ABC 1967-1968, A Very Special Season: Off to See the Wizard

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Off to See the Wizard was an anthology series that aired on ABC from 7:30PM-8:30PM during the 1967-1968 season. Each week, the characters from The Wizard of Oz — in animated form — would introduce a feature film or other programs. Because it only ran an hour, often films were shown in two parts over the course of two weeks. Films shown included Lili, Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion, Zebra in the Kitchen and more. Also shown as part of Off to See the Wizard were television pilots, including “Alexander the Great” with William Shatner and Adam West.

For the 1967-1968 season, ABC used the slogan “A Very Special Season” and distinctive kaleidoscopic imagery to promote its new and returning programs. New programs included N.Y.P.D., Cowboy in Africa, Good Company, The Flying Nun, Off To See the Wizard and Judd, for the Defense. Due to Labor Day, ABC kicked off its premiere week on Tuesday, September 5th.


12 Comments

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    This was supposed to be MGM’s answer to “WALT DISNEY’S WONDERFUL WORLD OF COLOR” in the fall of 1967 [as the studio’s inital TV production, “MGM PARADE”, was basically a half-hour variation of “DISNEYLAND”, which, incidentally, they followed on Wednesday nights in the 1955-’56 season- but not as memorable or skillfully crafted]. Virtually all of the multi-part features (and most of the unsold pilots) were from the MGM library; the animated sequences, featuring “Dorothy” and the “Oz” characters, that “linked” the various elements of the program together, were produced by Chuck Jones’ animation unit at the studio.

  • RGJ says:

    The one episode (two, really) of Off to See the Wizard that I’d love to see is the two-part “The Lost Island,” broadcast on November 10th and 17th of 1967. And since it has apparently been released on VHS and/or DVD (without any of the linking segments) I actually can. If I ever get around to finding a copy.

  • Cee Jay says:

    I agree with Barry, ABC probably wanted a program to pull viewers away from THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Not to “pull viewers away” from the Disney series, ‘Cee Jay’- “OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD” was on Fridays at 7:30pm(et), opposite “THE WILD WILD WEST” on CBS and “TARZAN” on NBC [again, Robert Conrad & Ross Martin drove their competition off the air by the end of the season], while “WALT DISNEY’S WONDERFUL WORLD OF COLOR” (it didn’t change its title until the fall of ’69) continued as NBC’s “keystone” on Sundays at 7:30. As I’ve said, MGM {and ABC} wanted to produce their own version of the “DISNEY” anthology, but the ratings just weren’t there to justify another season.

    • Hal says:

      In reviewing the 1966-67 ratings (Television Magazine, Vol 24 Number 8), the opposite almost happened the year before. TARZAN made the top 30, driving the previous season hit WILD, WILD WEST all the way down to number 53 in that season’s ratings. WWW held on, though, and took over the time slot, driving TARZAN completely off the air in 1967-68

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    …and do you know what MGM (and ABC) had the termerity to do on “WIZARD” in early 1968? They presented a two-part edition of their 1959 version of “Tarzan the Ape Man”, starring Denny Miller (which was itself originally conceived as an unsold TV pilot, padded with additional footage so it could be released theatrically!) directly opposite NBC’s current edition of “TARZAN” {starring Ron Ely}, as part of a futile effort to get viewers to watch THEIR program! Needless to say, it didn’t work…however, “TARZAN” was also cancelled by NBC at the end of the season.

  • Ann says:

    I have been trying to find a copy of “Mike and the Mermaid” which I believe was aired on the series “Off to see the Wizard” in the 60’s. Is there anyway to purchase a copy of it? Thanks for your time. Ann

  • wayne daigrepont says:

    why isn’t this clip in sound??

  • Hal says:

    The canoeing accident that killed RAWHIDE star Eric Fleming and almost killed co-star Nico Minardos was during filming of a two-part TV movie pilot to be aired on OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD called “High Jungle”. Ultimately, the episode never aired after the tragedy.

    Minardos did guest star on HONDO, which followed OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD on ABC’s schedule, on the Oct. 6, 1967 episode.

  • Ted K. HIssong says:

    THE WIZARD OF OZ and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and (C) Turner Entertainment Co.

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