Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Special post-Memorial Day list: 10 military-themed shows from the BOTNS era we'd like to see on streaming

We hope you had a great extended holiday weekend. Before we abandon Memorial Day--and really the sentiment behind the occasion is valid all year round--we continue our regular look at shows that are not on official streaming video outlets with a summary of some military-themed programs of the 1970s and 1980s.

1) China Beach: We covered this recently. Beach is out on video courtesy of Time Life after being thought unreleaseable due to music clearances. The show has been in reruns since its original run. Do either of these things mean a streaming appearance is possible? It's Warner Brothers, and I could see it being licensed to Tubi if it's clearable.

2) Baa Baa Black Sheep: This is one of the Stephen Cannell shows not floating around all over the place. The 190s NBC show featured Marine fighter pilots and has made some appearances on TV, plus received a full DVD release. It currently airs on Heroes and Icons, and NBC Universal could put it on Peacock and make a lot of Dads happy in June!

3) Operation Petticoat: Another short-lived Universal show; this sitcom with John Astin is a lot more obscure than the Cary Grant movie. I was surprised to see it on..hmm, was it RTV years ago? It had a short stint on TV Land many years ago, too. Don't hold your breath waiting for this one, though.

4) Call to Glory: I believe this Craig T. Nelson drama is all but forgotten today after its single season on ABC in 1984. Nelson played a USAF pilot in the 1960s, and the series focused on his family life. Keenan Wynn and a young Elisabeth Shue co-starred. I believe Paramount owns this now, and any chance of an appearance on streaming is minimal.

5) Emerald Point N.A.S.: A single-season CBS primetime soap set a Naval base, this Dennis Weaver show gained no traction. I believe Fox produced it, so if Disney owns it, forget about seeing it again in any official platform.

6) At Ease: Here's a series even shorter than the previous two: 14 episodes was all this Jimmie Walker sitcom got. It's produced by Aaron Spelling and owned by Paramount, and I doubt we ever see it again.

7) It Ain't Half Hot Mum: I have never seen this Britcom, but it's a long-running show set in WWII-era Burma by the creators of Dad's Army and--hmm, features blackface. Nope, never seeing that one again!

8) Roll Out: This is one I really would like to see, a sitcom created by Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds set in WWII France and starring Stu Gilliam, Hilly Hicks, and Garrett Morris. It appears to be a failed attempt by CBS to get more juice from MASH, but it sounds interesting. Some footage is on YouTube, but since BET aired it in its early days, it might be available someday..except that as a Fox show it's in Disney vaults and likely buried forever.

9) Laverne and Shirley in the Army: This cartoon series somehow got a DVD-R release several years ago, and I think it may have had a short stint on Hulu with Fonz and the Happy Days Gang. It's the kind of thing you'd think Boomerang could show, but I think Paramount controls this Hanna-Barbera show, so it would probably cost money, which eliminates Boomerang!

10) The World at War: This outstanding docuseries is nearly 50 years old, but it had a huge impact, and I don't think we should just shove older nonfiction shows under the rug. There is no lack of WWII material available elsewhere, but this is a seminal work that deserves a spot somewhere. Maybe Britbox could pick it up. I don't think there are rights issues preventing it from being anywhere; it's probably just a bias against "old" material.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Happy Memorial Day from BOTNS!

Happy Memorial Day to everyone here in the United States, with special greetings to those who have served our country and the loved ones of those who sacrificed their lives in service to the country.

One of the first things I think of when I consider the military and TV is the ad campaigns the armed forces ran in the Eighties. The Air Force had some impressive ads.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Top Ten #179: Special "Summer is just about here" edition

1) Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends: We had a blast this week on the podcast, and I really think we could have talked for two hours about the series. Hey, could the gang be eligible for a Batty this year?

2) Professor X: He's a class act (You gotta hear the podcast this week for that one).

3) The Incredible Hulk: They said it couldn't be done, but somehow, someway, this 1982 cartoon has tied with Quincy for "most whiny references to it not being available on streaming." Congratulations, 1982 Hulk!

4) Stan Lee: Watching Amazing Friends confirmed for us that Stan the Man narrating just about anything is gold. Heck, Stan just talking is usually pretty cool.

5) Family: I watched the first batch of 6 episodes (originally intended as a limited series, then designated season 1 when the show continued) since the show was leaving Tubi in June. What a shame that Tubi licensed it for less than a year. Hopefully someone else picks it up since as of now, only the first two seasons got DVD releases.

6) Lisa Whelchel: Happy birthday! If you take the good and you take the bad, which category holds Facts of Life and which holds this:

7) Oceans: Silent Crisis: On this night in 1972, ABC News presented this special at 8:00. Narrated by newsman Frank Reynolds, it explored the effects of pollution on the world's oceans. 

Very noble, yes, but I bet most people watched reruns of Gunsmoke or Laugh-In instead. If only it were narrated by Stan Lee.

8) Love, American Style: Decades has a marathon this weekend, which by my calculation means approximately 89 episodes, 547 segments, and 213 of them featuring Jo Anne Worley.

9) You Can't Do That on Television: Shout out to Toy Galaxy for an interesting recent YouTube video exploring the surprisingly convoluted history of the Eighties Nickolodeon hit.

10) R.I.P. Ray Liotta and Bo Hopkins: Before breaking through as a movie actor, Liotta had recurring roles on several TV series, including Another World and the David Soul 1983 Casablanca series.

Hopkins had a recurring role on Dynasty in addition to a long movie and TV acting career.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Inside the Guide: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends premieres in September 1981

Our podcast subject this week, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, premiered September 12, 1981, and that just happened to be the week of the TV Guide Fall preview issue. So we have a few references to the show in the magazine, but with an odd twist.

First up, in the Daytime section, the Guide mentions the newcomer and lists Spidey's friends as Iceman and "Fire-Star."

In the actual listings, though, we see her named...Heatwave?

Who the heck is Heatwave? And what about that extra hyphen in "Fire-Star"?

We know, of course, that the character's name is FIRESTAR, and I will prove it to you by showing you the display ad NBC paid for to showcase its Saturday morning lineup.

Wait, I can't do that. NBC DID NOT buy an ad in this issue to showcase its Saturday morning lineup!

I tell you, this is a real letdown. ABC and CBS come through, even though CBS' ad is actually in the Friday section of the mag, which is a bit confusing because that's the end of the mag. That in itself is odd because it's not like the shows debuted a week late; the likes of Blackstar and Trollkins already premiered the previous Saturday along with most of the new ABC and NBC shows.

I won't leave you hanging! Here are the ABC and CBS ads:

Friday, May 27, 2022

Power Rankings: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends characters of whom I want an action figure

We enjoyed talking about Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends this week, and I enjoyed flaunting my recent purchase of a Marvel Legends Firestar action figure. There are plenty of other characters, even some big ones, that to my knowledge don't have a decent figure out there right now. Here is my list of what I want to see (screencaps from except as noted):

1) Iceman: I don't want a bluish Iceman or a "modern" Iceman. I want a Legends-scale Bobby Drake cartoon Iceman with ol' Frost Face sporting a goofy grin.

2) Aunt May: MY Aunt May is elderly, frail, and really, really oblivious. They should make an Amazing Friends May for our collections.

Gotta be an improvement over this 1990s effort (picture from

There's a happy medium between Gary Busey and Marisa Tomei.

3) Videoman: Somehow this would-be super villain showed up in no less than 3 episodes of the series, and while he doesn't necessarily lend himself to a clean figure at first glance, we should give him the proper respect. We should give him a figure. Someone was really trying to make Videoman happen, but maybe he was 40 years ahead of his time.

4) Swarm: I think this character bee my favorite villain of the series--er, that is, I think he is my favorite. His overall look, his raw power, his tendency to say "SWARM!" all the time--all add up to a formidable and, dare I say, toyetic character.

5) Hiawatha Smith: The only reason he's not higher is because he is in only one episode, and that one isn't even on Disney Plus (listen to our pod this week to learn why). The Michael-Ansara-voiced character is a dynamic addition to the usual formula, and I'd love to have a figure of the enigmatic yet highly skilled adventuring professor!

6) The Gamesman: A surprisingly potent foe who shows up in Season 3 along with the final appearance of Videoman.

7) Lance Macho: Angelica's favorite movie star shows up in the early Hollywood-themed episode.

8) Chameleon: They could do him with alternate heads of all the people he impersonates in "Little Superheroes."

9) Lightwave: Why not get another female character in the line? I think this would be a little more family friendly than Shanna the She Devil--er, Shanna the Jungle Queen as she is known in "Little Superheroes.". Also considered: Buzz Mason from the same episode, the series finale.

10) Ben Parker: Seriously, how about a cool Uncle Ben figure for the Spider fans out there? He's a minimal presence in the series, but he should be on Hasbro's list.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Show Notes and Video Playlist: Episode 10-5: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

*Thanks again to friend of the show James and his daughter Lucille for suggesting this week's podcast!

*Our video playlist for this episode, featuring theme songs, toy ads, Stan Lee on CBC, and James Mason for Thunderbird wine, is below!

Remember to visit our official YouTube channel anytime for all of our past podcasts and episode-specific playlists for each one!

*Before we get into the episode, I want to mention 3 things I LOVE about the cartoon that we somehow didn't mention on the pod.

1) This logo that begins each episode:

2) The incredible (but not Hulkish) theme song, including the stellar shot of the trio running to the camera:

3) The musical score for each episode, which often recycles the same stock bits over and over and over again. No kidding, I grew to love that music.

*The 1981 Spider-Man series we mention (with mucho Dr. Doom-o) aired in first-run syndication. Here's a decent summary of the differences and similarities! It premiered the same day as Friends as part of a package that included the 1960s Spidey-toons. I wasn't able to find a listing for the show on September 12, 1981 (the debut of both), but it must have aired somewhere! I remember seeing the 1960s ones but not this one.

*Here is a pic of the Treasury Edition I mention that features Dr. Doom and is cover-dated July 1981:

*Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends aired 3 seasons (1981-1983) and 24 episodes on NBC, with reruns continuing into 1987.

*We give props again to Dan Gilvezan, who we both credit as being "our" Spidey voice of the era based on his work on this show. Due credit as well to Kathy Garver and Frank Welker, the other Spider Friends.

*Ka-zar appears in an episode of the Spider-Man cartoon co-starring Kraven.

*"The Quest of the Red Skull," the final Season 1 episode, is the one missing from Disney Plus.

