WQED pledge drive to rally around mid-'60s music
Share with others:
As promised, the locally produced "My Music" series is graduating from the harmonious doo-wop era into the groovier mid-'60s, when moptops, cage dancing and rock 'n' roll became the rage.
As part of the March PBS pledge drive, at 9:30 p.m. Thursday on WQED-TV, "My Music" revisits the network series "Hullabaloo," a prime-time music and dance show that was NBC's answer to ABC's "Shindig!"
Both popped up in the wake of the Beatles' smash success on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in February 1964. "Shindig!," which started that September, was hosted by LA DJ Jimmy O'Neill and consisted largely of West Coast acts. "Hullabaloo" launched as a midseason addition in January 1965 and lasted a season and a half, until August 1966, when it was replaced on Monday nights by "The Monkees."
Each week, "Hullabaloo" featured a special guest host (Sammy Davis Jr., Petula Clark and Jerry Lewis, among them) and gyrating Broadway dancers, including future stars Michael Bennett and Donna McKechnie. Musical guests included The Four Seasons, The Mamas & The Papas, The Rascals, Marvin Gaye and The Byrds, and, while the Beatles never performed on the show, Fab Four manager Brian Epstein piped in each week with a British segment where he showcased such acts as The Kinks, Herman's Hermits and Gerry and the Pacemakers.
Bringing it back to TV for the first time in 47 years is "My Music" producer TJ Lubinsky, who will present "Hullabaloo: A '60s Flashback" on a re-created set with co-host Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits.
Joining them as a guest will be executive producer Gary Smith, a Brooklyn native who came to the show after studying scenic design at Carnegie Tech's Theatre Department in the mid-'50s and working as art director on "The Judy Garland Show."
In an Archive of American Television interview, he said of "Hullabaloo," "There was very little rock 'n' roll on television at the time. ... We're talking about an explosion that really started with the credibility that the Beatles gave pop music, where people like Leonard Bernstein would say it's great music, it's not just a record."
Mr. Smith went on to produce numerous Emmy and Tony Awards shows, American Film Institute programs and specials by Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Sammy Davis Jr. and Bing Crosby, among others.
Also joining them will be Lada Edmund Jr. (now known as Lara St. Edmund), "Hullabaloo's" caged go-go dancer who went on to a career as an actress, stuntwoman and columnist for Hit Parader. She now works as a personal trainer.
If you remember this all happening in color -- and, yes, there was color TV in 1965 -- you might be a little confused by the presentation. Only a few color episodes remain because NBC destroyed the tapes, so the rest exist on black and white kinescopes, which were film recordings of TV shows.
First Published March 6, 2013 12:00 am