Saturday, August 12, 2006

Variety Shows: The Captain and Tennille

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery according to an old saying. If that is true then CBS was about to be flattered by ABC. CBS had success with Sonny and Cher and they were still having some success with Tony Orlando and Dawn. So ABC signed The Captain and Tennille to star in their own variety show. The Captain was the stage name of Daryl Dragon. He played keyboards while Toni Tennille, his wife, sang. Mr. Dragon was either a former Beach Boy or was a former member of their back up band. It depends on how you look at it and who is telling the story. I remember a punch line to a joke on the show had him dump sand from his shoe showing he had worked with the Beach Boys. The duo had their biggest hit at that time in 1975 with Love Will Keep Us Together. That was the song they used as their theme. The show started on September 20, 1976.
Tennille was a white bread version of Cher and the Captain was a very quiet version of Sonny. I think you can count the number of words he said on the show on your fingers. For awhile it became a running gag on the show as to how quiet he was. An example of how this ran was when Dick Clark was on the show. Mr. Clark was depressed with the quality of music on the pop charts. They started talking about the good songs on the charts that year and Dick Clark’s mood started to improve. Then the Captain mentioned the song Disco Duck. Mr. Clark became depressed again and then we understood why the Captain should keep quiet. It was better to let him show off how well he could play the piano.
The show was not the answer to Sonny and Cher like ABC had hoped. It was cancelled in March of 1977. The duo kept the hits coming on the record charts for a few more years. In the 80’s Tennille tried her hand at a daytime talk show but it didn’t last very long. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 11, 2006

Variety Shows: Tony Orlando and Dawn

In order to fill the hole in the schedule that Sonny and Cher were leaving in the prime time line up CBS enlisted the help of another singing group. They got Tony Orlando and Dawn. They were given a summer series on July 3, 1974. This unlikely pop group, we’ll get into why they are unlikely some other day, had a string of hits in the early 70’s. With the emphasis mostly on music the summer series was a hit. It was brought back in December of 1974 as a midseason replacement. The success continued and the show was renewed for the fall.
In the fall changes were made. The title changed from Tony Orlando and Dawn to The Tony Orlando and Dawn Rainbow Hour. Why Rainbow hour? There were cast changes as well with the addition of name comedians like George Carlin and Edie McClurg. The emphasis changed from music to comedy.
For some reason the ratings started to slip. The show may have been funny but I guess that the show’s audience was in the mood for music. By December 28, 1976 the show was given its notice and aired its last episode.
The group Dawn only consisted of two women Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson. Almost all the speaking parts were given to Mr. Orlando and Miss. Hopkins. For some reason Miss Wilson didn’t say much. Mostly she sang and that was it. After the show ended Mr. Orlando did try to continue a singing career and showed up from time to time on other shows usually playing himself. On one episode of Chico and the Man he played a former boyfriend of the woman that Freddie Prinze Sr. (Chico) was dating. Miss. Hopkins however got a wonderful acting career out of the variety series. She has been on Bosom Buddies, Family Matters and Gimme A Break! I have also heard that she is the woman on the Shaft theme who says “Shut Your Mouth!” In the 70’s and 80’s this woman was all over pop culture. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Rhino Reissues the Monkees

