Sunday, February 18, 2018

Vic Damone, singing on "The Morey Amsterdam Show," 1949

The fine singer Vic Damone died on February 11th.  He was 89.

The following is a video/kinescope of Mr. Damone, from YouTube.  It is from an April of 1949 telecast of the DuMont Network's Morey Amsterdam Show.


Vic Damone, on The Morey Amsterdam Show, 1949

















 
Morey Amsterdam's program, a variety show, made its debut on CBS-TV in December of 1948.  Its setting was the fictional "Golden Goose Cafe," and its cast included Art Carney (who played Charlie, the cafe's doorman).   

The show was cancelled by CBS in March of 1949, and reappeared the next month, on the DuMont Network  Its setting became the (also fictional) "Silver Swan Cafe"; Art Carney now portrayed "Newton the Waiter."  The show aired until 1950.

The appearance by Vic Damone took place on the show's debut broadcast on the DuMont Network. He sang with The Johnny Guarnieri Orchestra, which was featured on both the CBS and DuMont versions of Morey Amsterdam's program. 

The website IMDB.com lists no television appearances by Mr. Damone prior to his 1949 appearance with Morey Amsterdam. It is therefore possible that this was his first television appearance.

Here is the New York Times's obituary of Mr. Damone:

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Comedian Rodney Dangerfield, in The New York Times Magazine

There's an interesting retrospective piece about Rodney Dangerfield, in this past Sunday's New York Times Magazine.

Writer AlexThe one-liners were impeccable, unimprovable. Dangerfield spent years on them; he once told an interviewer that it took him three months to work up six minutes of material for a talk-show appearance."

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/26/magazine/letter-of-recommendation-rodney-dangerfield.html

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin

Last Monday (January 22nd), the prominent and influential novelist Ursula K. Le Guin died, at age 88. 

A few days later, I was looking through a 1998 book about television, CBS: The First 50 Years, by Tony Chiu (General Publishing Group).  The book's epigraph is a quote from Ms. Le Guin: 

"There's a good deal in common between the mind's eye and the TV screen, and though the TV set has all too often been the boobtube, it could be, it can be, the box of dreams."

The quote is from a 1980 magazine piece by Ms. Le Guin; the piece then appeared in her 1989 nonfiction collection, Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places (Grove Press).

Here is the New York Times obituary about Ms. Le Guin:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/obituaries/ursula-k-le-guin-acclaimed-for-her-fantasy-fiction-is-dead-at-88.html

Friday, January 19, 2018

Dion, 1968 Smothers Brothers TV appearance

On Wednesday (two days after the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday), I came upon the following video, on YouTube:  it is from a November 17, 1968 episode of the Smothers Brothers program, on CBS. 

The video is of the singer Dion, performing the exquisite song "Abraham, Martin and John," which had been released in August of that year.  The song was written (by Dick Holler) in the aftermath of the assassinations of Dr. King, and Robert Kennedy. 

Dion's performance of the song, on the TV show (as on his original recording of it) is extremely beautiful--both his singing, and his guitar playing.  

I don't remember being aware, prior to watching the video, that it was Dion who played the guitar on the record itself.

The Wikipedia page about the song notes: "Dion felt during post production that the song needed more depth and added a track featuring him playing classical guitar notably at the bridge, lead ins and the close."


The record had first appeared on the Cashbox music chart near the end of October, 1968 (and on Billboard's chart the following week).  A little over a month after the Smothers Brothers appearance, the song reached #2 on the Cashbox list. It would also reach #4 in the Billboard ranking (and became a #1 record in Canada).

Here is the video of Dion's television performance: