The year was 1975 and it began on a Wednesday.
The average cost of buying a new house was just under $40,000 and the price of oil went over $13 per barrel for the first time.
Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System began and Motorola obtained the patent for the first portable mobile phone.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen created the soon-to-be mega company Microsoft.
Famous babes born in this year were Tiger Woods, Kate Winslet and Angelina Jolie.
Gerald Ford was in the Oval office and on October 1st 1975 Mohammad Ali beat Joe Frazier in the famed “Thriller in Manilla” match.
Then only ten days after the Ali-Frazier fight, an edgy new late-night comedy originally called NBC Saturday Night premiered. Saturday Night Live was created as a show to fill the spot left by Johnny Carson’s rerun show “The Best of Carson” which up until 1975 was aired in either the Saturday or Sunday late night spots. In 1974 Carson decided he wanted to pull the rerun shows from weekend usage and run them in the regular weeknight time slot for when he was off…so in steps Lorne Micheals to create a boundary pushing variety show and voila SNL was born.
The relatively unknown cast of this new variety show, all from the New York and Toronto comedy scenes, found instant fame following the premier of SNL. After only one season, Chevy Chase departed from SNL to head off for Hollywood. Akroyd and Belushi followed Chase’s lead and departed SNL in ’79 to peruse their own Hollywood dreams. Fortunatley for SNL’s writers and creator there has always been a bottomless pool of talent to work with during the many years of the show’s production.
Scores of actors, comedians, political figures and musicians have hosted and performed for over 3 decades on the stage of NBC’s studio 8-H in New York City. And this year at the debut of the show’s 36th season, long-time announcer Don Pardo, age 92, announced that he would pre-record his parts from his home in Arizona rather than performing live in New York.
As I was doing my research on SNL and the year 1975…I came upon this statement by Geoffrey Hammill from the Museum of Broadcast Communication, which I think sums up the legacy of SNL beautifully.
“As a stage for satire, few other American programs match Saturday Night Live. As an outlet for current music, the show has featured acts from every popular musical genre and has hosted both old and new artists (from Paul Simon, the Rolling Stones and George Harrison to REM and Sinead O’Connor.) Due to its longevity, SNL has crossed generational lines and made the culture of a younger audience available to their elders (and the opposite is also true). Ultimately, Saturday Night Live must be considered one of the most distinctive and significant programs in the history of U.S. television”.