Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Remembering "Too Close for Comfort"

"Too Close for Comfort" began its run in 1980, and it was definitely one of my favorite shows. It focused on the Rush family, who lived in a two-family house in San Francisco.
In the first episode, after the Rushs’ downstairs tenant dies (and they discover not only his crazily decorated apartment, but also that the tenant was a cross-dresser), the Rushs’ two daughters, Jackie (played by Deborah Van Valkenburgh) and Sarah (played by Lydia Cornell) decide to rent the apartment. ("What happened to those nice tenants we had, the ones with the musical instruments?" Henry Rush asks his wife, Muriel. She replies, "They kidnapped Patty Hearst." Power to the People, man!)
The late Ted Knight (also known as "Ted Baxter" to "Mary Tyler Moore" fans) and Nancy Dussault, played the parents, Henry and Muriel. Henry worked from home drawing his comic strip, "Cosmic Cow," usually wearing a cow puppet on his hand while he drew.
And then there was the bumbling Monroe Ficus, played by JM J. Bullock, who had a not-so-secret crush on Sarah Rush, and was a constant thorn in the side of Henry Rush. Audrey Meadows ("Alice" from "The Honeymooners") also made guest appearances at Muriel’s mother, Iris Martin.
But the show lost it’s oomph when the daughters left and the Rushes moved into a house with their small son (born during the show’s run) and the show was renamed "The Ted Knight Show."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Reader suggests checking out "Mrs. Brady" on Web site

After reading my blog posts on The Brady Bunch and spin-offs, a reader wrote to me, suggesting I check out the Web site below. Florence Henderson (that's Carol Brady to you and me), appears on a set reminiscent of "The Brady Bunch" house and challenges site viewers to find the germs.

Not quite as entertaining as Greg's hair turning orange, but still worth a look if your a die-hard "Brady Bunch" fan. Thanks for the suggestion, Joel. Keep reading, and keep those comments and suggestions coming!

Check out Florence Henderson at

“The Magic Garden”

I was just checking out some clips of this old children’s television show on YouTube, and while it brought back some fond memories, it also stirred up some hidden resentments buried deep within my psyche. I was watching the “Hello Song” video, where Carole and Paula would sing, “I’m fine” “Me too” “We’re fine and how are you?” and then they’d hello to the children out there in TV land, giving a short list of children’s names. Do you think they ever mentioned a Bradley? Or a Brad? Nope. I know I would have remembered that. That’s just the kind of guy I am.

OK, I know, time to make that appointment with a therapist.

But, seriously, “The Magic Garden” was one of my favorite shows as a kid. In addition to Carole and Paula, there was also Sherlock the Squirrel, who lived in the Magic Garden’s tree. (What, you were expecting him to live in, a condo?)

And, then there was the Story Box (“There are no locks on Story Box, on Story Box, on Story Box…” –a phrase I still use on occasion when someone’s telling me too much information and I’m out of Tylenol.) Story Box contained props that Carole and Paula would use to act out stories.

There was also the Chuckle Patch, a group of chuckling flowers, which had slips of paper with jokes attached to them. Hey, what can I say, it was the ‘70s.

And, at the end of each show, they’d close with the goodbye song, “See Ya.” “See ya, see ya, hope ya had a real good time …”

See ya.

Some sites to check out:

The Magic Garden “Hello Song” on YouTube:

The Magic Garden “Story Box” on YouTube

The Magic Garden “Chuckle Patch” on YouTube

The Magic Garden Goodbye Song “See Ya” on YouTube

And, finally, check out the Carole & Paula’s Web site, featuring an up-to-date photo of the duo at

Monday, October 29, 2007

H.R. Pufnstuf

Yes, another all-time favorite of mine when I was a kid. (OK, it’s still a favorite). Created by Sid & Marty Krofft, I loved everything about this show, starting with the show’s introduction.

First airing in September of 1969, “H.R. Pufnstuf” was the story about a boy named Jimmy, and his magic, golden, talking flute who decide to get in a boat. (Didn’t they know never to take boat rides from strangers? Guess not.)

But this wasn’t just ANY boat. This was a boat sent by a wicked witch named Witchiepoo (played perfectly by actress Billie Hayes), who wanted the golden flute all to herself. She waved her wand, caused a storm, and shipwrecked the boat on Living Island. But, before she could get to them, Jimmy and Freddie were rescued by Pufnstuf, the mayor of Living Island.

