Friday, October 15, 2010

Saturtainment: ABC Weekend Special (1977)

Of the three first-year series ABC introduced to their Saturday morning lineup in 1977, their anthology series, Weekend Special, lasted the longest, remaining on the air for 20 seasons before it was unceremoniously dropped in 1997, after the network had been bought by Disney. Rhihorra uploaded the open to YouTube:

In the 80's, a puppet character, Captain OG Readmore (voiced by Frank Welker) became the series host, and starred in 5 animated adventures (with Neil Ross taking over the role), in a sort of left-handed salute to Mr. Magoo's Famous Adventures series of 1964. Weekend Special also provided an outlet for some other series on the schedule. For example, "Liberty & the Littles", a 3-part miniseries spun from The Littles, aired in the Special slot. Ironically, The Littles, in its final season, would air in back of Weekend Special. Acclaimed horror icon Vincent Price was a guest co-host for a couple of weeks in October 1985. Oddly enough, Price was working on another ABC Saturday series that year, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, so this amounted to a bit of a cross-over, even if Price didn't plug the cartoon (I'm not sure if he did).

Recently, ABC bade farewell to another franchise, the Power Rangers, which it had acquired from Fox in 2002, and carried for 8 seasons. Instead of reviving Weekend Special, or doing something similar to recall those halcyon days of the late 70's & 80's, ABC opted to give the 12 noon (ET) hour back to local affiliates, another sign that broadcast networks are ceding Saturdays to cable.

We'll be posting selected episodes from the series in the days & weeks to come, so there's no rating to be had this time.

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