I have all three NBC Anniversary specials on tape (50th in 1976, 60th in 1986 and the 75th in 2002). They are all quite good. My favorite is the 1976 special which was absolutely amazing....lots of rare color videotape clips (Astaire in '58 on color tape!), a COLOR kine scope clip of the Ernie Kovacs silent show from 1957, Mae West on the Oscars, lots of stuff I have not seen since. And a big segment on NBC radio.
The '86 special was good, but not great. Some nice clips.
The 2002 special was very well done. Unlike the other two, this was a live show with a full orchestra doing all the music. Lorne Michaels gave it that Saturday Night Live modern feel, with some NBC alum standing up in the audience with funny bits and questions, and well constructed segments with a good archive selection. But sadly, but understandably, NBC radio was barely covered. By 2002, the audience who would remember that era had diminished greatly. Highlights were a standing ovation for Sid Caesar, and his return later in the show to do a bit remembering Berle, Steve Allen, and Imogene Coca in his hilarious phony foreign accents; Michael J. Fox's standing O.; and a nearly 80 year old Andy Williams coming on at the very end to sing "Moon River" with the orchestra.
I wish that NBC would offer the 2002 special as a DVD, since this is probably the most commercial for today's audience.
Anyway...well done Lorne Michaels and associates!
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