Friday, July 31, 2020

YouTube playlist for our "Catching up" bonus episode is now live!

After you listen to us talking about what we have been watching recently, you might want to see some glimpses of it! Check out our show notes yesterday for info on where to see full programs, but you can click below to see: Ted Danson for WGN! Lee Mack talking about keys! Ann Jillian on a Bob Hope special! And much, much more in our official video playlist:

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Catching Up

Between an intended break between seasons and the state of the world in 2020, we've taken a longer hiatus than expected. This week, we catch up on the state of the show, the state of the hosts, and the state of the Season 7 BATTYS. We also talk about some of the TV we've watched during lockdown.

Check out this episode!

Show Notes: Bonus Episode: Catching up

*Welcome back to all of our listeners, and if you are new to the show, please check out our extensive back catalog! There are more "regular" episodes coming in the near future, but we hope you enjoy this bonus episode.  Stick around, check out the site, visit our Facebook page, and if you're interested in 1970s and 1980s television, subscribe to the podcast!

*The Battys is the awards show we give out after each season of the podcast. Note that we are honoring the shows we discuss, not ourselves!

*Here is where you can find the shows we talked about  watching during our hiatus:

Rick has been watching:

Cheers (Hulu, CBS All Access, Peacock Premium)
Doctor Who (BritBox for the classic era)
It's a Living (Amazon Prime Video--first 3 seasons, Tubi--first 3 seasons)
Murder, She Wrote (IMDB TV--first 5 seasons only, Peacock--all 12 seasons)

Mike has enjoyed:

Would I Lie to You (Britbox, YouTube, Prime Video--one season)
Cold Feet (BritBox, Tubi)
Cold Feet: The New Years (BritBox)
Stargirl (The CW, DC Universe)
Spider-Man 1981 Animated Series (Disney Plus)

*Check out our Cheers episode right here and our Doctor Who episode right here!

*Lee Mack's Britcom is Not Going Out, which is unfortunately not available on streaming in the United States. It would be a great pickup for BritBox!

*Bob Hope specials are not on Peacock right now. Ann Jillian was on at least 10 of those programs according to our unofficial count.

*You can find Mike's appearances on the Menage a Pop podcast here. Tell 'em BOTNS sent you!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

This Day in TV History: Mister Jerico!

On this day 50 years ago, ABC ran Mister Jerico at 9:00 EST following a Mod Squad rerun.  Jerico, according to Wikipedia, was released theatrically in the United Kingdom despite being made for TV. In fact, ABC had already aired this same movie a mere 5 months ago.

Marty Allen?

This great write-up of the movie says it was a failed pilot. I guess ABC was really getting as much mileage as it could, burning off another screening here in the middle of summer.

Check out the movie's swinging theme song by Lulu!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Happy birthday, Norman Lear!

Happy birthday to the old Norman Lear!  OK, maybe that's disrespectful, but it feels refreshing to write something other than the "great" Norman Lear.

We have discussed the Extended Norman Lear Universe and the possible Crisis on Infinite Norman Lears (if you are new to the podcast, yes, that is the kind of thing we talk about sometimes!), but we have a lot more of the Learverse to explore.  Is there a particular Norman Lear show you'd like us to cover in the future?

One Day at a Time?
All in the Family?
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman?

Something else?

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Top Ten #78

1) Good Times: Because the live TV streaming service Philo just added TV One, and it's hard to miss that the channel shows Good Times. I mean, a LOT. I mean, more times per day than Florida said "Damn," a lot.

2) The Baseball Bunch: Hey, MLB is back, and while I'm happy and hope it goes well, a small part of me held out hope that if they couldn't do live games, they would be forced to dig these out of the vaults.

3) James Best: Happy birthday to the late actor.  Here's an interesting Me-TV story about best in the pre-Dukes days.

4) Aunt May and Uncle Ben: It's Aunts and Uncles Day, so let's pay tribute to the couple who raised/inspired one of the greatest superheroes of all:

And just because, let's post a  clip of Marisa Tomei even though her May Parker is nothing like the one I knew growing up. The 1978 series used different actresses to play the character; maybe it should have gone with Raquel Welch.

5) The 1984 Summer Olympics: The Games would have started this week, but we will have to content ourselves with the greatest Summer Olympiad of all--the one where the USA pretty much kicked butt all over the place.

