Friday, August 2, 2013

Send More Chuck Berry

The third-season episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Steve Martin on April 22nd, 1978 may have been the best in the show's history. It's chock full of classic sketches and quotable lines:

"Oh, did I assassinate your penguin?"
"Hosed? Count me in!"
"Say, who's the barber here?"
 "I'm really worried about Dialing For Toast... not!"

And, of course, "Send More Chuck Berry".

Not only were most of the sketches home runs, but there were four outstanding musical numbers: two from the Blues Brothers, "Dancing In The Dark" with Steve and Gilda Radner gliding and tripping around studio 8H, and the world premiere of "King Tut".

Hell, even the Thursday night promo for the show was funny:


Martin later said of the episode, "It was like the peak of Saturday Night. It was the peak of me." The show was aired March 28th, 1981 as part of the month-long classic reruns, and naturally we set the VHS to record it, on tape A1.

I probably watched this show more than anything else in our VHS collection, and have most of it memorized. In viewing the DVD release a few years back, the only difference I noticed from the off-air tape is in the nerds science fair sketch. 

You'll notice in the clipping above that Bill Murray's character is named "Todd DeLamuca". His original name was Todd LaBounta, also the name of a high school classmate of Al Franken and/or Tom Davis. When the real-life LaBounta threatened a lawsuit, the name was changed in subsequent appearances. For this rerun, NBC merely silenced a portion of the audio, so it comes out as "Todd... Bounta".

Here are the original ads from the 1981 airing:


Many of these commercials are the same as in the Richard Pryor SNL from two weeks prior, or at least from the same sponsors (a new Brooke/Calvin Klein spot, Magic Johnson for 7UP this time). The enigmatic Olympia Beer ad features some unseen Artesians. I also love the Atari 2600 Space Invaders ad, and the Chuck Norris double feature ("Chuck Norris faces the ninja!"). Note that the awful-looking Jerry Lewis flick Hardly Working has the tagline "He's the original jerk!" Pandering to Steve Martin's audience?

The audio anomalies towards the end are not NBC's fault, but me trying out the "Audio Dub" feature on our VCR by overlaying sound from other channels at a later date. Luckily I stopped messing around in time to preserve the final commercial. My father loved those chimps listening to K-101 FM so much he gave this ad its own entry in our VHS catalog!


1 comment:

  1. Oh no! The promo has been removed from You Tube!!!!

    I wish I could see the whole episode! I'll definitely have to rent it!