Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saturtainment: Wacko (1977)

3 years after the Hudson Brothers' self-titled variety show had failed, CBS & producer Chris Bearde tried again, this time with Wacko, a comedy-variety show that required not one, not two, but three hosts. Impressionist Julie McWhirter had been on The Rich Little Show a year earlier, and had created the character of the Family Hour Fairy, perhaps the most notable recurring sketch on the show. Charles Fleischer came over from Welcome Back, Kotter, and Bo Kaprall hasn't been seen since the show was cancelled.

Buried at the bottom of CBS' lineup, Wacko aired on Sundays in some markets as a consolation, including in my home area. From what I remember, Fleischer had created a costumed character of his own in Funky Cat, but otherwise the show wasn't much to write home about, as it was another one-and-done, as in, cancelled after 1 season.

Wacko also featured musical guests, such as, in this sample, the Dwight Twilley Band, featuring a pre-Heartbreakers Tom Petty on bass, performing "Chance to Get Away".

After Wacko ended, Fleischer returned to Kotter for its final season in his recurring role as Carvelli. Julie McWhirter resumed her other vocation as a voice actress and married radio legend Rick Dees. Well, at least there was a happy ending, after all.

Rating: None. I only saw part of one episode, not enough to properly rate the show.


R.A.M.'67 said...

This one I remember enjoying a lot back then, so I can recall (I think) some of the skits.

I remember one that was an adventure aboard a submarine named "Ralph" (always seen as a model in a bucket of water), a family of strong people (all dressed like circus strong men with exaggerated muscles), and an international "pants pulling down" competition! I even recall comedian Charlie Callas doing a quick schtick of doing a comic voice/face while saying "Wacko!"

I think Kaprall was on Laverne & Shirley as a cop boyfriend of Laverne's. Of course, more know Fleischer as the voice of Roger Rabbit. McWirther was good on Rich Little's show.

I forgot they had musical guests on Wacko, however. Good work on finding this cool video clip!

hobbyfan said...

That's pretty much all I could find under the show title, RAM, unfortunately. Considering that Roger Rabbit came 12 years after this series, I'd say Fleischer resurrected his career at that point.