Tuesday, April 30, 2024

CBN's actual Saturday schedule 40 years ago

We had a good time recently looking at the classic TV schedule Christian Broadcasting Network presented on a weekday in 1984, so today let's look at what it offered on a Saturday 40 years ago. No, today is not Saturday, but, er, just go with it. This is the lineup for May 5, 1984, and afterwards we'll throw in the Sunday schedule, too. There is a distinct Western theme to the CBN weekend!

10:00 saw The Cisco Kid, followed by a Edgar Buchanan movie, 1955's Silver Star

Noon brought an episode of The Westerners. What exactly was that? Hard to say. TV Guide and The New York Times have no specifics for this day. The Westerners was the umbrella title given to a batch of old Four-Star Westerns, including the great one-season wonder starring Brian Keith called...The Westerner. Also included are Johnny Ringo, Law of the Plainsman, and Black Saddle.

At 12:30, CBN aired The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickock with Guy Madison in the title role and Andy Devine as sidekick Jingles P. Jones. 

This program has an interesting history. Produced by William F. Broidy for first-run syndication, it moved to CBS and then ABC over its 8-year run. I was surprised to learn it ran 8 seasons, but I note it did mostly 13-episode seasons, meaning it accumulated "only" 113 episodes. Screen Gems bought out the Broidy company and got rights to the series, which ran in color its last season.

Another film was next, 1942's American Empire at 1:00. This Paramount Western stars Richard Dix, Preston Foster, and Leo Carrillo.

At 2:30, Call of the West is on, and I don't remember watching it, but I am 99% sure this is one of the rerun packages carved out of the massive 450+ episode library of Death Valley Days. New host segments with John Payne were shot for old installments.

It was back to films at 3:00 with 1936's Avenging Waters with Ken Maynard.

Next up, Wyatt Earp with BOTNS fave Hugh O'Brian in the title role, followed by Wagon Train at 4:30. I wasn't watching a lot of Westerns in 1984, but I don't remember anyone else showing these programs in that era.

The Monroes came next at 6:00. I don't remember anyone else showing this one anywhere in my day. It's another one-season (1966-67) wonder, with Barbara Hershey as one of 5 orphans experiencing frontier life. The show got a DVD release from Shout!

Alias Smith and Jones followed at 7:00.

8:00 was Carole Lombard in Made for Each Other. It's not a Western, but it's an acclaimed picture co-starring James Stewart and Charles Coburn. It's also public domain, which may be one reason why CBN was showing it!

10:00, it was back to vintage TV with I Spy, a show it aired during the week as well. Of course I have to remember that in 1984, the series was not even 20 years old! 

CBN ended the night with religious programming.

On Sunday, May 6, CBN began with more spiritual programming before offering a block of Flipper and Gentle Ben at 1:00.

2:00 was Abeline Town with Randolph Scott, another public domain oater.

Wagon Train was next at 4:00, followed by a Roy Rogers flick at 5:00: 1940's The Ranger and the Lady. After that it was religious programming the rest of the day, kicking off with The Flying House, a Japanese Bible-themed animated show.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Inside the Guide: TV Guide 40 years ago this week (April 28-May 4, 1984) Part 1

This week we're taking a look at an Albany edition of TV Guide covering the week of April 28, 1984.

The mag, as we know, runs Saturday through Friday, and I am starting this a day "late," so I have to backtrack a bit.

Saturday night featured new episodes from NBC (check out our NBC '84 episode here).

Sunday, April 29 has some cool stuff, too.  Also in the ads, I think I recognize this guy:

And we all recognize this guy, who will be on GMA this week:

HBO is excited about a new movie coming to the service:

But I am intrigued by this one:

More from this issue later this week!

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Top Ten #299: Special "Next one is 300!" Edition

1) Cher: Announced this week as a new inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, surely riding the wave of her Season 11 appearance on the podcast. While she has said she never wanted to join the Hall, I am sure she would have loved a Batty.

