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.
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
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
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
ti voglio presentare" ("Dear
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
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
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.