Battle of the Network Stars - Robin Williams

1977’s Battle Of The Network Stars Was Intense!

Battle of the Network Stars was kind of a big deal. In my youth I certainly didn’t pay much attention to sports. Perhaps the occasional basketball game or boxing match would pique my interest. However on the whole I just wasn’t that interested. Until of course I caught wind of the Battle of the Network Stars. This was a sporting event that not only myself but my Family became addicted to. Say what you will about an basketball upset – I ask though how that can compare to the likes of William Shatner and Richard Hatch competing against Tim Reid in canoes? Of course you also had the fact that your favorite networks were naturally going head to head in Battle of the Network Stars!

[Via] TV News Themes 1

The whole point of the television show, which began in 1976 and always aired on ABC. Was that three teams composed of the top talent for each network would face a variety of challenges. Golf, tennis, cycling, swimming, obstacle course, running, bowling and more were the types of events the stars would compete in.

Furthermore each of the teams would pick a team captain. Generally a team consisted of eight to nine stars. I will definitely admit that there were certain celebrities that I didn’t recognize. But that added to the fun as in fact this caused my Family to pick different stars to root for. For example my Father and Grandfather were huge fans of Robert Conrad of The Wild Wild West fame. While my Grandmother and myself were rooting for Richard Hatch of Battlestar Galactica!
Battle of the Network Stars - Richard Hatch

One of the absolutely joys of watching these old broadcast, in which there were 19 specials from 1976 to 1988. Is of course to see all of these celebrities hanging out and having fun. Although having said that, at some of these events things got a little too serious. Nothing physical of course but I recall some of the stars getting into shouting matches once or twice. Although those instances were very rare in my personal opinion.
Battle of the Network Stars - Robert Conrad

How could you not want to tune in to see the likes of WKRP in Cincinnati‘s Tim Reid competing alongside LeVar Burton (Roots) and The Incredible Hulk‘s Lou Ferrigno.
Battle of the Network Stars - Levar Burton - Lou Ferrigno - Tim Reid

Actually friends, Reid would appear as Venus Flytrap in WKRP in Cincinnati beginning in ’78. It was probably his roles in Maude or What’s Happening!! that got him a spot in the Battle of the Network Stars. Besides the many celebrities such as Gabe Kaplan, Robert Urich, Debby Boone, Charlene Tilton, Joyce Dewitt, Maren Jensen, and many more – the legendary Howard Cosell would act as host and commentator on the events.
Battle of the Network Stars - David Letterman

When all of the major competitions were completed the network that had the least amount of points were disqualified. Leaving the remaining two to go head to head in an epic tug of war to crown the winner.

Enough background on the Battle of the Network Stars. Ready to watch this 1977 compilation featuring the likes of Robin Williams?

[Via] Clippety

Actually there was one other sporting events that I was a fan of in my youth. That was of course 1977’s Laff-A-Lympics!

[Via] Hewey 1972

Adam West

Rest In Peace: Adam West (1928 – 2017)

It very much hurts my heart to write that Adam West passed away yesterday. I was stunned this morning when I saw the various news feeds were sharing this information. I had to stop and collect myself for a few moments. As I find it hard to imagine that Adam West, the man who was the epitome of Batman in my younger years is gone.
Adam West

Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington back in 1928. Adam West got his start as an television actor as a co-host for the The Kini Popo Show. A children’s program that aired in Hawaii.

Image courtesy of Neatorama.

It was in 1959 when William moved to Hollwood with his Wife and two children that he changed his name. Picking Adam West as he once said because of how it looked and sounded with his middle name. West would appear in supporting character roles in film as well as television for about 7 years. I would say his most notable roles included his 30 episode run on 1961’s The Detectives. Furthermore he also had a memorable performance in the 1964 science fiction film, Robinson Crusoe on Mars.
Adam West - Robinson Crusoe on Mars

In fact at the same time he was appearing in the likes of Colt .45, Maverick, and Bonanza. Adam West was also busy working in various commercials.

[Via] Shock Cinema Magazine

Including the one that would secure him the lead for the Batman TV series. That was of course as the suave Captain Q for Nestle Quik!

[Via] Jon Ganahl

It was certainly that commercial that caught Batman producer William Dozier’s attention. However there was one actor considered besides Adam West to play the part of Bruce Wayne and Gotham’s protector. That was future Wonder Woman co-star Lyle Waggoner!

[Via] Just Wondering 50

While I personally think that Waggoner would have been fine as the lead. I cannot on the other hand imagine it being as fun as what Adam West brought to the role. Having said that I think we need to share this bit of information…Adam West had to stand his ground with William Dozier on how to play the character!

[Via] PBS

While of course the popularity of the Batman TV series catapulted all the stars of the show into fame. The truth of the matter is that for West, Burt Ward, as well as Yvonne Craig – they were now typecast. Adam West and Ward managed to make appearances in character as a way to make ends meet after the show. In addition, Adam still continued to do guest roles in popular TV shows of the time like Night Gallery, Mannix, and The Love Boat to name a few.

I am sure that Adam West couldn’t help but feel a little resentment however small towards Batman. However that didn’t stop him from lending his memorable voice to the role in numerous animated series. Such as The New Adventures of Batman, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show. As well as The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians!