Among Pufnstuf’s friends were Dr. Blinky, an owl who lived in a house that sneezed (just about everything was alive on Living Island, hence the name). There was also a Judy Garland-esque frog named, you guessed it, Judy the Frog. And then there were Pufnstuf’s drivers of his car The Rescue Racer, named Cling and Clang, who were always bumping into each other.

My favorite character was Witchiepoo, who rode around on her Vroom Broom, with her henchmen, Orson, a vulture, and Seymour, a spider, in a sidecar. (“It’s the ooooonly way to fly,” she said as soared up into the sky). Security for her castle was handled by her two guards, which were scared of their own shadows.

The shows revolved around Jimmy and Freddie trying to find their way home, and Witchiepoo’s attempts not only to thwart them, but to get her hands on the golden flute.

As far as I know, Jimmy and Freddie never made it off the island. Perhaps we need to revive the series and rectify that.

You check it out the introduction to “H.R. Pufnstuf” on YouTube at

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Magilla Gorilla"

A cartoon that’s close to my heart, since one of my many nicknames (one of the more printable ones) is Magilla (or Mag, or Gilla, or Magzilla). Some of my friends call me Magilla so much when they call me Brad, I know there’s a problem.

And, yes, I admit it, I have the theme song on my iPod. (As the theme song describes him, “Handsome, elegant, intelligent, sweet.” No wonder I identify … )

The television cartoon debuted in 1964 and centered around Mr. Peebles’ Pet Shop, and the suspender-wearing gorilla in the store’s front window he was always trying to sell.Then there was Ogee, the little girl with no cash, who wanted to buy Magilla. Trust me, we Magillas can’t be bought. Although we CAN be rented. (Just kidding). Ogee is the little girl shown in the opening who asks, “How much is that gorilla in the window?”

By the way, did you know Magilla Gorilla was voiced by none other than Allan Melvin? That’s “Sam the Butcher” from “The Brady Bunch.”

I’ll get to other segments of “Magilla Gorilla,” such as Richochet Rabbit, in a future blog entry.

You can check out the opening of the “Magilla Gorilla” show on YouTube by going to

Saturday, October 27, 2007

“The Carol Burnett Show”

So much to write about this show too, that I’m going to have to do it in segments (sorry to all of you out there who hate those two- and three-parter television episodes …

One of my favorite parts of the show was when Carol would say, “Let’s turn up the lights and see if there’s anything you want to ask.” (And, of course, someone would ask her to belt out the Tarzan yell she was famous for.

There are several of Burnett’s characters that I love, but I think my all-time favorite is Stella Toddler. The aged, blonde haired, old-fashioned glasses-wearubg, slow-talking lady that Burnett played to perfection. As I was writing this, I was checking out a clip of Burnett playing Stella Toddler and I could barely contain my laughter.

Judge for yourself. You can check out the YouTube clip at

Who’s your favorite character from “The Carol Burnett Show,” which ran from 1967 to 1978? Reply to this post or drop me a line and let me know, and I’ll try to mention it in a future posting!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Jump the shark!!!!!

Thanks to the Web site, I finally found the answer to a question that’s been bothering me for years. No, not about global warming. And not why Victoria Principal’s character Pamela Barnes Ewing dreamed a whole entire season of “Dallas.”

But, rather, what was the name of the song the Cosby’s lip-synched to for their grandparents’ anniversary on “The Cosby Show.” I finally found the answer on!

Sorry. I’ll try to contain myself.

"Jump the Shark" is a term that refers to a defining moment on a television show where you realize the show has reached it’s peak. Such as when Fonzie jumped the shark on “Happy Days”.

For those with inquiring minds, the song I was trying to find is “(Night Time is) The Right Time,” by the great Ray Charles. My head’s bopping to the music as I type this. If I start lip-synching, though, the editors are going to send me home. (Hmmmm … there’s an idea …)

Lots of fun stuff on that Web site, so be sure to check it out!


Brad Wadlow’s “Totally TV” blog can be found at

“One Day at a Time”—The Early Years

Debuting in 1975, “One Day at a Time” was the story of a divorced mom, Ann Romano, or as Schneider, the building’s handyman would call her, M-S Romano (played by Bonnie Franklin). She had custody of her two daughters—the troublesome Julie (Mackenzie Phillips, daughter of John Phillips from the group The Mamas and Papas) and Barbara (played by the future Mrs. Eddie Van Halen, Valerie Bertinelli).

