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TelevisionWeek Executive Editor Tom Gilbert joins our roster of bloggers with this forum all about classic television, where anything from "Leave It to Beaver" to "Malcolm in the Middle" is fair game for discussion. Reunion specials, DVD releases of classic shows, vintage commercials -- anything that's ever been telecast is the hot topic here.

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Timeless TV



An Ode to ‘SCTV’

March 23, 2007 1:37 PM

To have seen “SCTV” once is to love it.

The strange little syndicated half-hour comedy from Canada with a cast of unknowns first hit the U.S. airwaves in 1977, seemingly a “Saturday Night Live” also-ran.

By 1981, a 90-minute version was running on NBC, firmly launching the careers of John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O’Hara and Dave Thomas, and a bit later, Martin Short.

At the time the show went network, many felt it was funnier than six-year-old “Saturday Night Live,” which was struggling along with a whole new cast after the 1980-81 season. And by then the “SCTV” cast had perfected their recurring characters and their spot-on impressions of contemporary Hollywood celebrities.

The show was set in a fictitious TV station (SCTV) located in the city of Melonville and sketches revolved around the station’s peculiar employees and egomaniacal on-air talent.

Among my favorites bits: “The Sammy Maudlin Show,” a send-up of talk shows of the time complete with all of the phony Hollywood sincerity that oozed out of the screen.

Here’s a clip with host Maudlin (Flaherty), the sycophantic second banana William B. Williams (Candy), a nonplussed Mother Teresa (Martin) and foxy headliner Lola (“I Wanna Bear Your Children!”) Heatherton (O’Hara), with a surprise appearance by cheesy Catskills comedian Bobby Bitman (Levy):

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Comments (3)

SCTV was definitely one of the consistently funny shows on the air with an all star ensemble cast. You forgot my favorite Edith Prickly!

chloe:

Innovative segments such as the Juul Haalmeyer Dancers (the SCTV technical & stage crew doing full length choreographed dance routines) were perhaps some
of the cleverest segments on television, then & now..............

Lola and Juul were dynamite in her Christmas special.

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