Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Classic TV: Solid Gold (1980)

Over the last few years, I've pulled clips from the syndicated music series, Solid Gold, not realizing I hadn't done a full piece on the show itself.

It can be said that Solid Gold was the most successful venture to come out of Operation Prime Time, which otherwise was a series of TV-movies, specials, and miniseries in its time.

Singers Dionne Warwick and Marilyn McCoo each served two tours of duty as host. Warwick was the show's 1st MC (1980-1), then returned four years later for another spin through the revolving door. Each time, McCoo succeeded Warwick. The former 5th Dimension vocalist spent three years the first time (1981-4), going solo for the 1983-4 season after short-term partners Rex Smith (later of Street Hawk), Andy Gibb, and Rick Dees each took a turn. In fact, co-hosting Gold gave Dees his first national television exposure since his late 70's novelty smash, "Disco Duck". At the time, Dees had launched a weekly radio show, Weekly Top 40, in competition with the more established American Top 40.

After Warwick finished her 2nd tour, McCoo returned, this time joined by Arsenio Hall, who'd joined the show as an in house comic a year earlier, after Marty Cohen had departed, and, fresh from MTV, Nina Blackwood, who was also a music reporter for Paramount stablemate Entertainment Tonight. Actor-comic Jeff Altman (ex-Pink Lady & Jeff, The Dukes of Hazzard) replaced Hall as the in-house comic. However, the series was cancelled in 1988.

Another nationally known radio announcer, Robert W. Morgan, served as announcer until the end of the 1985-6 season. Charlie O'Donnell (American Bandstand, Wheel of Fortune, etc.) took over for a year, and then Dick Tufeld stepped in when O'Donnell chose to stay with Bandstand after it ended its ABC run and moved to syndication.

Solid Gold also spawned two spin-offs. The first was the short-lived sitcom, Madame's Place, which came about after Wayland Flowers & Madame had appeared on Gold during the 1981-2 season, sharing the comedy stage with Cohen. The other was a daily companion series, Solid Gold Hits, hosted by actor Grant Goodeve (Eight is Enough). Neither spin-off lasted beyond a year.

Let's take a look at a sample show, which according to the poster on YouTube, came from July 1986, which means it may be a rerun.



As you can see, the Solid Gold Dancers became a co-ed troupe by this point.

Rating: A-. Comfort food, that's all it is.

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