Real People? That’s Incredible!

From 1979 to 1984 NBC had a hit show called “Real People”. I loved watching TV with the whole family, and of course this meant having to actually be in front of the TV at the time the broadcast was on, no DVR’s, no skipping the commercials. It had a great cast, John Barbour, Sarah Purcell, Byron Allen, Skip Stephenson, Bill Raferty, Mark Russell, Fred Willard, and Peter Billingsley, who would begin his three-year hosting gig in 1982, and then starred in a little movie called “A Christmas Story” in 1983.

Image via Sitcoms Online

Image via Sitcoms Online

I loved the format of the show, it was kind of like a talk show, but it was funny, the hosts were great, but the best part was seeing ordinary folks from across the country doing odd, strange, or unique things. It was even responsible for introducing America to Richard Simmons! Here is the intro from one of the shows.

Of course, with the popularity of the show NBC was getting a great rating boost, and ABC came up with a competitor, debuting in 1980 “That’s Incredible!” lasted until 1984. The format was different, most of the segments involved stunts that people performed, but I still liked the show a lot. The hosts were John Davidson, Cathy Lee Crosby, and Fran Tarkenton.

Here is an opening sequence from the show…

Just as “Real People” introduced the world to Richard Simmons, “That’s Incredible! introduced the world to Earl Woods and his son, Eldrick….

reerun25

Full blown child of the 70's and 80's...

Latest posts by reerun25 (see all)

Subscribe to the Retroist Newsletter

* indicates required

10 thoughts on “Real People? That’s Incredible!

  1. I sometimes wonder what happened to the rest of the Real People hosts that aren’t Billingsly or Willard. I watched both religiously but I have to give the edge to That’s Incredible because they sometimes had spooky stuff on.

  2. I had a HUGE crush on Sarah Purcell back in the day!
    @Dex : Billingsly & Willard? What aout Mark Russell? Did you not have access to any PBS TV stations in the 80s?!

  3. I was crushin on her too back in the day.

    I don’t remember Russell on PBS. All I remember was Zoom, 321 Contact, Doctor Who and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego. :)

  4. reerun25 says:

    Byron is doing well producing, Sarah has not done much since the late 90’s, Bill Rafferty died in 2012, Skip Stephenson died in 1992…

  5. CarpetCrawler says:

    Rafferty carved an OK niche for himself as a game show host once this series ended. After that, he had a lengthy stint as the host of a television show “Retired and Wired” for RLTV from 2007 until his death in 2012.

Leave a Reply