Today would have been Richard Kiley's 100th birthday, and while he is known and celebrated as a fine performer of stage and screen, I personally remember him best for one specific host/narration gig--no, not Jurassic Park, but a documentary that aired on HBO many, many times in the early 1980s:
Thursday, March 31, 2022
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
Monday, March 28, 2022
Sunday, March 27, 2022
1) Magnum P.I.: The OG Magnum--you know, what, forget it, we don't need to distinguish here; this is just Magnum, and the other one can be Reboot Magnum--is now on Blu-Ray thanks to Mill Creek. The company has a spotty record, but Cereal at Midnight says this set is pretty good:
2) Academy Awards: We have a gentleman's bet with the producers about whether the show gets a higher rating than the Battys. I doubt anything as interesting as what happened on the show that aired this date in 1973:
3) Al Michaels: The veteran broadcaster is gonna get paid--straight up P-A-I-D for calling Thursday Night Football for Prime next season. I hope he replaces his patented sly references to the point spreads with sly references to The Jeffersons reruns on Prime.
4) Candid Camera: Shout! Factory bought the rights to the long-running franchise and plans to start airing episodes on its streaming service later this year. The joke will be on me if they are all from the 2001 PAX run.
5) Mannix: Stop me if you heard this one before: Decades' Weekend Binge features Mannix. I guess ol' Joe does well for them.
6) ABC Double Feature: 50 years ago tonight, the network used this fancy title to burn off two unsold pilots: Wheeler and Murdock and The New Healers. The former stars Jack Warden as a P.I. who teams up with his slain partner's son (Christopher Stone) to solve a crime involving "the syndicate." In the latter, Leif Erickson is the main doctor in a rural community, aided by Robert Foxworth and Kate Jackson. Lee Goldberg's Unsold Pilots quotes series creator Sterling Silliphant saying he hoped to sneak in an attack on "the good ole boy (BS) of the AMA" in the guise of a standard medical show.
7) National Joe Day: Hey, is this why Mannix is featured again this weekend? Here is one of my own favorite Joes:
8) The Wizard of Oz: The classic film, a venerable favorite even then, aired 40 years ago tonight on CBS. I keep thinking the network aired the movie around Thanksgiving each year when I was growing up, and I keep being proven wrong!
9) National Scribble Day: Here's one fellow who might participate:
10) Scoey Mitchell: R.I.P.
Saturday, March 26, 2022
Friday, March 25, 2022
Thursday, March 24, 2022
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Monday, March 21, 2022
While we wait for me to talk about a specific episode again, enjoy this promo from the show's first season, before the series leaned into the excessive bloodlust and over-the-top mayhem that distinguished it in future years:
Sunday, March 20, 2022
Saturday, March 19, 2022
Friday, March 18, 2022
*I actually don't have a ton this week, but it feels good to be doing Show Notes again!
*Thanks again for your patience, and we look forward to joining you again for our upcoming new season!
*Mama's Family, the Vicki Lawrence sitcom that sprung from the sketches on The Carol Burnett Show, ran 6 seasons, two on NBC and 4 in first-run syndication.
*One in a Million is streaming on Crackle.
*Shout out to Genius Award winner Jeffrey Scott! He won the honor at our Season 8 Battys.
*As of this writing, Facts of Life is no longer streaming on a major service (that we know of) despite past stints on Crackle, Roku Channel, and Pluto TV.
*The Facebook group we mention is right here. It's very easy to join!
*Congratulations again to...ME! Yes, congrats to Mike and me for the new developments in/additions to our families. Sky point to the late great Merle!
*Night Court is streaming on IMDB-TV, free with ads.
*You can still see The Rockford Files on multiple streaming outlets, including Peacock, IMDB-TV, and Roku Channel.
*Check out our YT playlist for an interesting episode of Solid Gold co-hosted by Frank Sinatra.
*Our thanks as always to Bobby and the BOTNS Orchestra for their fine work in the Fame Game this week!
Thursday, March 17, 2022
Tuesday, March 15, 2022
Monday, March 14, 2022
Sunday, March 13, 2022
1) Emilio Delgado: We dedicate this week's Top Ten to the late Delgado, best known as Luis on Sesame Street but an accomplished actor outside of that series who had a recurring role as Ruben Castillo on Lou Grant. When we talked about that show on our podcast, Delgado liked an Instagram post of ours and added a nice comment. In our book, that made him a Friend of the Show even if he didn't know it!
We wrote a post about that here. For two guys who grew up in the era we did, getting a nod from Delgado was a real thrill, and we hope it was a bit of a kick for him to have someone acknowledge his work on Lou Grant. R.I.P.!
2) Three's Company: Antenna TV celebrates the shows's 45th anniversary with a marathon on Tuesday--that is, unless some crazy misunderstanding leads to them running a bunch of Eight Is Enough episodes.
3) The Tournament: ESPN's recent docuseries on the history of Atlantic Coast Conference basketball as told through its postseason tournament is excellent...even the parts that don't talk about UNC!
4) Mary Jo Catlett: Me-TV has a story on "the cherished character actress" because...Well, I am thrilled to see a story on her, but it does feel like they will do anything to get a MASH connection on that website.
5) Major League Baseball lockout ends: OK, I can get excited about baseball again, and I know it's a different time, but I still miss the days when all owners and baseball players were fine upstanding citizens without any skeletons in their closet--you know, people like George Steinbrenner, Pete Rose, Steve Garvey...
6) The White Shadow: Hey, speaking of basketball--well, we were a couple of items ago--Decades has a Shadow binge this weekend, and the episode we talked about on the podcast (our second episode!) is on at 4:00 PM EST today!
7) Daylight Savings Time ENDS: This is the one we all dread, the one where we lose an hour, but, please, folks, as grumpy as you may be today, don't take it out on this guy:
8) Johnny Carson Presents Sun City Scandals '72: NBC aired this special 50 years ago tonight. A follow-up to a similar program from 1970, it is a showcase for showbiz vets like Harry Ruby, Ethel Waters, and Eddie Foy Jr.
9) Tour of Duty: Season 2 is now on Crackle, and we mention this as a reminder that things tend to trickle in on that service as opposed to being added all at once. If you have a favorite show on there that has missing episodes or even seasons, check it every now and then!
10) Conrad Janis: R.I.P. as well to one of our favorite elements on Mork and Mindy and also, as we wrote recently, a talented jazz musician among other talents.
Saturday, March 12, 2022
Let's celebrate National Working Moms Day with one of our favorites: Alice Hyatt!
There have been many working moms on television, but not all of them had a tough job like waitressing, pursued a singing career, indulged in heavy meddling as a side hustle, AND sang the show's theme song! Maggie Seaver didn't do that! Shirley Partridge didn't even do that!
Thursday, March 10, 2022
No, not the Fred Dryer vehicle.
No, not this Hunter:
50 years ago tonight, an unsold pilot called Hunter aired after an episode of O'Hara, U.S. Treasury on 1973. Or did it? According to IMDB, the movie was shot in 1970 but not aired until 1973, yet Ultimate 70s TV has it at 9:00 on March 10, 1973. TV Tango has nothing in the timeslot between O'Hara and The Don Rickles Show, yet another of the many frustrating gaps that site's grids have.
Well, Lee Goldberg's book of unsold pilots lists the airdate as January 9, 1973, so maybe the movie didn't air March 10, 1972. I will continue to investigate, but in the meantime, hey, this is interesting enough to discuss today!
This is the only clip I could find of the program, which comes from Mission Impossible's Bruce Gellar (and even has music from Lalo Schiffrin):
Goldberg describes the pilot as John Vernon "assumes the identity of of a fellow agent brainwashed by unknown enemies into releasing a virus that could kill half the U.S. population. Yes, Vernon is the HERO! Goldberg makes a funny remark about "Hunter" being the most common name in law enforcement on TV.
Check out the cast. In addition to Vernon, there is Edward Binns, Barbara Rhoades, Fritz Weaver, Ramon Bieri, JOHN SCHUCK (!), Genius Award winner Ed Flanders, and more! I don't know why it didn't work out, but it sounds interesting, even if it did NOT air 50 years ago tonight!
