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January 12: Hullabaloo!

January 12, 2014

hullabaloo2Woody Allen was the guest comedian on the premiere program of “Hullabaloo” (the American version) on this date in 1965. NBC’s television show was a showcase for rock and roll acts in the year following Beatlemania, and competed with ABC’s “Shindig,” both running during prime time. The earliest “Hullabaloo” programs (the show aired for less than a year before going into reruns) include excerpts from the British version of the show, which was hosted by Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles, who introduced the Zombies on this first American program. The show also featured the Hullabaloo Dancers, whose choreographer was David Winters, born David Weizer in London. Winters appeared in the original Broadway production of West Side Story, as well as in the film version (in which he played as A-Rab, a friend of the Jets’ youngest gang member), and went on to a career as an actor and film director. To see the men and women of the Hullabaloo Dancers in action (the British version), look below. To see a PBS medley of classic clips from the show, look below that.

“Unlike most musical variety shows, ‘Hullabaloo’ featured a different guest host every week . . . One highlight of the show’s format was the Top Pop Medley, which had the guest host and featured musical guests doing brief renditions of whatever was hot on the charts at the time. Also, the last song of each episode was usually performed on a set which resembled a mod night club — this was called ‘Hullabaloo A Go-Go.’ ” —Askville by Amazon