Monday, February 13, 2017

Classic TV: TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes (1982)

NBC, searching for a hit series to complement Little House on the Prairie, suddenly began to develop a whole new batch of hits in the early 80's. Most of you know, of course, about Knight Rider and The A-Team, part of the class of 1982-3, as well as The Facts of Life and its parent series, Diff'rent Strokes. Part of the 1982 class was TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes.

Borne out of a series of specials about censored material and commercials, this Candid Camera crossed with otherwise classified blooper reels became a weekly series as a collaborative effort between TV icons Johnny Carson and Dick Clark, whose respective production companies co-produced the series. Carson sent over his sidekick from The Tonight Show, Ed McMahon, to be Clark's broadcast partner, as if Clark, who was still doing American Bandstand for ABC at the time, needed another gig. Charlie O'Donnell, who had been Clark's announcer on Bandstand early in his run, was working on Wheel of Fortune at the time, and was brought on as announcer.

Yes, there were short bits highlighting commercials, which ultimately were phased out. Bloopers had become popular thanks to Kermit Schaefer in the 50's (Who can forget someone mispronouncing a former president as "Hoobert Heever"?). The animation used in the series was done by long-time Mad Magazine artist Sergio Aragones. In the weekly format, Bloopers ran for 2 seasons, then would return in a series of periodic specials, a la Bob Hope. Clark took the Bloopers over to ABC in 1998, but not in a weekly series format, just specials.

The most recent itineration of this series was the short-lived half-hour Bloopers, back in 2012, hosted by actor Dean Cain, which lasted a year or two before fading out.

Here's an intro. NBC ID by Danny Dark.

Rating: A-.


Hal said...

Loved the Kermit Schafer records when I was a kid. Still do as a guilty pleasure. :) Dick Clark did a special around May of 1981 which was surprisingly successful at a time that NBC was badly lagging in the ratings. The sequel in October of that year also performed well, leading to the series. Unfortunately they started struggling to find enough bloopers to fill a weekly hour, and so the material got watered down with the practical jokes, kind of a forerunner to Punk'd.

Too bad Schafer died in March 1979, I think him hosting a weekly show of Bloopers would have been a perfect fit. He was always a great guest on talk shows during the 1970's.

hobbyfan said...

Hal, I don't remember seeing Schaefer on TV, but I do remember commercials when his blooper albums were available through mail order in the early 70's. Don't know if they're available on CD.

Hal said...

Not sure on the CD status either, though a lot of content is on YouTube. I found them at record stores fairly frequently, and the 100 Super Duper Bloopers K-Tel set was pretty much a must-have to us young uns circa 1978 :)

He appeared on Mike Douglas several times, and Dinah Shore's talk show too that I can recall.

hobbyfan said...

Maybe Merv Griffin, too, for all we know....