The series also started out with Richard Masur, who played Ann’s lawyer and love interest, David Kane. When Masur left the show, Mary Louise Wilson came aboard as cocktail waitress Ginny Wroblicki, one of my favorite characters on the show (perhaps it was the cocktail dress …)

And then there was Dwayne Schnieder, played by Pat Harrington, who would burst into Ann Romano’s apartment totally unannounced with his pass key. And he almost always wore a dungaree vest over a white T-shirt. And there was always a pack of cigarettes rolled up under one of the T-shirt sleeves.

One of my favorite moments from the show was Phillips and Bertinelli doing an impression of Elton John and Kiki Dee performing, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”

And regular watchers of the show surely can’t forget when Julie ran away with her boyfriend, Chuck. That was at least a three-parter show. (Don’t you hate those?)

I’ll touch more on this show’s later seasons in a future blog entry, so stay tuned!

Some burning 'Brady Bunch" questions

Some burning questions I have about “The Brady Bunch”:

1. OK, I’ve heard this one before, but I’ve never heard an answer, and it bears repeating anyway: If Mike Brady was such a great architect, why did he build a house with only two bedrooms and one bathroom for six kids? I’m assuming Carol and Mike had their own behind that partition next to their bed. But what about poor Alice? Did she have to run to the corner gas station? Or Sam the butcher’s meat shop?

2. Did the continuity editor fall asleep on the job? In an earlier episode, Greg wants his own room, so Mike reluctantly gives up his den. Carol had suggested the attic, but Mike says something like, “That would be great if Greg was three feet tall.” Yet … in later episodes, Greg moves up into a very spacious (and hardly three foot high-looking attic). One of those things that make you go hmmmmm.

3. Why can't I get the Fillmoore Junior High School cheer out of my head this morning? (F...F...F-I-L....L-L...L-M-O....O-O...O-R-E....Fillmoore Junior High)

Any ideas?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Remembering Gene, Gene, the Dancing Machine

As I was riding into work this morning (it was one of those rare mornings where I was fully awake—relax, I’m a passenger, not a driver), I was trying to think of a topic for a future blog when I thought of “The Gong Show.”

I’ll take a look at the show in a future blog, but, of course I wound up thinking about Gene, Gene, the Dancing Machine. He turned out to be a semi-regular on the show, and I loved it every time he showed up. He’d dance up a storm while Chuck Barris and the celebrity guests would join in the fun. (And at home, so would I). I found this on YouTube and it made me smile, so I figured I’d share it. Enjoy.


The year was 1977. The year’s top song was Rod Stewart’s "Tonight’s the Night," the original "Star Wars" movie (that’s the one with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford) was the top movie, and in September of 1977, the television show "Soap" premiered.

As the show’s intro says, it’s the story of two sisters--the well-off Jessica Tate and the not-so-well-off Mary Campbell, and both of their wacky families.

Among the characters we meet in the show’s premiere episode are Danny Dallas, Mary’s son, who works for the Mob; Burt Campbell, Mary’s impotent second husband (and, as we learn in the first episode, the killer of Mary’s first husband.). At the Tate house, there’s the shell-shocked grandfather, known as Major, who still thinks he’s in the war. There’s also Jessica’s adulterous husband, Chester.

The show launched the careers of several of the actors and actresses on it. Among them: Katherine Helmond, who played the sweet and slightly daffy Jessica Tate, went on to star with Tony Danza and Judith Light in "Who’s the Boss." Richard Mulligan, who played Bert Campbell, went on to star in "Empty Nest" with Kristy McNichol and Dinah Man off (who also starred briefly in "Soap"). And, of course, there’s Billy Crystal, who played TV’s first gay character on "Soap," Jodie Dallas. Crystal went on to "Saturday Night Live" and such movie hits as "Throw Momma From the Train," "When Harry Met Sally" and "City Slickers." And Robert Guillame, who played the Tate’s butler, Benson, eventually got his own spin-off, titled, you guessed it, "Benson."

I found all three seasons of "Soap" on DVD (now if I could only find my mind …), so throughout this blog, I’ll be touching on some of my favorite moments in the series.

