Television variety shows were very popular from the beginning of TV history and they remained popular through the 70’s. By the 80’s though the format was almost dead and “Pink Lady And Jeff” was one of the nails in the coffin. The show ran for 5 weeks in 1980 and it starred Japanese pop duo Pink Lady and comedian Jeff Altman. I don’t know which of the 6 episodes this is but, obviously it’s the one starring Hugh Heffner. The song is “My Kind Of Town” by Jimmy Van Husen and Sammy Cahn. I wonder if the director even bothered to mention whether or not people should be lip syncing for this number. There really doesn’t seem to be much consensus on the matter.
I am a fan of bad television and cinema (obviously). A lot of other fans talk about having a certain affection for bad films but, with a few exceptions, I really don’t think I share the love. I mostly just like making fun of them or watching others make fun of them. I could be wrong about that though because I do have “acting in an ultra low budget movie” on my bucket list. I read the blog of a guy who did it and he made it sound so cool that I’ve been fascinated by the notion ever since. I want to see low-budget, guerilla film making first hand. I want to be present at some of those not so historic “That’ll have to do because we can’t afford to reshoot it” moments. I’m over 40, fat and unwilling to get naked so I’m definitely not leading lady material but I’d be thrilled with a one liner or a walk on part. I’m talentless and willing to work for free so, I think I have what it takes to achieve bit part, b-movie greatness!
Nelson Riddle has been called one of the best arrangers in the history of popular music. He began arranging for Nat King Cole 1950 and he’s responsible for some of Nat’s biggest hits including “Mona Lisa” and “Too Young.” This clip comes from Nat King Cole’s variety show which ran from 1956-1957. Nelson Riddle was the show’s orchestra leader. The song is “Diga Diga Doo” which is from the 1928 music review “Blackbirds.”
Two completely unrelated thoughts:
First thought: I was shocked to learn that musical copyist still exists as a profession. I went looking for it fully expecting the find they’d been replaced by the printer and/or photo copier but apparently the task requires very specialized musical knowledge. So the tools have changed (computers nowadays instead of calligraphy pens) but the job is still intact.
Second thought: The first time I heard this song was in a 1977 made for TV movie called “Circle Of Children.” The movie was about a school for “emotionally disturbed” kids and it was pretty unremarkable. I hadn’t thought about in years; but hearing this song got me thinking about it and my thoughts led to a very interesting commute time conversation with myself about the changes in special education since that movie was made. When I say I had a conversation, I don’t mean I had one of those silent inner monologues with small secret smiles and far off wistful gazes. I mean I had a crazy, disjointed, tin foil hat wearing, bag lady style verbal soliloquy in my car, all alone. It’s days like this that make me thankful for the invention of blue tooth. That magical little ear piece that makes everyone think people are talking to themselves has really leveled the playing field for those of us who actually are talking to ourselves!
Chick Webb saved up enough money selling newspapers to buy his first set of drums at age 11. By the time he was 18 he was leading a band that was a regular headliner at the Savoy Ballroom in New York. Chick contracted tuberculosis of the spine as a child which left him with severe scoliosis, a very short stature, and limited use of his neck and shoulders. His drum kit had to be specially modified because of his physical differences but his unique and exciting drum style transformed drumming in the swing jazz era. Here’s Chick’s orchestra featuring a young Ella Fitzgerald performing one of their biggest hits, “Tain’t What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It).”
I’ll be brief because I’m posting this late. It was Mommy’s night out tonight. I had a relaxing massage, a nice Thai food dinner, then a fantastic time at the Rifftrax Live show. I sure know how to show a girl a good time don’t I? If I was dating me I’d totally be getting lucky tonight!