Thanks to my cousin Steve for pointing this out to me.
Rhino Records continues its long association with the Monkees, and reissues the bands yet again in new packages, this summer with expanded remasterings of the group's first two records.Out Aug. 15, The Monkees and More of the Monkees are two-disk collections featuring the original albums in both mono and stero, plus loads of outtakes and assorted bonus tracks. You can click the links to pre-order the albums from Amazon.
The MonkeesOriginally released in 1966, THE MONKEES scored an amazing 78-week run on the Billboard album chart, with 13 weeks at #1. Includes the #1 smash "Last Train To Clarksville" and the infectious "(Theme From) The Monkees," both written for the band by hit songwriting team Boyce & Hart. Also features Goffin & King’s "Take A Giant Step" and David Gates’ "Saturday’s Child. "
Disc 1’s nine bonus tracks include previously unreleased alternate mixes of "The Kind Of Girl I Could Love" and "Papa Gene’s Blues" plus a take of "I Don’t Think You Know Me" featuring Micky Dolenz on vocals.
Disc 2’s eight bonus cuts include a previously unreleased demo version of "Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun To Care)" and a rare Kellogg’s jingle. Each 2-CD Deluxe Limited EDITION features the original stereo album with bonus rarities on Disc 1, and the original mono album with even more rare treasures on Disc 2.
Disc: 1
1. (Theme From) The Monkees
2. Saturday’s Child
3. I Wanna Be Free
4. Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day
5. Papa Gene’s Blues
6. Take A Giant Step
7. Last Train To Clarksville
8. This Just Doesn’t Seem To Be My Day
9. Let’s Dance On
10. I’ll Be True To You
11. Sweet Young Thing
12. Gonna Buy Me A Dog
13. The Kind Of Girl I Could Love (Alternate Mix)†
14. I Don’t Think You Know Me (Micky’s Vocal)
15. (Theme From) The Monkees(Second Recorded Version)
16. So Goes Love
17. Papa Gene’s Blues (Alternate Mix)†
18. I Can’t Get Her Off My Mind
19. Of You
20. (I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love (Alternate Mix)†
21. Gonna Buy Me A Dog (Backing Track)†
Disc: 2 1. (Theme From) The Monkees 2. Saturday’s Child 3. I Wanna Be Free 4. Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day 5. Papa Gene’s Blues 6. Take A Giant Step 7. Last Train To Clarksville 8. This Just Doesn’t Seem To Be My Day 9. Let’s Dance On 10. I’ll Be True To You 11. Sweet Young Thing 12. Gonna Buy Me A Dog 13. (Theme From) The Monkees(Third Recorded Version) 14. Kellogg’s Jingle 15. All The King’s Horses 16. You Just May Be The One (TV Version) 17. I Wanna Be Free (Fast Version) 18. I Don’t Think You Know Me (Mike’s Vocal) 19. Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun To Care)(Demo Version)† 20. Jokes (Backing Track)† More of the Monkees 1967’s MORE OF THE MONKEES was the band’s top seller, racking up 70 weeks on Billboard®’s album chart, including 18 weeks at #1, becoming the 3rd best-selling LP of the ’60s (ranking higher than any Beatles album). The Monkees topped the pop singles charts again with the Neil Diamond-penned "I’m A Believer." Album also features the Top 20 hit "(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone" and the classic cut "She," both composed by Boyce & Hart. Twelve bonus tracks on Disc 1 include "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)" with Peter’s narration, an alternate mix of "I’m A Believer" and the previously unissued "Whatever’s Right." Disc 2’s six bonus cuts include the first recorded version of Valleri" and a previously unreleased alternate version of "Tear Drop City." Each 2-CD Deluxe Limited EDITION features the original stereo album with bonus rarities on Disc 1, and the original mono album with even more rare treasures on Disc 2. Disc: 1 1. When Love Comes Knockin’ (At Your Door) 2. Mary, Mary 3. Hold On Girl 4. Your Auntie Grizelda 5. (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone 6. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) 7. The Kind Of Girl I Could Love 8. The Day We Fall In Love 9. Sometime In The Morning 10. Laugh 11. I’m A Believer 12. (I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love 13. Kicking Stones 14. Mr. Webster (First Recorded Version) 15. Hold On Girl (First Recorded Version) 16. 17. Through The Looking Glass(First Recorded Version) 17. I’ll Spend My Life With You(First Recorded Version) 18. Apples, Peaches, Bananas And Pears 19. Don’t Listen To Linda (First Recorded Version) 20. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)(with Peter’s Narration) 21. I’m A Believer (Alternate Mix) 22. Ladies Aid Society (Original Mono Mix)† Disc: 2 1. She 2. When Love Comes Knockin’ (At Your Door) 3. Mary, Mary 4. Hold On Girl 5. Your Auntie Grizelda 6. (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone 7. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) 8. The Kind Of Girl I Could Love 9. The Day We Fall In Love 10. Sometime In The Morning 11. Laugh 12. I’m A Believer 13. Valleri (First Recorded Version) 14. Words (First Recorded Version) 15. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) (TV Version) 16. I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet (First Recorded Version) 17. Tear Drop City (Alternate Mix)† 18. Of You (Mono Mix) Posted by Picasa

