Ringo is brought to you with the best wishes of your local Craig dealer.
November 6, 2013 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Ringo, the TV Special, 1978.

With guest stars Art Carney, Angie Dickinson, Mike Douglas, Carrie Fisher, John Ritter, and George Harrison.

I shit you not.
posted by timsteil (40 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
thanks for the additional assurance of not-shitting
posted by spinn at 10:51 AM on November 6, 2013 [11 favorites]


Dear lord, Art Carney must have been on every variety special made that year.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:58 AM on November 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


After watching the first three minutes, my impression is that everyone involved in conceiving and producing this was using Scarface amounts of cocaine. Cocaine makes every idea you have seem like a good idea until you run out. These guys, they didn't run out soon enough.
posted by dortmunder at 11:00 AM on November 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Maybe it was just the spirit of the times, but I have a hard time watching a 38 year old man sing a love song to a 16 year old.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:03 AM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


shades of the Chris Paul, State Farm, separated at birth television ads. though this is much better - epic in fact.
posted by TMezz at 11:04 AM on November 6, 2013


We mourn the death of the monoculture when we do not have to experience it.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:06 AM on November 6, 2013 [12 favorites]


The George Harrison press conference is really funny, I loved the joke about not being chased by a fireman unless you're on fire.
posted by timshel at 11:07 AM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I freakin' love this kind of television. You just don't see it anymore and I think that's probably a very good thing. It's as if the entirety of the production machinery had never heard of shame. There was no joke too broad, no setup too lame, no celebrity pairing too awkward to make it to air.

I think dortmunder might be onto something...it had to have been the cocaine.
posted by BrianJ at 11:10 AM on November 6, 2013


Maybe it was just the spirit of the times, but I have a hard time watching a 38 year old man sing a love song to a 16 year old.

I have a hard time watching Ringo Starr sing any song.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:16 AM on November 6, 2013


I was fifteen when this came out and nuts about the Beatles. How did I miss this? Or, maybe I saw it and am still repressing the memory.
posted by marxchivist at 11:19 AM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a hard time watching Ringo Starr sing any song.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:16 AM on November 6 [+] [!]


Please tell me it's just the watching part. Because Ringo is wonderful in my opinion, and his part of the Beatles catalog has some of the best songs they ever made.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 11:19 AM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


My research says this aired on ABC on a wednesday night.

Thus it ran against either Real People and The Hulk or it ran against One Day at a Time with The Jeffersons (and probably got its ass handed to it) or an NBC movie.
It was also late April though and we may have been in the rerun lull before May Sweeps?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:23 AM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The animation at 19:40 for "Sweet Sixteen", dated as it is, is kind of interesting. Anyone know more about it?
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:26 AM on November 6, 2013


You had me at Art Carney
posted by bricksNmortar at 11:58 AM on November 6, 2013


Also Vincent Price, according to the opening.
posted by JHarris at 12:19 PM on November 6, 2013


The 1970s were a very strange time.
posted by Curious Artificer at 12:21 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The further away we get from the '70s, the more I love them.
posted by scody at 12:23 PM on November 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


I lived through the seventies and still am amazed looking back at them.
posted by octothorpe at 12:38 PM on November 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Art Carney must have been on every variety special made that year.

Art Carney was in every variety special made every year.

It's as if the entirety of the production machinery had never heard of shame.

I think of all the various iterations of Dancing With/Singing With/Cooking With/Surviving With as modern variety shows and it isn't as if many of them are on close personal terms with shame, but the variety shows of the 60's and 70's do seem different in some Old Hollywood kind of way. Like it's way less "Who's our demographic?" and much more "Let's get high and put on a show!"
posted by octobersurprise at 12:39 PM on November 6, 2013


I also remember the 70s. I'm crapping you negatory.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:42 PM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


This has neither Bea Arthur or Jefferson Starship.
posted by dr_dank at 12:42 PM on November 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


Wwaaaooouuuugghhhh. Uhhogod. Keep those Brandy Alexanders comin', sweetheart. This is only gonna get worse before it gets better.

1978. I'll just leave this here.
posted by petebest at 1:23 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Like it's way less "Who's our demographic?" and much more "Let's get high and put on a show!"

"Cause you know what, the musicians that made all that great music that's enhanced your lives throughout the years were rrrrrrreal fucking high on drugs. The Beatles were so fucking high they let Ringo sing a few tunes."

- Bill Hicks
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:25 PM on November 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


"You're one to talk, Bill."

- Ringo
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:28 PM on November 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Senor Cardgage: "My research says this aired on ABC on a wednesday night.

Thus it ran against either Real People and The Hulk or it ran against One Day at a Time with The Jeffersons (and probably got its ass handed to it) or an NBC movie.
It was also late April though and we may have been in the rerun lull before May Sweeps?
"

If it's April, they'd be still on the 1977-78 schedule. Real People didn't premiere until spring of 1979, and the Jeffersons were still on Saturday.