*"The X-Men" Adventure, the episode we spotlight, premiered Saturday, October 29, 1983 at 11:30 AM (most markets) on NBC.

*For the record, I like this version of Iceman!

*Laurie showed her Crack Research Team-worthy credentials by doing some digging on Ms. Lion, discovering the lovable canine is a Lhasa Apso. Sorry we don't feature Ms. Lion more on the podcast, but she isn't featured in the episode!

*Here is a website devoted to the series and packed with lots of info.

*Spider Friends, GO FOR IT!

Ep. 10-5: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

Before Spider-Man teamed up with Spider-Man and, uh, Spider-Man (let-alone Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Gwen, and Spider-Ham) at the movies, he teamed up with Ice Man and Firestar on Saturday morning TV in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Not only that, but in "The X-Men Adventure," Spidey and his friends also join forces with the X-Men to defeat a deranged cyborg with a personal connection to one of the heroes. By fan request from our celebrated 2-11-year-old demographic, we nerd out over this standout eighties cartoon. Excelsior!

#podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #spidermanandhisamazingfriends #spiderman #marvel #cartoons #superheroes #xmen


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Shows with Asian-American stars I'd like to see streaming--REDUX

Last year, to celebrate Asian-American Pacific Islander Month, I took a quick look at 10 BOTNS-era series that featured Asian Americans and that I wouldn't mind see come to a streaming video on demand (SVOD) service. Today I follow up and see if any made it or seem closer to arrival!

I have pasted my original list below and put my new comments in beautiful blue underneath each item.  Here we go:

This one is much more difficult because of the lack of Asians on television in the 1970s and 1980s.  So to get a respectable list, I cheated and focused on shows that aren't streaming--some of these are on DVD--and ones that featured Asian-Americans in the supporting cast, not just leads. If I am missing some worthy efforts of the 1970s and 1980s--and I know I am--please add your own suggestions in the comments. 

1) Mr. T and TinaNotorious Pat Morita flop from the creator of Welcome Back, Kotter that only lasted 5 episodes but has some historical value for the Asian-American casting. Poor Morita left Happy Days for this.

UPDATE: No way, but at least I have One-Armed Pat Morita on my desk if not his old sitcom:

2) OharaSpeaking of Pat Morita, this short-lived police procedural (1987-1988; I am actually surprised it made it to 30 episodes) is worth a spot on this list for this alone:

UPDATE: You know, i could actually see this happening IF Warner 1) still had Warner Archive Instant 2) was doing anything with its older TV shows.

3) SidekicksSee above. Actually, see this promo again:

UPDATE: Well, we got to watch the promo again! Owned by Disney, which has little interest in deep catalog material.

4) The Amazing Chan Clan: It's not high art, but it could at least be thrown up on Boomerang. Keye Luke plays Chan in this incarnation of the famous detective.

UPDATE: Boomerang is still around for some reason but almost never adds anything, so it seems highly unlikely, but at least it's on DVD.

5) LongstreetIt's a reach, but this series featuring James Franciscus as a blind investigator has cult status in part because it features Bruce Lee in a handful of episodes. Shouldn't anything with Bruce Lee be available?

UPDATE: Again, you would think Bruce Lee would be seen as a draw. Maybe, just maybe, Paramount would license it out to Tubi or someone like that since it has no interest in putting short-lived programs on its own streamer.

6) Quincy M.E.: Shoutout to Quince's awesome right-hand man Sam Fujiyama. I have been yearning to see this one on streaming video on demand pretty much ever since Netflix dropped all its Universal catalog shows years ago.

UPDATE: I have no idea why this remains on the shelf, but maybe Peacock will trot it out eventually.

7) and 8): China Beach and Tour of DutyWhere are the 1980s Vietnam War shows? 

UPDATE: HEY! We got one! Tour of Duty made it to Crackle last year, and all 3 seasons are still available as of this writing.

9) Kung Fu: It was on Prime Video for a very short time, but now is MIA despite a relatively high-profile reboot running on CW. Seems like a natural for HBO Max. And, yes, David Carradine was the lead, but the show also starred Keye Luke.

UPDATE: You would think the ongoing reboot, which was just renewed, would give impetus to do something with this one, but it hasn't been anywhere since it got the quick hook from Prime. This seems like one you could see showing up on FreeVee any day.

10) The Courtship of Eddie's FatherMiyoshi Umeki played the Corbetts' housekeeper in this gentle family sitcom (another James Komack show) which aired on the gone-but-not-forgotten Warner Archive Instant.

UPDATE: Yep, if Warner Instant were around...No buzz or signs of life on this one, but I could see Tubi licensing it at some point.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Promo Theatre: You're BUSTED, pal!

Miami Vice hitting USA network in 1988 was pretty exciting already, but if you weren't into the initial news, I bet you got a jolt after hearing Sonny Crockett yell, "You're BUSTED, pal!" in this great promo:

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Top Ten #178

1) Ebert and Siskel: We had a lot of fun celebrating the impressive television legacy of the two legendary film critics on the podcast this week. I gotta say, though, I really, really disagree with them on this:

It's something else when Roger starts a review by saying he never found Steve Martin funny!

