Friday, December 30, 2011

This Really Happened

Ace Atkins came over last night to watch his bootleg of BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS. Don't judge him! A man has to find pleasure wherever he can in this horrible world. BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS was a TV show in the 70s. Network stars battled each other on it! ("Click" here to be reminded once again what we thought of as entertainment back then. You'll be surprised, kids!) We watched two episodes, lasting an hour and a half apiece. They were intense! Host Howard Cossell prodded his celebrity guests with searing psychological interviews! I'm not kidding. Cheryl Ladd, in an electric blue terry cloth sweatband, spoke with shocking bitterness about how glad she was to get out of Utah and how everybody who told her she could never make it sure was sorry now! Michelle Phillips from the band The Mamas and the Papas (and apparently a TV show called ASPEN [?]) injured her ankle on the obstacle course yet still made an admirable showing in the relay race ("She didn't even feel it," commented Ace, going on to make a wry observation about the recreational drug use in vogue at the time. DON'T DO DRUGS!). Michelle Phillips's show of determination caused Dan Haggerty from the show GRIZZLY ADAMS to come over and PUT HIS HANDS ALL OVER HER in a very creepy manner by way of congratulations. (GRIZZLY ADAMS was a show about a big hairy mountain man with a grizzly bear friend. Dr. Theresa recalled a schoolyard legend about his beard catching fire with tragic results, and I remembered it too. But I couldn't remember what Grizzly Adams and his friend the bear did on their show every week. "Solved crimes?" I said. Angela [Ace's bride - I hesitated to incriminate her by mentioning her involvement] disagreed: "There were orphans involved," she insisted.) Finally Howard Cossell had just about enough of watching Michelle Phillips trying to writhe out of Dan Haggerty's inappropriate grasp. "If you don't get your hands off her, I'll break your arms," he said. He really said that! Afterward, Dan Haggerty's penchant for groping became noticeable, though it often happened in the background. We all felt bad for Ben Murphy, star of television's GEMINI MAN, because none of us had ever heard of Ben Murphy or television's GEMINI MAN. Ace asked whether I had a copy of THE COMPLETE DIRECTORY TO PRIME TIME NETWORK TV SHOWS 1946-PRESENT by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh. I was so happy to be able to say yes! I raced to the bedroom to retrieve it. But by the time I got back Angela HAD ALREADY TOLD EVERYBODY EVERYTHING ABOUT GEMINI MAN thanks to her fancy electronic iPhone. That's one for you, technology, curse you! GEMINI MAN lasted barely a month on the air, which explains why Ben Murphy was on episode one of BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS and not on episode two of BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS. Telly Savalas accused Ben Murphy of cheating in the relay race. As the evening concluded we all imagined Ben Murphy sitting somewhere in a bar at THAT VERY MOMENT saying "I used to be the Gemini Man!"