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10/23/2011 11:24 am ET | Updated Mar 22, 2013

'AM America': ABC's Monty Python-Hosted, Ill-Fated 'Today' Rival (VIDEO, PHOTO)

It's not every day that a morning show is taken over by Monty Python — but, for whatever reason, that's what happened on "AM America" in 1975.

What, you ask, is "AM America"? Well, ladies and gentlemen, before Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos sat side by side; before Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson greeted viewers in the wee hours of the morning; before there even was a "Good Morning America," there was "AM America."

We here at HuffPost Media consider ourselves to be students of history, so we're honored to bring you the third in a (somewhat) occasional series, "A Look Back." Today, we examine the first of many attempts ABC made to compete with morning show rival "Today" (a fierce competition that persists).

ABC debuted the morning show in January 1975. Hosts Bill Buetel and Stephanie Edwards joined from local ABC stations. A youngish Peter Jennings reported the news. Edwards quit about four months after the show's debut, and "AM America" wound up lasting just eleven months in total. "GMA" started two days later, and continues to this day.

The clip below could be a sign of why "AM" didn't quite have superhuman staying power. Monty Python guest-hosted the program to promote the upcoming release of their then new/non-classic film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Edwards appears a tad frustrated by what she was being asked to endure. Co-host Beutel got to be on "special assignment" and miss this rather dubious edition of his show.

The segment goes about as well as you'd expect! Monty Python run amok and basically terrorize Edwards throughout the entire hour. Among other things: howling over her as she introduces segments (yes, like werewolves), purposefully reading the teleprompter incorrectly, and creating shadow puppets when the lights were down and the opportunity presented itself.

Highlights of the video include a campy commercial, a wonderfully, absurdly long photo montage of the sun rising over various landscapes and — in our favorite moment — the cutaway to Peter Jennings, who looks as though he is holding a complex set of emotional reactions back.

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