Vic's Vacant Lot (lost ESPN/Nickelodeon children's sports TV series; 1982-1985)
Vic's Vacant Lot (known in full as Honeycomb Presents: Vic's Vacant Lot) was a children's sports TV series that ran on the Entertainment and Sports Network (ESPN) from 1982 to early 1984, and on Nickelodeon until May 1985.
The show was hosted by tennis instructor and player Vic Braden, mostly known for his accessible approach to tennis instruction. Braden would profile and teach various sports sent into the show by kids, and as the title suggests, the games profiled were designed to be played in a vacant lot.
Some of the games featured were "Steal the Bacon" (sent in by Tracey Farrell of North Plainfield, New Jersey), "Jug Scoop" (sent in by Richard Muse of Ashville, North Carolina), and "Shadow Bike Tag" (sent in by Jill and Adam Fredrick of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania).
If your game was profiled on the show, kids won a BMX Hawk 4 bicycle presented by Honeycomb Cereal (the official sponsor of the show). The kids would also get the title of "Honeycomb Kid of the Week" along with a write-up in their local newspaper.
The show aired for 26 episodes on ESPN, and it is unknown how many episodes Nickelodeon aired or if Nickelodeon aired new episodes at all, though it is most likely the latter. The show also aired at various times throughout the week on ESPN, mostly due to the unpredictable scheduling of sports programming. The show also aired at 6:00 in the morning on Nickelodeon. It is unknown why the show was cancelled.
Due to the poor scheduling and the show being largely forgotten by the general public, no recordings of the show have been found. It is likely that one of the kids featured on the show did record an episode of the show, though none of these recordings have been located as of the writing of this article. Only a few newspaper mentions from around the time the show aired remain online today.
On May 9th, 2019, YouTube user poparena uploaded a video about Vic's Vacant Lot as apart of his Nick Knacks series, which details every show that aired on Nickelodeon. The video is one of the first mentions of Vic's Vacant Lot online in the present day, besides scattered forum posts and newspaper archives.
- Wikipedia page on Vic Braden. Retrieved 11 Apr '21
- Vic Braden's website with his tennis background and career. Retrieved 11 Apr '21
- Poparena's Nick Knacks video on Vic's Vacant Lot. Retrieved 11 Apr '21
- South Florida SunSentinel article mentioning Vic's Vacant Lot. Retrieved 11 Apr '21
- Lakeland Ledger, Sports Programming, May 29-June 4, 1983. Retrieved 11 Apr '21