[Via] Hewey 1972

All in all West amassed 193 acting credits. Including playing a fictionalized version of himself in Seth MacFarlane’s long running Family Guy. In addition to lending his voice alongside Burt Ward as Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy in SpongeBob SquarePants.
Adam West - Mermaid Man

In fact, just last year West alongside Ward and Julie Newmar appeared in the animated Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. An exceptional love letter to fans of the legacy of the Batman ’66. In addition it was also announced last year that the three would team up once again. This time for the upcoming Batman vs. Two-Face. Moreover the actor portraying the character that couldn’t appear on Batman ’66 is William Shatner!
Adam West - William Shatner

[Via] DC Entertainment

I am of course very sad that Adam West has passed on. My own sadness is relieved a little however thanks to the many hours of entertainment he has left us as his legacy. Now I plan on going back down into the Retroist Vault and pay tribute to West. By watching what is essentially a tribute episode to the actor on the 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series

Adam West as the Gray Ghost!

[Via] Tim Geraci

Shatner

Folded Space: “Has Been” – Shatner At His Best

Sometimes, has-beens are really cool.

Such is the case with William Shatner’s epic 2004 album, “Has Been”. It’s far enough in the past, and more recent releases by Shatner have made it plain and clear that this is the man’s musical magnum opus.
Shatner

Of course, it helps to have talented friends. “Has Been” was arranged, produced, and featured quite a bit of musical material written by Ben Folds, who had enlisted Shatner for vocal duties on his eclectic oddball side project “Fear Of Pop” in 1998.

Prior to 2004, everyone’s musical memory of Shatner probably started and ended here.

In fact, “Has Been” was Shatner’s first solo album since 1968’s “The Transformed Man”, and that’s probably no accident – his attempts to branch out creatively had been mocked enough that any normal individual with a healthy self-respect would see no need to venture back into a recording studio.

But we’re talking Shatner here.

With help from Folds, and collaborators and guests such as Brad Paisley, Aimee Mann, and Joe Jackson, “Has Been” is actually quite an artistic statement. Shatner, in his own words, muses over the pitfalls of fame (whether it’s zooming toward him like an oncoming train, or visible only in the rear-view mirror), unrealized ambitions, and, in one deeply disturbing case, the then-recent suicide of his wife.

Age is also an elephant in the metaphorical room, whether it’s the realization that there’s only so much time left, or more humorously, what may be the all-time-best old guy’s rant, “I Can’t Get Behind That”, a duet with none other than Henry Rollins. Yes, that Henry Rollins.

If Shatner was truly a has-been, would he be able to command such a group of A-list musical collaborators? It seems doubtful. For one amazing, shining musical moment, he was relevant, both topically and musically, and it was a beautiful thing…and a fleeting one. The follow-up, 2011’s “Seeking Major Tom”, returned to the crowd-pleasing cover song schtick of “The Transformed Man”, this time with a star-studded lineup of musical collaborators…but they were other people’s songs, not the deliciously honest originals of “Has Been”.

And that’s the really sad thing, because the cover-band seems more like something a real has-been would do. On his 2004 album, Shatner was very much in the present, and we were getting the real Shatner, not the self-caricature that he seems to relish in performing for everyone. Even on Twitter, Shatner is constantly trying to rally fans to various charitable causes; real has-beens on Twitter tend to heap unwarranted abuse on random passers-by.

Despite the title of his best album, William Shatner is no has-been – he’s still the captain.
Shatner

Canada Beams Up More Interstellar Star Trek Postage!

A quick update, just in case you were in cryogenic suspension: last year (2016) was the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. You might just have missed the massive conventions featuring top-line guests who had never done the Star Trek convention circuit before. You might just have missed the glut of cool merchandise, mammoth Blu-Ray releases, and the latest movie in the franchise.
Trek Postage

You might also have missed some stamps. The U.S. Postal Service graced the anniversary with a set of stamps that seemed to be trying to pay homage to the colorful ‘60s origins of Star Trek rather than to its beloved characters. They were…abstract…to say the least. Now Canada’s stamps? Canada had the best Star Trek postage stamps – basically, they had the stamps I wished we had gotten in the States.

If you’re wondering about the unusual spread of characters covered on the sheet of five Canadian Star Trek postage stamps from 2016, bear in mind that three of the five actors – William Shatner, James Doohan, and John Colicos – were born in Canada! Non-Canadian-born Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley were included because, well, there would’ve been riots in the streets if Spock and Bones had been left off of the 50th anniversary stamp set.

Canada Post apparently knows when it’s got a very happy customer base, because it has just announced “Star Trek: Year 2” stamp sets, this time concentrating on the five TV captains that the franchise has put on our screens so far: Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, and Archer. (Sorry, no Chris Pine, modern Trek movie fans.)
Trek Postage

The new set of stamps is being offered in every form from a lavish booklet, to first-day covers, to framed sheets.
Trek Postage - Sheets

The best part of all? Canada Post does ship to the United States, quite happily.

As we’re all waiting for a new Star Trek series (to be filmed, incidentally, in Canada) that seems like it might fade into vaporware in an alien atmosphere, Canada Post is keeping fans happy by not limiting the celebration to 2016. (And the 2016 stamp sets are still available.)