70's Heaven

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If you don't get Trio, you're missing out on a fabulous trip down memory lane. As part of their "My Trio" series, in which they invite a celebrity to program the network for a week, Joel Stein of Time Magazine is manning the grill this week. And he's serving up a real treat: daily episodes of Battle of the Network Stars.

I loved watching this when I was a kid, but it's positively delectable now. First, vintage television celebrities like Fred "Rerun" Berry, Gabe Kaplan, Lyle Waggoner and Valerie Bertinelli compete in Olympic-style events ranging from swimming and relays to the obstacle course and tug of war. Victor French in a swimming race? Genius! Slow-motion replay of a panting, heaving Adrienne Barbeau? That's television gold, baby!

Now add play-by-play from Howard Cosell, with all the earnestness of a genuine sporting event, and commentary from Telly Savalas and Bruce Jenner. Feeling groovy yet? Toss in gloriously cheesy pre-credit sequences introducing the teams, rudimentary on-screen graphics from a bygone era, puff-piece lifestyle interviews with the stars, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of ABC shows. Calling your cable company yet? Then let me mention the laughable hair styles and collars wide enough to keep Sally Field aloft. Priceless!

It's hard to believe this hasn't been resurrected. With the popularity of celebrity editions of game shows and Fear Factor, and the advent of reality fare like The Surreal Life and I'm a Celebrity-- Get Me Out Of Here!, this seems like a natural. Or is it a relic from a more innocent time, when we were content to see celebrities in a dunk tank instead of a shark tank? Someone give me a budget!

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I still remember Dan Haggerty (TV's Grizzly Adams) demonstrating to all how he could flex his pectoral muscles/breasts, as he sat in that dunking booth. Brrrrr.

...now was this show created before or after the celebrated "Circus of the Stars?"

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