Animal Crack-Ups was based on a Japanese show, imported by Vin DiBona (America's Funniest Home Videos) for ABC, and given an American spin.
The contestants were all celebrities playing for various charities, with actor-singer Alan Thicke (Growing Pains) serving as host. The series began as a summer replacement in primetime, and if memory serves, it aired on Sundays in 1987, before moving across the calendar to Saturdays to finish its run. All told the series lasted three years, ending in 1990, perhaps a wee bit too soon, but the problem was, it was airing at the tail end (pun intended) of ABC's Saturday lineup, coupled with Weekend Special, after the network had bade farewell to American Bandstand. Bad move, eh? The smart move would've been to chance airing it opposite another live-action show, Pee-Wee's Playhouse, over on CBS, but, given that show's popularity, that would have ensured a quicker demise.
Here's a sample clip with country music legend Loretta Lynn and original MTV VJ Nina Blackwood, who at the time had moved to Entertainment Tonight & Solid Gold.
Where was Marlin Perkins when you really needed him?