For this week’s “Things That Bring Back Memories” post, I am going to pick something in the topic of “TELEVISION” and go with That’s Incredible. This was a show that was like the original reality TV. It always had some exciting stories on it and was great to watch as a whole family. We always laughed at how the one host had better hair than the lady. ha/ha
For those of you, who are either too young, or just don’t remember it, here’s a video of one of the That’s Incredible shows:
So, did you ever see the show when you were younger? or have you seen it on TV or the internet later in life? Let me know what you thought of it, and if you have any memories of it in your life!
More Info on the Show:
That’s Incredible! is an American reality television show that aired on the ABC television network from 1980 to 1984. In the tradition of You Asked for It, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and Real People, the show featured people performing stunts and reenactments of allegedly paranormal events. The show also often featured people with unusual talents, such as speed-talker John Moschitta, Jr., who made his first national television appearance on the show, as well as scientific, medical, and technological breakthroughs such as the Taser and cryogenic corneal reshaping by lathe keratomileusis.
The show was co-hosted by Fran Tarkenton, John Davidson, and Cathy Lee Crosby, and was produced by Alan Landsburg Productions. Originally aired as an hour-long program, episodes were later re-edited into 30 minute segments for syndication. It debuted on March 3, 1980.
A number of the stunts performed were dangerous, including juggling knives, staying inside a small box for hours, and one involving a man supposedly catching a bullet between his teeth. The dangerous nature of these stunts eventually prompted producers to augment the footage with the caption “Do Not Try This Yourself”. Steve Baker also known as “Mr. Escape”, was frequently featured on the show.
The show has been cited as an influence on hip-hop culture in New Zealand, where much television programming in the 1980’s was American. In 1983 the show featured several dancing crews, giving youth of Pacific Island and Maori heritage, many of whom were interested in hip-hop culture and dance, a sense of connectedness to global youth culture. In the early 1980’s, Army Lt. Col. Earl Woods (Ret.) brought his son Eldrick to That’s Incredible, showing his ability to putt a golf ball into a hole from different areas. Eldrick is now better known by his nickname, “Tiger.”
Some of the Stars:
John Davidson (Host) was a dark-haired, Pittsburgh-born singer/TV personality, who was born in 1941 and the son of a Baptist minister, is highly-defined and sometimes cursed by his clean-cut, fresh-faced, apple-cheeked handsomeness. After graduating from high school in White Plains, New York, and earning a B.A. in Theater Arts from Denison University, John took his naturally-gifted baritone voice to the musical stage. Through the lean years, John maintained by singing on his own TV Christmas specials and guesting in episodes of The Love Boat (1977) and Fantasy Island (1977). Interest in John, however, slacked off. It wasn’t until the next decade when his career revitalized by hosting That’s Incredible! (1980). The show’s format fit John’s buoyant nature to a tee and lasted four years, alongside co-host Cathy Lee Crosby. His talent for self-effacing “straight man” humor showed up first as a The Hollywood Squares (1965) regular, then as takeover host of The New Hollywood Squares (1986), which lasted several years. He also took over Dick Clark’s emcee post on the syndicated game show, The $10,000 Pyramid (1973), during the 1992-1993 season. Music, however, has always been John’s first passion. In addition to recording 12 solo albums in both the pop and country music venues, he plays the guitar and banjo and has sung in English, French and Spanish. A perennial nightclub and concert favorite, he has starred in many national tours and stock productions including “The Music Man”, “110 in the Shade”, “Paint Your Wagon”, “Li’l Abner”, “Camelot”, “Carousel”, “I Do! I Do!” and “Will Rogers’ Follies”, among others. He’s appeared in legit plays, including the off-Broadway comedy, “High Infidelity”, opposite both Barbara Eden and Morgan Fairchild, and, in 1996, returned to Broadway, after 32 years, in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, “State Fair”. Two years later, he was inspired to try out his one-man show, “Bully”, as Theodore Roosevelt, after playing the president earlier in the musical, “Teddy and Alice”. John has made sporadic appearances in films, including the disaster epic, The Concorde… Airport ’79 (1979), and Edward Scissorhands (1990). Divorced in 1982 from singer Jackie Miller, who once was part of the folk duo, Jackie and Gayle, after 13 years of marriage and two children, John is currently with second wife and former backup singer, Rhonda Davidson (since 1983). Together, they have a child of their own, Ashleigh Davidson. Most recently, he appeared with one of his children, Ashleigh, in a 2005 musical production of “Shenandoah”.
