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Archive for the ‘Cowsills’ Category

Sunday Service: The Cowsills – “Where Is Love” and “II x II” (1970)

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

The opening number of this clip features Cowsills mom Barbara, who passed away 24 years ago today, along with daughter Susan and son Bob. (PS: The blonde woman is Nanci Roberts, Bob’s wife at the time.) The Cowsills, in case you don’t know, were a family group with a handful of big late sixties hits and even more handfuls of Tiger Beat features. They were actually supposed to be the TV family we now know as the Partridges, but when they objected to the intended replacement of real mom Barbara with fake mom Shirley Jones, the whole thing fell through.

This entire clip comes from a Cowsills appearance on the CBS Playboy After Dark TV variety show, which ran from 1969 to 1970, and it really sticks in my mind for a few other reasons:

– This family group with considerable preteen market appeal – labelmates with the Osmonds during “wholesome entertainment” advocate Mike Curb’s tenure at MGM – happen to be performing on Playboy After Dark. (Then again, they’d already sung the opening theme for the first season of Love, American Style, the kind of saucy prime time show parents didn’t let their kids watch.)

– Little Susan is uber adorable, and brother Barry (RIP), taking lead vocals on “II x II,” is uber cool and has rock star written all over him.

– “II x II” is the gospel-tinged title track of their gospel-tinged 1970 album (which is also their best). So not only is the family band playing the Playboy Mansion, but they’re also gracing it with gospel music. When the Playboy Mansion crowd is shown clapping along and occasionally holding up two fingers, then, they’re flashing the familiar hippie peace sign that, in this case, also doubles up as a token of gospel solidarity. Take us up Lord, two by two, to Thy Playboy Mansion in the sky, sayeth they. Must be the early 1970s, sayeth we.

Movies By Memory, Pt. 5: Party Mix

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

cowsillsAs I restrain myself from dropping big bills on old Tiger Beat mags featuring the Cowsills, you’re stuck with more entries from my “movies by memory” guide, a work in progress.

How to play “Movies By Memory”: Take the 3 or 4 things you remember about any given movie (no Google allowed) and incorporate these into a one-sentence plot summary.

Virgin Suicides, The (2003): Todd Rundgren stars as a boy who wears a wig to seduce three schoolgirls with tragic results.

Paper Moon (1974): Young Tatum O’Neal teaches her father, a hot dog vendor, valuable life lessons using stories from the Bible.

Wide Sargasso Sea (1993): Richard Gere stars as Heathcliff, a lusty islander whose life is altered when he inherits an estate in Pemberley.

Trading Places (1983): Jamie Lee Curtis and her attorney, Eddie Murphy, bring outsider transvestite Dan Ackroyd back into normal society.

Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931): Two aboriginal surfers travel the Australian coast looking for perfect waves and topless sunbathers.

Spies Like Us (1985): Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy, reviving their roles in “Ghostbusters,” investigate Paul McCartney’s mistaken identity.

Reversal of Fortune (1990): Woody Allen, a lawyer, gets ten misfit law students to help him annul Kirk Douglas’s marriage to Glen Close.

Peter’s Friends (1992): Sparks fly when five British thespians reunite to work on a stage production based on the music of Tears For Fears.

Advocate, The (1994): John Travolta stars as a hooded gigolo among the castles of medieval France.

Nobody’s Fool (1994): Paul Newman teaches Al Franken how to keep his two boys from fighting.

My Architect: A Son’s Journey (2003): A boy roller skates to Creedence Clearwater Revival in buildings designed by his absent-minded father.

Jazz Singer, The (1980): Neil Diamond teaches Barbra Streisand how to sing Al Jolson songs in Yiddish.

54 (1998): An elderly woman disco dances to death in the arms of an impressionable young boy.

posted by Kim Simpson