Here is my last installment about music and television in the 1960′s
Where we left off was Shindig and I wanted to let you know that I have devoted next weeks blog to Hullaballoo! I have some interesting stories so stay tuned!
We still didn’t get through all of the variety shows that were featuring music so here goes!
On the Dean Martin Hollywood Palace episode, Dean ridiculed the Rolling Stones, their very first US TV appearance, and of course, a big brouhaha ensued. Pretty timid by today’s standards! Oh, one of the other acts that night was Bertha the Elephant who was not maligned!
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, became one of the most influential and controversial American TV programs of the Vietnam era, due to being very politically left. Despite popular success, the brothers’ penchant for material that was critical of the political mainstream (and sympathetic to the emerging counterculture) led to their program’s cancellation by the CBS network in 1969. The Who appeared 9/17/67 and after they did their smash up of “My Generation,” Pete Townsend smashes Dickie Smothers acoustic guitar. This was my favorite episode being the big Who freak I was except for The Electric Prunes who performed on 4/16/67
Shivaree was a local LA TV show that was very similar to Shindig. It was hosted by Gene Weed. In its brief run, the show featured numerous well-known acts, including the Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, the Byrds, Allan Sherman, the Ronettes, We Five, and James Brown at its KABC-TV studio. Enjoy the clip!
Night Train was an all-black rhythm & blues, vocal group harmony and soul music TV show produced at WLAC, Channel 5, Nashville, TN and hosted by Noble Blackwell. All of the artists performed live and include the Avons, the Spidells, Hal Hardy, Jimmy Church, Ironing Board Sam, Pamela Releford, Jeffery Allen, Sandra King, Joe Perkins and many others! The photography and lighting are done very well. It’s a very cool-looking and sounding TV show! Great rhythm & blues and doo wop sounds! Their claim to fame, in my opinion, is this clip of Buddy and Stacey which has the earliest footage of Jimi Hendrix in the back up band. Dig those dance steps!
Even the kids show had to get into the act! Here is a Chicago kids program. Mulqueens Kiddie A Go Go:New Colony Six
Rex Harrison’s son, Noel, was a bit of a pop star in the 60′s. Here is a clip from his special “Where the Girls Are” that includes Barbara McNair and the Byrds doing Good Days Sunshine Don’t forget your Go Go boots!
Here is an interesting tidbit, on May 14, 1968 Johnny Carson was on holiday and would you believe, Joe Garagiola, with Tallulah Bankhead on interviewed Lennon & McCartney on the Tonight Show.
Launched by ABC TV in 1967 to compete with The Tonight Show, The Joey Bishop Show lasted two years. BTW, his sidekick on the show was Regis Philbin! Here is a clip featuring the late Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart Joey Bishop Boyce and Hart
I couldn’t get enough of these bands! Anything that even hinted at music I would watch! The powers that be in the industry knew there were hundreds of thousands of kids who felt the same way so not only were variety shows pushing rock acts but a number of TV shows, particularly sitcoms were doing the same.
Here is a sampling of the shows that had music.
The Patty Duke Show :One of my old friends is Paul O’Keefe who played Ross, Patty’s younger brother on the show. I remember him telling me that this show with Chad and Jeremy inspired him to take up music. As far back as I can remember, I always found it odd when 2 guitars are playing that all of a sudden a full orchestra is backing them up! I would always wonder when Danny Thomas sat at the piano and sang to his son Rusty, where they fit the orchestra in their apartment!
Gidget started as a film series with Sandra Dee in 1959. Sally Field starred in the sitcom that basically revolved around her and her father, played by Don Porter , who some of you might remember from the Ann Southern Show.The basic premise focused on Gidget getting a bit of moral instruction from her dad. This clip has Gidget going rock and roll: Gidget’s Career
Everybody remembers the Andy Griffith Show because it is always in reruns. The basic premise portrays Andy as a widowed sheriff in a southern town with an inept deputy, Barney Fife (Don Knotts) a spinster Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) and his son Opie.. This clip features :Opies Band “The Sound Commitee”
Even the Munsters got into the act. Listen to this, The Standells whose big hit was “Dirty Water” doing a cover of “I Want to Hold Your Hand!”
A bizarre episode of My Three Sons: Rock Star Come Home with Monkee Mickey Dolenz
Maybe the strangest pairing on television was The Mothers in Law featuring Eve Arden, Kaye Ballard and Sky Saxon with The Seeds There was only one stranger billing that I can remember at the Orpheum Theater in Boston when I was going to the Berklee College of Music: The NY Dolls, Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House, and headlining Capt Beefheart! Oh, I just remembered one other at the Filmore: The jazzrock group If, the Faces, and headlining Black Sabbath!
They don’t do billings like that anymore.