Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Gong Show All Star Special

In 1977, NBC gave its daytime hit "The Gong Show" a one-time-only shot in primetime. My guess is that Chuck Barris and crew filmed about an hour and a half of material for the show and cut it down to an hour's running time. There are extra disclaimers at the end of the show heralding this.

Big show with lots of people, in the filmed intros and on stage. You want music? (Alice Cooper, the UCLA band, Harry James and his orchestra) Comedy? (Rindercella, Tony Randall, the Bait Brothers) Action? (there's a crew fight) This show has it all. I am embedding the first part and you can find the rest yourself by clicking through to the YouTube page.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New On Our Blogroll

John K.

Need I say more? Check out his original johnkstuff blog and his new Funky HB blog. Hanna-Barbera filtered through the Kricfalusi eye.

John K. has actually visited my cartoon filmography pages, so that proves his discerning taste.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Sign Of The Times"

Petula Clark doing what she does best. This is a song from 1966. Petula, then 33, had just scored her second US #1 hit with "My Love", the latest in a string of collaborations with writer/producer Tony Hatch. "Sign Of The Times" is perhaps Petula's most boombastic hit, with loud brass (there's a bass trombone in there someplace) and big drums. A mod sound. Too bad the song only got to #11 on the Billboard charts. This should have been a top ten. She looks great in this video. In 2009, Ms. Clark is still performing in her mid-70's.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Music Doesn't Sound At All on WABC! (Bong)

Some Internet commentators are predicting that we could be seeing the end of the recent resurgence of music programming on otherwise all-talk WABC.

Since 1999, every Memorial Day has featured a program called "WABC Rewound", in which old airchecks (recordings from the radio or the station's audio board) of classic WABC personalities such as Dan Ingram, Ron Lundy and Cousin Brucie are "de-telescoped" - that is, the music being put back in, having been previously excised to allow easy critique on the air personality's performance. This allows listeners to hear the shows as originally intended. Classic-era WABC jock and longtime production director Johnny Donovan, Peter Kanze, "restorian" Rob Frankel and other station staffers were most instrumental in creating this presentation. However, the station announced this year that the former on-air presentation will not occur and that the show will become available on Memorial Day as podcasts.

Five years later, WABC premiered a Saturday Night Oldies show hosted by Mark Simone. The show is only minorly evocative of the old WABC presentation, since Simone does a lot of his own schtick like "fake breaks" and his constant reminiscing with a small cadre of callers. The show has also been supported by a message board on the website. Now that site's webmaster, Alan Sniffen, as big a supporter of WABC as you'll find, has now publicly called for WABC to cancel the show. What's changed is the station's program director (no longer Phil Boyce, who supported these diversions into music) and positioning, now calling itself on air "WABC Radio Network" and now relying more on national or syndicated personalities rather than locally produced programming.

The next week or so should be interesting, but remember this: listening to AM radio today is about as quaint as listening to a gramophone. So be it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Frank Hughes Retiring

Here's a short video on the upcoming retirement of Frank Hughes, band director at Toms River North for the last 30 years. Although billed as his "final concert", tomorrow evening's band concert at North will not be his last school performance - that will be the Jazz Band concert on Monday, June 1.

I wish Frank well in his future endeavors. He's a very upstanding guy, and we've talked quite a bit about him on this blog over the years, both in his roles as TR North band director and Monmouth Park racetrack bugler.

Video is no longer available. Sorry.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Pinball In Allentown

It's unfortunately going to have to go on without the Mackey Bros. this year, but the annual Pinball Wizards Convention is underway in Allentown, PA, at the Agri-Plex. Go there and play all the pinball you can.