But, I’d like to hear who your favorite characters were on the show, and why. And tell us about your favorite "Soap" moments.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cousins, identical cousins on 'The Patty Duke Show'

How many of you out there still remember the words to the theme song of “The Patty Duke Show?” Cousins, identical cousins all the way, one pair of matching bookends, different as night and day.

Go ahead, sing it. You know you want to.

The Patty Duke Show, according to, ran for four seasons, from 1963 to 1966. It revolved around the adventures of Patty Lane and her, yes, you guessed it, identical cousin, Cathy Lane. Patty Lane was the outgoing, crazy-dancing teenager (Patty loved her rock and roll, a hot dog made her lose control), while Cathy was her more reserved, Scottish counterpart (she adored a minuet, the Ballet Rousse and Crepe Suzette).

Other cast regulars included William Schallert, who played Patty’s dad, Martin (also known as Pop-O); Jean Byron portrayed Patty’s mother, Natalie (AKA Mom-O); Paul O’Keefe played Patty’s younger brother, Ross; and Eddie Applegate as Patty’s boyfriend, Richard.

Years later, on an episode of “Oprah Winfrey,” Duke would say she hated “The Patty Duke Show.” In her autobiography, “Call Me Anna,” Duke revealed she had to have two dressing rooms—one for Patty and one for Cathy, and she was constantly going from one dressing room to the other.

Sure, there’s a lot of people out there that know what it’s like to have an identical twin sister or brother. But, odds are ten kazillion to one that no one out there has an identical cousin. (Those would be some pretty powerful genetics!)

But just think … did you ever try to sneak home with your Aunt and Uncle after a family event, only to be discovered a block away in the car because you couldn’t contain your laughter hiding on the floor? Well, if you had an identical cousin, you wouldn’t have to hide. You’d just have to act just like your cousin.

In real life, Duke’s birth name, Anna Marie, was changed to Patty by her mangers, John and Ethel Ross, with whom she eventually would up living with for almost 10 years.

Get a copy of the book and you’ll find out all the details about it.

You can visit “The Official Patty Duke Webpage” at:

You can check out the opening to “The Patty Duke Show” at

Shaving mishap spurs jingle

OK, it's official: I've become waaaaay too immersed in doing this blog. Cut myself shaving this morning, and my first thought? (Besides "Ouch!" and some expletives ...) "I am stuck on Band-Aid, 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me."

Twenty minutes later, 38 stitches and two EMT vans later (give it up for writer's embellishment!), that song is STILL in my head. It's going to be a loooong day (especially for my co-workers ...)

Yes, I know, I'm considering professional help.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Luke & Laura save the world

It was September of 1981. I was 14 (you do the math). The month’s top songs were “Prince Charming” by Adam & the Ants, “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell and “Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart)” by Ottawan.

And on ABC’s “General Hospital,” Luke Spencer and Laura Webber Baldwin saved the world from being frozen by the evil Mikkos Cassadine and his brothers, Tony and Victor.

Who says there’s no reality on soap operas?

It all started with the quest for the Ice Princess, a little black rock mounted on a small pedestal, which turned out to be a diamond in disguise. But, it was the secret formula hidden in the base of the statue that Mikkos wanted—no, not Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe for fried chicken—but a formula to control the weather.

Mikkos and his small band of cohorts hid out in an underground fortress underneath an island, until Luke, Laura and their pal, Robert Scorpio, infiltrated. Luke and Mikkos wound up alone in Mikkos’ control room, fighting until Mikkos met a frozen death. While Mikkos rapidly started to become an icicle, Luke was left to try to break the code to save the world from destruction. Luke tried typing in weather-related words like snow, and storm. When he typed ICE he thought he was home free until computer required a second word. Yikes! Ice….cream? Ice….follies? Ice…Ice baby? No…wait…wait…this is classic…the code words were:…ICE PRINCESS.

November 16 marks the 26th anniversary of Luke & Laura’s wedding anniversary. So stay tuned for another blog entry … or maybe I’ll just send a card.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Having a bad hair day? Join the club!

I woke up the other day with really bad hair. So, it got me to thinking about TV character/actors/personalities with cases of really bad hair. So, without further ado, from my cluttered desk at the Courier News, with apologies to David Letterman (and most of the people on this list), here's my top 10 list of television characters/actors/personalities with bad hair ...

