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.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

YouTube Spotlight: Clint Walker vs. Peter Graves

One of the more intriguing clips in this week's Killdozer playlist is this footage of Clint Walker going up against Peter Graves in an impromptu arm wrestling match:

Well, I say "footage" as if it's an actual competition, but of course it's from a TV movie, 1974's Scream of the Wolf. Does anyone think Graves would have a legit chance against Walker in a real match? I mean, Graves was a cool enough actor, but come on! But look how effective Walker's quiet but menacing demeanor is here.

Scream of the Wolf is directed by Dan Curtis and based on a short story by Richard Matheson. It premiered Wednesday, January 16, 1974 on ABC as the second half of a doubleheader following Curtis' 1972 The Night Stalker, which introduced the Kolchak character.

Friday, August 27, 2021

The KILLDOZER! video playlist is now live!

After listening to us discuss this 1974 TV movie on the podcast, continue to explore the world of Killdozer! with our video playlist for the episode! Enjoy glimpses of the Killdozer in action! Promos! Robert Urich for aspirin! And Clint Walker squares off against Peter Graves! All this and more when you click below!

And remember, you can visit our official YouTube channel anytime for all of our past episodes and playlists for each one of them! Don't be a sourball; check it out!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Show Notes: Episode 9-12: Killdozer!

 *Killdozer! premiered as part of The ABC Suspense Movie series on Saturday, February 2, 1974 at 8:30 P.M. It was preceded by The Partridge Family and followed by Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law. NBC countered with Emergency! and the 1972 film Silent Running. CBS' lineup was its famous Saturday night roster of All in the Family, MASH, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Carol Burnett Show.

*Theodore Sturgeon's novella that provides the source material is from 1944. This page here, run by the maintainers of the copyright, refers to it as a story, but it seems to call everything a "story."

*The Marvel Comics adaptation of the story is April 1974's Worlds Unknown #6:

*Beltran is played by James Watson Jr., who is still with us. He had recurring roles on Quincy and Gimme a Break among his many TV and movie roles.

*Here's another plug for Are You in the House Alone?, the book I quote from in the podcast.

*Dutch says he played in the 1964 Cotton Bowl. #1 Texas beat #2 Navy 28-6 in that game to win the unofficial championship, though it had already been voted #1 in the major postseason polls. Texas QB Duke (not Dutch) Carlisle had a big game to help lead his team past Roger Staubach's Midshipmen. 

*Many agree with Mike that Clint Walker might have made a great Superman, but he never got a chance to play the role.

*Here is our look at the "Death Probe" episode of The Six Million Dollar Man.

*We'll see you sourballs next week. As for me, "Let's get out of here!" "I'm going swimming!"

Episode 9-11: Killdozer!

In this season's look at a TV movie, we take on the deadly menace of the Killdozer! You heard right! An alien consciousness takes over a bulldozer, and six brave men try to stop it before it...killdozes them! Will they prevail, or will the Killdozer?

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

This Day in TV History: ABC brings the comedy...and WHEN SHE WAS BAD...

On this night 40 years ago, ABC gave an encore presentation of a TV movie with one of the best Ernie Anderson titles ever: When She Was Bad... We mentioned this 1979 Cheryl Lass/Robert Urich movie (which, we should mention, does concern serious issues) in our look at Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, as the network somehow decided to chase the Rankin-Bass holiday special with a sobering look at child abuse.

On August 24, 1981, ABC gave a pair of sitcom pilots as the lead-in the to the movie. First up: Nuts and Bolts. You like this one already, don't you? From Lee Goldberg's invaluable guide to TV pilots: "Rich little is a widower raising two kids with the help of two robots he designed. In the pliot, Little doesn't have the money for his daughter's music school, so he sells his older robot to a hamburger stand run by William Daniels and Jo Ann Pflug, Litt's love interest. Eve Arden is Little's mother.

Come on, how can that one miss?

At 8:30, it's In Trouble, which sounds less appealing. Bernie Kukoff and Jeff Harris (Diff'rent Strokes) produced this look at teenage girls (one played by future Bart Simpson voice Nancy Cartwright) who work as wait

Monday, August 23, 2021

Happy 90th birthday, Barbara Eden!

She will always be best known for playing Jeannie, of course, but Eden has a lot more on her resume, including the 1981 NBC series Harper Valley PTA and this rarity, 1989's Brand New Life:

This series was part of the final network incarnation of the long-running Disney anthology series, this time called The Magical World of Disney. You may detect some similarities to a certain iconic sitcom here. It only had 5 episodes after a movie pilot that did well, but it's an interesting cast. Note the preview at the beginning of this clip showcasing a pushing-60 Eden wearing nothing but a bath towel.

By the way, Wikipedia notes that the singer of the theme is Jill Colucci, who performed several ABC marketing songs in the era and also belted the "America, this is you" theme from America's Funniest Home Videos.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Top Ten #130

1) Fantasy Island: We hope you enjoyed our look at this interesting show on the podcast. You know, my fantasy would be for all of our listeners to have happy, productive, and safe 2021s.

And I'd also ask for a complete collection of TV Guides.

2) Ricardo Montalban: I wanted to celebrate Montablan in this week's list because he was so awesome--I did call Roarke one of the best TV characters ever--but for a moment I worried people might tire of Corinthian leather ads or that I would run out.

I was wrong!

3) Chet Lemon: A vintage Honus Wagner baseball card sold for $6.6 million last week. Next on the block has to be the rookie card of our guy from The Baseball Bunch, right?

4) Roddy McDowall: He is so great in the episode of Fantasy Island we discuss on the podcast despite not necessarily making the average list of TV bad-asses.

5) Cindy Williams: Happy birthday to the former star of one of the biggest sitcom hits of our era, and as a present we won't mention her late costar.

6) National Be an Angel Day: As we say on this week's pod, some are meant to be Charlies, some are meant to be Bosleys (you gotta hear the discussion), but today is your day to be an Angel!

7) Time for back to school: When I grew up, and as far as I'm concerned NOW, Labor Day was the end of summer, but many kids are going back this week.

Instead of visiting Mr. Moore again or even Mr. Kotter, let's mark the time with a TV spot for perhaps Rodney's last high-quality moment:

8) Herve Villechaize: We joked a bit on the pod and mentioned his troubles, but the man had a rough life with a lot of pain, and hopefully he's at peace now. Plus the dreadful Lawrence character really makes you appreciate Tattoo.

9) Elke: 50 years ago tonight, CBS Comedy Playhouse aired this unsold pilot from Danny Arnold (Barney Miller) and Warner Brothers starring Elke Sommer and Peter Bonerz as mismatched (ya think?) newlyweds. No clip of that one, but how about this:

10) R.I.P. Sonny Chiba: He was in a lot of Japanese TV but not so much American TV. That's our loss.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

YouTube Spotlight: Fantasy Island meets carpeting

One of the more intriguing clips in the video playlist for our Fantasy Island episode is this unique ad for Lincoln Carpeting posted by the outstanding Museum of Classic Chicago Television channel:

Do we still get commercials like this--wacky ads with a local focus that play on contemporary TV hits? We should.  I wish I'd see more like this on my streaming services. Then again, I would get sick of them after seeing them 5 times each in an hour program.

Friday, August 20, 2021

The Fantasy Island video playlist is now live!

After you listen to us talk about Fantasy Island, continue to explore the mysterious world of the series with our video playlist! Click below to see clips from the devil confronting Roarke, commercials, promos, and more! Plus see Roddy McDowall with Carol Burnett! Catherine Bach with Roy Clark! And Olivia De Havilland talking about Errol Flynn? OK, that last one is a reach, but when else would we include that clip--Celebrity Bowling?

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

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Show Notes: Episode 9-10: Fantasy Island

*Fantasy Island aired on ABC for 7 seasons and 152 episodes on Saturdays at 10:00 PM except for a brief run at Friday 8:00 PM to start the 1979-80 season. The Ropers and Detective School and Hart to Hart were part of the ABC Saturday lineup until the reshuffling at midseason.

*Click right here for our discussion of The Love Boat.

*The show that finally gave ABC success Saturdays at 8:00 P.M., T.J. Hooker, aired 5 seasons and 91 episodes, though its final one was on CBS.

*Be forewarned: At least some of Fantasy on Tubi is apparently cropped, though I believe all episodes may be unedited.

