Monday, March 30, 2020
For a while, I thought he was massively overrated, but that view is as ignorant as thinking that after a practice, Jones uses a deodorant soap. "No way!"
In reality, Jones had a storied career at LSU and is in the College Football Hall of fame, but was not on the elite tier of QBs in the pros. He was the NFL MVP in 1976, but injuries limited his career. He led the Colts to a solid run in the mid 70s, but that was overshadowed by the likes of the Steelers and the Raiders.
He was a star but not a superstar, maybe, but he was a national figure with this ad campaign. He also did a print campaign for Chaps by Ralph Lauren, but according to an interview with Jones himself, he only did this one TV spot. I would have sworn he was in a bunch of these. Did I just see this one a thousand times?
One of my favorite aspects of this particular commercial is that Jones, then gearing up for a final season with the L.A. Rams, wears a generic #7 jersey with "BERT JONES" on the front. Or IS it generic?
Maybe Bert Jones is playing for the Louisiana Bert Joneses. I'd love to get a look at the back of his jersey because I hope it says "BERT JONES" on the back, too. "And at quarterback for your Bert Joneses...number 7...Bert Jones!"
Sunday, March 29, 2020
2) Amerika: BOTNS investigated an unusual network promo and wound up digging into this 1987 multi-evening event. That's right, "miniseries" is far too mundane a term for the ABC epic presentation:
3) The Facts of Life Down Under: And this was the movie that started the investigation. I have to say, at first I laughed at the ad NBC ran to promote it, but if I had to watch this or 14 hours of Amerika today...
4) John Tesh: I can't tell you how thrilled I was when TESH was the answer in a crossword puzzle my girlfriend and I did recently. I can't tell you because I am very ashamed.
5) Johnny Carson: Shout! Factory TV is touting that Carson reruns are coming in April, but there is already a lot of old Tonight Show on Prime Video, and it's big-time hacked up, but it's great.
6) The Muppet Show: Earlier this week, we looked at and were disappointed by a Vanity Fair website piece claiming to explain why the classic series is not on Disney Plus. It did not.
7) Alex Trebek: Remember the classic episode of Cheers (Season 8's What Is...Cliff Clavin) which features Cliff's spectacular performance on Jeopardy! I had vivid memories of Clavin's shenanigans but forgot how good Trebek was. The whole thing is great.
8) Dianne Kay: Happy birthday to the former Nancy on Eight Is Enough, prominently featured in this promo campaign:
9) John Candelaria: This weekend I watched a compressed version of a May 1984 Pirates/Dodgers Game of the Week from Three BY GOD Rivers Stadium because why not? Vin and Joe were in the booth, luminaries like Steve Sax and Pedro Guerrero played for the Dodgers, and how about that immortal 1984 Bucco outfield: Joe Orsulak, Marvell Wynne, Doug Frobel!
But it was cool seeing tall lefty The Candy Man on the mound for the Pirates.
10) Quincy, M.E.: Yes! Another "new" Quincy promo is on YouTube! Nothing better to take my mind off world events than seeing a good one of these:
Oh, man. A virus? It had to be a virus episode?
Saturday, March 28, 2020
According to the 1987 UPI article linked above, Turner thought the movie was "redneck" and was peeved by the notion of any kind of occupation of either superpower by the other.
One of my favorite contemporary clips reporting on the controversy is this CNN bit reporting on Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca's move to pull ads from the broadcast because the programming is too intense and not conducive to selling automobiles:
Amazing info from Wikipedia: ABC instigated the miniseries in part in response to an op-ed piece by Ben Stein (yes, that one) in the wake of The Day After. Stein suggested ABC make a movie dramatizing the threat of the Soviet Union by showing the effect of an occupation on the American people.
This is all pretty heavy! I think I'm ready for another look at The Facts of Life Down Under:
Friday, March 27, 2020
Amazing, isn't it, to think that NBC wasn't confident enough in its long-running (then in its eight season) juggernaut sitcom. Instead of just telling the nation about this Premiere Movie Event, it spent precious airtime mocking...mocking...Russia? Serious movies? Quality television?
No, it's not. Yes, that sitcom was on at 9:00 P.M. on this Sunday, but the real opposition was on ABC: the first part of Amerika, a 5-night event miniseries:
Aha! how could I have forgotten the then-controversial (but now kind of a footnote?) television spectacular? More on that tomorrow, including the TV personality who linked these two competing programming choices in hilarious fashion at the time, but first, back to that NBC promo above.
Does anyone else think the dad in the living room looks kind of like Jeffrey Tambor crossed with the "I'm a BIG fan" guy? And why are there not Tony Hoty NFL on CBS promos all over YouTube?
Thursday, March 26, 2020
So I was excited to see a headline in my feed this morning proclaiming,
Why Doesn’t Disney+ Have More Muppet Stuff?
Let me save you some time: This Vanity Fair article, while an excellent summary of what Muppet material is NOT on Disney Plus, does not "explain" the situation--at least not in terms of, you know, answering the question in the headline.
What we get is speculation that outgoing Disney CEO Bob Iger didn't care for the property because it wasn't his acquisition. There are informed comments from a Jim Henson biographer and some comments that refute possible culprits like music clearances.
What we don't get is any word from Disney (to its credit, the mag asked Bob Iger and Disney Plus for comment; I think it's funny to think of Bob Iger sitting down at this point in time and explaining in detail why a 45-year-old TV show isn't on his company's streaming service) nor any facts that would explain why Disney Plus doesn't have more muppet stuff.
We will just have to keep waiting. The article does provide a few nuggets indicating hope for the future. My hope has been that they have been doing something with the original series--perhaps some kind of remastering to get it ready for a big debut alongside forthcoming original series Muppets Now. For now, thanks for nothing, Vanity Fair!
(Click here to hear our episode discussing Steve Martin on The Muppet Show)
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
This great Thanksgiving-ish ad for the Transformers toys (part of our Transformers episode playlist) features NFL'er/actor Alex Karras, but not in his 1970s best mode. No, this is the kinder, gentler 1980s Karras, the Uncle George of Webster. In fact, his calm, measured tones, though perhaps inappropriate for conveying the urgency Hasbro wants parents and grandparents to get, makes me surprised he doesn't turn to his right and say, "Don't worry, Web, we'll get one for you, too."
"Go now while stars have a good selection," is a reasonable message, yes, but it's not exactly a Crazy Eddie ad. I'd like to think Karras worried that if he unleashed his full pitchman charisma, department and toy stores across the nation would make Black Friday a bloodbath of stampeding toy-crazed consumers.
And how about that surreal moment in which Karras mouths the "more than meets the eye" tagline!
My favorite part, though, is the gentle wonder with which Karras opens the ad: "It's a working microscope!" Gee whiz. What will they think of next?
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Monday, March 23, 2020
Sunday, March 22, 2020
2) Kenny Rogers: R.I.P. to one of the biggest icons of the BOTNS era. You have to have been around to understand how huge Kenny was in the late seventies and early eighties. By the way, how happy must have have been that The Gambler was such a big hit and he wasn't forever known as The Coward of the County?
3) William Shatner: Let's also celebrate the life of one of the true living legends, a man who, amazingly, is 89 years old. Well, all except for one part of him which is still fairly new.
4) Lyle Waggoner: R.I.P. to the star of The Carol Burnett Show, Wonder Woman, and more.
5) Joe Gannon: If I wanted any TV doctor treating me in the time of a global crisis...it would be Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. But Dr. Gannon would be up there on the list.
6) Nipsey Russell: I celebrated World Poetry Day yesterday in the only way I knew how: Watching Nipsey Russell as a panelist in the latter portion of The Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour.
