ABC Weekend Special

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ABC Weekend Specials
ABC Weekend Special Title Screen.jpg
Main Title Card
Genre Saturday morning anthology
Theme music composer Tommy Leonetti (1977-1990)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 17
Production
Running time 30 min.
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Original run September 10, 1977 (1977-09-10) – August 30, 1997 (1997-08-30)
Chronology
Related shows ABC Afterschool Special
The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie

The ABC Weekend Special is a weekly 30-minute anthology TV series for children that aired Saturday mornings on ABC from 1977 to 1997. It featured a wide variety of stories that were both live-action and animated. Similar to both the ABC Afterschool Special and The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie that had started five years previous, the ABC Weekend Special differed in that it was primarily aimed at younger viewers following ABC's Saturday Morning cartoon lineup, whereas the ABC Afterschool Special was known for its somewhat more serious, and often dramatic storylines dealing with issues concerning a slightly older teen and pre-teen audience. With the debut of the ABC Weekend Special, some of the early ABC Afterschool Specials that had been targeted towards younger viewers were subsequently repackaged and re-run instead as ABC Weekend Specials.

The Presenters/Hosts For The ABC Weekend Special Throughout The Years[edit]

Beginning in 1979, the series was hosted by Michael Young, who served as host of the show for two seasons.

In 1981, ventriloquist Willie Tyler and his puppet Lester took over as "co-hosts" of the series, appearing in an opening segment introducing that week's episode as well as an ending segment wrapping up the show and often recommending the book that that week's episode had been based on.

In 1984, the puppet character Cap'n O.G. Readmore took over as host of the series, along with Lennie Bowzer (Jon Bauman). The character also starred in five animated episodes of the show, as well appearing in animated Saturday morning PSA's encouraging children to "read more".

Title sequence[edit]

During the series' tenure on Saturday Mornings, ABC Weekend Specials had three main opening title sequence packages, all of which included storybook/literary elements and characters in varying forms.


September 10, 1977–August 1990
The Pop-Up Book

The original opening, designed and animated by Rick Reinert Studios, consisted of a stack of books on a library desk accompanied by a rhymic disco theme tune in the background. A larger book in the middle of the display (with the show's title printed on the cover) magically opens, with the ABC logo printed on the first page. Various figures from literature and intertitles pop up from out of the book. The intertitles read Children's Novels for Television and Short Story Specials respectively. The series title "blossoms" into view at the end of the intro.

This was the longest running umbrella sequence in the show's broadcast history.


September 1990–September 1994
Reading is Magic

With a new decade comes a new visual sequence and theme song. For this package, Weekend Specials combined computer animation with live action elements as neighborhood kids discover the wonders of reading with a turn of a page and a little bit of magic. When the enchanted books are open, the readers become part of the story... from cowboys to undersea explorers to cave kids. One of the books (with the series title printed on the cover) magically grows and flips open, with Cap'n O.G. Readmore ushering the readers for fun and adventure.

This opener was animated by San Diego based American Film Technologies, with key animation by comic book artist Terrie Smith.


September 1994–August 30, 1997
Adventures in Reading

During the mid-1990s, the graphics package was again updated. This CGI opener takes place back at the library, where we pan through a row of books. The camera stops at a book with the ABC Circle signature printed on the side. The logo then magically pops out and grows arms and legs and leaps to a book on a nearby desk. It opens the book and dives into an array of worlds and universes inhabited by letters! The Circle figure fights off combatants at a medieval castle, swings a vine in the jungle and flies through the solar system in its spacecraft. The Circle figure ends its journey on the front cover of a book with the show's title beside it.


Closing Credits

The closing sequence varied over the years. In the '70s and '80s, a short version of the theme played as a bookmark floats into view, gently landing in the closing Pop-Up Book. An intertitle fades in: Recommended by the National Education Association. The latter title was used until c. 1983.

List of episodes[edit]

Listed by original airdate, however many of the episodes were put into heavy rotation, continuing to air in reruns for years after their original airdate.

Short Story Specials (1977)[edit]

No. Title Airdate Synopsis
1 Valentine's Second Chance 1977.Jan.29
2 The Haunted Trailer 1977.Mar.26
3 My Dear Uncle Sherlock 1977.Apr.16
4 Homer and the Wacky Doughnut Machine 1977.Apr.30

Season 1 (1977-1978)[edit]

14 episodes:

No. Title Airdate Synopsis
5 The Winged Colt (Part 1) 1977.Sep.10
6 The Winged Colt (Part 2) 1977.Sep.17
7 The Winged Colt (Part 3) 1977.Sep.24
8 The Ransom of Red Chief 1977.Oct.22
9 Portrait of Grandpa Doc 1977.Nov.05
10 Trouble River (Part 1) 1977.Nov.12
11 Trouble River (Part 2) 1977.Nov.19
12 Tales of the Nunundaga (Part 1) 1977.Nov.26
13 Tales of the Nunundaga (Part 2) 1977.Dec.03
14 Escape of a One-Ton Pet (Part 1) 1978.Jan.07
15 Escape of a One-Ton Pet (Part 2) 1978.Jan.14
16 Escape of a One-Ton Pet (Part 3) 1978.Jan.21
17 Soup and Me 1978.Feb.04
18 The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy 1978.May.06

Season 2 (1978-1979)[edit]

11 episodes:

No. Title Airdate Synopsis
19 The Seven Wishes of Joanna Peabody 1978.Sep.09
20 The Contest Kid and the Big Prize 1978.Sep.16
21 If I'm Lost, How Come I Found You? (Part 1) 1978.Sep.30
22 If I'm Lost, How Come I Found You? (Part 2) 1978.Oct.07
23 The $1000 Bill 1978.Oct.28
24 Little Lulu 1978.Nov.04
25 Soup for President 1978.Nov.18
26 Weep No More, My Lady 1979.Feb.10
27 The Horse That Played Center Field (Part 1) 1979.Feb.24
28 The Horse That Played Center Field (Part 2) 1979.Mar.03
29 The Puppy's Great Adventure 1979.May.05

Season 3 (1979-1980)[edit]

12 episodes:

No. Title Airdate Production Company Synopsis
30 The Big Hex of Little Lulu 1979.Sep.15 ABC
31 The Contest Kid Strikes Again 1979.Sep.22
32 The Girl with ESP 1979.Oct.20
33 The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (Part 1) 1979.Nov.03
34 The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (Part 2) 1979.Nov.10
35 The Incredible Detectives 1979.Nov.17
36 The Revenge of Red Chief 1979.Dec.15
37 The Puppy's Amazing Rescue 1980.Jan.26
38 The Gold Bug (Part 1) 1980.Feb.02
39 The Gold Bug (Part 2) 1980.Feb.09
40 The Trouble with Miss Switch (Part 1) 1980.Feb.16
41 The Trouble with Miss Switch (Part 2) 1980.Feb.23

Season 4 (1980-1981)[edit]

8 episodes:

No. Title Airdate Synopsis
42 Scruffy (Part 1) 1980.Oct.04
43 Scruffy (Part 2) 1980.Oct.11
44 Scruffy (Part 3) 1980.Oct.18
45 Arthur the Kid 1981.Jan.03
46 Zack and the Magic Factory (Part 1) 1981.Jan.10
47 Zack and the Magic Factory (Part 2) 1981.Jan.17
48 Mayday! Mayday! (Part 1) 1981.Jan.24
49 Mayday! Mayday! (Part 2) 1981.Jan.31

Season 5 (1981-1982)[edit]

6 episodes:

No. Title Airdate Synopsis
50 The Puppy Saves the Circus 1981.Sep.12
51 The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County 1981.Sep.19
52 Bunnicula, the Vampire Rabbit 1982.Jan.09
53 Miss Switch to the Rescue (Part 1) 1982.Jan.16
54 Miss Switch to the Rescue (Part 2) 1982.Jan.23
55 The Joke's on Mr. Little 1982.Feb.06

Season 6 (1983)[edit]

9 episodes:

No. Title Airdate Synopsis
56 The Haunted Mansion Mystery (Part 1) 1983.Jan.08
57 The Haunted Mansion Mystery (Part 2) 1983.Jan.15
58 The Red Room Riddle 1983.Feb.05
59 Horatio Alger Updated: Frank and Fearless (Part 1) 1983.Feb.12
60 Horatio Alger Updated: Frank and Fearless (Part 2) 1983.Feb.19
61 All the Money in the World 1983.Mar.19
62 The Secret World of Og (Part 1) 1983.Apr.30
63 The Secret World of Og (Part 2) 1983.May.07
64 The Secret World of Og (Part 3) 1983.May.14

Season 7 (1984)[edit]

9 episodes:

No. Title Airdate Synopsis
65 Cougar! (Part 1) 1984.Jan.07
66 Cougar! (Part 2) 1984.Jan.14
67 Cougar! (Part 3) 1984.Jan.21
68 The Dog Days of Arthur Cane, Part 1 1984.Feb.18
69 The Dog Days of Arthur Cane, Part 2 1984.Feb.25
70 A Different Twist 1984.Mar.10
71 The Amazing Bunjee Venture (Part 1) 1984.Mar.24
72 The Amazing Bunjee Venture (Part 2) 1984.Mar.31
73 Bad Cat 1984.Apr.14

Season 8 (1984-1985)[edit]

8 episodes:

No. Title Airdate Synopsis
74 Henry Hamilton, Graduate Ghost (Part 1) 1984.Dec.08
75 Henry Hamilton, Graduate Ghost (Part 2) 1984.Dec.15
76 The Bollo Caper 1985.Feb.02
77 The Adventures of a Two-Minute Werewolf (Part 1) 1985.Feb.23
78 The Adventures of a Two-Minute Werewolf (Part 2) 1985.Mar.02
79 The Return of the Bunjee (Part 1) 1985.Apr.06
80 The Return of the Bunjee (Part 2) 1985.Apr.13
81 The Velveteen Rabbit 1985.Apr.20

Season 9 (1985)[edit]

9 episodes:

No. Title Airdate Synopsis
82 The Adventures of Con Sawyer and Hucklemary Finn (Part 1) 1985.Sep.07
83 The Adventures of Con Sawyer and Hucklemary Finn (Part 2) 1985.Sep.14
84 Jeeter Mason and the Magic Headset 1985.Oct.05
85 Cap'n O.G. Readmore's Jack and the Beanstalk 1985.Oct.12
86 Pippi Longstocking (Part 1) 1985.Nov.02
87 Pippi Longstocking (Part 2) 1985.Nov.09
88 Columbus Circle 1985.Nov.23
89 The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin (Part 1) 1985.Nov.30
90 The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin (Part 2) 1985.Dec.07

Season 10 (1986)[edit]

9 episodes:

No. Title Airdate Synopsis
91 Cap'n O.G. Readmore Meets Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1986.Sep.13
92 The Day the Kids Took Over (Part 1) 1986.Sep.20
93 The Day the Kids Took Over (Part 2) 1986.Sep.27
94 Liberty and the Littles (Part 1) 1986.Oct.18
95 Liberty and the Littles (Part 2) 1986.Oct.25
96 Liberty and the Littles (Part 3) 1986.Nov.01
97 The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Part 1) 1986.Nov.08
98 The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Part 2) 1986.Nov.15
99 Santabear's First Christmas 1986.Nov.22

Season 11 (1988)[edit]

  1. Cap'n O.G. Readmore Meets Little Red Riding Hood — 1988.Apr.02
  2. Here Come the Littles, Part 1 — 1988.Apr.23
  3. Here Come the Littles, Part 2 — 1988.Apr.30
  4. Here Come the Littles, Part 3 — 1988.May.07

Season 12 (1988-1989)[edit]

  1. Cap'n O.G. Readmore Meets Puss 'N Boots — 1988.Sep.10
  2. Runaway Ralph, Part 1 — 1988.Oct.29
  3. Runaway Ralph, Part 2 — 1988.Nov.05
  4. P.J. Funnybunny — 1989.Feb.04
  5. The Monster Bed — 1989.Sep.09

Season 13 (1991)[edit]

  1. Ralph S. Mouse, Part 1 — 1991.Feb.16
  2. Ralph S. Mouse, Part 2 — 1991.Feb.23
  3. Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great — 1991.Mar.23

Season 14 (1992)[edit]

  1. McGee and Me!: The Big Lie — 1992.Jan.25
  2. Cap'n O.G. Readmore Meets Chicken Little — 1992.Apr.18
  3. The Kingdom Chums: Original Top Ten — 1992.May.02

Season 15 (1992-1993)[edit]

  1. McGee and Me!: Take Me Out of the Ballgame — 1992.Sep.12
  2. Monster in My Pocket: The Big Scream — 1992.Oct.31
  3. Stanley & the Dinosaurs — 1992.Nov.07
  4. Choose Your Own Adventure: The Case of the Silk King, Part 1 — 1992.Dec.12
  5. Choose Your Own Adventure: The Case of the Silk King, Part 2 — 1992.Dec.19
  6. The Parsley Garden — 1993.Mar.27
  7. The Legend of Lochnagar — 1993.Apr.24
  8. Commander Toad in Space — 1993.May.08

Season 16 (1993-1994)[edit]

  1. P.J.'s Unfunnybunny Christmas — 1993.Dec.11
  2. The Magic Flute, Part 1 — 1994.Apr.30
  3. The Magic Flute, Part 2 — 1994.May.07

Season 17 (1994-1996)[edit]

  1. The Secret Garden (movie) — 1994.Nov.05
  2. Jirimpimbira: An African Folk Tale — 1995.Feb.25
  3. P.J. Funnybunny: A Very Cool Easter — 1996.Mar.30
  4. The Magic Pearl, Part 1
  5. The Magic Pearl, Part 2
  6. The Magic Pearl, Part 3

Other specials[edit]

Occasionally, during the Weekend Specials timeslot, ABC aired a series of specials under the title ABC Saturday Morning Specials. Two ABC's Wide World of Sports for Kids specials were also produced in 1994.

List of other specials[edit]

  1. The Great Alaska Dog Sled Race — 1993.Mar.06
  2. Rhythm and Jam: Rhythm & Rap — 1993.Sep.18
  3. Rhythm and Jam: Melody & Harmony — 1993.Sep.25
  4. Kids on Ice: A Skating Adventure! — 1994.Feb.12
  5. A Day at the Races — 1994.Jun.11
  6. Money Made Easy: The ABC Kids' Guide to Dollars and Sense, Part 1 — 1994.Apr.02
  7. Money Made Easy: The ABC Kids' Guide to Dollars and Sense, Part 2 — 1994.Apr.09
  8. Crash the Curiousaurus, Part 1 — 1995.Jan.14
  9. Crash the Curiousaurus, Part 2 — 1995.Jan.21
  10. Wild Things: An Earth Day Special — 1995.Apr.22
  11. The Secret of Lizard Woman
  12. Back to School With Schoolhouse Rock — 1996.Sep.14

External links[edit]