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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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