2) National Superhero Day: It is, believe it or not!

(You can hear our discussion about that episode here.)

3) Delta Burke: Entertainment Weekly offers this juicy summary of what it calls a "rare interview" Burke did on the Glamorous Trash podcast. She talks about using meth to control her weight, discusses issues with the Thomasons, and accuses the Clintons of running an off-the-books operation to get Major Dad canceled (Just kidding about that one).

4) David Susskind Show: 50 years ago this weekend, the topic: "We Still Love Richard Nixon." People ever loved Nixon? 

5) Jay Leno: Happy 74th to the stand-up comedian also known for his Good Times appearance.

6) Andy Warhol's TV: 40 years ago tonight, Warhol welcomed guests Brooke Shields, Keith Haring, and others on this episode that aired on Madison Square Garden network.

7) Double albums: Taylor Swift made her new album in essence a surprise double last week with an unexpected extra release. I remember the days when a surprise launch was seeing a K-Tel commercial come on during a Three's Company rerun.

8) Mindy Cohn: The Facts of Life star, now promoting Palm Royale, checks out a 1983 TV Guide profile in this video:

9) The Princess and the Pea: 40 years ago tonight, Showtime aired this episode of Fairie Tale Theater with Liza Minnelli, Tom Conti, Beatrice Straight, and Tim Kazurinsky:

10) R.I.P. Terry Carter:

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

CBN's actual schedule 40 years ago

In Sunday's Top Ten, I mentioned a 1984 mention of CBN's ratings surge and added a comment about how it showed The 700 Club about 5 times a day. Well, the channel had a great lineup surrounding the religious programming. For context, let's look at the schedule on the Christian Broadcast Network 40 years ago tonight.

We'll start at 6:30 because 6:00 has a rerun of game show Treasure Hunt hosted by Geoff Edwards. 6:30 brings The Rifleman, a show we heartily endorsed last season.

Next up: Here Come the Brides, which to me doesn't hold up next to some of these other programs, but it was not one you saw everywhere, so it's cool CBN had it.

I Spy aired at 8:00. It's a cool show, and could you blame CBN for thinking the show fit in with its family values message in 1984?

700 Club follows and is on for a whopping 90 minutes.

Classic TV resumes at 10:30 with My Little Margie. For many years, this was the only place I ever saw the series.

11:00 is Another Life. Now, this is interesting: A nightly soap and CBN original that was syndicated as well as aired on the channel.

Now is when it really gets good: Late night on CBN.

11:30 is Best of Groucho, AKA You Bet Your Life. Excellent choice!

Burns and Allen follows at midnight. Tremendous program.

12:30 is Jack Benny, and I needn't tell you this is a classic.

I think that 11;30-1:00 block is up there with any block on Nick at Nite in its prime.

1:00 is I Married Joan, and CBN must have really loved it because it also aired earlier at 2:30 as a lead-on to The 700 Club.

1:30 is Love That Bob, a series that is mostly forgotten today but is often pretty funny, though I will grant that Bob Cummings and his character might not be for everyone.

2:00 is Bachelor Father, a program I enjoyed on those occasions when Young Master Brooks was up that late. It was not prominent for years, then RTV brought it back (the glory days when it showed old Universal library shows), followed by Antenna TV later.

It's followed by Life of Riley, another forgotten show that is quite enjoyable. I believe CBN showed the William Bendix episodes (a local NY station I got showed the Jackie Gleason episodes for a while in a super-early timeslot).

Then classic TV ends at 3 because it's time for The 700 Club again.

Is that a pretty good schedule or what? It would change over the years, and a few would drop out and others would come in, but CBN, not Nick at Nite, was my favorite cable source for vintage TV for several years.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Top Ten #298: Special "Is Spring almost over?" edition

1) Earth Day: My personal favorite Earth is Earth-2, but I guess this one is OK, too.

2) Battlestar Galactica: I'm so proud of this recent purchase, I have to show it again. How about a line of brand-new figures from the classic series?

