Hot Hero Sandwich
This Emmy-winning Saturday afternoon variety show geared toward young teens offered an innovative mix of sketch comedy, celebrity interview and pop music performances inspired (in equal parts) by Sesame Street, Saturday Night Live and the afterschool specials of its day.
A youthful stable of Not-Ready-For-Saturday-Morning players, including Denny Dillon of “Saturday Night Live” and “Dream On” fame, appeared in humorous scenes, many of which were ruminations on the challenges that young people face during the awkward years around the time of puberty. These themes were expanded in one-on-one interviews with many prominent celebrities conducted by Harvard psychologist Dr. Tom Cottle. Nothing was off the table in these frank and insightful discussions, whether it be Leonard Nimoy on masturbation, Richard Pryor on how he was secretly obsessed Doris Day, Gloria Steinem on her early sexual awakening, Olivia Newton-John on her parents’ divorce or Bruce Jenner on his struggle with dyslexia. Hot Hero’s interviews take the up-close and personal approach to the extreme… even Barbara Walters can’t hold a candle to Dr. Cottle!
Several notable musical guests appeared on the series. Chart-toppers such as Sister Sledge, Eddie Money, The Persuasions and Stephen Stills took to the stage on occasion while weekly mainstays The Hot Hero band served up saucy streetwise glam-rock originals with gusto. During one episode Hot Hero’s crew visited the legendary rock group KISS backstage and captured incredible behind-the-scenes footage of the band and their entourage of roadies rigging up gear and preparing for the evening’s spectacle. Where else could one see Joe Jackson performing his all-time classic “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” segue into a clip of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talking about being bullied as kid?
Bruce and Carole Hart (the creative duo behind the series) also produced Marlo Thomas’ groundbreaking TV special “Free to Be You and Me” (1974) and earlier were part of the team who engineered the concept for Sesame Street. Hot Hero Sandwich was a very special, short-lived experiment in television; a high-water mark in youth-oriented programming which has not been matched since. Although the program only ran for one season it received much critical acclaim for its entertaining approach in tackling difficult subject matter by letting young people see they were not alone in the many problems they faced growing up.
Hot Hero Sandwich Television Library includes footage of:
Related Footage Galleries: