Back Seat Producers Season 07 Shows

BSP Episode 240: The Bad News Bears

Release date:  4/7/1976

Paramount Pictures

Directed by

  • Michael Ritchie

Produced by

  • Stanley R. Jaffee

Written by

  • Bill Lancaster


Coach Buttermaker

  • Walter Matthau

Amanda Whurlitzer

  • Tatum O’Neal

Roy Turner

  • Vic Morrow

Jackie Earl Haley

  • Kelly Leak

Chris Barnes

  • Tanner Boyle

The hosts review:

First and foremost, welcome back to our long, lost host… David!

David liked it, but not for the obvious reasons.  He thought the racist epithets were weird and shocking, although it was more common for the mid-70s to hear that particular kind of language.  Lena brought up that there wasn’t any real cussing in the movie, as it was rated PG.  David was also surprised by the surprise “child abuse” when one of the coaches slaps a ballplayer in the face.  Tony brought up that the movie gets into the little social issues that surrounds kids sports that are still around and probably worse today.

Lena found some parts of the movie to still be funny, even after almost 40 years.  She also found it neat to remember what things were like from her childhood years.  Tony and Lena agreed that Tatum O’Neal was a fashion plate, and then it was briefly discussed the other actresses that were initially slated to play the role of Amanda.

Darrell found it interesting that, with all the racial slurs being tossed around in the movie, there was very little backlash at having a girl on the baseball team.

Tony mentioned that there was an alternate ending to the movie in which Kelly is safe at home and the Bears win, but test audiences liked the more realistic ending.

Lena learns what a “boilermaker” is… please hold your laughter until the end of the review, thank you.

We briefly break into a side conversation of how Vic Morrow died while filming Twilight Zone: The Movie.

Tony liked how the movie exposed what happens with kids and sports.  Lena’s favorite scene was when Kelly (Haley), a skinny fourteen year-old, was hitting on the adult woman in Amanda’s ballet class.  Tony also found that the way the parents were portrayed in the movie is pretty much still the way a lot of the parents are today.

The review breaks off into a discussion of which of the child stars did anything else after Bad News Bears.  Erin Blunt, who played Ahmad Abdul Rahim, also played one of Lonnie’s kids in our previous movie, Car Wash (full circle, baby!)

Trivial bits ‘n pieces: 

Tanner uses the word “crud” or “cruddy” 11 times in the movie (Tony brought this up early in the review)

Throughout the film, Buttermaker constantly drinks beer, yet is rarely seen drinking the same brand. He is seen at various times in the film drinking Budweiser, Miller High Life, Schlitz “Kingers”, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and original Coors.  On several occasions, he is shown drinking Budweiser.

Bill Lancaster’s screenplay was based on his experiences with his father, Burt Lancaster. Buttermaker was based on Burt, who was known for his grumpiness and the character of Amanda was based on himself.

Saturday Night Live did a parody of the film with Matthau as the guest host (12/2/1978) called “The Bad News Bees” with John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and the rest of the cast in their recurring “bee” costumes.  The coach gives his team of bees some advice on life after one of them is caught masturbating, which was referred to as “buzzing-off”.

Your Producers for this episode were:

  • Tony
  • Darrell
  • Lena
  • David

This episode was recorded: 8/29/2012

2 replies on “BSP Episode 240: The Bad News Bears”

It was good to hear David’s voice again. I miss the podcast. And I still think David should see Used Cars. Kurt Russell is dressed like Jack Burton when he was pretending to be a client in the brothel for the whole movie.

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