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Those ’70s Shows

February 16, 2016

The music-and-comedy variety show was a television mainstay until the 1980s. Why did the format die out? Probably because of shows like these.
70's musical-and-comedy variety shows trivia.

Joey and Dad

After Sonny and Cher got divorced, Allan Blye, producer of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, attempted to create another variety show duo: sultry singer-dancer Joey Heatherton…and her father, Ray Heatherton, star of the 1950s children’s TV show The Merry Mailman. Most of the sketches and banter were about the Generation Gap. The show ran for just four weeks in 1975.
Joey and Ray Weatherton

The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine

In 1974 Curly Neal, Meadowlark Lemon, and the other Harlem Globetrotters moved from the basketball court to a Saturday morning TV variety show. The Globetrotters sang, danced, and did sketches with comedian Avery Schreiber (as “Dr. Evil”) and child star Rodney Allen Rippy (as himself). The show was created by John Aylesworth, who also created Hee Haw. It lasted one season.

The Keane Brothers Show

In 1976 a former record executive named Bob Keane started promoting a bubblegum pop duo called the Keane Brothers—consisting of his sons Tom (on piano) and John (on drums). They had just one minor hit (“Sherry,” which reached #84), but CBS still hired them for a summer 1977 variety show. At ages 12 and 13, the Keane brothers became the youngest people ever to host a prime-time variety series.

Van Dyke and Company

At a press conference announcing the show in 1976, Dick Van Dyke told reporters that he wanted to do a variety show strictly because it was “fun” and he didn’t care if it succeeded because he was “too old to care about ratings.” Good thing, too: Despite appearances by Andy Kaufman, the Los Angeles Mime Company, and Dick Van Dyke singing and dancing, the show was canceled after 11 episodes.

Shields and Yarnell

If you think variety shows are too loud and exciting, this was the show for you. Shields and Yarnell were a married mime duo who had appeared more than 400 times on other variety shows by the time they got this short-lived series in 1977. In addition to hosting bands and comedians, Shields and Yarnell frequently performed the Clinkers, their signature mime routine about married robots.
Shields and Yarnell Variety Show
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