3/16/09

"HULLABALOO": SIX DEGREES OF CITY ISLAND?



To celebrate the upcoming hullabaloo over the City Island premiere, enjoy the above photo of Vince Rizzo, smoking and reading while posed underneath a skylight. What's he doing? Why? Come to the festival and find out. Or simply WAIT ANOTHER YEAR until the film has run its release pattern and wound up on DVD. (Or, disastrously, wait until somebody shoots a crappy version of it from the back of the theater at Tribeca and posts it on-line...)

And now back to more pressing matters...namely my latest music/tv/media infatuation, the long-vanished but not forgotten television variety show "Hullabaloo". I was pleased to notice that a number of readers responded quite positively to my previous HB clip--the absurd version of "Help", sung (?) by Jerry Lewis and his oldest son Gary Lewis. Why did this show elude my attention for all these years? Obsessively, I've collected what information I could about it and have come up with the following mini-history. But first, let's get in the mood with a specialty number from the Hullabaloo Dancers—a team of four men and six women. Dig the first two mentioned: Michael (or "Mike" as he's referred to here) Bennett and Donna McKechnie who, of course, went on to revolutionize Broadway a mere ten years later with "A Chorus Line". Bennett also directed Katherine Hepburn in "Coco" and later brought us the stunning "Dreamgirls"--which I went to see at least three or four times in the early eighties. (Odd haberdashirial note: at some point during the "Dreamgirls" run, I saw Bennett walking down Fifth Avenue, wearing a full length mink coat). Also mentioned is Patrick Adiarte who went on to star as Ho-Jon in the television series M*A*S*H. Another female dancer, model/actress Lada Edmund Jr. was best known as the caged "go-go girl" dancer in the "Hullabaloo A-Go-Go" segment near the closing sequence of the show. Dig the chicks at 3:05 (or thereabouts) doing that gnarly knee-dance. Ouch...



"Hullabaloo" ran on NBC from January 12, 1965 through August 29, 1966, originally as a one-hour broadcast, airing from 8:30 - 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday. There was no regular host--different hosts presided each week, among whom were Sammy Davis Jr., Petula Clark, Paul Anka, Jack Jones, and Frankie Avalon. The level of talent the show attracted makes it must-see collecting for students of popular culture--Dionne Warwick, The Rolling Stones, Sonny and Cher, the Supremes, Herman's Hermits, The Animals, and Marianne Faithfull were all featured. Apparently the show was bi-coastal, being taped in New York at NBC's Studio 8-H as well as in Burbank, California (the Jerry and Gary Lewis episodes were LA based--I like to think because of Jerry's demands that he not be forced to fly east for this one-off leg-up sop favor to his son...).

Sadly, though the show was in color, the tapes of the broadcasts were destroyed in a fit of housecleaning. Though a few seem to exist in color, the remaining evidence of "Hullabaloo's" existence comes from black and white kinescopes. Oh, well. The material is still here and was recently collected on a two-DVD set which, I understand, is already a rarity. Nonetheless, thanks to youtube, here's another clip--the Animals singing one of my favorite mid-sixties psychedelic/garage tunes, "It's My Life". Dig the girls with the disembodied heads, peering out of the set from behind the band.

Oh: how does "Hullabaloo" connect itself to "City Island"? Simple. The music director was the great Peter Matz...father of City Island's producer (and my dear friend) Zachary Matz. Let's call that the third degree of seperation. The sixth would be the following inane coincidence; at the time Peter Matz was working on "Hullabaloo", he and his young family lived at 2 West 67th Street, off of Central Park West, in NYC. And I (barely verbal yet) lived across the street at 1 West 67th, a fact that neither Zach nor I were aware of until we met thirty years later in Los Angeles.



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9 comments:

  1. I'm confused about your comments on City Island...are you saying that City Island won't be in theaters?! That would be horrible since I'm really, really looking forward to seeing it. Maybe I'm reading you wrong but going from the Tribeca to DVD seems like it's missing a crucial step! I really wish I could be in Tribeca. Have you made any plans about a q&a yet or any sort of panel? How'd your cast/crew screening go? I'm full of questions but I can't help it :)

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  2. Oh no--sorry about that. We don't yet know who will buy and distribute City Island, but I didn't mean to say that it wouldn't be in theaters; I was being flippant and saying that, even if in theaters, a year from now it'll be on DVD.

    Cast and crew screening was great. I'm doing a couple of panels which I'll post more about once they're confirmed.

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  3. Well that's a sigh of relief :) Once I calmed down, I thought that was probably what you were referring to...so I'm glad you confirmed it. I'll be happy to own a copy when it comes out on DVD but in the meantime I'd love to see it in the theaters!

    Glad to hear the screening went well. Feel free to tell us more...I'm always a detail gal! And still think that if you have panels you should tape them and put them on youtube, because I am greedy that way.

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  4. An open request from your Prop Master:

    As the cast & crew screening was on a Wednesday evening, when many of your crew were probably working (I was, as was Alexis, my second), wondering if it may be possible to have another screening on a weekend for crew who were gainfully employed that evening?

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  5. Hey Raymond!

    I wish we didn't have to wait that long to watch city island! I guess that is what happens when you live far far away...At least we got your blog, which is a consolation lol

    Now question, Petula Clark is a singer right? I think I know a few of her songs and like them very much. Thank you for the clip and pic!

    Have a great weekend
    peace and love
    xoxo

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  6. I like the picture of Andy. Poor Vince, having to hide away to read and smoke. These shots are fun to look at while we wait for the movie. More details on the cast/crew screening please! Who was there, any reactions to the movie?

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  7. "City Island" should be most interesting; I look forward to the DVD's release.

    Stay on groovin' safari,
    Tor

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  8. Some minor points about Hullabaloo: The bilk of the episodes were taped at Color Studio #2 in Brooklyn, to my knowledge, none were taped at 8H though some were taped at another studio at 30Rock when Brooklyn 2 was needed for a special of Perry Como or Mitch miller etc.

    Two ep's were taped at NBC Burbank in late summer 1965. I was told that the set was reconstructed out there rather than shipped back and forth.

    The shows were taped alternate weeks on Wed/Thursday - cam rehearsal then the take. The studio did not have VTR's so the raw feeds were hopped via microwave to Empire state bldg then to 30 Rock.

    I was told back then that it was originally conceived as a rock and roll Vaudeville...odd idea? Top acts got $7500 -same as the Sullivan show.

    Almost all of the vocals were live with tape backing tracks played through a large RCA theater speaker just behind the camera line. I remember it being nicknamed "Pete" probably because Matz' backings came out through it.

    I was 8 and 9 during the run of Hullabaloo, made several friends there, one of which endures to this day. It was a special period for me and Hullabaloo was big part of it.

    "Lino'

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  9. I have seen it on theater. At some points I didn't liked it but overall it a good movie. I will rate this movie 8 out of 10.
    free online movies

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