Thursday, November 26, 2015

A 'Poole's Paradise' Christmas with Bob Poole!

Take the ratings for every locally produced morning radio program, total them all together and you still won't come close to the audience share Poole's Paradise enjoyed for a quarter of a century in Greensboro, NC. Bob became a sensation in the 1940s broadcasting a nighttime show from New Orleans that forever changed radio. He was the first modern radio DJ - first to combine (corny) jokes, guests, live bands and recorded music.

He made no bones about being a small town boy at heart. In fact, he made it his schtick and paved the way for The Andy Griffith Show that came years later on television.

Bob moved to New York in 1948 to join the Mutual network. Although his down-home program wasn't heard in The City Poole's Paradise was a nationwide smash hit. By the time he left in 1952 the Mutual network was beginning to unravel. Bob Poole imitators were flooding local radio markets all around the USA, eschewing expensive network programs. That's when Poole returned to his radio roots, WBIG.

When Bob Poole moved back to Greensboro, NC he became the reining morning radio man there until poor health forced his retirement in December of 1977. He died weeks later.

This is from the December 10, 1948 broadcast of Poole's Paradise on Mutual:

This clip has a clever mash-up of different versions of Jingle Bells that I believe he brought, along with his theme song, to Greensboro.

Poole's Parlor, a half-hour variety show on Wednesday nights over WOR in New York. I believe this program aired from the fall of 1948 until January 1949. These clips are from the New Year's end show, December 28, 1948.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rat Pack Christmas Specials!

For the Christmas outing of The Frank Sinatra Show in 1957 Bing Crosby joined Ol' Blue Eyes for a half-hour of the most popular holiday songs of that era. This was the rare 1950s program shot in color. Although Frank's series failed to catch on, this Christmas celebration remains one of the finest, in terms of music, that the medium ever produced.

A decade later - the December 21, 1967 Christmas episode of The Dean Martin Show with guest star Frank Sinatra hit another high note.

Here are two performers that really enjoyed performing together. Dean was used to working with a partner (Jerry Lewis) but Frank wasn't - this led to some very funny ad-libbed moments. Everything Frank and Dean did together had a spontaneous feel; they didn't need rehearsals... so they didn't. With decades performing before live audiences they were prepared for anything. Sammy Davis Jr. makes a surprise appearance as well—doing his Amos 'n' Andy impression which, in hindsight, isn't terribly PC.

Also a part of this family show are Frank's kids Nancy, Tina, and Frank Jr. along with Dean's offspring Claudia, Craig, Dean Jr, Deana, Gail, Gina, Ricci, and Mrs. Martin. The highlights are tunes crooned by Dean and Frank, separately and together.

I Almost Bought Cher's Gown, Wish I Had

A storefront opened on Santa Monica Blvd in 1981 (I think) that purported to sell outfits once worn by stars and sure enough I recognized a number of outfits from TV shows and specials dating back to the 1960s, but it was all women's clothing.

There were a half dozen dresses I immediately remembered Cher wearing on the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, a Bob Mackie creation with loads of glitter caught my eye, one of the iconic gowns from the show, similar to this photo (if not the actual). It was maybe $200.

It came out in the news that most of the clothes had been stolen by household staff, after that the shop closed, it was open only a few weeks. I passed on buying anything, couldn't see myself wearing those dresses, but wish I had now... because imagine what it would be worth!

Also, in a thrift shop on Third Street, I saw Helen Reddy's gold record for 'I Am Woman' up on the wall for about $500. Her husband had run through her entire fortune and she lost everything at auction, this was around 1984.

For more on Cher on TV

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Racist Batman Sketch With Green Hornet & Kato

Milton Berle was the hottest thing on the tube in the early fifties but TV audiences cooled to him quickly. Fortunately, he had negotiated a 'pay or play' contract with NBC for one million dollars a year; an exclusive, unprecedented 30-year deal.

In 1966 rival network ABC gave the comic an hour in primetime for one stinkeroo of a variety show. Problem was, no one thought Berle was a funny as Berle thought he was. So he lazily fell back on outlandish costumes and blatant stereotypes for laughs - as he does in this lame skit with guests Adam West (Batman), Van Williams (Green Hornet) and Bruce Lee (Kato).

Milton Berle had been previously seen with the Dynamic Duo on the ABC Fall Preview Show in 1966 and would later appear as a villain on Batman, Louie the Lilac.

Classic TV at TVparty!