Well, fellow YouTubers, here is another episode from my most favorite television show, “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” from its very first season. The winning video is a rodeo performer who refuses to get off a buckin’ bronco. The video’s title is “Rodeo Broncbuster” sent in by Arnold Wilkinson of Crow’s Agency, Montana.

Many television historians say the origin of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” is due to the videocamera boom of the 1980s when as a matter of fact—-THEY’RE WRONG!!!!

The people at ABC and Vin Di Bona Productions are indebted to a viewing of a local 1986 newscast of Los Angeles CBS affiliate KNXT (now KCBS) where Vin DI Bona and his college roommate Henry Winkler (yes, The Fonz) were watching this piece about frilled lizards running around in Tokyo, and Di Bona wanted to find out more about this newsreel. After months of looking (the Internet was less than a decade away,) the reason for the lizards being loose was a show called “Waku Waku Animal Land” an in-house production of the Tokyo Broadcasting System. Fast-forward, Vin Di Bona came back to the U.S. and pitched the format to ABC as “Animal Crack-Ups,” which he did about 136 times. Despite the fact it was a Saturday morning program, the Japanese were happy that they had a show on American television. “Animal Crack-Ups” ran from 1987 to 1990 on ABC.

Now it’s 1988, and Vin Di Bona and his then-wife Gina took a vacation to Japan. The Tokyo Broadcasting System has another show they present to Mr. Di Bona, “Fun TV with Kato-chan and Ken-Chan,” a variety show notable around the world for having a segment showcasing funny videos where they would show three of them which the hosts will comment on and celebrity guests would pick their favorite clip. The former Mrs. Di Bona laughed at this show and told her then-husband, “That’s your next show!”

Vin Di Bona, along with partner Steve Paskay and former CBS executives Greg and Joe Bellon, who were selling Japanese formats to the U.S. unsuccessfully, turned this variety show into a very innovative format showcasing people’s Funniest Home Videos with the amateur videographers competing for a cash prize.

Vin Di Bona and his partners returned to the States, put together a presentation reel for ABC suits. Five minutes into the pitch, the suits said, “We’re buying this show,” and thus “America’s Funniest Home Videos” was born.

To host this program made up of videos showcasing people’s most funniest and spontaneous bloopers, Mr. Di Bona’s first choice was John Ritter from “Three’s Company.” Ritter turned “AFV” down for a movie career. Bob Saget was on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in early January of 1989 and Vin Di Bona knew this is the guy he wanted. The ABC exec Di Bona talked to had no idea who Saget was—albeit he was on “Full House” at the time. As told by Vin Di Bona himself, Bob Saget’s line in 1989 was, “Hi, I’m Bob Saget. I play Danny Tanner on ‘Full House’.” A skeptical Bob Saget was assured by Mr. Di Bona that if “AFV” is a hit, he would be known as someone besides the “Full House” dad.

Jump ahead to 2015 and millions of funny clips later, “AFV” is still number one among its target audience. The show is renowned worldwide. “America’s Funniest Home Videos” is broadcast in over 100 countries with over 25 international versions such as Great Britain’s “You’ve Been Framed,” Italy’s “Paperissima,” “Australia’s Funniest Home Videos” in Australia, Germany’s “Upps! Die Pannenshow” along with two “AFV”s in Latin America and Brazil. The saying “Funny is Funny” is prominent when it concerns the international popularity of “AFV.” No matter what country you’re from and no matter what language you speak and yes, no matter what creed, color, or race you are, we all have our stumbles and through the power of video recording, we can laugh at it for generations to come.

I OWN NOTHING!!!!! All rights go to American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. and Vin Di Bona Productions.

TV Polychroma

TV Polychroma

Developers and curators of TV Polychroma, a live and on-demand WebTV network dedicated to the finest in avant-garde programming.

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