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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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