June 29, 2006

In the days before cable...

Paul Anka added English lyrics to the melody of a French song, "Comme d'habitude," thus giving Frank Sinatra his theme song for the final phase of his forty-plus year career. Sinatra wasn't crazy about "My Way," but it was a pretty big hit for him in 1969. I really don't like it very much, either. It's one of those songs, like "Hey Jude," that some fans just endure.

This is video of a bizarre finale to a television special Anka did in 1977. It features him sitting at a piano, while big stars of the time appear (like ghostly apparitions) to duet with him. I'm sure having it appear as if each celebrity was actually in the same room with Anka is the result of cutting edge, television video technology of the time. But I doubt many viewers, even in 1977, believed Anka and "special guest" were together.

Let me explain that this is made from a videotape recorded copy of the show someone made (back in '77) on what looks like a television receiving the program via an antennae. So, the picture quality fluctuates. Those born after the dawn of cable and satellite TV have no idea. It's definitely old school. The cumulative effect of the cheesy 70s video trickery and poor TV reception gives the whole thing a sort of surreal, ghostly appearance. It probably doesn't help that eight of the twelve (nine if you count Jim Henson) celebrity co-stars is dead.
I'll summarize for those who don't want to watch the video:

He made moves on Ellen Griswold.

Wouldn't you love to see the outtakes from Casino featuring scenes between Rickles and DeNiro?


Ann Margaret, complete with green complexion.

Finally, the world is treated to the velvety, dulcet croon of...Eddie Albert?

What a coup it must have been to get Hope

and Crosby! Der Bingle looks pretty bad. He would be dead before the year was out.

Pearl Bailey, a poor man's Ella Fitzgerald, no?


Telly Savalas.....Phil Hartman

Telly Savalas: Hi! I'm Telly Savalas. And if you're like me, you like to be near the action. And when there isn't any action, then you gotta make your own. And, baby, that's when you need to join.. [holds up card ] ..the Player-With-Yourselves Club. That's right, baby! The Player-With-Yourselves Club card entitles you to masturbation privileges at hotels all over the world. In cities like Milan, Paris, and Monte Carlo.

Just flash the card, and you'll get the kind of perks reserved for players only!

Like unlimited Kleenex! I'm talking two-ply, baby!

Custom-made squeak-free beds, and extra-large "Do Not Disturb" signs.

Plus: access to an international library of skin magazines, and all the latest videotapes cued up to the good parts, baby! 'Cause players don't have time to fast-forward!

And you don't have to stay overnight, pal. With the Player-With-Yourselves card, you can book a room for stays as short as fifteen minutes. In and out, baby, 'cause you gotta fly!

So, what are you waiting for? Take it from Telly - this card opens a lot of doors! Well, I gotta go. I have a date with a Marilyn Chambers classic. [ kisses videotape ] Oh, yeah.. ohhhh, yeah!!

Announcer: The Players-With-Yourselves Club Card. Teenagers eligible, except in Florida.

Telly Savalas: Who loves yourself, baby?

I still think that's hilarious.

The future ex-Mrs. Steve Martin.

It's not easy being green.

Be it Hendrix, McCartney, or Kermit the Frog, get it right, will you, please?

Ethel Merman scares me. Imagine that coming at you in a dark alley.

And finally, Il Padrone, the Chairman, clearly reading the terrible lyrics off a cue card, seeing them for the first time.

Where were either one of these guys??


Fuzzball said...

I think I would have passed out from sheer exhilaration if I had been in that green room.

Or wait, you said that they weren't all there at the same time...

Well anyway. Passed out. Especially if Kermit had been there.

What? I love Kermit!

Chris said...

Oh sure, the rainbow connection!