memories of the ’70s – A Chorus Line

ChorusLine.jpgIn the middle of the 1970s, a play took the oldest story of Broadway and made it the show: A Chorus Line.

With music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban, the musical focused on the 17 dancers chosen for a new Broadway show.

Each character is competing for eight spots in the production, revealing themselves and their past as they try to show their dance skills.

Zach is the director with his assistant Larry and the dancers are a mix of men and women vying to get chosen. The backdrop of the musical is a bare stage, with the focus on the dancers.

For several months, the musical was tested in front of audiences, changing from an ending where the final cuts are revealed to a storyline that follows those that the viewer know will and won’t succeed.

Debuting off-Broadway at New York City’s Public Theatre in April 1975, the production borrowed US$1.6 million to make it work, and the advance buzz surrounding the musical worked – the run was sold-out in advance.

Producer Joseph Papp moved the musical to Broadway to the Shubert Theatre in July 1975, where it stayed in production in New York City until April 1990.

The original cast included Robert LuPone, Priscilla Lopez, Donna McKechnie and Sammy Williams, all nominated for Tony Awards. Williams and McKechnie both won Tonys, while the musical won the Tony Award for Best Musical, Best Choreography, Best Book of a Musical and Best Score, as well as winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976.

One of the classic musicals of Broadway, the musical travelled, performed in London’s West End, as well as Sweden, Argentina, Australia by the end of the decade.


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Lovebot The Joker

As seen on Toronto’s Parliament Street:


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Cher (ing) is caring

Awesome sign from Jimmy’s Coffee in Toronto’s Kensington Market:


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memories of the ’80s – Unsolved Mysteries

Image result for unsolved mysteries tv series 1987In the late 1980s, a television show aimed to use the audience to learn more about some of the odd stories of our world on Unsolved Mysteries.

The reality tv show was created by John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer, who aimed to illuminate cold cases and paranormal phenomena that had occurred.

The series started as a series of specials, with renactments focusing on murdered and/or missing people. The specials were hosted by Raymond Burr, Karl Malden and Robert Stack and aired on NBC starting in January 1987.

Thanks to the success of the seven specials aired throughout 1987, in 1988 the producers launched a weekly television series on NBC, with host Robert Stack discussing the cases before the renactment showed what had happened with a mix of video, photography and interviews.

Each show would air four segments, usually a missing person, a murder, paranormal activity and unexplained or alternative history.

Continuing into the next decade, the show’s ratings started strong but were less over time thanks to the increase in the paranormal stories and the focus on alternative history and controversial theories about history.

The show switched from NBC to CBS for its last season, and has gone on to be on several other networks in the current century.

Not endorsed or part of NBC News, this reality television show’s style inspired many 21st century news magazine shows on how to show and tell the story of the murdered, missing and paranormal.

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is it me you’re tipping for?


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memories of the ’70s – Real People

Real People cast.jpgAt the end of the 1970s, tv talk show, news and reality tv combined in a popular television series called Real People.

Debuting in 1979 on NBC TV, the series was the idea of producer George Schlatter, who had previously worked on comedy series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In.

The premise of the show was showcasing ordinary Americans and their jobs or hobbies. A panel of hosts discussed each pre-taped segement and occasionally they would have someone in studio to discuss their career or past time.

Main hosts Sarah Purcell, John Barbour, Byron Allen, Skip Stephenson and Bill Rafferty were also joined eventually by Mark Russell, Fred Willard and Peter Billingsley. All the hosts would provide the chatter about so-called ordinary Americans.

A popular segment was funny pictures and newspaper errors sent in by viewers, which if aired won them a Real People t-shirt.

NBC Television was at the time the number three network, and desperately needed the ratings, which came because of this series, which viewers adored. Rival networks created imitations including ABC’s That’s Incredible! and CBS’s That’s My Line.

But the NBC original series did well in its first three years, gaining audience and encouraging viewers to participate long before social media, by constantly writing in with funny things from their world.

One of the most notable people to come out of Real People is fitness fun guy Richard Simmons, who was profiled on the show, and his popularity led him to his own television show.

And its still standard for television news and talk shows to air these segments. Isn’t the basis of reality television our fascination with ourselves and other people’s lives?


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Go Go Gadget

As seen in Toronto’s Kensington Market:

inspector gadget

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