Our Prayers Bring Us Into God's Presence

How can I make my prayers effective?
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God's mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT
Praying effectivelyPaul urges Timothy to lift up requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving. A request is a need, a deep desire for something we don't have—something only God can supply. A prayer is a word of praise and adoration. A more accurate translation of this word from the original Greek might be to "worship in earnest."
Intercession is praying on behalf of others. Our prayers should regularly reflect this kind of selfless lifestyle.
Thanksgiving involved remembering those past prayers that have already been answered, acknowledging that we not only trust God's supremacy and involvement in our life but also how his hand has moved and guided us in the past. When we pray effectively, we do more than communicate with God—we commune with him. We become one in mind and spirit and purpose. Today, let the focus of your prayer time be to connect with God in a very real and personal way, not as a slave would petition his master, but as a son would enjoy the company of a loving and gracious father.
Adapted from a devotional by Frank M. Martin in Embracing Eternity (Tyndale House) p 36 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Variety Shows: The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour

On August 1, 1971 CBS aired the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. Glenn Campbell and Johnny Cash were on their way out but this pop music duo were about to have one of the biggest hits of the early 70’s. Now I had never heard of them till they got this show. They did have a couple of hits with the songs The Beat Goes On and I’ve Got You Babe. Of course those were the opening and closing theme songs to the show. Apparently in the 1970’s all you needed to get your own show was a hit song. The two were married to each other and were pretty good actors in the comedy sketches. Cher of course proved to be very good as she won an Oscar years later for her acting in the movie Moonstruck. Before he was on the Smothers Brothers and Johnny Cash Steve Martin was a regular on Sonny and Cher from 1972 to 1973. Terri Garr was also a regular cast member from 1973 to 1974. Cher showed off her excellent vocals and Sonny, well at least he was funny and a good songwriter. One of their most popular segments was called Vamp. Sonny played a piano player and Cher the singer. She sang a song that bridged the comedy segments that she starred in as famous women in history. Another favorite part was the opening with Cher making fun of Sonny. It didn’t matter really because we knew underneath it all that they loved each other. (At least we thought so.) I also remember a segment when a couple of the guest that week did a take on Batman and Robin. Bruce and Dick change clothes to fight crime when they see the Bat signal. Robin jumped out the window. Batman yelled to him “Robin! Superman flies! We use ropes!” It was funny at the time. I guess you had to see it. The closing had them with their daughter Chastity in their arms as they sang the closing theme I’ve Got You Babe. Sometimes they had her in the opening. One that they used her on was a Halloween episode. Instead of coming out to talk to the audience it opened with them taking their daughter trick or treating. The house they went to was scary looking and who answered the door? It was that week’s guest Jerry Lewis dressed as an odd looking butler. I don’t remember much after that but the feeling I remember is that it was one of their best episodes.
In the last year their marital problems made the papers and it was announced that they were not going to stay with the show. Sonny tried with his own show on ABC and Cher with her own solo show on CBS. While Cher’s lasted longer neither one got the ratings that their networks wanted and both were not renewed for a second season.
In 1976 they reconciled professionally on CBS with the Sonny and Cher Show. However, the show failed as the happily married couple element was missing. The whole world knew they were divorced and Cher was married to Greg Allman and just gave birth to Greg’s son. When ever Cher put Sonny down it was not funny anymore as you thought that she just might mean it.
The first series ran from August 1, 1971 to May of 1974. The second series ran from February 1976 to August 29, 1977. As we all know Sonny did remarry and after trying for an acting career he entered politics. He was a successful politician and died tragically in a skiing accident.
The above TV Guide I remember from my "career" with TV Guide. It was for the date of March 18, 1972. I also rememer them making the cover of TV Guide less then a month after the series was canceled in 1974 and the last episode aired. What show can say they made the Cover of TV guide and they weren't even on the air at that time? Very few. Posted by Picasa

