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I wish my brother George was here.
October 30, 2007 6:05 PM   Subscribe

In 1956, Time Magazine wrote, "He is the summit of sex—the pinnacle of Masculine, Feminine and Neuter. Everything that He, She or It can ever want." (Wait. Seriously???) Behold the evolution of The Liberace Show: from dapper virtuoso to sequined, wacky showman.

Full b/w episode 1953
Full b/w episode 1955
Full b/w episode 1956
Youtube color clips 1969
posted by miss lynnster (25 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I went to the Liberace museum when I was 6. Blew my little mind. I also got a nifty candleabre for my dollhouse from their gift shop.
posted by piratebowling at 6:19 PM on October 30, 2007


BTW, I accidentally relayed something incorrect with the first link. It was William Connor from the London Daily Mirror that I was quoting from 1956. The Time article was actually about Liberace taking Connor to court three in 1959 for implying that he was a homosexual. In the linked article, when Time asked how he felt about homosexuality, he replied "I am against the practice because it offends convention and offends society."
posted by miss lynnster at 6:20 PM on October 30, 2007


("He" in the last sentence being Liberace, not Connor)
posted by miss lynnster at 6:21 PM on October 30, 2007


That double time samba in the sequined link is insane. Dude was the Yngwie Malmsteen of piano. Not quite as flashy though.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:23 PM on October 30, 2007


Lest we forget, how many of us here were introduced to Liberace...via Batman!

[And even then there was always something "unique" that stood out about Chandell to my budding spidey sense...hmmm.]
posted by humannaire at 6:43 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks, miss lynnster! We used to watch the Lib-man when I was a tot. Maybe it's just me getting old, as usual, but does anybody else miss variety shows? I mean real ones, not this reality dance contest star search crap. Shows where there'd be singing and magicians and sketch comedy and people in ruffly-sleeved shirts spinning plates. It was a dying art by the 70s, and I guess Donny & Marie and the Hudson Brothers killed the sucker off for good, but it'd be swell if you could turn on the TV on Friday night now and trip over something like the Carol Burnett Show.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:44 PM on October 30, 2007


That's funny, I didn't know Lee Siegel wrote for Time magazine in the 1950s.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:46 PM on October 30, 2007


TV variety shows were derived from vaudeville. Now, I suppose, we have YouTube and Fringe theater festivals to provide us with that sort of entertainment.
posted by HeroZero at 6:50 PM on October 30, 2007


Liberace was GAY?
posted by lalochezia at 6:54 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Liberace could play MUSIC?
posted by ZachsMind at 7:04 PM on October 30, 2007


I really love his version of Tea for Two actually... he puts so much in there (it's the showmanship link). But honestly, have you ever seen anyone else do boogie woogie 16 to the bar? (at about 2:40 or so) No question the guy was amazing.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:05 PM on October 30, 2007


Maybe it's just me getting old, as usual, but does anybody else miss variety shows?

Yeah. I was watching some Ed Sullivan reruns awhile back and was kind of amazed at the amount of entertainment they packed in. It's ripe for a revival. Maybe skip Topo Gigio this time, though.
posted by jonmc at 7:25 PM on October 30, 2007


> Topo Gigio

God, just hearing those words subvocalize in my mind triggered a disturbance in the Force.

Most shocking thing I ever heard about Liberace by far: that he was a top.
posted by digaman at 7:42 PM on October 30, 2007


He was the Fop on Top, pop.
posted by jonmc at 7:44 PM on October 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of the old Jake Johansen stand-up routine where he said something like:

"No one's ever going to say 'That guy's just like Liberace, only more so.' I think Liberace reached maximum Liberaceosity."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:44 PM on October 30, 2007


I just went to the Liberace Museum two weeks ago. Having grown up with late-in-life Liberace, I had no idea about his early career and how he made his $$$. The main thing I learned from my visit: do what you like and what makes you happy, and success will follow. Also, there's no such thing as too much bling.
posted by candyland at 7:53 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wonderful, thanks.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:16 PM on October 30, 2007


The Liberace Museum is one of my favoritest places on the whole wide earth.
posted by Brittanie at 8:43 PM on October 30, 2007


jonmc writes "Yeah. I was watching some Ed Sullivan reruns awhile back and was kind of amazed at the amount of entertainment they packed in. It's ripe for a revival. Maybe skip Topo Gigio this time, though."

One of the longest-running television shows is a variety show broadcast around the world. It's a hoot, if a bit difficult to sit through the whole thing during the longer episodes.

I think it would be difficult to launch a decent variety show these days. They worked well when there were just a few stations and limited broadcast hours. IMO, one of the best (seriously) was The Muppet Show, though its revival wasn't nearly what the original was (maybe it was the absence of Jim Henson). And just to bring this back on topic ...
posted by krinklyfig at 8:45 PM on October 30, 2007


I watched the 1953 segment. It was oddly relaxing. I don't watch TV 'programs' because their mood is, well, annoying. They equate 'dramatic' with 'anxious' and 'humorous' with 'insulting', and why am I using all these apostrophes?

Spanish TV does still have a fair amount of variety acts. And some wonderful looking women.
posted by hexatron at 8:58 PM on October 30, 2007


He was the Fop on Top, pop.

Outstanding use of the word "fop" in a context outside the game of Scrabble!

My only regret in reading Metafilter is periodically feeling outshined by other people's linguistic aptitude and cleverness.

Please try to work "qat" into your next comment...
posted by Tube at 10:16 PM on October 30, 2007


ut honestly, have you ever seen anyone else do boogie woogie 16 to the bar ?

Wow, amazing stuff Miss L. I was impressed at the beginning, but then at the end he cuts in the after burners and REALLY takes off.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:43 AM on October 31, 2007


Glad you liked it.

*delicately sips her qat tea*
posted by miss lynnster at 6:17 AM on October 31, 2007


He was the Fop on Top, pop.

Jonmc, maybe you can freelance writing headlines for Fark.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:33 AM on October 31, 2007


I miss Pink Lady and Jeff.
posted by wittgenstein at 10:15 AM on October 31, 2007


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