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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finding Gold When You're Not Looking For It.

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from the relative of a friend, telling me that he had a few of my old rare shows on DVD.
"Rare" in this instance, translates to "flop".
"Flop" doesn't necessarily translate to "bad".
He sent them to me, and they were quite good.
At least I thought so.
He asked me if I had any other "rare" shows of mine on DVD.
I told him that all I had were on Betamax tapes, which I probably don't have anymore, because I didn't have a working Betamax Machine.
But if he finds them, I'd love to get my hands on them.

A couple of weeks ago, I was rummaging upstairs in various rooms, looking for early drafts of scripts I had later drafts of, so I could use the clean backs of them to write my bets on.
That's about all they're good for.
I open a cabinet, and a couple of drawers in it, and find the Mother Lode.
All my old Betamax tapes.
With most of my "rare" shows on them.
And two Betamax machines.

These tapes were now over thirty years old, as were the machines.
And the machines didn't work too well thirty years ago.
But something possessed me to shlep all of it downstairs, hook a machine up to one of my new TVs, and hope for the best.
By the way, these Betamax machines each weighed a ton.
We've made some progress in that regard.

The first machine I tried had the same problem it had thirty years ago.
You couldn't extract a tape from it without using the equivalent of forceps.
And there was a tracking problem.
My hopes were getting dim.
I hooked up the other Beta machine.
The problem on that one used to be that it stopped intermittently.
During recording or playback.
Other than that, it worked fine.
This would preclude my being able to use it successfully.
I put in a tape.
The more than thirty year old tape played fine.
And the machine didn't stop intermittently.
It was working fine, although I didn't know for how long.

I hooked it all up to my two year old DVD recorder, got some blank DVDs, and of course, the two year old DVD recorder kept spitting out the blank DVDs.
We've made no progress in this regard.
The thirty year old Betamax worked fine, the two year old DVD recorder, which I used maybe twice before, was a washout.

This problem was solved when I made a trip to Best Buy, where the first salesman tried to sell me another $300 DVD recorder.
Another salesman sized up the problem and cost the first salesman his commission by suggesting that I buy a $50 DVD recording device that hooks right up to my computer.

As my mother would have said, "$50 is a whole lot better than $300".

And it was.
And it worked fine.
All the Beta tapes worked fine.
I never had the stopping problem with the Betamax machine.
How it cured itself over thirty years, I'll never know.

And I now have about 20 episodes of a series I did called "Busting Loose" on DVD, where I can watch them any time I want to, without any shlepping, and without my heart in my mouth.
I have a handful of episodes of other series: One I did with Ted Knight, and one called
"Makin 'It".
We actually only did a handful of those.
Four episodes of "The New Odd Couple".
I also have a couple of wonderful unsold pilots, and a couple of not-so-wonderful unsold pilots.
All on DVD.
I never thought I'd see any of this stuff again.
When I got done, I laughed like a loon, just the way Walter Huston did as he did his crazy dance when he informed his colleagues that they were standing on gold, and too stupid to realize it, in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre".

If any of my regular readers are interested in seeing any of this stuff, e-mail me at, and we'll figure out if there's a way to make this happen.

Also, if the actress Barrie Youngfellow, or anyone else connected with a 1979 unsold NBC pilot called "Single Life" wants to get their hands on it, I have that too.
It aired after one of my unsold pilots, and I left the tape rolling.
I Googled it, and there is absolutely no information on it anywhere on the entire Internet.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why Bud Selig Is Still An Idiot.

There used to be a thing in baseball called real pennant races.
There is no reason why we can't still have them.
Except for the fact that Bud Selig is an unimaginative idiot.
It's not that I'm anti-Wild Card teams.
Au contraire.
Wild Card Teams are good financially for baseball, and for the fans.
But the way they're determined and not proportionally disadvantaged correctly virtually eliminates what could be great pennant races and playoff showdowns.
And only because Bud Selig is an unimaginative idiot.
The Yankees and Tampa Bay could have ended Sunday's play tied.
Because of a stupid rule instituted by Selig, Tampa Bay was awarded the division, based on the head-to-head competition between the two teams during the season before Tampa Bay's game with Kansas City had ended.
The Tampa Bay-KC Royals game on Sunday was rendered meaningless IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GAME as soon as the Yankees lost to Boston.
All of this is a LOT more exciting than a one-game tiebreaker that could have taken place yesterday.
Isn't it?
Tampa Bay went on to win the game, giving them the division by one game .
What's that you say? It wouldn't have made much difference because they're both easily in the playoffs anyway?
That's the other problem.
It shouldn't be that easy for the Wild Card team to coast into the playoffs. That's what kills the pennant races.
All that's really at stake is home field advantage.
And there are actually situations where the Wild Card team has at least a temporary home field advantage.
The solution, that would actually provide more money for baseball, and be SO much better for the fans, is SO simple that even an idiot like Selig can understand it.

It's this simple: Add another Wild Card team in each league.
The two Wild Card teams play each other in a one-game playoff at the home field of the team with the better record.
The winner advances to the real playoffs.
If there is a tie between Division leaders at the end of the season, there should be a one-game tie breaker at the home field of the team with the better record between the two teams.
If this system was in place Sunday, a WHOLE LOT would be at stake between the Yankees and Tampa Bay.
There could have been a one-game tie breaker yesterday, and the loser would play the RED SOX in a one game playoff to get in the real playoffs.
The Red Sox and the White Sox were only one game apart at the end, so that would have been a battle too.
So those two teams would still have been in the hunt.
That would have been even better for the fans.
If necessary, that could have been a one game tie breaker.
How great would all THAT have been?
Okay, so the playoffs might start a few days later, at worst.
A small price to pay for genuine fan hysteria.

If this system was in place in the National League, Atlanta and San Diego would have both lived on to play at least one more game.
Without it being in place, the Philadelphia Phillies actually had a rooting interest for themselves to lose on Sunday.
They played Atlanta.
If Atlanta won and San Diego won Sunday, there would be a one game playoff between those two teams.
This would possibly have led to San Diego or the Giants (I'm not sure which) being the Wild Card Team, with one day's less rest, with their pitchers more depleted, having to face the Phillies in the first round of the playoffs.
San Diego lost, so it wasn't an issue. But their game took place after the Phillies-Atlanta game.
And the Phillies had absolutely no need to win that game.
They could have rested almost everybody, and used their September callups from the minor leagues to pitch that game.
This situation should never exist, and wouldn't, if each league had another Wild Card team.

Let's have pennant races again. It's so easy to accomplish.

Bud, imagination is funny.
It makes a cloudy day sunny.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."