*"The Devil and Mandy Bream/Instant Millionaire" premiered October 25, 1980 as the fourth-season opener following Nashville Palace and The Love Boat. CBS had The Tim Conway Show and 1978's House Calls. NBC showed a rerun of the final installment of Centennial.

*We couldn't find a Dynamite or Bananas with Herve on the cover, but please accept this photo from an old ebay listing as a substitute:

*The Looper article we mention is right here. It covers things we discuss like the John Huston casting idea and other talking points.

*Julie appeared as Roarke's goddaughter and sometime assistant, spelling Tattoo, in the fourth season. This is reportedly not related to Herve's squabbles with the producers. The characters coexisted in story and occasionally on screen. Christopher Hewitt's Lawrence character, though, was Tattoo's replacement.

*The sequel to this episode, "The Devil and Mr. Roarke/Ziegfield Girls/Kid Corey Rides Again," is the second one in the fifth season, a supersized effort that includes Audrey Landers (because of course it does) and, oddly, Arte Johnson as a different character this time.

*In another interesting tidbit, Johnson and his co-star in this episode, Arlene Golonka, were in an unsold pilot in 1972, Call Holme.

*Catherine Bach was not on Fantasy Island, but the Mickey Gilley episode we mention is Season 6's "Everybody Comes to Gilley's/Face of Fire."

Do you still miss Catherine Bach? Well, you'll be able to see her in a clip from that same Nashville Palace special mentioned earlier in our video playlist this week!

*Vic Tayback is in 3 episodes by our unofficial count.

*The Gene Rayburn episode, also starring Jan Murray, is Season 5's "Forget Me Not/Quiz Masters."

*Chuck Connors pursues Roarke in Season 5's "Sitting Duck/Sweet Suzi Swann."

*One of my favorite TV books, Harry and Wally's Favorite TV Shows, really dislikes this series. I quote from its one-star review: "the problem with the guest-star fantasies is that ultimately they're a cheat. While the people involved may learn some lessons about themselves, it's all part of a staged, self-contained universe. These stories might as well be just hypnotic dreams induced by Roarke on arrival." I do agree that Roarke and Tattoo are "the most intriguing performers and characters in the series," and that, "Even their brief conversations sizing up the people disembarking from the plane are far more interesting than the stories that follow." But as we say on the podcast, Roarke is awesome, so that's not a big statement.

What do you think?

Episode 9-10: Fantasy Island "The Devil and Mandy Breem, Instant Millionaire"

Join us on a far-away tropical paradise that may or may not also have a freeway infrastructure, an industrial area, banks, pawn shops, and more as Tattoo tries to help a man become a millionaire and Mr. Roarke does battle with...SATAN!

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

BOTNS on the Road: The Udvar-Hazy Center

One of the most popular tourist sites in Northern Virginia is the second Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Museum in Chantilly, which has a sprawling site that allows it to house multiple classic aircraft, memorabilia, and even the shuttle Discovery.

My favorite sight, of course, is the display case filled with science fiction and space toys:

Pardon the slight blurriness. Maybe my hand was shaking at the prospect of getting my hands on that sweet Buck Rogers Viewmaster reel! This is just one quadrant of the case, though, which is a great little display.

The whole museum is a nice visit--plenty of parking, unlike the downtown D.C. museums, $15 per car parking fee but no entrance fee, and enough space to not feel crowded.

And it has some cool toys, too!

Monday, August 16, 2021

And now a word from their sponsor: John Stamos was always JUST THAT COOL

 Yes, it is John Stamos' world; the rest of us are mere occupants. Case in point:

The hair, the eyes, the rakish smile--OK, they're all a little different, but can you deny that 1983 Stamos is a cool guy? He has the way with the ladies even then. He's about 20 years old at this point--already on General Hospital but a full few years away from You Again?

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Top Ten #129

1) The Munsters: They aren't just the focus of this week's podcast, they're everywhere! The original series, the comeback movies, the new Rob Zombie movie...Oh, except Munsters Today. That's nowhere. Yes, we're still miffed about NBC pulling the show from its app.

2) Al Lewis and Fred Gwynne: For my money (and it ain't Transylvania currency like Grandpa dumped on those poor car dealers in Mini-Munsters), this is the most underrated comic duo in TV history.

3) Markie Post: R.I.P. to one of the iconic actresses of the 1980s.

4) National Relaxation Day: Maybe this guy could help you participate:

5) Eddie: CBS burned off shows in its summer showcase Comedy Playhouse, and we can call them failed pilots. But show some respect, and stand at attention! This one, airing 50 years ago tonight, stars Phil Silvers and is directed by comedy vet Hy Averback AND stars Frank Faylen, Fred Clark, and Edward Andrews. Did I mention it was written and created by larry Gelbart?

How bad can it be? Well, it was made in 1967 and shelved for 4 years, but check out the premise according to IMDB: "Misadventures of a private cop who pounds the mean streets of Bel Air, California." Fresh Prince ain't got nothing on Phil!

Also, Lee Goldberg's book of unsold pilots lists as alternate titles The Phil Silvers Show, Eddie Skinner, and Bel Air Patrol. Why does ever Phil Silvers sitcom have multiple titles? I want to see this one.

6) Linda Ellerbee: Happy birthday! For a while it seemed like she was everywhere.

7) Donnie Shell: Congratulations to the new classes of the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted last weekend, even the non-Steelers! Special props, though, to Shell:

8) Pen n Inc: Another unaired pilot, this one from CBS 40 years ago tonight, though Goldberg's book has it as premiering August 19, 1981. Love the title! Matt McCoy stars as a political cartoonist trying to get his conservative boss at the newspaper to run his stuff, and by the way he is dating the boss' daughter (Brianne Leary). Fred Willard has a part in the pilot.

9) Louise Sorrell: She had an entertaining appearance on the TV Confidential podcast talking about her distinguished acting career.

10) Jane Withers: R.I.P. to the former Josephine the Plumber.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

YouTube Spotlight: Al Lewis on Superstation Scary Saturday

There's a lot of cool stuff in this week's video playlist devoted to the world of Munsters, but one that delights me in particular is this clip of Al Lewis hosting a Saturday afternoon horror movie show on TBS.

He's in classic form here, totally inhabiting the character and even wielding a shovel to "dig up the films!"

Of course, many are nostalgic for the glory days of horror hosts, and Svengoolie is perhaps the most high-profile example of those who continue the tradition today.  The Eighties had some attempts to create franchises, and TBS enlisted Grandpa Al Lewis in 1987 for a show that would start at noon--well, 12:05, natch--each Saturday and showcase an old movie plus hosting segments and skits.

I remember some crossovers with the WCW wrestlers of the day and also just seeing the program promoted during the graps action I watched.

Friday, August 13, 2021

The Munsters playlist is now dead--uh, live!

After listening to us discuss the original Munsters and the 1973 Mini-Munsters animated special, continue the exploration of the franchise by looking at our video playlist! In it you will see promos, clips, and commercials from the whole Munstersverse as well as commercials and more. Watch Al Lewis on TBS! Fred Gwynne promoting tires! The Munsters at Marineland! And for a change, Ethel Merman isn't in the playlist!

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

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Show Notes: Episode 9-9: The Munsters

*We hope you enjoy this slight departure from our usual format, and if you'd like to hear us step back in time a bit and cover more 50s and 60s series, please let us know!

*As of this posting, Munsters Today is still conspicuous by its absence on NBC and Peacock.

*Turnabout with John Schuck and Sharon Gless lasted a mere 7 episodes on NBC in 1979.

*Click below for the video Mike mentions with TV show openings from the "hellish" midseason of 1979:

*The original Munsters series ran two seasons and 70 episodes from 1964-1966 on CBS. The Addams Family lasted 64 episodes in ABC in essentially the same time frame.

*Mini-Munsters premiered October 27, 1973 as part of the ABC Saturday Superstar Movie, in the early afternoon in most markets. That franchise lasted two seasons and 20 movies from 1972-1973.

*Check out our look at one of those movies, The Man Who Hated Laughter, right here!**

*Season 2 was The New Saturday Superstar Movie and only featured 3 movies--the Munsters special. a Lost in Space movie, and a second (!) Nanny and the Professor movie. The last one featured Richard Long reprising the titular role of, of course, Nanny. No, it was the Professor. Long is also Herman Munster in Mini-Munsters!

*The traditional gift for a 100th anniversary is--Well, there is none. It seems that it stops at diamond for 75!

