Thursday, May 7, 2009

Enjoy Yourself Tonight

Enjoy Yourself Tonight was created by Robert Chua in 1967, when he was just 21 years old. At that time the first General Manager of TVB, Australian Colin Bendall, wished to create a variety show in a format similar to In Melbourne Tonight. Chua was given the task of creating such a show, and after spending five months observing the popular culture and everyday lives in Hong Kong, Enjoy Yourself Tonight made its premiere, and instantly gained huge popularity.

The show aired from 9:30pm to 11:00pm every weeknight, sometimes including Saturdays. The show included singing, dancing, short dramas and variety show games that interacted with the audiences.

The show was one of the first shows ever color broadcasted in Hong Kong in November 20, 1967.

In the 1970s, one of the earliest musical group to perform in the show was the Four Golden Flowers. Lydia "Fei-fei" Shum would become one of the most notable MCs who became the symbol for the show. Another tradition of the show was for the entire cast to congregate at the end of each show to sing the "Good Night Song", written by Joseph Koo. These, along with the show's opening track (also titled "Enjoy Yourself Tonight"), have since attained iconic status within the popular culture of Hong Kong.

By 1989 Enjoy Yourself Tonight had suffered a terminal decline in audience number; despite a radical change in format (which saw weeknight programmes reduced to half-hour durations, plus the traditional full-length variety shows on Saturdays), it failed to retain viewers, who by then had developed new tastes and had access to new forms of entertainment. As a result the show ended its 27-year run on Friday October 5, 1994. To this day, however, TVB does not admit that Enjoy Yourself Tonight has ended its run. They merely said that if the show was to be canceled, a Farewell/Curtain Call edition will be produced and aired. As of 2007, no such edition was known to exist.

Since then there has been several attempts to resurrect Enjoy Yourself Tonight as a once-a-week programme, first in 1997, then from 2002 to 2004; neither of which were successful.

In 2007, to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of TVB, a half-hour weekday program known as Enjoy Yourself Tonight 2007 was run from October 22 to November 16. As the Chinese title (再會歡樂今宵, literally "EYT Revisited") suggests, it was a re-run of some of the most memorable moments of the original EYT shows, as well as bringing back some of the original casts involved for guest appearances/interviews. Even though the latest program was merely a nostalgic looking back to EYT's former glory, it nonetheless bore testimony to the show's lasting legacy to Hong Kong's popular culture.