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Category:    Home > Reviews > Music > Piano > TV > Liberace Show (1950s)

The Liberace Show (1950s TV)

 

Picture: C†††† Sound: C†††† Extras: D†††† Program: B-

 

 

From scandal to issues about his sexuality and sad death, Liberace has been left in the past as relic, about as collectible as one of his famous candelabras.Thatís wrong, because in real life, he was one of the great showmen of the 20th Century.Could Glam Rock, Elton John and even the later Elvis Presley been possible without him?He set new standards for gaudiness and easily conquered (and helped to build) Las Vegas.As Rock Music arrived and other genres and music changes followed, he never abandoned his roots and that meant sticking to Classical Music no matter what.

 

His costumes became more and more elaborate, as did his reputation.At the heart of it all was his unbelievable capacity to play piano.In a skill rarely equaled and never exceeded, Liberace would easily show off his talents to the delight of audiences and would also constantly make it a point of how good he was without ever looking at the 88 keys.

 

His 1950s TV series further cemented his legend and eccentric reputation; he also took the time to introduce his audience (pre-PBS) to every kind of Classical Music and World Music genre he could, which makes watching this 50-minutes-long compilation of some of the best moments of his first TV series from Koch is more interesting than expected.

 

The songs played (and sometimes sung) are as follows:

 

As Long As You Care For Me

Start The Day With A Smile

Peanut Vendor

Till The End Of Time

Thereíll Be No New Tunes From This Old Piano Of Mine

I Canít Give You Anything But Love

Chinatown

Cocktails For Two

Carioca

Itís All In The Game

Blue Tango

Rachmaninov Chrysler 18th Variation by Paganini

September Song

Nola

Iíll Be Seeing You

 

I was not the biggest fan of his singing, but the piano is inarguable, while his music literacy is the most underrated thing about him.That a TV show like this ever existed at all is remarkable, and he would do another in the 1960s, but the original show was way ahead of its time and the world of TV which has currently degenerated into reality TV may never totally catch up.A Classical Network has yet to debut on cable or satellite.

 

The full frame image is off of old video/kinescope materials that show their age, down to the black and white.There are differences noticed between materials, as this compiles several shows from several sources, but is watchable.The Dolby Digital 2.0 is mono with a slight boosting to sound somewhat like stereo, but that never is convincing.It is still better than a flat mono sound.There are no extras.

 

There were always those detractors of Liberace who said it was only about his outfits and mannerisms, but time has proven otherwise.The man did make one other inarguable contribution to our times.When asked how he felt about people laughing at him, mocking him, making fun of him, and belittling his talents, it was he who first said the immortal words that he was the one ďlaughing all the way to the bankĒ.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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