Renzo Arbore's television career starts in 1969, a year of political protests and confrontations. Inspired by the social and political unrest of the time, Arbore produces his first television program "Speciale per voi" ("Special for you") of which he is also the host. This program faithfully reflects the questioning mood of the time by hosting musical guests, such as Lucio Battisti just to mention one name, and then letting the audience openly discuss and critique the performances, producing thus what could be considered the first "talk-show" of Italian television.

In 1976 Italians used to the traditional Sunday television program "Domenica In" ("Sunday Here") discover that on Rai's second channel there is a new program, "L'Altra Domenica" ("The Other Sunday"). It is Arbore's brainchild, a new kind of show that lets the public interact directly with the program and launches new personalities such as Roberto Benigni (taking the improbable role of film critic), the American cousin Andy Luotto, the cartoon shows of Maurizio Nichetti, and the broadcasts of Mario Marenco from Rome and Isabella Rossellini from New York.
In 1981 Arbore comes back to television as author and host of "Tagli, ritagli, e frattaglie" ("Cuts, trimmings, and innards") and "Telepatria International" ("Telecountry International").
In 1984, to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of RAI, Arbore brings to life a long-coveted project by producing and hosting "Cari amici, vicini e lontani" ("Dear friends, far and near"), bringing together radio and television in an unlikely union thought impossible until then by "showing" the voices of mythical radio personalities on the screen.
1985 is the year of "Quelli della notte" ("Those of the night"), a program of improvisation in which guests freely chat and ad-lib in a new style, the only guideline being the theme of that episode, resulting in incredibly powerful comedy, something quite rare in modern television.
In 1987 debuts the daily music show "D.O.C." (short for "Denomination of controlled origins" an acronym usually used for wines), which a year later moves to Arbore's preferred evening slot as "International D.O.C. Club". This is also the year of the satirical television show "Indietro Tutta" ("Full steam backwards"), which deconstructs and ridicules modern television programs. Arbore is the Captain of this ship that goes backward, and together with Nino Frassica and a bizarre crew, they make fun of modern television's quiz shows with their scantly dressed helper-girls and corporate sponsors.
In 1990, Arbore hosts "Il Caso Sanremo" (The Sanremo Case), where they simulate trials of deeds and misdeeds in the history of the famous singing competition in an improbable court of law with lawyers impersonated by Michele Mirabella and Lino Banfi.
Two years later, Arbore gives a heartfelt tribute to Totó with the television program "Caro Totó… ti voglio presentare" ("Dear Totó… I would like to present you"), a program celebrating the artistic greatness of absolutely the best of comics, the Prince of Laughs.
In 1996 Arbore hosts "La Giostra", (The Merry-go-round"), a 22-hour, live program for RAI International, of which he has become Artistic Director.
Lastly, on Saturday, January 22, 2005, is the great return to television. Aside from a very brief TV series in 2002, just not to lose the touch ("I am happy only when I sing night and day: Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si"), it is with "Speciale per Me" (Special for Me"), or "Meno siamo, meglio andiamo" (The less, the merrier"), that Arbore truly comes back to television demonstrating once again how he is ahead of his time by at least ten years. This television program (on in the evening, of course!) amuses today's uncultured television audiences with jazz performances (really!), interspersed with jokes and revisits of lost television excerpts of great musicians of the past that have characterized Italian television. Among the delicious aromas of gourmet dishes prepared by Marisa Laurito (the editor could not believe they were real and had to taste them during the program to prove it to himself!), who is helped by the chef "that has been to France", and with a sure cultural contribution from… Michele Mirabella's brother (who thinks his brother is a "lazy bum"), -- the show alternates between improv piece by Renzo Arbore with his guests/friends and pure jazz performances, such as "Voglio fare la modella" ("I want to be a model") by maestro Leo di San Felice. And then, with even more thrilling television and film excerpts, some of which who knows when or even if we may have had the opportunity to enjoy otherwise, we realize this is a program to really, really savor from beginning to end, just like the anti-rust drink presenter Stornaiolo obstinately keeps offering to Arbore to counteract the effects of being away from television for so many years. Ultimately, this is a program with which Arbore takes a stand against the excessive power of the TV rating system, by proving false the prediction that the show would not survive four episodes, and producing twenty of them, with incredible success with the audience.



A cura di Denis Gianniberti