About The Flip Wilson Special
It’s no exaggeration to call Flip Wilson television’s first African American superstar. In an era when people of color were under-represented on TV, the New Jersey-born comedian headlined (and produced) one the medium’s most popular programs. And when The Flip Wilson Show came to an end after four seasons, its star transitioned to periodic specials.
Three installments of The Flip Wilson Special aired between December of 1974 and May of 1975, all featuring a format similar to his weekly series (even including that show’s distinctive “arrow” logo). Flip opened with a monologue, performed in comedy sketches with guests like Sammy Davis Jr. and Freddie Prinze, and welcomed top musical acts like Cher and Helen Reddy (whose 1973 variety series was also produced by Wilson as his summer replacement).
It’s worth noting that Geraldine Jones, Wilson’s sassy female alter ego, features prominently in The Flip Wilson Special (including in a sketch with Cher’s beloved Laverne character). Wilson won a Grammy for his self-released 1970 comedy album The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress, which made Geraldine famous. He donned the dress infrequently in the years following these specials, joking that Geraldine had “retired.”
Notable guest stars: Richard Pryor, Cher, Sammy Davis Jr., Freddie Prinze, Diahann Carroll, Helen Reddy, William Conrad, McLean Stevenson, Paul Williams
Produced by Monte Kay and Jack Burns for Clerow Productions