Wednesday, January 03, 2007
5 Songs In 1 Hour?
Betcha didn't know David Soul was a singer.
Neither did we, although he did cut at least two albums, and one of the cuts from PLAYING TO AN AUDIENCE OF ONE, "Don't Give Up On Us," actually made it all the way to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
This 1977 network special is typical of the variety hours that dotted the TV airwaves back then. Almost anyone who was the star of a popular comedy or drama series (such as Soul and Paul Michael Glaser's STARSKY & HUTCH) received either his or her own variety special, a made-for-TV gig during series hiatus or both. Today's equivalent would be Anthony LaPaglia or Eva Longoria headlining a one-hour musical/comedy special with guests Kevin James, Jewel and David Krumholtz. Tell me you wouldn't like to see that. Not that Soul was any kind of musical wunderkind, but today's Hollywood doesn't spawn the kind of all-around talent and healthy egos that would allow a straight actor to appear on television in song-and-dance numbers or in comedy sketches. Whether this is a good or a bad thing, I'm not quite sure, but TV seemed less predictable back in the days when you could switch it on and see Mike Connors and Mitzi Gaynor doing a dance number in formal wear.
Donna Summer and England Dan (Seals) and John Ford Coley were likely draws, particularly Summer, whose "Love to Love You, Baby" was an enormous pop hit. Lynne Marta, on the other hand, was an actress and sometime-singer who sang backup on Soul's albums and also was his girlfriend at the time. I'm not certain how well-known Ron Moody was to American audiences. He played Fagin in the 1968 Best Picture Oscar winner, OLIVER, and had recently guest-starred on a STARSKY & HUTCH episode.
One thing is for certain. The network must not have been very pleased with the Soul show, because it buried it opposite the Emmy Awards, as you can see.