3) Transformers: Hasbro has announced a "special event" coming in mid-May: A theatrical presentation of the first 4 episodes of the original animated series! I am hoping for an exclusive new presentation by Hector Ramirez.

4) National Record Store Day: Hope you found something cool yesterday! If you don't have a local store to support, Sam Goody is acceptable.

5) The 1974 Tony Awards: 50 years ago tonight, CBS aired the annual extravaganza,

6) Tony Danza and Brutus Beefcake: Two men who, in their own ways, epitomized masculinity in the Eighties celebrate birthdays today. By the way, Tony Danza did not win a Tony in 1974.

7) Skag: Anytime someone posts a promo for 1980 NBC, we pay attention:

8) CBN: 40 years ago in The New York Times, an article discussed the ratings success of the cable channel's vintage reruns, saying, "The network's schedule includes 1950's and 60's programs such as The Jack Benny Show and The Rifleman, as well as some religious programs." Some? Hey, I loved CBN's late-night schedule in that era, but it showed The 700 Club about 5 times a day, and I find it od the piece doesn't mention the initials stood for Christian Broadcast Network.

9) Mother Lode: What is special about this 1982 movie with Charlton Heston (it was written by him and directed by his son Fraser), Nick Mancuso, and Kim Basinger? I don't know, but for some reason, 40 years ago tonight, it aired at 6:00 P.M. on Showtime and then two hours later on competitor HBO! I guess the film was too good to be limited to just one premium cable network!

10) R.I.P. Robert McNeill: Both have their adherents, but for my money, he was always the sexier half of The McNeill/Lehrer News Hour.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Collectible Corner: A wonderful mix of beautiful and generic

I recently acquired this great-looking Battlestar Galactica toy. The toy itself is simple but effective, but, oh, what a card! 

I'd show you the card back, but there is nothing on it! They spent the money on that glorious front. I love the stylized "BattlestaR."

It's funny because back in the day, I cared little about the packaging after I got the toy. I would have torn this up and ditched it, then ran around the house zooming this cruiser through the sky. Now, of course, the cruiser is cool enough, but I got it for the packaging.

I will admit that once again I am tempted to open a vintage toy, if only to try that "free rolling." Don't sell short that "non toxic paint," either. It's good to know I could take this off the card and put it in my mouth with no ill effects!

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Infinity: The Magazine Beyond Imagination is a slick, entertaining read

I have seen Infinity many times on the magazine shelves at Barnes & Noble. After the demise of so many other periodicals in the Entertainment section, it stands out even more for several reasons: It always has a cool cover, its glossy, slick look pops, and it's really expensive!

In fairness, the $12 cover price is because it's an import. It's only 4.5 quid in the UK! As so many of our domestically produced mags have faded, these Brit mags take up more space on the rack, but they often look great. Infinity is no exception, but I wonder if the cover space is designed with regards to the international market. It seems like the more Britcentric subjects get blurbs while the more "universal" (That is, stuff that we Yanks know and like) get the big pics!

That's fine with me. I finally purchased an issue a few weeks ago, and I admit it was almost by accident. I went out of my way to go to a store to get a baseball magazine, and a week after its newsstand date, it wasn't there. Couple that aggravation with a gift card in my pocket, and, folks, there was no chance I was leaving that building without buying something. So after years of admiring it, I finally picked up Infinity, in this case issue 68. It's likely several months behind, but, you know, import and all. Besides, it's not like it dates; this is a magazine about sci-fi/fantasy/genre nostalgia!

I was pleased with the mag. It's attractive in its design and loaded with great pics, and I am not saying that only because of the one of Sherry Jackson's Star Trek appearance on page 13. There is a nice mix of vintage publicity photos and shots of memorabilia. The articles are relatively short but impactful. A fanatic of cover subject Superman: The Movie might not learn a whole lot, but author Ernie Magnotta gives an excellent summary of the film's production and also includes interviews with stars Valerie Perrine and Jeff East. In a similar vein, John Martin's look at the career of Bruce Lee packs a lot into 6 pic-filled pages.

TV fans like us might enjoy the profile of Roddy McDowall, though, sadly, it doesn't mention his role as the Devil on Fantasy Island--a missed opportunity for a mag like this! There is an interesting choice of interview subject in stuntman Tony Brubaker, who doubled Mr. T on The A-Team. I am not so sure that the reports of strife between T and George Peppard are as overblown as Brubaker asserts, but I like hearing from him.

Those Britcentric pieces are cool, too. There are spotlights on Bob Monkhouse and a spectacular feature on the comic annuals of Stamford Pemberton Publishing, including books on the likes of Vega$ and Kojak.

The price is high, but I plan to keep an eye on this one now that I know it's so entertaining. I see digital copies are available, too, and I bet this looks good on a tablet. I recommend Infinity for fans of retro-focused magazines!

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Top Ten #297

1) Good Times: A new show with that title is on Netflix this weekend. Let's just say the original is complete on DVD, streaming on Peacock, and on over the air on Get TV. You can hear us talk about that show right here.

2) Rulebreaker: The new book about Barbara Walters is out this week. If this book were made from a tree, what kind of tree would it be made from?

3) Franklin?: As we mentioned last week, Michael Douglas stars as Ben Franklin in a new Apple Plus series beginning this week. This comes on the heels of its original special in February spotlighting Franklin from Peanuts.

Is the next step a prestige documentary about Season 11 Batty winner Franklin Cover?

4) Check It Out!: For the second week in a row, VEI drops a surprising complete series DVD release. Clearly the world was not ready for the combined hilarity of this and Too Close for Comfort in one single week!

5) National Gardening Day: The perfect way to get outside and enjoy some sunshine, especially if maybe you can take a little TV out there with you.

6) Lionel Richie: I shared this extended version in our official Facebook group this week, and to me it's peak Lionel: Energetic, upbeat, and on message. And check out a cameo by a certain future TGIF star.

7) Verne Lundquist: I am not a big golf guy, save a brief era when I played Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf, but I want to salute this great sportscaster, who hangs it up after this weekend's Masters.

8) NBC Reports: You're Too Fat: On this night in 1974, NBC News looked at this then-pressing issue and concluded that surely advances in nutritional science and education along with sensible policy would make obesity obsolete in 50 years.

9) The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine: This special aired in syndication this weekend in 1984. I haven't seen it, but I am pretty sure I know who won.

10)  O.J. Simpson: In BOTNS World, we don't dwell on the NFL Hall of Famer killing two people in 1994. We try to focus on his post-football career as a mediocre actor, mediocre color commentator, and mediocre sideline reporter,

Actually, let me put this here: I have the following memory: One year on Thanksgiving, while I was watching football with extended family, towards the end of the telecast, O.J. got a bad cue or something on an NBC broadcast, and he cursed on the air before they could get the camera off him. I have never found a reference to this moment anywhere. Did anyone else see it?

Monday, April 8, 2024

Collectible Corner: Welcome (not back) to my collection!

Laurie and I attended a cool vintage toy show recently, and it seemed to be a huge success. I love seeing shows with low admission fees in contrast to the comic book shows that charge high ticket prices just to get in and buy stuff. This event was a success to me if only because I bought this beautiful item from 1976:

Now my question is: Dare I open this? This is in original shrinkwrapped form and in great shape. It almost seems like a shame to remove that and break up the packaging.

On the other hand, the box will still be in great shape, and Mr. Kotter will still look spectacular, even if I do open it up and check out the paper dolls inside.

For now, I am going to enjoy the box as is, but who knows if I will resist the urge to try out some different outfits on Mr. Kotter!

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Top Ten #296: Special "Protect your eyes tomorrow" edition!

1) Total Eclipse of the Heart: I have this video in my head for some reason today.

Remember, people, be smart tomorrow and always. Never, ever look directly at Doc Severinsen's outfit.

