Mixed in with a dozen other as yet unlistened-to tapes I grabbed from the basement a month or so ago, I found one five inch reel which certainly stood out. It contained a recording of a TV show, which I've since learned aired in November of 1959, hosted by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, titled "The Golden Circle". This show does not appear to be readily available, as far as I can tell, online or in video collecting circles. It should be interesting to those who enjoy this era of music, but it's truly "Gold" due to one moment which occurs about halfway through.
The idea was to include performers whose work put them into the pantheon of greats - Music and musicians whose records have "Gone Gold", and have sold a million or more copies. And the line-up, for the most part, lives up to the billing:
The tape recordist missed the opening of the show, so the tape starts after the opening comments, and most of the way through a performance by The Andrews Sisters, who then (after a few comments from the host) do a medley of more of their hits. Steve Lawrence then does his Bing Crosby imitation, and he and the Andrews Sisters sing "South America, Take It Away", which also includes a lengthy band interlude. Then follows the first ad (all the ads are for Oster products, and all are unfortunately cut, to one degree or another).
The show returns, and Rudy Vallee shows up! He does a song and banters with the hosts (It's "Kookie, Dad!"), before performing his hit "Kitty From Kansas City" with Eydie and the backup singers. I love Vallee's early records, and it's sort of sad to hear him here, either unable to sing or choosing not to, and instead, talk-singing the lyrics. After the song, Steve indicates that the grandchildren of Rudy's fans are crazy over that Frankie Avalon, who steps onstage to sing his latest hit, "Venus".
THEN the fun begins! There is some goofy bantering about how Frankie needs to learn how to handle his money, which somehow leads into the unlikely event of the night: Rudy Vallee and Steve Lawrence dueting on Lloyd Price's then-recent hit song "Personality", with the lyrics indicated as advice, directed at Frankie Avalon!
The rest of the show is nice, in places, but can't top that moment. After another commercial, The Mills Brothers come out and sing a fine medley of their hits, after which Steve and Eydie sing a medley of big band tunes (interrupted here when the tape had to be flipped over). After another commercial, there's yet another medley, as Nat King Cole performs. Then there's a final break, and Steve and Eydie announce that an album has been made of some of the songs from this program, leading up to a performance of White Christmas and the closing credits.
An album was released, under the title "The Golden Circle", and it can be found easily at any of the online auction and record selling sites. It is, however, only by Steve and Eydie, and does not feature any of the guests from this show. The cover of a TV book which advertised this show can be found here.
In case anyone is interested, here is what was on the rest of the tape. First is a segment of a show featuring Jackie Gleason and another performer whose voice I don't recognize. There is also a fairly horrid rendition of "The Gang That Sang 'Heart of My Heart'". This is followed by some brief stand-up comedy from Bob Hope, entertaining the troops on Guam, a jingle from radio station WLW, and a brief bit of a conversation with a film director (perhaps Otto Preminger?), during which the tape runs out.