoying this week's podcast, get even more Charo by checking out our video playlist for the episode!  You'll see music, comedy, and more! Plus Soupy Sales as Paul Revere! Jane Russell for--well, just take a look! And what was the deal with those Bicentennial Minutes?

And remember to visit our official YouTube channel for playlists like this each week as well as past episodes of the podcast!

Show Notes: Episode 7-8: Charo

*Charo was born in Spain in--Wait, before we get into that, let me say that I personally kind of like there being a bit of mystery with the TV icon that is Charo. So I will include her personal bio details at the end of this post in case you would like to preserve the intrigue.

*Charo the TV special premiered on ABC May 24, 1976 at 8:00 P.M., followed by a showing of The Andromeda Strain. NBC countered with The John Davidson Show and Muhammad Ali vs. Richard Dunn in a heavyweight boxing match. Ali retained his heavyweight championship with a fifth-round TKO. It's unclear how Davidson fared.

*Charo and the Sergeant was created by Aaron Ruben (Andy Griffith, Gomer Pyle) and co-starred BOTNS fave DVP (at least in the pilot, which aired August 24, 1976 on ABC).

*Charo made 10 guest shots on The Love Boat and 3 on Fantasy Island. According to this Me-TV piece, she was only surpassed by Florence Henderson and Marion Ross for appearances on the former.  She was not on The Muppet Show, though!

*Magic Mountain in Valencia, California, opened in 1971 and was bought by Six Flags in 1979.

*Xavier Cugat was married to Charo 1966-1978. The Cuban-born bandleader was in multiple films in the 1940s but was never on The Muppet Show.

*Love Will Keep Us Together by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield was an album track from Sedaka in 1973, and the Captain and Tennille's cover was the number one single of 1975.

*Mannix aired on CBS for 8 seasons from 1967 to 1975.

*Beatrice Colen (1948-1999) was Etta Candy on the Wonder Woman TV series as well as carhop Marsha on Happy Days.

*Mike is 100% correct--It IS Jane Curtin in the One-a-Day vitamin commercial!

*Viva Valdez ran May-September 1976 on ABC. The sitcom about a Mexican-American family in East L.A. was a summer replacement series that didn't stick after its 12 episodes aired.

*The Bicentennial Minutes aired nightly on CBS from July 1974 to the end of 1976. Many are indeed online. A prominent person told viewers what happened 200 years ago on that date.

*Wintergreen Life Savers do indeed make sparks when you chew through them, not when yoy lick them. Thanks to Crack Research Team Intern Laurie for pointing this out!

*Charo's official birth year is 1951--she has legal backing to that effect--but that would make her 15 or 16 when she married Cugat and, more importantly, that would make her 14 on Ed Sullivan's show.  After watching many of her TV appearances, including clips from the 1960s, it seems reasonable to believe she was born in 1941, as official documents (she later claimed were wrong) indicate. There is also a story floating around that she was born in 1945.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Episode 7-8: Charo!

Charo! World-renowned flamenco guitarist! Charo! Frequent guest on the Love Boat! Charo! Mysterious! Charo! We couldn't do a podcast about seventies and eighties TV and not eventually talk about Charo! In this case, we talk about her 1976 variety special with bandleader Frank DeVol and special guest star Mike "Mannix" Connors! Say it with us one more time. Charo!

Check out this episode!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Top Ten #55

1) Doctor Who: You discussed what on our podcast this week?
No, who.
OK, you discussed who?
That's what I'm asking, who did you discuss.
That's right.

2) Neal Sabin: Kudos to the head of Me-TV for giving Ed Gross a candid, informative interview on the Closer podcast.

3) Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown: As much as we appreciate A Special Valentine with the Family Circus, Charlie OWNS the holidays.

4) Fantasy Island: Speaking of appreciation, it shouldn't take a panned horror movie adaptation to make you appreciate the original, but...

5) Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal: Remember when the Academy actually tried to put a decent host out there, one who could add value to the show, rather than just give up?

6) Sid and Marty Krofft: The iconic brothers received a star on the Walk of Fame last week. I can only hope the star sprang up, shot fire out of its mouth in a psychedelic pattern, then marched away singing a catchy pop tune.

7) Rick Moranis: In exciting news, the SCTV star returns to acting by appearing in...Well, you know what? Let's just remember the fun we had watching him on SCTV, eh?

8) Marv Albert: Yesterday's All-Star Game makes us think of one of the legendary voices of the NBA, but also someone posted (again) this classic NFL moment for which Marv was at the mic for NBC in 1986:

9) The Hollywood Squares/Match Game Hour: Credit to Dave Holmes for this hilarious piece on this oddity running nightly on Buzzr.

10) Room 222: Just because (looks northward, nods).

Friday, February 14, 2020

Doctor Who playlist is now live!

The video playlist for this week's Doctor Who episode of the podcast is now available! Click below to see lots of Tom Baker and friends on the telly, including vintage clips, adverts, and more! And what is Bill Walton doing here?

Remember to hit our official YouTube channel anytime for more playlists as well as past episodes of Battle of the Network Shows!

Show Notes: Episode 7-7: Doctor Who "Genesis of the Daleks"

*Thanks again to listener Thomas M. for suggesting this episode!

*Doctor Who premiered on the BBC Saturday November 23, 1963.  The arc we talk about, Genesis of the Daleks, is from the series 12th season (first with Tom Baker), and it aired March 8 through April 12, 1975 on 6 consecutive Saturdays.

*According to this website, the arc aired on WETA in Washington D.C. (to name just one PBS station) in June 1981 at 6:30 P.M. for a week, but the U.S. premiere was in 1978.

*Tom Baker is the Fourth Doctor, following (in reverse order) Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, and William Hartnell. Baker played the role for 172 episodes from 1974 to 1981, when he was replaced by Peter Davison.

*The failed Fox revival starred Paul McGann in a TV movie/backdoor pilot in 1996. The movie did well in the UK but flopped in the USA, though the Eighth Doctor remains in continuity and is a presence in other media.

*Many of the early years of the series are lost, though the BBC is restoring episodes, often using animation, with help of audio and video footage from around the world. Most of the missing (or destroyed or deteriorated) episodes are from seasons 3 through 5. A new restoration just got a release date this month.

*Companions in Genesis are Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan. Smith is one of the more iconic "companions," and Sullivan only appeared in this 12th season. Actor Ian Marter later wrote Doctor Who novels.

*The highest-rated arc in the UK for Doctor Who, including the modern era, is the City of Death storyline starring Baker and premiering in Season 17 (1979). There is a catch, though--a strike sidelined ITV, leaving BBC without its biggest competition.

*Marvel Comics featured the Doctor for the first time stateside in Marvel Premiere #57, which began a 4-part saga. The company launched an ongoing title in 1984 reprinting material originally printed in Britain.

*Davros is played by Michael Wisher in this serial but also by multiple other performers over the course of the series. According to Wikipedia, Wisher based his portrayal on Bertrand Russell!

*The head of BBC One during this time period was...Bryan Cowgill! No relation to either one of us...we think.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Episode 7-7: Doctor Who "Genesis of the Daleks"

We travel through time and space with the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), Sarah, and Harry as they try to stop the genesis of the Daleks at the hands of Davros. He's quite mad, you know? We also do our best to understand a little of the history of the Doctor Who phenomenon.

Check out this episode!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Top Ten #54

1) Murder, She Wrote: This week's BOTNS looks at the long-running mystery show. It's not just for your grandmothers, folks!

Your great aunts love it, too!

2) Michael Constantine: Perhaps the most interesting performance on Murder Takes the Bus, the episode we discussed, came from Constantine, whose pivotal turn as [REDACTED] played a huge role in Jessica [REDACTED] and clearing [REDACTED] in the murder of [REDACTED], and who also prevented Sheriff Amos and Jessica from enjoying some hot [REDACTED].

3) Terry Bradshaw: The co-star of our look at Greatest Sports Legends had a big week, conducting on-field post-Super Bowl ceremonies without embarrassing himself and announcing a reality show centered on his family that surely will embarrass himself.

4) Robert Conrad: If there's one thing that stood out to us when we talked about Battle of the Network Stars, it was Gabe Kaplan's shorts. But if there's TWO things, one of them has to be Conrad's insane hypercompetitiveness. His performance in the relay race controversy helped elevate a contrived made-for-TV pseudo contest into an over-the-top ridiculous contrived made-for-TV pseudo contest. Rest in peace!

5) Gene Reynolds: R.I.P. also to one of the creative forces behind MASH and Lou Grant.

6) L.A. Law: Mere days after its first appearance in the BOTNS Top Ten, the (mostly) M.I.A. show is named one of the shows Disney is licensing to IMDB TV.

7) Unnamed Long Island Pizza Parlor: On this National Pizza Day, let's remember the local hangout where the Seavers could not just enjoy a pie, but connect with teenage drug den operators.

8) Sam Elliott: The rugged star danced--we think--in one of the more popular Super Bowl ads.

9) Jm J. Bullock: Happy birthday to the Too Close for Comfort scene stealer. Do you think that on the set, he rallied Ted Knight and the others by saying, "Come on, people, there's no I in Jm, and there's no I in team!"

10) Kirk Douglas: Great movie actor, sure, but he was never on Love Boat nor Fantasy Island. How big a star could the guy have been if he was never on Love Boat nor Fantasy Island?

Friday, February 7, 2020

Show Notes: Episode 7-6: Murder, She Wrote

*Murder, She Wrote aired on CBS for 12 seasons and 264 episodes from September 1984 to May 1996, and there were also 4 TV movies.  The first 5 seasons are available on Prime Video, and the complete series is on DVD.

*Season 1 Episode 19, Murder Takes the Bus, premiered Sunday, March 17, 1985, at 8:00 P.M. on CBS. Preceding it was 60 Minutes, and following it was Crazy Like a Fox and Trapper John M.D.

ABC countered with Ripley's Believe It or Not, Brubaker (the 1980 Robert Redford film), and Foul-Ups, Bleeps, and Blunders. The NBC lineup that night included Silver Spoons, Punky Brewster, Knight Rider, and a rerun of The Burning Bed.

*Angela Lansbury played Agatha Christie sleuth Miss Marple in 1980's The Mirror Crack'd, which was originally supposed to kick off a series. Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson, and Kim Novak co-star. Sadly, they are among the only stars who didn't show up on Murder, She Wrote.

*A guest star who IS in this episode of Murder, Terence Knox, was indeed still a regular on St. Elsewhere when this aired.'

*Mike mentions on the show what Jimmy Hoffa says in The Irishman about facing a knife as opposed to a gun. Here is the quote from the source material, the book I Hear You Paint Houses:

Frank Sheeran tells Charles Brandt: "Bill Isabel told me that Jimmy said, 'You always run away from a man with a knife and toward a man with a gun.' I don't know about that. You have to know the circumstances.  He's right if you can startle the man with the gun, because he doesn't expect you to come at him. Jimmy did the right thing in these circumstances. But if you go toward the man with a gun who cannot be startled, the closer you get the more you improve his aim.  Most of the time you don't see the knife until you're cut with it. The best thing to do is to be a choirboy."

*Angela Lansbury won numerous Golden Globes for the series yet never won an Emmy despite a record 12 nominations. She lost Emmys to: Tyne Daly, Sharon Glass (Cagney and Lacey), Dana Delany (China Beach), Patricia Wettig (Thirtysomething), Kathy Baker (Picket Fences), and--most surprising to me--Sela Ward for Sisters.

*At this time, there are over 40 official "Jessica Fletcher"novel in our world. In the Murder, She Wrote world, who knows how many novels she wrote? We're not sure she even keeps track.

*Father Dowling Mysteries with Tom Bosley aired 1989-1991 on NBC and then ABC.

*This series was a top-10 show in 8 of its first 11 years, never finishing lower than #13.  It crashed in its final season, falling to #58 overall after an ill-fated move from its longtime Sunday 8:00 timeslot to Thursday at 8:00/

*You can see a clip from Lansbury's Positive Moves exercise video in this week's YouTube playlist. We chose a PG-rated selection.

Murder, She Wrote playlist is now live!

After listening to us discuss Murder, She Wrote on the podcast, take a look at our video playlist for this episode. You'll find A Whole Lotta Lansbury as she sings, shills, and performs with Bea Arthur! Plus appearances by Linda Blair, Rue McClanahan, Larry Linville, and many more! And of course there's clam chowd-ah!

And remember to visit our official YouTube channel for episode-specific playlists as well as past installments of the podcast.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Episode 7-6: Murder, She Wrote "Murder Takes the Bus"

On a dark and stormy night, America's favorite mystery writer/amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher takes a bus ride with a bevy of guest stars. While they hole up in a roadside restaurant, a passenger gets murdered, and everyone's a suspect (except Jessica and Amos natch). Whodunnit? Whydunnit? Will Jessica figure it out, or will they all fall victim one by one? Most importantly, will they make it to the Sheriff's Conference in time for Amos to get some potato soup? Let the man have his potato soup!

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

YouTube Spotlight: Chariots of the Gods?

