Broadway Babe’s Showbiz Picks
Our Broadway Babe, Randie Levine Miller has some great entertainment finds for us, perfect for a long weekend. In honor of Mel Brooks 96th birthday, there’s a tribute show to Mel from the Kennedy Center a few years back. A terrific Jack Paar Special, “The Sound of Applause” featuring some amazing old timers, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Plus some of Randie’s fun sidebars.
Musical Tribute to Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks turned 96 this week… Definitely one of the funniest men on this planet with a plethora of great work. So in honor of Mel’s birthday, I decided to post this fabulous musical tribute to him which was part of the Kennedy Center Honors which honored him in 2009… This is an incredibly upbeat, highly entertaining production number, a medley of his songs from his movies, as well as his hit Broadway musical, “The Producers”. Stars paying tribute to Mel in performance include: Frank Langella, Martin Short, Jack Black, Gary Beach, Matthew Broderick, Harry Connick, Jr., Matthew Morrison and Richard Kind. This is a totally delicious 10 minutes, that I think my sister Tomatoes will really enjoy!
Jack Paar Is Alive and Well
They don’t make ‘em like the legendary and quirky Jack Paar anymore. From 1987, “Jack Paar Is Alive and Well”, was an hour special that aired on NBC-TV, which is the network where Paar held court as the host of “The Tonight Show” from 1957-1962, and then “The Jack Paar Program” from 1962-1965. This special includes scenes, featuring some of Paar’s guests on those shows, including comedy legends Mike Nichols and Elaine May,as well as several others. In the live in-studio portion of the show, Paar is in conversation with Debbie Reynolds and Jackie Mason, who was truly in his prime, and his jokes and stories still hold up! It also includes footage from 1960, when Paar walked off the show in protest of network censors’ decision to edit out a joke for his use of the word “water-closet”! And that’s the absolute truth….Times have really changed!
Sidebar: Jack Paar’s wife was Miriam, and his daughter was Randy, who he often spoke of on the show. I’m Randie and my mother was Miriam….I remember meeting Charles Nelson Reilly who asked my name, and he immediately blurted out, “You mean like Randy Paar??”!
Watch here: https://youtu.be/PZyNy-8CfJ4
The Sound of Applause
They don’t make entertainment like this anymore! “The Sound of Applause”, hosted by Michel Legrand, was recorded live in Cannes, France in 1982, with some of the most lauded pop singers of the last century: Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme, Jack Jones, Shirley Bassey, Vic Damone, The Lettermen. And they all sing songs that they are identified with… This is a must see!
Sidebar: When I was 20, I had the opportunity to work on what was then called a music promotion film… It is now called a music video. I was the location scout and was assigned to find a working windmill for the music promo for “The Windmills Of Your Mind”, Written by Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Noel Harrison was the singer and we filmed quite a bit around the Plaza Hotel. And so, I enlisted my mother, to drive me, and come up with a windmill ! It was quite a task because we didn’t have computers or Google in those days… But I was a pretty good researcher. We wound up at Windmill Farms in Armonk, New York, where there were 6 working windmills near a stream. But alas, someone else on the team found another windmill which they decided to use for the film ! But it was quite an experience because I believe this was only the second music video that was made at that time… The other being “Hush-A-Bye Mountain,” sung by Tony Bennett.
Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin
“Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin – Live in New York,1977”..in concert at the Westchester Premier Theater… Two legendary entertainers who were best friends right to the end. They loved performing together; however,the only time they toured together was the summer of 1977. The show was videoed by producer/director, Greg Garrison who thought for sure that one of the networks would pick it up. The show never aired.
Sidebar: The Westchester Premier Theater in Tarrytown, New York, was a new facility and the two legends were brought there to initiate its status. Famed producer Garrison believed that ABC would purchase the rights as a TV special. In the days following this concert, a photograph circulated that had been taken backstage, which featured Sinatra surrounded by numerous mob figures. It was then suggested that the theater was built with syndicate funds and that Sinatra and Martin appeared as a favor. The poor publicity surrounding this tale eliminated any TV deal.