The Liberace Show (1950s TV)
C Sound: C Extras: D Program: B-
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. That’s 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.
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.
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.
played (and sometimes sung) are as follows:
As Long As You Care For Me
Start The Day With A Smile
Till The End Of Time
There’ll Be No New Tunes From This
Old Piano Of Mine
I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
Cocktails For Two
It’s All In The Game
Rachmaninov Chrysler 18th
Variation by Paganini
I’ll 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.
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.
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 “laughing all the way to
- Nicholas Sheffo