The Info List - History Bites

--- Advertisement ---

History Bites
History Bites
is a television series on the History Television
network that ran from 1998 to 2003. Created by Rick Green, History Bites explored what would be on television if the medium had been around for the last 5,000 years of human history. Typically, a significant historical event was chosen and mock news, sports and entertainment programming was created around it. Each episode included several segments of Green offering historical background of the episode's chosen era and otherwise showed frequent shifts from one comedy sketch to another (as well as returning to certain sketches repeatedly) representing a channel-surfing viewer who never watched any one sketch for more than a few minutes at a time. Reruns of History Bites
History Bites
are currently being shown on History Television
and The Comedy Network.


1 Synopsis 2 Episodes 3 Parodies

3.1 Recurring 3.2 Individual

4 Animation 5 Specials 6 Actors 7 External links

Synopsis[edit] Contemporary movies, television shows and personalities (Martha Stewart, Don Cherry, Tom Brokaw, Dennis Miller, Larry King
Larry King
and Andy Rooney, among others) were comically adapted to the chosen era. For example, the legendary revenge story of the "47 Ronin" of early 18th-century Japan was told in the style of a made-for-TV movie modelled on the real-life film The Godfather. Television
sitcoms such as Seinfeld
and All in the Family
All in the Family
were also frequently parodied, with the characters commenting on time-appropriate events, be it Joan of Arc's virginity or the benefits of joining the elite Persian Immortals. Game and reality shows were parodied as well, including a depiction of the Donner Party
Donner Party
as participants in an 1846 version of Survivor, and almost every episode featured segments that parodied Jeopardy!, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and/or The Weakest Link, in which contestants answered trivia questions about the common beliefs of the featured era. Anachronisms were frequent and deliberate, adding to the show's distinctive humour. For example, in one episode set in AD 100 and focusing on gladiatorial combat, the "Zamboni family" was responsible for tidying the Colosseum
between bouts, in reference to modern Zamboni machines that repair rink surfaces during intermissions at hockey games. By far, the earliest setting for an episode has been 6000 BC, in which viewers were advised on pre-monotheism ritual as well as the new technologies of agriculture, the bow and arrow and house-building. It also included a parody of a hospital show in which the treatment for every ailment was a trepanation. The most recent setting was 1880, in an episode largely about "The Shootout At Fly's Photographic Studio", a historically more accurate description of the event commonly known as the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The show's production values improved over its five seasons, increasing and refining the use of sets, costumes and props. Never lost was Green's message (stated explicitly in the first episode and alluded to in the closing of each episode) that fond nostalgia is misplaced and that the lives of our ancestors were rife with oppression, ignorance (including casually held antisemitic and/or racist beliefs), disease and suffering. Ultimately, the title History Bites has a double meaning, referring to the "soundbites"-like nature of the short clips from each sketch, as well as the often brutal and unpleasant nature of the history being satirized. Episodes[edit] Main article: List of History Bites
History Bites
episodes Parodies[edit] Films, television programs and personalities parodied on History Bites include:

This television-related tv list is really incomplete; you can help by expanding it.


20/20, parodying Barbara Walters 60 Minutes All in the Family America's Most Wanted, usually changed to "_____'s Most Wanted" when in a different country Andy Rooney Crossfire Dating Game Dennis Miller Ebert & Roeper Ed Sullivan
Ed Sullivan
and The Ed Sullivan
Ed Sullivan
Show Everybody Loves Raymond Hockey
Night in Canada, including a direct parody of Don Cherry Hollywood Squares Home Shopping Network The Howard Stern
Howard Stern
Radio Show Infomercials for products/services common of the time It's a Wonderful Life, only the scene where George asks Clarence what happened to everybody Jeopardy! Judge Judy Larry King Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In


Married... with Children Martha Stewart NBC Nightly News Richard Simmons Russell Oliver (a used jewellery salesman in Toronto with famously funny commercials) Seinfeld South Park Speaker's Corner Star Trek The Andy Griffith Show The Bachelor The Crocodile Hunter Late Show with David Letterman, usually, but not always, in the form of a Top 10 list The Price Is Right The Simpsons The Tonight Show The Weakest Link The X-Files TV Guide Washington Week in Review, usually just called Week in Review Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?


American Justice, as Medieval Justice to tell the story of the Knights Templar Annie Hall, adapted to be set during The French Revolution A Beautiful Mind, adapted to tell the story of Sir Isaac Newton The Bachelor, adapted to tell the colonization of Utah and the then Mormons' practice of polygamy. The Day the Earth Stood Still, adapted to tell the story of Christopher Columbus The Godfather, adapted to tell the story of the 47 Ronin The Olympic Games The Jerry Springer
Jerry Springer
Show, adapted to tell the story of Mary, Queen of Scots Law & Order, adapted to depict an investigation and prosecution of the murder of Thomas Becket The Osbournes, adapted to tell the story of Pope Alexander VI Pokémon/Sailor Moon, adapted to tell the story of The Borgias as well as Leonardo da Vinci's inventions. Scooby-Doo, adapted to tell the story of Mountain Meadows Massacre Thelma and Louise, adapted to tell the story of Boudica

Animation[edit] The fifth season of History Bites
History Bites
and most of the specials feature cartoon segments in a wide variety of styles animated by Bryce Hallett of Frog Feet Productions. These include parodies of Batman: the Animated Series (aka Captain Puritan), Pokémon/anime cartoons, Scooby-Doo
and 1950s educational films as well as original material and styles in the specials. The cartoons are short but ambitious considering the modest budget of the show. Specials[edit]

History Bites
History Bites
"The End Of The World" was a one-hour special on how people reacted to the first new millennium on December 31, 999.

After the end of the 5th season, History Bites
History Bites
continued with a series of one-hour specials. These episodes did not feature the channel-surfing theme that earlier episodes did.

History Bites
History Bites
"Mother Britain", airing on Canada Day, July 1, 2005, covering the history of the relationship between Canada and Britain from the first explorers to the patriation of the Constitution. It featured actors portraying all 21 Canadian Prime Ministers up to that point. History Bites
History Bites
"Uncle Sam", about the history of U.S./Canada relations. History Bites
History Bites
"The Separatists", a special that aired June 24, 2007 on the history of separatists movements in Canada from the Upper and Lower Canada Rebellions to the Clarity Act. History Bites
History Bites
"Celine Dion", aired on Feb. 10, 2008, examined the history of Canadians moving to the United States for fame and money. History Bites
History Bites
"Sex & Power", aired in 2008, about the intertwining of sex and politics throughout history.

Actors[edit] Regulars on the show (along with the characters they played/parodied) include:

Ron Pardo: David Letterman, Ed Sullivan, Howard Stern, Dennis Miller, Don Cherry, Tom Brokaw, Ted Koppel, Ivan the Terrible, Larry King, Regis Philbin, Julius Caesar, Justinian I, William Shakespeare, Henry Hudson, Bill Maher, Dating Game
Dating Game
contestant, Jerry Seinfeld, Jerry Springer, interviewed merchant, Woody Allen, Archie Bunker, Paul 'Pegleg' Begala, Neil Diamond, Gene Siskel, Bill Clinton, Sir Isaac Newton. Rick Green: Ron MacLean, Hugh Downs, Timmy the Jeopardy!
contestant, Dating Game
Dating Game
contestant, interviewed monk. Bob Bainborough: period newscaster, game show host, infomercial lawyer, Andy Rooney, Tamerlane, Galileo Galilei, Nostradamus, John Calvin, Oliver Cromwell, Pythagoras, Neolithic
doctor, Shakespearean actor, Samurai, Vlad the Impaler, Alexander the Great's general. Janet van de Graaf: Martha Stewart, Bev Downer, Barbara Walters, Greta Van Susteren, Anne Robinson, Empress Theodora, period on-location newscaster, interviewed noblewoman. Teresa Pavlinek: period newscaster, Cleopatra, Neolithic
nurse, interviewed Valley girl peasant, interviewed Puritan
woman, Hatshepsut. Peter Oldring: Children's show host, Cheng Ho, Alexander the Great, Bill Maher, George Costanza
George Costanza
(Seinfeld), Dating Game
Dating Game
contestant, dating infomercial host, interviewed rebellious teenager. Sarah Lafleur: video show host, Elaine Benes (Seinfeld), dating game contestant, Joan of Arc. Sam Kalilieh: Throk ( Neolithic
farmer), Sostratos of Sycion (Olympic Pankration
champion), Thutmoses III, Sargon of Akkad, Tom Green, Pistachio the gladiator, interviewed common man.

As well, members of the show's writing staff were frequently used as extras or in bit roles, and as the series progressed, the writers (especially Danny DiTata) began to be featured in larger roles:

Danny DiTata (writer): Steve Irwin, Wyatt Earp, Jesus, Richard Simmons, George Costanza
George Costanza
(Seinfeld), leper. Jeremy Winkels (writer): Paul Shaffer, common man. Eric Lunsky (writer): Charles the Simple, Native American, Egyptian architect, interviewed merchant, interviewed peasant. Amy McKenzie (writer): Judge Judy, Shakespearean actor (not actress), interviewed peasant. Duncan McKenzie (writer): Abraham Lincoln, William Farel, Leonard the Jeopardy!

Notable guest stars include:

Patrick McKenna Wayne Robson Jessica Holmes Bob Martin Mag Ruffman

External links[edit]

in Canada portal