Here's an idea for NBC, which apparently could use some help in its programing department: Bring back Hullabaloo.
That's right. Return Jay to his late night spot, give Conan a nice farewell -- this mess wasn't his fault -- and bring back the prime time musical variety program you launched on this very day in 1965. You've done crazier things.
What happened to the programs that showcased the best musical groups of the day, shows like Hullabaloo, Action! and Shindig? Does anybody remember Lloyd Thaxton? Here was a chance to see the hottest bands performing onstage, even if the music was sometimes dubbed.
Hullabaloo was a pretty bold concept for NBC. It not only aired in prime time, its format differed from the competition by trotting out a wider variety of entertainment talent. It was sort of Ed Sullivanesque, without Ed -- or Topo Gigio for that matter (although Bill Dana did appear, as Jose Jiminez). Come to think it, that might have been the problem. While we were waiting for Joe Tex to come on, did we really need to sit through Francoise Hardy and Jackie and Gayle?
Here was the lineup for Season 1, Program 1:
Host: Jack Jones
Guests: Woody Allen, Joey Heatherton, New Christy Minstrels, Zombies, Gerry and the Pacemakers
Jack Jones? Joey Heatherton was always nice to look at, and so were the Hullabaloo Dancers. We certainly enjoyed Lada Edmund Jr. dancing in that cage in the Hullabaloo A-Go-Go segment. But we tuned in for the bands, not Joey, Shani Wallis or Joe and Eddie -- all of whom made appearances. But that was the template, and NBC pretty much stuck with it through two seasons and 48 shows.
After that Hullabaloo was gone, just like our pal Conan.