Wednesday, February 28, 2024

RetroFan is still bringing it!

It's been a while since I shared my enthusiastic praise (without compensation and with all sincerity) for TwoMorrows' RetroFan magazine, so let me check in with a few words about the current March 2024 issue.

Cover girl Elizabeth Montgomery headlines this #31, with a big story by biographer and noted classic TV author Herbie J. Pilato. He shares the story of his own personal relationship with the actress and also provides an overview of her career that includes her later appearances in many TV movies.

Mark Voger is one of my favorite regular contributors, and in this issue he discusses the history of Howdy Doody, and he does cover the lesser-known revival from 1976.

Now, here is what really blows me away: Andy Mangels' "Retro Saturday Morning" department focuses on two of the live-action efforts of D'Angelo-Bullock-Allen Productions. One is a show I have always wanted to see, the body-switching comedy Big John, Little John with Robbie Rist and the great Herb Edelman. The Region 2 DVD is probably all we are ever gonna get unless some kind soul uploads more episodes than the few already online.

The other is one one of the most obscure programs we have devoted a podcast episode to: Run, Joe, Run! Hey, I appreciate a Bewitched article even if it isn't one of my personal favorites, but I get a warm feeling inside when my favorite magazine digs deeper for something like this 1974-1976 program. Click here for our take on the work of Heinrich of Midvale, but do read Mangels' great feature.

Elsewhere, Scott Shaw! explores the history of Alvin and the Chipmunks, focusing on the Sixties' iteration of the cartoon. In it he asks a vital question: Where the heck is THAT show on DVD? It received a few minimal releases, but we want more!

I enjoyed the look at Peter Gunn and the "Retro Toys" focus on girder and panel building sets. There's even more than that, like a profile of Time After Time, which at first seemed like a departure for the magazine but fit in quite well.

The magazine never disappoints, and I recommend it as much as ever even if I don't always talk about it here!

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Missed "A Coffin for Starsky"? Sony makes it available!

Back when we covered Starsky and Hutch, we mentioned that it was leaving Prime Video and other streaming outlets (except for purchase). I personally picked up the show on disc, but if you do not have it on physical media, Sony's official YouTube rerun channel just uploaded the episode we talked about: "A Coffin for Starsky!" Check it out for free:

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Top Ten #290: Special "Get outta here, winter!" Edition!

1) The Krofft Supershow: OK, we have talked about the Krofft library making its way to streaming on Tubi and Roku for weeks, yet I was still surprised to see this one pop up on Tubi. Viva Kaptain Kool and the Kongs!

2) Jack Benny: I shared in our Facebook group (Come join us!) a link to this great episode I watched this week: One of 4 that CBS reran in August 1977. Why did they do that? I don't know--Benny had died several years earlier--but it's cool that they did. The New York Times ran a very positive review, and when their TV critics liked something, it was a special thing, indeed. CBS even took out a little display ad touting the 4-week run. Maybe they tried to do a barter deal in the spirit of Benny.

This is an original night-of-broadcast recording with commercials:

3) Black History Month: Another February comes to close without any cool surprises like someone unearthing Tenafly and putting it on demand, but let's celebrate one of the great comic supporting actors, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, who makes an appearance in the episode linked above.

4) Here's Lucy: 50 years ago tonight, the show welcomed Phil Harris in an episode that got into the women's lib movement. This is easily findable online, and it's nice to see old pros even if they were, shall we say, in their golden years.

5) Karen Grassle: Happy birthday to the star of Little House on the Prairie!

6) National Chocolate-covered Nut Day:

7) Ripley's Believe it or Not: In the paper 40 years ago today was an interesting article about producer Jack Haley Jr. being sued by Columbia for allegedly overcharging for use of his personal mansion as a shooting location for the series. He denied it, saying he charged a proper amount and that the practice saved the show money. Jack Palance, much to my chagrin, is not quoted.

8) 227: Rewind is running a marathon of the show Tuesday. Get it? 2/27! Hopefully they make room for "The Butler Did It," DAWG!

9) James Brown: Happy birthday to the godfather of...uh, CBS sports?

10) Barbie: The icon won a People's Choice award last week. What the people want is a live-action Barbie and the Rockers movie with the same cast!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Top Ten #289: Special "No more football, huh?" Edition

1) Super Bowl Ratings: The Big Game drew huge numbers, and I don't want to diminish the record, but all I'm saying is that Nielsen wasn't counting out-of-home viewership when Burt Reynolds was on The Golden Girls.

2) 1984 Olympics: The figure skating final aired 40 years ago tonight, and ABC was promoting Rosalynn Sumners, but the winner was Katarina Witt. Also, just like last Saturday, ABC broke up its coverage with PBA and Wide World of Sports.

3) National Drink Wine Day: I was never a fan of the stuff, but knock yourself out.

4) Medical Center: 50 years ago tonight, CBS aired an episode called "Girl from Bedlam," and in the supporting cast was Batty winner Leonard Frey!