As a treat for this week's YouTube playlist devoted to our look at Spider-Woman, we wanted to give a little taste of one of the seminal "aliens & pyramids" works of the 1970s.

Erich Von Daniken's book, originally published in Germany in 1968, swept the USA in its English translation by Michael Haron. The German documentary of the same name (seen here in the trailer) was a box office hit here in 1970, and Von Daniken's best seller continued to be popular well into the 1970s despite a lack of critical appeal and a wave of authorities debunking its fantastic claims.

Chariots Of The Gods.jpg

Of course, the book has another BOTS connection. Alan Landsburg's re-edited version of the film, In Search of Ancient Astronauts, and follow-up In Search of Ancient Mysteries, inspired the TV series In Search Of... with Leonard Nimoy replacing Rod Serling as narrator/host. if only In Search Of... explored some of the amazing phenomena featured on Spider-Woman!

Monday, February 3, 2020

BOTNS Investigates: The Voice of Spider-Man

When preparing the show notes for the latest episode, the Crack Research Team thought it might be enlightening to discover who actually voiced Special Guest Star Spider-Man in Pyramids of Terror, the debut installment of Spider-Woman. Unfortunately, the series has generic credits for voices, listing everyone who has a role in any episode, not just any particular one, and they aren't matched with the characters.

Well, it's 2020, so this should be easy, right? Well, not so much. IMDB and don't help. Wikipedia doesn't help.

According to this article, Paul Soles voices Spidey in both his appearances on Spider-Woman, but he sure sounds different in his return in episode 7. The Kongo Spider. I believe the article is incorrect. Soles voiced Spider-Man in the immortal 1967 cartoon series (which should be on Disney Plus NOW), but it certainly isn't him in both Spider-Woman appearances, and maybe not even in either one.

Adding to the confusion, Spider-Man's voice in his 1981 solo series is Ted Schwartz. I love that, by the way, and want it to sink in for a minute: Ted Schwartz.

Image result for 1981 spider-man"

(Schwartz (1934-2014) was also Thrasher in G.I. Joe and starred in a Transformers arc as well.)

In Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends a year later, Dan Gilvezan is Spidey.

Image result for spider-man amazing friends"

And just for the record, 1977's live-action series stars Nicholas Hammond.

Image result for spider man 1977 nicholas hammond"

So that's 5 different Spider-Men in about 5 or 6 years, and I still don't know who it is in Pyramids of Terror.

Does anyone know this man's secret identity?

Or this one?

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Top Ten #53

1) Spider-Woman: The subject of this week's podcast episode just might be the coolest thing on Disney Plus. What can we say? We love shows with thoughtful plotting, deep characterization, and lush animation. And we also love shows like this.

Image result for spider-woman cartoon

2) Mean Joe Greene: The star (his acting totally blows the little kid off the screen) of what is still the greatest Super Bowl commercial of all time:


3) Fred Silverman: R.I.P. The Man with the Golden Gut. Hey, why hasn't anyone said we "need" a "fat" James Bond yet?

Anyway, rest in peace to the man who played a huge role in scheduling and programming at all 3 networks in the BOTNS era. In our Facebook group, Mike linked to this great piece by Mark Evanier.

4) Khan!: The TV Confidential podcast did a great segment on this rare 1975 ABC updating of Charlie Chan that was protested by Asian-Americans and disavowed by its own star, who took his name off the credits! Of course now I want to see it, but apparently no one has it. Someone on Twitter posted a news article about the show's demise while noting how difficult it is to get info on it.

Image result for khan! cbs 1975

5) Superdome: Anyone else plan on preparing for the Big Corporate Showcase by watching this 1978 TV movie about disaster at the Big Corporate Showcase?

6) Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless: The long-running soap operas earned renewals of one year and four years from their respective networks, meaning they will have been on a combined total of...approximately forever.

7) Midnight Special: The late-night ABC music program premiered on this date in 1973

8) Michael Talbott (1955): Happy birthday to Miami Vice's Stan Switek:

9) Bugs Bunny: Kudos to the guys at 20th Century Pop for spotlighting this awesome PSA in their recent episode. "Keep those pot handles toined in!" was a mantra of my childhood.

10) Jack Burns: R.I.P. to comedian who did all kinds of stuff, including the unenviable task of "replacing" Don Knotts on The Andy Griffith Show. For our era, I remember him most for wearing that jacket on Fridays and for his role as Ralph in this show: