Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Monday, June 28, 2021
3 shows I'd like to see streaming in July 2021
Last month I lucked out on That's My Mama coming to Crackle, so let's take another few guesses/wishes for BOTNS-era shows on streaming video services in July 2021. The early lists make this look like a terrible month, and June wasn't all that great, so let's hope we get some surprises. There is one notable program I think may well make an unannounced appearance next month, but I can't reveal that one, so here are my votes for a few other pleasant and unexpected adds:
*Night Court on HBO Max: HBO Max's official list of July additions is noticeably devoid of catalog shows, licensed shows, and anything before 1990. It's time, HBO! We've heard about the reboot for months, we're getting more casting announcements each month...Please don't hold this back for the fall. Throw us a bone and give us a classic sitcom in July. Its relative lack of exposure in recent years makes this a refreshing newcomer to streaming if it arrives.
*Kojak on Peacock: This streamer is going in the wrong direction as far as catalog content goes (We still don't know why they yanked so many of its classic movies shortly after launc). It appears to be sitting out the summer, assuming the Olympics is enough to bring in new eyeballs. Well, it isn't.
According to Peacock itself, it is LOSING Little House on the Prairie next month, and I have no idea why unless someone else has licensed it for it a run. So maybe there is "room" for one more. I'm assuming Shout! only had DVD rights and not streaming rights, or it would have put it on its OWN channel long ago. So let's see Theo Kojak hit Peacock in July.
*The Ken Berry WOW! Show on Shout! TV: This is the kind of oddball show Shout! adds from time to time, and it has streamed many programs from the TV Classics library of Paul Brownstein, most recently adding CPO Sharkey and several Don Rickles specials. Shout! even has music-heavy shows like some of the Glen Campbell variety programs, so maybe it can bring us the short-lived but notable 1972 summer-replacement series. In addition to Berry, the cast includes Steve Martin and Terri Garr. It's only 5 episodes and would be a cool summer breeze for classic TV fans.
Sunday, June 27, 2021
Top Ten #122
1) SCTV: This week, we discussed the reliably awesome comedy show and had a great time discussing memorable sketches, characters, and of course ZONTAR! Check out our official playlist for the episode for many clips, but here is one more bonus promo:
2) Joe Flaherty: We mentioned on the podcast how much we loved this particular SCTV cast member, though he wasn't showcased as well in the particular episode we cover. So here's another quick look at him:
3) National Sunglasses Day: Is this a legitimate holiday? Who cares if it gives me an excuse to post this again:
4) Andrea Martin: Another one of our favorites from SCTV gets another shoutout in this space, and, oh, yeah, how about Catherine O'Hara (but she gets more than enough pub for Schitt's Creek):
5) General Hospital: Congratulations to the long-long-longtime soap for its big Daytime Emmy win this week. I think it beat out ones of other soaps for the honor.
6) Laraine Newman: The comedy vet was on the TV Confidential podcast and made a charming guest. And oddly, she's also testifying in the ongoing trial of Robert Durst!
7) America Talks Back: 35 years ago tonight, NBC gave an hour of its schedule to the PEOPLE! That is, it aired the thoughts of the public on television itself, as this contemporary article explains.
8) The Greatest American Hero: How's this for a scenario: Decades is showing dozens of episodes this weekend. In how many will Bill and Pam wear the same shirt?
9) Marv Albert: The legendary icon has retired as Turner's voice of the NBA, and rather than make cheap jokes here, let's watch a clip of Marvelous Marv back in the day:
10) Joanne Linville: R.I.P.
Saturday, June 26, 2021
You Tube Spotlight: The New Show (1984)
As part of this week's video playlist celebrating SCTV, we include a John Candy clip from The New Show:
We could do a whole pod episode on The New Show someday, but for now, if you don't know about it, it was Lorne Michaels' primetime comedy/variety show that aired midseason 1983-1984 (so January 1984), right before he returned to Saturday Night Live.
The show was a massive flop despite quality guests and a recurring cast that included fellow SCTV alum Dave Thomas, Buck Henry, and Valri Bromfield. But did it ever really have a chance? NBC stuck it on Friday nights, which CBS ruled with Dallas, and this was after a Fall lineup that included notorious bombs Manimal and Mr. Smith. So it was a tough road from the beginning.
Here's a good look back at the series. Don't expect to find it on Peacock someday, though, because according to his staffers interviewed for that piece, "It's not something Lorne wants remembered."
Friday, June 25, 2021
The SCTV video playlist is now live!
After you listen to us talk about SCTV: Zontar, check out our jam-packed official video playlist for the episode! Just click below for classic segments from the series, plus commercials, promos, and...Jack Anderson talking about Watergate? DeForest Kelley on a press junket? Yes, all this and John Candy and Dave Thomas on The New Show as well when you click below!
And remember you can always visit our official YouTube channel for past podcasts and episode-specific playlists for each one!
Note that sometimes people visit our channel and are disappointed to find the podcast itself because they "wanted to see the show and not two guys talking about it." Well, this time the playlist has, while it lasts, the full SCTV episode we discuss on the podcast.
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Show Notes: Episode 9-2: SCTV
*SCTV aired--wait, I know I do this a lot in the show notes, but do I really have to break down the broadcast history of this one?
Well, it ran 135 episodes in first-run syndication, NBC, and Cinemax! Please go here for more detailed info.
*Martin Short played interviewer Brock Linehan, a character inspired by Brian Linehan, host of City Lights, a talk show that got syndication in both the USA and Canada.
*The Zontar episode of SCTV (from season 4) aired October 30, 1981 after The Tonight Show (with Michael Landon and Steve Landesberg) and against Fridays on ABC and a double-overtime NBA game on CBS.
*Marty Feldman's appearance on Fridays on that night doesn't seem to be related to any specific project he was promoting.
*Here is the fascinating stuff I mentioned about NBC's broadcast of Halloween.
*Hatchy Milatchy aired on WNEP (Scranton, PA) up until the late 1980s.
*There is an appalling lack of Bonar Bain footage on YouTube. He was in an episode of Maude ("Vivian's Surprise") as Arnold Harmon, twin brother of Arthur; and on an episode of Diff'rent Strokes ("The Van Drummonds") as Anna van Drummond (yes, Anna).
You know, Kimberly plays cousin Hans in that episode, so as a kid I always assumed Ana was Conrad Bain in--say it with me--a rare dual role.
*Joel Silver was active in Hollywood at the time of this episode but not really "a thing" until afterwards. Apparently Silver played a role in Moranis getting on SCTV, so while people now can say the Larry Siegel character is a takeoff on Silver, in 1981, no one outside "the biz" would have known that.
And just because it amused me and I was not used to seeing bad things said about Rick Moranis, here is an unattributed quote on IMDB by Michael Pare about Streets of Fire:
"Rick Moranis drove me out of my mind. There's this whole wave of insult comedy. In the real world, if someone insults you a couple of times, you can smack them. Or punch them. You can't do that on a movie set. And these comedians walk around, and they can say whatever they want. I'm just not that handy with that. Comedians are a special breed. They can antagonize you and say whatever they... want, and you can't do anything to stop them... He's this weird looking little guy who couldn't get laid in a whore house with a fistful of fifties. He would imitate me. The first thing he says to me is, "Do you just act cool, or are you really cool?" That was the first sentence out of his mouth to me in Joel Silver's office. And I was like, "Oh... this is not going to go well." But he was one of Joel's dear friends, and he ended up making a bunch of movies for Disney. I just wasn't that sharp. I wasn't ready for that kind of crap".
*Here is the 2009: Jupiter and Beyond segments Mike mentions. Visit our official YouTube playlist for this episode for tons more of the segments we talk about and much, much more!
*We don't have any more information about that Scorcese-directed Netflix reunion special, but we wish we knew when it was coming! Last I saw, it was in limbo but not dead.
Episode 9-2: SCTV "Zontar"
This week, we take a look at the classic sketch comedy show SCTV in an episode that includes G. Gordon Liddy on a children's show, George Carlin and Don Rickles in rom-coms, an alien invasion, and perhaps most importantly Conrad Bain's twin brother Hank Bain (played by Conrad Bain's twin brother Bonar Bain)!
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Inside the Guide: TV Guide previews "Rockford Files" in 1974
TV Guide previewed the subject of our newest podcast, The Rockford Files, in its 1974 Fall Preview issue. Here is its spotlight:
Also a display ad NBC bought:
And finally, the listing for the premiere episode on Friday, September 13, 1974:
The thing that stands out to me is the reference to the other gimmick detectives on TV like Cannon. It makes it sounds like Rockford is another one of those and, I believe, shortchanges the quality of the program.
Also, the "Best Bets" column with picks for each day of the week does not mention Rockford but does single out fellow NBC program Sanford and Son and also mentions Chico and the Man as a likely hit. The only other show mentioned? CBS' Planet of the Apes, which author Stephen Scheur says is silliness saved somewhat by Roddy McDowall.
Sunday, June 20, 2021
Top Ten #121
Saturday, June 19, 2021
You Tube Spotlight: NBC 1974
Welcome back to YT Spotlight, where we take a clip from our latest video playlist and showcase it in its own post. We put a lot of stuff into this week's Rockford Files tribute, and one of the intriguing promos is this hype for NBC's 1974 season:
What an odd jingle! At one point it's like, "Yeah, you never heard of this stuff, but you didn't know Sanford and Son until you actually watched it!"
As the commenters point out, this turned out to be another sorry season for the Peacock Network despite new hits like Rockford and Little House and Police Woman. However, it was still an improvement over the 73-74 campaign, and NBC even beat out ABC for second place while CBS won the season.
Friday, June 18, 2021
The Rockford Files video playlist is now live!
We started our ninth season with a tremendous show, The Rockford Files, and of course we loaded up this week's playlist with great stuff! After you enjoy the podcast, click below to see promos, interviews, and more! See all that and Serpico! James Hong telling his favorite joke! And Gretchen Corbett as Wonder Woman (sort of)!
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Show Notes: Episode 9-1: The Rockford Files "The Oracle Wore a Cashmere Suit"
*We give special thanks to all of our listeners as we kick off our ninth season!
*Thanks also Ed Robertson's invaluable book about the series, 45 Years of the Rockford Files, available here in its latest edition.
*The Rockford Files aired 6 seasons on NBC, March 27, 1974 (when the pilot aired; the series proper began Fall 1974) to January 1980 (when the sixth season was cut short, as we discuss on the show). It ran for 123 episodes and won an Emmy in 1977 for Best Drama. Robertson says in his book that he learned the episode "Quickie Nirvana" (Season 4) was the one submitted for consideration that season.
*"The Oracle Wore a Cashmere Suit" is the second episode of The Rockford Files' third season. The series
*The character Mike mentions, Lew Archer, had a short-lived TV series in 1975, and you can catch the intro in this week's YouTube playlist.
*Robert Mitchum narrated the "Beef: It's What's for Dinner" campaign in 1992, and contrary to what I suggested on the podcast, he came after James Garner's "Real Food for Real People" spots, which ended after the latter star had quintuple bypass surgery!
*Harry O with David Janssen aired two seasons on ABC, 1974-1976.
*Serpico with David Birney lasted one season on NBC (1976).
*You can see clips from the above series and a whole lot more in this week's video playlist.
*Guest star Robert Webber amassed his staggering list of credits in the Fifties, Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties before dying too young at 65 in 1989. He played Maddie Hayes' father in multiple episodes of Moonlighting.
*The late Joe Santos is in 7 episodes of The Sopranos as Angelo Garepe, Carmine's consigliere.
*The episode that bested this one for the Edgar award for writing: James John Sweeney's "Requiem for Murder." It's not Quincy, but The Streets of San Francisco.
*Some other episodes we mention and recommend on the podcast:
*"Irving the Explainer" is in Season 4.
*Rita Moreno first appears in Season 4's "The Paper Palace," and please give us credit for not picking her episode for the sole purpose of making her Batty-eligible and BEGOT-eligible.
*The rock and roll/mob episode Mike mentions is Season 6's two-part "Only Rock and Roll Will Never Die," also written by David Chase.
*Isaac Hayes' Gandy Fitch first appears in Seasons 2's "The Hammer of C Block." Season 3's "just Another Polish Wedding" is the backdoor pilot for the proposed Gabby and Gandy series with Hayes and Louis Gossett, and it's one of the best backdoor pilots you'll see.
*The Rockford Files is currently on Peacock (the free tier) and Roku Channel.
*BOTNS' discussion in this episode is not an endorsement of the use of illicit substances in the recording industry nor the use of mentalism in law enforcement.
Episode 9-1: The Rockford Files "The Oracle Wore a Cashmere Suit"
In our season 9 premiere, we investigate one of the quintessential detective shows "The Rockford Files." Rockford butts heads with a celebrity psychic, the police, a manic drummer, and a slick music executive in David Chase's first "Rockford" teleplay.
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
This Day in TV History: Bulba
Yes, 40 years ago tonight, ABC burned off an unsold comedy pilot at 8:00 P.M. That sitcom is...Bulba!
Now, it may have appeared as icomedy Special in the TV listings of the day, but isn't Bulba a much more exciting title?
Lee Goldberg's Unaired Pilots books lists August 3 as the airdate, but it looks like that was merely a rerun, and today, June 15, is the TRUE premiere! I may be stalling a bit because I don't have much to say about the show. Goldberg tells us it is "The misadventures of a U.S. embassy in the fictional, island country of Bulba. Variety summed it up by saying, 'No laughs, no chance.'"
The cast featured Joyce Van Patten, Lyle Waggoner, Miles Chapin, Jeff Altman, Gailard Sartain, Bill Hicks--Wait, the Bill Hicks? Yes, he played "Corporal Phil Repulski!" Anyone remember this show?
Well, guess what? It's on YouTube:
Monday, June 14, 2021
This Day in TV History: NBC Comedy Theater: And Baby Makes Five
50 years ago tonight, NBC gave its viewers another installment of NBC Comedy Theater, or as they might have called it, Unsold Pilot Theater. This is an interesting one, though, and I like this description from the "TV Scout Report" (I believe syndicated) in a PA newspaper of the time:
Hal Kanter, who created and produced Julia, and who is doing the James Stewart series for next season, wrote And Baby Makes Five, a sometimes comedy on Comedy Theater. Cliff Robertson and Angie Dickinson, who weren't the names when this was made that they are today, star as a city pair who head for the country. Gee, it sounds just like Green Acres.
Ouch! Note that this show should not be confused with Baby Makes Five, a Peter Scolari sitcom that had 5 episodes on ABC in April 1983. Yet I don't have a link to a video of the 1971 show, so here are the opening credits from the 1983 one:
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Top Ten #120
1) Norman Lloyd: Ed Robertson welcomed Columbo Phile author Mark Dawidziak on the TV Confidential podcast recently, and they discussed the time Lloyd directed an episode of the detective series ("Lady in Waiting") while Peter Falk was feuding with the studio and producers! It's a great story well worth a listen.
2) The Love Boat: Hey, if it's good enough for David Letterman, it's good enough for me!
3) Like Magic: CBS aired this unsold pilot 40 years ago tonight. A contemporary TV preview in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says: "For the kids: Melissa Gilbert stars in Like Magic, a fast half-hour of comedy and magic acts. And good, clean fun."
4) Richard Thomas: Happy 70th birthday to the former Waltons star! I know one thing we won't be getting him: a wooden plank.
5) National Kitchen Klutzes Day: What a glorious holiday THIS is! How will you celebrate? By starting a fire? By losing a digit? Or merely botching an important meal?
6) Harry's Battles: Take a look at this unsold pilot with Dick Van Dyke if you missed our post about it earlier this week.
7) Strong National Museum of Play: This Variety article says the Rochester museum plans a game show collection. Hopefully they have some artifacts from Face the Music and Sale of the Century!
8) Mama's Family: If you are getting tired of Father's Day hype, maybe the Mama's marathon on Decades this weekend will be an effective antidote.
9) Seinfeld Funko Pops: Anyone get the Kramer and pretend it's a Michael Richards Fridays figure?
10) R.I.P. This week we say goodbye to Clarence Williams III, John Sacret Young (China Beach creator), and the great Larry Gelman.
Saturday, June 12, 2021
This day in TV History: The heavyweight_championship_of the world
40 years ago tonight, Detroit hosted the WBC Heavyweight Championship bout between undefeated champ Larry Holmes and Olympic gold medalist Leon Spinks. The fight occurred just a couple months after the death of boxing legend Joe Louis, for whom the venue was named.
ABC, led by Howard Cosell, broadcast the fight live in prime time. Holmes won by a third-round stoppage to retain the title. After the fight, he inadvertently--at least everyone is pretty sure it was an accident--busted Cosell in the mouth while rushing to get at ringside observer/future challenger Gerry Cooney. You know, weird stuff just found a way to happen to Holmes.
Friday, June 11, 2021
Interesting 1984 David Letterman interview
An excellent companion to the ongoing History of Late Night series is the Playboy Interviews collection Late-Night Talkers, available for Kindle. The collection includes Cavett, Leno, Stewart...many notables except, unfortunately, Johnny Carson.
The David Letterman interview from the October 1984 issue is a real winner, though. You get Dave as the 12:30 show is taking hold but the sting of past failures is still strong. His comments are often funny but also insightful. There are some moments of sincerity and vulnerability, too; at one point he expresses guilt and shame about not realizing what the Vietnam War did to his contemporaries who served (he got a favorable position in the draft lottery).
Asked about guests who he didn't like--remember, this is only 1984--he gives this answer:
"The only guest who really bothered me was Andy Rooney--and he was especially disappointing, because here was a man I'd admired for a long, long time. Years before 60 Minutes, Andy had done a series of news specials that I think represented American television at its best: entertaining, intelligent--absolutely state of the art stuff. But when you actually meet the guy, you quickly discover that he doesn't just appear to be a nasty curmudgeon, he is a nasty curmudgeon."
The questioner asks what guests excited him to have on the show, and Letterman responds, "This may sound crazy, but I found myself really looking forward to meeting Johnny Bench."
Asked if he watches much TV, Dave says sometimes if he likes something he will try to catch it, and he mentions Cheers. Then he adds, "But I must say I do enjoy watching The Love Boat. To me, that's American TV at its finest."
The interviewer wonders, "Because it's so bad?"
The reply: "I won't go on record saying The Love Boat is bad TV. It's solid American fare, and there's no mystery as to why it has succeeded. Every week, people from other television shows are thrown together in what's presented as a glamorous circumstance. And I get a kick out of that."
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Happy birthday, Michael J. Fox
Happy 60th birthday (!) to one of our favorite comic actors (and juice-glass-using actors), Michael J. Fox.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
This Day in TV History: Dick Van Dyke fights "Harry's Battles"
Monday, June 7, 2021
Happy National VCR Day!
Murder Monday will return soon, but today we want to recognize VCR Day. Take your old one out of storage or, better yet, fire up that circa-1987 recording of The Tonight Show with original commercials!
Sunday, June 6, 2021
Top Ten #119
1) National Yo-Yo Day: Yesss! Finally a day to recognize one this classic:
Hey, you celebrate your way, I will celebrate mine.
2) D-Day: Remember the courageous effort of the Allies on June 6, 1944!
3) Gavin McLeod: What a tremendous career this icon had, appearing in many TV series before finding increasingly pivotal roles on series with 138 (McHale's Navy), 168 (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), and 255 (The Love Boat) episodes.
4) Family and Police Woman: Tubi TV added the complete runs of these understreamed 1970s series for June.
5) That's My Mama: Crackle now has the short-lived sitcom. Forget about Mama, anything with Teddy Wilson and Ted Lange is worth seeing.
6) Amanda Pays: Happy birthday to the star of shows like Max Headroom!
7) David Schultz: Happy birthday to someone who didn't just slap John Stossel in an inafamous 202/20 segment, but knocked him down twice.
8) 1981 French Open: 40 years ago today, Hana Mandlikova beat Sylvia Hanika in straight sets to win the tournament, which had its home on CBS in the USA at the time.
9) Saturday Night Live: Congratulations to the late-night institution for topping the season ratings in the 18-49 demo--that includes all of prime time, not just late night, for the first time ever.
You probably expect me to insert some snide comment or allusion tot how SNL isn't what it used to be.
Well, I don't want to disappoint!
10) Rest in Peace: It was a tough week, as we lost Paul Soles (I'm still not convinced that was him as Spider-Man in Spider-Woman), Arlene Golonka, and Robert Hogan in addition to B.J. Thomas:
Saturday, June 5, 2021
This Day in TV History: Val Doonican (1971) and Side Show (1981)
Can you believe today is the 50th anniversary of the U.S. premiere of The Val Doonican Show?
OK, maybe he isn't as much of a presence in the culture today, but Irish singer Doonican was a fixture on BBC for years even before ABC gave him a slot after Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights. It didn't catch on here, lasting only as a summer fill-in.
ABC had trouble filling that post-Welk slot at 8:30; The Pearl Bailey Show had run there the previous few months. In the 1971 Fall season, Welk was a victim of his demographics, getting canceled by ABC and moving to syndication. ABC went with Bobby Sherman's new sitcom (see yesterday's post) and a movie of the week.
40 years ago tonight, NBC broadcast the original movie Side Show, starring Lance Kerwin (James at 15) and directed by William Conrad! According to IMDB:
A teenage boy runs away from home. He joins the circus but finds out that it's not all what it's cracked up to be. But then the boy becomes a witness to a murder, and he must try to stay out of the killer's way.
Sounds pretty good to me! There is a tension between the "regular" circus folks and the side show acts. There's romance, intrigue, and danger! Also in the cast: William Windom, Barbara Rhoades, Red Buttons, Tony Franciosa, and Connie Stevens.
Friday, June 4, 2021
This Day in TV History: The Bobby Sherman Special (1971)
50 years ago tonight, ABC followed a Brady Bunch rerun with The Bobby Sherman Special at 8:30.
Sherman's guests were Rip Taylor and The Fifth Dimension in this half-hour "sneak preview" of sorts for his sitcom vehicle Getting Together, which itself was set up in an episode of The Partridge Family in March. The teen idol's career had peaked by the time the show debuted, and Getting Together was yanked at the end of the year and replaced by Bewitched (in its final days) for the rest of the season.
It's easy to second-guess now, but you can't blame ABC for giving Sherman a shot after several smash records and a popular stint on Here Come the Brides. Sherman eventually became a full-time EMT in the 1970s!
Thursday, June 3, 2021
New old TV shows in June on streaming services
Well, we hit on one of our guesses/hopes for the month when Crackle added That's My Mama. June looks like a thin month for fans of 1970s and 1980s television--in other words, everyone--and I have only found a few other new additions so far.
Tubi TV added the complete runs of Police Woman and Family.
That about does it!
These services are apparently sitting this one out: Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Britbox, Paramount Plus, Peacock. What do they all have in mind? They are paid services! Even Roku Channel has come up short so far in June, though. HBO Max does have at least one season of Super Friends coming later this month, and maybe Prime Video will surprise us, but as of now June is a big catch-up month.
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
And now a word from their sponsor: Grandma Graf's Punch and Lemonade
All I can say about this is, what the deuce is this?
The great Fuzzy Memories TV uploaded this spot, recorded from Chicago TV in 1978, but doesn't remember this brand. Does anyone know more about this "old-fashioned flavor"?
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Promo Theatre: Ernie and the Doobies!
What a combination: Ernie Anderson voicing a promo for (I assume) the first Doobie Brothers Farewell Concert! It kicks off this great batch of promos and ads from a Tijuana ABC affiliate!
Is there anything that Anderson doesn't make sound better? Final concerts..San Francisco...even music itself is all the better for Ernie having spoken about it. The only drawback is he doesn't call them "The BATTY-winning Doobie Brothers!" Then again, they wouldn't win one for about 35 years, so I can't blame him.
Thanks to the great uploader ewjxn for posting!