Saturday Morning Preview special
The Great NBC Smilin' Saturday Mornin' Parade

Date Aired: September 10, 1976
Song Performed: When It Hit Me (The Hurricane Song) - sung by Doc
Smilin' Saturday Mornin'
- sung by C.A.P.E.R. Kids, Freddie Prinze and girl clowns

Plot: Freddie Prinze is a Wizard Extraordinaire who calls upon The Kids from C.A.P.E.R. and four flexible female clowns, Eenie, Meenie, Minie and Moe, to help him organize a swingin' parade to help introduce all the new Saturday morning kids shows to the NBC audience.
Do they do their introduction? No
Does Doc charm the girl
(clowns)? Yes
Does Bugs go bananas? No (although was originally scripted to - twice!)
Does P.T. use Seymour? Yes
Does Doomsday eat (or plan to eat) something weird? No, although in an early draft of the script he shows them his indigestible soya-seed sundae with sardines on the side!

Notes:
Saturday morning preview specials were a staple of network programming for many years, giving both parents and kids the chance to preview and sample the new children's programming debuting (usually the next morning) on the Big Three's (NBC, CBS and NBC) fall schedules.  The specials usually included clips of the new series and guest stars to help hold an audience's interest.  Saturday morning kids' programming was a very competitive business between the networks in those days and it was imperative for the networks to lure kids to their channels over the others.

NBC's preview special was produced by Don Kirshner and Alan Landsburg, which indicates the network had high hopes for The Kids from C.A.P.E.R. and the company behind it.  Because of this, the C.A.P.E.R. Kids were featured prominently throughout the show and they also included the song from the first episode to air the next morning, When It Hit Me (The Hurricane Song.)  Freddie Prinze was brought in to emcee, most likely because the special aired on the same night as the very popular series in which he starred, Chico and the Man (which aired on Fridays at 8:30 p.m.)

There were some interesting changes in the script between drafts.  Originally Bugs was to go "bananas" and each Kid was to be featured more, but since the show had only a half-hour running time it had to be pared down to make sure all the film clips of the other programs were included.  All of the shows on the Saturday morning schedule were featured, although early on in the production it wasn't clear what C.A.P.E.R.'s follow-up show would be.  One progress memo mentioned a show called YOU, but eventually the last show to be added to the schedule would be Muggsy.

A copy of the special was uncovered, thanks to the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming, which also provided us with all the production information we've included in the menu above!

Guest Host: Freddie Prinze as the emcee
Also Starring: Paula Byers as Eenie
               Kathie King as Meenie
               Kathy Pickle as Minie
               Tina Anderson as Mo
               Chuck Campbell as The Announcer
               Harry Devenport as The Wizard
               Sabrina Means as A Troll
               Nancy Witherspoon as A Troll
               Danette Peterson as A Troll
Also appearing from other NBC Children's Series:
               Walter Willison as Dr. Calvin Campbell (McDuff the Talking Dog)
               Michael Lane as Frankenstein (The Monster Squad)
               Henry Pollic II as Dracula (The Monster Squad)
               Buck Kartalian as Wolfman (The Monster Squad)
               Robbie Rist as Little John (Big John, Little John)

         

You can view all the scenes from this special which include
the Kids from C.A.P.E.R., now embedded on our
Videos page!

 


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