Thursday, June 8, 2017

What Might've Been: Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters Hour (1969)

Ha-cha-cha! Jimmy Durante had gotten three years out of doing his own show in the 50's, and had been a frequent guest on The Hollywood Palace, even hosting that Saturday night show at least once or twice.

So what made ABC suits think he could be a mentor to the Lennon Sisters, who'd left The Lawrence Welk Show?

That was the premise, it seems, behind Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters Hour, which lasted just 1 season (1969-70). Now, the Lennons were allowed to expand their wardrobe, if ya will, away from the conservative constraints of the Welk show. Why was it cancelled after 1 season? Wrong time of the night. The show was slotted at 10 pm (ET) on Fridays, and, as memory serves, the first half of the ABC schedule that night was filled with The Brady Bunch and This is Tom Jones. Like, realistically, wouldn't it have made sense to flip Jones and the Lennons?

Veteran game show announcers Charlie O'Donnell & Jay Stewart were the announcers for the show. O'Donnell is heard in the opener, which features Noel Harrison (ex-The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.), Jack Benny, & Jimmy Dean, who'd had his own show at various times in the 50's & 60's before starting that sausage company.....

In January 1970, the series moved to Saturdays, airing a couple of hours after the Welk show, but it didn't help. The whole idea was spinning them off and away from Welk, wasn't it?

I liked what I saw here, though.

Rating: A.

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