6) Regis Philbin: R.I.P. to one of the more adept live-TV personalities the medium has known. You have to admire his faux (and his real) braggadocio and his general ability to keep a show moving. Anyone remember his show on Lifetime in the Eighties?

7) Unsolved Mysteries: The Netflix revival continues to bring attention to the Robert Stack-ed original.

8) The Ugily Family: On this night 40 years ago, ABC burned off a failed pilot starring Al Molinaro as Sal Ugily. Imagine that: people didn't want to watch a show called The Ugly Family (pronounced diferently, but still). Read more info about this here at the great TV obscurities site.

9) Paul Lynde: Billy Eichner will play Lynde in a biopic. Hey, Lynde had his flaws, but does he deserve that?

10) Blue Jeans: The other unsold pilot ABC aired on this day in 1980 is this sitcom. According to Ultimate 70sTV, A lady singer and her musician roommate enlist the aid of a wild drummer and a shy classical pianist to perform in their rock band. 

Charles Fleischer and Paul Provenza are in the cast. I want to see this! Not much info is available online, but here is a pic from IMDB:

Blue Jeans (TV Movie 1980) Poster

Saturday, July 25, 2020

And now a word from their sponsor: Robert Guillaume is...smooth

Let's ease into Saturday with this one. Sure, Benson DuBois was a somewhat prickly character sometimes, but I feel like I'm in good hands with Robert Guillaume when I watch this commercial for Milk of Magnesia:

Thanks to Chuck D's Classic All-New TV Clubhouse for uploading this!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Happy birthday, John Navin, Jr.!

A lot happened on July 24, and as much as I would love to pay tribute to birthday gal Lynda Carter (sigh), I think we at BOTNS should salute one of the absolute stars of a previous season: John P. Navin Jr., one of the greatest young weisenheimers in screen history.

We enjoyed his performance as Ox in Silver Spoons, and we salute the now-retired Mr. Navin on his birthday.  Where is he now? Well, no one seems to know.  A 2016 Screen Rant piece reports:

Navin seems to have left show business entirely. His last credited work is in the 1993 TV movie Class of '61. He maintains no online presence (at least under his real name) and gives no interviews related to Vacation. An extensive search for information as to his current whereabouts yields no leads whatsoever, aside from a spurious anecdote about him being spotted in a Philadelphia bar a couple years back.

On National Amelia Earhart Day, never forget Leisure World

July 24 is designated National Amelia Earhart Day in honor of her birth in 1897.  Remember her many accomplishments, but also remember the lingering suspicion that she lived out her days at a remote location: Leisure World.

Click here if you haven't listened to us discuss this memorable episode of In Search Of.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

What is wrong with this "Munster, Go Home" promo?

Watch this Family Channel promo for an upcoming showing of Munster, Go Home, then be prepared to answer a simple question about why it's an example of poor marketing.

OK, you ready? Here is the simple question: What is wrong with this?

Well, the promo shows us that this movie reunites The Munsters. It shows us that it's in color.  It promises laughs and maybe some comical monster chills.

What doesn't it show?

That's right, it doesn't show Robert Pine!

The inaugural Genius Award winner in his early days

Our favorite Genius is the male love interest for Marilyn in the movie, and he even gets to use a British accent! He's a key player in the film--OK, maybe not as important as Fred Gwynne or Al Lewis, but he is conspicuous by his absence in this promotion.

Genius at work

It's only a 15-second spot, you may think, so they didn't have enough time to show everyone.  I counter that if you only have 15 seconds, you had better get the important stuff in there!

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that The Family Channel might still be around and thriving in this incarnation if the in-house marketing team had properly hyped this screening.

Fellas, this is the kind of look you get when you treat your date to a steak and a Lowenbrau

If you're interested in reading more about the movie itself, may I recommend this blog post by yours truly?

Bobby Pine keeping an eye out for Family Channel weasels

Realizing he isn't in the promo

Fred Gwynne realizing he is co-starring with--no, actually this is just a funny screencap

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Dick Butkus is no Alex Karras, but it's a great commercial

Check out this great Miller Lite ad posted to YouTube last week:

Now, there are several possible reasons to share this video with you. We can rejoice in the humor of the ad. We can enjoy the nostalgia of seeing all those celebrities, many now departed, in the same spot.  We can enjoy the acting of Mickey Spillane. We can marvel at the relative placidity of Billy Martin.

We could go on and on--we haven't even mentioned Dangerfield--but the real reason we share this clip is to try to find an answer to this nagging question: WHAT THE HECK IS ON DICK BUTKUS' HEAD?

As we ponder that, keep in mind this quote from an old ESPN Sportscentury profile:

Teammates and opponents alike marveled at Butkus' ferocity. He intimidated players like nobody else. "If I had a choice, I'd sooner go one-on-one with a grizzly bear," former Green Bay Packers running back MacArthur Lane said. "I prayed that I could get up every time Butkus hit me."

Butkus is not just the star of My Two Dads, he's a vicious Hall of Fame Chicago Bear! Was everyone afraid to tell him the truth about this look? Did he lose a bar bet?

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

National Junk Food Day

It may sound odd that we have a National Junk Food Day until we remember the looming presence of Big Snack in this country.  Should we celebrate junk food, though, or just raise awareness of its dangers? Well, if it's the latter, there is no one better to warn us than Fat Albert and the gang:

Monday, July 20, 2020

National Zookeepers Week

As we pay tribute to the great zookeepers around the country this week, let's not forget Stanley Livingston.  Yes, he let his temper and personal emotions get in the way of his job. Yes, he often displayed stunning lack of leadership skills. Yes, he was a poor delegator of--uh, you know what? Let's just remember Stanley Livingston of Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales with this rare PG-13 picture:

National Parenting Gifted Children Week

Yes, it is indeed National Parenting Gifted Children Week.  Sometimes it feels like every kid on TV is either gifted or dumb.  Might we take this opportunity to remind you that we covered Head of the Class in our latest season?

Come to think of it, as far as I can recall, the parents were rarely heard, rarely seen, but sometimes talked about on that show. No wonder Charlie Moore was such an important figure for them!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Top Ten #77

1)  Flair pens: We all need a commercial like this right now.  I have never been more motivated to run out and buy...a pack of whatever pens they have at the dollar store.

2) The Golden Girls: The house used for the exterior shots is on the market! Buyer beware, though; you will have to provide your own lanai.

(Bet you thought I was gonna say "cheesecake," didn't you? No, there's an underground vault on the property with hundreds of cryogenically frozen ones.)

3) National Ice Cream Day: Party on, everyone!  If cheesecake isn't your thing, how about ice cream?

4) Beverly Archer: Happy birthday to the prolific sitcom and commercial star:

5) In Search Of: Congratulations to Illuminati Social Club (featuring friend of the show Steve) for finishing its run on the podcast looking at the show episode-by-episode.

6) Peter Barton: Happy birthday to the former Matthew Star!

7) Peacock: NBC's new streaming service is chock full of BOTNS-era shows like Murder, She Wrote, Punky Brewster, Magnum P..I., and many more...or so I am told. I ain't watching it because, like a certain other behemoth-backed streamer that launched this year, it isn't on Roku!

And besides, how good can it be if it doesn't have The Powers of Matthew Star?

8) Carol Hines: R.I.P. to the Emmy-winning Hines (often credited as "Himes"), who, among her many credits, was a production manager on Lou Grant and a line producer on Family Ties.

9) Saved by the Bell: Sundance TV added the series because--Hey, how do you know it ISN'T Robert Redford's favorite sitcom? I think it fits in just fine as part of the prestigious Sundance brand alongside Hogan's Heroes and Gomer Pyle.

10) Corbin Bernsen: I just learned that Corbin Bernsen has one of the world's largest snow globe collections, and since I don't know what to do with that information, let's watch a brief Practical Jokes and Bloopers promo that shows him for a  moment:

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Promo Theatre: See it on CBC Sports

I am not sure why I love this promo so much:

Wait, yes, I DO know why:

*The combination of a sporting event that people obsess over (The Masters) with one that, well, they don't (World Indoor Bowls).

*The unnecessary combination of "Sports" and "Weekend" into "SportsWeekend" into one word in the logo.  Look, I am in favor of almost all gradual merging of hyphenated words into one--I'm fine with primetime--and sometimes two words can become one, but "sportsweekend" is not one of those cases.

*The jingle that sounds so thrown together. "See it on CBC Sports" is the obvious pride and joy of someone at the network. The "Sportsweekend"--aargh, now I'm doing it--the "Sports Weekend" part feels forced. They have to add a hasty "weekend" to make it all go together.

So of course, for all 3 reasons, I love this promo.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Happy National Tattoo Day

We're delighted that Fantasy Island gets an actual national day like this. Have a great one, everybody!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Stan Lee's Soapbox--(mostly) lost show

Our recent post about Marvel Comics appearances on TV before the superhero TV boom of the late Seventies led me to this great clip:


The uploader worked on the show, a production for Manhattan Cable in the mid 1970s, and says most of the tapes were lost in a fire and Lee, last he asked, didn't know where surviving copies were.

That's a shame because this is a lot of fun. Stan is relaxed and self-deprecating. He's an engaging host even if (maybe partly because of) his apparent non-over-preparation. It's a warm conversation that draws you right in. It's easy to see why Roy Thomas got such a prominent role at Marvel; he helps Stan in various ways throughout the conversation without upstaging or undermining anything he's doing.

The backdrop may seem a little silly, but to me it's part of the charm.  I also love the ad reads for local comics-related businesses, and the general cable-access-level production is perfect for this kind of chat show.  In several decades, Marvel productions would mean big budgets, bombastic effects, etc.  At this moment, it's a couple guys who care about their vocation sharing their thoughts.

If anyone has more of these, please share! The uploader says Stan talked to Harvey Kurtzman, John Buscema, and more as part of this series.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Challenge (1970)

Yesterday we looked at the network prime-time schedules of 50 years ago and saw a rerun of The Challenge.  The 1970 TV movie is available at the Internet Archive, and here is the uploader's description.

All-out war between the United States and an Asian country is averted when the two sides agree to settle their differences by each choosing a single soldier as champion and having the two men fight to the death on an isolated island.

Premiering February 10 as an ABC Movie of the Week, its director took his name off it, leading to the classic Alan Smithee credit.  How bad can it be, though, with this cast:

Darren McGavin
Broderick Crawford
James Whitmore
Sam Elliott

The premise is ridiculous, awesome, or maybe both.  Check this out from the excellent review of the movie from Shock Cinema (via Wikipedia):

The US's unorthodox candidate is court-martialed Jacob Gallery (McGavin), a tough, arrogant scumbag currently working as a Biafra mercenary! Heavily-armed Gallery is dumped onto this rock, convinced it's going to be a cakewalk, because one lone guy from some insignificant Asian country couldn't cause much damage to an American, right? Yep, it's a heavyhanded Vietnam analogy, but I'm still surprised that this made it onto prime-time TV in the midst of the war. The remaining hour is a battle of wills, and as these two warriors cautiously track each other about Craphole Island (which often looks about as Asian as an episode of MASH, with rubbery jungle foliage that could've been leftovers from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND), Gallery quickly discovers that his foe, Yuro (Mako), is equally clever and determined. 

Please read the rest of Steven Puchalski's lively take on the movie. It's an entertaining read that will make you want to see the flick yesterday.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

This Day in TV History: The 1970 MLB All-Star Game

On this day in 1970, shiny new Riverfront Stadium (yes, I think there was a time it was shiny and new...much like LOVE aboard the Pacific Princess) in Cincinnati hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. I miss Major League Baseball, but at least we have access to tons of old games on YouTube.

This edition of the annual Midsummer Classic has the distinction of being the first played in prime time on the East Coast--in other words, the first one played at night!  It also contains one of the most memorable moments in ASG and baseball history: Pete Rose bowling over Ray Fosse on this play at the plate:

The above clip uses the radio call from Jim Simpson instead of the NBC TV crew of Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek, and Mickey Mantle.

CBS countered with Marco the Magnificent (a 1966 Marco Polo movie), a rerun of The Governor and J.J., and a news special about Vietnam, while ABC had reruns: The Mod Squad and Marcus Welby with an encore of The Challenge in between.  The latter is a TV movie that deserves its own post someday because it sounds amazing!

Monday, July 13, 2020

What We'd like to See/Happy birthday to the late Robert Forster

I admit I was late on the Robert Forster (1941-2019) bandwagon.  Like many, it took Jackie Brown to make me not only realize, "Hey, this guy's cool," (I hadn't seen MEDIUM Cool) but to want to see him in other stuff.  On the actor's birthday, I'm thinking about two rare, short-lived 1970s series I'd like to see.

Banyon is a Quinn Martin P.I. series with Forster working out of the Bradbury building in 1930s L.A. See, right there is all I need to know.  If it can't possibly live up to my expectations, well, it's got to be worth checking out, right?

Warner Archive has slowed down its output of rare TV on DVD, but it controls the former NBC series and could release it.  I assume there are issues with clearances preventing it.  I hope it's not just neglect.

Less tantalizing but still intriguing is Forster's 1974 Nakia, with the star as a New Mexico deputy sheriff who is--cue 1970s social relevance--Navajo and often conflicted between "modern" culture and his "traditional" culture. Why is this one less intriguing? Well, Harry and Wally's Favorite TV Shows isn't the final word on everything, but its entry on the series begins:

Nakia is preachy, strident, obvious, and outdated in its fervent condescension.

And it closes with:

Nakia tries real hard to be significant and deep. All it ends up doing is being superficial, trivializing the real efforts of Indians in the modern age.

Well, that does sound a bit like 1970s social relevance! I still want to see it, though. Some episodes are out there, and you can even find one on YouTube, but maybe Sony will find a way to put it out someday.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Top Ten #76

1) The Unknown Comic:  Happy Paper Bag Day, everyone! Kudos to the man who made it cool to wear one on your head!

2) Family Feud: The show premiered on this day back in 1976. Richard Dawson was tired of playing a panelist on Match Game and wanted a show of his own--one with with in which he could snog every bird on the set.

3) Cheryl Ladd: Happy birthday to the actress who is at least the fourth-most popular Angel to most everyone!

4) Black Omnibus: Yes! Prime Video finally added this 1973 PBS series.  I enjoyed some of the episodes on Shout! TV before the series disappeared. Highly recommended. James Earl Jones hosts this 12-episode program that features, well, all kinds of stuff.

5) Linda Lavin: True story: I had a dream the other night I was talking to Lavin (in character as Alice) and asking her for a copy of the final season, promising we would do a "deep dive" on the podcast and the website.  My behavior in this dream shames me.  Why didn't I ask for the second season?

6) Ennio Morricone: R.I.P. to the man who composed the theme song for the 1982 miniseries Marco Polo.  Supposedly his film work is pretty good, too.

7) Doc Severinsen: He celebrated his 92nd birthday earlier this week, and the official Johnny Carson YouTube page shared this fun clip:

8) Milton Berle: It's one of the biggest days of the year--the birthday of Mr. Television, the star of the classic The Great 5K Star Race and Boulder Wrap Party episode of CHIPS.

9) Brandis Kemp: R.I.P. to the star of Fridays.

10) Captains and the Kings: Seemingly every month, the novel shows up as a Kindle Daily Deal.  I always think, hey, maybe I should check it out, solely because of that one Battle of the Network Stars on which the NBC team was dominated by stars from that miniseries. Then I think, "Hey, what I really want to see is Gemini Man," and I pretty much forget the whole thing. This never happens with Marco Polo.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

This Day in TV History: The Newlywed Game premieres

The Newlywed Game may look like a tawdry trashfest. It may sound like a tawdry trashfest.  It may even feel like a tawdry trashfest. But don't let that fool you--it really is a tawdry trashfest!

The show debuted on this date in 1966 on ABC, and while that's a little outside our time frame, anyone who grew up in the BOTNS era must have been exposed to it at some time--kind of like chicken pox.

I kid! I can't quite explain why I sometimes watched the show  as a youth, but the answer is probably similar to the answer as to why I watched many of the things I did: It was on.  It's a game show classic, though, and will be revived again and again as long as TV is a thing. So congrats to Chuck Barris, and a shout-out to longtime host Bob Eubanks, still the one we think of when we think of The Newlywed Game (except maybe for the woman who gave that answer).

Friday, July 10, 2020

Get More Mike Three: The Wookiee Storybook

Join me as I join friend of the show Tim Blevins one more time on Menage a Pop, this time to discuss the last remnant of Star Wars merchandise I have from my childhood, The Wookiee Storybook, or as I like to think of it The Star Wars Holiday Special That Could Have Been.

Happy National Pina Colada Day!

It's National Pina Colada Day, so if you like 'em (or even if you don't), enjoy this clip of Rupert Holmes getting down on The Midnight Special!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Marvel on TV (1976, that is)

In 1976, Superman: The Movie was not yet a thing and the superhero explosion on TV hadn't occurred.  The Wonder Woman pilot movie ran in Fall 1975, and a few episodes debuted in early 1976, but The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man, and the TV movies we have discussed here were still in the future. it must have been exciting, then, to see news of comic books on TV...or even comic book creators on TV. Check this item from the Marvel Bullpen Bulletins feature in the Captain America and the Falcon cover-dated May 1976 but obviously written months earlier:

Stan Lee on The Mike Douglas Show and Good Morning, America AND Tomorrow sounds pretty cool (love the reference to the Distinguished Competition), and how about Rascally Roy Thomas on To Tell the Truth? Stan was out there hustling, wasn't he?  Soon superheroes, not just their creators, would be all over the small screen.

To Tell the Truth was a mainstay for years, dating back to its prime-time run on CBS beginning in 1956 but this would have been the second incarnation. From 1969 to 1978, the series, then hosted by Garry Moore, was in first-run syndication.  Thomas likely appeared with Moore, but at the end of that run, the ailing Moore was replaced by Bill Cullen and Joe Garagiola.

As for Tomorrow, according to Phil Gries' Archival Television Audio site (where you can buy an audio copy of the program), the program aired November 20, 1975:

Host Tom Snyder's guests are Stan Lee publisher of Marvel Comics, Carmine Infantio publisher of Superman Comics and Julius Schwartz editor who is spearheading the revival of comic books' "golden age" in this topic of "Comic Strips and Comic Books".
Also interviewed is Marvel comic book collector, Warren Storab who has every edition of Marvel comic books from October 1939 through 1949. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Get More Mike Two: Lionel Richie "Tonight Will be Alright"

Join me again as I join friend of the show Tim Blevins again on his podcast Menage a Pop. Today, we talk about the man, the myth, the mustache Lionel Richie and his song "Tonight Will be Alright," which also featured Eric Clapton and Richard Marx!

This Day in TV History:The MLB All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium

There will be no All-Star Game in MLB this year, and there may not even be MLB this year, but we have the past! On July 8, 1980, baseball's best assembled at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for the 51st Major League Baseball All-Star Game. ABC broadcast the event with Keith Jackson, Don Drysdale, Al Michaels, and the immortal Howard Cosell in the booth.

The idea of watching a 40-year-old baseball game may appall some of you, but not me! However, i do recognize that the best part of these old All-Star exhibitions is the player intros.  I loved when MLB started uploading old broadcasts to its official YouTube channel a few months ago, but unfortunately it deleted the best part--the pre-game festivities! And let's not even get into the lack of original commercials.

In this era, the National league was dominant, having won every summer since 1972, and it was talked about as a thing.  Yes, the game didn't "matter," but somehow it mattered.

Oddly, the MLB Vault official channel has only this highlight, with inferior video and the radio call from Vin Scully:

In case you're wondering and don't have time to watch the intros, let me give you the most important info: The defending champion Pittsburgh Pirates are represented in the game by Phil Garner, Dave Parker, Kent Tekulve, and Jim Bibby.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

This Day in TV History: Beauties and the Beasts on July 7, 1980

40 years ago tonight, TV viewers had a choice between beauty and brawn. CBS offered the Miss Universe Pageant, hosted by Bob Barker, Helen O'Connell, and Jayne Kennedy with performances by Donny Osmond; while ABC countered with the WBC Heavyweight title on the line as Larry Holmes defended against Scott LeDoux.

In case you're wondering, NBC had the King--not Don King, but Elvis Presley in 1957's Loving You. Folks, I often lament the sentiment that anything more than 5 years old is "passe" or just won't appeal to modern audiences. Yet I must confess I find it a curious decision to air a 1957 movie in prime time on network television in 1980. NBC seemed to enjoy being in the Elvis business, though; the following spring Don Johnson starred in Elvis and the Beauty Queen, and the network aired various specials in the era like Memories of Elvis in 1978 (of course, the legendary Comeback Special was on NBC in 1968).

Back to the main event, the big match-up of the evening, in which reigning Miss USA (Remember when it aired alongside Fantastic Funnies?) Shawn Weatherly won Miss Universe. It was July 8 in South Korea when it took place but July 7 when it aired here in the States.


She later starred in the first season of Baywatch and the only season of J.J. Starbuck.

As for the heavyweight fight? Holmes crushed LeDoux with a round 7 TKO in front of a partisan crowd at the Met Center in LeDoux's native Minnesota. Holmes would go on to beat a faded Muhammad Ali in an infamous fight, then dominate the early 1980s before a series of retirements and comebacks.  LeDoux suffered several more high-profile losses before retiring and becoming a fixture of AWA wrestling in its ESPN weekday afternoon era as a "troubleshooting" referee.

Perhaps his greatest moment was knocking off Howard Cosell's toupee after a different fight:

Monday, July 6, 2020

Get More Mike Part One: Uncanny X-Men 138

While we're on an extended break here at Battle of the Network Shows, I had the chance to talk to friend of the show Tim Blevins for his podcast Menage a Pop. In part one, we talk about Uncanny X-Men 138, the issue that introduced me to the world of Marvel's Merry Mutants and stirred my imagination. Find it right here or wherever you find your podcasts. Also, check out more episodes of Menage a Pop and Tim's other excellent podcast 20th Century Pop while you're there.

Happy birthday, Grant Goodeve!

Best known as David Bradford on Eight Is Enough, he's a big favorite at BOTNS, so let's crack one open and celebrate!

Image may contain: 5 people, people smilingImage may contain: 5 people, people smilingImage may contain: 5 people, people smiling

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Top Ten #75

1) The Bicentennial Minute: One of the most outstanding things ever produced for television was this series of short segments aired on CBS in 1976.  Here's the final spot that aired, one starring the big guy. Jerry Ford:

2) The Greatest American Hero: OK, maybe the show doesn't scream, "USA! USA! USA!" but it, uh, has "American" in the title.  ALso, the FilmRise Classic TV channel (available on Roku and online) is running a marathon this weekend.

3) Murray Hamilton: So everyone is all fired up to watch Hamilton this weekend, right?

(If you were in our Facebook group, you would have seen that joke two days ago. Lucky you, right?)

4) Hugh Downs: R.I.P. to the former host of 20/20 and also star of shows as varied as Today, Concentration, Over Easy, The Tonight Show...and of course his ill-fated stab at "relevance" in 1995, the rap video showcase "Yo, I'm Downs with It!"

For years, Downs was considered the record holder for hours appearing on TV. Someday i hope to pursue the record for most hours watching TV.

5) Benson: Roku Channel just added the first 3 seasons of the series for streaming, and please, please don't call it "The Jerry Seinfeld Years."

6) Katherine Helmond: Happy birthday to the recently departed star of Soap, which we just so happen to have discussed in our latest season!

7) Hong Kong Phooey: Finished #2, right behind Jonny Quest, in this ScreenRant article ranking the most underrated Hanna Barbera characters.

OK, the article is a little suspect (Should the likes of Quest and Snagglepuss and--Huckleberry Hound, for Yogi's sake???--even be on an "underrated" list with Stanley Chan and Babu? I say no, but it is a fun read even if it might be considered 'clickbait" (totally unlike the scientific, well-thought-out top ten lists we run here from time to time).

8) Carl Reiner: R.I.P. to the comedy legend. Anyone remember Good Heavens?

9) Blazing Saddles the sitcom: Yes, the sitcom. Mike posted a link to this fascinating video in our facebook group this week:

10) Happy Days: Still the definitive account of how America became AMERICA? You guessed it, Season 8's American Musical:

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy Independence Day!

Happy holiday, everyone! On this July 4, let's think about the great TV of the 1970s and 1980s that brought us together...and the bad TV that also brought us together for different reasons!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Captain America (1990) DVD is going OOP

Shout! Factory! gave us a decent DVD of the two CBS Captain America TV movies, and it is still available (and it is CHEAP), but the company's website lists the 1990 theatrical movie "Collector's Edition" as "Going out of print in 2020--Save while supplies last!"

