Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Brady Bunch warned us this episode was gonna be rough

I mentioned on the current episode of BOTNS that one of my least-favorite Brady Bunch episodes is the one with Robert Reed and Florence Henderson, each in a rare dual role, playing their grandparents. We get a tipoff at the beginning of this episode that this isn't gonna be a "good" one; no, it's gonna be a showcase for the performers:

In my humble opinion, the proper way to do it is to either not give extra billing for the performers or to put it at the end. Also acceptable is ??? as the actor's name.

In this case, The Brady Bunch is so proud of this acting achievement--age makeup, creakier voices, etc.--that it's putting it in our faces right from the get-go. The episode confirms this sign of trouble, as Grandpa Brady played by Reed is stuffy and creaky, and, worse, Grandma Hutchins is that other stereotype of old people on TV: vivacious, straight-shootin' with her words, and full of spunk. Groan!

We may have more to say about this episode in an upcoming project, but here is another taste of what you're in for in "Never Too Old":

Monday, September 28, 2020

Show Notes: Episode 8-1 BONUS: Brady Bunch opening

*The Brady Bunch Effect is credited to Christopher Chapman, who won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for A Place to Stand, a creation for Expo '67 in Montreal.

*Here is an obituary for Chapman with some info about his career.  We also repeat our recommendation of Kimberly Potts' The Way We All Became the Brady Bunch, which has a great explanation of the show's opening sequence.

*Alice Nelson was Mike Brady's housekeeper (and the boys') and stayed with them when he married Carol after his first wife died.

*This ME-TV story talks about how Ann B. Davis created a secret backstory for Alice. The interview referenced in that story is right here (hit the 24-minute mark)

A Very Brady Bonus

You might think we'd run out of things to say about The Brady Bunch, but we've found a little more to say. In this supplemental episode, we talk about the iconic opening credit sequence. Who looks the most awkward? Plus, what effects wizard created the sequence, and how did he do it?

Check out this episode!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Top Ten #87

1) The Brady Bunch: What better way to kick off our season than by looking at this phenomenon? Wait, don't answer that if you're a hater. Hey, despite what some people might say about the show (possibly including one of our hosts), I think there are two kinds of people in this world: those who appreciate the Bradys and sociopaths.

2) Eve Plumb: (Dawn premiered 1976) Not only was Plumb famous for being Jan on our podcast subject this week, but her notable TV movie Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway was 

3) William Conrad: This is the late actor's 100th birthday, and apart from. what, narrating Buck Rogers, we have had an appalling lack of Big Bill on the podcast. We'll try and do better.

4) Andy Griffith: On our official Facebook group (come join us), our friend Geno claimed Andy was robbed in the Battys Outstanding Actor category for season 7. Reasonable people can disagree over the Battys, which generated more buzz this year than the Emmys according to our unofficial research.

As a consolation (and Griffith DID win Outstanding Villain for his Sam Farragut in Pray for the Wildcats), here's a clip of Andy in Headmaster:

5) Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention: We send a shout-out to Martin Grams' long-running con, canceled this year for obvious reasons but running a virtual program on Facebook this weekend. Included on the events that are available on demand is an Erik Estrada/Larry Wilcox chat from several years ago (Don't penalize them for not being able to get the real star of CHiPs).

6) Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale: Happy Yom Kippur, and we note that Sandy Koufax sat out a scheduled start in Game 1 of the World Series on the holiday in 1965.

But there isn't a lot of 1970s and 1980s footage of Koufax, so let's talk about his famous teammate Don Drysdale, forever linked with Sandy in baseball lore, who was a commentator for years after retiring AND was on...The Brady Bunch!

7) Eugene Levy: Congratulations to Levy for his big Emmy win for Schitt's Creek last weekend, but I still think his best work was on this show:

8) Brian's Song: R.I.P. Gayle Sayers, the great bears running back whose friendship with teammate Brian Piccolo inspired one of the most beloved TV movies ever:

9) Robbie Rist: The much-maligned Cousin Oliver got some props on the podcast when I singled out Rist's performance as worthy of praise. I still need to see this one, though:

10) Richard Kline: Are you like me? Do you think Richard Kline is too awesome to deserve drab coffee every day? Well, I have great news for you:

Saturday, September 26, 2020

YouTube Spotlight: Maureen McCormick for Burger King

We try to be positive and respectful of the actors who entertain us in a difficult, often cruel profession.  So please don't take this as snarky when I say I was alarmed to see Maureen McCormick in a Burger King commercial filmed a couple of years after The Brady Bunch:

Now, there's also a Barry Williams Shasta ad in our video playlist this week, but that's different because it's plausible to interpret it as Barry Williams BEING Barry Williams even with the Renaissance Faire garb.. Poor McCormick is, for all the audience knows, an employee at a Burger King (And while I'm at it, 'nuff respect to the BK employees out there serving me at the drive-thru). Oh, we know she's not actually an employee, but the fact that she is playing one and isn't just, hey, it's Maureen McCormick, and I LOVE Burger King, is a sad reminder of how difficult it can be for actors and especially child actors.

There isn't anything wrong with being in a fast food ad, but on the heels of a 5-year run as an iconic (even then) TV character? That's rough.

Rosey Grier is awesome in this, by the way.

Friday, September 25, 2020

The Brady Bunch video playlist is now live!

After listening to our Season 8 premiere, continue to celebrate The Brady Bunch by enjoying our video playlist. Click below to see: Bobby wreaks havoc on Greg's date! Vintage promos! Commercials with the cast! Song and dance! And if you think we could resist including the disco medley from the variety show spinoff...ehhhh, you don't know us well, do you?

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Show Notes Episode 8-1: The Brady Bunch "The Big Bet"

*Welcome back to BOTNS! We have a lot planned for this new season, and we thank you for supporting us.  With many people listening to podcasts less then ever due to current circumstances, we are even more grateful for our listeners.

*The Brady Bunch premiered in 1969 and lasted 5 seasons and 117 total episodes before ending its original run in 1974.  Of course it has lived on in reruns and spinoffs ever since!

*Leave it to Beaver ran 6 seasons and a whopping 234 episodes on ABC.

*"The Big Bet" first aired at 8:00 on ABC on Friday, January 28, 1972, followed by The Partridge Family, Room 222, The Odd Couple, and Love, American Style. NBC had Sanford and Son and Chronolog, while CBS' lineup was O'Hara United States Treasury, She Waits (a Patty Duke TV movie), and The Don Rickles Show.

*The Brady Bunch came to Nick at Nite in 1998 and lasted till 2002 in that initial run.

*The house used for the show's exteriors was built in 1959 and is located by the Los Angeles River. This is the house purchased by HGTV for a reported $3.5 million.

*Elroy Schwartz, credited writer of this episode, is credited on IMDB with writing 12 episode of Gilligan's Island and 9 episodes of Bunch. A later episode he scripted, Greg Gets Grounded, covers vaguely similar ground to this one with its exact words emphasis Greg uses to get around extra punishment for breaking punishment (as we mention on the show).

*As we mention, the series never got Paul Williams, but it did get this guy.

Close enough?

*This guy was not one of the kids with colorful on-point nicknames in Mike's dad's crew growing up:

*The book we mention on the podcast is Kimberly Potts' The Way We All Became the Brady Bunch highly recommended. As I said, she does a particularly good job at analyzing the complicated relationship Robert Reed had with the series. Click here for more info!

*Sam Franklin, AKA Sam the Butcher as played by Allan Melvin, was only in 8 episodes (though mentioned in many more)!

*The trampoline episode with Carol's overprotective fretting is season 2's "What Goes Up..."

*Hope Juber was in 4 episodes of Bunch as 3 different characters, credited each time as Hope Sherwood. She later was in The Bradys as another character and wrote scripts for several later brady projects as well as two episodes of The Munsters Today.

Episode 8-1: The Brady Bunch: The Big Bet

It only took eight seasons, but we finally talk about our second-favorite 8-member family--9 if you count Alice, which we do--the Brady Bunch! Bobby and Greg make a bet, and the unexpected winner becomes a tyrant! Plus one of our hosts wrestles with his complicated feelings about the show.

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Inside the Guide: Was TV Guide just tired of All in the Family?

 It certainly seems that the author of this blurb for a rerun in a 1980 edition is weary of the whole All in the Family raison d'etre:

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Top Ten #86

 1) Cloris Leachman and Julia Louis Dreyfus: As we wait for the Emmys tonight, let's celebrate the two women who share the record for most acting wins--8.

That's these two, in case it wasn't clear.

2) Ed Asner: Asner holds the record for most Emmy wins by a male star, with 7 (5 for Lou Grant, two for miniseries roles). We can't confirm the rumor that Cloris Leachman still acts "only because I have to hold off that SOB Asner."

3) Joanna Cameron: Happy birthday to the one, true Isis, the lovely and talented Joanna Cameron. I think one of the worst things about the rise of the terrorist group in the mid 2010s was the possibility it would make it even more difficult to find The Secrets of Isis.

4) Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell: The short-lived flop variety show premiered 45 years ago tonight, and I sure wish full episodes were available. Not a lot of footage out there, but Mason Reese was on that first show, so here's a clip with him:

5) Good Times: Seth MacFarlane is involved with a reboot that's coming, but don't worry, folks, they can't take away our memories.

6) The Cosby Show: The sitcom premiered today in 1984.

(Steps back in silence and calls for the next entry in the list)

7) National Pepperoni Pizza Day: Or as it's known in my household, every day.

8) Anne Meara: The late actress was born this day in 1929.

9) Anthony Denison: Happy birthday to the former Ray Luca from the great (well, for one season, anyway) Crime Story.

10) Head of the Class: Warner Archive announced it is releasing the second season of the sitcom on DVD in late October. Of course we discussed a first season episode on the podcast. What a Country remains unavailable on home video.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Happy birthday. Paul Williams!

 Believe it or not, Paul Williams, the golden boy of 1970s pop culture, turns 80 today! We saluted Mr. Williams a few seasons ago when we discussed his turn as Alison Troy in The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries episode "Meet Dracula."

Mr. Williams has written many memorable moments and given many memorable performances, but is this still his finest TV moment?

Friday, September 18, 2020

This Day in TV History: Make way for THE EQUALIZER!

 35 years ago today, CBS unleashed The Equalizer on the nation! Edward Woodward is the titular figure in this action drama, with Robert Lansing in support:

The series lasted 4 seasons and 88 episodes, mostly on Wednesday nights at 10:00, though it also aired Thursdays.  Never a huge hit, it faced off against Hotel and St. Elsewhere its first two seasons, then got Dynasty against it on ABC.  Its final season, it was moved to 9:00, where it squared off against sitcoms--The Wonder Years and Hooperman on ABC and Night Court and Baby Boom (remember that one?) on NBC.

The series has not had a high profile in reruns this millennium--or ever, that I can recall--but it is available on (it's a Universal production ). Anyone interested in us tackling this one on the podcast someday?

Thursday, September 17, 2020

A Preview of Things to Come: Season 8

This week, we give you a quick preview of our upcoming season 8, which premieres Thursday, September 24, 2020. We also tell you where else you can hear Rick and Mike, and we somehow manage to work Jeffrey Scott and Kenny Rogers into the discussion.

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

This Day in TV History: CHiPs premieres on NBC!

On this day in 1977, the only show we have covered twice (so far!) premiered on NBC.  Yes, CHiPs took its first ride on Thursday, September 15, 1977.

The series was a showcase for Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox, but of course we here at BOTNS are fond of the casting of Sergeant Gertraer.  You might say it was GENIUS!

We talked about the show in our first season and again in our 50th episode extravaganza.

Monday, September 14, 2020

This Day in TV History: The Golden Girls debuts

35 years ago today, The Golden Girls premiered on NBC and was the top-rated show of the night, and who can blame America for tuning in after seeing this on a fall preview special?

The episode followed new ones of Gimme a Break! and The Facts of Life and was followed by a new 227 and the Miss America Pageant. CBS countered with a rerun of Airwolf and a rebroadcast of made-for-TV movie Illusions with Karen Valentine.

ABC kicked off the night with In Like Flynn, an original movie produced by our old friend Glen Larson and starring Jenny Seagrove and William Conrad. Seagrove's novelist who gets involved in intrigue is much younger than the murder mystery novelist who was over on CBS Sunday nights! A Love Boat rerun closed out ABC's evening.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Top Ten #85

Tomorrow is a busy day at BOTNS (good things are coming), so we are posting the Top Ten a little early this week:

1) John Schuck: "The great" John Shuck was the subject of some interesting chatter in our Facebook group lately.  Here he is in one of his not-so-great projects:

2) Taxi: Premiered on this date in 1978. Odds that Judd Hirsch was already angry about something on September 13?

Here's a promo for the following week's episode:

3) Diana Rigg: R.I.P. to one of the great icons of British TV--nay, TV, period. I mean this as a sincere compliment: Many who grew up in the BOTNS era talk about her the way we talk about Erin Gray.

4) Rick Moranis: The former SCTV star returned to performing this week--sort of--with a commercial spot.

5) Phyllis George: On this date in 1970, the recently deceased George became Miss America.

6) Star Trek: The world celebrated the premiere of the Original Series (and the Animated Series, which debuted on the same calendar date) with Star Trek Day. OK, and some other Trek series, too.

7) The Doobie Brothers: The Professor of Rock's YouTube channel featured an interview with two of the guys talking about that time they took down a bootlegging ring.  No, they actually talked about "China Grove." An opportunity missed there, I think.

8) The Smurfs: The cartoon series premiered on NBC on this date in 1981, and for some of us that theme song has been in our heads ever since.

9) Nina Blackwood: Happy birthday to the the second-coolest of the original MTV VJs (Let's face it, it's a 4-way tie behind J.J. Jackson).

10) Kevin Dobson: R.I.P. to the star of Knots Landing and Kojak.

Inside the Guide: Do I need to pay more attention to The Beverly Hillbillies?

 Ah, don't we all yearn for a day when the material on our television was family-friendly, wholesome, clean fun? Don't we all lament what has happened to television in recent decades? Let's go back to 1980, when you could see a rerun of The Beverly Hillbillies demonstrate--wait a minute:

Just the thing for kids getting ready to choose between Spidey and Magilla at the bottom of the hour: Jethro Clampett opening an R-rated Hooters!

I knew the gals preferred naked swimming in the water supply on Petticoat Junction, but I didn't know that this other Paul Hennig show had such wanton sexuality.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Inside the Guide: They nailed the description of this MTMS rerun!

Some of the best writing in the world of television used to be in the weekly TV Guide. I really like how this 1980 edition summarizes one of the most famous sitcom episodes ever:

Clear and concise!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

This Day in TV History: Star Trek premieres

 It's Star Trek day here at BOTNS, too.  The Original Series (the one that matters as far as this humble podcaster is concerned) premiered on NBC on this day in 1966. 

The show is outside our standard 1970s and 1980s timeframe, but in rerun form it was a big part of our television experience in the era.  And don't forget The Animated Series!

So far we have "welcomed" Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner on the podcast. Could James Doohan be next if we do Jason of Star Command?  Or could Nimoy or Shatner return to the show sooner than you might think?

Monday, September 7, 2020

Happy Labor Day!

 In what may well become a new BOTNS tradition, to celebrate Labor Day, here's a picture of independent working man David Bradford on a construction site:

OK, actually it's David Bradford singing at a charity benefit, but somehow that seems more appropriate.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Top Ten #84

1) Ed McMahon: I think our contract with you, our listeners/readers, should be that whenever someone posts a cool commercial with BOTNS superstar Ed McMahon, we put him in the top 10.

2) Tom Seaver: R.I.P. to the former host of Greatest Sports Legends...oh, and also one of the greatest starting pitchers of the 20th century.

3) Coach: IMDB TV added all seasons this month. The show began in 1989, so it is technically eligible for the podcast!

4) The Harlem Globetrotters: Check out this sweet (Georgia Brown) clip of the former TV mainstays doing their thing on The Ed Sullivan Show:

5) National Read a Book Day:  We suggest Hailing Taxi by Lovece and Franco, but you could also read a book that's not about a television show.

6) The Ghost Busters: The Saturday morning live-action comedy debuted on this day in 1975.

7) Susan Powell: On this day in 1980, Powell was named the 1981 Miss America in the annual pageant as it was broadcast on NBC. The trained opera singer also hosted Home Matters for Discovery networks.

8) Jane Curtin: The SNL and Kate&Allie star was born this day in 1947.

9) Swoosie Kurtz: Happy birthday to the star of Love, Sidney!

10) Every streaming service that is free: Nice of Disney to give people access to Mulan, but 30 bucks on top of a monthly fee? Makes me appreciate that I can watch old Unsolved Mysteries for free on about 10 different channels if I so desire.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Happy birthday, Leonard Frey!

Happy birthday to the late Leonard Frey, who entered this world in 1938 and departed it way too early.  He impressed us with his performance (and mustache) in Best of the West, the short-lived but hilarious Western we discussed in our fifth season's Forgotten Sitcoms episode.  His Parker Tillman lost Best Heel, but won for Best Facial Hair earlier in the evening.

Here he is sans 'stache:

Thursday, September 3, 2020

This Day in TV History: Saluting a film legend and burning off a pilot

50 years ago today, at 8:00 P.M., NBC reran the 1968 special Dear Mr. Gable. The hourlong tribute to the late screen legend, who died in 1960, is narrated by Burgess Meredith.  The presentation combines interviews with people knew him, movie clips, and home movies showing Gable and Carole Lombard.

Here is a look at Mary Lou Metzger singing "Dear Mr. Gable" on The Lawrence Welk Show in 1981:

40 years ago, on September 3, 1980, CBS led off the evening at 8 with Riding for the Pony Express, a failed pilot for a Western series. The show spotlights the action of two young men who...ride for the Pony Express. John Hammond, who would go on to star in The Blue and the Gray miniseries, co-stars with Harry Crosby.  Yes, Crosby is the son of...Kathryn Grant.  Oh, and Bing Crosby.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Happy birthday, Terry Bradshaw!

 Happy 72nd birthday to NFL Hall of Famer, Steeler legend, and Battle of the Network Shows subject Terry Bradshaw!

In Season 6, our look at Greatest Sports Legends included baseball Hall of Famer and fellow Pittsburgh icon Willie Stargell interviewing Bradshaw as part of a spotlight on the quarterback.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

This Day in TV History: The end of "Gunsmoke" on CBS

45 years ago, Gunsmoke ended its 150-year run (duration approximate) in prime time on the CBS television network with a rerun of "The Busters," its final first-run episode which premiered in March of 1975. We bring this up because, hey, can you believe Gunsmoke is actually a program from our Battle of the Network Shows era?

It sure is. In fact, the long-long-long-running oater (and there you have the other reason we bring this up: so I can write "oater") aired five seasons in the 1970s. Let's just look at our most recent season of the podcast and discount the specials and movies.  Gunsmoke's 1970s run alone is longer than the entire runs of Miami Vice, What a Country, Soap, Spider-Woman, and The Transformers. The Fourth Doctor appeared in 172 Doctor Who episodes; Gunsmoke ran 120 in its 5 Seventies seasons.  OK, that last one goes against the point, but remember Gunsmoke was an hour long at that point! 

Legend has it that CBS' William Paley saved the show at the last minute in 1967 after his wife lobbied for it and Gilligan's Island got canned instead.  Then the series was spared again several years later in the midst of the infamous rural purge.  Gunsmoke was still a respectable ratings earner in its 20th and final season and was then just two seasons removed from a string of top ten finishes.  

So don't be surprised if someday you see us cover Gunsmoke. In the meantime, if you want to see the series itself, just turn it to Me-TV or TV Land, and you'll likely find it at any given time.