*The oil embargo began in October 1973, and the average price of a gallon of gas in the USA jumped from 38.5 cents in May to 55 in June of 1974.

*According to this site, a used 1969 Chevy Malibu cost about $10,00 in today's dollars in 1973.

*This looks to be the truncated rerun version of the movie:

*Season 2 episode 14 of the original series, "Treasure of Mockingbird Heights," debuted December 23, 1965 on CBS, followed by Gilligan's Island, My Three Sons, and The CBS Thursday Night Movie. ABC's lineup had Shindig, Donna Reed, O.K. Crackerby, Bewitched, Peyton Place, and Long Hot Summer. NBC offered a Christmas episode of Daniel Boone plus Laredo, Mona McCluskey, and The Dean Martin Show.

*According to IMDB, the runtime of 1960's Sunrise at Campobello is 144 minutes yet was in a two-hour time slot including commercials!

*Ben Casey was on ABC 1961-1966, and Dr. Kildare was on NBC 1961-1966.

*Marilyn 2.0, Pat Priest, started in episode 14 of season 1, replacing Beverley Owen. 1966's Munster, Go Home! featured Debbie Watson in the role. Jo McDonnell was Marilyn in 1981 NBC TV movie The Munsters' Revenge.

*As of today, Rob Zombie's film version is under production. There's speculation that it will be for Peacock.

*Are you a Munsters fan or an Addams Family fan? Can't we be both?

Episode 9-9: The Munsters vs. the Mini-Munsters

We had big plans to compare The Munsters Today to the original classic Munsters, but in a blow to John Schuck fans everywhere, our plans went awry. Luckily, we discovered the one-off 1973 animated Mini-Munsters, so we look at it, then travel back to 1966 to join Herman and Grampa on a treasure hunt.

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

BOTNS Investigates: Diff'rent Strokes: The Search for Bonar

When exploring the world of SCTV for our episode earlier this season, I was astonished to learn that the Season 6 Diff'rent Strokes episode "The Van Drummonds" featured Bonar as well. I always assumed this ridiculous installment of the program, one that had Dana Plato in drag as Dutch cousin Hans, also had CONRAD Bain in drag as Hans' mother Anna Van Drummond. Yet according to multiple sources, including IMDB, it's twin brother BONAR!


I screened this one when the series landed on Prime Video (in syndicated edits for some reason, but that's another story), and the main thing that hit me was how annoying the story was. Arnold and Willis are blamed throughout the episode for the wrongdoing of Hans, and as a kid I always hated these kinds of plots. The kids are clearly innocent, and everyone knows it except the person disciplining them--in this case, Mr. Drummond, who should know better.

Other than that, though, I thought, yeah, it looks like Conrad. Then again, BONAR looks Conrad. They're twins!

Yet the end credits tell a diff'rent story:

Fun fact, by the way: This episode was written by multiple-Academy-Award-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis!

So why is Bonar given credit for this role? Hey, Conrad worked hard in this Emmy-baiting role. Don't take his thunder!

I found this article that explains it.  Many thanks to the kind soul who clipped this and made it free even for subscribers:

Bonar was there and on set, but did not appear on camera except from behind as Anna (Oh, BEhave!). And much love to Knight-Ridder for running a story like this on an upcoming episode of Diff'rent Strokes.

In fact, if you do a Google search, you will find Getty Images pics that credit Bonar as Anna, and I believe this added to the confusion. Check out this stunner which shows both Con and Bon together.

The confusion is understandable but unacceptable to TV historians! Conrad Bain deserves his due, and Bonar deserves to be honored for his actual work. Yet it's still comforting to know that Bonar was a part of this seminal Diff'rent Strokes episode.

The search for REAL Bonar continues!

Monday, August 9, 2021

This Day in TV History: MLB's strike season of 1981 gets its All-Star game

Labor battles made 1981 one of the most bizarre seasons in Major League Baseball history, one in which playoffs were determined by split-season "winners," and the team with the best overall record didn't even make the postseason. The in-season strike delayed the annual All-Star Game in Cleveland from July 14 to August 9, 1981. NBC had the broadcast with Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek on the call.

The disastrous 1994 strike and the dread in the air of another work stoppage after this season makes one think of turning the fans away, but in 1981, fans were hungry to get the sport back. This game actually set a new attendance record.

