Friday, July 26, 2013

A Classic Reborn: You Asked For It (1981)

You Asked For It began as The Art Baker Show, so named for its original host, in 1950, and between two networks---DuMont & ABC---it ran for 9 seasons. Subsequent revivals, however, haven't been quite as successful.

After a failed syndicated run in 1972, the series returned in 1981, with impressionist Rich Little serving as host. This was Little's 1st series since his short-lived variety series 5 years earlier, and this time, the supporting cast was a wee bit different. Jack Smith, who had taken over the original series from Baker in 1958 and hosted the 1972 version, narrated vintage clips from the 50's. Jayne Kennedy (The NFL Today) & Desiree Goyette, the latter now better known for her work as a songwriter for animator Phil Roman on his Garfield specials, conducted interviews. Little did a few of his famous mimics from time to time, usually to queue up a segment.

However, Little was let go after the first season, and Smith took over as host. Subsequently, the series was cancelled again after 2 seasons. Smith was well known in my district as the host of a regional Cerebral Palsy telethon for several years, and gained iconic status with a guest appearance on Happy Days in a 2-part episode that included a satire of You Asked For It, entitled, You Wanted To See It, which was revisited in 1994 by the rock group, Weezer, in their "Buddy Holly" video.

In the 90's, comic Jimmy Brogan (ex-Out Of The Blue) resurfaced to host You Asked For It, Again!, which bombed after 1 season. NBC picked up the ball on the last revival, with Phil Morris (ex-Mission: Impossible---yes, he's Greg's son) as host. That was also short-lived.

Being a Little fan, I was drawn to this show as lunch hour comfort food while I was in between jobs. Magicusa uploaded this clip, featuring magician Dorothy Dietrich.

Syndicator Sandy Frank, who had also packaged a revival of Face The Music around the same time, produced the 1981-3 series.

The 1981 series is the only incarnation I've seen. Rating: B.

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