Here’s’s 22 year old Frank Zappa’s television debut I believe. It’s from The Steve Allen Show from 1963. Here’s a link to a great recollection of the event from Jerry Hopkins who was the show’s talent coordinator.
Jerry’s job was to find eccetric amateur talent for Steve to feature on the show. Steve was apparently dead set against having performers who were willing to fake being kooks just to get on and promote their acts. “It never ever works and it’s embarrassing for everyone” Steve said. Zappa was apparently the one exception to the rule. He was clearly there to promote the soundtrack he’d just composed for the movie “The World’s Greatest Sinner” and an album called “How’s Your Bird.” The thing is, in this particular instance it did work!
Some people have said FZ seems very nervous and uncomfortable at the beginning of this video and that he seems to relax and warm up part way through. Personallly I don’t think so. I think at the beginning he’s trying to play the part of an ameteur eccentric complete with the mispronunciation of the work “bicycle”. Frank Zappa “playing” eccentric is extremely meta and worth the watch in and of itself! Shortly after he sneaks in the movie plug he seems to drop the act and show more of his natural stage presence.
Here’s part one of the segment. When part one is done you can look at the scrolling list of videos along the bottom of the window to find parts 2-4. Very funny stuff!