Most of us think of variety shows as the sort of “personality”-driven shows (hosted by the likes of Dean Martin, Carol Burnett and, most recently, Martin Short and Maya Rudolph) that combine comedy sketches with musical performances. In truth, however, “variety” is a diverse genre that has spawned a host of other forms of programming, including morning shows, late night talk shows, daytime shows, award shows such as the annual Academy Awards telecasts, the Super Bowl halftime show, and such iconic sketch comedy series as Your Show of Shows and Saturday Night Live. Not only that, variety has been an integral part of the spice of television since TV sets first came onto the market in 1948.
Those are just two of the takeaways you’ll find in Fade Up 26: The Movers and Shakers of Variety Television, a new oral history of variety television co-authored by Steve Binder and Mary Beth Liebman. Fade Up 26 tells the story of variety television through the voices of the men and women who were and are responsible for bringing these shows (and stars!) into our homes for the past sixty-five years. Among the luminaries interviewed for Fade Up 26 include Lorne Michaels, Marty Pasetta, George Schlatter, Gil Cates and Louis Horvitz.
Steve Binder will join us in our second hour. An Emmy Award- and ACE Award-winning producer and director, Steve’s roots in variety television include the historic Diana Ross: Live in Central Park telecast and the 1968 Elvis Comeback Special, plus he directed The T.A.M.I. Show, the iconic feature film documentary that many consider to be the Holy Grail of rock ’n’ roll concert films.
This week’s program will also include a return appearance by James Rosin. Though most of you know Jim for the many books he’s written on classic TV shows from the 1960s and 1970s, he not only began his career as an actor, but recently returned to acting after an absence of several years. We’ll talk about how the audition process has changed in recent years, as well as Jim’s approach to acting in general, and some of the actors from whom he’s learned over the years. James Rosin will join us in our first hour.
James Rosin will be appearing at the Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, Sept. 15-17 at the Hunt Valley Wyndham in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Other scheduled guests at this year’s gathering include Robert Fuller, Gary Lockwood, Kent McCord, Keir Dullea, Bernie Kopell, John Amos and Dabney Coleman. For tickets, updates and more information, go to Facebook.com/MidAtlanticNostalgiaConvention.
All this, plus a brand new edition of This Week in TV History.
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