Q & A: The Start of Something Big; The Crown of Bogg

I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to dig through my inbox and pull out a few choice e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to read. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.

I have a question: Do you remember a show from about 15 years ago? I think it was hosted by Steve Allen, and it was called, “The Start of Something Big.” I’d love to be able to watch recordings from that show. It was really good.
Leitha

The Start of Something Big was an hour-long syndicated series hosted by Steve Allen that explored how famous people and products got their start. It was created by Alfred M. Masini and was his fifth syndicated series after Solid Gold, Entertainment Tonight, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and Star Search. Robin Leach, who hosted Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, was also involved producing the series.

The series premiered in January 1985. According to Allen, “it’s [a] simple and pleasant duty for me and to the extent that I can provide interesting information, it’s philosophically justified” [1]. Tom Shales, reviewing the series for The Washington Post, referred to it as “a tape pastiche of featurettes about how now-famous people got their breaks and how such things as the bikini, ice cream and potato chips were invented. This is back-of-the-book stuff even in The Farmer’s Almanac” [2].

According to an April 6th, 1986 article in The New York Times, The Start of Something Big “turned a profit [but] failed to create enough interest to allow production for next season” [3]. How many episodes were produced and when the series went off the air is unknown.

I was wondering, there was a Halloween TV show for kids that aired in 1981. It was called the Crown of Bogg and was produced by “ALF” creator Paul Fusco. I was wondering if you’ve heard of it?
Roger

The earliest television listing I have found for “The Crown of Bogg” is from October 1982. Some sources refer to it as a cartoon, others as a puppet show. It seems to have been shown during October on a variety of cable channels — including Showtime and Nickelodeon — throughout the 1980s. If anyone has more information about this half-hour special, please speak up. It may have also been shown locally on television stations in some areas.

Works Cited:

1 Hanauer, Joan. “TV World; Steve Allen mounrs.” United Press International. 22 Jan. 1985: BC Cycle.
2 Shales, Tom. “Exotic Ennui.” Washington Post. 24 Jan. 1985: D10.
3 Funt, Peter. “One Man’s Formula for Sure-Fire Hits.” New York Times. 7 Apr. 1986: 96.


24 Comments

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    I watched “THE START OF SOMETHING BIG” when it aired on WPIX-TV Sunday nights…and personally, Tom Shales was a sourpuss about the whole thing. The best part was when Steve would describe how certain products and “icons” came to be, and he’d start “riffing” on them comedically (one of his transcripts, concerning the origins of “the bra”, is in one of his books about his TV career). Another reason for the series’ short run was due to Steve’s heart attack around the middle of the series. It was on for a season and a half.

  • Rob says:

    Looking for “The Crown of Bogg” on DVD. I’d love to watch it again. Last time i saw it was in early 80’s on Showtime.
    Any sources on where to see this obscure Halloween show? Thanks! ROB

    • melissa says:

      amazon and best buy just stared releasing all of the paul f shorts on dvd and streaming . unfortunately they have every one ( santa’s magic toy bag, an easter story , a thanksgiving tale, the valentines that almost wasn’t, and a far out fourth) except the crown of bogg or at least not yet. I am hoping they will just do a box set !!

  • Michael Cipriano says:

    To Rob: (Who’s looking for The Crown of Bogg)…

    I recorded it from Showtime on VHS tape years ago and transferred it to DVD. I didn’t really ever play the VHS tape (other than when I made the DVD out of it) so my DVD came out pretty darn good considering how old the show is. I must literally be the only person who has this on DVD because every once in a while I get contacted by people from all over America who remember it (I think I might be in a forum online somewhere about having this because people find me by doing a search) and I am always thrilled to share this “obscurity” with anyone I can.

    Contact me and we will go from there.

    Michael

    • John Cook says:

      I’d love to have a copy of the Crown of Bogg on dvd! I’ve been looking for this Halloween special for ages and never remembered the name of it. After watching it on youtube I was amazed at how I remembered every bit of it. Michael or anyone else that has this on dvd, please let me know. I’ll gladly pay anyone for it plus shipping via paypal.! Let me know!

      • Michael Cipriano says:

        John Cook:

        Wow, is this unbelievable or what? The last time I was on this exact web page was 10/25/2009 when I posted the comment that you replied to. I decided to check the website again today and come to find out you replied to it yesterday!!! I guess it was meant to be that I came looking at this site again.

        Did you check out the YouTube video I also posted a link to on this page? I put that on YouTube myself.

        Now, to answer your question, of course I will send you a copy of the DVD I made. Just make sure that it would be OK for you to send me a Money Order instead of going through PayPal. I like doing it that way better. If you want to contact me privately, go to the YouTube link I posted here for “The Crown of Bogg Part 1 of 6” and send me a private message through YouTube. My User ID on there is: “suplex2000”.

        Look forward to hearing from you.

    • Billy Endres says:

      Interested in a dvd copy of The Crown Of Bogg,please reply

    • Matt says:

      I would totally love a copy of this if you still are alive & have that dvd.. will reimburse you!

  • Hey everyone! Did someone recognize that filmmaker Mr. Fusco? The person generated a fabulous film titled chloe A – Z, sadly i must say my friend and i guess the guy might be not very much recognized. I have read mr. fusco lives in New York. My friend and i desire to positively discover just what various other films Mr. J Fusco have made, can easily any one give me and my friend one or two helpful informations on this movieproducer?

  • jack Gyahoo.com says:

    This is to awsome that you have this video… Is there any way I can get a copy? I have been searching for this since the 80’s after my father accidently recorded over “the crown of bogg”
    it was one of my most favorite television memories ever.

  • Jack Gallegos says:

    to:Michael

    is there any way I could get a copy of “The Crown Of Bog” from you?
    I’d be willing to pay for it…
    and pay for shipping…
    if this is possible… please feel free to contact me!
    thank you!
    Jack

  • Matthew Brown says:

    This may be the trail I have been looking for – I have been searching for years for any info about a puppet-based holiday special I recall from the eighties on HBO or Showtime. I have found that Mr. Fusco had six holiday specials total, but can only verify five: Halloween, Valentine’s, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. Perhaps the sixth is for the Fourth of July? I remember space alien puppets being captured and learning the definition of freedom while singing, “There’s more to the Fourth of July than the fireworks that light up the sky. It means independence for you and I ….” something something…
    I can find no info about a patriotic alien puppet special anywhere – help!

    • Dave says:

      Did you ever track this down?

    • Robert R. says:

      I have A Far Out Fourth on an old vhs tape from when I was a kid! And yes those lyrics are exactly how that song goes. I’m surprised I haven’t been able to find anything online about this except what’s below. Anyway, I know your question was from awhile back now but if I do any converting of my childhood tapes to DVD I may upload to youtube.

      • Matthew Brown says:

        So now I have a name to put to my memory – Thank you Robert! Still searching, my quest happened to lead me back to this site. If you ever do upload it, that would be awesome!

  • Richard J. Schellbach says:

    I worked on all six of those specials. The company was called Imagicom and they aired on Showtime. HBO had the Muppets and I’ve always believed that Showtime wanted their own puppts too. I’ll be happy to answer any questions about The Crown Of Bogg, The Valintines Day That Nearly Wasn’t, An Easter Story, A Far-Out Fourth, A Thanksgiving Tale and Santa’s Magic Toy Bag. BTW, we also did a non-Showtime special called The Moonstone Gem that was released on Media Entertainment on VHS.

    Anyway, ask away.

    • William Endres says:

      Richard, thanks for all the good work. Me and my children enjoyed all of the Imagicom Showtime specials when first aired. I would love to find a resource to acquire these gems. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks again, Billy

    • Michael Cipriano says:

      Hello Richard:

      I consider myself very fortunate to have The Crown of Bogg on a transferred-from-VHS-tape DVD. I was able to track down some others, but I haven’t ever seen the Valentines Day special, Easter, or the 4th of July ones. Is their anyway to get those specials? I would honestly love an official release of all 6 of them on DVD, but who knows what it would take to make that happen.

      Thank you,
      Michael

    • Stacy says:

      I would also love to see these shows on DVD. Is there any chance of this happening? Anyone we could contact to ask about how we might acquire them?

      I found The Crown of Bogg and Santas Magic Toy Bag on YouTube but would love to find a way to see the other ones again!

    • Colleen says:

      Me too, too! Now a mother of two young boys, holidays just don’t seem the same without these magical specials. Please help me get my hands on a copy of each. Especially An Easter Story! It was always my favorite

      What you guys created was (is) truly brilliant! Thanks for helping to make my holiday memories so special. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to do the same for my boys!

      • Nathan J says:

        I too would love a copy of all 6! I somehow tracked down Paul Fusco via the internet and sent him a letter a few years ago. I told him how much I loved the holiday specials and I wished I could purchase them either on VHS or DVD. To my surprise he wrote me back and said that he appreciated the letter but he did not think the specials would ever be for sale. Bummer! I really wish I could get my hands on the Easter Story! That was my favorite too. All I really remember of it was a bunch of jellybeans!

  • Michael says:

    Here is The Crown of Bogg on YouTube in a Full Video. No more Parts of 6.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkKDGqOI8W4

    You can also now “Like” my Crown of Bogg Facebook Page. There isn’t a ton of information on Facebook about it, but it’s a start.

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