Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! (A Mark Goodson, Bill Todman Production)

After my eyes stopped bleeding...
The Donny & Marie New Year's Eve Special 1976 was... better than the Johnny Cash Christmas Special.  They opened with a duet of "Be My Baby" and there's a really odd... squick vibe. 
It's not quite what I'd think of a sibling duet. It's followed up with a dozen ice skaters in babydoll dresses and baby bonnets doing Busby Berkley on Ice with a kick line.  The comic relief is provided by Rip Taylor, who I just don't get.  You can tell he's just said something funny because he throws confetti at the punchline. 
The real treat is Tina Turner.  Not six months after Tina leaving Ike, she's on tv.  Her first number isn't something I recognized, but her second piece was part of a medly... a musical number for each era of the century.  Donny does Ragtime, Marie does the Charleston.  When they hit the sixties, they let Tina take the stage, doing "Proud Mary" while dancing on a piano.  This makes the whole hour worth while.

 Card Sharks 12.31.79 wasn't a show I'd watched regularly, Perry wasn't familiar with it.  Standard 70's game show, this episode was "special" as it was a New Year's Eve show... and the crazy contestant- a male stripper.  (I watched another episode from November 22, 78 which made me wonder about their contestant screening.  They seem to choose people who are right in the middle - between Jeopardy scholars and Let's Make Deal carnies.)

I finished the evening with Dogs 1976.  Nature gone wild in a college town.  Lots of talky academics, but it's got David McCallum playing a biology professor investigating animal deaths.  It's pretty standard, but fun, as Nature Gone Wild movies usually are.  Reminiscent of The Birds, they play the Hitchcock card and don't resolve the situation... and leave it open for a sequel.  Time to fire up the ol' fan fiction imagination.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fun and Games

Well, who knew there were vintage gameshows on youtube?

 Last night I watched Double Dare (12.29.76) with a pre-Jeopardy Alec Trebek.  Not a quiz show I was familiar with, I was actually impressed with how hard some of the clues were (for example, I'd forgotten Alexander Jackson's assassination attempt).

Later we saw an episode of The $25,000 Pyramid (5.17.78) with John Ritter, from Three's Company wearing a shirt open to the sternum. Between the two gameshows, I watched Rattlers (1978), which didn't disappoint... it was a killer snake movie from the seventies, impossible to screw up.  As a matter of fact, it surprised me, beginning with the (off screen) deaths of two kids in the desert at the hands of snakes- you just don't kill kids in Nature Runs Amok horror films.  It's not done.  So when it is... cool.  It was an easy way to pass an hour and a half. Tonight, I started out with an episode of Let's Make a Deal from 1970.  What. The. Hell? The costumes.  The crazy deals.  Not watching much in the way of contemporary television, I didn't know it had been revived.  Perry enjoyed it because he was able to say "Hey's that's the car I had, except mine was brown" every time a Vega was offered as a prize. Then I watched some commercials from December 30 1979, which balanced out Let's Make a Deal, since the commercials had been cut out.

 Tonight's movie was What's The Matter With Helen? (1971).  It's got Debbie Reynolds, Shelly Winters and Agnes Moorehead.  Debbie Reynolds doing a tango.  A little girl doing Mae West in a musical review.  Rabbit slaughter. It's excellent camp, when it was done as an in joke, laughing with rather than at.  I'm going to make a point of seeing more of director Curtis Harrington's work, most of which is covered by by 1979 cutoff date.

Monday, December 29, 2014

When John met Roy...

Last Night's Viewing:

Emergency 1.15.72 The Wedsworth-Townsend Act- the movie that started the show. I watched it on Netflix as two episodes, beginning with Gage and Desoto talking about "before" and the flashing back to an unspecified time in the past before the paramedic program existed- the title refers to the bill that would allow rescue personnel to perform medical procedures, things we take for granted like defibulators. The highlight of the episode was the guest appearance of Martin Milner and Kent McCord from Adam-12.

The Haunts of the Very Rich 9.20.72 A group of people on a holiday getaway that goes wrong, rather like a proto-Fantasy Island meets Lost. Lloyd Bridges gettin' it on with Cloris Leachman. Suspenseful and not totally dated in terms of story... except for things that were original in '72 seeming... familar now. Highlight: Robert Reed, aka Mike Brady, playing a very disillusioned priest.

Tonight's Viewing
NBC Fall Preview 1969-1970. Um. No standouts. Two hours later and I can't remember a single title worth tracking down. There were two celebrity driven shows- Debbie Reynolds doing Lucy and Bill Cosby playing a coach.
What's been nice about other preview show, and maybe this is a later development, is that they even included the upcoming movies for the season, network and theatrical.
WTVJ 6pm News 11.1.74 Utterly unremarkable local new, with commercials, except for the cringeworthy final segment about a dancer in a musical review- She's Black! Makes you realize how far we've come.

Sometime in the last few days:
Johnny Cash and Family Christmas Special 1978. With Steve Martin. So awful, I made it about 3.5 minutes before I turned it off You have been warned.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

... And That's The Way It Is.

Last night 's viewing:
 CBS Evening News 12.26.72  This was fascinating for three reasons: 1)  I'd happened upon it on December 26th, 2014 and I liked the symmetry of watching something on the anniversary it aired; 2) President Truman had just passed away and 3) had it happened now, even with the death of a President, the lead story would have been about the soccer team who survived in the Andes, thanks to CANNIBALISM!  It was a jaw dropping moment for me because it's always been an "always moment" for me.  Copies of Alive seemed to be everywhere.  But Walter Cronkite's revelation about the soccer players' survival diet lasted less than three minutes.  At the time of the broadcast, they'd only been rescued for three days.  