Fran Tarkenton (Host) was born on February 3, 1940 in Richmond, Virginia, USA as Francis Asbury Tarkenton. He is best known for playing with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants, as well as serving as a commentator on Monday Night Football and a co-host of That’s Incredible!. At the time of his retirement he owned every major quarterback record. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986. Tarkenton also founded Tarkenton Software, a computer-program generator company, and he toured the U.S. promoting CASE (computer-aided software engineering) with Albert F. Case, Jr. of Nastec Corporation. Tarkenton Software later merged with KnowledgeWare (with Tarkenton as president), until selling the company to Sterling Software in 1994. He is an actor, known for NFL Monday Night Football (1970), That’s Incredible! Reunion (1988) and Bob Hope’s All-Star Comedy Spectacular from Lake Tahoe (1977). He is married to Linda. They have one child. He was previously married to Anna Elaine Merrell.
Cathy Lee Crosby (Host) founder & CEO of CLC Entertainment Studios, is an internationally recognized star, multi-talented actress, entertainer, writer and producer. Her diverse career includes: representing the U.S. in international tennis competition (she attained a career high ranking of #7 in singles and #4 in doubles), serving as Special Ambassador to Children for the United Nations, working as a member of the Board of Directors of the Congressional Awards (she was nominated and confirmed by both the House and the Senate of the United States), founding and serving as Chairperson of the Get High on Yourself Foundation; and she entertained the troops with Bob Hope on his last Christmas Tour of the Middle East. She has starred in over 75 feature films, mini-series and television productions, including the first movie of the iconic comic book “Wonder Woman,” which to date is the highest rated show starring a female ever on television with a 49% share! Cathy Lee also became a household name and fan-favorite when she starred in the top-ten hit TV series, “That’s Incredible!” on ABC. Cathy Lee made her Off Broadway debut starring in the play Almost Perfect, directed by Geraldine Fitzgerald. She also wrote, directed and starred in two plays, Zoot Suit: The Real Story and the first theatrical adaptation of the book, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? For the latter production, Cathy Lee received the “Outstanding Contribution to the Arts Award” from the City of Los Angeles. She formed her own production company whose first project was the highly acclaimed movie based on the book, One Child. She produced the film and starred in the title role. Cathy Lee’s first book,” Let the Magic Begin”© (Simon & Schuster) made its debut on Oprah. The book received glowing reviews and endorsements from such noted authors, athletes and entertainers as Larry King, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Reba McEntire, Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Wayne Dyer and Dan Millman. She is writing her next book titled “Life is a Work of Art, So Why Not Make it a Masterpiece!”©. Cathy Lee has also been actively involved in many charitable foundations including the Special Olympics, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Children’s Hospital, City of Hope, the USO and Babies with Aids. In recognition of her longstanding service to children and the less fortunate, Cathy Lee was recently bestowed the most prestigious honor of being knighted “Lady Cathy Lee Crosby” in the Royal Order of Saint John, the oldest humanitarian organization in the world. After a 7 year hiatus from the entertainment business to care for two beloved family members at the end of their lives (keeping a promise she had made to them some 20 years earlier), Cathy Lee is back in Hollywood with a groundbreaking new company called CLC Entertainment Studios. It is the vehicle she is using to create, produce and distribute quality, one-of-a-kind, life-affirming and highly profitable entertainment projects that will enrich peoples’ lives all over the world.
Did You Know?
The show was mentioned in the lyrics of the song “TV Party” by Black Flag.
While host of That’s Incredible!, Cathy Lee was the subject of the “Nipple Memo” in which ABC executives suggested she go braless on the show. She declined.
Fast-talker, Mr. Spleen, was played by John Moschitta. He caught the eye of Federal Express’ ad agency when he appeared on a 1980 episode of That’s Incredible!.
For those unfamiliar with it, “That’s Incredible!” was a type of Ripley’s Believe it or Not/Guinness World Records show in the early 80’s that featured strange people with abnormalities or supernatural abilities.
In the scene from Poltergeist, in the kitchen where Dr. Lesh tells Steve and Diane that she has to display the video tapes at the college, Steve says “Please, not on “60 minutes” and Diane says “or That’s Incredible!”
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