The Best of the Andy Williams Show: Featuring Bobby Darin, Peggy Lee, Vic Damone, Henry Mancini and more!
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Famed pop singer Andy Williams is also a television icon. His hour-long NBC show ran from 1962-1971 and won three Best Variety Show Emmys. He filled American living rooms in "living color", reflecting changing times with guests who ranged from easy-listening vocalists to psychedelic rock stars
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The selection kicks off marvelously with an uninterrupted sequence showcasing the versatile talents of Andy Williams, The New Christy Minstrels, and especially Sammy Davis Jr., presenting his singing, dancing and vocal mimicry in the best possible light. This is followed, among other things, by Bill Cosby's great 'street football' comedy monologue, presented here in full (he was one of the few guests who was allowed to completely improvise and run overtime), and a wonderfully deadpan clockwork pantomime starring Sid Caesar, in which Andy suddenly manages to look a dead ringer for Buster Keaton.
There are also stunning vocal tours de force from Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield in his classic "Unchained Melody" and Ella Fitzgerald in her freely improvised rendition of "Sweet Georgia Brown", fine laid-back duets and banter with Bing Crosby on "In a Little Spanish Town" and "Don't Fence Me In", and stellar singing from Julie Andrews with Andy and The Osmond Brothers. In her case, though, it's a pity we're missing out on the equally great duet with Andy on "Our Language of Love" from the same show, and a surprisingly raucous, thrilling turn on ... a rhythm 'n blues medley with Ray Charles' "Hallelujah I Love Her So" as lead-in and cue.
This omission points to some serious flaws in the format, as scene choices often become patchy with erratic edits and interrupted sketches. It's certainly nice to see the NBC peacock logo in its full glory once or twice, but do we need to have this type of introduction over and over again in a 'best of' selection, along with random end credit sequences and even Kraft cheese sponsor logos?
Also on the minus side, how can lengthy footage of Andy's co-star Sandra Dee modeling various luxurious costumes for their joint movie appearance in "I'd Rather Be Rich" be considered part of the best segments of Andy's shows? Why on earth is Andy shown singing only a few lines from his standard closing song "May Each Day", when full versions are also available from his shows? And why is Tennessee Ernie Ford likewise only singing a small part of his massive hit "Sixteen Tons", when both listings suggest these are complete performances? There are a number of odd cuts like this, and remarkably few solo vocal turns from Andy, which must be his most lasting legacy, along with his great duets with guests.
On the whole, a fine selection to have, but some very questionable choices and sloppy editing.
Picture quality poor. Sad.