Sunday, July 31, 2022

Top Ten #188: Special "There goes July" edition!

1) The Fame Game: This week's bonus episode features an unprecedented feat, a popular subject, and a whole lot of quasi-relevant discussion!

2) National Mutt Day:

3) Barry Van Dyke: Happy birthday to one of the stars of Galactica 1980!

4) Rickey Henderson: I just finished Howard Bryant's excellent new biography Rickey, and it has me seeking out clips of my favorite 1980s ballplayer:

5) Bob Uecker: Speaking of baseball, thanks to an MLB.TV free preview after the All-Star Game, I was able to hear a bit of him doing play by play for the Brewers. He's still getting it done at 88 years old Congrats to Ueck, and if you want more of him, we suggest his Greatest Sports Legends episode. Right now, though, it's an excuse to post a Miller Lite commercial!

6) Jim Colucci's Love Boat book: His Golden Girls Forever is an outstanding book, and I have been waiting for his upcoming Love Boat book. Well, I don't know when it's coming, but at least in his appearance on TV Confidential to talk about the All in the Family book he did with Norman Lear, he said he put that one aside to work with Lear. Well, OK, I guess that's semi-acceptable, but we want our Love Boat book!

7) Andrea Martin: It was great seeing her in a small (so far?) role on this week's Only Murders in the Building.

8) NFL Films: This is a very sports-centric list this week! I include this one because I hope that for 5 bucks a month, NFL Plus includes lots and lots of stuff from the NFL Films library, not just the 21-st century shows it seems to offer right now.

9) Pluto: 40 years ago tonight, NBC's Wonderful World of Disney paid tribute to Pluto with a collection of shorts featuring Mickey's lovable pal.

10) RIP: Bernard Cribbins, Mary Alice, Burt Metcalfe, Paul Sorvino, David Warner, Tony Dow: And no offense to anyone we missed, but it was a tough week. Special nod to Dow, who we just talked about this season in our High School USA episode. Here's a look at a lesser-known Sorvino project, a short-lived Quinn Martin production:

Friday, July 29, 2022

This Day in TV History: The Circle Family (1982, unsold pilot) airs on NBC

Here's an odd one: 40 years ago tonight, NBC aired this unsold pilot, The Circle Family, about a carnival owner who gets out of the biz after winning an insurance settlement and starts a motor lodge. Max Baer Jr. stars as patriarch Hearst Circle. What a name! 

I wish I could add, "What a show," but I haven't seen it, and I can't find any video of it. So today I will say don't confuse this with Hearst TV stations, with The Family Circle magazine, with Hearst Circle in Toronto, with Bil Keane's Family Circus nor with A Family Circus Christmas, with the WTA's Family Circle Cup tournament...

Morgan Woodward, Sarah Torgov, and Sydney Penney also appear. Lee Goldberg's Unsold Television Pilots adds that Circle's wife left him for the carnival strongman and that he has taken in 3 orphans as his own children to keep them out of the orphanage system.

Here's a clip from the 1989 Family Circle Cup tournament just because:

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Show Notes and Video Playlist: Bonus Episode--Fame Game 10

*If you want to play along and/or be surprised, read this post after listening to the episode!

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

*Mike totally destroyed the Fame Game by getting this one so early! Congratulations to Mike!

*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!

*Slylock Fox has been the star of a King Features Sunday comics feature for over 35 years!

*Bewitched aired 8 seasons (1964-1972) on ABC.

*The Flintstones episode we discuss is "Samantha" from the series' sixth season.

*Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus" was a #1 hit in 1985.

*Def Leppard's Rocket peaked at #12 on the US pop chart in 1997. It was 

*The Untouchables episode we mention is "The Rusty Heller Story," which premiered October 13, 1960 to kick off the series' second season. TV Guide ranked it 99 in its 1997 version of the 100 greatest episodes of all time.

*Tabitha lasted a half-season in 1977.

*Robert Montgomery's wife (and the mother of Elizabeth) is Elizabeth Bryan Allen, a stage actress who died in 1992--sadly, only several years before her daughter died way too young in 1995.

Fame Game 10

Will Mike's Fame Game hot streak continue, or will it all fall part? Plus, what do "Slylock Fox," the stone age, produce, and bowling balls all have in common? They appear in this episode!

#podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #games #famegame


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

YouTube Spotlight: Access Code (1984)

This segment from the 1984 TV movie Access Code makes the McMillan and Wife playlist because of the presence of Michael Ansara, who guests in "Cop of the Year."

Unfortunately, the uploader lays in a modern Muse song over the original footage, which is a little discombobulating, but it's really hard to find a lot of info about this movie. In fact, I kind of regret putting it in the playlist now.

I thought at first it was a made-for-TV movie, but I can't confirm that, nor can I confirm it got a theatrical release. Was it a straight-to-video feature? In 1984? I do know that it received multiple spiffy-looking VHS releases.

Here is's reprint of the VideoHound review:

Government agents attempt to uncover a private organization that has gained control of nuclear weapons for the purpose of world domination. A ragged patchwork of disconnected scenes meant to test the virtue of patience. 90m/C VHS . Martin Landau, Michael Ansara, MacDonald Carey; D: Mark Sobel.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Power Rankings: Guest stars in "Cop of the Year"

There's little point in ranking the cast members of McMillan and Wife--John Schuck, duh--but there are so many interesting people in Season 3's "Cop of the Year" that it is fun to rate them. Remember, this is based on how these people would do if they squared off on a neutral site in Banff, Alberta:

1) John Astin: I'm counting him as a guest, even though the character Sykes appeared in two other episodes, because I hadn't seen those others when I watched "Cop of the Year." Astin's offbeat energy and interactions with Mac and Enright really elevate the episode and add some flavor to what could have been a standard "lab guy" police show character.

2) Lorraine Gary: She's melodramatic, yes. She's over the top, yes. She's--where was I going with this? Oh, yes, she's entertaining and creates a memorable villain. It's another unique persona that adds to the distinctive nature of the episode.

3) Edmond O'Brien: EOB is just so easy to dislike in this one, bringing the heat right away as Enright's former father-in-law. Even when you realize he's suffering from long-term paste poisoning (NOTE: This is total conjecture from us and not stated in the teleplay), you can't help but hate the old cuss.

4) Vito Scotti: You could be forgiven for assuming his information-wielding Alonzo is a regular on the series. At least, I hope so, because I assumed that! It appears that though he was in several other episodes, this was the only one where he played Alonzo, and he did exactly what you'd want Vito Scotti to do.

5) Michael Ansara: I was a  little disappointed the show didn't do more with his hotshot lawyer who defended Enright, but as I mentioned on the podcast, that one cool semi-argument scene he had with Mac was stellar.

6) Karate guy: All right, the man has a name. It's Colby Chester, and he had a long run on The Young and the Restless and all kinds of solid credits. I still think of him as Karate Guy because of his aggrieved brother's threats to Mac, even though I don't think karate was even the martial art he bragged about practicing.

7) Charles Nelson Reilly: "Hey, Chuck, be 'eccentric' and annoying." "You got it!"

8) Kenneth Mars: A notable performer who is relatively subdued here.

9) Paul Winchell: It's barely a cameo, and I don't think he even gets a close-up, so that's why he gets the bottom spot--not due to the long-simmering feud between he and Mike that we exposed on the pod.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Top Ten #187: Special "next-to-last Sunday in July!" Edition

1) McMillan and Wife: Our podcast subject this week isn't our favorite NBC Mystery Wheel show, but it's fun for the chemistry, the guest stars, the Shuckitude of it all!

2) John Schuck: I recently found out he's actually a Conrad! How would he have stacked up in our Outstanding Conrad Battys category against the likes of Bain and Janis? I guess we'll never know.

3) Kate and Allie: I barely remember watching any of this show, but after spending so much time watching Susan St. James, I can't get the theme song out of my head.

4) Amelia Earhart Day: Never forget! (Click here for an explanation of this)

5) Lynda Carter: Happy birthday to the greatest Wonder Woman of all time!

6) High Noon: Not TV, but this classic premiered 70 years ago today and was shown on TV many times through the years.

7) Major League Baseball's All-Star Game: Home Run Derby? BAH! It was more fun when the leagues were the leagues and the players at least pretended to kind of hate each other.

