America Goes Bananaz (partially found QUBE/Nickelodeon children's variety television series; 1977-1980)
America Goes Bananaz (known as Columbus Goes Bananaz before the relaunch to Nickelodeon in 1979) was a children's/teenager's variety television series that aired on QUBE until 1979, when it was relaunched to the Nickelodeon network. It was one of the first series on the channel, along with Pinwheel, Video Comicz, and more. It ended on an unknown date in 1980.
The show's (first) host, Michael Young, was sitting in his lawyer's office (he was being sued for a play he helped produce) one day in 1977 when he got a call from his agent. The agent told him that Warner-Amex (a joint venture co-owned by Warner Communications and American Express) was accepting auditions for a host for a talk show. Young did not have anything else to do at the time, so he decided to accept the role as host.
Leave it to Beaver star Tony Dow also auditioned for the role. Because of Dow's role in Leave it to Beaver, Michael Young thought the role would go to him. In the end, however, Dow said that Young deserved the role and therefore, he got it.
Young was the host of the show from 1977 to 1979, when he left to go host Kids Are People Too on ABC. Randy Hamilton took over as host, and his episodes were taped from January to September 1979. Coincidentally, after Michael Young stopped hosting Kids Are People Too in 1981, Randy Hamilton took over hosting for that show as well.
When Bananaz debuted, Pinwheel was the flagship show on the QUBE C-3 network (before it was relaunched as Nickelodeon). After Nickelodeon was made into its own network, Bananaz became one of the vital shows on the network to help it become a channel that broadcasted programming for all ages. It and Pinwheel were described as part of the "nucleus" of the network by The Times.
The Show Itself
Bananaz was inspired by The Mike Douglas Show, in which one of the show's producers worked on. However, this show was aimed toward a slightly younger audience, mainly the teen audience, or "the American adolescent".
Segments on the show included a karate segment, polls for the audience, and advice columns where viewers asked the host for advice on a certain subject. There were also hip-hop songs that would tackle subjects like birth control and drugs. These were shown on a regular basis in order to intrigue and educate the teenager audience.
Despite the fact that the series was one of the first shows on Nickelodeon and aired when VHS was starting to become mainstream, little material has survived of this show, and the chances of Nickelodeon airing it again are slim to none. One episode, some clips and a few promos are all that have surfaced.
- Poparena's Nick Knacks video on America Goes Bananaz. Retrieved 26 Apr '19
- Wikipedia page on America Goes Bananaz. Retrieved 26 Apr '19
- An excerpt of a book that mentions the name change of the series. Retrieved 26 Apr '19
- A newspaper snippet that mentions Michael Young (a subscription is needed to actually read the snippet). Retrieved 26 Apr '19
- A newspaper snippet from 1980 where Michael Young discusses how he got on America Goes Bananaz. Retrieved 26 Apr '19
- An interview with Michael Young, where he mentioned how he got the role as host on the show. Retrieved 26 Apr '19
- Newspaper snippet about the departure of Young from the show. Retrieved 26 Apr '19
- A snippet from The Cincinnati Enquirer that mentions the show. Retrieved 26 Apr '19
- An excerpt of The Times that talks about Bananaz. Retrieved 26 Apr '19
- The second part of the interview with Michael Young. Retrieved 26 Apr '19
- A newspaper snippet on the shows that would air in the following week in September 1980. Retrieved 26 Apr '19
- A newspaper article that mentioned the show. Retrieved 26 Apr '19
- An excerpt from the TIME newspaper that mentions the show. Retrieved 26 Apr '19