As remarkable as it could possibly audio now, there was a time when televised entertainment wasn’t readily available about the clock. That all modified with Burt Sugarman’s songs-oriented wide range clearly show The Midnight Specific, which debuted on Aug. 19, 1972.
Until finally the early ’70s, it was regular exercise for most Tv stations to shut off their programming right after midnight and present almost nothing at all till the local information came on in the early morning. None of the a few national networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, had any programming that ran afterwards than 1AM.
Sugarman, a Tv producer with encounter in the music business, saw a skipped option. The past display that NBC aired on Friday evenings was The Tonight Exhibit Starring Johnny Carson, which was immensely well-liked, and experienced a significant viewers of individuals in their teens and 20s.
So why assume all these individuals went to bed on Friday evening instantly following Carson’s software finished? Why not generate a demonstrate geared towards youthful audiences – that includes reside music and the occasional comedian or variety performer and see if it would make some funds?
It was a fantastic pitch, but NBC was having no part of it. So Sugarman did what any excellent promoter does, and took a big gamble. He obtained the air time himself, certain Chevrolet to be the sponsor, and produced a 90-minute pilot episode.
Check out John Denver and Cass Elliot on the Pilot of ‘The Midnight Special’
“The community felt that the rock ‘n’ roll persons ended up all drugged out and fifty percent of them wouldn’t show,” Sugarman explained to Jason Price tag in 2014. “I said, ‘I’ll inform you what, I will put up the income,’ and I mentioned, ‘I’ll give you an additional motive: It is really a voting year and I’ll make it a get-out-to-vote demonstrate for youthful people.'”
And which is what Sugarman did: Concerning performances, younger individuals had been encouraged to sign-up and reminded that the voting age experienced not long ago been lowered to 18.
The authentic draw to the pilot, however, was the fact that it would characteristic stay musical performances, as a substitute of the lip-synched ones that had been then the norm on quite a few television displays. Sugarman leaned into this trope. He called his display The Midnight Distinctive soon after an old American conventional, and received Johnny Rivers to history the tune as his topic audio.
He enlisted famed DJ Wolfman Jack to be the announcer, and confident John Denver to be his guest host. He received Andy Kaufman to do a comedy set, and signed up musical acts which includes Cass Elliot, Harry Chapin, the Everly Brothers, War, Linda Ronstadt, Argent, and the Isley Brothers – all of whom would carry out reside.
It labored. NBC noticed the scores, bought the display, and place it into standard production, where it would stay – often on late at night – into the early ’80s.
Enjoy Kiss on ‘The Midnight Special’
Through that time, The Midnight Distinctive became the premier Tv venue for bands who wished to carry out live to get their audio out to a countrywide audience.
“Back again then, a band would appear to Los Angeles on Saturday and lip-sync their strike on American Bandstand,” distributor Paul Brownstein later told Ed Robertson. “If they truly wanted significant television exposure, while, they’d have to go to NBC in Burbank and do The Midnight Exclusive, mainly because that was the only option for a community Tv gig at the time. They would perform with reside vocals.”
Through the show’s run, this option drew an immense selection of bands. Wolfman Jack remained as the announcer, and would usually job interview the functions soon after they performed, but The Midnight Particular also featured a amount of guest hosts – typically musicians – who would run the exhibit in among their have performances.
The immense listing of acts who appeared on the software reads like a who’s who of rock ‘n roll from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s which includes Chuck Berry, Blondie, Aretha Franklin, Prince, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie and virtually everyone involving. Comedians George Carlin, Steve Martin and Richard Pryor also performed on the exhibit, as did Monty Python. ELO appeared seven periods, extra than any other team.
Check out Prince Perform on ‘The Midnight Special’
The are living music overall performance aspect of The Midnight Special could basically be overwhelming, specially for acts who had been utilized to lip-syncing on Television set.
“We had, about the lengthy time we ran on the air, about 7, eight, or nine acts that just would not sing are living,” Sugarman later on told MTV’s Mark Goodman. “They stated, ‘We can’t’ or ‘We is not going to we never do that,’ and I just did not put them on. Certainly, I just cannot name them. 50 percent of them are however close to suitable now. They have been frightened. Which is what it was.”
It was a magical display, and brought audio to a nation-huge viewers that craved it. All excellent matters, nonetheless, must finish: The last episode aired on May 1, 1981. following NBC pulled the plug. The period of wide variety reveals was drawing to a near, and there was a new variety of televised songs on the way which potentially hardly ever would have appeared if The Midnight Specific hadn’t proved that there was an immense appetite for music remaining broadcast on Tv set at all several hours of the working day and evening.
That new type of music was the video, of study course. MTV manufactured its debut on Aug. 1, 1981, just 3 months right after The Midnight Special closed its doors.
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