Wednesday, December 17, 2014

One of my favorite shows: TODAY'S SPECIAL

In Alaska we got a lot of Canadian programing back before cable was huge and before satellite dish companies were options. One of the Canadian shows we got was Today's Special. This was a great show for children and Nickelodeon ran it for many years back in the 80's.

Today's Special was all about a department store's children's department. It focused on the night staff that worked there, the store was always empty because it was night time. A mannequin named, Jeff, was brought to life with a magic hat and some magic words. By day he was in store windows but at night he would come alive and learn about the world from Jodie who did the displays at night, the old night watchman  Sam, and the resident mouse, Muffy. Sam and Muffy were puppets but Jeff and Jodie were real people. The only condition of Jeff's magic was, he could NEVER leave the store and if his hat came off, he became his mannequin form. The magic words to bring Jeff to life were, Hocus, Pocus, Alimagocus.

Each day focused on a new topic. It helped that the characters were always teaching Jeff things because he had the mind of a child, but children at home related to that. Another character was Sam's computer that ran the store, TXL Series 4 Computer. She announced everything on the show but in scenes where Sam would talk to her, she was a normal character. She almost always ended up nagging Sam until he unplugged her just to shut her up, then he would laugh.

Jodie was the main character. Jodie worked at the store after it had closed for the night. She was nice and calm and very smart. She was very patient and kind and had a great positive outlook on all of the situations. Jodie was constantly teaching life lessons to Jeff and was always understanding when he didn't understand something. After typing that all out I guess she was to model what a mother should be.

Jeff was the mannequin that was brought to life in the first episode by a magician named Waldo the Magnificent. Jeff knew very little in the beginning and had to learn everything as if he was a child. If he ever leaves the store he will permanently be a mannequin forever. Jeff was an amazing dancer and danced in every episode. I THINK, I think because something happened with extra magic going to Jeff's feet instead of his head in the first episode or something like that, I haven't watched this show in over 25 years so please excuse my memory. Jeff was great and all the characters broke the 4th wall, especially Jeff. He was played by actor Jeff Hyslop and I found him on Facebook but HE STILL HASN'T ACCEPTED MY FRIEND REQUEST.

Sam Crenshaw was a puppet but he had an actual live cat named Penelope. Sam was old and knew about Jeff and helped to teach him. He was very understanding but he could be stubborn at times. He ran the store's security system through his TXL series 4 computer. He was very grandfather-like, not only in appearance but in his actions. He often spoke of the old days and used to be a marine.

Muffy the mouse was another puppet on the show. She lived in the store and was always trying to play tricks on people. She was obsessed with cheese and she freaked out when somebody would mention a cat. She also only spoke in rhyme which was a cool touch. Muffy knew a lot and could help teach Jeff things but she also was portrayed as learning new things along side Jeff. I also noticed that her voice changed as the series went on.

I also always thought Gloria from Under The Umbrella Tree on Disney Channel, looked suspiciously very close to Muffy. Made me think Gloria was a cheap rip off of Muffy, I didn't like her for that and still don't.

I remember a lot from the show, especially the songs and dances that happened in every episode. I'm surprised at how much I still remember learning from this show. Some things I still remember learning are, butterflies live to 2 years old, trees can be indoors as babies, Toronto is a city, exercise keeps you healthy, how green screens work, thinking positively can make a difference, and how the digestive system works.

I can remember going into my mom's room as a 3 year old as we were getting ready to move to Pennsylvania from Alaska and I asked, "Mommy, will there be Today's Special in Pennsylvania?" I remember her saying she didn't know and that upset me. That's how much I enjoyed the show though. Many, many months later we got cable after moving across the country and I was watching Nickelodeon and they said, "Coming up next is, Today's Special." I got up from the couch and went running to find my mom to tell her the wonderful news.

There aren't shows like this on TV anymore that's for sure. A lot try to be informative and educational but they just seem so much slower and more boring. Today's Special had lessons, music, dancing, and puppets, everything you want in a show as a kid but that's just my two cents.  


Unknown said...

I love this show too! Jeff was my favourite! He didn't accept my friend request either but I hear the same from a few others :(

And lol about Gloria being a rip-off of Muffy, I too thought they look similar and obviously Muffy is better!

John david miller said...

Hello my name is John david miller & my favorite character on tv-ontario's today's-special is muffy she's a little cutie-pie 🐁 mouse.

John david miller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John david miller said...

Hello it's me again if i was an american observer on a canadian children's television show i'd stay for the deration of the show's 7 season run.