Wednesday in spring of '78 would be the CBS Wednesday Night Movie and Black Sheep Squadron, assuming it was at 9 pm ET. If at 8, Good Times and Szysznyk or Grizzly Adams.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:57 PM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chrysostom I ...I think I love you.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:58 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


So what are you so afraid of?
posted by Chrysostom at 2:02 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ringo is wonderful in my opinion, and his part of the Beatles catalog has some of the best songs they ever made.

OK, I'll give you "I Wanna Be Your Man" and "With a Little Help from My Friends", but "Good Night" and "Octopus's Garden" and, yes, even "Yellow Submarine" can go fuck right off.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:16 PM on November 6, 2013


I would've been asleep when this came on, seeing as I was only 8 and this was a school night, so let's take a look here...



Man, so all those Battles of the Network Stars really ate into ABC's variety budget, eh? Or Kate, Farrah and Jaclyn got bigger raises than we thought! This show looks "Bowling For Dollars on your Channel 55, Tinytown!"-level cheap. Somebody called in some massive favors or offered mountains of coke, because, damn. We made better-looking stuff in my high school studio.

Craig? Nah, no one had Craig stereos in their cars back then, unless by "we're #1" they meant they were the built-in car radio from the factory - which most people promptly replaced for an Alpine or something!
posted by droplet at 2:32 PM on November 6, 2013


Ya know, I made fun of it in its day but I think I'd legitimately enjoy watching someone Bowl for Dollars now.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:10 PM on November 6, 2013


We just finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and I had to skip over most of the endless song Dahl wrote for the Oompa Loompas to sing after Mike Teavee got shrunk. One stanza after another about how bad TV was for you and how you should read more, dammit.

And it makes no sense anymore, because kids today are living in a TV paradise. There are so many great shows out there, especially compared to the dreck I watched as a kid.

I don't miss one single stupid moment of Love Boat or Fantasy Island or the dozens of BS variety shows that were all TV had to offer. They were slow and dumb and predictable and they made you feel stupider after watching them. I assume it was similar feelings about the westerns and variety shows of the 60s that fueled Dahl's ranting.
posted by emjaybee at 3:16 PM on November 6, 2013


I could only watch about 10 minutes before I had to get back to real-life stuff, but what I saw was surprisingly witty and non-embarrassing. George Harrison's narration in particular sounds straight out of Hard Day's Night: "The only qualities his father shared with a human being were his ability to talk and drink from a cup."
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:33 PM on November 6, 2013


OK. Just made it to the Yellow Submarine dance spectacular. But it was going pretty well until then!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:38 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]



I think of all the various iterations of Dancing With/Singing With/Cooking With/Surviving With as modern variety shows and it isn't as if many of them are on close personal terms with shame, but the variety shows of the 60's and 70's do seem different in some Old Hollywood kind of way. Like it's way less "Who's our demographic?" and much more "Let's get high and put on a show!"

I think the seventies were a time when there were still expectations that the whole family would gather round the TV and enjoy a variety show that had a little bit for everyone. Then houses got bigger and TVs got cheaper and the kids could watch their own shows and grandma could have her own little television in her room. And then cable television got big and you could watch Close Encounters or other random movies every night if you wanted. So no more need for cheesy variety shows.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:10 PM on November 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Cripes, I remember watching this as a nine year old and being excited at first, then disappointed.
posted by cropshy at 5:56 PM on November 6, 2013


Wow. I had no idea. I graduated from high school the year the Beatles broke up, and went though years of experimental jazz in the early seventies and was in a cult when this came out...

The 70's were every bit as weird as the 60's...but...in a different way: mass media was still in denial about cultural change, and were trying out different counter-cultural outfits for size. None of them quite fit. Like this show so charmingly didn't.
posted by kozad at 7:22 PM on November 6, 2013


The Yellow Submarine dancing.... wow. It really was a different time. And the BIG! FINALE! was two (!!) nondescript Ringo songs. What a letdown.

I recently saw a Burt Bacharach special on PBS which featured loads of variety show excerpts (mostly from the Sixties, mind you) which had all sorts of weird background dancing. For example, Dusty Springfield singing while mustachioed guys in turtlenecks slowly pushed big set pieces on wheels (don't believe me?), or Dionne Warwick singing "Walk On By" with fellas dressed as real estate agents swanning around with ladies. I miss this awesomeness.

But returning to Ringo, here he is, dancing with a bird on "Ready Steady Go" in 1963.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 7:59 PM on November 6, 2013


this is so hideous
posted by NedKoppel at 8:19 PM on November 6, 2013


Ringo covering Only You, 1974.
1:14 is sublime.

Via.
posted by meehawl at 10:43 PM on November 6, 2013


George Harrison's first line, "I think it was the trousers", is almost certainly an inside joke referring to "The Rutles - All You Need Is Cash", the mockumentary he did with Eric Idle the same year. "I think it was the trousers" was a running joke in that.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:50 AM on November 7, 2013


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