7) Bob Costas: Happy birthday to Costas, one of the best in the business. It's become fashionable in some quarters to hate on him for being "sanctimonious," but I loved him on NBC when I was growing up, and his Later was tremendous. As a virtual birthday treat to Mr. Costas, here's a vintage Mickey Mantle clip, also starring giant feet:
8) The Rutles: Maybe the best movie ever made about The Beatles, All You Need is Cash, debuted on NBC on this date in 1978.
9) Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Just added to Prime Video this week. I never watched this show, but I bet it was much richer and better produced than Jm J. Bullock's The Storyteller.
10) Robert Reed: Hey, did you know Robert Reed played William Shakespeare on Fantasy Island? He didn't play IN, say, Hamlet, mind you; he played William Shakespeare--a skirt-chasing, saucy William Shakespeare. It's on Crackle, so what are you doing sitting here and not watching that season 6 episode?
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Friday, March 20, 2020
*The Transformers aired from September 1984 to November 1987 for a total of 98 episodes.
*The episodes we cover in this podcast are episodes 33 and 34 of season 2: Auto Bop (November 13, 1985) and Prime Target (November 14, 1985).
*Tonka's GoBots were actually ahead of Hasbro's Transformers at every step in the USA--first to toy shelves, first cartoon to air, first animated feature--but history made the Transformers the victor, and many think the GoBots are imitators. Well, Transformers were first to Battle of the Network Shows!
(Frank Welker did indeed voice multiple characters for both series.)
*The Transformers: The Movie debuted in theaters August 8, 1986, between seasons 2 and 3 of the series.As we mention, it starred Orson Welles, Lionel Stander, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy in addition to the regular cast.
*Bob Budiansky. the Marvel Comics creator/editor who created much of the toy line's mythos, explains in this interesting clip that he left the franchise because of the pressure to keep introducing new characters/toys:
*Anyone out there who would like us to cover Manimal as we mention on the show? Wait, we know there ARE some people who will say yes. We withdraw the question.
*According to this look at Charles Dickens' swear words, no one really knows the origin of the expression, "What the deuce?"
*Studio 54 was known as being exclusive, but in my defense, it did have a diverse clientele, too. I mean, where else would you see Bella Abzug, Andy Warhol, and Bruce Jenner? OK, maybe The Love Boat, but where else?
*If you don't remember Batty nominee Eric Raymond, go here for a refresher.
*And click here for our G.I. Joe episode and our thoughts on Hector Ramirez. Do you think this is the "real" Hector in Prime Target?
*The First Boer War was fought 1881-1882, and the Second Boer War was fought 1899-1902. By the time of the Third Boer War, Michael Bay produced but did not direct.
*As the Kitchen Sinks is a fictional soap opera in the Hasbroverse. According to this Transformers wiki,:
On the one occasion that the Autobots were shown watching the show, the plot centered on a supposed affair between Donna and Gordon, which, if true, would mean that Jack was unaware that Sheryl had hidden a will, having substituted a fake document in its place.
A deleted line from the episode expands on the complexities—the will belongs to Bob, and reveals that he named Katy as his true heir! Dun-dun-dunnn! This all becomes too much for the girl in the show, though, as she is then forced to ask: "Who's Bob?"
*A handful of PSAs, recycling G.I. Joe PSAs, were produced but never aired. You can see one in this week's YouTube playlist, and here is another one here:
*Thanks to everyone for supporting us in another fun season, and please stay tuned for some surprises and of course the postseason Batty Awards...and we already have big plans for season 8!
And remember you can hit our official YouTube channel for past episodes of the podcast and video playlists for all of them. It's more than meets the eye!
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Nothing screams the eighties more than break dancing and transforming robots. You wouldn't expect to find them in the same place, but "Auto-Bop" does just that as Blaster and Tracks help some break dancers stop the Decepticons from hypnotizing patrons of Club Dancetron in order to build an office building. Plus, a big game hunter and his immortal butler try to capture Optimus Prime!
