Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Andy Williams: A full-fledged influence

In honor of Andy Williams, who passed away today at 84.
Thanks for making the whole year "the most wonderful time of the year."
Originally Posted on December 6, 2011
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What's an "influencette"?  It's a word that my dear friend, Merriam, or that always wacky sidekick, Webster, need to add to their book.

Let's work this through. By definition:
  • Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
  • The suffix -ette denotes a relatively small size, as in kitchenette or cigarette.
Ergo, an influencette is something that had an effect on someone's character, development, or behavior in a relatively small way. But it is something or someone worth noting, because there was a positive effect, nonetheless.

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The other day, I heard the Singer/Entertainer Andy Williams, 83, was diagnosed with bladder cancer.  He has also said that he's going to kick it and return to performing.  That's the spirit, and of course I hope he does.

Why I consider Andy at least a small influence is that his TV show and Christmas specials are the epitome of what entertainment looked like in the mid to late 1960s. Family oriented, designed to take advantage of the "living color" of color TV, and polished,  Andy's shows said "professional entertainer" from the second they started until they said, "Good night, everybody."


Andy was on the Tonight Show one night in the late 1970s, and he was wearing a pair of baby blue shoes.  He explained that when he had his show in the 1960s, it was right when shows were first being broadcast in color. To take advantage of this amazing technology, his wardrobe for the show in a huge variety of colors, a different every week and often every segment within a show.  And, there was always matching shoes.


The baby blue shoes? He said he has a closet that has a pair of shoes in virtually every color, and they were only worn once. "I figured I should get some wear out of them," he said.


That story is such an oral time capsule.


(Yes, children. TV was not only "broadcast," but it was in black and white. This is a subject for a separate post.)


But even more... it has to do with brothers. Brothers not unlike my two brothers and I. Except the brothers in the Williams world were amazingly talented performers.


Not to say to my brothers, Tom and Bob, that I'm disappointed in them. I think we all inherited a bit of a tin ear.  So it never was to be.


But there was the Williams Brothers: Andy's clan. They'd appear together on the big holiday specials. They were the veteran professionals. And they were brothers that got together at the holidays.


And there was another set of brothers... The Osmonds.


Yes, them. And they seemed so... real. 


Wow. Did I just admit I believed the act hook, line and sinker? I mean, of course they really were brothers. But they made it seem possible that brothers hung around and sang.


And, of course, I was the youngest Bushman brother and the Osmond's youngest was...


Oh, my.  This is therapeutic.  Admitting that I identified with Donny Osmond. Right up to when he started hanging out with Marie.  I didn't have a sister.


That continued until I was about 30. Then I went back to Andy.


The clip below says it all. Watch it all or skip ahead to the 4 minute mark. Check out the Williams Brothers' outfits. The wholesome comedy. The marvelous singing. 


That was and still is entertainment.


Deep down inside, I still want to have this happen at my house this year.


It's why George (my puppet) and I are working on our Christmas Special. If not this year, then next. He and I will sing for you!


The influence of Andy Williams? He is a bit why I say I want to be an entertainer... because I want to entertain. 


... Like Andy.


Watch the clip and enjoy the show. Consider this as Budding Ventriloquist Kicks Off the Christmas Season.


Ho, ho, ho.



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