Thursday, June 30, 2022

Show Notes and Video Playlist: Episode 10-9: High School USA (1984)

*Thanks again to our Facebook group members for voting on our TV movie selection this season! It's easy to join and just hang out and talk TV with us. Just click here to get started.

*Below is our video list for this one, which includes the full movie itself, the pilot based on it, plus commercials, trailers, PSAs, and promos galore!

Remember you can always visit our official YouTube channel for past podcasts and episode-specific playlists for each one!

*Condolensces to the runners-up in the poll: Senior Trip (1981), Crash Course 91988), and Dance Til Dawn (1988)

*High School USA premiered Sunday, October 16, 1983 on NBC at 9:00 after First Camera and Knight Rider.  ABC went with Ripley's Believe It or Not, Hardcastle & McCormick, and 1981's Nighthawks. CBS countered with 60 Minutes, Alice, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons

*Here is the episode of You Must Remember This that Mike cites on the pod.

*Revenge of the Nerds premiered August 1984.

*This movie is Michael Zorek's first role, and he appeared in the film Private School that same year.

*Picture from TV Tropes:

*The pilot based on this movie premiered May 26, 1984 with a different yet similar cast and is a must-see if you enjoyed the movie. We'll have more about it on Saturday.

*Jon Gries, AKA Dirty Curt, was 26 when the movie aired.

*Poison Ivy, an NBC TV movie with Michael J. Fox and Nancy McKeon, premiered February 10, 1985--just before Back to the Future!

*I'm sure Multicom Entertainment is a fine upstanding company...but I wonder why a big media company has a website that my browser says is not secure.

Episode 10-9: High School U.S.A.

In this season's listener poll winner, Michael J. Fox and Nancy McKeon lead a cast of thousands in a story of teen romance, school politics, and class warfare that could only be called High School U.S.A.! Plus a robot!

#podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #tvmovie #michaeljfox #nancymckeon #crispinglover #tonydow #toddbridges #thegreatmichaelzorek #highschoolusa #teencomedy


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Brooks on Books: A pair of resources for "It's Garry Shandling's Show"

On the latest BOTNS episode, I give shout-outs to two books that provide insight into Garry Shandling's first big sitcom, It's Garry Shandling's Show. I find these particularly appealing because I believe this show is underappreciated in comparison to (also brilliant) The Larry Sanders Show. I recommend each book for its own merits as well as for its info on IGSS, and in fact I have to warn you that there isn't as much in either book as you would like.

Alan Zweibel's Laugh Lines is a memoir that covers all sorts of ground, going from his days writing jokes for old-school Catskill comics to collaborating with Billy Crystal on one-man show 700 Sundays.  In between, of course, he had his run as an original writer of Saturday Night Live and later a co-creator of It's Garry Shandling's Show. The book is thoughtful and amusing, though not as "jokey" as I expected. Zweibel has a lot of clear memories of his own life (a possible benefit of being one of the clearest-headed members of that Not Ready for Prime Time crew), and tells his story with wit and likability. His platonic and vital friendship with Gilda Radner is a touching thread that runs through the volume. She helped him get through SNL, and he was there when she made her emotional and beloved appearance on IGSS.

His account of his friendship and working relationship with Garry is fascinating. He shows his own self-reflection and accepts some blame for having a falling out (they eventually reconciled) with Shandling, but he also seems to be holding something back. This book came out in 2020, when his friend was no longer around to share his side, so that may be a factor. You still get a lot more info about the production of and the philosophy of the series than I have seen anywhere else, though I wish there were more about specific production details. The main draw is that Zweibel gives great insight into the complex individual Shandling was. Ultimately, it seems that Zweibel wanted a life outside the show, while Shandling was absorbed by the work, and the former thinks the latter saw any departure from that as a form of betrayal.

I think you actually learn more about the series in Laugh Lines, despite it being one (essential) part of a long and distinguished writing career, than in It's Garry Shandling's Book. My one disappointment about this collection/loose biography assembled by Judd Apatow is that there isn't more about that show. If you're like me, though, you're a fan of Shandling, not just that one series, and so you will be thrilled about the space devoted to Larry Sanders, standup, guest-hosting The Tonight Show, and more.

The one question might be, is the Kindle book worth it? I got the ebook version at a heavy discount AND after I had upgraded my device to a bigger, sharper one. If you see the reviews on Amazon, you will notice many buyers struggle with the ability to read and enjoy the many images. A lot of the content is archival material in Garry's own writing, and he favored a cursive style of note-taking that is hard to read at any resolution and size. For the price I paid, though, even though I did kind of just skip over some of the images or enlarge them as much as I could and squint (Hey, kinda like Garry used to do!), there is tons of other great stuff to enjoy.

Apatow reproduces a lot of old photos as well and solicits memories from friends like Sarah Silverman and, yes, Zweibel! It's interesting reading Silverman, who speaks to the Zen figure we heard about in his later years, the sage voice who was a mentor figure to so many comedians. It seems a contrast to the driven, self-doubting Shandling who pushed so hard to get everything just right and who was troubled by the tragic loss of his brother at a young age and how that affected his family. 

It's nice to think that Garry Shandling found peace in his spirituality and philosophy and that when he died at the way-too-young age of 66 he was at least "in a good place." He was still a complex guy, though, and not one who always pulled back the curtain (ironic, huh?) and revealed much about his inner life apart from his routines. Apatow's book does a fine job of getting at that inner man. 

Zweibel himself in the two books seems to marvel at the difference in how the younger comics perceived the often-difficult boss/partner on IGSS. He wonders if he missed that part of him but concludes that maybe he just changed and grew and was a different person. It's a sensitive, mature take that proves that both books together make a great combination in getting as close to Garry Shandling as we are gonna get. I just wish they had a little more detail on that series!

Monday, June 27, 2022

Collectibles Corner: 8-Track Mac

This is a recent gift from my wonderful wife Laurie:

Yes, it's an original 8-Track cassette tape of BOTNS favorite (recently featured in our Bob Hope episode) Mac Davis!

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Top Ten #183:

1) Garry Shandling: We are getting some great positive reaction to our episode this week, possibly not because of us, but because people appreciate the chance to revisit the classic It's Garry Shandling's Show.

2) Jeff Goldblum: You know what? I think we just spent a whole week praising  Goldblum without using the words "quirky" and "eccentric."

Aw, dang.

3) Bert Convy: There is just something so essentially BOTNS about Bert that we have to smile each time we see him in something. His guest shot in "Go Go Goldblum" is a real win (lose, or draw) for everyone.

4) Florida Evans: The Norman Lear Effect official YT channel posted this a couple days ago. It's not just a meme!

5) The Garry Shandling Show 25th Anniversary Special: We didn't really discuss it much on the podcast, but maybe someday we can. Anyone who enjoys Shandling and the stuff he did after this 1986 Showtime special really ought to check this out:

6) John Aniston: Congratulations to the longtime Days of Our Lives star for his lifetime achievment award at the Daytime Emmys this week.

7) A Shaun Cassidy Special: 40 years ago tonight, NBC aired this, seemingly just a bit after Cassidy's commercial peak. The special is online as of this writing, and here's an entertaining look at it by Phil Hall. Oddly, Hall's piece says it aired September 26. 1981, and he points out that YT uploads mislabel it as from 1979. At least one online upload says it's from 1982! However, this Tom Shales review from June 26, 1982 indicates it did indeed air 40 years ago today after being produced in 1981 but shelved for months.

8) Riptide: Decades is running another marathon of it this weekend, and I admit I was set to call it a forgotten show until I just remembered Crackle added the entire series several months ago! Does that prove or disprove my point?

9) Terri Nunn: Happy birthday to the dynamic singer and actress!

10) TV Tattle: For years Norman Weiss has done an outstanding job curating TV news and analysis from around the web, but now he has finally taken it behind a pay window in the form of a Substack. I wish him luck!

Saturday, June 25, 2022

YouTube Spotlight: Shandling on the writing process

This week's spotlight clip taken from our It's Garry Shandling's Show. It's a short one but quite meaningful, I think, getting to Shandling's attitude towards the process of writing a TV show. It's especially relevant given what we talked about how he approached the series. Check it out below:

Friday, June 24, 2022

Power Rankings: It's Garry Shandling's Show guest stars

This is one of the toughest power rankings I have done! There are some great guest stars who have enlivened It's Garry Shandling's Show, and ranking them seems foolish. But I will do it anyway. Remember, these rankings are based on who I think would win if they faced off against each other under a dome in Yakima, Washington. Also note these are guest stars playing as themselves, so this does not include notable performers doing character parts, so Jack Dodson's turn as Howard Sprague--one of my favorite parts of a disappointing season 4--is not ranked.

1) Jeff Goldblum: I went on enough about him in our episode this week, didn't I? He is perfect in "go Go Goldblum."

2) Bert Convy: On a similar note, nobody played Bert Convy better than the late great Bert Convy. His jealousy of Wink Martindale is palpable in that same episode (and really, can you blame him?).

3) Tom Petty: I love that several times, Tom was just hanging out, one of Garry's neighbors who was dropping by to do neighborhood stuff. When the Shumachers' baby is born, though, Petty helps out by sticking around to do "The Waiting" and even helps out with the delivery!

4) Flo and Eddie: I don't want to give too much detail, but their appearance--and they do sing a song--creates one of my favorite moments on the series.

5) Gilda Radner: She tore the roof of the dump with what was her comeback to TV and also her final TV appearance before her untimely death.

6) Don Cornelius: Don maintained professionalism as he narrated the 1988 election results with aplomb...during the show.

7) Rob Reiner: Reiner just seems like a great neighbor, and on the show he was there to give Garry advice when needed.

