I Used 2 Know

Podcast Episode #14: I Used 2 Know- TV SPECIALS

March 21, 2019


Time: 36mins


In this episode we "Interrupt our regularly scheduled programming" by remembering TV Specials- some were cartoons, some were live action but all of them would bring families together around the TV.  We start off by discussing how TV specials got started, but then we dive into those TV specials that we remember from our childhood. Of course, this wouldn't be a TV Special show if we didn't talk about the WORST TV SPECIAL- EVER!

Prime Time TV shows kept us glued to the screen every weeknight (and probably got in the way of a few homework assignments)... but there was nothing more magical than when we heard that short musical intro before a CBS Special Presentation!

There were multiple weeks of build up just to stop the world for 30 mins.  Watching it made your week and missing it ruined your year.


The Evolution of the TV Special

Dec 21st, 1939- CBS Radio had a Christmas special- a show that interrupted the usually scheduled program… it was “A Visit from St. Nick.”  This was one of the first “specials” that “interrupted the usually scheduled program.

  1.  That was when the President of NBC (Sylvester Weaver) came up with a mini-show concept that he called “Spectaculars”.

These were short little stand-alone shows that would pop up on the NBC schedule every month or so.  And NBC would sell the sponsorship for this one show on this one night

1970’s - 1980’s:   TV Specials take off in a big way


  • Holiday Specials
  • Charlie Brown Specials
  • Claymation Specials
  • Dr. Seuss Specials

Event Specials:

  • Evil Knievel’s Snake River Canyon Jump
  • The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults
  • Magic Specials
  • Doug Henning’s World of Magic
  • David Copperfield - made the Statue of Liberty disappear

Today’s version of the “TV Special”:

  • Streaming sites drive attention to exclusive content
  • King Julian’s New Years Eve
  • A Very Murray Christmas


  • The Thriller Music Video-- Debuted on MTV on December 3rd, 1983… and the world lost its MIND!

  • On Nov 17, 1978, the worst TV Special of all time debuted…  It was the Star Wars Holiday Special.--Chewbacca and Han Solo visit Kashyyyk, Chewbacca's home world, to celebrate Life Day. They are pursued by agents of the Galactic Empire, who are searching for members of the Rebel Alliance on the planet. In the end, all the Wookiees go to the Tree of Life- C3PO, R2D2, Luke, Leia, Han, everyone is there… Leia … um Sings… THAT IS NOT A TYPO!!!  Leia Sings!

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