Sunday, October 22, 2017

Saturtainment: The Krofft Superstar Hour (1978)

After 2 seasons, ABC cancelled the Krofft Supershow. Undaunted, Sid & Marty Krofft, who'd also lost Donny & Marie to the Osmond family's own production company, and flopped with a Brady Bunch variety show, moved back to NBC with The Krofft Superstar Hour in 1978.

The Supershow's pre-fab house band, Kaptain Kool & the Kongs, had split up, with Michael Lembeck (Kaptain Kool) and Debra Clinger (Superchick) landing primetime gigs on CBS. Lembeck joined the cast of One Day at a Time, while Clinger flopped in the drama, The American Girls. That left the other half of the Kongs, Turkey (Mickey McMeel) and Nashville (Louise DuArt), still in their season 2 outfits, to be part of the Krofft Superstar Hour repertory company, supporting the new house band, the Bay City Rollers, who were trading off their hit, "Saturday Night". However, the quality of the support segments took a dive, as we've shown in recent days.

Lost Island was a mishmash featuring H. R. Pufnstuf, Weenie the Genie (Billie Hayes) from Lidsville, and characters from Land of the Lost, plus Sigmund (Billy Barty). Barty essayed a dual role as Otto, the assistant to evil Dr. Deathray (Jay Robinson), who was a retooled Dr. Shrinker, but, as we noted yesterday, Robinson ate way more scenery the second time around, which may have hastened NBC's decision to trim the fat and cut the series to a half-hour 2 months into the season.

Horror Hotel had Hayes reprising her other role as Witchiepoo (from H. R. Pufnstuf), now the proprietor of the hotel, whose only regular tenant was HooDoo (from Lidsville). Paul Gale took over for Charles Nelson Reilly (Match Game), who apparently was scared off returning to his first Saturday gig after Uncle Croc's Block flopped three years earlier.

The Kongs passed the torch to the Rollers by guesting on the opener, but a video I had acquired turned out to be devoid of sound, so that's been deleted, and we're starting anew with this show.

The following clip offers a medley of 50's hits. To wit:

"Rock & Roll is Here to Stay" (Rollers). Sha Na Na did a better cover on their show and in the movie, "Grease", earlier that year.

"My Special Angel". CHiPs star Erik Estrada made his singing debut covering the Bobby Helms classic.

"Born to Hand Jive". Scott Baio, at the time appearing on another NBC series, Who's Watching The Kids?, was out of place and tune on this track, which Sha Na Na covered in "Grease" as well.

"Be Bop-a-Lula". Billy Barty teams with ex-Mouseketeer Sharon Baird, for once able to appear as herself, after playing various characters on other Krofft shows, to cover Gene Vincent's classic. Baird had not done any musical numbers since her Mickey Mouse Club days, but she & Barty made quite a cute couple.

The medley finishes with a chorus of "Rock & Roll is Here to Stay".



Barty had done some numbers on Donny & Marie, one of which is up over at The Land of Whatever, and, as I've found out, had done some cabaret shows, too. Who knew?

Rating (based on what I've seen): C-.

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