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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Happy National Department Store Day!

October 16 is a day to celebrate retail shopping--like we don't do that enough the rest of the year. Still, it's nice to take a minute to remember my favorite stores of old, like Hills. It was where the toys where, you know.



Friday, October 15, 2021

Happy birthday, Linda Lavin!

Today is the birthday of one of the iconic female performers in TV history, one who headlined one of the biggest and beloved sitcoms the medium has ever seen. Yes, we're talking about Linda Lavin, though Lucille Ball was born on this date, too.



We just discussed Alice in our most recent season, and Lavin was the star for all 9 seasons--no small feat. She has a distinguished career on stage and screen beyond the long-running CBS comedy, but I want to commend her for her awesome YouTube channel, which has behind-the-scenes clips and specials galore.

Happy birthday, Linda Lavin!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

This Day in TV History: TV movies and baseball

40 years ago tonight, CBS and ABC took different approaches to countering the National League Playoffs (Expos vs. Dodgers) on NBC. ABC broadcast an original movie with a veneer of prestige, a biopic of an important figure of the 20th century:


Jaclyn Smith was nominated for a Golden Globe for playing Jackie, and the movie also picked up 3 Emmy nominations in side categories. James Franciscus (JFK), Donald Moffat, and Rod Taylor also star.

Meanwhile, CBS, after Mr. Merlin and WKRP, showed The Two Lives of Carol Letner, which pretty much sounds like trash.  I know which movie I'd want to watch, and it ain't on ABC!


The above promo is taken from a rerun from 1984, when Meredith Baxter-Birney and Don Johnson were parts of bigger and better things. Also in the cast is the great Dolph Sweet, who is also in Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy! Stalwarts Robert Webber and Graham Jarvis appear, too. This one just seems like fun...for the viewer. Maybe not so much for Carol Letner.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Power Rankings: SCTV

OK, so we have ranked casts/characters of some other series we covered in this ninth season, but surely we're not foolish enough to attempt to do so with the cast of SCTV, right?



Aha! We ARE that foolish! Well, I am, at least.

This is a difficult task, ranking the cast of SCTV, a series with a massive amount of talent and a wide variety of skills and strengths. Yet do it I must. Anyone who was a regular performer during the series' run is eligible. Remember the criteria: If these castmembers fought each other today in Killarney, Ontario, who would win?

1) Dave Thomas: Already this is impossible! AARGH! Thomas gets number one because he seems like a quintessential "glue guy," and it's nice to reward them every now and then. Other performers may have bigger fame outside the show, but in some ways, Thomas IS SCTV.

2) Rick Moranis: Then again, so is this guy. See how tough this is? Moranis' high spot is personal; I think for me his appearance to hilarity induced ratio may be the highest on the show.

3) Joe Flaherty: One of the more underrated performers of not just this show, but the time period.

4)  Andrea Martin: Why is it everyone on this list feels "underrated"? Can an entire ensemble be underrated? Martin truly is one of the outstanding talents of her generation, and on other shows, she would be even higher.

5) Eugene Levy: It's amazing that in some ways his "modern" successes overshadow his SCTV work. Well, we're not forgetting it.

6) John Candy: Might seem a little low, but we're ranking him on SCTV only, and many of his iconic sketches just didn't click for me as those of some of the others.

7) Marty Short: Again, he is a beloved performer, but his prime was away from the show, and being number 7 is no shame on this list.

8) Catherine O'Hara: Another solid glue performer, but she doesn't have that one brilliant character like Thomas' 

9) Harold Ramis: Gets a spot based on his OG status.

10) Tony Rosato/Robin Duke (tie): Tough list to crack, and besides, their stints were so short that many don't realize they were on this show as well as SNL.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

This Day in TV History: Taste of Evil (1971)

50 years ago tonight, ABC premiered original movie A Taste of Evil, and if you think the title is great, consider the cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Roddy McDowall, Arthur Connell, William Windom, and Barbara Parkins. 


We don't usually embed full movies/episodes here, more for practical reasons than anything else (they are liable to get yanked at any time), but this one is all over the place though not officially on home video. The dark story focuses on a 13-year-old rape victim who, after a long stint in a sanitarium, returns to a troubled home and finds more traumatic experiences.

A Taste of Evil has an impressive pedigree behind the camera as well. Director John Llewellyn Moxey is like the Spielberg of network TV movies, and screenwriter Jimmy Sangster did Hammer movies like Curse of Frankenstein

Elsewhere on the networks on Tuesday, October 12, 1971, CBS led off with Monkeys, Apes, and Man from National Geographic at 7:30 and followed it with new episodes of Hawaii Five-0 and Cannon. NBC had new installments of Ironside, Sarge, and The Funny Side. ABC bookended the movie with new Mod Squad and Marcus Welby.




Monday, October 11, 2021

Happy Chris Columbus Day!

This is of course Columbus Day, an occasion when all Americans come together to celebrate the legacy of one of our finest filmmakers, Chris Columbus. Of course we all know him as the man behind Nine Months and Stepmom, but did you know he also created a cartoon series in 1986?


I don't remember watching this one, but it has an impressive voice cast: David Lander, Pat Carroll, Howard Morris, John Stephenson, Henry Gibson (not doing Boris Karloff), Pat Fraley, Nancy Cartwright...Even Gino Conforti is a regular!

So on this Columbus Day, let's take a moment to think about the great man's lesser-known achievements. Fire up an episode of Galaxy High School.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Top Ten #136

1) Mr. Merlin: We wrote about this short-lived sitcom earlier this week when it celebrated its 40th anniversary. I'm not sure many people were clamoring for it on Crackle, but I for one am glad that stuff like this is available.

2) National Handbag Day: Stylish fashion accessory? Self-defense weapon? Why not both?


3) William Shatner: It's really going to happen: A 90-year-old is going into space. I bet Shatner himself thought it was a ridiculous idea until he heard they were gonna ask George Takei.

4) 1971 Country Music Awards: Aired this night 50 years ago! Charley Pride was the big winner, but I can't find a clip of him on the show, so enjoy Jerry Reed:


5) National Metric Day: You know, I'm still not feeling it. I like seeing these old Schoolhouse Rock-ish PSA segments, though!


6) Flip Wilson Show: Time Life just announced a big DVD set of the Flipster's highly rated but underseen (today) variety show, and because it's them, start saving up now.

7) Vega$: I read that this week's launch of CSI Vegas disappointed. Only one move left, CBSViacomParamount: Put reruns of THIS on Paramount Plus!


8) HBO World Championship Boxing: I just finished the cool docuseries The Kings, which made me nostalgic for the good times I had watching the action in the squared circle on Home Box Office. Too bad the documentary was on Showtime! Well, I give them credit for making it, of course.


9) Happy New Year's Day, Charlie Brown: You might be thinking, why this special NOW in Halloween season? Well, reports indicate Apple Plus is developing a new Peanuts special tied to the holiday, and I say, OK, but we already have one!



10) R.I.P. Alan Kalter: I don't want to diminish his stint as announcer on The Late Show, but, jeez, so many of the stories I saw about his death neglected to mention anything else. The big one for me: His work as a voice of USA Network. I loved the way he introduced this one:








Saturday, October 9, 2021

Happy birthday to the Sagal twins!

Can you believe the Sagal twins, who epitomized youthful cuteness, or maybe cute youthfulness, are 60 years old today (That's 60 years each, not total)? Well, you should considering Double Trouble premiered in 1984! We're all getting older, folks.



The NBC sitcom lasted only about one year/2 seasons/23 episodes on NBC, but reruns seemed to stay on USA Network forever. Yeah, that's right: FOREVER.



But you know what? I kinda wouldn't mind watching one or two today, even though I don't remember watching the show back then so much as having it on. Earlier this year, I mentioned Double Trouble as one of 10 female-centric shows I'd like to see streaming somewhere. It's not Women's History Month anymore, but it is the series' birthday!



Friday, October 8, 2021

Another cool toy car: THE MOD SQUAD

I haven't been a big Mod Squad watcher, and in fact I don't remember it even being on much when I was growing up. TV Land showed it for a while, and I saw some of it when Aspire ran it a few years back, but the series has a relatively low profile these days. 


This is a cool-looking package, though:


In fact, this collectible is about 75% packaging! I still like it, though. Who can resist that iconic 1970 Plymouth GTX?

OK, I admit, as neither a Mod Squad guy nor a car guy, I can't tell you much about the Plymouth GTX, but it's up on my wall and makes a nice affordable TV display item.

The series has been available complete on DVD for some time, but it hasn't hit a major streaming site. Actually, I did try to watch an episode on YouTube several months ago, bookmarked it, and then found it was yanked.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

This Day in TV History: Mr. Merlin debuts

40 years ago tonight, CBS premiered Mr. Merlin, a show set in present-day San Francisco and featuring Barnard Hughes as the legendary wizard training a replacement so he can retire. In the meantime, he's running an auto garage as a civilian. Why not?



Up against The Greatest American Hero and Real People, the series didn't do too well, and it was moved to Monday nights at midseason. There is was up against...That's Incredible.

Mr. Merlin lasted but a single season and was not well regarded, but like many other shows in the Sony vaults, it is now streaming on Crackle. I watched the pilot last night, and there's a certain charm to it. There aren't a lot of great laughs, and it's all a bit too silly, but, hey, they tried. It's an 8:00 sitcom aimed at a younger crowd.



Also in the cast are Elaine Joyce, glammed up (maybe a bit more than you'd think for an 8:00 sitcom) as "Alexandria," who passes along "their" messages to Merlin and vice versa. It's not clear at first who "they" are, but they are powerful. Clark Brandon, also known as Jo's boyfriend Eddie on Facts of Life, is the dopey apprentice Zac, and remember Throb? Jonathan Prince from that syndicated sitcom is Zac's pal Leo.



Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

This Day in TV History: WOR debuts in New York

I talk often on the podcast (and here) about my beloved New York TV stations I watched during my youth. WPIX 11 was my favorite--I mean, come on, Honeymooners!--but a close second was WOR 9, which was less hip, less energetic, and somehow more New Jersey than PIX, but it had one big advantage over WNEW 5: It had WWF wrestling!



On this day in 1949, WOR-TV started broadcasting with Game 1 of the Yankees-Dodgers World Series. Its official debut with regular programming started the following week, but I want to celebrate the channel's birthday today because I am in the mood to think about old NY television. To be fair, I always am!



WOR started its decline in 1987 when it added a W and corporate owner MCA made it "Universal 9." It outright jumped the shark when it became a UPN station in 1995. It had a great run for about 40 years, though.

Some of my favorite programs on Channel 9 back in the day include: 
*Romper Room
*Joe Franklin
*Tic-Tac Dough
(I watched a lot of the game shows on there)
*New York Mets baseball and Kiner's Korner
*The Morton Downey Jr. Show (It was a natural transition from Romper Room)
*The Howard Stern Show



Most notable: It was the station that got me hooked on pro wrestling with All-Star Wrestling Saturday mornings, Championship Wrestling Saturday evenings, and shows like Wrestling Spotlight sprinkled in as well. I grew to love NWA on TBS much more, but it all started with the WWF on Saturdays.

WPIX had more of my favorite shows, and WNEW had more cartoons, but Channel 9 had the wrestling. WPIX soon added some of its own to get into the game, but as far as I knew, WOR was there first, ensuring that decades later I would still remember it with fondness.

Happy birthday, WOR!



Monday, October 4, 2021

BOTNS Investigates: Crackle and the disappearance of its shows (updated 10/5)

This summer saw an explosion of short-lived vintage TV on Crackle--some of it beloved, some of it surprising in its addition, some of it just bizarre. it felt like anything in Sony's vaults was fair game, and Crackle became the most surprising and interesting SVOD service out there.

Then came October 1. As I checked to see what new material was added, I discovered that while a few things might be new--That Girl, for one--most of that cool stuff added over the summer was now gone!

Bridget Loves Bernie, Camp Runamuck, Hawk, Occasional Wife, The Fantastic Journey...all gone. Even series that had been on a little longer like My Two Dads were no longer there. Because I am in the habit of checking Crackle multiple times a week, I can report that some series like Mr. Merlin, Living Dolls, and UPN Chris Hardwick-starrer Guys Like Us (!) were on Crackle a day, maybe two, before vanishing.

I went to the source and asked Crackle's customer support. Here is our exchange: 

What happened to the dozens of rare shows you added recently, like Hawk, Melba, Occasional Wife, etc.? It's like overnight half of your TV library disappeared without notice. Are they off temporarily?

Hello,

Thanks for contacting Crackle Support. We change our content the first day of every month and we are glad to hear from our users and consider every show & movie they suggest to us. Some movies and shows are only available for a limited time due to agreements with programming providers. Please check back as it may return another time. The best way to stay up to date on Crackle’s programming is to sign-up for our newsletter emails on your account settings.

Any request you send is going to be analyzed by the Programming Team.

We hope you continue streaming shows & movies on Crackle.

Regards,
Crackle Customer Support

Obviously this is not the whole story. Most of these series were added in scattershot fashion at random times during the month. Many were missing episodes. The Famous Teddy Z debuted with the first handful of its episodes, then finally added the rest...only to be purged with so many others in October. There's no way someone licensed Guys Like Us for two days.

This weekend, a few shows, like Melba, returned. Others were added, like The Beverly Hillbillies and Bonanza--but that's no gain. It's the same public domain episodes available all over the place. Where are the rarities like Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (yes, there was a TV show)? 

My theory was that the shows had a "soft opening" and weren't really supposed to be there. It's tough to tell since Crackle doesn't seem to promote complete lists of what is coming each month. I also thought shows were temporarily pulled to give them time to assemble more episodes and then re-add them. Yet the service rep didn't want to admit that if true. Plus Melba is still only there in partial form.

What is going on here? Why offer so much and then yank it without warning? BOTNS will continue to monitor this developing situation!


UPDATE 10/5: Most of the shows have returned to the service after an absence of several days, and in fact Crackle issued a press release listing them among the many new shows coming to the service in October. In fact, there are several more coming soon according to this.

That's all well and good, but I still wonder what happened. And if the series were coming right back after a temporary break for some reason, why not just tell me that instead of spitting out some corporate gobbledygook? How about something like, "Hey, don't sweat it, they'll be back soon. In fact, we're also getting Crazy Like a Fox, which might make a fun episode for your podcast!"

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Top Ten #135

1) The Rockford Files: We revived our ninth-season opener this week with our exclusive power rankings of the characters this week, and number one may surprise you!

Well, no, actually, it won't.  But number 8 might!

What do you think?



2) Art Hondros and the many stars of BOTNS: Please check out this brilliant artist, creator of the awesome new design in our store!

3) Madlyn Rhue: Happy birthday to the late Madlyn Rhue, who of course we know as Fences from Poor Devil.  Since no one has yet compiled her scenes from that one, here is this:



4) Ricardo Montalban: One of our favorites from this past season sat down with TCM for an extensive interview in 1995, and it's a recent addition to its YouTube channel:


5) National Boyfriend Day: You know who makes a nice, reliable boyfriend? George Glass. Jan really lucked out when she met that guy, didn't she?



6) Captain Kangaroo: Bob Keeshan's seminal show premiered on this day in 1955 and entertained many kids throughout the 1970s and 1980s. 



7) Jack Wagner: Happy birthday to the former Frisco Jones, and thanks for giving me an excuse to post a Solid Gold clip!



8) Red Flag: The Ultimate Game: This movie premiered 40 years ago tonight on CBS. The cast includes Barry Bostwick, William Devane, and Joan Van Ark, and how 1980s does that sound?




9) Night Court: The reboot just got a series order from NBC. Please, please, please let this be a way to get the original on HBO Max or Peacock (HBO Max can do better, IMHO, than Family Matters, Step by Step, and Full House, all of which are new on there this month)!




10) Soul Train Thanks to Mario500 (check out his site here) for passing along this episode of the It's Been a Minute podcast (adapted for the web for your reading pleasure, too) appreciating the long-running show that we just discussed this season!


Friday, October 1, 2021

Power Rankings: The Rockford Files!

We're going through the big shows we covered this season on the podcast and sharing our exclusive Power Rankings, and this week it's time to look back at The Rockford Files, that beloved NBC P.I. show that kicked off our ninth season.

Remember how this works: I look and think, if these characters all squared off in my rumpus room in Oswego, who would win? With that said, let's get to it.

(Note that for the purposes of this list, characters had to be featured in at least two episodes)

1) Jim Rockford: No brainer here. James Garner created one of the most popular characters in TV history.

2) Dennis Becker: Sure, Dennis doesn't always act the way we want--at first--but he usually comes through despite getting yelled at by his superiors. Overall he's a great pal for Jim, and I gotta feel for the guy when things go south for him, which is about every other episode.

3) Beth Davenport: Another one of those characters who it just seems had to have been in more episodes than she was (33), Beth is practical, assertive, and a great match for Jim. She makes each episode better.

4) Rocky: I didn't totally "get" Jim's dad (not to be confused with Jim's Dad from American Pie) until watching a bunch of episodes, but he's an essential part of the series. It clicked for me seeing The Four Pound Brick recently, which is probably my favorite Rocky episode.

5) Lance White: Tom Selleck's "charmed life" rival PI makes only a couple appearances but remains one of the show's most memorable figures.

6) Rita Kapkovic: Rita Moreno won an Emmy for prostitute with a heart of gold Kapkovic. OK, I am selling the show and the character way short with that glib description. She's a likable and charismatic guest star who has great rapport with Rockford and seems to have had potential to become a semi-regular.

7) Marcus "Gabby" Hayes: This smooth-talking PI may be one of the more underrated things Louis Gossett Jr. has done in his career. I would love to see more than just the two times he showed up to make life difficult for Rockfish--uh, Rockford. I'm looking ahead to...

8) Gandolf "Gandy" Fitch: The episode "Just Another Polish Wedding" shows what the proposed Gabby and Gandy show would have been like, and you know what? It would have been fun! Isaac Hayes is tough to look away from as the troubled Fitch, and his calling Jim "Rockfish" never gets old, but let's be honest: The character is an a-hole at best and a felon at worst.

9) Richie Brockleman: Admit, he kind of grows on you, right? He did get his own spinoff, and it didn't work, but don't blame Dennis Dugan. You can blame him for Big Daddy.

10) Angel Martin: When I researched the series for the podcast, I got the impression that Angel was a much more divisive character than I had expected. I put myself in the "little goes a long way" camp while enjoying his occasional appearances. A list like this without him would be incomplete, though.

Also receiving votes: Chapman, Diehl, "Anthony Boy" Fred Beamer

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Promo Theatre: Hot soccer action on USA Network!

Anyone remember the Major Indoor Soccer League on USA Network?

Actually, I don't. I remember college basketball, boxing, pro basketball, college football, even hockey (it goes without saying that we all remember professional wrestling on USA), but not the MISL.  But here it is!


I like how it won't be seen in the Wichita and STL areas. Why? Was the MISL that concerned about protecting its attendance? Was there LOCAL coverage of the MISL?

Notice the solemn way Al Trautwig (I assume) says it: "Our coverage will not be seen..." Hey, cheer up, Al.  That leaves about 245 other major markets that can hear you call the game

And the St. Louis Steamers?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

BOTNS Art Project: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad After Party

Have you ever wondered what happens at a BATTY Awards After Party? Wonder no more. Here, we present the evidence as illustrated by Art Hondros.


I've had an idea like this in mind probably since we started the podcast, thinking of those great Jack Davis TV Guide covers, MAD magazine, movie posters, and album covers. Nine seasons in, we've gathered quite a cast of characters to fill it, and if you're a regular listener, you know this event only scratches the surface.

I've known Art Hondros for years now through the local comics scene, and we collaborated on a comic in the past. He brought everything I expected of course: talent, attention to detail, enthusiasm, cooperation, humor, and--this might sound funny as an expectation--exceeding expectations. He also brought a few of his own ideas. In fact, he finished this in March, but we held it back because he had suggested adding Rockford and Tattoo, and we didn't want to spoil their then upcoming appearances.

As far as process goes, I gave wrote a script of sorts, breaking down the scene into different groupings. Rick added a few suggestions, and I sent that to Art along with reference images. He sent me some preliminary work, we offered a few tweaks, and the back and forth a continued a couple more times. One gag didn't come to me until I saw the near-final version, and Art added that (a small but significant item).

"Pro tip" from me: you can't beat accidentally choosing the right person for the job, too. Art said this in one of our early e-mail exchanges about the project: "For someone who strives for the standard of MAD Magazine artists’ panoramas, it’s a dream come true."

Now have you ever wondered where you can get your hands on this stunning piece? Well, wonder no more! You can find it on everything from shirts to pillows to wall art right here at our TeePublic store. I plan to go for the wall art myself.



Tuesday, September 28, 2021

This Day in TV History: The Hoyt Axton Show on NBC

40 years ago tonight, NBC started its broadcast evening with an unsold pilot, The Hoyt Axton Show, starring...Mac Davis. No, it was Hoyt Axton, who should have been the hottest thing on TV already just from singing the theme song to Flo.



Unfortunately, I can't find any Hoyt Axton Show footage on YouTube, so we will have to make do with that crackling tune. There is also this awesome clip of Ringo Starr and a cast of many on a 1975 variety special:



Back to the 1981 pilot: Directed by Richard Crenna, this one features Axton as "a country singer who, after his wife dies, returns from life on the road to raise his 3 kids." Lee Goldberg's indispensable Unsold TV Pilots adds that the character's teenage daughter is dating a divorcee and his son is heading out on the road with a rock band. Yikes!

Monday, September 27, 2021

TV-related toy cars (or do I really need to collect something else?): Part 1: Taxi

One of my recent discoveries is small-scale toy cars based on (or associated with in cool-looking packaging) TV shows of the BOTNS era. The Greenlight Hollywood line has my eye right now. There are several good things about these: They look good in the packaging (in fact, I think it's better to leave these in the packaging given their size), they are often overlooked in the oft-barren toy shelves of today's big box retailers, and they are affordable collectibles to toss into the cart along with essentials like Urkel-O's and Swanson's Hungry Man dinners.

Some of these are a little sketchy, but one of my favorites is this beauty. I mean, a show called Taxi is a natural for this series:


We may not have Alex and Louie Funkos yet (Actually, Reverend Jim and Latka would be cool, too, but I'd get any of them), but we have this, and we can use our imagination. If only Corgi would have made Taxi vehicles back in the day to go along with my Supermobile and Spider-Copter!

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Top Ten #134

1) AliceOne of the only shows substantial enough to warrant its own exclusive power rankings got our treatment this week. Who's #1? Hint: It's not Martha Raye, but said number one has a connection with Raye's character!


2) Jean Smart: I can't resist saying it: Jean Smart is having a moment. In seriousness, I don't mean to denigrate her or her work, and her Emmy win last Sunday seems to have pleased everyone. I am a little surprised, though, that somehow she went from veteran actress to national treasure at some point in the last  decade.


3) The Brady Bunch: The iconic sitcom premiered this day in 1969 and has haunted our national consciousness ever since. We yakked about it last season. I don't know about Mike, but it's still in MY consciousness!

4) The Tony Awards: Tonight's the night! I want to see a competition between Tony Danza, Tony Franciosa, and Tony the Tiger. Until then, how about this 1981 clip of Nell Carter?


5) Bobby returns to Dallas: On this night in 1986, Patrick Duffy returned to the series in a somewhat divisive manner. I won't give it away, but we can discuss it someday when we get to Dallas on the pod. I still think a lot of industry types saw that and thought, "Hey, wait! We can DO that? Cool!"


6) Roald Dahl: Netflix bought the rights to the author's entire catalog. You know what that means? Surely this is coming alongside Seinfeld on October 1:


7) Kent McCord: Happy birthday, Mr. McCord, even though watching Battlestar Galactica 1980 is making me question my existence.

8) Fall began this week: We know from watching Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July that Winter has cool villains like Winterbolt, but what about Fall? Autumn is someone in your kid's preschool class. Winter is a THREAT. We need more cool Fall villains (Halloween is its own case and doesn't count).

9) Melissa Sue Anderson: Happy birthday to the actress who played, Mary, the Ingalls daughter who had scarlet fever, went blind, and lost a couple of children. On Little House on the Prairie, that's known as "getting off easy."

10) R.I.P. Jay Sandrich: The longtime director oversaw most episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Soap, and The Cosby Show.



Saturday, September 25, 2021

Happy birthday, Robert Walden!

One of the notable guest stars in the Rockford Files episode we discussed on the podcast this season is Robert Walden as record company big shot Barry Silverstein. We enjoyed the heck out of his performance in that, and of course he's a two-timer on the pod after starring as Joe Rossi in Lou Grant.

And he likes the semi-official adult beverage of BOTNS:


Happy 78th birthday, Robert Walden! Maybe someday we'll even get to Brothers.

Friday, September 24, 2021

And now a word from their sponsor: Richard Sanders, ordinary average guy, for Honda mowers

Fresh from our Fantasy Island episode that sort of featured him--OK, actually several years later--here's the WKRP star as..some regular guy in 


Sanders is fine for this. He's just about perfect, really. Yet it's part of that awkward phenomenon of performers who are very well known for a particular role yet not well enough known as themselves to be themselves in an advertisement. There's some wiggle room because they don't say he's not Richard Sanders, but they don't say he is.

I guess it's not awkward for him; he gets the gig and the money, after all.  I still can't help but feel for him, though. Maybe it's just on me.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

"Alice" power rankings

Last week, we unveiled our exclusive power rankings of the series Battlestar Galactica. There is but one other TV program we covered this season that has the scope, the ambition, the sheer majesty of that show and thus deserves its own power rankings. That's right, it's time to revisit Alice.


When we talked about the long-running sitcom early in this latest ninth season, I did roll out a ranking of the Mel's Diner regulars, but this involves everyone on the show. Remember how this works: I look at who would win if they faced each other today at a neutral site in Minot, North Dakota. Here goes:

1) Mel Sharples: The man, the hat, the spatula--Mel is the most interesting character on screen at any given time, and Vic Tayback enlivens even the most mundane material. Mel is the soul of the show.


2) Henry Beesmeyer: If Mel is the soul of Alice, then Henry is...uh, I don't know, the trick left knee? Somehow I mean that as a compliment. Any episode is richer if it has the mild-mannered but wisecracking phone lineman.

3) Alice Hyatt: I mean, it IS her show. For better or worse, that's her belting the theme song.



4) Florence Jean Castleberry: If Mel is the soul of the series and Henry is the wonky left knee, then Flo is the...grits. OK, I've taken this as far as it can go.

5) Vera Gorman: Sure, she is a bit of a dingy broad, but she was part of the diner before Alice arrived at the show's inception and she stayed for the whole run. She provides an essential foil for Mel.

6) Tommy Hyatt: The attempt to give him a guitar and turn him into a teen idol didn't go so well, but for a while he was one of the more tolerable kids on TV, and he stuck it out for all 9 seasons, too.

7) Jolene Hunnicut: Believe it or not, she is in more episodes than any waitress besides Alice and Vera. Jolene may not stand out to most fans of the series, but she was there. She brought stability after the departures of Flo and Belle.

8) Earl Hicks: Dave Madden is so good that you assume this character was in more than a mere several dozen episodes.

9) Belle Dupree: Diane Ladd gave it her all, but for reasons that aren't 100% clear, things didn't work out for her. She had the thankless task of following Flo, though, and Belle didn't bring down the whole operation, so she gets some credit for that.


10) Sam Butler: OK, OK, I admit it! Alice's "connected" alter ego is one of those gimmicks that's so bad it's worse, but I have a strange fascination with it. It took all the restraint I could muster to avoid recommending we spotlight a Sam episode on the podcast.

In all seriousness, Alice playing a gangster in drag might have been amusing once, but bringing that back killed the precious credibility the series had built up.

But still..



Tuesday, September 21, 2021

5 Shows We Could See on Streaming for Hispanic Heritage Month (but don't get your hopes up)

September was another disappointing slate for 70s and 80s TV fans except for the random obscurities Crackle keeps adding, but surprises can happen, so here are some era shows we could see to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15). Maybe we'll see something off this list in October.

*Chico and the Man: Is this one of the biggest shows to never be streamed (not counting the old AOL In2TV website)? 4 seasons, nearly 90 episodes, and the sitcom declined after Freddie Prinze's death, but it was a big hit at the beginning of its run. Yet it rarely gets any attention, with little rerun exposure and one paltry sampler release on DVD. HBO Max can really use an injection of some old-school sitcoms.




*A.K.A. Pablo: There's a good reason this sitcom was left out of the big Amazon/Norman Lear streaming announcement earlier this summer. This Paul Rodriguez vehicle produced through Lear's Embassy company flopped in its 6-episode run on ABC in 1984. Yet the cast also includes Joe Santos, Hector Elizondo, and Katy Jurado. Maybe Crackle will dig this out of the vaults.



*A.E.S. Hudson Street: In a similar vein, this Sony show from Barney Miller's Danny Arnold lasted a mere 5 episodes on ABC in 1978. It stars Gregory Sierra as a doctor at an Ambulance Emergency Service hospital in NYC.



*Villa Alegre: There is not a lot of interest in vintage children's programming except maybe iconic shows from the Baby Boomer era like Howdy Doody. And if that programming aired on public television, fugeddaboutit. Sure, you can find reruns of Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, but I don't think the original Electric Company is available anywhere (some individual episodes are for sale on Amazon and iTunes), and that one has Rita Moreno and Morgan Freeman!

How about Villa Alegre ("Happy Village"), a half-hour 1973-1977 program featuring Spanish and English? 



You don't hear too much about it these days, but when you do, you see fond memories of it. I'm not sure who owns rights to it or if the original material exists in full, but I'd love to see PBS, which is happy to shill some of its library for pledges, dig into the vaults and offer more variety than just the Ken Burns archives.

*Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers: Maybe not the most incisive depiction of Latino culture given that Sand plays musician Robert Dreyfuss, but did you know the actor was born Paul Sanchez? Well, now you do.

The series only lasted a half-season and has to be considered a failure, but it's from MTM Productions and created by James l. Brooks and Allan Burns. Penny Marshall, Jack Gilford, and Steve Landesberg joined Sand in the sitcom. Unfortunately, this is controlled by Disney, which shows little if any interest in putting old Fox-owned sitcoms on Hulu, but maybe someday it will get out there.






Sunday, September 19, 2021

Top Ten #133

(Note: this post should have run yesterday, but it didn't. Please read it in the spirit of it being yesterday. After all, we all enjoy revisiting the 1970s and 1980s, so why not...one day ago? We'll be back on track next week. Thanks!)

1) Battlestar Galactica: Watching the ill-fated follow-up makes me appreciate the show even more. I liked Battlestar Galactica  more than I ever thought I would; I dislike Battlestar Galactica 1980 more than I ever thought I could.

2) Masters of the Universe: He-Man and his pals are among the nominees for the 2021 Toy Hall of Fame class along with luminaries such as the Cabbage Patch Kids. If "riots caused" is a key qualification, then the Cabbage Patchers are no-brainers!

3) The NFL returns: Big ratings in week one for pro football, but I still miss this:


4) Paul Williams: Happy birthday to BOTNS fave Paul Williams, AKA Alison Troy, AKA one of the people who makes sure we can't play his songs on the podcast without getting our butts sued!


5) The Emmys: Yep, they're having them.

On this date in 1982, the L.A. Dodgers helped kick off that year's show:

6) Columbo: Cozi-TV celebrates the series' 50th anniversary this weekend with a marathon. Yes, you'll roll your eyes if they run "Just one more thing," before each episode, but admit it: You'll be disappointed if they don't.


7) Talk Like a Pirate Day: Does this day make anyone else think of watching the Pittsburgh Pirates on hot summer nights in the 1980s? Just me?


8) The Mary Tyler Moore Show: It premiered this night in 1970. Sky point to Ed Asner!


9) Christopher Knight: Me-TV ran a piece on one of the most important Very Special Episodes of the era: Peter's courageous struggle with puberty:


10) R.I.P. Leta Powell Drake: You may not know her offhand, but her interviews provide plenty of fodder for our YT playlists. I mean, there's even one for Tucker's Witch!


Saturday, September 18, 2021

Happy Batman Day!

 According to DC Comics, today is Batman day, and the publishing company and its corporate overlords are celebrating with news, events, comics, and of course merch.

I may have said on the podcast that "my Batman" growing up was not the Adam West one, but the Jim Aparo Batman of the comics and the Olan Soule Super Friends Batman of TV. But today I hoist a Batsoda (seriously, why don't I have one of those in my hand right now?) for all the Batmans out there!



Friday, September 17, 2021

Thank you!

For the first time in several months, there is no new podcast this week, but we will have more soon (Battys, anyone?) For now, if you have missed any of this season's episodes--or any, for that matter--may we suggest you check out our archive? If you're seeing this on our homepage, you can just scroll up and get quick access to all of our previous episodes.

Thanks to all of you for listening and for supporting the podcast in this ninth season. We have special things planned for the future, so stay with us, and keep visiting us on the web for more stuff! We will still be active here between seasons!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Rick's exclusive Battlestar Galactica power rankings

 Everyone loves 'em, everyone does 'em, and now it's time for me to join in the fun with my exclusive top 10 of the original Battlestar Galactica! Keep in mind the way I do these is if two characters from BSG were to fight each other on a neutral planet right now, who would win?

1) Commander Adama: The majestic leader of the ragtag fleet (and sometimes a ragtag show), played with mastery and command by Lorne Greene, deserves the top spot even if he gets a little obsessed with that Kobol stuff early on and it clouds his judgment.

2) Captain Apollo: Well, where else can you rate the guy who is, according to the series, best at piloting, best at warrior-ing, best at surrogate fathering, best at actual fathering, best at diplomacy-ing, and even best at triad? I think the only thing he can't do is gamble, and that could be seen as a virtue.

3) Colonel Tigh: Maybe we are putting Tigh too High, but it's not his fault the series often reduced him to walking around the bridge looking constipated. Given the chance, Tigh could have stepped in and led the ragtag fleet all over the cosmos.

4) Colonel Starbuck: Forever second banana to Apollo, but he doesn't seem to mind. Within the show's universe, he is one pretty cool guy in addition to being the second-bestest pilot, triad player, etc. By the season's end, he is still impetuous but has some maturity to go along with his warrior spirit. Plus he says feldercarb a lot.

5) Boomer: No explanation should be needed here, really. As long as we're talking about triad, what's up with the thing where Starbuck and Apollo always team up against Boomer and some scrub who barely gets camera time, let alone dialogue, and then Boomer walks off after the game with the other team?

6) Commander Cain: Lloyd Bridges guests as Cain in two episodes (or one two-parter) and is the single best guest star the original series has to offer. The character is relatively complex and has some interesting personal dynamics with Adama. I wish there were more of Cain in the show's short run.

7) Sheba: I would love to put Athena in here, but the show treated her like an also-ran and then just stopped mentioning her. Sheba wasn't quite a top-echelon character as they tried to push her, but given time, she might have become that.

8) Count Iblis: Speaking of Sheba, she was drawn in by the enigmatic Iblis, played with full, uh, enigmacity by Patrick MacNee. This character is intriguing and ultimately a better foil for the main cast than the regular villains on the shows.

9) Chameleon: Hey, it's Fred Astaire! The details of the storyline are a little hazy, but it's a fun episode and cool to see a true legend on the series.

10) Jolly: I just don't have the heart to exclude him.

Not ranked: Cassiopeia, despite the efforts of the show to elevate her; Omega, who somehow became almost a main player on the ship by the end; Baltar, who certainly gave it his all; the Cylons, who just didn't stand out enough as individuals; Serina, who just didn't last long enough; Boxey because--well, let's just leave it at that; Muffit II.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Battlestar Galactica: The LP!

Check out this recent addition to the Battle of the Network Shows collection, a glorious original soundtrack album to the Battlestar Galactica series:





Owning this doesn't just make me want to fire up my Viper and go buy a hi-fi, it makes me want to BE Stu Phillips leading the L.A. Philharmonic in this glorious music. 

I mean, looking at this album, you have to think the show is awesome and "a big deal," right?

Does the ragtag fleet have an "arts ship"? They have a prison barge, I think a trash barge, and they have concerts, but do they have one dedicated ship for the fine arts? 


Monday, September 13, 2021

YouTube Spotlight: Richard Hatch walks the line

If any video in this week's Battlestar Galactica playlist deserves a closer look, it's this:


Richard Hatch is standing on his head on a tightrope! I mean, come on!

Here is a nice bit of trivia posted on his Facebook page before his passing.

Circus of the Stars is a series of 17 two-hour specials broadcast on CBS, with the first January 10, 1977, and the last (of the era) November 27, 1992. Various celebrities did circus-like acts, with others appearing as hosts and ringmasters. Someday, we'll get this on the podcast!

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Top Ten #132

1) Battlestar Galactica: We had a great time discussing this series, and we hope you enjoyed our season finale. About the only bad thing I can say about BSG right now is that it was a gateway into watching Galactica 1980.

2) The Cylons: Back in the day, they were really, really cool. Now, they still are, but somehow they aren't nearly as important a part of the series as I remembered. 

But they're still cool.


3) The Smurfs: The NBC cartoon premiered this day in 1981. Were you smurfing it then, or did you smurf it later?

4) Taxi: This great sitcom also premiered on September 12, but in 1978, so it's not a nice round number and therefore takes a smurfseat to the Smurfs. You can hear us smurf about Taxi here.

5) National Video Game Day: Doesn't get much better than this:


6) Harry O: Hat tip to Mark Evanier's News from ME for making us aware of this wonderful appreciation of the great 1970s David Janssen PI series.


7) Paul Willson: The veteran character actor, so great on Cheers and It's Garry Shandling's Show, had a cool guest shot on Ken Levine's podcast this week.


8) Pat Sajak and Vanna White: They got contract extensions that will keep them on the show basically until the Cylons take over.


9) Nina Blackwood: Happy birthday to one of the original VJs!



10) R.I.P. Irma Kalish, Art Metrano, Michael Constantine:  Constantine played a big role in our Murder, She Wrote episode, Kalish contributed to many shows of the era, and Metrano? What more need be said but...



Friday, September 10, 2021

The Battlestar Galactica video playlist is now live!

After hearing our season finale, continue exploring the world of old-school Galactica with our video playlist! Just click below to see promos, commercials, and more! See deleted footage! A blooper! Colonel Tigh for Ultra Sheen! Richard Hatch in Circus of the Stars! And what in the world is Dirk Benedict Steel Stomachs? Find out below!


And remember you can visit our official YouTube channel anytime for all our past podcasts and episode-specific playlists for each one!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Show Notes: Episode 9-13: Batttlestar Galactica

*Battlestar Galactica aired just one season (1978) and 24 episodes (depending on how you count the pilot/various two-parters) on ABC on Sunday nights at 8:00 P.M. Galactica 1980 premiered in January of, you guessed it, 1980, but it lasted only till August.

*Season finale "Hand of God" premiered  Sunday,April 29, 1979, at 8:00 P.M. it followed John Denver's Rocky Mountain Reunion and preceded 1975's Master Gunfighter. NBC countered with Part 2 of The Tattooed Police Horse on Wonderful World of Disney, 1976's Swashbuckler, and an Edwin Newman NBC News special, College Sports, Inc: Big Money on Campus. CBS' lineup consisted of 60 Minutes, All in the Family, One Day at a Time, Alice, Stockard Channing in Just Friends, and The Mary Tyler Moore Hour.

*The original Marvel Comics Battlestar Galactica series ran 23 issues, 1979-1981. According to Wikipedia, the licensing contract with Universal stipulated that after the first handful of episodes, Marvel could not adapt the TV stories for the comics. The series had a resolution and "finale," and though it received contemporary reprint coverage, there doesn't appear to be a comprehensive modern collection of the material.

*Here is a look at the 1978 Fall Preview page on the series in TV Guide:


*The Paul Fix episode we mention is "Take the Celestra," the one that precedes the finale we talk about on on the pod.

*The book we mention is By Your Command by Alan Stevens and Fiona Moore.

*The original BSG is complete on home video and also available for free (supported by ads) streaming on NBC.com and Tubi.

*Don Bellisario graduated from Penn State in 1961, and the university recognized a huge donation of his by renaming its College of Communications after him in 2017.

*Thanks, everyone, for another great season, and stand by for the Battys coming soon!



Episode 9-13: Battlestar Galactica (1978)

In a "rag-tag fleet," the remnants of humanity flee the robotic Cylons and search for a new home...Earth! For our season finale, we discuss the series finale of the original Battlestar Galactica "Hand of God," a show perhaps not remembered as fondly as it should be.



Check out this episode!

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

RetroFan #16 and Back Issue #

It's been almost two months since we checked in with TwoMorrows, and they have been cranking out great stuff this summer. First, there was Back Issue #128, which we did mention last time out and which covered Bronze Age comic book adaptations of TV shows. Back Issue #129 is devoted to "TV Toon Tie-Ins," featuring articles on Hanna-Barbera comics, Battle of the Planets, and a cool look at The Hardy Boys Filmation series and its comic adaptation.

Recently I just got my copy of the latest installment bimonthly RetroFan! Issue #16 has a look at H.R. Pufnstuf, an extensive profile of Wolfman Jack, and a tribute to Tanya Roberts. Of course BOTNS-era fans will love all kinds of stuff in this ish, like the look at the old Weekly Reader publication and the cover story on the Marvel cartoons of 1966.

I have no financial interest or connection to TwoMorrows Publishing except that I like giving them money for their fantastic magazines. I highly recommended all of this stuff!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Top Ten #131

1) Thundarr the Barbarian: I enjoyed this much more than I expected when watching it for this week's podcast. I just love when he yells, "IIIIII...haaaaaave...the powerrrrrrr!"

2) Ookla: OK, so he does have a band named after him, but I still think he should be more of a thing.

3) Martin Short: Remember Marty in our SCTV  episode earlier this season? No, you don't, because he wasn't in it! But he has a new show with Steve Martin on Hulu.


4) The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Decades has a Weekend Binge of the series to celebrate the late Ed Asner. What, you expected a marathon of Off the Rack?


5) College football returns: It ain't the same without that longtime legendary ABC broadcaster...Frank Broyles.


6) Melba: Seeing 4 episodes of this short-lived Melba Moore vehicle on Crackle this week, I thought, well, THIS has to be the most random streaming add of the week...


7) Major Dad: ...until I saw that Netflix had added this entire CBS sitcom. It's just the thing to tide over all those Seinfeld  fans who are waiting for that show.


8) National Cheese Pizza Day: And where's the best place to get your pizza? Why, unless you're Skandor Akbar, right here, of course:


9) Henry Corden: The voice of the leader of the City of Thieves on our Thundarr episode always did good work.



10) Willard Scott: I don't mean this in a negative way, but, wow, he was a lot younger than I thought he was when I watched him growing up. R.I.P..





Saturday, September 4, 2021

YouTube Spotlight: Princess Ariel in "The Washington Hillbillies"

One of the most notable clips in our Thundarr video playlist this week features the voice of Princess Airle, Nellie Bellflower:


This TV spot promotes a release by Casablanca Records, a parody of the Carter White House featuring Jeff Altman. The album features such tracks as "Bobby and the Prez" (based on Carter's affinity for Bob Dylan), "Peanutol," and "Father Knows Best." Bellflower doesn't get a mini-bio on the back of the LP like Altman and collaborator Billy Minkin, but she is credited for appearing on 4 tracks.

On the album jacket, it says that the Carters became the new First Family on January 21, 1977, and "we began planning our album on January 22, 1977."  The writer says that when Jimmy and his family took over, "fun returned to the White House." 


Friday, September 3, 2021

The Thundarr the Barabarian video playlist is now live!

After listening to this week's podcast, continue your exploration of the world of Thundarr with our video playlist. Just click below to see clips, commercials, and more! See a glimpse of Blackstar! Watch Robert Ridgley for Gino's Hamburgers! And, hey, who were the Washington Hillbillies?

And remember, you can visit our official YouTube channel anytime for all of our past podcasts and episode-specific playlists for each one! Tell 'em Ookla sent ya!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Show Notes: Episode 9-12: Thundarr the Barbarian

*Thundarr aired on ABC for two seasons and 21 episodes. NBC picked it up in Spring 1983 and aired reruns into September 1984.

*"City of Evil" premiered Saturday morning, October 3, 1981 at 11:30 in most markets, paired with Goldie Gold on ABC and going up against the second half of Space Stars and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends on NBC plus Blackstar on CBS.

*Ruby-Spears started in 1977 when Ken Spears and Joe Ruby were still working at ABC.

*Here is the Spector Creative YouTube channel Mike mentions on the pod. And here is the great News from ME blog by Mark Evanier.

*Click here for a summary of Jack Kirby's Fourth World.

*ABC's reliance on Garry Marshall in 1981 may have been a real thing, but the following ABC shows were higher rated overall than any of his sitcoms: Three's Company, Too Close for Comfort, ABC Monday Night Movie, Monday Night Football, The Love Boat, and Hart to Hart. And Dynasty and ABC Sunday Night Movie were pretty close.

*The Flintstone Comedy Show was the version of the franchise on NBC in 1981.

*Filmation's Blackstar lasted a mere 13 episodes.

*It looks in rough shape in "City of Fire," but according to its official websiteSwampscott is a beautiful and tranquil seaside community of 13,800 residents located 15 miles northeast of Boston along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. 

*There appears to be no connection between Swampscott and Genius Award winner and Thundarr scribe Jeffrey Scott.

*As we mentioned, Thundarr is now on DVD and Blu-Ray from Warner Archive but is not streaming anywhere at the moment.

Episode 9-12: Thundarr the Barbarian

In the short-lived but ambitious cartoon "Thundarr the Barbarian," sword and sorcery meet superscience as Thundarr and his companions wage battle against the forces of evil in the ruins of civilization. With scripts by a bevvy of veteran comics and animation writers and deigns by comics legends Alex Toth and Jack Kirby, just about anything can and will happen! We discuss the episode "City of Evil," an episode where almost everything happens!



Check out this episode!

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Shabby treatment of vintage TV on streaming services

I witnessed more proof lately that the major streaming services just don't care about presenting older TV shows in decent form. I think the only thing they care less about then 1970s and 1980s TV shows is 1950s and 1960s TV shows. Then again, most of those turn up in good condition. Look at these examples of the shabby treatment of programs from the BOTNS era:

*Diff'rent Strokes: I was excited when Prime Video added the whole run of this beloved sitcom, which we discussed in our Season 2 opener. Yet for some reason, Amazon has episodes edited for syndication! What is this, 1998? There's no call for a major streamer like Amazon to show trimmed versions. I'm pretty sure Starz did show unedited ones. What'choo talkin' 'bout, Bezos?

*A Different World: "Different" show, same story: Streamers unable or unwilling to just put on the show in its original form. I think maybe HBO Max tried to upscale the show or something for HD when it added it in August, but it looks pretty bad, and I think it's cropped to fit the entire screen. Contrast it to Prime Video, of all places, where it is not. Are HBO viewers clamoring to have Whitley's head fill the entire screen?

*Three's Company: Pluto TV added the whole series, which we talk about here, to its on demand section months ago, and foolish me, I thought it would be unedited episodes. Well, the problem is Pluto has its 24/7 channels like the one devoted to this series, and they are showing syndicated prints so they can cram ads into each half-hour. They are using the same versions for the on demand section! I just noticed when I tried to watch an episode recently and saw it was about 21 minutes long.

Maybe "something is better than nothing," but when a better version of a show is available but a streamer can't or won't use it, often that prevents people from seeing the other version. Strokes is no longer on Starz, and Company isn't streaming anywhere else, so fans of those programs are stuck with cut versions.

Monday, August 30, 2021

BOTNS remembers Ed Asner

Mike and I extend our condolences to the fans, friends, and especially the family of Ed Asner, the TV icon who died Sunday at the age of 91 after a remarkable career. He was one of our favorite performers, and our enjoyment of his work should be apparent in these episodes we did featuring him (click to access the podcast):



*PSAs (In our episode earlier this season devoted to public service announcements, we discussed Asner's spots for Reading Is Fundamental, one of which is below along with a few other clips.

R.I.P., Ed Asner. 







Sunday, August 29, 2021

Top Ten #130

1) Killdozer: I was actually impressed with the shovel's performance against the dozer, but then again, it had the advantage of the best darn shovel man around, Dennis 'Sour Ball" Holvig.

2) Clint Walker: Reasonable people may argue over his character's checkered past, his leadership style, even his haircut, but you got to admit, Walker was one big dude.  That is, unless you've gone "off your spool" like poor Dutch.

3) New old shows on Crackle: The free ad-supported SVOD service continues to surprise by adding rare shows like Hawk (1966) and Fantastic Journey (1977).  It also continues to annoy--why only the first 5 episodes (so far) of The Famous Teddy Z and 4 random episodes of It's Your Move?


4) Gene and Roger: I really enjoyed The Ringer's just-concluded 8-part podcast on Siskel and Ebert.

5) National Lemon Juice Day:



6) John Ritter: ABC paid tribute to the late performer with an episode of Superstar this week.

7) Blake's 7: BritBox added this seminal British sci-fi series this week. I never saw it, but the clips I saw indicated it was in classic British style: cerebral, more deliberate, less dependent on flashy effects. In other words, cheap.

8) Elliott Gould: Happy birthday!

"I wouldn't go to the prom with you if you were Elliott Gould!"
"Even if you knew I was gonna be in E/R?"
"Well...maybe in that case, yeah."

9) Jeopardy!: Yeah, the whole thing is a mess, but at least it indicates that the show still matters.

10) Michael Nader: R.I.P. to the former Dex Dexter on Dynasty.