Nov 282011

There may be nothing I regret missing and altogether forgetting more than this 1978 TV special, Rock ‘n Roll Sports Classic, which appeared on ABC, the network behind “jiggle tv” classics like Charlie’s Angels, Three’s Company, and the awesome Battle of the Network Stars series. What the hell was I doing that night that cause me to miss this show? How is it that I fail to recall even missing it in the first place? Was I already too cool for school, sitting out a legendary sports-rock event because it didn’t pair off members of The Clash vs The Band?

Check out this washed-out clip and tell me Townsman alexmagic wouldn’t trade 5 to 10 years off his life to have been able to watch this thing in real time? Shoot, I could have invited you over for our first live RTH event, all of us gathered around the television in my Mom’s basement!

There are some better-quality clips of this show posted on YouTube, but they were edited down by some Runaways fanboy. I never liked Joan Jett and that crew from the git-go, although they do dominate the field in some of these events. When they’re introduced for the sprint in this fanboy’s edited clip, however, he skips over all the members of the blue team. Eff that!

My request is for someone/anyone to help us locate high-quality, uncut clips from this broadcast. We need to be able to put our heads together and study the moves of not only the women from the Runaways but Dash Crofts, Marilyn McCoo, and Kenny Loggins. If we can find high-quality footage of this show we may have to schedule a live get-together to break it down. Help a brother out, won’t you?



  25 Responses to “In Search of…High-Quality, Uncut Video Clips of ABC’s 1978 Extravaganza, Rock ‘n Roll Sports Classic

  1. saturnismine

    Ya know, I almost didn’t bother with this, but once I saw who was running in the first race, I actually wanted to know who would win.

    Mod, I don’t know what your problem is with the Runaways, but I was pleased by their appearance on the show as well as their performance. Most surprising was Anne Murray’s finish near the lead in her 60 yard dash.

    So much more to say, of course, but I’ll refrain.

    Not bad…not bad.

  2. mockcarr

    Dash Crofts? Seriously? Was he an heir to the Morse fortune or something?

    I’m willing to accept this happened, but the one thing that startles me most is that Phyllis Diller was involved. That just cracks me up, she must have had some contract obligation to ABC.

  3. misterioso

    Holy Moses! How can I not remember this–how could I not have seen it when it aired? This is really vexing.

  4. misterioso

    Well–please understand I am not profiting from this in any way–but if you go here and search for “rock” you will find what you want, for a price.

    On this same page I found reference to another previously unknown to me 70s special, “Mary’s Incredible Dream,” from 1976. (Mary=Mary Tyler Moore) Clips on youtube are simply not to be believed. Starting here


  5. misterioso

    Addendum: about 5 minutes into part four of “Mary’s Incredible Dream” you will be treated to a production number with Manhattan Transfer performing “Sympathy for the Devil.” Seriously.

  6. misterioso, you ARE the man! Thank you.

    And good god, that MTM dream piece was something else. As soon as I saw that the multi-untalented Ben Vereen was featured I knew we were in for something good.

  7. misterioso

    I may never get over it.

  8. hrrundivbakshi

    Wha…? Have you SEEN Vereen in his SCTV appearance? That dude is a god!

  9. Say, that kid’s got something! I hope someday I get a chance to meet and work with him…

  10. alexmagic

    I am genuinely shocked that I’d never heard of this existing before. The only explanation I can come up with is that it technically doesn’t exist yet, and that it won’t until Mod & I go back in time specifically to make this have happened.

    Mod, I think this is something you should send in to Tom Scharpling for discussion on The Best Show. It could probably inspire something similar to his breakdown of “Get Metsmirized”.

  11. Maybe I will pass this along to Scharpling – and maybe he’ll want to join us for this year’s live RTH get-together, when I think we need to watch the video that I’ll be ordering off that site misterioso found.

  12. Just placed the order!

  13. saturnismine

    We’re not discussing the athletic events and the performances of the various rockers enough.

  14. Are you going to be home over the holidays? We may have to set up a webcast when I acquire the full video.

  15. mockcarr

    The lesser Jacksons certainly prove their worth.

  16. If you’re ready to break down this grainy intro clip, sat, then game on. I’m sure we’re in agreement that until the high-def version arrives in the mail, we’ll be missing some of the contest’s finer points.

    For starters, ABC spared no expense in their groundbreaking slow-motion technology. Some critics at the time wrote off this show off as a bargain-basement Battle of the Network Stars – low-cost, low-risk filler until Farrah and Lee Majors had settled their latest marital woes and were ready to captain another ABC Network Stars squad.

    The Jacksons were a formidable presence for the blue team, and as I watched the preview of Michael diving into the pool it was clear that former Dodgers GM Al Campanis also missed the airing of this landmark sports-rock event.

    The men’s 100-yard dash:
    Who is Jackie Jackson? I could never keep my Jacksons straight past the Jacksons 1, 2, and 5 and the girls. Was Jackie #3 or 4 in the group?

    Hugh McDowell of ELO is a real surprise. Beside the fact that I didn’t know he existed I wouldn’t have pegged any member of that band as an athlete, except maybe Bevan, if they had the competition when you swing in a circle with a ball on a chain and before letting it fly. Does McDowell remind any other Philly-area Townspeople of 1993-era Mitch Williams?

    Despite his name, I can’t see Dash Crofts being a factor – or Garrett, who seems completely overmatched at the introductions.

    As it is, it’s a disappointing 2-horse race and not much of a race at that.

    The women’s dash is much better, with Runaways drummer Sandy West (not a sprinter’s build) overtaking a quick-starting Joan Jett and a surprisingly strong Anne Murray.

    Can you imagine what Loggins’ time in that swimming race would have been without the drag of his beard? Leif Garrett did surprise with a strong finish.

    I’m curious to see who wins the men’s 60. I’m putting my money on Phillip Bailey. I’m also curious to figure out who the Alessi Brothers were. I can’t remember them for the life of me. Were they an offshoot of the DeFranco Family?

  17. misterioso

    Re: the Alessi Bros– Remember, you asked.

  18. I don’t remember that song at all, but I do appreciate your answering my question. See what you think of this Alessi Bros video.

    Can’t tell if it’s an actual promo video or something produced by Jerry Sandusky’s straight pedophile brother.

  19. cliff sovinsanity

    1. Was this a factor in the breakup of The Runaways?

    2. Why is Tanya Tucker on the West team? She should have been saved for a future North VS South competition.

    3. Ahem, who the f**k is Helen Schneider?

  20. I couldn’t completely place Schneider, but I remembered her name. Was she the live foil to Meat Loaf, singing the Ellen Foley parts on stage?

  21. I just looked her up. She’s not the Meat Loaf woman. She starred in Eddie and the Cruisers. She’s American born but, like Hasselhoff, big in Germany.

  22. cliff sovinsanity

    There is little info on Schneider out there on the web. I’m surprised she was selected for this show considering the abundance of disco era chanteuses of that era. But, not many were from the West Coast. Teena Marie would have kicked ass.
    Come to think of it, the inclusion of the Runaways is a bit of a head-scratcher too. Had the show stuck around a few more years the Go-Go’s would have added some cocained fueled energy to the West coast team.

  23. alexmagic

    This only reinforces my belief the there should be a mandatory re-watch (or perhaps even first viewing) of Eddie & The Cruisers and Eddie & The Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! assigned to several key Townspeople.

  24. I don’t remember them either, but maybe the Addrisi Brothers had to back out at the last minute and the network didn’t want to clock any more hours with their graphic designer.

  25. Wow, those aren’t 70s fashions, so I’m gonna go ahead and assume the latter.

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