10. (tie) Alexandra from "Josie & the Pussycats," Marge Simpson, Patty and Selma Bouvier from "The Simpsons." (OK, they're all cartoon characters, so technically their hair is not bad, it's just drawn that way.)

9. Lucy Ricardo's hair after being trapped in a freezer. (Everybody sing, "I'm gonna wash those icicles right outta my hair ....")

8. Witchiepoo from "H.R. Pufnstuf." (A few zings with her magic wand should do the trick).

7. Jan Brady's brunette wig look. (After being laughed at by her friends at Lucy Winters party, Jan realized blondes really do have more fun.)

6. Lily Munster (Some Miss Clairol should take care of that white streak)

5. Those vintage Oprah shows where it looks like she stuck her finger in a light socket. (Please do not try that at home.)

4. Mr. Spock from "Star Trek."' (I feel your pain, Spocky)

3. Ted Koppel (I just want to see if that's a toupee or not).

2. Kramer from "Seinfeld" (Perhaps it wouldn't look so wild if Kramer didn't keep bursting into Jerry's apartment like the wind).

And, the number one television character with bad hair is...

1. Kojak (Don't worry, we still love ya baby).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Oh, those TV spin-offs!

Some television shows were (and are) so successful, they spawned several spin-offs, some just as successful as the original, while some just faded faster than me working on three hours of sleep.

One television show than spawned a plethora of spin-offs was the classic ‘70’s and ‘80s television show, “All in the Family.”

Archie and Edith Bunker’s neighbors George and Louise “Weezey” Jefferson moved onto Houser Street, but they soon found themselves “movin’ on up, movin’ on up, to a deluxe apartment in the sky-y-y.” “The Jeffersons” was so successful it ran from 1975 to 1985.

But the Jeffersons weren’t the only ones to get their own show. “All in the Family” also begat “Maude.” The outspoken, liberated Maude, played by Bea Arthur, originally appeared on “All in the Family” as Edith’s cousin. Florida Evans, played by Esther Rolle, originally appeared on “Maude” as her housekeeper. But, Florida and her husband, James, were spun off into their own widely-popular sit-com, “Good Times.” Florida and James lived in “the ghetto” with their three children, Thelma, Michael and J.J. (who made “Dyn-O-Mite” a catch phrase of the 1970s. Viewers of “Good Times” will also remember a young Janet Jackson appearing on the show in later seasons.

“All in the Family” also gave birth to “Gloria,” a short-lived comedy that starred Sally Struthers as Archie and Edith’s daughter, now on her own with her son, Joey, after divorcing her husband, Michael Stivic (better known as “Meathead.”)

Tell me what you think:

• Do you think spin-offs are usually as good as the original?
• What’s your favorite spin-off, and why?
• What’s your favorite TV show catchphrase or commonly used saying? (Some examples: How YOU doin’?..or Nanu Nanu…or Sit on it…you get the idea.)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Who’s your favorite Tuscadero?“

"Happy Days” brought us the Fonz, who could start a jukebox just by hitting it with his fist. (It must be a gift. I tried it myself. Didn’t work) It also brought us the phrase “sit on it.”

And, most importantly, it brought us the characters of Pinky and Leather Tuscadero.

Pinky, played by Roz Kelly, appeared on the show first, as Arthur Fonzarelli’s (that’s Fonzie to you and me) former love interest. She teamed up with the Fonz to battle in a demolition derby against the sinister Malachi brothers, famous for crushing cars with their signature “Malachi Crunch.” (Sounds like a cereal!)

And, then there was Leather, Pinky’s sister (played by Suzi Quatro), who spent some time in reform school and was now fronting her own band, Leather and the Suedes (first named Bertie and Gertie, and then, according to my Internet research, Millie and Jillie, although I always thought it was Millie and Tillie.)

I’ve been kept awake at night wondering if Pinky and Leather were actually their birth-given names, or just nicknames because of the clothes they wore. I guess it sounded better than something like Hester and Beatrice Tuscadero.

Personally, I liked them both, but I loved Leather’s music (and her backup singers). Everybody sing: Let’s go down to the Devil Gate… down to the Devil Gate…. down to the Devil Gate Drive.

I recently found Quatro’s CD on iTunes, called “Back to the Drive.” It’s on my iPod as I type this.I really need to get a life …

Friday, October 19, 2007

Where's Milton?

My mind was wandering last night (one of these days I’d really like it to come home) thinking about what to write about for my next "Totally TV" blog, when I thought about Milton the Toaster.

You remember Milton? The cartoon toaster featured in Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts commercials in the ‘70s? I even went searching on the Web to see if I could find an answer. But I couldn't find anything definite.

My thoughts on the matter? Perhaps Milton met a cute little toaster oven and they’re living the K-E-double L-O-double good life in Pop-Tartville.

My worst fear? Milton short-circuited, was thrown out in the trash and picked up by Lamont Sanford and was brought back to the junkyard, where he’s been languishing ever since.

If that’s the case, to the person who threw poor Milton out: In the words of the immortal Fred Sanford, "Ya big dummy!"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"When I was a kid ..."

"You know," I said to my dog (my child with fur) as I popped a DVD into the machine, "when I was growing up, there was no such thing as a VCR or DVD player." My dog rolls her eyes as if to say, oh no, not this again, and not-so-silently implores me to be quiet and give her another Scooby Snack. (Yes, even my dog’s treats are TV-themed).

Oh, sure, it was the ‘70s, and there were tape recorders, and I actually DID tape several shows this way. Like the 1960’s movie "Batman" when it was shown on the 4:30 p.m. movie. But the tape is embellished with extra sound effects, such as the sounds of my Mom cooking in the kitchen (you can hear the spoon hitting the bowl as mashed potatoes are being plopped into it) and nothing heightens the sexual tension more between Miss Kitka and Bruce Wayne than a ringing telephone as she says to him, "Excuse me, I’ll slip into something more comfortable while your cocoa is warming."

But, with no VCRs, videotapes, DVDs, or DVD players, it meant waiting around a whole year for such things as "When the Grinch Stole Christmas" or "A Charlie Brown Christmas." It made these shows an annual event. Oh, sure, they still are. But, if you miss them, you can always pop in the DVD if you have it (or go rent it).

Makes me wonder what television viewing is going to be like in another 30 years. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"The Brady Bunch": My favorite episode

It’s the story … of a lovely lady … who was bringing up three very lovely girls ….

OK, it’s time to talk about one of my all-time favorite shows. Yes, you guessed it: The Brady Bunch.

So much to write about, so many blog entries to fill.

For those of you who have never seen "The Brady Bunch" (is there actually such a person?), let me give you a quick summary: Carol Martin (played by Florence Henderson) has three daughters--Marcia, Jan and Cindy--and she marries Mike Brady, who has "three boys of his own"--Greg, Peter and Bobby. Throw in Alice Nelson, the maid, as well as occasional appearances by Tiger the dog and Sam the Butcher, and you’ve got "The Brady Bunch."

My all-time favorite "Brady Bunch" episode? When Peter breaks Carol’s vase while playing basketball in the house. ("Mom’s favorite vase," Greg says. "She always says, ‘Don’t play ball in the house,’" declares Bobby.") And since Peter’s about to go on a camping treat, all five of the other Brady kids take the heat. But…just as Pete’s about to leave on the trip, he ‘fesses up.

If you’re looking for a great behind-the-scenes look at "The Brady Bunch," look for "Growing Up Brady: I Was A Teenage Greg," by "Greg Brady" himself, Barry Williams.

Stay tuned for more talk about "The Brady Bunch."

--By Brad Wadlow

Be sure to check out Brad Wadlow’s "Totally TV" blog at

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Battle of the Network Stars"

What would a television blog be without a mention of the “Battle of the Network Stars”?

Beginning in November of 1976, the special featured your favorite network stars (that’s ABC, CBS and NBC, before the days of FOX).

After the first show, the special aired twice a year from 1977 through May 1985. Another show aired in 1988.

The majority of the shows were hosted by Howard Cosell (repeat after me, “This is Ho-ward Co-sell…") and, according to the info I found in Wikipedia on the Web, the competitions included swimming, golf, kayaking, cycling, tennis, the baseball dunk, running and the obstacle course (my favorite). The final two top-scoring teams would battle it out in a tug-of-war.

