2. Wolfman Jack was The Midnight Special's announcer from the beginning and was the only "regular" during its eight-year run. Born Robert Weston Smith, the deep-voiced disc jockey first gained fame in the early 1960s at a 250kw clear-channel radio station near the Mexican border. He was already a popular syndicated deejay in the U.S. when he appeared in George Lucas' nostalgic American Graffiti (1973).
3. The Midnight Special, which debuted in its regular Saturday 1:00 A.M. time slot in February 1973, was the first late-night series to follow The Tonight Show. Tom Snyder's talk show Tomorrow debuted later that year and filled the same time slot on Tuesday through Friday.
|Tina Turner rockin' out on The Midnight Special.|
5. Donna Summer was the most frequent performer, logging nine appearances from 1976-1981--during the disco era, of course. Indeed, at the height of disco, The Midnight Special set was redesigned to look like a disco club.
6. The Midnight Special eventually expanded its guest star line-up to include comedians, such as: Richard Pryor, Billy Crystal, Andy Kaufman, Jimmie Walker, David Brenner, Monty Python, and Bill Cosby.
7. NBC cancelled The Midnight Special in 1981. Part of the reason was that it wanted to lure back programming executive Dick Ebersol to revive a flagging Saturday Night Live. Ebersol, who was instrumental in SNL's original success, had left NBC in 1980 to pursue other ventures, which included producing The Midnight Special. To free Ebersol from The Midnight Special, NBC--which had been mulling cancellation anyway--just terminated its pioneer late-night show.