Backstage preview of Oprah's Favorite Things

November 18, 2010 (CHICAGO)

I can't reveal exactly what they are, but I will tell you that one was a quarter of a century in the making, one involves rock climbing, and one was inspired by what she calls her "love sandwich."

The show is dedicated to a special group of people, and Oprah does something for the first time in the 25-year history of her show.

"When I walked out and ripped my dress off and said this is Favorite Things," Oprah said.

And with that the audience went into a frenzy with cheers, tears and hugs. They were jumping for joy in sheer amazement. Hands were waving and hearts fluttering.

"We had a couple of paramedics on standby because this audience -- I've seen a lot over the years, but I've never seen people act like that," said Oprah.

Well who could blame them? They were recipients of Oprah's Favorite Things and the Queen of Talk said they deserved it because they are people she calls "heroes."

"The audience was filled with local people and a lot of people from out of town who were handpicked because they were givers and believe in giving back," said Oprah. "So today they got the ultimate giveback for themselves."

Bernadine Thomas, a school principal, was in the audience. A former student wrote Oprah and shared her story of how Thomas changed her life.

"It was just too exciting. People were screaming and jumping, and I really wanted to jump and scream myself but I couldn't get up that fast. It was just beautiful," said Thomas.

Oprah admits a lot of love and planning went into this show, including the three weeks it took to turn her West Loop studios into the Midwest version of the North Pole, including snow, gingerbread houses and interactive toys.

"We couldn't do this without the support of the entire team of people who make this happen and build the set," said Oprah. "The Black Eyed Peas coming out of a snow globe. We have the best team in television."

Oprah called this the ultimate Favorite Things episode.

"This is the ultimate because we will never pass this way again," she said.

Technically "never" because after the first show was taped she sent the guests home with all their gifts, while those in line waiting for the next taping would watch in envy. Little did they know they too would be going home with Oprah's Favorite Things.

Before it was all over there was another surprise: those in line waiting for the taping of the next show were also sent home with another edition of Oprah's Favorite Things.

"I wanted to see how those people reacted when they saw the first audience leaving with all the stuff, so then they absolutely know that we aren't getting that and we just missed by an hour," said Oprah.

Oprah's Favorite Things airs Friday morning at 9 on ABC 7.

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