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
The MLB lockout is a real downer, but I am looking back to some great old-school footage to remind myself why baseball was my favorite sport back in the day. I will try to post baseball-related clips from our era here every now and then.
First up is one of my favorite commercials ever, a 1980s Starting Lineup commercial that captures some of the elements that make people write (sometimes too) flowery tributes to the game. Summer, nostalgia, grainy footage...Soak it in, folks!
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Monday, March 7, 2022
Sunday, March 6, 2022
1) Ed McMahon: Born on this day in 1923, one of our favorites, multiple-time star of the podcast and a man known as Mr. Thanksgiving in these parts, the great Edward Leo Peter McMahon Jr. Every day can be Thanksgiving if you feel it in your heart, and how can you not when you hear this:
2) Carol Lynley: Also born today, the late Lynley, who starred in the Fantasy Island episode we spotlighted last season, "The Devil and Mandy Breem."
3) Amelia Earhart: A helmet worn by the aviator on a flight across the Atlantic fetched $825,000 at auction. In unrelated news, a Leisure World in New Jersey is getting a new indoor pool.
4) SAG Awards: Congrats to Jean Smart and Will Smith for their big wins last weekend.
5) National Oreo Cookie Day: Is it a coincidence that it's also National Dentist's Day?
6) Heathcliff and Dingbat: Pluto TV added this version of Heathcliff this week. The pairing ended when Dingbat launched an ill-fated Vegas show in an effort to get leverage for a new contract.
7) Chicago Story: 40 years ago tonight, this ambitious but short-lived series premiered on NBC. Of course TV and NBC are much different now; instead of one show, Chicago now takes up about 40% of its primetime lineup.
8) Neighbours: The long-running Australian sitcom that spawned the careers of Kylie Minogue and Russell Crowe is finally ending. Anyone else get the feeling that even now, 30 years later, they're afraid to tell Crowe?
9) NBA on CBS: As we wait for the new 1980s Lakers show on HBO, we are all wondering about the casting, but I don't care if the guy that plays magic gets it right. I want to know who is capturing the essence of Pat O'Brien.
10) Johnny Brown: R.I.P. to the memorable character actor. It seems difficult to pay proper respect to the man who played a character known as "Buffalo Butt" on Good Times.
Thursday, March 3, 2022
Earlier this week, I closed out February by taking another look at the suggestions I made for Black History Month in 2021--that is, 1970s and 1980s series that I'd like to see available on streaming and/or DVD. Well, I did a similar exercise last year for Women's History Month in March, and I want to see if any of these series actually materialized!
My comments from the original story are below (without the YT clips embedded in the previous post), with my new comments in bold:
Amy Prentiss: This was on our radar even before the passing of star Jessica Walter last week, but i bet a lot of people reading her obituaries thought, "Wait, she won her Emmy for what, now?" I recently heard Cy Chernak suggest that this Ironside spinoff was ripped off by Prime Suspect. In the series, the Emmy-and-Batty 9for a different project)-winning Walter becomes head of the SFPD and meets a lot of resistance. Also starring Art Metrano! Only several episodes, but it could get plunked on Peacock or packaged with other NBC Mystery Movie selections.
All's Fair: Not all Norman Lear shows have been part of the national consciousness. I don't expect to see a live recreation of one of these episodes anytime soon. I'd like to see a good, old original episode of it, though. The concept seems to be from another century now, and that's because it is! Bernadette Peters and Richard Crenna are liberal/conservative newspeople who are separated by age and background as well as political beliefs. It also stars Michael Keaton and Jack Dodson.
Madame's Place: Let's not minimize the significance of Madame just because she was Puppet-American. This show is high on camp value but low on exposure in the last, what, 30-some years? I imagine it would have an instant cult following were it made available, but perhaps clearances make it impossible.
My comments from last year stand, but no official release yet. The series is easy to find online, though.
Double Trouble: I get a rush of nostalgia whenever I see a snippet of or promo of this 1980s NBC sitcom which had a seemingly endless rerun stint on USA Network soon after its original run. The Sagal twins starred, but stalwarts Donnelly Rhodes and Barbara Barrie were also in the cast along with scene stealers Jonathan Schmock and (future Arrested Development creative force) Jim Valelly.
This is kind of a limbo show in that no one runs it anymore yet I bet it would have high, "Ohhh, yeah, THAT show!" factor among children of the Eighties. It was an unexceptional sitcom about teenage life, but the twins were charming enough to make the show worth another look.
Jeannie: How about a cartoon for our list? I Dream of Jeannie has never been out of syndication and is frequently a national presence on cable or on diginets, but this animated spinoff is way out of circulation. The series ran only one season of originals and subbed Julie McWhirter for Barbara Eden; in fact the entire cast was replaced and Jeannie "served" a teen surfer voiced by Mark Hamill.
Hey, we got one! Crackle added this series last year.
Flying High: Anything with two-time Batty Award winner Connie Sellecca should be available, says I.
Gimme a Break!: Nell Carter's star vehicle is barely mentioned today but was one of NBC's more bankable shows during its grim pre-Cosby years. This show was a rerun staple in the 1980s. Yes, Antenna TV has carried it in recent years, and other stations, too, and, yes, it got a DVD release years ago. But the DVDs are out of print, and I feel that this series just isn't talked about as much as one would think a family-friendly 6-season, 137-episode sitcom would be. Hey, networks, looking for a throwback Black-themed sitcom and don't want to carry Cosby's stuff? Here's an option!
The Late Show with Joan Rivers: Not to be confused with That Show with Joan Rivers, a more obscure talk show that has received exposure in the streaming era, probably by virtue of being fortunate enough to be available enough to be released by someone who is motivated to do something with old shows. Rivers was an excellent host, and while the work of her friend-turned-foe Johnny Carson is all over the place these days (and I'm glad for it), you have to scour YouTube for examples of Rivers' highest-profile pre-E! years series. It's worthy of more attention than just the infamous falling out with the King of Late Night.
Tracey Ullman Show: It deserves to be remembered for more than just being the launching pad of The Simpsons. Ullman has had, what, a dozen shows with some variation of her name in the title? This is the one I'd like to revisit, one of the flagship early Fox Network programs.
Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters: I'm sure it's impossible, but the Mandrells were huge in the early Eighties. Music, comedy, and more were the hallmarks of this variety series that ended too soon when Babs stepped out of the singing life to rest her voice. It was maybe the last of the big primetime network variety shows, and it was a solid performer for NBC on Saturday nights at a time when it didn't have a lot of hits. Plus it had Krofft puppets!
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Tubi and Crackle released their lists late, making March 1 a day filled with more surprises than the usual first of the month. The two free streamers lead the way once again in delivering "new" 1970s/1980s television content.
Crackle gives us Tour of Duty (whole series, though I only see season 1 as of this writing), the whole series of Riptide, and a real rarity: 1982's Angie Dickinson vehicle Cassie and Company. I don't think any of those 3 series has streamed anywhere before. For good measure, Crackle added Stingray.
Tubi continued to show love for short-lived Warner Brothers genre shows, adding The Man from Atlantis. Even bigger is its acquisition of Maverick to join Bret Maverick, which it posted last month. Just to prove it's not only snapping up WB shows, though, Tubi also gained McCloud and Grady from Universal and Sony, respectively. And if it already had Airwolf, I either hadn't noticed or had forgotten!
Continuing the "free with ads" theme, IMDB-TV added two new shows because why "waste" them on people who pay for Prime? Adam-12 and Falcon Crest are new to the service this month.
Pluto added the rest of Webster. Paramount Plus did nothing.
Peacock and Disney Plus are sitting out the month as well so far. That's disappointing, but the biggest letdown of all is something that would have been one of the oddest surprises in recent memory. HBO Max's corporate overlords released a list a week or so ago with the March 2022 additions, and on that list was Starsky and Hutch (1975). 1975! That would mean the TV show. Why in the world would HBO Max get the Sony-owned 1970s cop show?
Well, it didn't. It was the Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson movie, of course. Oh, well.