Sunday, April 30, 2023

Top Ten #247: Special "Hey, April only has 30 days?" Edition

1) Bugs Bunny: Today celebrates his first appearance back in 1938. Quick, let's have the party now before Zaz invites Chip and Joanna!

2) Happy Days' series finale: This article on Catchy Comedy's website (the channel has a marathon of the show this weekend) explains how after the emotional series finale, ABC burned off several more episodes. 

So you mean to tell me they didn't all just pack it in after the elephant dance?

3) Grandpa Al Lewis: The icon would have been 100 today, or at least we think so; he wasn't always the most reliable source for info on his own life. He was a reliable laugh getter, though!

4) NFL Draft: We just don't get great moments like this enough anymore (57 seconds in with Mel Kiper is my favorite):

5) The Love Boat Country Jamboree: 40 years ago tonight, the series had a two-hour special with Batty winner Jessica Walter along with Country stars like Tanya Tucker, Mel Tillis, Minnie Pearl...and Bert Convy!

6) National Raisin Day: Remember when the country was captivated by these guys? 

Remember a month later when we were burned out on them?

7) National Poetry Month: Last chance to commemorate something like this:

8) Burt Young: Happy 83rd birthday to the star of movies and TV shows like 1987's Roomies. He was best known for--Whoa, whoa, whoa. When he played Paulie in Rocky, he was only 36?

9) WWWF Championship Wrestling: WWE Network added 10 episodes from 1980 but skipped over Sgt. Slaughter's Federation debut. Those maggots should drop and give me 20!

10) R.I.P. Harry Belafonte:

Friday, April 28, 2023

Rex Reed on "Three Amigos"

I am not a fan of "Three Amigos," but Rex Reed's self-satisfied takedown of it raises my eyebrows. In the clip below, he claims that everyone at his press screening walked out, leaving only himself and the projectionist--and the projectionist was snoozing!

He's full of it here, right? He doesn't make it clear he's joking. The projectionist part is obviously meant to be a punchline, but the rest of it...?

He makes it sound like a bunch of professional critics found "Three Amigos" so reprehensible that virtually all of them violated their codes of conduct and departed the screening before it was over.  Actually, he doesn't say professional critics, just critics, so maybe he has some wiggle room here. The main thing Reed wants to do is be funny and trash the movie, and I have to admit he does it in a way that gets my attention.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: The more I see the Siskel & Ebert imitators, the more I appreciate the originals and how they could pan even popular movies but still be likable.

(For what it's worth, in their print columns, Ebert gave the movie one star, and Siskel called it boring, but neither claimed to have attended a critic screening at which everyone else left early.)

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Top Ten #246: Special 'Keep America Beautiful--put on a shirt if you go out jogging" edition

1) Earth Day: I've been doing my part for years by buying as many DVDs as I can and keeping them out of landfills!

2) National Record Store Day: Speaking of physical media, I hope collectors had fun yesterday!Just so you know, I already have a nice copy of this one on my wall:

3) Cheers: The show hits Blu-Ray this week. if the idea of owning Cliff and Norm in HD isn't an endorsement for physical media, I don't know what is.

4) Lee Majors: Happy birthday to the Fall Guy!

5) Adventures of Don Quixote: 50 years ago tonight, CBS broadcast the BBC production starring Rex Harrison, and the grumpy Times critic said the biggest problem was...Rex Harrison.

6) Carol Burnett: This Wednesday the icon turns 90, and NBC celebrates with a prime-time special. I guess Lorne Michaels won't be involved.

7) Joyce DeWitt: Happy birthday, and thanks for representing fans of brunettes all those years on Three's Company.

8) Super Mario Brothers Super Show: This clearly paved the way for the massive success of the new movie:

9) The Buggles: Or is it Buggle now? Trevor Horn of "Video Killed the Radio Star" is touring as Seal's opening act.

10) R.I.P. Rita Lakin, Barry Humphries:


Monday, April 17, 2023

HBO never was just for fans of "Dream On" and "The Hitchhiker"

One of the many silly things about this ongoing HBO/MAX/Discovery/Warner saga is the idea that HBO Max would dump a bunch of animated and family titles, proclaim that the service was getting out of that realm (after burying a lot of that content on its platform), then rebrand mere months later and announce it was investing heavily in animated and family titles.

The reason given was that parents were uncomfortable with the "HBO" name in association with any kind of family programming but NOW it's all better with the new "MAX" name...even though many parents probably still associate that with Cinemax, the pay cable alternative for folks who thought HBO wasn't adult enough. But what's this about HBO being a turnoff for parents? This new concept ignores decades of the premium channel cranking out acclaimed and popular shows like...

And what about movies like...

And what about the seasonal specials like...

And that's just the Eighties!

It's amusing that so much of the messaging from the revamped company seems to want to "blame" the HBO identity, when the vast majority of complaints I hear since the merger are HBO fans dreading the "garbage" Discovery programming colliding with the Warners and HBO catalogue.

Well, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that Discovery executives who are running the joint don't want to mention how many people are repulsed by that "brand." I don't buy the idea that HBO is some kind of bogeyman for parents preventing them from hunting for kid shows on streaming, though, and I think that's a weak explanation.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Top Ten #245: Special "National Eggs Benedict Day" Edition!

1) The Midnight Special: Bert Sugarman is loading a lot of clips and some full episodes to an official YouTube channel, as explained in this article. You can see all kinds of stuff on this channel!

