Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What Might've Been: The Bobby Darin Amusement Company/The Bobby Darin Show (1972)

Back in the day, it was a common practice, discontinued in the mid-70's, for the networks to sub one existing variety show with a fresh one during the summer, with the incumbent assured of returning in the fall.

At NBC, that incumbent was Dean Martin, who spun off the Golddiggers into their own summer series for three years in a row (1968-70), then turned the summer spot to Vic Damone (1971), and finally, actor-singer Bobby Darin in 1972.

Darin was on the comeback trail, having returned to show business after a three year hiatus in 1970. He'd made a guest appearance on Night Gallery opposite Jack Albertson, as memory serves. In July of 1972, The Bobby Darin Amusement Company bowed, filling the space where Dean usually was on Thursdays until the fall. Bobby's repertory company included future icons Steve Landesberg (later of Barney Miller) & Geoff Edwards, better known for his many game shows (i.e. Jackpot, The New Treasure Hunt) and character actor Dick Bakalyan, whose resume included a few Disney movies and guest appearances on Batman, particularly in the final season, where he played a handful of different henchmen.

Of course, at the time, 10 pm (ET) was past ye scribe's bedtime, so I never saw the show, hence, no rating. In this clip, Darin's monologue is interrupted by a "network psychiatrist" (Landesberg):

The show was, in fact, a success, such that in January 1973, the series was brought back, now known as The Bobby Darin Show, as a replacement for Quinn Martin's under-performing Robert Forster crime drama, Banyon. Problem was, Darin had taken ill by this point, and passed away in the spring of '73, a brilliant career cut tragically short.

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