Thursday, March 31, 2022

Happy 100th birthday to the late Richard Kiley

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:

Some Call Them...Freaks is a 1981 HBO documentary spotlighting "different" individuals like Robert Wadlow, Julia Pastrana, Tom Thumb, and others. It has a simple, often stark style, reliant on basic recreations, still photos, and Kiley's sober voice-over. Yes, there is some showmanship--Kiley dresses like a magician and appears on a stage set up to resemble a sideshow backdrop--but the overall pace and tone are subdued.

Check out the dedication at the beginning. The plain white text on black background with no music prefigures something serious. At least, it did when I was a kid. I knew this was something strange yet meaningful, and this special haunted me a bit. It was meant to humanize the spotlighted people, and it did so in a way, but I was also, for lack of a better word, freaked out by the presentation.

I still watched it, though! I must have seen pieces of this many times on HBO. Years later, I got into the "Hey, you can find old stuff on YouTube" phase of my life, and I was thrilled to find this special. It was more subtle than I remembered, and today it really stands out for being less hyper than what we see today. The style is much more akin to the kinds of educational films we used to see in school than current documentary fashion. And you know what? I like it!

Kiley does a great job in this special, and it will always be my favorite role of his. Happy 100th!

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

It's National Doctors Day and a great time to celebrate our favorites, like Dr. Johnny Fever.

Wait, isn't MUSIC the doctor?

Well, we can just slide over inside the office, then, and celebrate this guy"

Or do we have it wrong again?

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

This Day in TV History: The Academy Awards and the NCAA Championship!

Nowadays, putting a big event like the Academy Awards on the same night as the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, or vice versa, might be seen as a slap in the face. Yet back then the hoops wasn't as big a deal as it is today, and things were just different. So it wasn't that unusual that 40 years ago tonight, March 29, 1983, both events went head to head in prime time.

In the 1982 Oscars, hosted by Johnny Carson on ABC, the big winners included Chariots of Fire (most wins and Best Picture), Raiders of the Lost Ark (tied for most wins with 4), and On Golden Pond. The stars of the latter film, Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn, won the major acting honors, so this night was sort of a commemoration of two screen legends.

Over on CBS, starting an hour earlier, North Carolina got coach Dean Smith his first title in a win over Georgetown. The Tarheels featured a young guard named Michael Jordan, who hit the go-ahead bucket with 15 seconds left. So this was kind of like the first step in the creation of a legend (and don't forget Hall of Famers James Worthy and Patrick Ewing, who also starred in the game).
With its hour head start, the basketball drew an average of 17 million viewers, but the Oscars' rating was over 46 million! it seems strange to see two huge events going against each other, but as we mentioned in a bonus episode a while back, it was not unprecedented. The previous year, both events were scheduled to go head to head, but the attempted assassination of President Reagan made the Academy and ABC move the awards a night, while the NCAA deliberated before deciding to continue the game as planned.

Monday, March 28, 2022

A look at the new RetroFan magazine

I joked in our Facebook group that if there was any doubt that RetroFan was a magazine for me, it should be dispelled by one of the stories in the latest issue: "Rare Pro Wrestling Erasers." That piece is indeed a brief but informative look at the Japanese items in question and the M.U.S.C.L.E. toy line inspired by it. There's a lot more for us Seventies/Eighties TV fans in the ish.

Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse is a product of the early Sixties, but I remember watching reruns as a kid, and Will Murray has a great history of the Bob Kane (sort of--read the article) cartoon. Andy Mangels has a typically thorough look at the confusing story of how two competing Ghostbusters animated series hit the airwaves at the same time.

Other stories are only tangentially connected to the BOTNS zone but are still worthwhile, like the interview with cover girl Caroline Munro and a summary of Watergate that gets into the pop culture aspects of that saga. The Wacky Packages history touches on many products we all saw on TV ads, of course. There's a short "retro crush" appreciation of Kim Richards. A piece on the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy is basically a promo for the place (it's co-written by the museum's director), but I enjoyed it and had no idea the building existed.

It's a bit less focused on our era than some other issues but another fine issue. You can find out more here, and I point out again, this is not a compensated promo, but just me passing along the latest on my favorite magazine.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Top Ten #170

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

Blow me down! It's National Spinach Day!

If any food item ever needed a PR campaign, it's spinach. Why don't we celebrate National Spinach Day by enjoying some Popeye? 

Uh, unfortunately I couldn't find a Popeye Spinach ad, but you can wash down all that green stuff with a cool Dr. Pepper!

Friday, March 25, 2022

This Day in TV History: Cagney and Lacey premieres

40 years ago tonight, CBS premiered Cagney & Lacey, a cop show notable for featuring two female leads. Quick, which one was Cagney and which one was Lacey?

I never could tell because I didn't really watch the show when it was on; it was something I was always aware of but rarely on my TV. The show had an interesting, sometimes checkered off-screen background with controversy, recasting, and even an early cancellation (It would make an interesting subject for our show someday) but ultimately lasted 7 seasons and 125 episodes plus a handful of TV movies--not bad considering many doubted audiences would watch a show about two "lady cops."

Cagney & Lacey is not shown often today, and it's even spotty in streaming. You can find some of it on Pluto and some of it on Roku Channel, though I think the whole series was available elsewhere in recent years. 1980s drama is not at all common on TV these days, though. Action/sci-fi shows--maybe. Dramas like this one, Hill Street, Elsewhere--10:00 PM shows that covered serious issues and attempted to win Emmys? Not so much.

By the way, Tyne Daly was Lacey, & Sharon Gless was Cagney, and though my perception was that Daly got 95% of the acclaim, each won multiple Emmys and other awards for their work on the series,

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Collectible Corner: NBC--You don't have to "be there", but check us out!

Today I have another pin that isn't as spectacular as the Let's All Be There one but still pretty cool and a nice collectible of my network of choice (mostly) in the 1980s:

Gotta love the color in that one and of course the NBC attitude! Don't you feel "Proud as a Peacock" gazing at this pin? Does it make you want to go out and greenlight a "Supertrain" or a "Pink Lady and Jeff"?

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

This Day in TV History: Q.E.D. premieres

Q.E.D.? Isn't that what, uh, smart people write at the end of, uh, smart stuff?

Indeed, it is, but it's also the title of a 6-episode adventure series CBS ran in Spring 1982. The premiere episode 40 years ago tonight.

At least two different reference books of mine compare this to The Wild, Wild West, and the Sherlock Holmes influence is strong as well. The setting is 1912 England, and star Sam Waterston's character is named Quentin Everett Deverill, which I love. Get it? Q...E...D.

The show's creator, John Hawkesworth was writer and producer on Upstairs, Downstairs and Duchess of Duke Street, two British programs that did stick. I don't know how Q.E.D. fared in the UK (it aired on ITV as it ran here in the States), and notice that years before cross-network sharing was a common thing, Showtime aired this CBS series as well! I don't know when the pay cable channel had the show, but you can see from the promos above it serialized the 6 episodes at some point.

CBS slotted it Tuesday nights at 8:00 against Happy Days/Joanie Loves Chachi (ABC) and Bret Maverick (NBC; one week it was pre-empted by a pair of Easter-themed cartoon reruns), where it lasted a mere 6 weeks. Happy Days was in reruns at the time, Joanie Loves Chachi was replaced by Laverne and Shirley reruns, and Bret Maverick was no winner--it's final first-run episode aired just a week after Q.E.D.'s finale--but this interesting-sounding adventure series was dropped.

It's not hard to find the episodes online if you want to check them out yourself!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Happy birthday, William Shatner!

It's William Shatner's 91st birthday, and I don't have anything profound to say, but he's getting a birthday shout-out from me as long as he remains with us.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Murder Monday: Promo time!

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

Top Ten #169

1) The Rockford Files: Well, ONE of us sure loves the show months after talking about it on the podcast, doesn't he?

OK, actually, we both do, but one of us has really been watching it. Find out more of what we've been watching on the new bonus episode we premiered Thursday!

2) Night Court: Or you could stay right here and find out that we've been watching some Night Court, too. But lest you think it'll show up in Season 10, let me put here what I threw up in our Facebook group:

3) ?????: Congratulations again to Mike for acing this week's Fame Game on our bonus episode! 

4) Solid Gold: OK, we'll name just one more TV show (and by we I mean me; I don't want to implicate Mike) have been watching lately. It may have lost the listeners' choice episode poll last year, but Dionne Warwick won my heart anyway!

5) Banacek: 50 years ago tonight, Banacek entered the world as NBC aired the pilot, which also featured BOTNS favorite Madlyn "Fences" Rhue.

6) Don Giller: The nation breathed a collective sigh of relief this week when his channel update indicated he was hired as a consultant to the awesome official Letterman YouTube channel and that his own super-awesome unofficial YouTube channel would continue.

7) Hal Linden: We wish a very happy 91st birthday to star of stage and screen--and sometimes both, as in Night of 100 Stars--Hal Linden!

8) Superboy: The latest in the parade of Warner Brothers "This would be cool on HBO Max, but we're not doing anything with it, so at least we'll license it out" shows to hit Tubi TV is this syndicated 1988 series.

9) St. Patrick's Day: I didn't get a shamrock shake this year!

Hey, at least it's not Ed McMahon singing "Thanksgiving Day" again!

10) National Proposal Day: I would like to propose that NBC put Kojak on Peacock. Not that kind of proposal? Oh, yeah, I guess today is about this kind:

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Vintage Bruce Willis (And now, a word from THEIR sponsor)

There are rumors out there about Bruce Willis' health, and I hope there is a lot of exaggeration there. It made me feel good to see this ad crop up in my YouTube feed recently: Classic Bruno-era Bruce. I don't think I even need to explain why this is a quintessential 1980s Willis ad, right up there with the ones we discussed on the podcast:

I can't improve on his facial expressions and overall demeanor!

Friday, March 18, 2022

Show Notes: Bonus episode--Catching Up/Fame Game

*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.

*The official David Letterman YouTube channel we discuss is right here, and Don Giller's channel is still going, too.

*Check out our YT playlist for an interesting episode of Solid Gold co-hosted by Frank Sinatra.

*Listen to our Medical Center episode right here!

*Our thanks as always to Bobby and the BOTNS Orchestra for their fine work in the Fame Game this week!

The YouTube playlist for our Catching Up bonus episode is now live!

We're back with a bonus episode this week catching you up on what we've been up to and hinting at what's ahead, and we even throw in a little Fame Game action! Our video playlist features some clips of what we talk about plus glimpses of Keene Curtis winning a Tony and Bruce Boxleitner in a 1988 remake of Red River! All that plus a vintage Amana commercial! Enjoy the list below, or you can always visit our official YouTube channel for past podcast episodes and playlists for each one of them!

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

BOTNS Investigates and REPUDIATES an earlier post

When we spotlighted the TV movie Hunter last week, we acknowledged that it may not have avtually aired on that date 50 years ago. Well, we did a deeper dive and broadened our search to include some primary sources, and now we can report that it did NOT in fact run at 9:00 PM EST on March 10, 1972.

What did air on that night after O'Hara, United States Treasury was a different TV movie: Goodbye, Raggedy Ann, which itself had debuted in October 1971. In this picture, Mia Farrow is a troubled Hollywood actress who attempts to turn her life around by marrying a rich guy played by John Colicos! Hal Holbrook is her friend who apparently tries to save her from instability and, more importantly, from John Colicos.

Also in the cast are Genius Award winner Ed Flanders, Martin Sheen, and Walter Koenig! It sounds like quite a movie, but it ain't Hunter!

Why did one notable site have the movie wrong and another have a big blank space in that timeslot? I don't know, but I do appreciate the effort those free sites have put into building semi-decent databases.  There are many inconsistencies in old listings, and even original newspaper and TV Guide records may not be accurate because of pre-emptions and last-minute changes.  

I wish we had a big TV listings database where one could go to find this stuff without the hassle (and expense in some cases) of perusing old PDF files. There could be a site maintained by the community to make corrections, updates, notes, etc. Until then we have to do our best and try to use multiple sources to see what aired when.

Monday, March 14, 2022

National Potato Chip Day!

While everyone else is talking about pie today, I prefer a salty snack. Here are a few old pros to recommend one for us on National Potato Chip Day:

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Top Ten #168

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

National Working Moms Day!

 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!

We talk about the show in great depth right here.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

This Day in TV History: Hunter (1972)...maybe

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

Baseball is still there in the BOTNS era (except for a little while back in 1981)

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

This Day in TV History: 'Twas a Night of 100 Stars!

40 years ago tonight, ABC brought viewers the extravaganza Night of 100 Stars, a gala to benefit the Actors Fund and a showcase for singers, dancers, actors, magicians, and Ed Koch. We covered this special as part of our celebration of 100-ish podcast episodes!

If you never saw the special, which had been taped in February for airing on March 8, you might just look at the list of attendees and scoff. "Where is Dick Van Patten?" you might ask. Well, Tom Bosley was there! There was music, comedy, Yep, there was a lot of fashion. Give the producers credit for getting more like 200 stars there without resorting to castmembers from Big Brother, Below Deck, or Banacek. Wait, that last one wasn't a reality show. I am kind of surprised George Peppard wasn't there, though.

Check out that episode we did for more, and who knows, maybe when it gets to that time, we will celebrate our 167th episode with Night of 167 Stars. Or maybe we'll just do Night of 100 Stars II from 1985.

Monday, March 7, 2022

National Cereal Day!

Since today is National Cereal Day. might we suggest it's an ideal time to open that vintage box of Mr. T cereal you've been sitting on for almost 40 years?

Well, maybe you're going to leave it opened, in which case let's just enjoy this commercial:

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Top Ten #167

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

Revisiting Women's History Streaming/DVD suggestions from last year

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.

No sign of this one, but it has that NBC Mystery Movie cachet and could surface eventually...though I doubt it would be on Peacock, which isn't exploiting its own library much.

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.

The Norman Lear shows always have some kind of chance, but for now we have to settle with episodes on YouTube.

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.

Unless there is some kind of funky rights or elements issue with this, I am going to go ahead and predict that this one ends up on Crackle at some point this year. I have no knowledge of that, but it seems like a good fit. If you're into Schmock and Valelly, check out this recent post.

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.

No sign of this one. It's a real long shot, I have to admit.

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.

Another long shot. Maybe some more episodes will show up on YouTube.

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.

The show is largely forgotten except for The Simpsons, and I don't know of even any hints of it appearing anywhere.

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!

Music shows are tough, and I don't think this is coming anytime soon unless the Mandrells get some kind of big documentary treatment and maybe Time Life comes out with a big box set.

So overall, 2 out of 10 ain't bad when we are talking short-lived and long-unseen TV shows.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Streaming Video for March has many surprises

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.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Collectibles Corner: Adama looking good in Funko form

My wonderful wife and Friend of the Show Laurie surprised me a few weeks ago with this awesome Funko Pop: A delightful rendition of Lorne Greene as Commander Adama from the original Battlestar Galactica.

Look at the world-weariness in Adama's eyes. It's obvious that this man has spent YAHRENS leading multitudes in a high-stakes, high-stress environment.

And, no, despite Mike asking, it does not come with detachable hair. It does have a cool cape!

Laurie told me that Adama and Apollo were the ones easier to find at decent prices, whereas Starbuck and Cylon were much pricier. That's the thing with these Funkos--if you don't get 'em while they are out initially, you might not get 'em at all unless you want to pay outrageous prices.

It just so happens that Adama is the single BSG Funko I would pick if I had to pick just one--and it seems like maybe I did! Thanks, Laurie!