TOTALLY UNKNOWN – part 1

Back in the late ’70’s, my friend Stan Tobias and I, fledgling comedy writers, decided to pool some dough together and rent out studio time in Manhattan to create a 30 minute comedy show. We worked out of a video workshop studio called ETC Studios, usually starting on a late Friday night and running into very early Saturday morning, many times leaving the studio at daybreak as we also spent the time editing. We did 4 shows,each one 30 minutes and had an obligation of sorts with a new concept called CABLE-TV, specifically MANHATTAN CABLE TV. We would give them a show and they gave us air time.

Since Manhattan Cable TV was aired ONLY in Manhattan, we would have to traipse into Manhattan during the middle of the week and haul ourselves into some urine smelly dive bar (usually McSheery’s) and convince the bartender that we were TV stars and ‘our show’ was going to air! We called the show, TOTALLY UNKNOWN because….that’s what we were, totally unknown.

Each show was a spoof of popular commercials and popular movies: Newlywed Game, Close Encounters-you get the drift!

We were also fortunate to have some other great people help us out: Howie Cohen, Ken Oguss and a few other people whose names I just don’t recall.

The show was sooo amazingly low budget; costs ran about $170 per show; I know it’s not much but it’s all we could afford! It was sort of like a Soupy Sales show but  worse!

These postings are reformatted from a DVD that was copied and copied and copied from copies of copies of copies, so the quality just ain’t there so much. We are going back 30 years and the technology at that time consisted of 1″ reel to reel video tape.

We made a master tape consisting of the BEST OF…and took it around town. One of the folks we met with was the original host of late night TV in New York, Joe Franklin. He, in turn, introduced us to a guy by the name of Fred Shepisi, who was the director of  ‘new comedy development’ for a relatively new cable station called HBO.

Fred was an idiot!

And don’t worry: there will NOT be any colorized version.

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