BootLeg Betty

BetteBack December 23, 1992: HBO Celebrates 20 Years

Syracuse Herald Journal
HBO celebrates 20 years with special show on CBS
December 23, 1992

Cable’s Home Box Office celebrates its 20 years of programming, oddly enough, on a network TV broadcast “HBO’s 20th Anniversary We Don’t Believe It Ourselves” (8 p.m., WTVH-TV, Channel 5).

Billy Crystal and Robin Williams open the special with a hilarious improvisation that must rank among the year’s funniest bits. Whoopi Goldberg introduces a collection of comedy clips that includes HBO performances by George Carhn,
Lily Tomhn, Roseanne Arnold, Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy.

Garry Shandhng introduces several now-classic concert performances that were HBO exclusives, including Barbra Streisand (singing “Over the Rainbow”) in 1986, Madonna (doing “Vogue”) in 1990 and Michael Jackson (“Beat It”) earlier this year.

Former “Not Necessarily the News” anchors Stuart Pankin and Lucy Webb pay tribute to that clever satire, Alan King salutes Williams, Crystal and Goldberg, who have each done several comedy specials for HBO. including the “Comic Relief shows (which, curiously, are not mentioned).

Bette Midler recalls her early HBO special and sings “Friends”; and Mel Gibson does a surprisingly funny monologue about HBO’s commitment to movies.

The CBS show is a censored, considerably shorter version of HBO’s own 90-mmute tribute, which is scheduled to air Jan. 9 on the cable service.

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