ABC Weekend Specials
ABC Weekend Specials is a 1977 literary anthology live-action and animated television series. The specials were produced by various live-action and animated studios. The first four specials are known as the Short Story Specials. It shares similarities with the ABC Afterschool Specials and the ABC Saturday Superstar Movie series, but the Weekend Specials were targeted towards the younger demographic and aired as part of ABC's Saturday-morning cartoon block. The number of episodes/specials and how often new ones aired varied each season, but they'd become even more scarce and sporadic by the mid-'90s as the series winded down. Some certain, early ABC Afterschool Specials for the younger viewers were moved to the ABC Weekend Specials when they were repeated. It had an impressive run of nearly two decades.
Similar to the CBS Library and CBS Storybreak, this show's intention was to encourage children to get into literature. Most of the episodes/specials are based on various books and they vary from live-action to animated. Some of them were mini-series split into two or three parts. After the intro, there would be wraparounds with the host presenting the book and talking about it before the rendition of it. After the special was shown, there'd be a second wraparound to close out the show before the outro. For the first couple seasons, Michael Young hosted this. Then, for the next three seasons, ventriloquist Willie Tyler and his dummy, Lester, co-hosted. Afterwards, a puppet version of the cat character, Capt. O.G. Readmore, would host for the remainder of the series run, sometimes with Sha Na Na singer-turned-game-show-host, Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, sometimes with other celebrity guest co-hosts. Both the puppet and cartoon Readmore would serve as the mascot for this series and appear in several PSA commercials that encourage reading books.
Why It Rocks
- This program's intent was done in getting its point across to encourage literacy in children.
- Most of the specials are well-done or decent takes on the books they're based.
- A wide variety of specials, whether live-action or cartoon, to choose from as personal favorites.
- Both the wraparounds and the specials make for entertaining viewings in their own right.
- As for the animated specials, they're by a variety of studios and come in different art styles, which can also be chosen as favorites.
- Many characters from the various stories are likable.
- The cartoon Capt. O.G. Readmore starred in his own versions of a few, very classic tales such as "Capt. O.G. Readmore Meets Little Red Riding Hood" and "Capt. O.G. Readmore Meets Chicken Little".
- The celebrity guest co-hosts are a special treat.
- The stories showcase good lessons and morals well, like they should.
- The presentation of each special looks professional enough.
- Each of the three intros throughout the show's run are creative and enjoyable to watch.
- A few of the specials (especially the animated ones) got sequels.
- One special, "Dawn Sawyer and Huckle-Mary Finn", is an inventive, feminine take on Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
- The stories let kids' imaginations run wild.
- Equally great acting and voice acting.
- There is the occasional special that's not so great, such as Ruby-Spears's "Bunnicula: The Vampire Rabbit".
- Some may find Capt. O.G. Readmore (the puppet version if not the cartoon character) annoying and not be all that crazy about him.
- Of all the animation studios, Ruby-Spears made the most animated specials for this show.
- DiC's/Mike Young's/Greengrass Entertainment's adaptation of "The Secret Garden" is the only special that's truly a movie, rather than a mini-series.
- Hanna-Barbera's "The Secret World of Og" got a novelization.
- "The Bunjee Venture" had a VHS release in the U.S., but its sequel, "Return of The Bunjee", never did. It's also one of the rarest, if not the rarest ABC Weekend Special, as it aired only once in the States.
- The first intro was featured for the most seasons.
- PJ Funnybunny: A Very Cool Easter was the last ABC Weekend Special not based on a book.