Saturday, March 22, 2014

SATURDAY COMEDY SHOWCASE #4: Connie Stevens on SHA NA NA, 1979

Albie's Note:  OK true confession time. I really didn't fit into any "cool" groups back in high school, although I was never mistreated or bullied. [I was always a big guy, for one thing, and a natural comedian... I learned early that  those 2 things let you slip through a LOT of cracks socially!]

I just simply couldnt find my "place" among any of the established "cliques"-- like Pink Floyd-listening hippies-in-training, Disco fans or D-and-D players.  I loved comedy, and I loved music, but even then my taste was mainly for pre-seventies popular music, especially old country and early rock music.   The old records at home had spoiled me.  I guess today I would be called a "roots music" fan, but we had no such classification then. 

To give you an idea of how oddball I was, my favorite show in 1979-- hands down--  was one I would never have admitted watching to any of my fellow 9th graders:  SHA NA NA.  Shown each Sunday afternoon in southern AZ, basically it was a variety show with a bunch of greasy song-and-dance idiots doing a tribute to an overblown "1950s" that on many levels never existed in the first place.   It was goofy, corny, full of decades-old jokes and musical numbers... and I never missed it.

It wasn't even that I thought the show was GREAT... although I did find it entertaining.  And the guests were sometimes great:  I remember seeing Bo Diddley, Gary US Bonds, John Sebastian, Chcuk Berry, Dion DiMucci, The Ronnettes, Brenda Lee, and Del Shannon, just to name a few.   Still, though, the main appeal I think was that it all at least hinted at something.... something... at least different from the world I lived in!   There was this feeling... a greasy, goofy, well... cool-ness if you will... one that wasn't tragically cool... one that sort of managed to-- all at once-- lampoon and celebrate America and all its crassness.  In short, a more care-free, non-pretentious... well...  a more '80s kind of stance.

Now,  remember, this was the  1970s... a decade that for some reason took itself SOOO seriously... even in it's entertainment!  I mean... have you ever sat and watched the so-called  "defining" '70s movies?  Like LOVE STORY or FIVE EASY PIECES or ANNIE HALL??   Classics I suppose, but what do they really have in common? People just talking and whining and brooding like there's no tomorrow...

No wonder we all went nuts for STAR WARS!

Well... I hadn't seen SHA NA NA in years when I discovered all these clips on Youtube.  To most folks they would be goofy cultural artifacts at best. And they will be probably never be on DVD [one message board I found says the licensing headaches would be insurmountable, as the shows were about 60% performed music] and probably the only people who search these clips out are guys like me... pushing 50 and remembering the escape these simple shows once offered for stolen minutes of our disaffected adolescences. 

Still... watching this typical clip did one great thing for me... Doggoned if it didn't make me laugh!

"What would Connie be doin' in this neighborhood?"
"Maybe her brother's a wino!"

Grease for 


Neil Waring said...

Loved Sha Na Na

Albie The Good said...

NEIL: Me too... loved those idiots! Wonder where they all are now? :)