Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An artful appearance (or how to get pointers for your next job)

I just confirmed via IMDB something that I had read elsewhere regarding a certain person who shared billing with the Beatles.

No, not Tony Sheridan or Billy Preston.

Davy Jones.

Well, technically Jones didn't share billing, since his appearance on episode 17.19 of the Ed Sullivan show was uncredited. You see, Ed Sullivan's show was first and foremost a variety show, and when the Beatles first appeared on the show, they were just one of several acts. For those who have never seen a true variety show before, check out David Bassler's description of that particular episode. In addition to the Beatles:

Dutch comic magician Fred Kaps performs card tricks and a salt shaker stunt, the cast of the Broadway musical "Oliver" performs several numbers and Frank Gorshin does his impression of an imagined committee meeting of the U.S. Senate with its members all famous movie actors. British singer Tessie O'Shea performs three songs, including her hit, "Two-Ton Tessie from Tennessee", the comic team of Mitzi McCall and Charley Brill perform a comic sketch concerning the travails of a Hollywood producer trying to find the right woman for a part in a major motion picture and the comic acrobat team of Wells and the Four Fays perform a number of tumbling stunts.

No, you didn't see Jones' name in that description, but he was there - as part of the cast of "Oliver" (Jones played the Artful Dodger).

And you know what happened next. After his appearance on Sullivan, Jones was signed to Colpix Records...as a solo artist. A few months after the "David Jones" album was released without charting, Jones secured the TV job which would bring him fame...as a member of the Monkees, a show heavily based upon another of the guests on that February 1964 Ed Sullivan show.

In a 2010 inteview, Jones discussed his impressions of that night, and his time as a 16 year old in New York:

I sang with [Judy Garland] at Carnegie Hall and that was cool. It was all about the time that I was on the Ed Sullivan Show in ’64 – the night the Beatles were on. I did a song from Oliver. That was when I first thought, ‘Ah! Music! It’s good, all these girls! I think I’ll have a piece of that (fame), actually!’ That’s why I got into what I got into.

...Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones was all part of that click and it was like, ‘Goodness gracious, me!’ Years later, David shows up on the lot at Columbia Pictures, he’s in a TV series and his mum there. And he’s like, ‘Oh, my goodness gracious!’

But, as Jones notes, it's been a long time since the Beatles and the Monkees and the Partridge Family and the rest were teen idols.

He (Cassidy) sings, ‘I think I love me, what am so I afraid of?’ Tony Orlando sings, ‘Knock three times on the ceiling if you hear me fall”. Peter Noone singings, ‘Mrs. Brown, you have a lovely walker’. Roberta Flack sings, ‘The first time I ever forgot your face.’ And Willie Nelson’s on the throne again. All this stuff is, like, ridiculous. Ringo Starr sings, ‘I get a little help from Depends.’ It gets crazy. Paul Simon sings, ’50 ways to lose your liver’ and Abba is singing ‘Denture Queen’.
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