8) Martin Mull: He actually feuded with Garry! Mull was an outstanding fit for the show.

9) Doc Severinsen: His appearance is a great surprise in an episode already mentioned, so I won't say anything more.

10) Pete Conrad: I can't recall what he did, but I do know that it was great to see the stilted way Garry introduced him with mock showbiz elation: "Hey, look. it's Pete Conrad, the third astronaut to walk on the moon!"

Not ranked: Norman Fell, June Lockhart, Red Buttons, and many more!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Show Notes and Video Playlist: Episode 10-8: It's Garry Shandling's Show

*We hope you enjoy this week's podcast exploring one of the great shows of the Eighties, It's Garry Shandling's Show! Below is this week's video playlist, with promos, interviews, and even Garry on Make Me Laugh:

And remember, you can always visit our official YouTube channel for all of our past podcasts and episode-specific playlists for each one!

*It's Garry Shandling's Show ran for 4 seasons and 72 episodes on Showtime, 1986-1990. Fox picked it up in 1988 and aired edited episodes until 1990. Shout! Factory released the complete series on DVD.

*The Wil Shriner Show was a short-lived (1987-1988) syndicated daytime talk show.

*The Burns and Allen Show began as a radio program, then became The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show on CBS Television from 1950-1958.

*Shout-outs again to two books that offered great information about a show I still think is underappreciated: Laugh Lines by Alan Zweibel and It's Garry Shandling's Book by Judd Apatow.

*Go Go Goldblum premiered on Showtime March 4, 1988. You can hear the rest of that Friday night lineup on the episode, but here are a few notes about some of the other programs:

--Highwayman with Jocko and Sam Jones
--The Thorns with Kelly Bishop and Tony Roberts
--Sonny Spoon with Mario Van Peebles
--Brothers ran 115 episodes, 1984-1989, on Showtime.

Transylvania 6-5000 with Jeff Goldblum, Ed begley Jr., and Geena Davis, premiered in theaters November 1985, and the New World Pictures release actually made money, but it was savaged by critics.

*Goldblum and Davis were married from 1987 to 1991.

*Bernadette Birkett, who plays Jackie Shumacher on the show, has been married to George Wendt since 1978.

*Scott Nemec, who plays her son Grant, has been in TV production for years and was recently named President of Television at the Russo brothers' production shingle AGBO.

Ep. 10-8: It's Garry Shandling's Show

This is the one about Garry's Show. In "Go Go Goldblum," Garry Shandling (Garry Shandling) and Jeff Goldblum (Jeff Goldblum) find themselves in quite the pickle. Rick (Rick) and Mike (Mike), on the other hand, don't have any trouble heaping praise on the underappreciated gem It's Garry Shandling's Show.

#podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #itsgarryshandlingsshow #garryshandling #jeffgolodblum.


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Brooks on Books: The Case of the Alliterative Attorney by Bill Sullivan with Ed Robertson

Today I write a bit more about the excellent guide to the original Perry Mason TV series and the TV movies, The Case of the Alliterative Attorney by Bill Sullivan with Ed Robertson. I believe Sullivan is the longtime fan of the show and Robertson does the heavy lifting on the writing; the format follows that of the outstanding books on The Fugitive and The Rockford Files that Robertson authored.

It's possible that many superfans of the series know a lot of the information contained in here, as the book does draw on modern sources like the 50th anniversary collection. However, the authors also conduct some new interviews with the likes of series producer Arthur Marks (who is a big source of info on the aforementioned DVD set), and besides, the organization and presentation of the material is superb. For a relative newcomer to the series like me, it's an essential companion as I go through the episodes.

There is a fine general summary of the character's literary origins and the development of the TV series before we get into the heart of the book: A comprehensive episode guide with production info like airdates, cast lists, and plot summaries (though the authors are scrupulous about not revealing the identity of the guilty) along with notable quotes and trivia. Each season begins with an overview that has valuable info about the direction the series took that year, and many episode entries feature sidebars and information that isn't necessarily only relevant to that particular installment, but is often compelling general material. Therefore to get all the good nuggets about the show, you have to read all of the episode entries, but you can get a real understanding of Perry Mason by reading the beginning and the season overviews, then saving the episode guide entries for when you get to those points in the series.

The hefty book is also filled with amusing appendices, such as "times the killer was revealed outside the courtroom" and notable performers who could have but never were on the series. There is brief coverage of The New Perry Mason, but in-depth treatment of the 1980s TV movies with Burr reprising his role.

In short, the book is not in short; it's over 650 pages of useful info. The writing is professional, as you would expect from a talented veteran like Robertson, but it is playful when appropriate and celebrates the fun and enjoyment of experiencing a classic vintage TV series. The authors appreciate the series and know they are going to be read by diehards, but they also make sure to be accessible to newcomers. The Case of the Alliterative Attorney gets my highest recommendation for television lovers, and I think even "expert witnesses" well versed in Perry Mason will enjoy having all this stuff in one well-organized volume.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Collectibles Corner: The Case of the Beaten-up Book

In honor of last week's Mason episode, I share some photos of a book that was in the family for years (apparently my aunt claimed ownership if one of the inside pages is any indication!) and is now here at Stately Brooks Manor. I give you...THE CASE OF THE CURIOUS BRIDE!

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Top Ten #182: Special Father's Day edition

1) Perry Mason: We had a lot of fun going just a bit further back in time for Mason on the pod this week, did we not?

2) Father's Day: Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there today, and a special shout to my own dad, who helped put me on the road to appreciating and enjoying old-school TV and movies.

3) Angela Lansbury: Congratulations to the 96-year-old icon for her Lifetime Achievement Tony last week. Wait, she was in stuff other than Murder, She Wrote ?

4) Paul Drake: He's up for anything, always there for Perry, and pretty dashing in his own right. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the World's Most Interesting Man, late 1950s edition.

5) Della Street: You know what they say: Behind every good criminal defense attorney is...a ubiquitous private eye to do all the legwork. But there's also a great secretary and confidante there.

I just wanted an excuse to post another Amana ad.

6) Sesame Street: Props to the people who collect and circulate this kind of stuff: A Reddit user posted a "lost" episode of Street, really one that was not circulated for years after parents called it too scary. The 1976 installment features Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch.

Personally, the only thing about Sesame Street that ever scared me was the thought of trying to be as cool as Gordon.


7) Wait Until Your Father Gets Home: Let's acknowledge one of the crankiest TV dads of the BOTNS era, Harry Boyle!

8) James Burrowes: The longtime beloved sitcom director--Jimmy, as I like to call him--just released a book, and I bet it's the best-damn-directed book in the business!

9) Juneteenth:

10) R.I.P. Phillip Baker Hall: 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

YouTube Spotlight: Will you (or will you not) join them for "Perry Mason"?

Is everyone else as charmed by this promo as I am? 

You can see it and other clips in our Perry Mason video playlist this week!

I like how they address the potentially awkward standard role of actors straddling the line between themselves and being in character. This is a clever approach, I think, and an effective promo. I also like the courtly way Burr asks if we'll join them. I almost expect him to hand us a note with instructions to check yes or no.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Power Rankings: Perry Mason episodes ranked by title

With 270+ episodes, it's tough to know where to begin with a classic show like Perry Mason. You could seek out episodes that offer something different than the usual formula, as I mentioned on the podcast, or you could look for notable guest stars. How about looking at the titles?

The series has great, usually alliteriative names for its stories--marvelous monikers, if you will. Maybe you can't judge a book by its cover, but I looked at all the episode titles and ranked them in order without having necessarily seen them!

In chronological order:

The Case of the Perjured Parrot S2: I want Perry to call the parrot's testimony incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial!

The Case of the Garrulous Gambler S3: I hope the character in question has a 10-gallon hat and annoys Mason by slapping him on the back all the time.

The Case of the Treacherous Toupee S4: I have to include this one since the title lured us into covering it on the podcast!

The Case of the Loquacious Liar S4: It does roll off the tongue, doesn't it?

The Case of the Shapely Shadow S5: Imagine Mason in court referring to the "rather shapely shadow," with a grin.

The Case of the Dodging Domino S6:  I want to know what the deuce this IS.

The Case of the Illicit Illusion S7: Could this be Perry against the one force that could topple him in the courtroom...MAGIC?


I mean, nah, magic couldn't even topple Mason in the courtroom. I still hold out hope that magic is involved in the episode.

The Case of the Frustrated Folk Singer S8: My hope is that somehow it leads to Paul Drake clubbing some hippie over the head with his own guitar.

The Case of the Wrathful Wraith S9: Just a great phrase there, but I wonder if they came up with that first and then built a story around it.

The Case of the Positive Negative S9: This has high letdown potential, but I still love the title.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Show Notes and Video Playlist: Episode 10-7: Perry Mason

*Click below for this week's video playlist, featuring promos, commercials, PSAs, and more! you might even see a glimpse of the NEW Perry Mason!

And remember you can always visit our official YouTube channel for our past podcasts and episode-specific playlists for each one!

*As a reminder, we covered Search, which we mention at the top of the show, right here.

*Shout-out again to the excellent book The Case of the Alliterative Attorney by Bill Sullivan with Ed Robertson.

*Perry Mason aired 9 seasons and a staggering 271 episodes, all on CBS, from 1957-1966. Raymond Burr continued in the role for 26 TV movies on NBC begininning in 1985, and there were 4 more after his death.

*The New Perry Mason with Monte Markham in the title role ran for 15 episodes on CBS in 1973.

*Pitfall is a 1948 film noir directed by Andre de Toth and starring Dick Powell, Lizabeth Scott, Jane Wyatt, and Burr.

*Ironside, starring Burr as a chief of detectives with the SFPD, aired 8 seasons on NBC beginning in 1967.

*The episode we were unable to see is season 3's "The Case of Paul Drake's Dilemma."

*John Gunther's High Road was a 1959-1960 travelogue show on ABC. Gunther, who narrated films of various locales, was most known for his Inside series of books, like Inside Europe, Inside Latin America, and 1947's Inside U.S.A.

*"The Case of the Treacherous Toupee" premiered September 17, 1960 as the fourth-season premiere, though it was produced in March with the third season. It's based on the original novel The Case of the Counterfeit Eye by Erle Stanley Gardner.

*At this point in his career, Robert Redford was 25 years old. He was in a host of other TV guest roles in the early 1960s, including Maverick, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Twilight Zone.

*Rita Duncan's other credits include The Untouchables, M Squad, and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. She left acting in 1961 and opened a Hollywood talent agency that she ran into the late 1980s.

Episode 10-7: Perry Mason

In this season's Retro-Retro episode, we return to the silver age of TV and TV's wiliest lawyer--the great Perry Mason in "The Case of the Treacherous Toupee." You read that right. Crime, shenannegans, and a toupee! Plus a young Robert Redford!

#podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #fifties #sixties #perrymason #raymondburr #robertredford #lawyers #courtroomdrama


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

It's National Strawberry Shortcake Day!

This day celebrates the dessert, but maybe it's a good time to celebrate the cartoon and the toy! Maybe you or someone in your family watched it, maybe you stepped on the toys once or twice after they were scattered on the living room floor, but it would be hard to grow up in the Eighties without some exposure to Strawberry Shortcake. They seem to revamp the character every decade or so, but here are a few glimpses of the original!

Monday, June 13, 2022

Happy birthday, Ally Sheedy!

You probably remember Ally Sheedy from her 1980s Brat Pack and Brat-Pack-adjacent run, but she was in several high-profile TV programs before her film career took off. In addition to several episodes on Hill Street Blues, she was in TFV movies like The Violation of Sarah McDavid and The Best Little Girl in the World. She was also in a lot of TV commercials! Happy 60th, Ally Sheedy!

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Top Ten #181

1) Dean Martin: How could we do a game of Martins, as we did on our bonus episode this week, without ol' Dino? Well, here's a special bonus: This Martin was in The Dean Martin Show, Dean's Place, and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast. Take all the time you need.

2) Peanut Butter Cookie Day: Might we suggest some Archway cookies, as Mike mentioned on the podcast, to celebrate? If you can't find those, here's an alternative:

3) Children's Day: It's also Children's Day, and maybe you can give a deserving kid a cookie. Unfortunately, you can't take them to Child World anymore.

4) Jenilee Harrison: Happy birthday to the woman who replaced the woman who--no, wait, she was the one who replaced Suzanne--no, wait, she was on at the same time for a while as--hey, happy birthday to the former Jamie on Dallas.

5) The Munsters: Entertainment Weekly posted a new teaser for the upcoming Rob Zombie movie, and I think we can confirm it's based on the original 1960s show and not The Munsters Today.

6) Who's Who: An episode of this CBS newsmagazine show aired 45 years ago tonight, and one of the segments, according to, was "Robert Blake defends television violence." No comment.

7) My Favorite Martian: We paid homage to the 1960s sitcom with our bonus episode game this week, so let's give another shout to the Ray Walson/Bill Bixby comedy which aired on reruns in the BOTNS era!

8) Marv Albert: Do we wish the legendary broadcaster a good birthday? YESSSS! (Sorry)

9) Raiders of the Lost Ark: The movie premiered this day in 1981, and, no, it's not television, but it inspired multiple TV series, it was huge, and we love it!

10) Hour Magazine: I watched an episode of this Gary Collins afternoon newsmagazine program recently, and I can't really explain why, but I love that stuff like this is on YouTube:

Saturday, June 11, 2022

YouTube Spotlight: My Favorite Martians: The Animated Series (1973)

We started our My Favorite Martins playlist this week with the intro from an unusual cartoon: 1973's My Favorite Martians:

This Filmation series ran Saturday mornings in Fall 1973 for 16 total episodes but continued in reruns through Summer 1975.. It was an adaptation of the 1960s CBS sitcom with Ray Walston and Bill Bixby. The animated version paired Lost in Space's Jonathan Harris with Filmation stalwart Howard Morris.

The cartoon kicked up the zaniness by adding a second Martian in Martin's nephew, plus a pet dog named Oakie Doakie and a chimp sidekick for the detective investigating them. That Filmation look, the voice talent, and the fact that Martin and nephew Andromeda (Andy) wield guitars give this a very Archies kind of feel!

Friday, June 10, 2022

Power Rankings: Martins in the order I'd like to see them appear on "Murder, She Wrote"

Our new game on this week's podcast bonus episode might turn out to be a one-timer, but what a time we had! Mike continued his stellar record in games on the show by tearing through the Pyramid of Martins and thus paying tribute to many of the greatest Martins in television history.

For this week's Power Rankings, I rank those Martins not in order of overall preference, but in terms of how much I wish they had appeared on Murder, She Wrote. It's been more than a beaver's whisker since we've done a Murder Monday post (that was my attempt at creating a colorful Maine expression). so maybe this will tide us all over.

(Not ranked: Martins not in the game, like Martin Lawrence; plus Martins not in the game who were on Murder, She Wrote, like Martin Milner (multiple appearances as different characters); and Martins in the game who were on the series, like Barney Martin (as very Irish Timothy Hanratty).

1) Steve Martin: We are big fans of Steve here, so we mean no disrespect, but current Steve as a guest on MSW might not be a huge deal. However, pre-Only Murders, pre-banjo tours, pre-the last three-plus decades Steve Martin on the show in the late 1980s? That would be huge!

2) Andrea Martin: Angela Lansbury doesn't get enough worthy female foils on the series, but a woman of Andrea's versatility could make a real impact either as a lovable eccentric or even a villian.

3) Martin Mull: Imagine Mull as a Barth Gimble type flustering Jessica with his arrogance and smarm!

4) Martin Short: Part of me would love to see Short's manic 1980s energy in Cabot Cove, but how about something more akin to Nathan Thurm? Imagine him withering under the sharp glare of Jessica Fletcher!

5) Martin Landau: He would have made an excellent murderer. I mean that as a compliment, really. I mean, he played all kinds of scoundrels, so it's not a knock on the guy.

6) Martin Sheen: The veteran actor's intensity could have added some welcome volatility--maybe a pre-West Wing turn as a politician.

7) Billy Martin: Well, as much as I enjoy his beer commercials and his legacy as a manager in MLB, I don't really see this as the best fit. Is he gonna kick dirt on Jessica's shins when she rules against him as an umpire in the annual Cabot Cove Celebrity Softball Challe--Wait, I think I just figured it out.

8) Ross Martin: Appearing on the series was never a possibility for the co-star of Wild Wild West, who died in 1981, which hurts his ranking here, but I think he would have fit in very well.

9) Pamela Sue Martin: Maybe a glamorous socialite whose husband is killed under mysterious circumstances? We all want to see Jessica Fletcher in the world of Dynasty.

10) Dick Martin: He might have made an interesting recurring Cabot Cove resident a la John Astin, but in the 1980s, Martin was concentrating on game show appearances and directing.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Show Notes and video playlist: Bonus Episode: My Favorite Martin

*We hope you enjoyed this bonus episode of the podcast! We will be back with a "regular" full episode next week! Note that this post and the video playlist contain spoilers for the My Favorite Martin game.

*Here is a video playlist for this one, complete with clips, intros, and commercials spotlighting the Martins and some of their lesser-known projects.

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

*What are some of your favorite Martins? Did we miss any of them? Kiel Martin? Strother Martin?

*Archway cookies is the brand Mike is thinking of before the game!

*The Girls of Huntington House is a 1973 TV movie about a school for unwed mothers. Besides Pamela Sue Martin, the movie stars Shirley Jones, Sissy Spacek, Mercedes McCambridge, and William Windom

*The Associates lasted a single half-season on ABC in 1979 despite coming from the producers of Taxi. A&E showed reruns during that cable network's early days.

*The original Celebrity Bowling lasted 8 seasons in first-run syndication from 1971-1978. You can hear us talk about the show in detail right here.

*Domestic Life was a Martin Mull sitcom that aired on CBS in the early months of 1984.

*Ross Martin did various voices for Jana of the Jungle, a 13-episode Hanna Barbera cartoon that aired as part of The Godzilla Power Hour (and then The Godzilla Super 90) on NBC in 1978.

*I botched the name of the 1974 NBC TV movie The Execution of Private Slovik on the show. It's NOT the "education"of Slovik. Execution is not a good form of education to the subject of the ceremony. Kudos to Mike for identifying the Martin anyway!

*Barney Martin is Napa and Sonoma, two twin brothers on the Disney 1983 CBS series Zorro and Son

My Favorite Martin

"Imagine if you will a pyramid of Martins." What could this mean? The wizards in the BOTNS Game Labs have done it again, that's what! Can Mike guess the BOTNS-era celebrity Martins (first or last name) and build the pyramid, or will the pyramid crumble like so many misplaced bricks?

#podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #game #myfavoritemartin #martin


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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Inside the Guide: Maude is "unstifleable!" (1972 Fall Preview)

I recently got the last TV Guide Fall Preview I needed to complete my collection of the BOTNS era! That is the 1972 issue, and it has some interesting new series, including one we talked about earlier this season: Maude.

Monday, June 6, 2022

And now a word form their sponsor: Frankie Avalon Jr. for Oldsmobile

This is an odd commercial, a 1988 automobile ad featuring Frankie Avalon Junior as well as his dad:

This was part of a series of spots with the offspring of celebrities telling us it's COOL to drive this car now. I tell you, Frankie Avalon Jr.? Seems a little bizarre 30 years later. He was in The Karate Kid and has had a solid career as a drummer (including in his dad's band), and Avalon Prime was having a bit of a renaissance at this time following the success of 1987's Back to the Beach. Still, though, it seems odd.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Top Ten #180: Summer IS here now edition

1) Bob Hope: We tried to give the legendary performer and longtime TV mainstay his due on the podcast, but I wonder if a lot of people don't even know who he was anymore. It sounds like the handiwork of Bing Crosby. Wait, people don't remember Bing Crosby anymore? 

2) Mac Davis: Mac was a standout on the special we discussed this week, and he was an engaging performer with a fine career in his own right!

3) Fran Tarkenton: One of the other standouts of that special. What, you were expecting Sammy Davis Jr.?

4) Norm Abram: The longtime star of This Old House announced his retirement recently. Good for him for getting out of the biz with 10 fingers and 10 toes.

5) The Golden Girls: This Tuesday and June 14, you can watch selected episodes (but not "Ladies of the Evening") on the big screen at a Fathom Events screening. Cheesecake had better be served in the lobby.

6) Monty Hall's Smokin'-Stokin' Fire Brigade: Boy, I wish I had a clip of whatever this is. It aired on ABC at 8 50 years ago tonight, and was built around a tour of California with co-stars like Dom Deluise, Rosey Grier, and Jim Backus.

7) Hardcastle and McCormick: The series debuted on Crackle this week, and it remains a great 'Ernie Anderson" show:

8) America in Search of Itself: In this NBC program from 40 years ago tonight, newsman John Chancellor and historian Theodore White conduct a search despite the utter and appalling absence of Leonard Nimoy.

9) Howard Johnson's: The last standalone HoJo's restaurant closed last week.

10) R.I.P. Charles Siebert: The Trapper John M.D. star was 84.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Video Playlist Spotlight: Solving a Mystery...Maybe

In this week's episode on Bob Hope, I told a story about my dad from his Air Force days. While, stationed overseas during the Vietnam War, he and another pilot "buzzed" a Bob Hope USO show and got a wisecrack from Bob. I couldn't remember all the details, and, alas, I can't ask my dad. 

He'd always wanted to find the footage and never did. After editing the episode, I decided to do some digging. I started with a list of Bob Hope TV specials on everyone's friend Wikipedia. I then zeroed in on the Southeast Asia Christmas specials and a couple years. Since they aired in January, I could assume the performances took place the year before.

Next, I went to everyone's other friend YouTube and started scanning through 1966 special (it seemed like the best bet). I had a couple possible locations in mind, and it didn't take long to not only find one in Thailand but to find--I think--the footage.

While my dad flew the featured jet during his time in the Air Force, I wasn't sure if he had flown it overseas or only back in the States. I associate a different jet with his Vietnam time because he focused most of his looking back on that one. My uncle said he flew both jets overseas. After seeing the footage, he also confirmed this jet as a reconnaissance model of an F-4 Phantom (an RF-4). My dad flew reconnaissance (and he and both his brothers prided themselves in their airplane identification skills, so I accept this confirmation).

The timeline matches, the location matches, and the plane probably matches. Not to get all Leonard Nimoy here, but could I have found the footage? Could my dad be flying the jet seen (or the second one heard but not seen)? It's very possible, and if so, one, I wish I could have made this discovery during my dad's lifetime, but also, it means he encountered at least two of the people in the special we covered. He also once held the door for Sammy.

The video below should start at the beginning of the segment. A prop plane first flies over and calls out to Bob over a loudspeaker. Not long after, the jets buzz him. If the bookmark doesn't work, go to around the 7:30 mark. You can also find this video in our marvelous YouTube play list curated by Rick.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Power Rankings: Bob Hope specials I want to see

I watched a lot of Bob Hope over the past few months, partly to prep for this week's episode and partly because, hey, I just like watching Bob Hope specials. A lot of them are available online, but much to my dismay, some of the ones I most want to see or revisit are (to my knowledge) not. Here are the ones I really want, in chronological order, with special thanks to Wesley Hyatt's Bob Hope on TV: Thanks for the Video Memories.

1) Bob Hope Show (September 25, 1974): This episode is taped in Central Park for a unique setting, and the guest list includes Jackie Gleason and Glen Campbell. You had me at Gleason, but this is the rare special that Hyatt gives a full five stars to in his book.

2) Bob Hope's Bicentennial Star-Spangled Spectacular (July 14, 1976): Bicentennial mania gripped the nation, and of course Hope was there to capitalize with a collection of historically themed sketches with the likes of Sammy Davis Jr. and Don Knotts. The highlight has to be a Tonight Show parody set in the Revolutionary War era and co-starring Ed McMahon and Doc Severinsen!

3) Bob Hope's All-Star Comedy Salute to the 75th Anniversary of the World Series (October 15, 1978): I love baseball almost as much as I love that convoluted title. Baseball clips, the Muppets, Billy Martin, and more! There's a bit with Steve Martin, plus moments for stalwarts like Charo and Howard Cosell.

4) Bob Hope on Campus (November 19, 1979):  I like the idea of Bob appearing at some of the biggest universities in the country, like USC, Harvard, and Indiana State. Wait, Indiana State? Well, they did have Larry Bird at the time.

5) Bob Hope in the Starmakers (March 17, 1980): This storyline special (as opposed to the variety/stage format) with Hope as a talent agent is the only one on this list I want to see because it sounds bad. Hyatt gives it a lowly one star and calls it "one of his worst ever outings," writing, "Any special that includes among its guests the ape from B.J. and the Bear and dubs in applause for the creature's appearance is asking for trouble." Well, this sounds like something I need to see!

6) Bob Hope's All-Star Look at TV's Prime Time Wars (September 6, 1980): Any regular BOTNS listener should be able to recognize that title as something that would interest me. Add guest stars like Charlotte Rae and a Charlie's Angels sketch with Bob, Danny Thomas, and Larry Wilcox as the women (!), and you've got one for the list.

7) Bob Hope's Stand Up and Cheer NFL's 60th Year (November 22, 1981): You just know that in 90% of places that ran TV listings, these fancy titles were compressed to BOB HOPE (4). The sporting theme appeals to me again, and guests include Olivia Newton-John, Genius winner Michael Conrad, and, uh, O.J. Simpson. One sketch features Dick Butkus, Bob Lilly, and Rosey Grier singing a "Nine to Five" parody about football!

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Show Notes and Video Playlist: Episode 10-6: Bob Hope

*Thanks again to Geno Cuddy from our Facebook group, who inspired us to do a Bob Hope episode, though we didn't use his specific suggestion this time for various reasons, we may well do so in a future episode!

*How do you distill the decades-long career of Bob Hope, let alone the many guests he had on this special, into one video playlist? Well, we try with a selection of monologues, talk show clips, commercials, and more! Click below to see Bob with special guests, plus Tahoe in the Seventies, Mac Davis with Dolly Parton, and even the halftime show of Super Bowl XI! Plus the special we discuss is there (for now), so see it while you can!

And remember you can always visit our official YouTube channel for all past podcasts and episode-specific playlists for each one of them!

*Here's another mention of the two books I made extensive use of for research:
Bob Hope on TV: Thanks for the Video Memories by Wesley Hyatt
The Laugh Makers by Bob Mills
Hyatt's book is a critical look at all prominent TV appearances by the showbiz legend, while Mills offers an autobiographical look at what it was like to write for Hope as well as a lot of insight into the man himself.

*Hope was born May 29, 1903 and died July 27, 2003.

*Cancel My Reservation (1972) was the last of Hope's movie starring roles, and it was a critical and commercial disappointment.

*In the 1970s, Melvin Dummar claimed to have resucued Howard Hughes in the desert and earned a piece of his estate. His story inspired Melvin and Howard (1980).

*Bob Hope's All-Star Comedy Spectacular premiered January 21, 1977 at 8:30 on NBC. It was preceded by Sanford and Son (with Frank Nelson!) and followed buy The Rockford Files. To clarify what we talk about on the pod, the slide at the beginning of the special (you can see this in the playlist) explains that Chico and the Man, normally at 8:30, was pre-empted and that Rockford, normally at 9, would be on at 10.

*Bob's ratings were very high until the Eighties, and even then he got more specials from NBC. Ratings went up and down, but as the decade went on he was often in third place on the night.

*Texaco became Bob's primary sponsor in 1975.

*Super Bowl XI occurred January 9, 1977 at the Rose Bowl in California.

*The average price of a gallon of gas in real dollars in 1977 was 62 cents. Sounds cheap, of course, but consider that it was 39 cents in 1973, so there was a huge relative increase in between.

*Muhammad Ali had retired from boxing while still champ after a controversial win over Ken Norton in September 1976 but would return after this special aired, defeating Alfredo Evangelista and Ernie Shavers in 1977 while instigating concern for his well-being. He lost the heavyweight championship to Leon Spinks in 1978, then regained it later that year.

*Nancy Dickerson was CBS News' first female correspondent, then worked for NBC News before producing a syndicated daily news show, Inside Washington, in the 1970s. Her son John Dickerson has been a high-profile face at CBS News for years.

Ep. 10-6: Bob Hope

If you watched NBC in the seventies and eighties (and nineties), you saw Bob Hope smirking, mugging, singing, dancing, flirting, and reading cue cards. "Bob Hope's All-Star Comedy Spectacular" features all that and a who's who of variety TV from Ann-Margret and Charo to Sammy and Dino, not to mention Mac Davis! Join us as we discuss all this and Texaco! #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #bobhope #macdavis #sammydavisjr #deanmartin #annmargret #variety #comedy #charo


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