If you thought Gilligan's Island or Alf were goofy ideas for TV shows (which they were), you should see the stuff that doesn't make it onto the air. Someone actually filmed pilot episodes of the following shows.
A race-car driver (Leonard Nimoy) gets injured in a crash and suddenly begins receiving visions of murders that haven't occurred yet. He solves the crimes before they happen with the help of a female student of psychic phenomena.
Clone Master (1978)
A government scientist (Art Hindle) makes a bunch of clones of himself (all played by Art Hindle)then sends them out into the world to fight crime and catch evildoers. Each episode would have focused on a different clone's adventures.
The Tribe (1974)
Set 40,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age, this series chronicled a Cro-Magnon family's struggle to survive harsh living conditions and skirmishes with a rival tribe of primitive Neanderthals.
The Mysterious Two (1979)
A man must stop two popular televangelists...because they are actually evil aliens who are brainwashing humanity in order to take over the planet.
Judge Dee (1974)
Lots of shows in the 1970s were about sensitive people traveling around, generously helping others with their personal problems for free (Kung Fu and The Incredible Hulk are two examples). In Judge Dee, a judge wanders his rural district helping people and resolving disputes. The twist: Judge Dee is set in 7th-century China. It's not to be confused with High Risk, in which six former circus performers hit the road and help people solve their problems...for money.
Two microscopic cops from outer space come to Earth in pursuit of an equally tiny intergalactic criminal mastermind. To move around the planet, the tiny cops attach their tiny spaceship to people, dogs, and birds.
Danger Team (1991)
A ball of space goop crash-lands in a sculptor's studio. Naturally, he molds the goop into three figurines. The figurines come to life, but only the artist can see them. The artist and the goop men team up to go fight crime.
Steel Justice (1992)
A little boy idolizes his policeman father and likes to secretly tail him when he goes out on drug busts and stakeouts at night. One night, the kid gets killed. Dad is distraught... until he meets his new crime-fighting partner-a fire-brething, 100-foot-tall robot dinosaur that's possessed by the spirit of his dead son.
Shangri-La Plaza (1990)
A widow and her teenage daughter inherit a donut shop in a Los Angeles strip mall and flirt with the mechanic brothers who work next door. Sounds like normal TV far...except that all of the dialog was sung.
Tag Team (1991)
Trying to cash in on the popularity of professional wrestling, this ppilot starred 1980s WWF stars "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Jesse "The Body" Ventura as the Lizard Brothers, professional wrestlers who quit the ring to become undercover cops.
A man inherits a decaying diner and its antique Wurlitzer jukebox. The plot: In each episode, the man selects a song on the jukebox and is then transported back in time to the year that song came out. Why? To help people with their problems. In the pilot episode, he listens to a Jefferson Airplane song, goes to 1968 San Francisco, and helps a hippie quit drugs.
America 2100 (1979)
Two stand-up comedians are accidently put into suspended animation. They awake at the dawn of the 22nd century to find the world run by a supercomputer with the voice and old jokes of fellow comedian Sid Caesar.
A Los Angeles cop volunteers for a futuristic experiment: His new partner is half robot, half dog. The two are able to communicate via the microchip implanted in the cop's brain.
Danny and the Mermaid (1978)
Danny is an oceanography student failing all of his classes. Then he meets a mermaid who, along with her talking dolphin friend, helps Danny get better grades by escorting him all over the ocean and tutoring him on sea life.
Ethel is an Elephant (1980)
A New York photographer fights with his landlord to keep his unusual pet in his apartment-an elephant (named Ethel) that was abandoned by the circus. Most of the comedy revolves around the unsuccessful attempts to hide Ethel behind furniture.
Mixed Nuts (1977)
This pilot was one of the first shows to depict mentally ill people living in an insane asylum. A sensitive portrayal of forgotten people living on society's fringe? No, Mixed Nuts was actually a comedy.
Dad's a Dog (1989)
To the embarrassment of his children, the only work a former TV star can get is on a sitcom (also called Dad's a Dog), where he performs the coice of a man who is magically transformed into a dog.
Heil, Honey I'm Home! (1990)
A parody of 1950s sitcoms like Leave It To Beaver, this British show was about Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun living peacefully in a suburban neighborhood until their lives are turned upside down by their new Jewish neighbors.
The article above is reprinted with permission from Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Wonderful World of Odd.
This book focuses on the odd-side of life and features articles like the strangest TV shows never made, the creepiest insect on Earth, odd medical conditions, and many, many more.
Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts. Check out their website here: Bathroom Reader Institute