Saturday, July 07, 2007

1986 and 1977

This past week I took a trip down memory lane when I visited The Paley Center for Media Library (formerly The Museum of Television and Radio) in Beverly Hills. Very few people seem to know about it, and that's a shame. This place is a goldmine of television and radio history.

The Paley Center, located at 465 N. Beverly Drive, is open to the public to come and view, in screening cubicles, television shows and listen to radio programs which are an indelible part of our pop culture. It's the perfect opportunity to relive those shows that burn brightest in our childhood memories.

While searching their list of available programs I had absolutely no idea where to begin. My friend, on the other hand, zeroed in on watching episodes of "Hazel" and "Our Miss Brooks."

Finally I settled on an episode of "The Tonight Show" from 1986 that featured Kim Carnes as musical guest performing songs from her underrated and overlooked Lighthouse CD. She and her band performed Black and White and I'd Lie To You For Your Love, the former being a song I'd never seen her sing live before. It was a wonderful treat!

I don't know why Carnes never replicated the success she had with Bette Davis Eyes from the early 80s. Her subsequent work I find to be so much better. I guess the public associated her too much with that one song and never gave her a chance to prove herself as the incredible singer/songwriter that she is.

After Carnes I was in a music mood and stumbled across Bette Midler's 1977 Emmy Award winning television special "Ol' Red Hair Is Back." It's the best Bette and should definitely be released on DVD. She sings, dances, jokes, and proves that her talent is nothing short of extraordinary.

The opening scene is Island Natives pulling a clamshell from the ocean, and when it’s opened The Divine Miss M emerges singing Oklahoma! Musical comedy doesn't get better than this.

Special guest Dustin Hoffman plays piano while Midler sings Shoot The Breeze, a gorgeous ballad they wrote together, which unfortunately has never been recorded on any CD. It was a highlight of the show.

Other songs performed include:

In the Mood
Shiver Me Timbers
La Vie En Rose
Hello In There
Do You Wanna Dance?
Higher and Higher
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

All in all it was a wonderful afternoon of television history. I anticipate going back again real soon. What will I watch? I don't quite know, but I'm thinking episodes of the cave man comedy series from the 60s called "It's About Time" (starring Imogene Coca) might be a nice place to start.

1 comment:

Owen said...

That archive sounds wonderful, and what a simple idea! Shame you can't download and copy the programmes you want. I'd like a few hours in there myself!