1 9 7 7 – 1 9 7 8 (USA)
10 x 30 minute episodes
Comedians Charles Fleischer, Bo Kaprall and Julie McWhirter served loosely as hosts of this up-tempo Saturday morning collection of jokes, sketches, and one or two musical numbers from CBS.
Each of them played themselves plus a variety of other characters, both fictional and real (e.g., McWhirter as Dolly Parton), along with several supporting players and a few guests in short segments that may have been a little too witty for the show’s juvenile audience to comprehend.
Among the typical setups were the countdown of the week’s worst jokes and a vaudeville-style routine where a physician known as “Clown Doctor” bellowed for his nurse – “Oh, noice, noice, noice!” – before making a wisecrack.
There were even a few times when the musical guest (which often was The Sylvers soul group) had a taped number interrupted briefly for a quick bit. But the best recurring gag was a shot of one person with a bag on his head clapping near the back of an otherwise empty and cobweb-strewn theatre following another stab at humour.
Guests on Wacko included Soupy Sales, the Dwight Twilley Band (featuring the then-unknown Tom Petty on bass guitar), Jim Backus, Carol Burnett, Harry Nilsson, Jonathan Harris, Loretta Swit and Gary Owens, the latter of whom probably felt right at home with the show’s obvious similarity to the late 1960s prime-time smash Laugh-ln.
Wacko first aired as a prime-time special in September 1977, promoting CBS’s fall Saturday morning lineup. The Saturday daytime series lasted one season.