2) James Paul McCartney: Speaking of music and TV, today is the 50th anniversary of the UNSA broadcast premiere of this ABC special. (Note: The whole special isn't hard to find, but I am not jinxing it by posting it here!)

3) Martin Lawrence: Happy birthday to the star of What's Happening Now!!

4) Electra Woman and Dynagirl: Shout-out to the excellent Brick Mantooth for posting a cool look at the merchandise and toys associated with the Krofft series:

5) National Orchid Day: You know who loved orchids? That's right, Nero Wolfe! I think he used them as garnishes for giant steak sandwiches.

6) Bugs Bunny All-American Hero: CBS reran this special 40 years ago tonight. The show debuted in 1981, and then CBS was not shy about running it again in the decade! Anyone else miss primetime network cartoon specials like this?

7) National Healthcare Decisions Day: Every major health decision should be accompanied by the surprisingly rocking theme to Medical Center:

8) Saturday Night Live: 40 years ago, Susan Saint James hosted with musical guest Michael McDonald, and her hairstyle lets you know, yep, it's 1983:

9) Taxes: I am sorry to bring the unpleasant reminder that here in the States you gotta pay THE MAN by Tuesday.

10) R.I.P. Michael Lerner, Harry Lorayne, Elizabeth Hubbard:

Friday, April 14, 2023

And now a word from their sponsor: He has a name! It's Joey Stivic!

Check out this ad for an All in the Family tie-in toy in 1976:

The packaging on this thing is tremendous. "Archie Bunker's grandson." The box makes Archie himself prominent and barely shows Joey.

And as for "physically correct?" No comment on that!

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

"Work it out, talk It out!" Now even easier than before!

Indulge me on this one, please! I was watching a block of old commercials when I saw a much better copy of this "Channeling Children's Anger" PSA we featured on our PSA episode a few seasons back:

I can't pass up the opportunity to post this better video and audio. I still don't know the whole story behond The Institute for Mental Health Initiatives, though.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Top Ten #244: Special Easter Sunday edition!

1) Easter Sunday: Happy Easter and greetings to all of you celebrating holidays this weekend!

2) Michael Learned: Happy birthday to the Waltons star. Wait, or is it the birthday of Michael Lerner?

NOTE: I wrote and published this post before learning about the death of Lerner this weekend. We mean no disrespect to the talented performer and leave up the link in the spirit in which it was intended, a fun tribute to the longtime character actor.

3) Warner Brothers: The fabled studio celebra5tes 100 years this month by...jettisoning the Discovery Networks stuff? Putting Adventures of Superman on HBO Max? Resurrecting Warner Archive Instant?

Well, probably none of that, but we can at least enjoy the old Warner logo:

4) Bob Hope: 73 years ago tonight, Hope made his first national television appearance on NBC's Star-Spangled Revue. Believe it or not, it was not sponsored by Texaco.

5) The Mike Douglas Show: Look at the guest lineup on an episode broadcast 50 years ago today: Paul Williams, Julie Newmar, Geoffrey Cambridge, Hollywood photographer Allan grant, and musician (and early Springsteen bandmate) George Theiss!

6) John Bartholomew Tucker: If you grew up in the BOTNS era, you heard Tucker's voice...A LOT. He was born 90 years ago today and left us in 2014.

7) Saturday Night Live: A new episode premiered 40 years ago tonight, hosted by Joan Rivers with performances by Musical youth.

8) Nike: The new movie Air tells the story of how a shoe company took over the market--no doubt with entirely ethical and above-board business practices in addition to Michael Jordan.

9) The Masters: A tradition unlike any other. I doubt they would want their prestigious event associated with something so base as a top ten list or a podcast, but here you go.

10) R.I.P.: Judy Farrell, Butch Miller:

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Top Ten #223: special baseball is here edition

1) Baseball: We welcome the return of Major League Baseball, with Baseball Fever a fine way to reduce withdrawal symptoms from the end of March Madness.

2) Welcome Back KotterAnd we also welcome back Gabe Kotter, who has been MIA from streaming for years but can now be seen on Tubi. Some of the fashions and attitudes may be dated, but you know what never gets old? A good, "Did I ever tell you about my Uncle Saul?" joke.

3) The Facts of Life: Mere hours after publishing a look at a handful of female-driven sitcoms not on streaming, guess what shows up on Tubi? No, not Welcome Back Kotter, but a shout to all you Marcia Strassman fans out there. The first 6 seasons of Facts are on Tubi, and now the masses wait for the Clooney Era.

4) Wrestlemania: It's what the world is watching this weekend!  (Except me; I'll maybe check out some highlights. I miss the days of Jim Crockett Promotions...but then again, I also miss "Did I ever tell you about my Uncle Saul?" jokes.

5) Night Court: Catchy Comedy (formerly Decades) at least gets off to a decent start with a marathon of the OG Night Court this weekend.

6) Dallas: The long-running smash hit premiered 45 years ago as a miniseries, but from that moment on, there was nothing "mini" about it.

7) AFI Salute to John Ford: 50 years ago tonight, CBS honored the legendary director with this taped special looking at his extraordinary career. In his speech, he railed on for 5 minutes about how superhero movies were destroying cinema.

8) Jeopardy!: The game show honored the late Alex Trebek this week by running his very first episode this past week.

9) Alcohol Awareness Month: Believe us, we aren't just aware of alcohol in April nor in only one single month.

10) R.I.P.: Chabelo, Kathryn Hays, Larry McMurtry, Mark Russell: