CBS Schoolbreak Special

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CBS Schoolbreak Special
CBS Schoolbreak Special
Titular screenshot
Also known as CBS Afternoon Playhouse
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 17
No. of episodes 83
Production company(s) CBS
Original channel CBS
Original release April 19, 1980 (1980-04-19) – January 23, 1996 (1996-01-23)

CBS Schoolbreak Special is an American anthology series for teenagers that aired on CBS from April 1980 to January 1996. The series began under the title CBS Afternoon Playhouse, and was changed during the 1984 - 85 season. The concept was similar to ABC's Afterschool Special.

List of specials[edit]

Afternoon Playhouse Specials[edit]

Under its original name, the Afternoon Playhouse aired a handful of made-for-TV films, the most notable of which was the 1983 release of "Revenge of the Nerd" [1]. The TV special was often mistaken for the film of a similar name which premiered one year later in 1984.

Season 1 (January 24 - June 12, 1984)[edit]

Episode Synopsis
Dead Wrong: The John Evans Story Convicted of murder and set for execution, John Evans tells his story to the prison chaplain.
Welcome Home, Jellybean The story of Geraldine Oxley, a cognitively deficient 12-year-old girl whose parents remove her from the institution where she's been raised in order to give her a normal-as-possible home life. Christopher Collet (Sleepaway Camp, Firstborn, Right to Kill?) stars as her older brother.
All the Kids Do It The consequences of driving under the influence are suffered by a teenager (Scott Baio) who has earned them...and by his family, who have not. Directed by Henry Winkler; co-starring Barbara Bosson and George Dzundza as Baio's parents, and featuring Danny DeVito.
The Alfred G. Graebner Memorial High School Handbook of Rules and Regulations Teenagers from diverse backgrounds experience their freshman year in High School, in this adaptation of the same-titled novel. Starring Fisher Stevens (Short Circuit) and Suzanne Snyder (Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Prettykill).

Season 2 (October 10, 1984 - April 23, 1985)[edit]

Episode Synopsis
Hear Me Cry Two high school sophomores decide to make a suicide pact. Starring Lee Montgomery of Girls Just Want To Have Fun fame and Robert MacNaughton of E.T. fame. Co-starring Claudia Wells and Elinor Donahue (Father Knows Best, Get a Life).
Contract for Life: The S.A.D.D. Story The true story of high-school hockey-coach Bob Anastas. After losing two of his finest players (including William Zabka of The Karate Kid fame) to alcohol-related car crashes, Anastas gets their teammates — and the players' families — to prevent more tragedies by forming Students Against Driving Drunk. Co-starring Nicky Katt (cousin of William), Timothy Gibbs, and Don Dubbins (from the movie The D.I.).
The Exchange Student Teenager from India comes to the US to live with her American 'sister'.
The Day the Senior Class Got Married Students are paired off in a make-believe marriage class, so they can learn how money problems can affect a marriage. Based on the novel by Gloria D. Miklowitz.
Ace Hits the Big Time On his first day at Manhattan's Kennedy High, 16-year-old Horace "Ace" Hobart (Rob Stone of Mr. Belvedere fame) wears an eyepatch to class. Consequently, he's urged to join a gang of street youths who run the school...or do they? Co-starring James LeGros (Solarbabies, Fatal Beauty, Guncrazy, Ally McBeal).
Student Court When a teenager is caught shoplifting, she decides to stand before a jury of her peers...rather than face judgement from a Juvenile Court. Co-starring Marcelino Sanchez (The Warriors, The Bloodhound Gang) and Moosie Drier.

Season 3 (October 22, 1985 - April 1, 1986)[edit]

Episode Synopsis
The War Between the Classes Racial discrimination is examined when a high-school teacher assigns his students to play "The Color Game", thus dividing the youngsters into different social classes. Based on the same-titled novel by Gloria D. Miklowitz; co-starring Marcelino Sanchez.
Have You Tried Talking to Patty? Wanting to be accepted by her peers, a hearing-impaired teenager attempts to change her image. Co-starring Khrystyne Haje, Dedee Pfeiffer (sister of Michelle), Mark Patton (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge), Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Just the Ten of Us) and Joseph Mascolo ("Stefano DiMera" from Days of Our Lives).
Babies Having Babies Five pregnant teenage girls meet in the same group-counseling session. They discuss their varied feelings about their common situation. Directed by Martin Sheen, whose real-life daughter Renee Estevez portrays one of the young moms-to-be. Also starring Eileen Ryan (whose sons are fellow actors Christopher and Sean Penn), Jill Whelan (of The Love Boat fame), Claudia Wells (of Back to the Future fame) and a pre-Full House Lori Loughlin.
God, the Universe & Hot Fudge Sundaes A teenage girl questions her religion after her sister is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Season 4 (September 10, 1986 - June 21, 1987)[edit]

Episode Synopsis
The Drug Knot Dermot Mulroney (who played a similar role in Shattered: If Your Kid's On Drugs) portrays a high school student who seems hopelessly addicted to drugs, until he's slapped with the most horrifying wake-up call imaginable. A pre-Married... with Children David Faustino co-stars as Mulroney's younger brother; Ricky Nelson's daughter Tracy plays Dermot's girlfriend. Also starring Rance Howard (father of Clint Howard; grandfather of Bryce Dallas Howard), and directed by Anson Williams (who co-starred with Rance's other son, Ron Howard, on Happy Days).
Little Miss Perfect Not to be confused with the junior beauty pageant-reality show of the same title. Debbie Welker is upset over being forced into a new neighborhood and a new high school. Having a (seemingly) flawless, and oblivious (at first), single mother doesn't help at all. To cope with her problems, Debbie takes up binging and purging...which leads to an even greater problem, and to a long-overdue revelation from her mom. Co-starring April Lerman (of Charles In Charge fame) and Lisa Wilcox (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure); directed by actress Marsha Mason; co-written by actress Judy Strangis (she was the latter from Electra Woman and Dyna Girl).
My Dissident Mom Spouses' conflicting opinions on nuclear weapons-policy jeopardize not only the husband (Martin Sheen)'s impending business deal, but their relationships with each other and their kids. Co-starring Lukas Haas and Amy Green.
The Day They Came to Arrest the Book Uncomfortable with racist language in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", a high school student and his parents attempt to get the book removed from the school's library. Starring Jonathan Crombie of Anne of Green Gables fame. Special appearance by Anne Meara.
What If I'm Gay? The popular and macho captain of his high-school soccer team is forced to confront his homosexuality, after his buddies discover a male-pornography magazine in his bedroom. Co-starring a pre-Beverly Hills, 90210 Gabrielle Carteris.
Juvi Teenager Susan Atherton (Traci Lind) is wrongfully accused of theft by her stepfather, who has her arrested and placed in juvenile hall. Co-starring Khrystyne Haje (of Head of the Class fame). Written and directed by actress Joanna Lee.
An Enemy Among Us A teenager is stunned to discover that he has contracted the AIDS virus after having a blood transfusion.

Season 5 (October 20, 1987 - April 19, 1988)[edit]

Episode Synopsis
Soldier Boys Detective Robb (James Earl Jones) investigates a club for teenage boys who take their "war game" fantasies into the real world.
Never Say Goodbye After her grandmother is pronounced brain-dead following a stroke, a teenage girl must make the painful decision whether to continue life support.
Home Sweet Homeless After a series of bad luck, a single mother and her sons become homeless and are forced to live in their car. Co-starring Michael Faustino (brother of David) and Alfonso Ribeiro (Silver Spoons, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air).
Gangs On leave from the army, a 19-year-old returns home to find his kid brother the leader of a gang. A gang he once led.

Season 6 (October 18, 1988 - April 11, 1989)[edit]

Episode Synopsis
No Means No When Megan Wells (Dana Barron) becomes a date-rape victim, she and her brother Michael (Chad Lowe) must deal with the fallout...which has lasting effects on their relationship with each other, and with the opposite sex in general. Co-starring Tracy Wells (of Mr. Belvedere fame) and Lori Loughlin (Rad, The New Kids).
Gambler A 17-year-old becomes addicted to gambling, which soon takes over his life. Not to be confused with the James Caan movie of the same title, despite similar subject matter. Co-starring George Dzundza (The Deer Hunter).
Words to Live By Two teenage boys are suspended from school after distributing an underground newspaper on campus. Starring Ricky Paull Goldin.
My Past Is My Own Two black teenagers are sent through time to experience how blacks were treated during the civil rights movement. Co-starring CCH Pounder.
15 and Getting Straight A look at a drug addiction-treatment center for teenagers (including real-life victims Drew Barrymore and Corey Feldman), where the counselors are ex-addicts themselves.
A Matter of Conscience A teenager is stunned when his grandfather's Nazi past becomes known to his family. Co-starring Eli Wallach.

Season 7 (October 17, 1989 - April 24, 1990)[edit]

Episode Synopsis
The Frog Girl A 15-year-old school girl refuses to dissect a frog and sues her school district for not allowing her to do an alternative project.
Flour Babies A group of high school students take part in a parenting class where their assignment is to treat a sack of flour like a new-born baby. Co-starring a pre-Beverly Hills, 90210 Ian Ziering.
The Girl with the Crazy Brother A teenage girl (Patricia Arquette) struggles to cope when her brother is diagnosed as a schizophrenic. Co-starring Alex Desert (Becker, The Heights); Belinda Carlisle contributes several songs from her album Runaway Horses.
American Eyes Korean boy, who has been adopted by an American family, decides to attend a Korean-American summer camp to learn more about his heritage.
Maggie's Secret 15-year-old Maggie Kingston must decide how to resolve not one but two drinking problems: that of her father (Joseph Bottoms - The Black Hole, Born to Race); and that of her mother (Mimi Kuzyk - The Kiss).
Malcolm Takes a Shot Teenage athlete Malcolm Jones is in denial about his epilepsy, as he strives for super-stardom on the basketball court. Directed by Mario Van Peebles, who also makes a cameo as Malcolm's doctor.

Season 8 (October 16, 1990 - April 2, 1991)[edit]

Episode Synopsis
The Fourth Man Not to be confused with the Paul Verhoeven movie of the same title. Seeking the respect of his star athlete-father, teenage computer-wiz Joey (Peter Billingsley) uses steroids to make his high school track and field team...and to win Heidi (Nicole Eggert), the class knockout, as his girlfriend. But soon those "roids" take their toll, both on Joey's social life and on his scholastic status...and, ultimately, on his body as well. Co-starring Adrienne Barbeau (as Joey's mom), Vince Vaughn (a frequent collaborator with Billingsley, as his best friend) and football great Lyle Alzado (a real-life steroid victim, who died two years later). Co-scripted and directed by Joanna Lee (she was "Tanna the Alien" in the cult classic Plan 9 from Outer Space), with a music score by TV host John Tesh.
Lies of the Heart Following a hit-and-run, wealthy high-school seniors Jordan Crane (Christopher Rydell, son of Joanne Linville and director Mark Rydell) and his best friend Kyle (Christopher Collet - Prayer of the Rollerboys, The Manhattan Project) are forced to deal with the consequences of their actions. It doesn't get any easier when Jordan, who was driving, falls in love with his victim's financially struggling daughter...who has no idea (at first) that he's responsible. Also starring Tricia O'Neil (The Gumball Rally) as Jordan's mother; with Brooke Theiss (Just the Ten of Us; she also starred in the live-action segments of Maxie's World) and Vince Vaughn.
The Emancipation of Lizzie Stern After a woman announces plans to move their family to another state, her 16-year-old daughter (Tammy Lauren) - the title character - seeks legal emancipation so she won't have to leave the school and friends she's had for so many years. Ultimately, Lizzie gets what she fought for...but wins much more than she counted on.
But He Loves Me When teenager Cassie O'Brian (Kelli Williams) hits it off with Charlie Tyler (Donovan Leitch - The Blob, Glory), the most popular boy in her school, everything is wonderful... until he becomes violent towards her. Both take turns narrating this story, which has a memorable surprise ending. Co-starring Season Hubley (Escape From New York) and Robin Tunney (The Craft, End of Days, Vertical Limit).
Abby, My Love Teenager Chip Fulton (Josh Hamilton) is determined to help his new girlfriend Abby Morris (Cara Buono) when he learns she is being sexually abused at home. Anthony Heald (Deep Rising) and Veronica Cartwright (Alien) portray Abby's parents.

Season 9 (October 22, 1991 - April 7, 1992)[edit]

Episode Synopsis
Dedicated to the One I Love Teenage Amy Miller (Lisa Dean Ryan) is stunned to discover what killed her beloved boyfriend: AIDS. With Joely Fisher (sister of Carrie).
Two Teens and a Baby Two teenage brothers (one of them portrayed by Brice Beckham from Mr. Belvedere) are stunned when their mother announces that she is expecting a daughter. Co-starring Robert Picardo (as the boys' dad) and Maureen Flannigan (of Out of This World and Push fame). (Despite a popular misconception, the sequel Two Teens and a Little Lady does not exist.)
50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth Special featuring 50 things young people can do to save the earth.
Please, God, I'm Only Seventeen Young Michael Leland is critically injured in an automobile accident, which teaches both his sister (Roxana Zal) and his best friend Steve (Stan Kirsch) never to take life for granted. Co-starring Randolph Mantooth (of Emergency! fame) and Talia Shire (from the Rocky movies) as Michael's parents.
Different Worlds: A Story of Interracial Love Two teens from racially different background begin a relationship after witnessing the murder of a mutual friend.

