For a staggering six decades, Perry Como was a welcome presence on television screens with his long-running, award-winning programs. Perhaps no recording artist used the medium of television as well as Mr. C did, all the while charting dozens of hit records including “Catch a Falling Star,” “Magic Moments,” and “It’s Impossible.” Last year saw a new PBS biography and song retrospective (Till The End Of Time – Perry Como Classics) and an accompanying 4-CD set with 100 original recordings spanning Como’s five decades with RCA Records, including dozens of rare and previously unissued masters as well as all the biggest hits (Greatest Hits & Magic Moments) and the DVD release of his 1977 holiday special Perry Como’s Olde English Christmas. Now, Como devotees have even more to enjoy as MPI Home Video releases a unique DVD from the late crooner.
In 1959, Mr. C began hosting the weekly Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall which later became a series of monthly specials with stellar guest stars. Although Perry was part of the NBC-TV network’s early color broadcasts starting in the mid-1950s, very few color editions of Como’s regular programs of the 1950s and 1960s have survived. One exciting exception has now happily surfaced. Perry Como’s Music Hall – Special Edition in Color premieres on home video a rare April 1967 live “In Living Color” broadcast from NBC’s New York studios.
Perry welcomed the rising star (and future legend) George Carlin along with the late pop-jazz chanteuse Nancy Wilson, and young ballerina Joyce Cuoco. In prime form, Perry sings his latest hit “Stop! And Think It Over” and other favorites such as “A Taste of Honey,” “How Beautiful The World Can Be,” and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s beautiful “Dindi” in addition to “Breezin’ Along With The Breeze” and Paul Simon’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” with Nancy. Carlin performs his fast-spinning disc jockey routine, and The Ray Charles Singers, Como’s longtime collaborators, join him and the cast for a rousing tax day 1967 finale of “The Money Tree,” “Pennies From Heaven,” and “The Best Things In Life Are Free. ”
That’s not all. MPI has included a treasure trove of bonus features including Perry in a comedy skit opposite Flip Wilson; singing and clowning with Carol Burnett; a duet of Doctor Dolittle‘s “Talk to the Animals” with the one and only Bobbie Gentry; and a variety of Como solo performances including Henry Mancini’s “Dear Heart” and a heartfelt “America the Beautiful.” All in glorious full color!
Enjoy the rare treat of Perry Como’s Music Hall – Special Edition in Color, available today (March 12) from MPI Home Video at Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada!