Sunday, October 31, 2021
1) It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: After decades, it remains the essential animated Halloween special, and it keeps its charm each time I see it. It still bothers me, though, that actual adults are giving out rocks to any little kid:
2) Halloween is Grinch Night: The great Fuzzy Memories YT channel posted a tape of a showing with original commercials, so you can relive our Season 5 look at the special (and the controversy!) and watch the original:
3) Hammer House of Horror: Decades has a Weekend Binge of the 1980 anthology series that, as we all remember, put Fred Williamson in a different macabre situation each week.
4) Killing at Hell's Gate: 40 years ago tonight, CBS aired this TV movie starring Bob urich, Deborah Raffin, Joel Higgins, and Lee Purcell. Urich's face at the end of this clip sells it for me:
5) Kojak: If we can step away from the Halloween theme for an entry, Get TV is now running the 1970s cop show.
Hey, wait. Kojak likes...lollipops, which many will give out for trick-or-treating tonight! There we go!
6) Dan Rather: One of the most notable Halloween birthdays is the 90-year-old newsman, someone we discussed a bit in our 60 Minutes episode.
Now more than ever, we need...Courage.
7) Almond Joys and Mounds: What's a CBS Special Presentation without incessant plugs for these candies (ones I didn't even like despite wanting to after watching all the ads)?
8) McDonald's Gift Certificates: I always thought this was an underrated Halloween handout. Maybe you'd get a small ice cream cone or something relatively inconsequential, but the point was, it gave your folks an excuse to go to McDonald's.
9) R.I.P.: Val Bisoglio: Obituaries focused on his role as the dad in Saturday Night Fever, but I remember him primarily as Danny on Quincy.
10) R.I.P. Joanna Cameron: Always and forever the real Isis!
Saturday, October 30, 2021
Friday, October 29, 2021
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
CBS' 1979 promo campaign was "Looking Good!" It's a generic slogan, but one that can serve its purpose if in fact the network IS looking good.
This particular promo makes you doubt the veracity of the expression:
CBS is sounding good with the great Danny Dark, who I associated with NBC growing up but who was the voice of the Tiffany Network before that. Looking good, though?
The Last Resort lasted a mere 16 episodes; creator Gary David Goldberg scored a couple years later with Family Ties. As for Struck by Lightning, did anyone ever utter the phrase, "Hey, Jack Elam! Looking GOOD!" I personally love the idea of Elam as a modern-day Frankenstein's monster, but the show itself had an even shorter run than Resort.
Then we get TV movie Sex and the Single Parent. You know, I just don't want to see that.
Monday, October 25, 2021
Sunday, October 24, 2021
1) The Munsters: We did maybe the last of our Season 9 Power Rankings on Friday, with little controversy over the top choices, but Friend of the Show Dann Fox asked about The Standells. We left off celebs playing themselves, but they certainly warrant a mention, so here they are, ladies and gents, and note that an actual Standell appears to be present in the comments for this clip!
2) Aloha Paradise: In case you missed our post earlier this week, Gilmore Box uploaded the intro to an episode of this 1981 flop, and it's a glorious Love Boat ripoff...from the people who did Love Boat! I know I've had a long crusade to get Quincy on streaming video--maybe I need to yell at Asten more--but I may have to set that aside to get Aloha running somewhere.
3) The Horror Hall of Fame: Vincent Price welcomes guests like John Carradine to celebrate classic horror movies and performers in this 1974 ABC special aired under the Wide World of Entertainment banner.
4) Dark Night of the Scarecrow: This memorable CBS movie premiered 40 years ago tonight.
5) National Bologna Day: Yeah, we could go with the kid spelling, but how about something different:
The important thing is that we all celebrate bologna.
6) Soul Train: This week saw an announcement that the Soul Train Music Awards will return in November on BET and will take place at the Apollo. I'd like to think somewhere Don Cornelius is seeing this news and wishing us all peace, love, and exploitation of intellectual property!
7) Snoopy at the Ice Follies: Anything on ice is fun, right? Right? 50 years ago tonight, NBC hoped we'd think so. There isn't a lot out there about this first of multiple Peanuts ice specials, but I found this cool blog post that has a publicity picture and info about the Columbia Gas sponsorship of this and other entertainment specials. I find it amusing that according to this post, the company gave customers a newsletter called Gaslight.
8) Maggie: 40 years ago tonight, ABC premiered sitcomt Maggie from the mind of popular columnist Erma Bombeck. The cast included Miriam Flynn as a Bombeck type, James Hampton, and Doris Roberts.
9) Fortune Dane/Starman: Crackle's latest additions to its streaming lineup are these 1980s short-lived ABC series with Carl Weathers and Robert Hays respectively.
10) R.I.P. Peter Scolari: We talked about his work as Michael on Newhart right here, but he had a prolific career and left a big mark. Check out the cast in this 1991 Disney Channel movie:
Saturday, October 23, 2021
In our PSA episode this season we explored the, many spots Dick Van Dyke did for the National Fire Protection Association. Well, not to be outdone, the International Association of Fire Chiefs present their own message in 1979:
Who are the members of the International Association of Fire Chiefs? Do they have a cool meeting place like the Hall of Justice in some exotic location?
Whatever the case, they know their fires safety. I hope they appreciated the work of Dick Van Dyke and that there was some mutual respect there. The Chiefs are focusing on prevention while DVD talks about reaction. I think there is plenty of room for both approaches!
Friday, October 22, 2021
Thursday, October 21, 2021
I'll take, oh, let me see...every episode of this, please:
The great Gilmore Box YT channel posted this opening this week. I like that he describes it, with some diplomacy, perhaps, as "similar to Love Boat." Yes...similar, all right. Even the Steve Lawrence theme song sounds derivative...and I love it!
Believe it or not, this ABC anthology/comedy/drama lasted a mere 8 (of 13 produced) episodes. If you're concerned about the show ripping off Love Boat, maybe this will make you feel better: It's from Love Boat producers Aaron Spelling and Douglas Cramer! There's no index in Spelling's memoir A Prime Time Life, so the only reference to the show I can see is in his annotated filmography in the back, where he just says it was their attempt to do Love Boat at a Hawaiian resort.
Harry and Wally's Favorite Shows gives the series a measly half-star rating, calling it a "sappy effort" and noting Debbie Reynolds is "annoyingly chipper as manager of the resort." Well, Reynolds was no fan, either; according to Wikipedia, she said "it had the worst scripts ever," in a 1986 newspaper story talking about her guest appearance on a then-current episode of Hotel.
ABC put this one at 9:00 Wednesdays in early 1981 against movies on CBS and the Diff'rent Strokes/Facts of Life combo on NBC, but it soon yanked it for socially relevant (and even shorter-lived) drama The American Dream. By Summer, ABC had added a Wednesday Night Movie to its lineup, and in September it debuted a new-look evening schedule featuring Greatest American Hero, which also debuted in Winter 1981; new Fall show The Fall Guy; and yet another Winter 1981 debut, Dynasty.
As for Aloha Paradise, guest stars include Gene Rayburn, Batty winner Jessica Walter, Red Buttons, Joan Fontaine, and Bert Convy. CBS owns the show, so maybe someday if Paramount Plus has a Crackle-like revelation and starts emptying the vaults, we'll see it on there.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Monday, October 18, 2021
Sunday, October 17, 2021
1) SCTV: We did another round of power rankings this week, and this one may have been the toughest yet with the depth on this series. What do you think about the list?
2) Fantasy Island: This season we discussed Roarke's first (that we see) confrontation with Satan, but 40 years ago tonight, the follow-up, The Devil and Mr. Roarke, premiered on ABC, with Roddy McDowall returning and using Julie to force another showdown.
3) Working Stiffs: Just this week I listened to Michael Keaton's appearance on Bill Simmons' podcast, and it was worth another bizarre reference to Cheers being "super dated" to hear a minute of discussion on this forgotten Keaton/Belushi sitcom.
4) William Shatner: Became the oldest man in space. Are we 100% sure he's human? Next up, let's pay tribute to his iconic TJ Hooker role by letting him be the oldest human to go on a ride-along.
5) Wonder Woman: Decades has a marathon of the series this weekend.
6) Bing Crosby: The legend's estate signed a deal that will b-b-b-bring in beaucop bu-bu-bu-bucks--oh, yeah, and help keep his name out there and preserve his legacy.
7) Elvis and the Beauty Queen: NBC debuted this TV movie 40 years ago tonight. Don Johnson played the King with support from Stephanie Zimbalist:
8) Return of the Rebels: Also premiering tonight 40 years ago, this TV BIKER movie features Barbara Eden reassembling Jamie Farr, Robert Mandan, Don Murray, and Christopher Connelly to counter a gang led by Patrick Swayze! OK, I gotta see this one!
9) National Pasta Day: Carb up, everyone!
10) R.I.P. David DePatie: He helped bring a lot of animation to TV over the years.
Saturday, October 16, 2021
Friday, October 15, 2021
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Monday, October 11, 2021
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
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
Friday, October 8, 2021
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
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
*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
Monday, October 4, 2021
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?
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.
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!"