Season 10 (October 20, 1992 - April 13, 1993)[edit]

Episode Synopsis
Sexual Considerations Teenager Jen (Heather McAdam) blows the whistle on sexual harassment by a classmate, so a student court is hand-picked to straighten things out. Co-starring football great-turned-blaxploitation legend Bernie Casey, mixed martial arts champion Tito Ortiz and Hudson Leick (of Xena: Warrior Princess fame; she was Callisto).
Words Up! An illiterate 25-year-old (Kadeem Hardison) returns to high school, posing as a teenager so he can learn to read. Co-starring Richard Moll, David Faustino and Vanna White (as herself).
Love Off Limits Two youngsters cry censorship when their school demands that they edit out "inappropriate" portions of their student film. Co-starring Steve Guttenberg (who also directed) and John Savage.
Big Boys Don't Cry High-school wrestler Tony suspects - correctly - that his younger brother is being molested by their uncle Paul (Robert Pine of CHiPs fame). For Tony, this causes painful memories of his own sexual abuse as a child by Paul...which all but destroys Tony's life, when his parents refuse to believe him and his wrestling coach doesn't care. Co-starring Mario Lopez as a fellow wrestler (and the only person who's sympathetic to Tony's plight).
Crosses on the Lawn A community begins to take sides when an affirmative action program is introduced.

Season 11 (October 12, 1993 - April 12, 1994)[edit]

Episode Synopsis
Other Mothers Charles In Charge star Justin Whalin portrays a teenage basketball player who has been raised by a lesbian couple. Now he must contend with the conservative views of his new high school. Co-starring Joanna Cassidy, Meredith Baxter of Family Ties fame (who would come out years later with the release of her autobiography Untied) and Judith Ivey.
If I Die Before I Wake High school students must ultimately pick up the pieces when their entire track and field team is killed in an airplane crash (shades of We Are Marshall). Co-starring Gavin MacLeod (of The Love Boat fame), Tammy Lauren and Tito Ortiz.
Love in the Dark Ages Teenage girl is stunned to discover that her boyfriend has given her an STD.
Same Difference Two teens from different cultural backgrounds face opposition from their parents when they begin to date.

Season 12 (October 11, 1994 - May 30, 1995)[edit]

Episode Synopsis
The Writing on the Wall Three teens (one portrayed by Peter Billingsley) are arrested for defacing a Jewish temple. The indomitable rabbi (Hal Linden) - who prides himself on never writing anybody off, and on never blowing his cool (except, he admits, when the Mets lose) - persuades the judge (Steven Gilborn) to give the boys 25 hours of Holocaust/Judaism "Tolerance" education...which the rabbi himself will teach. Based on a true story.
My Summer as a Girl Desperate for a summer job, a teenage boy masquerades as a girl (a la Tootsie) to land a chambermaid job at a swanky hotel.
What About Your Friends A unique look at the senior year successes - and failures - of three high school girlfriends (one of them portrayed by Lark Voorhies of Saved By the Bell fame) as they prepare for college.
Kids Killing Kids Four separate stories are dramatized showing the tragic consequences when teens use guns to solve their problems, and how they can solve the same problem without guns.
Between Mother and Daughter Anna Leone (Lindsay Crouse) is dying of breast cancer. Her husband Joe (Dan Lauria from Terror in the Family and The Wonder Years) has trouble dealing with this, as do their teenage offspring Scott (Christopher Daniel Barnes) and - especially - Carla (A.J. Langer from Drexell's Class, My So-Called Life and The People Under the Stairs).
Stand Up Teenager wants to be a stand-up comic and go on tour, despite her father's opposition.

Season 13 (October 24, 1995 - January 23, 1996)[edit]

Episode Synopsis
My Indian Summer Native American teenager decides to learn more about her culture by spending the summer on the Indian Reservation where her mother was born.
Children Remember the Holocaust Keanu Reeves hosts this special where celebrities narrate letters, diaries, and published stories of children who have lived through the Holocaust.
Crosstown When her parents split up, a teenage girl must move out of the suburbs and into the big city. Co-starring Roscoe Lee Browne (Logan's Run, Forest Warrior).

See also[edit]


External links[edit]