Variety Shows: The Johnny Cash Show

A few months after Glenn Campbell got his own show his fellow country musician Johnny Cash got his own show also. The first episode aired on June 7, 1969. He had more hits at this time then Glenn did. He had Folsom Prison Blues as his opening theme and I Walk The Line as his closing theme. Carl Perkins, The Carter Family (easy to get since this legendary family were his in-laws) and the Statler Brothers were among the shows regulars. Johnny bridged many musical gaps and was able to get guest ranging from Louis Armstrong to Minnie Pearl to the Monkees on his show.
One of the highlights of the series was when for two episodes it became a documentary. It did a two part series on the history of country music and included everyone from Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams Sr., Jim Reeves and live performances from many others including Roy Acuff and Tammy Wynette.
At this time the Monkees were guest on both Cash and Campbell’s shows. I think they were hoping to get their own variety show. For those who aren’t aware the Monkees sit-com was renewed for a third season. The Monkees told the network that they didn’t want a new sit-com season they wanted to do a variety series. Perhaps fearing a take over like they did with Don Kirshner the network said it was a sit-com or no show. You know the results. I think it would have been pretty good. They could have gotten guest from all their various backgrounds from country to folk to rock and soul to Broadway. We already know they could do comedy. With NBC saying no they guest stared on shows on the other networks probably hoping ABC or CBS would make an offer. Neither one did.
Johnny’s first series was canceled in May of 1971 by ABC. However, he was back in the summer of 1976 on CBS with a similar type of series for 5 weeks. The regular comedic actors on the show were Steve Martin and the late Jim Varney. Musical guest were more country then pop rock. Unlike the previous series that included all forms of music of the day. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Variety Shows: The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour

A format that has not been seen on prime-time television since the 1970’s is the variety show. Again I think that economics plays a big part. The cost to produce a show is so huge now with just one star that to pay big name acts to appear on the show every week could bankrupt any production. Still there was a time when the variety show was king.
Now I can understand why an actor or a comedian would be asked to host a show. It has often puzzled me why get a singer to host. While Perry Como and Nat King Cole hosted shows in the 50’s the singer as host really boomed in the late 60’s and early 70’s. On January 29, 1969 CBS aired the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. Glen Campbell had a string of hits on the pop and country charts. His two biggest at that time were Gentle On My Mind and Wichita Lineman. He was a frequent guest on the Smothers Brothers Show. He is a first rate guitarist and made a living as a studio musician. He has played on many other artist hit songs. Like the Beach Boys and the Monkees. He also had filled in for Brian Wilson when Brian didn’t want to tour with the Beach Boys anymore. I believe I even remember them introducing the first episode of the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. The show became an instant hit. It was due to Mr. Campbell’s laid back southern charm. He set the tone of the show. The music was very good as you would expect. Having been taken under the wings of the Smothers Brothers he learned how to deliver a joke very well. I am too young to have seen the Perry Como show but I have heard that the show was a lot like an updated country version of Mr. Como’s show. What I have seen of Mr. Como is that he must have been the most laidback entertainer ever and still remain entertaining.
The theme song of the show was his hit Gentle On My Mind. Many of the guests were first rate country musicians and comedians. Many of his friends were like John Hartford, who wrote Gentle On My Mind, Jerry Reed and Dom DeLuise was on the show so often that even though they were not regular cast members they might as well have been.
In 1970 the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was canceled from CBS. Their show was always testing the networks patience with comedy monologues, songs and sketches based around religion and politics. Usually an on air apology smoothed everything out. This time the network had enough and cancelled the show.
Now what did this have to do with the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour? Well it is a bit ironic. You see the reason Glen Campbell was on the Smothers Brothers Show was because he was under contract to them. CBS may have canceled the Smothers Brothers in 1970 but until Glen Campbell’s show left the air with it’s last broadcast on June 13, 1972 CBS still had to pay the Smothers Brothers to air Glen’s family friendly show. Meanwhile CBS replaced the Smothers Brothers Show with Hee Haw. CBS at that time was starting to look like it stood for the Country Broadcasting System.
Glen Campbell still continued as a musical force with #1 hits Rhinestone Cowboy and Southern Nights a few years later. In 1982 he tried a half hour syndicated music show with guest ranging from Willie Nelson to Chuck Mangione. It only lasted 24 episodes. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 07, 2006

It was 45 Years Ago Today...

