Poor ratings could mean last roundup for 'Seven Brides'
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''It's one of those shows which needs just a little more in the way of viewers to make it. Sure 'Seven Brides' has become a fine show, well executed, with a sense of what America is all about. But it just has to get better numbers.''Skip to next paragraph
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Wednesday is your last chance to see an original ''Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,'' one of network TV's few family-oriented shows. Unless there's an upswing in viewership, you can count on the ''Seven Brides'' wedding march turning into ''Olde Acquaintances.'' The stars glitter on PBS
This weekend PBS has captured two glorious programs to suit the nation's varied music lovers.
In the midst of WNET/NY's struggle to survive as the major originator of PBS prime-time programming, it is presenting its public broadcasting partners with two of the season's most impressive musical shows, one featuring pop music, the other, mainly classical: Jukebox Saturday Night (PBS, Saturday, 8-11 p.m., check local listings) and Gala of Stars 1983 (PBS, Sunday, 8-11 p.m.).
I have not only screened both completed shows, but I was present earlier at the tapings. And I can report that the opportunity to see all the performers close-up on TV makes up in great part for the thrill of being present at the live performances. Especially if the shows are being stereo simulcast in your area (check local listings).
The 1930s and 1940s nostalgia for swing, jazz, and Dixieland is given free rein in Saturday's ''Jukebox.'' Perhaps just a bit too much free rein. All of the performers from the past are amazingly spry, their talent amazingly intact. But, just about all of them are on too long - the show would have benefited from tightening.
Who's on ''Jukebox?'' Well, there's Margaret Whiting, Helen Forrest, Helen O'Connell, Bea Wain, Jack Leonard, Herb Jeffries, Keely Smith, and Bob Crosby, all introduced by Eddie Albert. And, most impressively, there is Betty Hutton, a woman whose successful personal comeback brings the audience to its feet in tears. There's a fine house band and even some of the original members of the Bobcats. The audience gets up and dances, enjoying every moment of this one-night revival of the swing era.
''Gala of Stars 1983'' doesn't skimp on stars, either. Besides host Beverly Sills, there is Garrick Ohlsson, Grace Bumbry, Mirella Freni, Carlo Bergonzi, Sherrill Milnes, Patricia McBride, Suzanne Farrell, Lynn Harrell, scenes from New York City Opera's production of ''Candide,'' Cleo Laine (yes, Cleo Laine), and a surprise visit from one of the entertainment world's top superstars today - Placido Domingo. If all of that talent doesn't lure you, there is also the inimitable Miss Piggy.
Of course, the exquisite pleasure of being at a live performance is missing, but this peerless (if a bit wearing because of its length) version directed by Kirk Browning is the next best thing. Both specials provide resounding evidence that PBS viewers everywhere - throughout America as well as in New York - must support WNET financially so that it can continue to bring such consummate fare to public broadcasting.
As a member of the on-camera live audience of both of these shows, I was especially eager to see the taped versions. My verdict? Well, the music was great but the hair on top of my head seems to be thinning.