8) John P. Navin Jr.: Happy birthday also to the former co-star of Jennifer Slept Here:

9) Norman Lear: His birthday is Wednesday, and we're celebrating a few days early because, at the risk of being morbid, he turns 100 and we want to give him a shout here rather than in the traditional #10 slot. Also, his official YT channel posted this last week:

10) R.I.P. Rebecca Balding and Taurean Blacque: This first spot is from recent years, but it's awesome:

And here is Balding in one of my favorite opening sequences of all time, Makin' It:

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Show Notes and Video Playlist: Episode 10-11: McMillan and Wife

*McMillan and Wife aired 6 seasons and 40 episodes as part of the NBC Mystery Movie from 1971-1977, though the sixth season without Susan St. James was titled McMillan.

*Here is the video playlist for this week! It is full of goodness for all the little Shucksters out there, plus commercials, promos, and clips from the rare and short-lived programs we mention in the episode! All this plus a clip from Nosey, the Sweetest Skunk in the West AND Rock Hudson sitting down to talk bloopers with Dick Clark!

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

*John Schuck did indeed represent Holmes and Yoyo when he appeared on Battle of the Network Stars in 1976.

*The pro football episode Mike mentions is Season 1's "Death is a Seven Point Episode." The :"rare dual role" episodes I mention are Season 2's "Terror Times Two" and Season 3's "Cross and Double Cross."

*Devlin Connection lasted a mere 13 episodes on NBC in Fall 1982. Jack Scalia joined Rock Hudson in the detective show.

*"Cop of the Year" premiered Sunday night, November 19, 1972, at 8:30 EST on NBC as the third episode of the second season.

*Anna and the King, executive produced by Gene Reynolds, lasted only 13 episodes on CBS despite co-starring Yul Brynner and Samantha Eggar.

*Harvey Korman didn't direct a ton of shows in the Seventies but went on to direct 31 episodes of Mama's Family according to IMDB.

*Patton (1970, Fox) won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Franklin Schaffner), and 5 others including Best Actor for star George Patton at the 1971 Academy Awards. Scott, in a famous Oscar moment, declined to accept. 

This first broadcast screening on ABC on 11/19/72 was a huge success and notable for offering a major theatrical release "only" two years after it was in theaters. 

*Nancy Walker left the series after season 5 (along with St. James) to star in The Nancy Walker Show, which lasted only--say it with me--13 episodes on ABC. Schuck's turn in Holmes and Yoyo did not lead to him leaving the series, though his role was reduced in the final season.

*John Astin appeared in two other Season 2 episodes as Sykes and directed two other episodes of the series: The aforementioned "Death Is a Seven Point Favorite" and the first season's "Murder by the Barrel." Later he directed 4 episodes of Holmes and Yoyo!

*The movie director that Mac talks to is played by George Seaton, who directed movies including Miracle on 34th Street, The Country Girl (and he won an Oscar for its screenplay) and Airport.

*Edmond O'Brien (1915-1985) won an Academy Award for 1954's The Barefoot Contessa. He was in a handful of roles after his appearance in "Cop of the Year,"  He retired relatively early in 1974. I wanted to show him some love here since I couldn't find a way to get him into the playlist.

*The article I mention on the pod is by Herbie J. Pilato and is available here.

*Schuck's appearance on Gilbert Gottfried's podcast is right here.

Episode 10-11: McMillan and Wife

This week, we focus on another spoke of the NBC Mystery Wheel with McMillan and Wife, starring Rock Hudson, Susan Saint James, and most importantly John Schuck! In "Cop of the Year," Schuck's Sergeant Enright finds himself accused of murdering his ex-wife. He and Mac (with a little help from the great Jon Astin) work to clear his name and find the real killer.

#podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #rockhudson #susansaintjames #johnschuck #mcmillanandwife #mystery


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Power Rankings: Kolchak's (missing) monsters

If you're disoriented by Power Rankings Friday falling on a Tuesday this week, just think that Friday the 13th fell on a Wednesday this month, so anything goes.

This week we rank the monsters that Carl Kolchak did not investigate on his short-lived but fondly remembered ABC series. Specifically, these are monsters we talked about on BOTNS (and, wow, we have discussed a lot of them) and that could in theory have had crossover episodes of some kind with Kolchak the Night Stalker.  Remember, this ranking is of how these would fare if they squared off under a dome in Takoma, Washington! The original podcast episode where we discussed said monster is accessible by clicking the monster's name:

1) The Daleks I would love to see a confrontation between Kolchak and the Daleks, mainly because I am not 100% sure that Carl wouldn't bust out laughing as soon as he saw them.