It was 45 years ago this week, actually it started back on July 10, that Bobby Lewis had the #1 hit with Tossin’ and Turnin’. It is one of the most successful hits ever on the Billboard charts. It was #1 for 7 weeks in a row. Mr. Lewis was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He moved to Detroit when he was adopted by a family there. As he got older he got into the music business by singing in local nightclubs. He became friends with Jackie Wilson and Mr. Wilson’s manager got him in touch with a record label in Chicago called Parrott Records. They signed him and he recorded some songs for them. Later back in Detroit he appeared on Soupy Sales local variety show. HE became a regular guest on the show. His friend Jackie Wilson was having great success in New York. Mr. Wilson and Bobby’s wife both urged him to go to New York. He did.
In New York many record companies turned him down. He met a group of white singers at the Apollo called the Fireflies. He gave them some encouragement to help calm their nerves. Three weeks later he went to Beltone Records. He liked the name because he once sang in a Gospel group called the Belltones. He asked for an audition and got one. When he sat down to play the piano he recognized one of the people there. Ritchie Adams the lead singer of the Fireflies. He found out that Ritchie had just been signed to the label. He sang some songs for Ritchie and Joe Rene the labels owner. Then Ritchie took out a song that he and Joe Rene had written. The song was Tossin’ and Turnin’. When he sang they knew that they found the right singer for the song. He was signed to the label and had a huge hit. He had two more hits with One Track Mind and I’m Tossin’ and Turnin’ Again when they made the lower part of the Hot 100 charts. After that Bobby disappeared from the charts forever. Posted by Picasa

Aquaman #49 1970

Today I am talking about Aquaman #49 dated February 1970. It is titled “As The Seas Die” It is written by Steve Skeates and edited by Dick Giordano and it is a mystery so while it is easy to figure out I will not reveal the identity of the saboteur in case you want to get it from your local comic book store. What caught my attention is the wonderful artwork on the cover. At first I thought it was by Neal Adams but after I bought it I saw that it was signed by Nick Cardy. The art on the inside by Jim Apro is just as beautiful. I have never quite understood why if you have a great artist like Mr. Apro then why not have him do the cover also. Or have the cover artist like Mr. Cardy do the story inside the book. It seems like false advertising when I buy a book based on the cover art and the art inside is not the same or if the cover has nothing to do with the storyline. Anyway, back to Aquaman.
Someone is blowing up factories that are dumping chemicals into the ocean. The chemicals are causing the local fish to go insane and become aggressive. Luckily it is also making them weaker. Aquaman’s friend Professor Davidson has been looking into the problem and has asked that Aquaman and Aqualad look into the problem.
While Aquaman is away from Atlantis his enemy Ocean Master comes to Atlantis under a white flag. Mera goes out to see what he wants but he will only talk to Aquaman. Mera tries to stall him as she doesn’t want to tell him that Aquaman is away from his kingdom.
During his investigation Aquaman finds that the owner of the last factory destroyed is saying that it was an accident even though Aquaman was there and saw the saboteur escape. Like the other owners he was illegally dumping chemicals and is afraid that the police would find out and arrest him instead. Aquaman later sees the saboteur and follows him to where he returns to the scene of the last crime. The owner is waiting for him. The saboteur gains the upperhand in the battle and looks like he is about to kill him when Aquaman intervenes. Even though Aquaman saved his life the owner knocks him out and leaves him to die because he doesn’t want a witness to him killing the saboteur. The factory owner and the saboteur both die when they fall off a cliff during their fight.
Aquaman meets up with Aqualad who had been working on another part of the investigation. Now that it is all over they decide to go home to get some rest. That of course won’t happen when they meet Ocean Master next issue.
I really enjoyed this story and recommend that you rush to your local comic book shop to buy this book. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Aquaman trailer

This is trailer for the proposed Aquaman series that would be a spin off from Smallville. CW decided not to do it but I hope they change their mind. Also, I hope they don't use it to replace Smallville or 7th Heaven. With them having Green Arrow on Smallville this season maybe they will spin him off too.

Kudzu and For Heaven Sakes

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