“The Midnight Special” was a Friday night Pop Rock variety show on NBC TV that ran in the same weekly time slot of 12:30 AM to 2AM EST for 9 years (1972-1981). It was taped in front of a live studio audience at NBC Burbank Ca. Concert footage was included at times. During the show’s run there were some reruns on Saturday nights and 3 hr. compilation specials. Wolfman Jack appeared each week as announcer and main host, with a different guest host each week. Pop Rock and comedy performers appeared on the show. In changing times, the show’s time slot was later filled by “Friday Night Videos”(1983), with the sudden popularity of the music video.


“The Midnight Special” launched in the early 1970s as a way to expand NBC’s late night offerings. I know that it seems strange to kids that NBC went off the air after The Tonight Show. Well, I’m not even going to try and peg down when Tom Snyder became a thing, but the point is that NBC needed material. So, they invited people into a studio to sit down and play music for a live studio audience. Everyone played there from Fleetwood Mac to Redbone to Jim Croce and all talents related to the AM dial. The level of stunning performances captured across all six discs has knocked me on my ass.

Live music shows in the 1970s were a dime a dozen. However, “The Midnight Special” balanced the material and hosts into something that almost served as an early template for later success with “Saturday Night Live”. I keep watching that one disc with the Olivia Newton-John and Redbone performances on it. Following “Guardians of the Galaxy”, I find myself blasting “Come and Get Your Love” at every chance I get. That is where these releases succeed. They might not be in HD, but they offer up a pop culture moment in time that transcends generations.

The DVD comes with interviews and featurettes as the special features. The standard definition transfer is crisp enough. I’m guessing that it beats your parents’ old VHS copies. The Dolby track works for the soundstage that it needs. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to fans.

RELEASE DATE: 09/09/2014

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