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The Bootleg Files: A Special Tiny Tim

BOOTLEG FILES 636: “A Special Tiny Tim” (1970 television special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The program was never released in the U.S. for either broadcast or home entertainment audiences.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.

On January 22, 1968, American television viewers got their first view of Herbert Buckingham Khaury, an entertainer who appeared in the New York club scene for years under a variety of stage names before settling on Tiny Tim. The performer was featured on the premiere episode of “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” and with his long and flowing hair, large beaked nose and fluttery movements he made quite an impression. Tiny Tim came on stage, pulled a soprano ukulele from a shopping bag and began singing “A Tisket, A Tasket” and “On the Good Ship Lollipop” in an astonishing falsetto while funnyman Dick Martin looked on in astonishment. Although the response from the viewers’ mail was decidedly mixed, Tiny Tim was invited back two weeks later, performing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” in the same eccentric style as his first appearance.

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The Bootleg Files: Julie’s Christmas Special

BOOTLEG FILES 617: “Julie’s Christmas Special” (1973 television production starring Julie Andrews).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube and Vimeo.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It fell through the cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It’s possible.

In 1972, Julie Andrews sought to re-energize her career by focusing on television. This migration from big screen to small screen followed a string of big-budget flop films that damaged her viability as a movie star. But she still had name value, and the less expensive and more intimate parameters of a television variety seemed perfect for her distinctive talents. “The Julie Andrews Hour” was produced in England by ATV and distributed internationally by Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment, with ABC picking up the U.S. rights.

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The Bootleg Files: Jack Benny’s First Farewell Special

BOOTLEG FILES 601: “Jack Benny’s First Farewell Special” (1973 television production featuring Bob Hope, Johnny Carson and Dean Martin).

LAST SEEN: It can be found on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No one wants to put it out on commercial DVD.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There is no great push to get this released.

I don’t know who came up with the term “special” to define the one-shot variety productions that pockmarked television broadcasting from the 1950s through the mid-1980s. For the most part, these offerings were anything but special – most were forgettable, some were dreadful, but only a handful possessed the emotional or artistic quality that truly deserved to be called special.

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The Bootleg Files: Something Special – Eartha Kitt

BOOTLEG FILES 592: “Something Special: Eartha Kitt” (1967 TV special starring Eartha Kitt with Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66).

LAST SEEN: It is on HistoricFilms.com.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Several problems with rights clearances.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It can be done if someone was willing to take the effort.

During the mid-1960s, a syndicated television series called “Something Special” turned up on independent stations across the United States. The program consisted of a one-hour showcase featuring a major headliner and, in some episodes, a supporting guest act. Among the stars who turned up on “Something Special” were Peggy Lee, Julie London paired with then-husband Bobby Troup, the New Christie Minstrels paired with the Righteous Brothers, Barbara McNair paired with Duke Ellington, and Buddy Greco paired with Frankie Avalon and Sammy Davis Jr. Sadly, most of these shows are not easily accessible for viewing today due to rights clearance issues.

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