All Star Family Feud vs. Battle of the Network Stars

I don’t know which of these I enjoyed more. I think it was an even tie. To look at them now, I realize I liked them so much for totally different reasons. All-Star Family Feud was fun because you got to see “Three’s Company” play against “The Love Boat”, all in the name of charity. Sometimes, it was hard to decide which show you wanted to root for. However, it was fun getting to see who was smart (John Ritter), and who needed a little extra time at the library (Bernie Kopell). I used to hurry to get everything done- homework, bath, dinner… before they would come on tv that night, on ABC. I still remember watching “Family” play against “What’s Happening”, and being disappointed when “Family” won. Although I really liked both shows, I wanted to see Rerun and company playing for the big money. I also recall seeing Joyce Dewitt and John Ritter play in the fast money round. When asked to name a favorite food, Joyce said “pizza”, which got 5 points. John said “hamburgers”, which put them over the top. These specials lasted from May, 1978 until May of 1984.
Battle of the Network Stars was a little bit different. Actually, it was quite a bit different. For one thing, no one was playing for charity. Next, networks (there were 3 major ones then) played against one another. Thirdly, they were participating in athletic competitions, with some getting seriously injured. Although you could see they were determined to win playing “Family Feud”, it was much more rigorous here. For me, I liked seeing the lineups on the teams a lot. Being the major tv fan I was growing up, I found it fascinating to see some of these tv characters on the same team. You knew you would never see them together on their respective shows. How else would you see Rerun and “Charlie’s Angels” Kris Munroe together, unless the Angels were working undercover to solve a case, and happened to drop by the soda shop for a burger. You know you would never see that, so seeing my favorite tv characters from my favorite shows on the same team was too intriguing for words. Like the all-star versions of “Family Feud”, these battles would begin in the ’70s, and last into the ’80s, with the final one airing in December, 1988. I think one of the things the two had in common were their hosts- Richard Dawson and Howard Cosell. The two were not exactly alike, but there very unique in their own individual way. Richard possessed a charm and a charisma no other Feud host has been able to even approach, let alone surpass. As for Howard, those battles needed him, with his quirky comments, detailed play by plays, and those silly nicknames he’d make up (Timmy Reid, Cathy Bach, Jackie Smith…). For Battle 19, he was replaced by Dick Van Dyke, something which still puzzles me. It didn’t work, so Howard was back for the final battle in ’88. Which one was the best? You really needed both. There were people you saw on BOTNS (Michael J. Fox, David Letterman, Farrah Fawcett), you never saw on the celebrity Feuds, and vice- versa. You ever see Larry Hagman in a kayak, or John Ritter hitting the obstacle course? Of course, you had those who appeared on both- Meredith Baxter-Birney, Joyce Dewitt, Kim Fields, Heather Locklear, Ted Lange… This year, I was so very fortunate, and blessed, to buy copies of both on DVD. I was wondering initially if it would as fun much to watch them as it used to be. The answer? Absolutely. The only difference is the sometimes overwhelming nostalgia. There have also been times when I have watched with my sister. Needless to say, she enjoys them too, and has her own memories of both. I don’t watch either of them very often. I want to keep it the special experience it is, and not get too familiar with any of it. Reliving those childhood days is an invaluable pleasure. Wine is not the only thing that gets better with age.



~ by kmnnz on December 28, 2009.

2 Responses to “All Star Family Feud vs. Battle of the Network Stars”

  1. I like BTNS better because I remember those. Is that a DVD cover for BTNS above?

    • Yes, that’s it. It’s pretty rare. A lot of sellers don’t even have it. Thanks for taking the time to read, and comment!

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