2) Joe Flaherty: Special shout to the late Joe Flaherty, our Robert Pine Genius Award winner at the Season 9 Battys. What else can I say except he made us laugh real good.

3) National Beer Day: Speaking of Mr. Pine, you know we suggest you celebrate with a Lowenbrau:

4) Too Close for Comfort: VEI surprised by releasing a complete series set of the1980s sitcom this week. Unfortunately, it looks like they used syndicated (and edited) prints. So it's technically incomplete, but all the episodes are there!

Also, 40 years ago tonight, the series' fourth season premiered.

5) Dinah, Won't You Please Come Home:
50 years ago tonight, Dinah Shore starred in this music special from Nashville on NBC, welcoming guests like Glen Campbell, Isaac Hayes, and...Jack Benny? Maybe he played fiddle.

6) Michael Douglas: The star of Streets of San Francisco has been making the media rounds to promote upcoming Apple Plus show Franklin, in which he plays the legendary stateman--Ben, not Franklin Pierce--with a twinkle in his eye.

Come to think of it, has he reached the age when he plays everything with a twinkle in his eye?

7) National No Housework Day: The boys can give Mickey the day off.

8) The National Invitational Tournament: I have always maintained that the winner of the NCAA tourney is just a paper champ unless it accepts the challenge of the NIT winner.

9) Sanford: In a lean month for new shows on streaming, this show stands out as one of the few adds I saw--the 1980 version of the show. Tubi now has, uh, a handful of episodes of each of its two seasons. Well, I said it was a lean month.

10) R.I.P. Barbara Rush, Barbara Baldavin:

(Note: Post was edited to correct an error in the Joe Flaherty item. We featured SCTV in Season 9, not Season 10. We may be able to pick Geniuses, but apparently I am far from one!)

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Are these streaming services really paying attention?

We know that all streaming services, Internet sites, and anything that can be accessed via a smartphone, smart TV, or connected device is mining our data and throwing it out into the universe, right? Well, then why aren't any of the streamers doing anything useful with it, like, say, helping me find something I might to watch on their platforms?

I am not going to launch a numbing discussions of algorithms, but are any of you satisfied with "recommendations" or "you might also like" rows on your streaming services? I think they are particularly inept in assisting those of us who prefer material made in the 20th century. It's like the systems can't even fathom that someone would rather see a 50-year-old sitcom than a brand-new direct-to-streaming thriller starring The Guy Who Was in That Show We Don't Watch and The Woman Who Was in the Reality Show That We Never Cared About.

I will give you an example: Last year, I started watching Sony's acclaimed series Family (1976-1980), a series in my wheelhouse--earnest, often corny family-centric dramedies--that I never got to see growing up. I really enjoyed discovering the series from the beginning, and I think it was on Crackle I started, but when Crackle started ditching all the Sony library programs, I found it again on Tubi.

Tubi then lost the series (along with fellow Sony fixture Fantasy Island, another show that was on Crackle and Tubi but is now nowhere), and I bemoaned that here. At some point, Sony's own Classic TV Rewind channel started dropping episodes in order verrrrry slowly. Oh, and Tubi added the series again.

Wait, what?

Yes, Tubi re-added it, but I found out by accident last week. I have no idea when Family returned, and my question is, why not? Tubi is a channel that sends me emails all the time. It tells me what's leaving. It tells me what I have in my queue as if I needed a reminder. It tells me what's coming to Tubi and what's new on Tubi. Yet somehow it never got around to telling me a show I had been watching in order on its own platform was back. 

What's the use of their collecting all my viewership data if they aren't going to make use of it? Whatever else they might be doing with my watching habits, they ought to be luring me in to spend more time on Tubi, thus watching their ads, by letting me know when they get back something I actually watched!

When I think of all the goofy stuff they bother to email about and some of the ridiculous recommendations they make on the site, I can only shake my head. I don't think it's a Tubi thing; it's all of them. They just don't care about what we really want to see. They care about what they think we should see.