Remember “Battle Of The Network Stars?” Probably not, if you’re under 30. But take Old Man Blerd on his word-back in the late Seventies and early Eighties, it was commonplace for the stars from each of the three netwo…OK, let’s start over.
Once upon a time, there were only three major TV networks: CBS, ABC and NBC. Back in the late Seventies and early Eighties, someone thought it would be a good idea to get stars from each of the networks’ biggest shows to compete against one another in sort of an Olympics-type series of events. Want to see Todd Bridges and Scott Baio facing off? Gratuitous swimsuit shots from Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke?) Sure thing. “Battle Of The Network Stars” usually ran twice a year and pulled in pretty solid ratings.
Well, somewhere around the time “Battle” first became popular, someone decided that a version containing musicians instead of TV actors would be a ratings draw, and came up with the “Rock ‘N Roll Sports Classic.” It only aired once, back in 1978, but man–what a doozy. Competitors included Earth, Wind & Fire (who just by virtue of name, should have cleaned up,) Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Commodores, The Runaways, Kenny Loggins, and The Jacksons.
Let’s review, with a 2012 perspective: Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson (among others) competed in a televised sports competition. Can you imagine that shit now? I mean, there was the Rock ‘n Jock thing on MTV in the Nineties, but picture, like, Justin Bieber facing off against Gotye in a basketball game on ABC these days. Just couldn’t happen.
Anyway, I won’t editorialize much more except to say that as grainy as some of this is, it’s totally worth it.
Give me this over Michael Phelps and Dream Team 2012 anyday.