You Can't Do That on Television - "Nature"

Title card

Originally aired October 14, 1983; 7:00 p.m. on Nickelodeon

Recorded February 13, 1984; 4:00 p.m. from Nickelodeon


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"Nature" is the 46th (or 47th or 48th, I can't really find a definitive answer for this) episode of You Can't Do That on Television (or YCDTOTV). The show originated on Canada's CTV Television Network in 1979 before premiering on Nickelodeon in the United States on January 2, 1982. The series continued airing new episodes until May 25, 1990 and aired in reruns on Nick until January 23, 1994. YCDTOTV has only aired a number of times on American television since then, most notably on June 8, 2004 as part of Nick's U-Pick Live "Old School Pick" and in October 2015 on sister-network TeenNick's "The Splat" block.

As of May 2021, this is the oldest recording in my collection. Deep in the recesses of my family's pile of old home videos sat an unlabeled tape with 5 hours of Disney Channel from 1987 recorded onto it. I had known about this tape for the past decade but had never actually taken a closer look into it until last year. Sitting at the end of those Disney recordings was a finely-aged, hidden bit of Nickelodeon - not from 1987, or '86, or '85 - but 1984. That makes this recording 37 years old at the time that I'm writing this, which is insane to think about.

The recording itself is in, well... abhorrent quality. But that's to be expected with a tape this old. It's miraculous this recording even survived through decades of hurricanes, heat, moving houses and sitting around god-knows-where. Both this recording of YCDTOTV and the program that preceded it (The Adventures of Black Beauty) are pretty incomplete unfortunately. Seeing as this recording was smothered underneath those Disney Channel recordings from a few years later, I'm guessing somebody in my family recorded over the hours of Pinwheel and various other programs that aired earlier in the day. Womp womp.

Regardless, I was extremely happy to have uncovered this recording and save it from being thrown-out or forgotten about until it withers away. It's extremely rare for me to come across any tapes with television recorded pre-1987, let alone something like Nickelodeon. Embedded are the surviving commercials from this broadcast showcasing Nick's "silver ball" branding they used prior to introducing their signature orange splat later that year in October.


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Page created: May 16, 2021 | Last updated: July 20, 2021