TV Bloopers And Practical Jokes

NBC (ended 1986)


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TV Bloopers And Practical Jokes

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TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes was one of the best pre-era reality shows in TV history. It was the by-product of three lines of specials: Prototype 1: TV Censored Bloopers When filming or taping a TV show or movie, things invariably go wrong. Someone blows their line or makes some other goof, props (or sometimes, even clothing) fall down, animals refuse to behave…the list is endless. From 1981 to 1983, Dick Clark hosted a maddening set of these specials, inviting guests to help him relate these moments. Prototype 2: Television's Greatest Commercials Ed McMahon fronted this simple homage to commercials that linger in our hearts and minds, if not the airwaves. Each of the specials ran with an advertising tagline as its subtitle (e.g., New and Improved or Stronger Than Dirt). Prototype 3: Johnny Carson's Greatest Practical Jokes This was a one-shot special in which Johnny videotaped pranks he played on some of his dearest friends, starting with Ed McMahon. In the special, Carson's people overloaded the trunk of Ed's car with office equipment. Then they watched with secret glee as NBC Security stopped Ed and asked him questions. What Ed didn't know was that he was helping Johnny, and not NBC, with the "inquiries." Dick and Ed had proven their specials very successful, so much so that they even did a joint special called TV's Greatest Censored Commercial Bloopers. That, coupled with the Carson one-shot, got bright fellows at Carson Productions talking to their contemporaries at dick clark productions. "Gee," they agreed, "what if we did a regular series paying tribute to other people's ineptitude?" That must have been a good idea, since TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes had several runs through the next 15 years, the most successful coming in the mid-1980s. Hosts Ed Clark and Dick McMahon…uh-oh, make that DICK Clark and ED McMahon (later, a series of co-hosts along with Clark) introduced the bloopers, the practical jokes, and the classic commercials. Many of them were arranged by popular TV series or subjects. If a series excelled in making grand mistakes, such as the PBS series Featherby's Fables, it was invited on the show to receive the "Golden Bloopers Award." The most popular bloopers segments came from soap operas, animal/wildlife programs (animals, remember, have no concept of acting and thus may refuse to sit still or do their "thing" at appropriate times) and local newscasts (where news directors sent in tapes featuring live gaffes). Other recurring features during the 1984-1986 run included classic American (as well as foreign) commercials; serial films from Hollywood's early days; people-on-the-street interviews (with comedians Robert Klein, David Letterman and Thom Sharp asking questions to unsuspecting folks); and short comedy blackouts called "Len Cella's Silly Cinemas," after a house painter whom Johnny Carson helped make famous. In each episode, the producers would conspire with friends to spring a usually elaborate practical joke on an unsuspecting celebrity. A few classic examples included: —From the regular series' debut: James Coburn entering an apartment which then appeared to have no exit —Christopher Atkins stopped by a cop for driving a "stolen" car —Connie Sellecca asked to take delivery of a truckload of pigs After the show concluded its original run, both NBC and ABC brought the concept back for periodic specials and if need be, a limited-run series (often, after a regular series had failed and the network was waiting on a new series to be ready for its premiere, as was the case in 1988, 1991 and 1993). Suzanne Whang and Clark co-hosted a run that aired during 1998. The blooper segments of each show paid homage to the inventor of the blooper, Kermit Schafer (who aired radio bloopers during the 1940's and early 1950's). And remember the motto of "Bloopers Anonymous," a club the show founded to ordinary people who found themselves victimized in the real world: "To err is human… Argh, I can't remember the last part!moreless