2) Bigfoot: Ok, I'm cheating here because we didn't actually cover the Bigfoot episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man. Would you rather see the Death Probe again?

3) The Loch Ness Monster: Carl Kolchak and In Search Of... host Leonard Nimoy have so much in common. One is a hardened reporter dedicated to pursuing the truth at all costs. Another is the host of a program dedicated to possibly finding something that may be useful as we continue to pursue the probabilities that may exist that something of this nature might well in fact be real.

4) The Munsters: Ridiculous? Of course. But don't tell me you wouldn't pay to see one or two good scenes with McGavin going back and forth with Grandpa Al Lewis.

5) Killdozer: Kolchak (but not Darren McGavin) might be out of his element on a remote island, but I bet he'd make better choices than 

6) Space Vampire: Carl had several encounters with vampires, but with SPACE vampires? If the series would have lasted more than 20 episodes, how long before they found a way to get the character to the moon?

7) Uncle Ned: You don't think he's a monster? HE HIT ALEX!

8) Solomon Grundy: This beast brought the mighty Ed McMahon to his knees on national television. While Kolchak's at it, maybe he can find out what the deal is with Retired Man.

9) Winterbolt's Ice Dragons: I confess I have not yet seen every Kolchak episode, but I am 99% confident that he never encountered ice dragons. After having survived winters in Chicago, he probably wouldn't be too intimidated.

10) Andy Griffith: Randy Andy's character in Pray for the Wildcats, Sam Farragut, is arguably the scariest, fiercest monster we have seen in 10 seasons of doing the podcast.

Not ranked but receiving votes: Lorne Greene from The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew, the werewolf from Barney Miller, the space creature from Greatest American Hero.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Top Ten #186

1) Kolchak the Night Stalker: Our podcast subject this week holds up better than I might have expected, but who cares what I say? It's a beloved cult show that has a big following nearly 50 years later.

2) Darren McGavin: One of those performers who gets the prestigious "would watch him in anything" tag--even in a beer commercial!

3) David Hasselhoff: Happy 70th birthday to the Hoff! Don't we all want him to head out on the beach just one more time with the red tr--nah, let's watch a Knight Rider clip instead.

4) National Tattoo Day: Celebrate!

5) The Munsters: A trailer for the upcoming Rob Zombie take on the series debuted this week:

6) Emmy nominations: Congratulations to Working Stiffs star Michael Keaton (never recognized for that role) for getting a nod for Dopesick.

7) Elmer Fudd: If you consider Egghead the first version of the Fudd character, then Elmer's first appearance was in a Tex Avery cartoon, Egghead Rides Again, released on this date 85 years ago. And, hey, I feel like sharing an Elmer moment today, so let's say that it IS Elmer's birthday!

8) The Waltons, "The Threshold": MeTV ran a story saying Earl Hamner "wrote this episode to combat the rise of reality TV". Now, this episode debuted in 1981, so this is more Real People than Real Housewives.

9) Cozi Condensed Bold: The Cozi website's front page was revamped to spotlight a 3rd Rock from the Sun promotion, but scroll down to the bottom to see that Cozi Condensed Bold starring Michael Landon still remains!

10) R.I.P. Pat John:

Saturday, July 16, 2022

YouTube Spotlight:

One of the more interesting clips in our YouTube playlist for this week's Kolchak episode of the podcast is this opening from 1973 ABC sitcom Here We Go Again:

What is this 13-episode failed show doing in the Kolchak list? Well, note that supporting Larry Hagman and Diane Baker are Nita Talbot and Dick Gautier, both of whom appear in the 'Werewolf" episode we discuss on the pod. They ain't in this clip, though!

The series debuted midseason 1972-1973 and was the lowest-rated show that season according to Wikipedia. ABC moved Kung Fu to Thursdays and inserted this and another sitcom flop, A Touch of Grace, into the 8:00 hour to go against CBS' Saturday night sitcom lineup (led by All in the Family and NBC's Emergency.

Back to Here We Go Again: Harry and Wally's Favorite TV Shows has an interesting summary of the series, speculating that the types of relationships depicted here might have been better suited for primetime soaps. The authors say the show is funny but that "divorce comedy" scenarios like this are easier to make work in movies than in TV series, especially when the ultimate pair is already together (like Hagman and Baker are at the beginning of this).

Another interesting note they add: "Oddly, Nita Talbot found herself observing another split couple (but with a more believable continuing friendship between them) in the late 1980s comedy Starting from Scratch." Here's a look at that one, which aired in first-run syndication in 1988:

Friday, July 15, 2022

How TV Guide saw Kolchak at the beginning

Here are a few glimpses of the 1974 Fall Preview edition of TV Guide. Note the (perhaps) condescending way it describes the series, and note the display ad that spotlights an episode different than the one ABC actually showed that night.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Show Notes and Video Playlist: Episode 10-10: Kolchak

*Welcome to the show notes for this week's podcast episode! Click below to check out our video playlist featuring commercials, promos, and werewolves!

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

*Thanks again to friend of the show John Holm for suggesting we take a look at Kolchak!

*The Outsider with Darren McGavin aired on NBC in the 1968-69 season. The Roy Huggins series starred McGavin as an L.A. private eye. As this piece explains, the show received significant criticism for its violent content, to the point of reshaping episodes to remove gunplay and other material.

*The Night Stalker premiered January 11, 1972. Follow-up The Night Strangler debuted January 16, 1973. The series began with "The Ripper" on September 13, 1974.

*Kolchak aired a mere 20 episodes in the 1974-75 season, Friday nights on ABC--first at 10:00, then at 8:00.

*One of the most praised books about the series is the (sadly out of print and not in digital form) is Night Stalking by Mark Dawidziak,.

*The New York Times' former TV critic, John J. O'Connor, does appear to have liked some TV series despite evidence to the contrary.

*Our Forgotten Sitcoms episode with Dick Gautier in When Things Were Rotten is right here.

*Credit to Gil Melle for composing the series' theme song.

Episode 10-10: Kolchak: The Night Stalker

In past episodes, we've encountered vampires, space vampires, Frankensteins, and space mummies, but this time, we sink our teeth into a show featuring another monster! In the cult classic "Kolchak: The Night Stalker," intrepid reporter Karl Kochak finds himself stuck on a singles cruise with Dick Gautier, Nita Talbot, and a werewolf! Will anyone believe him? Will anyone stop the man-beast? Will any of the singles pair up?

#podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #kolchakthenightstalker #werewolf #werewolves #darrenmcgavin


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Inside the Guide: Two ads from 8/26/77

Here are two more cool ads from the TV Guide issue we've been exploring:

This is a New England edition, so it's no surprise see the Sawx on TV-38. Carew ended up hitting .388 and winning the American league MVP, but his Twins finished well back of the Royals. In the AL East, the Yankees won the division by 2.5 games over the Red Sox and Orioles.

I like this ad showcasing some of the programming on independent channel 27.  There's lots of cool horror on TV this Saturday; over on channel 5 you could see 1942's Night Monster with Bela Lugosi at 3:30. What this ad does not say is that the Thriller episode of the anthology series  is "The Premature Burial," a Poe adaptation starring Karloff himself.

You may wonder, isn't Thriller an hour show? Why, yes, it is/ What, then, does 27 have at 5:30, after Karloff and Lugosi?

Try Storch and Tucker! 5:30 is an F Troop rerun. I guess that wouldn't really fit in with the theme of that ad. Ghost Busters, maybe, but not F Troop!

Monday, July 11, 2022

Inside the Guide: More from 8/27/77

We continue our look at this issue from 1977 (August 27-September 2):

Some of the programs we discussed in our latest bonus episode are highlighted in "The Screening Room" feature at the beginning of the listings:

On Saturday night, hey, look who's getting honored! And, jeez, look who's hosting the ceremony:

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Top Ten #185

1) The year 1977: Our TV Guide game bonus episode this week took us back to the year 1977. Some notable series that premiered just weeks after the listings we examined. Click the title to get to our episode covering it:

Soap, Lou Grant, CHiPs, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, The Amazing Spider-Man.

Well, we haven't done that last one yet, but again I plead with Disney Plus to add it!

Note the CHiPs episode is the second of two we have done; the first one we did is here!

2) Ethel Merman: Yes, that's right! After a too-long absence, her performance at Evening at the Pops merits a return to the top ten!

Of course, we're not playing that. We're playing THIS:

3) Robert Pine: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the legend, the man whom the Genius Award is named after, the former Gertraer, Robert Pine!

4) Victory Garden: There isn't much coverage of gardening shows in TV history, but at least we got a little bit in this week.

5) Charles Dickens: We are nothing here at BOTNS if not literary. Hey, I wrote about TWO Bob Hope books and TWO Garry Shandling books this season! That Dickens guy (the subject of Dickens of London, which we discussed this week on the pod) wrote some wild stuff, too, let me tell ya.

6) The A-Team: A funny article on MeTV's site this week celebrated the theme talking about how it ripped off "Sunshine of Your Love."

7) Golden Girls 3033: This is one of the best things I have ever seen, and I will say no more. Just watch this:

8) Henry Winkler and Ted Danson: On The Ringer's The Town podcast this week, Matthew Belloni and Lacy Rose listed their picks for the nicest people in Hollywood, and they disqualified these two for being, well, old (I think), but Belloni gave Winkler and Danson credit for being acclaimed as two of the nicest guys around.

9) Pina Colada Day:

10) R.I.P.: Larry Storch, Jimmy Caan, Tony Sirico:

Saturday, July 9, 2022

YouTube Spotlight: Fistful of Dollars

Those of you who watch the playlist on a device and not the web, and/or those who don't see/read the video descri0ptions by the uploaders, may be puzzled why I included a clip from Fistful of Dollars this week. I mean, yes, it was one of the viewing options on August 27, 1977, but why not a trailer or a promo instead of this:

I thought it was interesting that, as per the uploader, this was extra footage for the broadcast, an extended beginning directed by Monte Hellman designed to alleviate concerns over the film's violence. Harry Dean Stanton is talking to a stand-in for Clint Eastwood!

According to Wikipedia, this was done for a 1975 TV showing, but other sources indicate it only ran before a 1977 broadcast. Here's what I think about "contextualizing" the violence in the movie with this tacked-on scene:

In that 1977 TV Guide, critic Judith Crist mentions the ABC broadcast of the movie and says it's on its third run. She calls it "the 1964 Italian-German-Spanish rip-off of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo. it introduced an obviously waiting world (the film earned millions) to the immutable squint of Clint Eastwood and the flavor of the sadomasochistic blood-red sauce that soaked this spahgetti-spatzle-paella Western. Enough said,"

Friday, July 8, 2022

TV Guide Bonus Game 8/26/77: The Listings!

Here are some scans showing the listings Mike and I used for this week's bonus episode playing the TV Guide Game. These are from the Eastern New England Metro edition (Boston) of the magazine for the week beginning (in TV Guide terms) August 26, 1977. In brief, 2 = PBS, 3 = CBS, 4 = NBC, 5 = ABC.

Jean Shepherd's America  was a 1971 PBS program, and, hey, it is readily available on YouTube, so I think I am going to have to check it out.

Is there any significance in Paul Williams getting the first picture in that row of stars? And how about that great look on George Carlin's mug?

Kudos to channel 27 for showing The Honeymooners, but I wish I knew which episode it was. I mean, they're all great...but still!

I thought Dickens was making a "Right on!" gesture the first time I saw that ad.

Some interesting stuff later at night here, including reruns of the likes of Perry Mason, Mod Squad, and Name of the Game.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Show Notes and Video Playlist: Bonus Episode--TV Guide Game (August 27, 1977)

*Thanks for joining us for another bonus episode in the middle of our season 10 and another installment of our popular TV Guide game! This week's game draws on this issue:

*Here is the video playlist for this week, including commercials, promos, music, and more!

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

*Tomorrow we'll share scans from the listing pages we used!

*Cyclamen is a type of colorful perennial flowering plant "traditionally sold in the winter."

*Crockett's Victory Garden was created by prolific gardening author James Underwood Crockett for Boston PBS station WGBH in 1975. Bob Thomson took over the renamed Victory Garden after Crockett's death, and the series ran continuously on PBS stations through 2010 and then in a couple of revivals.

*It's Tough to Be a Bird (1969) won an Oscar in 1970 for Best Animated Short, and then it premiered on TV in 1970.

*The short on Americana, Number Our Days, is Lynne Litman's documentary short based on the work of author Barbara Myerhoff. The film had won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short at the 1977 Academy Awards. You can see a short clip of the film and Littman's acceptance speech in the playlist!

*The People's Command Performance was an annual event on CBS. This particular showing was a repeat. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything on YT for the 1977 version, but there is a 1978 promo in the playlist.

*Dickens of London premiered in 1976 in the UK as a Yorkshire production before airing in the USA on PBS.

*McCloud's vampire episode is "McCloud Meets Dracula" from its seventh season.

*For more on A Year at the Top, click here!

*Michael DeLano appeared in 11 episodes of Rhoda as lounge singer Johnny Venture!

*Again, thanks to our Facebook group members for voting for 1977. Don't worry, 1982 fans, we'll be doing a game from that year soon, too, but next week we're back to a regular episode!

TV Guide Game: August, 1977

Our Facebook Group voted on a year to cover in our long-running TV Guide Game feature. They ended up in a two-way tie, so this week, we return to the BOTNS Vaults and pull out a TV Guide from 1977. Disney, the Hardy Boys, Ethel Merman, a BOTNS theoretical favorite, and more vie for Mike's viewership. Can Rick guess what he would watch, and if he does, will he celebrate in Jim Crockett's Victory Garden?

#podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #tvguide #tvguidegame


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

High School USA--Just how old were these folks, anyway?

You may be wondering, just how old were these stars in High School USA (both versions)? Well, I was. I thought it would be a useful resource to list some of the main performers and their ages at the time of the first High School USA (October 1983). 

There is no deep thinking in this post. There isn't even much shallow thinking. I just liked seeing, hey, Dwayne Hickman was almost two decades older than Angela Cartwright! Julie Newmar was only a year older than Burt Ward! Tom Villard was pushing 30! 

(Ages from IMDB)

Bob Denver: 48
Dawn Wells: 44
Elinor Donahue: 46
Harriet Nelson: 74
David Nelson: 46
Rick Nelson: 43
Barbara Billingsley: 67
Frank Bank: 41
Ken Osmond: 40
Tony Dow: 38
Jerry Mathers: 45
Dwayne Hickman:49
Steve Franken: 51
Angela Cartwright: 30
Henry Gibson: 48
Julie Newmar: 49
Burt Ward: 48
Paul Petersen: 48
Barry Livingston: 29

The next generation:

Michael J. Fox: 22
Nancy McKeon: 17 (that one really stunned me)
Anthony Edwards: 21
Todd Bridges: 18
Dana Plato: 18
Crispin Glover: 19
Michael Zorek: 23
Crystal Bernard: 22
Cathy Silvers: 22
Lauri Hendler: 18
Jon Gries: 26
Tom Villard: 29
Melody Anderson (sort of): 27

Monday, July 4, 2022

This Day in TV History: Happy Independence Day!

BOTNS wishes a happy July 4 to all of our friends, with a special Independence Day greeting to all of us here in the U.S. of A.!

50 years ago tonight, the broadcast networks served up mostly reruns on Tuesday, July 4, 1972, but NBC came through with a holiday special: The Stars and Stripes Show.

The annual event took place in Oklahoma City, and BOTNS stalwart Ed McMahon hosted the 1972 edition, which offered appearances from Bob Hope and Kenny Rogers, plus athletes like Oklahoma native Mickey Mantle and Roger Staubach.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Top Ten #184: Special holiday weekend edition!

1) High School USA: What better way to celebrate this holiday weekend than to watch a TV movie from nearly 40 years ago that happens to have "USA" in the title? That's what we thought, too, and we hope you enjoyed the podcast this week.

2) Just about every family sitcom that was in reruns in the Eighties: Because they are represented in the cast of High School USA and its 1984 pilot version! As an example, Elinor Donahue from Father Knows Best:

3) Independence Day: I believe 1984 may have been one of the most American years in history:

4) Michael J. Fox: His star turn in High School USA (1983) becomes even more impressive when you see someone else attempt to take the role in High School USA (1984).

5) ALF: The Animated Series: Remember ALF? He's cartoon form! The Animated Series is now on Shout! Factory TV:

6) Fantasy Island and Family: July looks to be an almost barren month for new-to-streaming BOTNS-era TV (nothwithstanding ALF), but these two Sony shows are back on Tubi after an absence of a couple months.

7) Project UFO: Friend of the Show Steve Cloutier appeared on The Illuminati Social Club podcast to share his thoughts on Jack Webb's 1978 series.

8) Mayflower: The Pilgrims' Adventure: Talk about "filling time": 40 years ago tonight, on a Saturday night, CBS re-ran a 1979 TV movie about the pilgrims. I guess there's a July 4 tie-in, but is the beginning of summer the time to revisit the Mayflower?

9) Salute to a Cockeyed Optimist: 50 years ago tonight, CBS gave us this brand-new special, a star-studded tribute to Oscar Hammerstein.

10) International Drop a Rock Day: Whoa, whoa, whoa! For some of us, the emotional scars from the trauma of "The Great 5K Star Race and Boulder Wrap Party" are still too raw to celebrate dropping a rock.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

YouTube Spotlight: High School USA (1984 version)

I will repeat the disclaimer I gave in yesterday's post: If you haven't seen the 1984 pilot version of the 1983 TV movie of High School USA, at least watch the beginning ASAP. A huge part of the fun is seeing who is in the cast: "Oh, they got the other guy from ___!" "This time, they took ___ from ___!"

So here it is in all its glory:

Now let me add a few comments. This version is nowhere near as effective nor fun as the first one, with the leads a significant notch below Michael J. Fox and Anthony Edwards. There is a HUGE miscalculation made in having the J.J. character pining for a teacher instead of a fellow student. Check out the scene when JJ watches Melody Anderson's Ms. Franklin from the wings. It looks like Adrian Lyne directed it.

Oh, I still think you should watch it, but then again, I think you should watch all kinds of stuff. If you enjoy the 1983 TV movie, watch this.

Here's an odd thing: Books devoted to TV pilots written by both Lee Goldberg and Vincent Terrace refer to the 1983 version as a "pilot," too. How can that be considering Fox and McKeon were already on established sitcoms at that point? Based on Nancy's mullet, it's not like the movie was shot years earlier. So I don't understand. Maybe ours is not to understand the ways of High School USA; ours is but to enjoy the ways of High School USA.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Power Rankings: Actors who should have been in "High School USA"

This week we're ranking not the plethora of...familiar TV stars and the contemporary stars who are in High School USA, but those who are not. Who should have been there? Who did we miss the most?

If you haven't seen the unsold series pilot we mentioned on the podcast but plan to or don't want the cast spoiled, please watch it now. One of the great joys of seeing it is going in unknowing and enjoying who they did get for that version and who they did not. This list considers performers in the TV pilot part of the High School USA universe and ineligible for ranking.

1) Anson Williams: I believe that a certain cosmic singularity would be reached by having a star of a 1970s show set in the 1950s appear in a 1980s movie set in the 1980s but featuring 1950s/1960s-tinged music. And I believe that star should have been Anson Williams. He could be the cool older brother of one of the students, a sibling who just happens to be asked to sing at an event--maybe the climactic Fox/Edwards race!

2) Gary Coleman: You could argue that he was too "big" for this in 1983, and I could counterargue that that's a cheap height joke and you can get right outta here with any suggestion Gary couldn't have fit in with this movie!

3) Kathy Garver: The Family Affair star is fresh on my mind after our Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends episode this season. She could have been a young teacher--you know, one not hit on by a hapless Dwayne Hickman.

4) John Astin: High School USA spotlights many stars of vintage family sitcoms. Maybe The Addams Family is a different kind of family sitcom, but it's a family sitcom nevertheless, and Astin could have added some unforced (I hope) wackiness on the faculty side.

5) Dolph Sweet: Should have been in there as a policeman who at first seemed to menace Michael J. Fox and the misfits but ended up threatening to pummel Anthony Edwards and the preppies.

6) Philip McKeon: We got his sister, but where is her bro? He could have fit in on either side in the misfits/preppies conflict.

7) Valerie Bertinelli: Maybe you think she was too old to play a high school student in 1983, but she was a year younger than Cathy Silvers. One Day at a Time was still on the air at this point.

8) Karen Valentine: Who couldn't use more Karen Valentine?

9) Danny Thomas: He could have been the school superintendent or some kind of elder statesman in the Sid Ceasar/Milton Berle role of "comedy legend who is here for no apparent reason than just to have a comedy legend."

10) Warren Beatty: Well, he WAS on Dobie Gillis! It would be funny if Beatty played a preppy heel student--yes, in 1983--who walked off with all the girls running after him.