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Bobby Vinton Show

In the fall of 1974 Bobby Vinton was riding high on a new wave of popularity thanks to his #1 hit million selling record "My Melody of Love". The hit for Vinton a veteran sixties crooner and bandleader had come seemingly out of nowhere, after a year (1973) of terrible career news. In 1972 Bobby Vinton has wrapped up a 10 year deal with Epic Records. He had sold somewhere between 30 million and 50 million record for Epic and his success had made the company. He had been Epic's premier artist and selling machine for the entire 10 years of his deal.

As the contract was ending, Vinton scored two back to back top twenty hits "Every Day of My Life" and Sealed With A Kiss". Despite this success Epic chose to drop Vinton from the label saying his record selling days were over. Without a record contract for the first time since 1960, Vinton was dropped as a headliner by the Vegas hotels and Johnnie Carson stopped booking hi. Things looked bleak. The Vinton's mother Dorothy, a vibrant bandleader's wife and never say die supporter of her only son's made a fateful suggestion. "Write a song for the Polish people and they will love you forever, Bobby!" she told him. That song, "My Melody of Love", sung with partial Polish lyrics swept the nation in the fall of 1974 and was the #1 record in the nation in the winter of '74-75.

Vinton was approached by the team of Alan Blye and Chris Beard who had produced successful variety shows for Sonny Bono among others about a TV show. He was delighted, having always coveted his own television program.

In September 1975 while he was selling out concerts across North America, the slick fast paced "Bobby Vinton Show" premiered in major markets everywhere. The format was tight and geared to Vinton's newfound ethnic appeal. "The Polish Prince" came out to a huge reception by a studio audience after a snappy instrumental version of his new theme.

He sang an up tempo current number, then stopped to bring out his special guest of the week. That guest was wildly swung onstage by "The Polka Lady" an ethnically dressed Polish dancer and witty repartee would follow. The Bobby and guest would reprise the opening number and go to break. This was a hugely popular opener and some very big names were "Polkaed" onstage during the first season.

A supporting cast of regular comedians included Freeman King and Murray Langston and inoffensive ethnic humor was featured. Bobby's appeal was highlighted with a second musical number, a frequent duet with the musical guest and his own unique mixing with the audience. The show proved a ratings winner and was the first of its kind in the variety world as a half hour show. The short format kept the show fast paced and the end featuring guests with Bobby attempting to sing the Polish lyrics to "My Melody of Love" never failed to please.

The first season spawned a best selling album on ABC Records featuring songs performed on the show. The material was studio produced, not live TV show recording.

Season two was more successful in terms of markets sold, (more TV markets now carried the show) but a format change proved trickier to sell. Bobby's ethnic theme was gone in the 1976-77 season, replaced by a more upscale set and selection of comedy material. The Polka lady was gone and much of the energy of the first season was too. The guest list continued to dazzle, but the unique feel seemed to be missing. A great new three girl backup group "The Peaches" was added. By this time Bobby had signed new record setting money deals with the newer bigger Las Vegas Casinos and was also recording new product again. His more polished act was reflected on the show as well. "The Polish Prince" would now rather be called "The Prince of Entertainment" Bobby explained that Sinatra would always be King. Privately, he expressed dissatisfaction with the show's direction but came back for a third season.

The Bobby Vinton Show
Starring Bobby Vinton
Executive Producers Alan Blye and Chris Beard
Producer Alan Thicke
Director: Mike Steele
Musical Director: Jimmy Dale
A Chuck Barris Production
Syndicated
Ran US Nationwide and Canada 1975-1978

The 1977-78 season had its highs and lows. A definite high was the addition of Foster Brooks as a regular. His "drunk" comedy was a good match for the audience. The low point was a ridiculous association with Sid and Marty Kroftt of puppet fame. Their creation, a giant St. Bernard puppet was featured in a series of awful skits with Bobby that were painful to watch.

TH Peaches who has brighted the second season were gone, and missed. A new "Bobby's Place" segment had the host in a tacky couch den style set chatting with guest. It was not a good idea. By the end of season three Bobby Vinton had had enough of weekly television. He said in interviews that the show could have continued if it had kept the original format, but he had lost enthusiasm with the changes and felt it just wasn't his show anymore. Of course times change and what was great in the fall of 1975 may not have been so in 78.

The truly amazing guest list of the show includes: Ethel Merman, Ted Knight, Phyllis Diller, O.J. Simpson, The Spinners, Donna Summer (in her 1st US national TV appearance), Petula Clark, Laine Kazan, Foster Brooks, Anne Murray, John Byner.

 

Share Your Memories In Our Forums!

Check out our Bobby Vinton Show forum! Do you have a favorite episode of the show? What do you remember about the series? Do you have any questions about it or its stars? Now you can post comments and questions directly to our TV forums! Click here to see what other Bobby Vinton Show viewers have said or to post your own comments about the show!

Your Memories Shared!

I recall one episode that featured Ruth Buzzi. In one sketch, she played a wild cavewoman wearing a cute "loin cloth" outfit, showing off a surprisingly nice figure. Although known best for spoofing her supposedly homely looks, she was actually much better looking than most remember.

--Dickie Martin

Note: This is just a random sample of the Bobby Vinton Show messages in our TV forums! Click here to see what others have said or to post your own comments!

 

TV TIDBITS

Aired: 1975-1978

Cast: Bobby Vinton

Network: Syndicated

Genre: Musical variety

Theme song


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Bobby Vinton memorabilia!
Bobby Vinton Videos and DVDs!

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Use of this site is subject to our Terms of Service.
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