The complete game broadcast is available below and in shorter form elsewhere on YouTube!

If you don't want to watch the entire game, here is something from the "it Was a Different Time" Dept.: Morganna the Kissing Bandit running on the field to nab Len Barker. Check out the reaction of several luminaries in the stands afterwards.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Top Ten #128

1) Soul Train: A decade and a half after folding, it's still the hippest trip in America...even when two white dudes like us are taking you on the journey as on this week's podcast.

2) Don Cornelius: Do you think he would have a podcast today, or would he not want to mess around with it? He is runner-up in this week's countdown, just like he was runner-up in the Soul Train One-on-One Basketball Championship as we learned yesterday.

3) Nita Talbot: Happy birthday to the Batty-winning actress who charmed us in Columbo last season!

4) Jeannie and Tabatha: Crackle sneaks shows onto its service sometimes, it feels like. These two 1970s spinoffs were added, uh, sometime recently, I think. Also new: The Rookies and 1989 Matt Frewer sitcom Doctor Doctor.

5) The Amateur's Guide to Love: On this night 50 years ago, CBS aired this pilot under its Comedy Playhouse banner. The game show got a regular spot on the schedule in 1972 but didn't last long.

The pilot was hosted by Peter Marshall; the above clip is from the proper run of the series with Gene Rayburn.

6) Welcome Back, Kotter: Check out this recent piece about controversy associated with the sitcom when it debuted in 1975.

7) Larry Wilcox and Don Most:: It's a stacked week for birthdays, but we have to mention Wilcox so Sgt. Gertraer doesn't yell at us, and we have to mention Most because, hey, it's Don(ny) Most!

8) National Dollar Day: This celebrates the creation of the nation's financial system in 1786.  Want to learn more? I can't find any clips from 1786, but here's a Dough Nuts PSA (we mentioned this series earlier this season).

9) Rewind TV: This sister channel of Antenna TV oficially launches in September, we learned this week, focusing on series from the 1980s and--wait a minute. Rewind? No, this is no relation to our beloved mascot.

10) Beautiful Bobby Eaton: R.I.P. to one of the most interesting studio wrestlers ever because the dude was often seemingly about to bump into the lights when he went to the top.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

YouTube Spotlight: The Soul Train Basketball Championship

One of the best clips in this week's video playlist is this 9-minute segment from a May 1977 episode featuring "The Soul Train One-on-One Basketball Championship:"

With it being 1977, you might think NBA stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton face off, or maybe college superstars Marques Johnson and Bernard King.  How about Marvin Gaye and Don Cornelius? And why not throw in Smokey Robinson as the ref?

I tried to find more info about this but came up short, unlike Gaye, who beats Cornelius despite giving up several inches in height. The Motown legend was enough of an athlete, or considered himself enough of an athlete, to try out for the Detroit Lions (better than Gary Danielson cutting a cover of "What's Going On"). It's tough to judge his skills here, though, because Cornelius seems gassed after the first bucket!

Was this an open invitational? Who else was in the tournament? Did Cornelius ever make a skyhook? All these questions remain open for now.

Friday, August 6, 2021

The Soullllll Train playlist is now up and running!

After joining us for our discussion of the iconic music show Soul Train on this week's podcast, check out our video playlist for the episode. just click below to see the full original ST we talk about (get it while it lasts!) plus shorter clips of the Soul Train Line, the Scramble, and more! Plus you'll see vintage ads for Afro Sheen, glimpses of the British version of the series, clips from Dick Clark's short-lived "answer" program, and...the Soul Train Basketball Championship?

And remember, you can visit our official YouTube channel anytime for past episodes and accompanying video playlists for each one of them! As always, thanks for listening!

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Show Notes: Episode 9-8: Soul Train

*Soul Train aired in first-run syndication from 1971 to 2006 after starting as a Chicago-area program. it had 1,117 episodes according to Wikipedia.

*The episode we discuss premiered October 1, 1977.

*Thanks again to our friends in our Facebook group for voting on this week's episode subject! if you want to hear us talk about Solid Gold or American Bandstand, don't give up hope! Rock and roll never dies! And we plan to do this for a long time!

*Here's an uncompensated plug/link for the Questlove book I reference so much in the episode.

*Don Cornelius hosted Soul Train from the series' origins through 1993.

*Viacom/CBS bought "the brand" in 2016.

*Dick Clark's attempt to co-opt Soul Train, Soul Unlimited, had a limited run in 1973 before ABC yanked it after protests from Cornelius and friends in high places, like Operation PUSH. Here is a link with more info, and, yes, it's The Daily Mail, but it uses a Nelson George book as its source.

*K.C. and the Sunshine Band scored its first #1 hit with Get Down Tonight but had 4 other recordings top the Hot 100.

*620 Soul Train was the short-lived (one season) UK version of the show hosted by ST dancers alum and Shalamar member Jeffrey Daniel.

*We can find no evidence of Bob Dylan appearing on Soul Train, but we like to think he watched it more than a few times.

*The Motown Revue Starring Smokey Robinson aired Friday nights on NBC in the summer of 1985.

*So what do you think? Did we turn this mutha out?

Episode 9-8: The Soul Train The Emotions and Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly

Our listeners have spoken again and voted for us to take a ride on The Soul Train. We ride it all the way back to 1977 for a bit of funk, a bit of disco, the Soul Train Scramble, the Soul Train Line, plus performances by The Emotions and Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly. Get on board!

Check out this episode!

Monday, August 2, 2021

Conrad Bain was the "Love Boat's" ship's steward?

 I was blown away while watching The Love Boat season 9 episode "A Day in Port" when I saw Conrad Bain was in the guest cast--not as a passenger, but as the ship's steward! His Charles Custers is not a new hire, but the chief stew, which means that in the LoveBoativerse, Bain's character has been coexisting with all the regulars for--well, likely for years.  

To the show's creative team, this might have seemed a throwaway character. After all, Bain had been on the series many years earlier as someone squabbling with--and maybe reconciling with?--Janet Leigh. And not even a year earlier, Bain showed up in season 8 as a different passenger. So why not bring the veteran performer in a key role as a heretofore unseen crewmember?

I'll tell you why not: Because now I feel cheated. Conrad Bain (OK, his character, but still) has been on the staff for this long, and we never saw him? The series works best when we don't think about the scores of other employees who make the boat go.  The illusion that a handful of dedicated people keep the Pacific Princess afloat is just fine for me as long as the series doesn't contradict it like this!

Another odd aspect of the episode: The ship's head of chambermaids is Diane Ladd, which is a similar issue, but worse for Ladd is her character...spoiler alert...ends up in a romance with Bain. Now, this is particularly acute to me because we just covered Alice this season. Ladd was a vivacious waitress in the Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore feature film, and then a mere 4-5 years before this Boat episode, she was Flo's replacement on that sitcom. Now, in 1985, a shade below 50 years of age, she is a romantic foil for Conrad Bain.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Top Ten #127

1) The Master: I enjoyed talking about this 1984 ninja show on the podcast this week, but as I mentioned in our Facebook group, I am afraid that we risk reprisal for breaking our sacred oaths by revealing the ways of the series in public.

2) MTV: 40 years ago today, the channel known for reality shows and--wait, wait, wait. No, we're not gonna do this. When MTV premiered, it was awesome, and we loved it. Let's celebrate what it was and not bemoan what it is.

3) Sonny and Cher: Their first variety show premiered on this day 50 years ago tonight! I imagine that 49 years and 364 days ago, they were already sick of each other.

4) Lee Van Cleef: If there's one thing this past week taught me, it's that this dude did a lot more commercials than I remembered.

5) TVP: That's Timothy Van Patten to the non-believers out there. OK, so we weren't totally sold on his character's way with the ladies. Or with his martial arts abilities. Or with the general portrayal of the Max character. Or--uh, did we mention TVP is a very successful director?

6) Ahmad Rashad: GSN created a new game show, Tug of Words, which Rashad will host. If the questions are as difficult as the ones he posed to Jordan in the Nineties...then there are gonna be a LOT of winners.

7) Tempestt Bledsoe: Happy birthday to the former star of that show with that guy!

8) National Sandwich Month: Step into August into style by devouring a giant sammich.

9) Brian Patrick Clarke: Happy birthday to the former Merle the Pearl!

10) Ron Popeil: R.I.P.

#1 Emeritus: Robert Pine.  ALWAYS!