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Monday, March 16, 2020
Doctor Who tops the BOTNS-era shows at #4, though that includes the modern stuff, so maybe that means the highest-ranking BOTNS show is Star Trek: The Next Generation, which ended in the 1990s. Similarly, Quantum Leap started in 1989 and went into the next decade. So you could make the argument that the top "pure" BOTNS-era show on the list is Space:1999 at #31.
Sunday, March 15, 2020
2) Nell Carter: A runner-up has to be Force of Nature Nell Carter, who singlehandedly made it look like NBC was actually a big deal:
3) Eight Is Enough and Three's Company: On this same blessed day, these two classics premiered on ABC. Both shows, of course, went for the exact same episode and shared identical sensibilities. You could have swapped DVP and John Ritter and had the same result.
4) Quincy, M.E.: I think every season, Quincy had to deal with some kind of contagious outbreak of something and the suits WHO JUST DIDN'T GET IT. We could use a lot more men like Quincy, but then that's been true for 35 years.
5) The Carol Burnett Show: Prime Video keeps adding more seasons of the long-running classic--the edited versions, yes, but still, it's nice to see this show get such a big (if unpublicized) rollout on streaming.
6) Jimmy Baio: Happy birthday to one of the stars of our recent Soap episode, still a teen idol even at 58.
7) Tenspeed and Brownshoe: Shout! Factor's deal this week to nab streaming rights for most of the Stephen J. Cannell library surely means a renaissance for this show and not just 10 more outlets showing 21 Jump Street.
8) Earl Pomerantz: R.I.P. to the creator of BOTNS favorite Best of the West and an accomplished producer, TV writer, and blogger.
9) Alan Alda: He's the subject of a glowing profile in today's Washington Post. His big thing is listening. Hey, I hope he listens to our podcast!
10) The state of Indiana: It takes several watches--and, yes, I have given this several watches--to realize it isn't a tourism board promo, but a local TV promo. All this is missing is a young Woody Boyd narrowly avoiding a tractor accident!
Friday, March 13, 2020
And remember to visit our official YouTube channel for episodes of the podcast as well and playlists for each of them!
*The Chicago Teddy Bears aired for 13 episodes in 1971 on CBS. Set in 1920s Chicago, it somehow failed despite a cast including Marvin Kaplan, John Banner, and Art Metrano!
*Gimme a Break aired 6 seasons, 1981-1987, on NBC. Never a big hit, it was a modest success for the network and now airs in reruns on Antenna TV.
*Still the One by Orleans appeared on the Waking and Dreaming LP and made it to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.
*CBS was the #1 rated network in total viewers for the 1984-1985 season, but after the 1985-1986 season, NBC was #1 for the first time ever (it had tied with CBS twice, but it was years ago) behind The Cosby Show, Golden Girls, and more.
*Here is an interview with Jake Holmes, who wrote jingles like Be All That You Can Be and many, many others/
*Check out our previous discussion of Charlotte Rae here in our Facts of Life episode.
*Who do you think won the battle of the network promos?
Thursday, March 12, 2020
Back in the seventies and eighties, the big three networks used elaborate promotional campaigns involving memorable slogans, catchy jingles, celebrity appearances, and everything from picnics to fantasy sequences to hot air balloon rides. This week, we pit some of these campaigns against each other in a heated, yet celebratory competition.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Sunday, March 8, 2020
2) Joan Van Ark: The iconic star of Spider-Woman was the guest of honor on the TV Confidential podcast last week, but there was not enough talk about the show; by not enough, we mean hardly any.
3) Charo: Happy International Women's Day to one of our favorite international women. Maybe crossing the International Date Line so many times is how she shaved 10 years off her official age!
4) Pray for the Wildcats: One of our highlights of this season is now available in glorious Blu-Ray form thanks to Kino-Lorber. I can't decide which is more tempting a justification for purchase: the chance to finally appreciate the subtleties in Marjoe Gortner's performance or the chance to see what feels like 45 cumulative minutes of dirt biking in high-def.
5) Voyagers!: The whole series is now available for free on the NBC app, so you can check out the Babe Ruth/Cleopatra episode we discussed.
6) The A-Team: The final episode aired in 1987. I don't have vivid memories of the event, but word was the pitier of fools was pitied.
7) Rita Moreno and Sally Struthers: This ad is both terrible and strangely compelling:
8) Spenser for Hire: Here's a reminder that if the Mark Wahlberg Netflix movie looks totally ludicrous, the Urich series is free on IMDB TV.
9) Kim Fields: The former Tootie Ramsey returns to series TV (OK, OK, she has had multiple big roles since then, but that's the one that counts around here) in an upcoming Netflix sitcom starring Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps, and not Mark Wahlberg.
10) The Family Circus: Last weekend marked the 60th anniversary of the heartwarming comic panel that inspired one of our early holiday special episodes. Yes, last weekend. Who is responsible for forgetting to put it in last week's list? You guessed it, that lovable scamp from the strip who is always running around giggling, is often apparently invisible, and is always blamed by everyone else: Jeffy.
Friday, March 6, 2020
And remember to visit our official YouTube channel for more playlists like this as well as back episodes of the podcast!
*Soap aired from 1977-1981, 4 seasons and 85 episodes, on ABC. It was a 9:30 PM show on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
*The pilot premiered September 13, 1977 at 9:30, against boxing on CBS and Sex and the Married Woman on NBC. It preceded Family on ABC and followed two Happy Days episodes and Three's Company.
*Here is an interesting EW profile on Susan Harris from a couple years ago.
*And here is the TV Guide profile on Harris that appeared when the show was on the air. Thanks to https://soaparchive.wordpress.com/ for hosting this and many other great archival materials of the show in its website supporting Soap: The Unauthorized Inside Story.
*The same site has the infamous Newsweek piece we discuss.
*Here is the TV Series Finale podcast interview with Jay Johnson that we reference.
*Who's YOUR favorite Baio? Scott? Jimmy? Chris Baio of Vampire Weekend?
*The Major is played by Arthur Peterson Jr. According to Wikpedia, Peterson starred in ABC's first sitcom, a show called That's O'Toole!
*1979's Scavenger Hunt featured not only Richard Mulligan and Dirk benedict, but Scatman Carothers, Tony Randall, Cloris Leachman Willie Aames, and many more! The Fox picture is on DVD and Blu-Ray.
*Vega$ premiered in 1978 on ABC, about 7 months after Soap did.
*Jay Sandrich's thoughts on Soap are in this piece.
*Witt Thomas Productions also created It's a Living, Blossom, and Herman's Head among many others plus the series we mention on the show.
Thursday, March 5, 2020
Check out this episode!
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Sunday, March 1, 2020
2) The Beachcombers: Yes, it's customary to put the focus of the podcast at number one in the Top Ten, but, come on, TESH!
Plus it's still hard to forgive this:
3) John Madden: Tony Romo is receiving $17 million a YEAR from CBS to broadcast NFL games. You know who never got 17 mil a year to broadcast NFL games? Jimmy Cefalo, that's who. But this week we salute legendary John madden, who paved the way for megadeals like this for NFL analysts.
4) Geri Jewell: March is National Cerebal palsy Awareness Month, so how about a shout-out to Blair Warner's cuz?
5) WPSX TV: This PBS station, now WPSU, launched on this date in 1965. For me, it was the home of many of my favorite shows as a kid--Sesame Street, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, The McLaughlin Group...
6) Catherine Bach: Happy birthday to the former Daisy Duke. No comment necessary...or advisable.
7) Hawaii Five-0: The OLD version, that is. The current version announced it is ending after the upcoming season 10, meaning the original tops it with its umptee--(checks)--its 12 seasons.
8) Ron Howard: Happy birthday, Opie Cunningham!
9) National Brain Injury Awareness Month: Never forget the time a batty-nominated wooden plank nearly kept John Boy out of college.
10) Alan Thicke: It's the late singing sensation's birthday, and you know what we haven't watched in a while?