Network captains of the first show were Gabe Kaplan (ABC … OK, everybody sing, Welcome back…), Telly Savalas (CBS … Who loves ya, baby?), and Robert Conrad (NBC …. Go ahead, knock that Eveready battery off his shoulder. I dare ya.). The show even garnered a mention in Sheryl Crow’s song, “The Na Na Song.”

I miss it.

Who would you like to see from television shows of today compete if "Battle of the Network Stars" was revived?

Monday, October 15, 2007

'All in the Family': What's that line?

Forget the speculation of who shot J.R. on “Dallas.”

It was one line in a television theme song that had my family wondering.

When Archie and Edith Bunker (wonderfully played by Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton) sat down at the piano, little did they know how much one line in the “All in the Family” theme song they belted out would leave my family (and I’m sure plenty of others out there) wondering.

“G…R….O….Lasomething….ran great…”

“Perhaps they’re cheering something?” I ventured from my spot on the floor close to the TV (so I could see it better, although my positioning also came in handy when the channel needed to be changed. Remember, this was before remote controls. Fortunately, there weren’t as many channels back then as there are now.)

I don’t know how long into the show it was before my father said from his chair that he had the answer: “Gee, our old LaSalle ran great.” Yeah, if you say so, Dad. This was the ‘70s, I knew what a Dodge Dart was and what a Chrysler station wagon was. LaSalle? Get outta here.

I’ve actually seen someone on a talk show ask Jean Stapleton what that line was, as well. So, I’m not alone. Although I’m probably the only one who will admit it today. Or, am I?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Confessions of a Charmin squeezer

It occurred to me after I had been on the treadmill for 20 minutes (I’m building myself up to 30 before I actually turn it on), that it was time I ‘fessed up: Yes, blog readers, in direct violation of Mr. Whipple’s orders, I’ve squeezed the Charmin.

I’ve gotten better in recent years, containing myself in the supermarket. But there’s still the rebel deep down inside of me that still wants to defy Mr. Whipple, the guy from the old Charmin TV commercials who exclaimed, “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin!” I’ve looked everywhere for a Charmin Squeezers Anonymous support group, but I haven’t had any luck.

There’s no patch. No gum. I can’t be alone out there, can I?

Friday, October 12, 2007

"Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels" --8 p.m. Sundays, A&E

I wanna rock and roll all night, and party every day.

Unfortunately, I have to write this blog first.

I caught some of "Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels" recently. Actually it was a block of shows from 8 to 11 p.m.

I’m finding this show much more watchable than "The Osbournes." Gene’s coherent and easy to understand, whereas with Ozzy I needed subtitles. And I love Shannon Tweed, Gene’s longtime girlfriend. The bleeps in the language are fewer and far between. And I don’t want to send Nick and Sophie--Gene’s kids--off to reform school like I did Jack and Kelly Osbourne.

In the first episode, Shannon Tweed, Gene’s longtime girlfriend, plans a surprise wedding (it doesn‘t go down, though). In the second episode, Gene gets to spend a day with the biggest Gene Simmons fan, a winner of a radio contest. He tells Gene that Kiss got him through some tough times in school. He takes Gene miniature golfing. ("Honey, I’m miniature golfing with Gene Simmons," he says to his wife on the phone. Now that’s not something you hear every day. I’m sure Gene doesn’t hear that everyday, either.) Meanwhile, while Gene’s out, Shannon takes the opportunity to burn some of Gene’s old clothes.

I laughed for a good minute when, after Gene gave the fan a pack of Kiss condoms, the fan tells Shannon, "These are going in a special place." Somehow, I don’t think I’m interpreting it the way he meant it. Shannon also invites the fan in for dinner.

I love the Simmons’ mansion. I think CN bloggers should be provided with a crib just like that. Can you hear me, Gannett?? Hello??? Hello??? (Oh, well, was worth a shot).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What's your favorite TV theme song?

Help! I've had the theme song to the 1972 prime-time cartoon, "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home" stuck in my head since last night. Woke up with it, too. The show featured the voices of Tom Bosley ("Happy Days"), Willie Aames ("Eight is Enough") and Joan Gerber (who also did some of the voices for "H.R. Pufnstuf".)

"Wait till your father gets .... until your father gets ... wait till your father gets home (with the kids then saying "We know!")

What's your favorite TV theme song? (Or least favorite?) Or what TV song have you gotten stuck in your brain? Share it with me and everyone else in cyberspace!