5) John Travolta: Happy 70th birthday to the star of Welcome Back Kotter!

6) NBA All-Star Game: Remember when the game meant something? Well, I am not sure I do, either, but it was a lot of fun.

7) Cybill Shepherd: Happy 74th birthday!

8) The Dog Days of Arthur Cane Part 1: This ABC Weekend Special premiered 40 years ago today. There have been a lot of "human becomes canine" movies over the years, but for money, this is one of them.

9) Presidents Day: Tomorrow we all celebrate the service of folks like Fred Silverman, Brandon Tartikoff, Bud Grant...

10) Pop Tarts: R.I.P. to the creator of one of the greatest--tastiest--most convenient breakfast foods out there, Bill Post. That is, he invented the Pop Tart, not that he is the food.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

I am all set with my Perry Mason merch!

One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was an assortment of Perry Mason supplies from Laurie. I plan to make one of these notebooks my Official Season 12 Notebook! 

Rather chummy look the attorney and the DA are exchanging, eh?

There's more! I especially like the "incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial" notepad:

In the year ahead, you can bet I will be jotting down notes all over the place as I prepare for the podcast! Remember, we discussed Perry Mason in Season 10 as our "Retro-Retro" episode.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Top Ten #288: Special "So, what's on the telly tonight?" Edition!

1) The Big Game: I might ask if everyone has had enough football by now, but judging by TV ratings, the clear answer is NO! Enjoy the Super Bowl tonight! And since the real America's Team isn't in it this year, enjoy this:

2) The NFL Today: This afternoon, CBS will air You Are Looking Live, a documentary about longtime pregame show The NFL Today, and it will be available on Paramout Plus as well. I am actually more excited to watch this than the game itself, but I admit I was always more of an NBC game even though they seemed to change their format each season.

3) Happy Lunar New Year: It's the Year of the Dragon!

4) Designing Women: Antenna TV's counterprogramming today: A marathon of the show called "Super Belle Sunday!"

5) Valentine's Day is this week: 40 years ago tonight, CBS had us covered with Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown preceded by the new special Bugs Bunny's Valentine. Below

Then right afterwards came, uh, Airwolf and Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer.

6) Tina Louise: Happy 90th birthday to the star of Dallas!

7) The Winter Olympics: ABC's broadcast schedule 40 years ago today was dominated by the Sarajevo games, though--this seems kind of odd to me today--they took breaks in the afternoon for bowling and for a Wide World of Sports episode about the Ironman triathlon. Below is a stretch of ads and promos from February 11, 1984:

8) CBS Daytime 90: Legacy of Fear was the entry kicking off  this daytime anthology series the network ran for one week starting 50 years ago today.

9) Larry Merchant: Happy 93rd birthday to the longtime fixture of HBO boxing coverage.

10) R.I.P. Hank Bradford: The writer for The Tonight Show and later The Late Show with Joan Rivers created many Carnac lines in the early 1970s.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Top Ten #287: Special "Gearing up for the Big Game" Edition

1) John Schuck: Happy birthday to the esteemed Robert Pine Genius winner for Season 10!

2) Sid & Marty Krofft: A slew of their 1970s programs, including series like The Lost Saucer and The Bay City Rollers from The Krofft Supershow. quietly showed up on Tubi the last couple weeks. The lack of fanfare is customary for Tubi adding old shows, but it seems inapt for the Kroffts. Shouldn't this news be accompanied by Rip Taylor being shot out of a cannon?

3) The Grammys: Tonight is the second-biggest night in music. The first is any given night with a Taylor Swift concert.

4) We Are the World: A new Netflix documentary covers the making of the seminal music video, which was recorded after the American Music Awards. It wast he second-biggest night in music in 1985, with the first being, of course, The War to Settle the Score on MTV, where Cyndi Lauper managed Wendi Richter in her loss to Lelani Kai.

5) National Thank a Letter Carrier Day: Why in the world would this day be celebrated on a SUNDAY? Can anyone give me an explanation of such an obscure holiday?

6) Byron Allen: The mogul has made another high-profile bid for a media entity, this time offering to buy Paramount using his revenues Hey, all I care about is making stuff like this circulate again:

7) Amelia Earhart: Here we go again! Someone else believes they have found wreckage from the noted aviator's plane. We are not so sure, though some evidence may indicate there may be potential for information encouraging further investigation.

8) Co-ed Fever: 45 years ago tonight, CBS aired a sneak preview of this series, an Animal House rip-off that was scheduled to join its Monday lineup two weeks later. 

The network canceled it after this single airing tanked, meaning it was technically axed before it even premiered.

9) Groundhog Day: Rick got up, saw the TV, and forecasted 6 more weeks of watching reruns. Expect a similar prognastication in March.

10) R.I.P. Rod Holcomb: The prolific director was behind the camera for many high-profile projects, including the first Captain America movie and the Greatest American Hero episode we discussed.

Carl Weathers: Shame on me for not watching those Fortune Dane episodes when Crackle had them for a very short time.