Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Polish Power: The Bobby Vinton Show (1975)

Bobby Vinton was known for soft pop hits like "Blue on Blue", "Mr. Lonely", "There! I've Said It Again", and "My Melody of Love" during the 60's. In the mid-70's, Vinton tried his luck hosting a syndicated, weekly variety show. One advantage he had was that he had veteran producer Chris Bearde as a show-runner. Bearde had worked with Andy Williams, Sonny & Cher, and the Hudson Brothers on their shows, and in the case of the Hudsons, theirs was a Saturday morning show. Bearde also packaged a daily kids' show, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, featuring Vincent Price, before hooking up with Chuck Barris for The Gong Show, as Chuckie needed someone who knew about variety shows.........

Unfortunately for Vinton, his show met the same fate as the Hudsons, although it was cancelled after 3 seasons instead of one. Bear in mind that back in those days, stations were checker-boarding their "fringe" schedules, shows that aired ahead of network primetime fare. By checker-boarding, I mean a station would air a different show each night in the same slot, say, 7:30 pm, which is where Vinton wound up in my market, and if memory serves, The Bobby Vinton Show aired on Thursday nights. Vinton had some silly supporting "characters", like Andy Williams did, but all they did was drag the show down.

Tony Hiller uploaded a clip of Vinton & Anne Murray dueting on "United We Stand", which Hiller wrote for the 1-hit wonder Brotherhood of Man in the early 70's.

Rating: C.


Steven Albert said...

Your post is mistaken on several important points. First Bobby Vinton's musical succeess began in 1962 and extended into the late eighties. His million seller #1 "My Melody of Love" was a hit in the winter of 1974-75, not the 60's. Secondly Vinton's half hour variety show was the first of its kind when it went into production in May of 1975. A half hour format for a syndicated variety show had never been done before. Andy Williams followed the next season and a number of others would follow including the Muppet Show. Next and most importantly, The Bobby Vinton Show was not a failure, it ran for a full 3 seasons on over 150 U.S. and Canadian stations as well as overseas in Japan. The clip you posted of Ann Murray comes from an original tape that I own. Ann Murray also guest starred in the second season. Donna Summer got her first national exposure on The Bobby Vinton Show in 1975 during the first season. The list of guest stars is very impressive. A best selling album "The Bobby Vinton Show" was released on ABC Records. By the way Bobby is still very active at 77 appearing in casino showrooms from Las Vegas to Connecticut to full houses. He sounds better than ever!

hobbyfan said...

I mentioned that Bobby had begun his career during the 60's. I had thought "Melody" was part of that period, so that was my error. IIRC, I only recall seeing the first season. As you say, the series lasted three years, but I don't remember it going that far.

Among those others that followed, besides the Muppet Show, which outlasted Vinton by a year or two, were Bobby Goldsboro & Dolly Parton, each lasting at least a year.

Thank you for your input.

Unknown said...

Chris Bearde had nothing to do with "Hilarious House of Frightenstein". Riff and Mitch Markowitz produced it. Mitch is now working on a documentary about the show's creation and legacy, to be called "And Vincent Price Said Yes".

hobbyfan said...

Bearde's name was on the credits for Frightenstein, as memory serves me, and that's what I went with.