Better act quick to get in on these massive savings--you can save a whopping ONE DOLLAR and get it for 13.98 instead of 14.98 right now. I might get 4 or 5 at that kind of discount!

Is it going OOP because someone else has licensed it for a new special edition or blu-ray? I don't know, but who is with me in saying we could use a Captain America/Captain America II Blu-Ray with extras?  Original promos...making of documentary...Reb Brown and Connie Sellecca commentaries!  Someone make it happen!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Inside the Guide #3: 6/27/75 Part 2--TV after dark! (June 22-28, 1975)

Way after dark, that is! After our look last week at the TV of June 27, 1975, it's time to go beyond prime time, and let me tell you, this is where things really get interesting.  In prime time, summer was getting in gear with a lineup filled with reruns.  After prime time, we get plenty of reruns--but cool ones! And movies! And--well, let's just get to it.

Source for this piece is an contemporaneous New Hampshire edition of TV Guide.  This edition includes some big BAH-ston channels as well as the local Granite State fare. It sure looks to me like the viewers in the region had some quality channels.  Ah, the days before infomercials! Even though programming essentially ceases at about 4:00 A.M. (If a station broadcasts but TV Guide doesn't list it, does it really broadcast?), the late/overnight schedule here is packed with great stuff.

It's great to see a Greatest Sports Legends here, and this tribute to the Big O sounds like a good one.  I said on our GSL episode that I always thought of it as a weekend afternoon kind of program, but here it is at 10:30 on a Friday night.

Channel 56 has a lot of good stuff, and here we see a Perry Mason, a Best of Groucho (AKA You Bet Your Life), and a Mitchum flick to end the workweek.

Check out the battle at 11:30, where NBC of course has Carson, then still 90 minutes and with a new episode. CBS runs The Last Rebel, which may be the best Joe Namath/Jack Elam Western ever made.  ABC has Wide World of Mystery. It's a far cry from the "Late Night Wars" of the modern era, with every network offering a talk/comedy show or two.

Channel 27, a Manchester independent, follows GSL and local news with a Bowery Boys movie!  That's it as far as TV Guide is concerned, but 27 did run Jack Benny earlier (and also something called Elder American at 8:00).

Let's skip ahead for a moment to 1:00, when NBC follows The Tonight Show with The Midnight Special. Who says NBC wasn't hip? Keep in mind this is several months before the premiere of Saturday Night! Can't go wrong with the Temps (the rest of the lineup, I admit, doesn't seem as groovy), but what is up with "a 'Rock Rap' segment with Carol Wayne?"

Don't worry, folks, it's a music news segment, not the late Wayne doing a pre-Fred Durst medley.

I think my new favorite channel is retroactively channel 38 WSBK Boston), now sadly a MyTV affiliate but a great indie station back in the day.  According to this issue, Laugh Classics is a nightly program. Earlier episodes this week spotlighted Leon Errol and Edgar Kennedy, who shows up again in tonight's pair of comedy shorts.

Channel 5 looks decent, too, with Mission Impossible and an Ealing classic with Alec Guiness. These rebels are running MI before Wide World of Mystery for some reason!

Two final notes: Shout-out to the ABC News on channel 44 for airing with captions.  We here at BOTNS are strong advocates of closed captioning! It's too bad that this captioned showing is the auxiliary one on a PBS station instead of the "main" one earlier in the evening1

Finally, the Crack Research Team at BOTNS assures me that the doctor in residence on House Call is not that Jay Mohr.  I don't think I'd feel comfortable getting stroke advice from the other one.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day, everyone, with a special shout-out to our listeners in, from, and in the general vicinity of our Northern neighbor.

The only purely Canadian series we have covered on the podcast is Beachcombers, but we plan to change that in the future. We have talked about series with Michael J. Fox, Alan Thicke, Dan Aykroyd, and of course we kicked off our explorations of TV movies with Bill Shatner in Pray for the Wildcats.

What other Canadian series should we talk about on the podcast?

Happy National Postal Workers Day!

It's a, eh, well-known fact that, eh, today is National Postal Workers Day. So, er, tip your cap to your favorite beloved civil service warrior saving your bacon on the frontlines.