2) Judith Crist: Not only did author Jerry Roberts call her the first mainstream national TV critic, today she would have celebrated her 100th birthday! Of course she was a longtime critic for TV Guide:

3) Aaaand the rest...: We also salute the many critics who tried to get in on that Siskel/Ebert train, especially Bill Harris, who just seemed like a nice guy; and Rex Reed, who...didn't, but we didn't get to talk much about him.

4) Summertime: Mike and I have long maintained that Emotional Summer (TM) began Memorial Day, but the Eastern USA is experiencing a big heat wave this weekend, and I think when it's 96 and humid, it feels like Summer.

5) Lionel Richie: The soon-to-be Rock Hall of Famer just won the Gershwin Prize. Unfortunately, this puts him no closer to a BEGOT, as he already had a Grammy and still needs a Batty, an Emmy, and a Tony.

6) The Beatrice Arthur Special: I really should write more about this sometime, but I think I need a few more...months to process it:

Actually, it's not bad for what it is, and it's really quite typical of the then-fading variety format. Madame steals the show, and a bizarre "poignant" sketch with Rock Hudson is a highlight of sorts.

7) I've Had It Up to Here: 40 years ago tonight, this Dick-Clark-produced special, hosted by Steve Allen, joked about the foibles of everyday life and its concerns. And of course it invented about 20 comedy bits.

8) National Vanilla Pudding Day: Do rollups count?

9) Johnny Carson says goodbye: 30 years ago tonight, the King of Late Night (sorry, Pat Sajak) ended his long run on The Tonight Show:

10) The Networks: Hey, remember when we used to get excited about the new Fall shows coming to the good old-fashioned Big 3 networks? This week's upfronts kind of glossed over CBS, ABC, and NBC proper. It makes me nostalgic for this:

Then again, eating an ice cream sandwich is enough to make me nostalgic for a Fall preview issue.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

YouTube Spotlight: Siskel and Ebert and Lyons and Gabler on the same weekend in May 1985

We're doing something a little different this week: Instead of spotlighting a video in this week's Siskel and Ebert playlist, we are presenting two distinct but connected videos. Here are two movie review shows from the same weekend in May 1985, At the Movies with Gene and Roger...

and Sneak Previews from PBS with Jeffrey Lyons and Neal Gabler:

Note that the movie selection isn't identical, but you do get to see both shows look at Rambo and Brewster's Millions. I want to let you judge for yourself, but to me you can really see the difference in connection with the viewing audience and likability. And how about Gabler criticizing Brewster's Millions because Richard Pryor "isn't Black" in it?!

Friday, May 20, 2022

Power Rankings: 12 Movies I want to see Siskel and Ebert review

This week's list is a little different direction: I rank movies of the 1970s and 1980s (mostly 1980s) I want to see Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert review on their TV program, or maybe see them review again. I compiled a list of flicks about which I was curious and didn't remember what they had said at the time. I don't necessarily want to see the films again, and I may not even like some of them, but I want to see the segments.

Where I could find them, I included links to the episodes or segments that did have the reviews, so maybe we can watch these together! And if you want to see them all (or the ones that I found) in one playlist, you can head to the bottom for the embedded link. Here you go:

1) Megaforce: The bizarre would-be franchise from Hal Needham is a fun, if not good, sci-fi/action epic. But what do Gene and Roger think? Do they, too, wish there were a big line of tie-in toys?

2) One Crazy Summer: No review found! One of those off-kilter wacky movies of the time period from Savage Steve Holland and starring a young John Cusack. Did they even cover the movie at the time?

3) Superman II: When preparing for the podcast, I did see and enjoy their review of the first movie, but I need to see what they thought about the sequel.

4) Back to the Future: Of course this is one of the big, big movies of the era. Did Roger and Gene foresee what a huge smash it would become?

5) Top Gun: I don't expect Tarantino-esque analysis of the subtext, but especially given the upcoming sequel, I want to know how Siskel and Ebert talked about this.

6) Fast Times at Ridgemont High: No review found! The iconic Amy Heckerling movie really defines a certain aspect of Eighties culture, and I'd love to see how Gene and Roger 

7) The Breakfast Club: Seminal 1980s movie, no doubt, but if I recall correctly, it was not critically appreciated nor even much of a thing until after its initial release. (actually a solo Ebert review)

8) Grease: This is a sentimental favorite of mine from the ABC screenings, and I am curious how the lads viewed it. (actually from the 1998 re-release)

9) Eight Men Out: No review found! One of my favorite baseball movies of all time and a fine picture in its own right, but I can't locate a contemporary S&E look on the John Sayles film about the infamous Black Sox scandal that rocked baseball after the 1919 World Series.

10) The Jerk: I happen to think this is one of the funniest movies of its era, and I have fond memories of it being on HBO 15 times a week.

11) Halloween: One of the prototypes for many, many slasher movies that followed it. Did Gene and Roger react to the style? The subject matter? (actually from a 1980 themed show)

12) Beverly Hills Cop: On the podcast, Mike alludes to Roger not liking it, and I am curious what his beef was.

Not bad! Here is the list containing all the clips linked above:

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Show Notes and Video Playlist: Episode 10-4: Siskel and Ebert

*The video playlist for this week's podcast, featuring the episode we discuss, is available below! The very first PBS version of Siskel and Ebert is there as well. You will also find talk show appearances, promos, trailers, and more!

Note that this one contains more full episodes than usual (including the very first Siskel and Ebert show on PBS, the two "They'll Do It Every Time" episodes, and the full Entertainment Tonight we mention near the end), so it's a bit longer than most.

And remember you can also visit our official YouTube channel for all of our past episodes.

*This episode of Siskel and Ebert premiered Saturday, June 24, 1989 in most markets. Other syndicated programs airing in syndication that day include Charles in Charge, Superboy, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Learning the Ropes, It's a Living, and Tales from the Darkside! And don't forget...Sneak Previews!

*Their movie review program began as the monthly Opening Soon at a Theater Near You on Chicago PBS station WTTW in 1975. In 1977, it became Sneak Previews, a weekly program syndicated on member stations across the country. Then they left PBS and signed a deal with Tribune to make the syndicated At the Movies in 1982. In 1986, they jumped to Buena Vista (Disney) to create Siskel and Ebert & the Movies, but by 1989, the show was called Siskel &Ebert. It continued until Gene Siskel's death in 1999, and Ebert continued the franchise with guest hosts until his own death in 2013.

*Enemies: A Love Story is available from Amazon as a Kindle Single.

*The book I mention by Jerry Roberts is called The Complete History of American Film Criticism.

*"They'll Do it Every Time," created by Jimmy Hatlo, was a syndicated daily comic panel that ran 1929-2008 (image below taken from ebay).

*Comics Scene was published 1982-1983 by the makers of Starlog and was revived for another go from 1987-1996. A few more issues came out in 2000.

*Batman premiered June 23, 1989 and had a $40 million opening weekend on its way to grossing well over $251 million ($400 million worldwide) at the box office. The Tim Burton film stars Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger.

*Honey, I Shrunk the Kids premiered at the same time as and finished behind Batman with a $14 million opening weekend on the way to $130 million domestic. That first weekend was Disney's biggest ever up to that point.

*Ghostbusters 2's debut was June 16, 1989, and it opened to over $29 million on the way to a domestic total of $112.5 million--far less than the original despite that opener exceeding that of the first movie.

*Agnes Varda's Kung Fu Master (not to be confused with the 1980s arcade game, though it features prominently in the film) had a French release a year before Gene and Roger showcased it on their program. The New York Times review from this weekend is titled, "She's 40. He's 15. Hmmm."

*Eddie and the Cruisers II bombed when it debuted in 1989.

Ep. 10-4: Siskel and Ebert

The thumbs, the tension, the balcony--who can forget Siskel and Ebert and their various movie review shows? They helped create a new TV format and defined and dominated it with their winning personalities and unique dynamics. We take a look at an episode fron 1989 and also discuss some of their competitors and imitators.

Check out this episode!

Monday, May 16, 2022

Two from TwoMorrows Publishing

Two new publications arrived here from the great folks at TwoMorrows Publishing, and each has my strong recommendation. The latest issue of RetroFan is low on material with a direct connection to BOTNS-era TV, but it is still a lot of fun. Andy Mangels' story on The Lone Ranger covers his Filmation cartoon as well as the character's other media incarnations, and that is the most relevant for our purposes.

However, there is plenty of other entertaining stuff, like the bio of cover boy Sergio Aragones, the piece on mail-order contests, Moe Howard, the origins of G.I. Joe (the toy line), and much more! It's another fun effort with a lot of good stuff.

Next up, a book I pre-ordered a looong time ago because I was excited as soon as I learned about it, yet I haven't dived into it yet. Why? I want to set time aside to savor it. It's a book that I could have requested be written: American TV Comic Books.

I tell you, the book is in my hands now (making it tough to type), and it is gorgeous. The TwoMorrows books combine superb info and writing with awesome visual design. 

I just turned to a random page (Well, not totally random; I went to the back to get a page from the BOTNS era) and found a look at the Charlton Emergency! series. There is so much cool stuff in here and plenty of pictures. The book is structured kind of like an encyclopedia, with individual entries arranged chronologically instead of alphabetically.

Now that I open the book again, I gotta forget my "find perfect time to savor this" strategy and start reading it! 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Top Ten #177

1) Jane Pauley: Don't want to give away the subject of the Fame Game in this week's bonus episode, but Jane has a connection.

2) National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day: If there's one thing this country needs, it's another day to have an excuse to eat sweets. I mean, Easter was a few whole weeks ago!

3) Long Train Runnin' : Our Story of the Doobie Brothers: Do they talk about the turkey episode?

4) The A-Team and The Six Million Dollar Man: B.A. and company are joining Steve Austin as recent Universal TV show stars coming to Blu-Ray. Magnum and Incredible Hulk got recent releases, too. Can B.J. and the Bear be next?

Answer: Sorry, fans, but, no, it can't.

5) Nicholas Hammond: Happy birthday to the star of the 1970s Amazing Spider-Man. Talk about something I'd like to see on disc! Shout! teased this as a possibility when announcing its recent Dr. Strange limited edition, so maybe it has a chance.

6) The Waltons: Decades has a marathon this weekend, just in time to celebrate the news that The CW is running another "modern" movie of the franchise later this year.

7) George Brett: Happy birthday to the Royals legend and Hall of Famer!

8) The FBI: As 3 of the new Dick Wolf FBI series just earned renewals from CBS, let's take a moment to acknowledge the Quinn Martin joint that ran from 1965-1974!

9) Leonard Maltin: He recently received the Robert Osbourne Award at the TCM Classic Film Festival. His speech was humorous and friendly, with the warmth and the Warren Beatty cameo overcoming the unimaginative direction. I give it...a 7. (Note: full clip below is 20 minutes)

10) Fred Ward: R.I.P. He was primarily a film actor, but he has some interesting TV credits on his resume, like an uncredited role on a Quincy, several shots on Incredible Hulk, and some TV movies.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Happy 100th, Bea Arthur!

We conclude our recent celebration of Bea Arthur today with a salute to what would have been her 100th birthday. Of course we just covered her 1970s sitcom Maude on the show, and a while back we talked about The Golden Girls.

Hat tip to our pal Alan, who made me aware that this was on YouTube:

And here's another of the drugstore commercials Arthur did in the Girls era:

Anyone who saw this will never forget it, but here is a reminder of this seminal television moment just in case:

And finally, just because, here's the ABC music video "Be Near Me," which got good airplay in the 1980s:

Show Notes: Fame Game #9 (plus YT playlist!)

*We hope you enjoyed this week's bonus episode playing Fame Game again. We will return next week with a "regular" season 10 episode!

*The playlist for this week is embedded below, but please remember, it contains spoilers as to the identity of the subject of the game. So listen to the podcast first if you want to play along! Remember you can always visit our official YouTube channel for past episodes and playlists for each one!

*Bates College is in Lewiston, Maine.

*The 2005 film The Weather Man was directed by Gore Verbinski and co-starred Michael Caine and Hope Davis.

*Mike won the game after clue number 6.

*Our subject started on network TV hosting NBC pregame coverage of the NFL.

*Public Eye won a Peabody but only lasted one season (1997-98) on CBS.

*Black Sports lasted 1971-1978, with our subject's stint as editor lasting for about a year in the early part of the run.

Fame Game 9

We take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to bring you another round of the Fame Game, where Mike has to guess a famous personality (real or fictional) from the BOTNS era based on a series of clues. Will his hot streak continue, or will he crash and burn? Find out!

#podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #game #famegame #bonusepisode


Check out this episode!

Monday, May 9, 2022

This Day in TV History: "The Golden Girls" says bye-bye

30 years ago tonight, May 9, 1992, The Golden Girls ended its successful 7-season NBC run with a two-part finale. It was followed by two Empty Nest reruns and Dame Edna's Hollywood.

CBS countered with Major League, while ABC had its premiere of Caddyshack 2. FOX had Cops--no surprise to anyone who remembers Saturday night TV in 1992.

We talk about the series in this episode!

(Yes, I posted about the finale 3 years ago, but this post is better--more information and a different clip! And 30 is a nice round number!)

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Top Ten #176

1) Maude: Granted, we didn't exactly love the series on the podcast this week, but it ran 6 seasons and is an essential part of TV history and of course the Learverse. Most important, it gives us an excuse to enjoy this again:

And here's one last promo clip while we're talking about the show:

2) Conrad and Bonar Bain: No explanation necessary. Bonar's season 5 Maude appearance is still officially unavailable on streaming.

3) Bill Macy: Not to be confused with William H. In fact, to make sure you know the difference, here is the latter (and later) Macy:

Here's Bill Macy:

And here's Macy's department store:

4) Mother's Day: Lest you think we're giving the mothers short shrift out there, remember Maude is a mother! In fact, some would say she's a baaaaaad mutha. Happy day to all the mothers out there! Antenna TV is celebrating with a Family Ties marathon, but if you want to have a Maude marathon, we say that's an OK way to commemorate the occasion as well.

5) Dolly Parton: Congratulations to the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee!

6) The 12:30-ish CBS time slot: Now that James Corden is leaving The Late Late Show, maybe we can go back to the days of this approach to programming late night:

7) Melissa Gilbert: Happy birthday! Our gift to you: We won't call you "Half-pint" today.

8) Goldie and the Kids: Listen to Us: 40 years ago tonight, CBS started the night with this special featuring Goldie Hawn, a selection of our nation's youth, and Barry Manilow!

9) The 1980 Los Angeles Lakers: Magic Johnson's docuseries is on Apple Plus, and tonight sees the season finale of Winning Time. Where is an update on that 1980s Lakers docuseries on Hulu?

10) David Birney: R.I.P. 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

YouTube Spotlight for Season 10-3 Maude: Spectacular TV theme song tribute at the 1985 Emmys

Remember that the Emmy Awards broadcast was not just a way to celebrate The Mary Tyler Moore Show each year. It was supposed to be an entertaining television production in its own right. Many times, one way or another, it succeeded. There was a time when the Emmys weren't afraid to be brassier, bolder, and campier than the average piece of network programming. Case in point: This jaw-dropping presentation from the 1985 ceremony:

Mike and I could do an entire bonus episode on this segment (don't think we will rule it out), but for today, here are some of my favorite parts:

*There's Maude! She's just walking across the stage and barely singing, but she's there!
*Who is your favorite non-singer? Is it Ed Asner, who just seems to want to get it over with?
*Or is it Gabe Kaplan, who looks stuck in the ambiguous region between "this is a bit" and "I really don't know what I'm doing here." I can't decide if his expression is supposed to say he's in on some joke (He IS the first non-singer in the medley) or if he has genuine discomfort.
*How about Redd Foxx, who I can't help but think is struggling against every fiber of his being in an effort to keep himself from blurting out a dirty joke.
*Then you have the "really into it" brigade headed by the likes of Linda Lavin and Loretta Swit!
*I think maybe my personal favorite is the charming appearance of Dick Van Dyke.

The whole thing is a glorious piece of TV history climaxing in a bunch of stars standing on stage despite not being part of the medley. What are they all doing there? I would love to see Tony Danza, for example, singing the theme from Taxi. Maybe they saved that moment for the 1986 Emmys.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Power Rankings: Maude guest stars who never were

You might be surprised at the famous names who did appear on Maude. Sound like a funny idea to have Maude Findlay "confront" a so-called conservative Hollywood icon? Well, John Wayne showed up in season 3. Maybe you think another tall-ish, strong, sardonic actress would make a good foil? Well, Eve Arden appeared as Maude's aunt in season 5. Want to see a comedian with roots in burlesque who made dubious claims about inventing various tried-and-true comedy routines show up as little more than background? Well, may we tell you about "Maude's Musical?"

Here are 5 celebs that did not appear on Maude yet should have and could have, at least in the sense that they were active in the series' 1972-1978 run.

1) Richard Nixon: Talk about an icon! OK, he may have been a little busy during the Seventies, but this Lear sitcom would have made a nice follow-up to capitalize on the career momentum he squandered after his comedy acting debut on Laugh-In.

2) Marjoe Gortner: Fresh off exposing the business of evangelism (his part of it, anyway) in 1972 documentary Marjoe, he could have played a man of the cloth tangling with  our heroine. We're lucky to have his appearances in the likes of Medical Center and Pray for the Wildcats, but seeing him and Bea Arthur today would have been a treat.

3) Katharine Hepburn: Something about Hepburn doing this sitcom, let alone her acting alongside Arthur, makes me smile. Maybe she could be a stuffy teacher of Phillip (remember him?) who Grandma Maude crosses swords with, or a stuffy community leader Maude tangles with or a stuffy--well, some kind of stuffy patrician that lets Maude show off her "salt of the earth" credentials.

4) Anita Bryant: One of the series' later episodes does feature several references to Bryant's famous anti-gay-rights campaigning of the 1970s, but she wasn't actually on the show. Imagine her and Maude arguing about--eh, you know, actually that might not be a fun watch after all.

5) Sammy Davis Jr.: All it took was one listen to this to make me want to see this happen:

We know Sammy loved TV. We know Maude loved to do "put on a show" shows. Why not combine these factors and have Davis as the celeb get for a big benefit, climaxing in his singing the show's theme song (the characters wouldn't know it was the theme song) TO Maude. Just a few minutes of him scatting, "Maude, Maude, Maude," right to Bea Arthur would make it worthwhile. 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Show Notes and Video Playlist: Episode 10-3: Maude

*The video playlist is now active! You will see promos, commercials, and clips (including a few from the episode we discuss), but more importantly, you will see an anti-drug PSA with Adrienne Barbeau, awards show moments you won't forget, and Lawrence Welk (it makes sense if you listened to the podcast...sort of)! And if you only watch one clip, go right to the end and make sure you catch the last one! Or start the whole thing by clicking below:

*You can visit our official YouTube channel anytime for past podcasts and episode-specific playlists for each one!

*Maude aired 6 seasons (1972-1978) on CBS and lasted 141 episodes (Tuesdays 8:00, Mondays 9:00). The series earned multiple Emmy nominations but just one win: Bea Arthur as Best Actress in 1977.

*The Maude character debuted on All in the Family in December 1971 (Season 2's "Cousin Maude's Visit") and made one more appearance before getting her own series.

*What is YOUR definition of the Learverse? Does it have infinite boundaries? Is it more self-contained? There may be no one correct answer.

*Here is our Happy Days episode and our Eight Is Enough episode if you want to check out other musical episodes (of non-musical series) that we covered on the podcast.

*In the early days of the show, Bea Arthur seemed to downplay some of the similarities between her liberalism and that of the character. However, note that in this 1972 piece, when the show is just beginning, she clearly aligns herself with Maude. In this NY Times story coinciding with the series' departure, it's indicated that she became more like Maude as the show progressed.

*This article discusses the abortion episode and how it played out while also pointing out the first character to get a procedure on TV was on a 1964 installment of Another World.

*As of this writing, IMDB-TV, now FreeVee, still has seasons 1 and 2 of Maude, while Tubi has seasons 3 and 4. The complete series is available on DVD from Shout! Factory.

*"Maude the Musical" premiered November 13, 1973 at 8:00 on CBS, followed by Hawaii Five-0 and Hawkins. ABC countered with Temperatures Rising and John Wayne's The Cowboys, while NBC offered Snoopy Directs the Ice Follies, a Bob Hope special, and The Blue Knight (part 1). You can see clips of some of these in the playlist this week!

*Florida Evans was replaced by Englishwoman Mrs. Naugatuck, who got married and moved to Ireland. She in turn was replaced by Victoria Butterfield from the West Indies, who was seldom used compared to the previous two housekeepers.

*Arthur and Vivian announced their engagement several episodes after this one, and the episode before this one is when Maude set the two of them up.

*Some of the other episodes we mention include:
"Arthur Moves In" (Season 1 Episode 17)
""Florida's Problem" (Season 1 Episode 18)
"Florida's Affair" (Season 2 Episode 6)
"Maude Takes a Job" (Season 2 Episode 7)
"The Office Party" (Season 2 Episode 14)

*And that was Maude!

Ep. 10-3: Maude

In the past, we've visited a wide array of locations in the Normal Lear Universe: the Park Avenue penthouse of the Drummond-Jackson family on "Diff'rent Strokes"; the Jeffersons' de-luxe apartment in the sky; the Eastland School on "Facts of Life"; the Chicago projects on "Good Times." Then there's Maude! This week, we head to Tuckahoe as Maude (the great Bea Arthur) directs a charity salute to burlesque only to butt heads with Arthur (the great Conrad Bain) over the content! Songs, jokes, arguments, questionable pairings--this one has it all! #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #maude #normanlear #beaarthur #billmacy #conradbain #ruemclanahan #estherrolle


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Promo Theatre: Hijinks on ABC!

It's been a while since we shared an Ernie Anderson promo. Courtesy of the fine YT account Bionic Disco, here's a good one for a Thursday night in 1978:

You really get a great rhythm with this spot. The way the clips and Anderson's comments intersect just make a nice flow. of course it all ends with a great, "on Soap!" to punctuate everything.

Monday, May 2, 2022

What's new on streaming in May 2022 (not much)?

The streaming landscape for BONTS-era TV shows is increasingly bleak even as the so-called "streaming wars" get fiercer. Each month, the paid services let us down, while we rely on the free ones to throw us some bones.

According to my research, these streamers have nothing new this month (though a few filled in some missing episodes):

Disney Plus
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon FreeVee
Paramount Plus
Britbox (it does have the modern follow-up to Open All Hours)

The most galling of these is Paramount Plus, which has access to tons of library material and is doing nothing with it.

There's barely any point in checking Showtime and Starz (the latter gets some old Westerns, including a new batch of Wagon Train this month, but has given up on classic TV otherwise).

Roku Channel doesn't like telling people what's new or making it easy to find, and I don't see anything, but I could be missing it.

Shout! Factory TV is touting new versions of The Carol Burnett Show, but it's hard to know if this is new or the same versions it and other services have been showing. The series is one of the most confusing out there. You can see it in edited versions some places, complete original versions with music other places, and for a while Amazon had both.

I could have sworn it was already on demand on Pluto, but the complete Too Close for Comfort is available. However, season 3 and 4 of Facts of Life, just added, are already gone, replaced by some of season 5 and season 6.

Tubi has a slow month, but it did add seasons 3 and 4 of Maude, notable because it dropped 1 and 2, which FreeVee still has. Tubi also seems to be licensing two seasons at a time of Diff'rent Strokes and The Jeffersons, which is annoying but better than nothing.

As usual of late, Crackle comes through with the real gems, most of which it added a little bit ago but officially count for May: 1982 Mickey Rooney/Dana Carvey/Nathan Lane sitcom One of the Boys, Andy Griffith (space) vehicle Salvage One, and half-hour helicopter rescue drama Salvage One. Crackle also added ALF, but it's the same chopped-up syndicated versions everyone else has. What gives with this show?

Maybe things will be be better in June. HBO Max has been way too quiet. Reports say Dallas is being remastered. Candid Camera should be coming to Shout! soon. Other than that, who knows?

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Top Ten #175

1) Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: It was a beautiful day in the podcast neighborhood as Mike and I talked about the iconic PBS program. Hopefully you all feel special.

2) X the Owl: Topped the power rankings on Friday. Ben Franklin would have been proud! And he would have expressed it with some pithy aphorism, no doubt.

Unfortunately, I ain't no Ben Franklin, and I got nothin'.

3) Mr. McFeely: He wasn't in our episode, he wasn't in the power rankings, so it's time to give him some love. You may not know this, but a lot of Prime's deliveries rely on McFeely to take the package the last stretch to the customer's door.

4) It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown: Apple Plus added the 1976 Peanuts special to celebrate the occasion. This is in the top 5 of "Wait, they actually made that?" specials, but now a whole new audience can enjoy the seldom-seen program.

5) TNT/TBS: We learned this week that Warner Discovery is officially ceasing development of scripted programming for these two channels, which makes us a little sad. Maybe there's an opportunity here to return them to the glory days of programs like this:

6) School Principals' Day: Salute the great Dr. Samuels of Fillmore High, who helped the USA win the cold war, or something like that. 

7) Banjo the Woodpile Cat: This early Don Bluth effort starring Scatman Carothers got an ABC airing 40 years ago tonight. Banjo the Woodpile Cat! I may make this an annual Arbor Day tradition.

8) The Golden GirlsShout-out to last week's Golden Con in Chicago. Yes, Chicago. I look forward to next week's Good Times Fest in Miami.

9) Ed Marinaro: The former Hill Street star and running back, given the opportunity to announce a pick at the NFL Draft, took the ball and ran with it. The problem is, he ran around the field for 10 minutes and refused to give the ball to anyone else.

10) T. J. Hooker: It's only appropriate that the series is Decades' Weekend Binge pick as we straddle the months of April and May. After all, the show straddled the line separating populist action with prestige Emmy-baiting drama.