Episode # 6 appears to be the earliest episode from which tapes survive. Anything prior to this episode is uncharted territory for television historians. This episode provides us with our first look at HOLLYWOOD AGO-GO which was still in its infancy. We have tape of thirteen of the fifteen performances from this show and for fans it's interesting to compare these early tapes to what we see later in 1965 as the show grew and evolved into the hippest of all the contemporary music /dance shows. These early episodes featured lower lighting levels on the set, fewer GAZZARRI DANCERS, and less risque outfits on the dancers.
This particular performance features no GAZZARRI DANCERS. They were there but for whatever reasons the production team decided to feature Rick & Donna solely in thespotlight. An analysis of the thirteen performaces we have on tape reveals that there are three in which no GAZZARRI DANCERSare visible, and a further three in which we get only brief glimpses of seated dancers. KHJ management clearly was not yet fully aware of the potential star power of their go-go dancers.
There were only six dancers at this point. Two of them were DeANN and MIMI. Both were there from the start of the show until its final episode. JACQUI is the brunette with the long swinging ponitail. Another two of the dancers appear to be unidentified twins. DeANN recollects that the first episode from December 1964 had a mix of both male and female go-go dancers. That arrangement apparently did not last for long. Dick Clark'sWHERE THE ACTION IS was the only one of the major music / dance shows that successfully incorporated male dancers into their lineup.
Both Rick Jarrard and Donna DiMartino were members of the Greenwood Country Singers who decided to go out on their own as a duo. Another Greenwood member was Van Dyke Parks. Rick went on to become a very successful record producer. It was Rick who produced Jefferson Airplane's "Surrealistic Pillow" album. Donna had bit roles in a few mid-1960s TV shows.
This performance is of particular interest because it gives us another look at the first taped episode to survive. It was also the first nationally syndicated episode. We see our first floor routine by the GAZZARRI DANCERS. In the Rick & Donna performance we saw no dancers and we saw little of the set. This video therefore provides us with a much more detailed look at the go-goers and the overall vibe on the set.
The most noticeable diffference between this episode and those later in the show's run is the lighting level. It is dark on the set for this episode. This is the fruition of the RIC EYRICH and AL BURTON idea to give the show a club atmosphere. As the episodes passed the lighting got brighter. Contrast this performance from any on episode # 58. The difference is striking. There is also a difference in the attire of the kids on the dance floor. In this episode many are wearing casual clothing such as sweaters. Later episodes would have the boys in suits and the girls in dresses as the norm. There is almost a hootenanny feel to several of the performances during which the audience would gather around the performer and clap to the beat. The last vestiges of the folk club scene were still playing out in late 1964 and early 1965. This vibe was soon to be replaced by the much hipper groove that the show would soon incorporate very successfully. Another difference on this early set was the lack of the ladders, risers, and platforms that were used in later episodes by the GAZZARRI DANCERS. The show was clearly in its infancy and the production evolving. The camera work was simple and had little of the gimmicks that we would later see.
One of the highlights of the episode is the first floor routine by the six GAZZARRI DANCERS. It's the first time we get to see them used to proper advantage and make some waves on the dance floor. JACQUI and DeANN introduce viewers to a new phenomenon best desribed as "hair tossing". Those two, plus MIMI, would continue on with the show. DeANN and MIMI can be seen in the next surviving tapes from episode # 9. The unknown twins and the other unidentified dancer (see our "mystery dancer" page) are gone by episode # 9 and never seen again on the show. However we think that they might have moved over to Gazzarri's nightclub shortly after this episode. We are still researching this angle.
Bill Gazzarri had been featuring the Walker Brothers at Gazzarri's nightclub regularly in 1964 and it is no surprise that they would appear on the new nationally syndicated HOLLYWOOD A GO-GO. They were talented, easily available to AL BURTON, and most likely mistaken by many in the TV audience as another British Invasion group. In fact they were all American and none were related. The WalkerBrothers in fact had much greater success in Great Britain than here in their home country. A few weeks after this taping they were transatlantic bound for another long tour of the U.K.
This is one of the oldest videos from the show that we have, and it is also one of the most novel and entertaining. The performance starts with some high energy dancing by the kids in the audience to a great rendition of "Baby Please Don't Go" by the Sinners. Note the Nehru jackets and Beatle wigs on Tony, Vic, and Manuel of the Sinners.
This performance revolves around the dancing show put on by the unknown GAZZARRI DANCER,who coaxes her geriatric wallflower partner on to the dance floor, and the ensuing choreographic explosion. Of course this whole routine was orchestrated in advance, but to TV viewers five decades ago and the studio audience it must have come as a shocking surprise. The old guy definitely had the moves ! The other four GAZZARRIDANCERS were relegated to watching from the sidelines while the show went on. DALE, who is seen at the beginning of the performance clapping her hands and looking around the studio, but not dancing, might be a hint that something was about to happen.
We would love to know who the dancing gentleman and his partner are. Please write to the contact address on this website if you have any additional information about this performance.
Pat & Lolly Vegas were another act brought over from Bill Gazzarri's stable of regular performers at his nightclub to the HOLLYWOOD A GO-GO set. Other good examples would be the Sinners and the Walker Brothers. This proved to be a winning formula as the show got its feet on the ground and started to book an increasing number of nationally known artists as well. At this early stage the show had been in national syndication for only three weeks.
Pat & Lolly were a quite popular and well known act at the local L.A. clubs during the 1960s. They were Native American brothers, Patrick and Candido Vasquez-Vegas, and in the early 1970s went on to form the group Redbone. In 1974 they finally hit the charts in a big way with the Top-Ten smash, "Come And Get Your Love". Lolly died in 2010, but Pat still performs with Redbone.
We get to see five GAZZARRI DANCERS during this performance. KHJ management still seemed a bit unsure as how to best utilize the girls and hence we see them seated on the main platform. TV viewers wanted to see them dance, as "go-go" was still a new and very marketable term. Core dancers DALE, DeANN, and MIMI are joined by two as yet unidentified "mystery" dancers. Both of these "mystery" girls were gone by episode # 15, which is the next episode for which we have any substantial footage. Neither appeared on episode # 6, for which we also have footage.
Here we have another performance from the second earliest episode with surviving video footage. With DALE as the only GAZZARRI DANCER that we see it appears that producer AL BURTON was still tentative with the dancers' exposure and just what impact they would eventually have on the production of the show as well as its legacy. The camera crew were experimenting with effects, kaleidoscopic in this case.
With only one dancer present in the final video cut we do get lots of footage of teenage heart throb JohnnyCrawford who was just a few weeks short of his nineteenth birthday. Perhaps better known as Mark McCain from 'The Rifleman' TV series, Johnny had a very successful but short run as a recording artist. He placed four hits on the national charts in 1962-1963. One was even a top ten hit at # 8 ("Cindy's Birthday"), while the other three came in at # 12, # 14, and # 29. Pretty impressive by any standards especially while he was still a child actor on 'The Rifleman'. Once the TV series wrapped up in 1963 Johnny continued with his singing career but never charted another hit. This tune, "The Girl Next Door", failed to chart, while the other song he performed on this episode ("Sandy") topped out at # 108. This was a pivotal time in American entertainment as we slowly moved away from the very popular western TV show theme to more up to date (dare I say "hip") shows like HOLLYWOOD A GO-GO !