ABC Fall Preview 8.-.72 It's funny- I'm writing this less than twelve hours and while I was watching the preview, I certainly reacted, but nothing really stood out, except for one short segment about the Olympics, America was sending two teams- the atheletes and the ABC coverage.  This rang a chime in my head... '72 Olympics... why is that important? Thank you, wikipedia- it was the Munich Olympics.  It was like finding a commercial about the World Trade Center that aired in July 2001. While I was watching it, though... Perry and I had a "hey!" moment during the preview for Room 222- who didn't love Karen Valentine?  And I've resigned myself to my tv nerdom during the preview for Alias Smith And Jones I realized it was the third season by the presence of Dark Shadows' actor Roger Davis who came in mid-season 2 as a replacement for Pete Duel. Aside from the Olympic segment, the other sort of standout was the preview for a movie, The Haunts of the Very Rich, which looks like somekind of glorious disaster, featuring Lloyd Bridges, Cloris Leachman, Ed Asner, and Anne Francis.  Niether Perry nor I had even heard of it before, so I know what's going on tonight!  

The Night Stalker 1.11.72  Darren McGavin's first time out as Carl Kolchak.  I've seen it before (of course), and for some reason The Night Strangler appealed to me more (Seattle's Underground City and the presence of Oscar Goldman might have something to do with that.)  Still holds up though.  I missed the tv show in first run (I was only six or seven at the time), catching it on The CBS Late move- which was probably where I'd seen The Night Strangler as well. has the programming grids for the big three, laid out in a easier to read than wikipedia manner, so I'm bookmarking that page.  It'll come in handy.

Friday, December 26, 2014

When Captain America Throws His Mighty Shield

As part of my seventies diet, I'm going to enjoy some books from the era as well, starting with 1979's Marvel Comics' novel, Captain America: Holocaust for Hire.  It's been decades since I read it and it's... enjoyable.  Dated a little- disaster causing badguys are happy to accept one hundred thousand dollars for destroying a city.  I can't imagine Batroc even gets out of bed for less than half a million these days. 
If I recall correctly, "Holocaust" in the title is meant to be synonymous with "conflagration" rather than, oh... The Final Solution.   And since head badguy  is the Red Skull, there's just a little twinge that something is askew that it's not addressed.  Maybe I'm remembering wrong.  We'll see soon enough.

Nobody gets out of the Bermuda Triangle, not even for a vacation. Everyone knows that.

Well, Perry is in a warm and toasty new circle of Hell, and he can blame I can thank John Kenneth Muir for that, specifically his blog post dealing with the seventies craze over the Bermuda Triangle. (Because nothing says Merry Christmas like the Bermuda Triangle.
Today's Viewing:
 In Search of... The Bermuda Triangle 4.27.77  Leonard Nimoy narrates.  
Satan's Triangle1.14.75  Doug McCLure plays a coast guardsman who's stranded on a boat with Kim Novak, waiting for his partner to return to pick them up.  I've watched several Planet of the Apes movies recently and I'd forgotten that Novak was a Hitchcock blonde. 
Charles Berlitz's The Bermuda Triangle 1979 I suppose had I not watched that episode of In Search of, this might have been more interesting.  As it was, seeing how they filmed on location in the Bahamas, Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Bermuda and Peurto Rico, it seemed like someone was getting a working vacation.  
Beyond The Bermuda Triangle11.6.75  It was Fred McMurray's next to last film, and it feels like it.  From Playboy Productions, with Hugh Hefner as executive producer, this made for tv film lacks menace.  People just... disappear in the Triangle.  There's nothing in the budget for storms or effects... so it kind of ends on a "eh" note.
My future viewing will probably be a little less thematic and more random, but this was a great way to pass a relaxing afternoon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"Oh my God. His mouth. It's full of BEES!"

Tonight's viewing:
McMillan and Wife- The Devil You Say 10.23.73.
Satanic cults in San Francisco in the seventies. The phrase "Blessed Be” gets thrown around a lot.
In Search of... Killer Bees 5.1.77
Terror Out of the Sky 12.26.78.
This double bill of Killer Bees is a fun combination of fact, narrated by Leonard Nimoy, and cheesy overacting on the part of Efrem Zimbalist Jr and Tovah Feldshun with and extra fun dollop of Dan Haggarty, there's a love triangle from Hell. It's set on the Fourth of July but was originally broadcast the day after Christmas. Happy Boxing Day!

Nostalgia Time

There's something amusing about how the NBC Mystery Movie ended up as the CBS late movie. And something sad about how they're both sort of pop culture footnotes now. I think I could be quite happy if I kept my tech but didn't bother with any content pre... Oh, 79. Maybe as late as 84.

I'd keep the dvds and streaming stuff, I'm about to watch a 1973 episode of McMillan and Wife (s3e2 The Devil, You Say) on Netflix via the Wii right now.

Music wouldn't be too hard with oldies stations on Pandora.

Books would be easiest of them all. Not only are the original dead tree editions still available, but in keeping with the nostalgia plus tech, I could read Ellery Queen and Doc Savage on my smart phone.

This mood will pass. There'll be a new movie or show that'll catch my attention soon enough... Game of Thrones has a new season coming out in February.

(The McMilland and Wife episode is about a satanic cult in San Francisco in the early seventies... With all that it entails.)