Thursday, September 30, 2021
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
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
Monday, September 27, 2021
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
1) Alice: One 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
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
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
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.
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Sunday, September 19, 2021
(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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
*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!
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.
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
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!
Monday, September 6, 2021
Sunday, September 5, 2021
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
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
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?
Thursday, September 2, 2021
*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 website, Swampscott 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.
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!