​September 17, 1970: The Flip Wilson Show Makes It’s Debut

1 Posted by - September 17, 2018 - Black First, BLACK MEN, CELEBRITIES, ENTERTAINMENT, LATEST POSTS, Looking Black On Today, THE 70’S

The Flip Wilson Show was an hour-long variety show that aired in the U.S. on NBC for 4 seasons, ending on June 27, 1974. It was the 1st successful network variety series starring an African American.

The show starred comedian Flip Wilson and was one of the 1st American tv programs starring a black person in the title role to become highly successful with a white audience. 

During its first 2 seasons, it was the nation’s 2nd most watched show.

The show broke new ground in American tv by using a “theatre-in-the-round” stage format, with the audience seated on all sides of a circular performance area (with some seats located behind the sketch sets on occasion).

Wilson was most famous for creating the role of Geraldine Jones, a sassy, modern woman who had a boyfriend named Killer (who, when not in prison, was at the pool hall). Geraldine Jones was a huge part of The Flip Wilson Show and was played by Wilson wearing women’s clothing. Some of “Geraldine’s” most famous quotes are, “The devil made me buy this dress!”, “Don’t you touch me, honey, you don’t know me that well! You devil, you!” and “What you see is what you get!”.

Flip also created the role of Reverend Leroy, who was the minister of the Church of What’s Happening Now!. New parishioners were wary of coming to the church as it was hinted that Reverend Leroy was a con artist. Wilson popularized such catchphrases as “What you see is what you get”, and “The Devil made me do it!”.

AWARDS: ?Flip Wilson won 1 Golden Globe award in 1971 and received 2 other nominations in 1972 and 1973 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical. The Flip Wilson Show received an additional Golden Globe nomination in 1972 for Best Television Series—Comedy or Musical.

?The Flip Wilson Show won 2 Emmy Awards out of 18 nominations. The wins were both in 1971, for Outstanding Variety Series—Musical and Outstanding Writing Achievement in Variety or Music. Wilson won both awards, with producer Bob Henry and executive producer Monte Kay also earning statuettes for the variety series honor and Herbert Baker, Hal Goodman, Larry Klein, Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf and Norman Steinberg for their writing.

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