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Today's Special is a children's show that was produced in Ontario, Canada from 1981-1987. In all, there were 121 episodes, counting Live on Stage, which was a double-length episode. In addition to airing on Nickelodeon, it has also aired on PBS, and The Faith and Values Channel (c.1998) in the U.S.
It was about a department store, and the adventures of its inhabitants. The main four characters are: Jeff, Jody, Muffy, and Sam. There were also several minor characters.
Jeff, Jody, Muffy, and Sam
Jeff [played by Jeff Hyslop] is a mannequin by day, and a living, breathing human by night. However, in order for Jeff to remain a human, he must always keep his magical hat on. If he loses the hat, he becomes a mannequin again, and then the hat has to be put back on his head, and someone has to say the magic words "Hocus Pocus Alimagocus". He also cannot leave the store. Jeff was brought to life by a magician named Waldo the Magnificent. Throughout the series, Jeff was always learning life lessons. Jeff was also a very good dancer, both on the show, and in real life. The reason for this (on the show) was that Waldo hit his feet with his magic wand to make them smart, before hitting his head to make it smart. In real life, Jeff Hyslop has performed on Broadway.
Jodie [played by Nerene Virgin] was the display designer for the store. Sam had gotten this job for her after he met her in the park, and she was in tears because she could not find a job. Jodie was a sweet and caring lady who always guided Jeff through his problems and was also a very good singer.In real life, Nerene Virgin is now the head news anchor for the Sunday Report that airs on CBC (The Canadian Broadcast Network).
Muffy [played by Nina Keogh] was a talking mouse who lived in the store. She always talked in ryhme. She had a hole in the wall that she lived in, which also had an elevator. She did not like Sam's cat Penelope. Muffy also had a scooter that she drove around town, and also had a country cousin named Mort who came to visit occasionally.
Sam [played by Bob Dermer] was the store's night watchman. He watched the store on his trusty TXL Series 4 computer, and also made rounds. Sam was a former a sailor in the merchant marines, and told stories about his days on the sea, and also had a starfish on the wall. He also has a cat named Penelope who was indeed a real cat. Sam loved sardine and jellybean sandwiches. Unlike Jeff and Jody, Sam was a puppet.
TXL Series 4 Computer [voice of Robyn Hayle] was Sam's computer who controls much of the store. It has an alarm that goes off accidentally quite often. TXL is also the source of the quizzes we see on every episode, except for the first episode Snow , where Jody does the voice over. The Mime Lady [played by Nikki Tilroe] also seemed to originate from TXL.
Mrs. Pennypacker [played by Cheryl Wagner] a.k.a. Mrs. P, worked in the stockroom of the store. Mrs. P had led an interesting life, and had many adventures. She was the stock person of the store. She was also a puppet.
Waldo the Magnificent [played by Barrie Baldaro] was the magician who brought Jeff to life. He appeared occasionally on the show, and sometimes even waived Jeff's rule about not leaving the store.
1981: Hats, Snow, Noses, Family, Camping, Pets, Sleep, Balloons, Soup, Costumes, School, Games, Trains, Water, Books, Fruit, Gardens, Shoes, Hair, Hands, Brushes, Night
1982: Dance, Movies, Circus, Halloween, Opera, Television, Food, Summer Camp, Building, Work, Eyes, Records, Homes, Plays, Birthdays, Soap, Friends, Music, Wood, Flight
1983: Cousins, Police, Moving, Tears, Christmas Part 1, Christmas Part 2, Our Story Part 1, Our Story Part 2, Travel, Newspapers, Cookies, Dinosaurs, Adventure, Imagination, Temperature, Smiles, String, Wild West, Space, Pianos
1984: Changes, Dreams, Lost and Found, Boxes and Boxes, Hospitals, Butterflies, Sharing, Storms, Babies, The Sea, Vacations, Cars, Treasure Hunts, Wheels, Ears
1985: Songs, Daisies, Jeans, Waldo's Hat, Letters, Heroes, Grandmothers, Being Alone, Help!, Buttons, Sam's Speech, Dancing Shoes, Storybooks, Going Out, Fun, Live on Stage, Jeff, Jodie, Muffy, Sam
1986: Stuffies, Late, The Blue Cow, A Date For Sam, Teeth, Trash, Wishes, Phil's Visit, Junior, Secrets, Moods, Fire
1987: Mrs. Pennypacker's Problem, The Queen of Hearts, A Runaway Spell, A Visit to the Opera, Sam and the Robot, Mrs. Waldo, Rich and Famous, Ice Cream, Bedtime, Locks, Memories