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UPBEAT TV series clips


Don_Krider

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This is neat --- the 8-minute promo clip used to sell Cleveland's "Upbeat" TV series (with host Don Webster) in syndication back in the '60s (the show that featured national bands and Cleveland acts like The Choir). The clip includes Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Four Seasons, Peter & Gordon, James Brown and others at http://youtube.com/watch?v=NWctNqdzbN8

Other clips from "Upbeat" on YouTube.Com:

The Guess Who "When You Touch Me": http://youtube.com/watch?v=2faRrFNa5so

Iron Butterfly "Soul Experience": http://youtube.com/watch?v=D8U_hd71QQ4

Iron Butterfly "Filled With Fear": http://youtube.com/watch?v=gsoDgjkbAyw

The Ides Of March "Vehicle": http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ccatl1CgHJs

Stevie Wonder "For Once In My Life": http://youtube.com/watch?v=S4-7okZxuHw

The Lemon Pipers "Green Tambourine": http://youtube.com/watch?v=Iv6GhRDERsk

1910 Fruitgum Company: "1-2-3 Red Light": http://youtube.com/watch?v=iRnNfZ8Pxro

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WEWS-TV:

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"Upbeat"

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, WEWS produced two programs that enjoyed national exposure through syndication. The first program was Upbeat. Considered by some to be one of the most significant early rock and roll TV variety shows, Upbeat featured a live audience, a group of dancers and live (or lip-synched) performances by the big names of the era.[1]

Artists who appeared on Upbeat included Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder and hundreds of others. In fact, Redding's final appearance ever came on the show on December 9, 1967. The next afternoon, his twin-engine airplane crashed in the icy waters of Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin, killing all but one of the eight passengers on board.

The program began locally as The Big 5 Show, and the name was changed to Upbeat when it went national, altogether running from 1964 to 1971. The host was local station personality Don Webster. At its peak, Upbeat was seen in over 100 television markets.

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Here's hoping The Choir and other Cleveland bands that appeared on "Upbeat" also turn up on Youtube.Com or on DVDs one day.

Don Krider smile

http://www.epinions.com/content_393207123588

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't The Grasshoppers the Upbeat house band, or at least "regulars"? It was a local Cleveland band that featured Benjamin Orr, who went on to be a member of The Cars.

Jerry, you are correct.

Here's a bit of trivia (from Kay Bryson): Ben Orr used to date Wally Bryson's sister when Wally was in The Choir back in the mid-'60s. When Wally exited The Choir, he was pretty down, so Ben Orr did the buddy thing of driving Wally around to cheer him up. I think that's pretty cool.

The Choir ("It's Cold Outside") and The Grasshoppers ("Mod Socks," "Pink Champagne (and Red Roses)") both had regional hits around the same time.

When I saw The Cars in 1978, Ben's performance of "Just What I Needed" (people forget that Ben sang lead on seven of The Cars Top 10 hits) reminded me so much of the Wally Bryson I had seen on stage in Raspberries in 1973: cool, confident, charismatic, and chewing a wad of gum. My favorite song of Ben's is "Drive."

Ben Orr is missed. His Rolling Stone magazine obituary from 2000: http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/thecars/articles/story/5924837/benjamin_orr_a_life_in_rock__roll

Don Krider

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Wow, what memories. When I was a kid, I never realized Upbeat was anything but a local Cleveland show. (Don Webster can still be seen on local TV to this day, by the way. Aside from this, he was the weatherman on Channel 5 for many years, not to mention the host of the local "It's Academic" high school quiz show, later called "Academic Challenge.")

"Hey, let's go with the Upbeat Show!"...wow. That takes me back to my childhood as surely as the theme from "Polka Varieties" or the gang on "The Gene Carroll Show" gathered around the piano singing "Sunday, Monday or Always" at the end. (And it's a lot more fun...I cannot count the number of boring Sunday afternoons spent in my grandparents' house in Collinwood with THOSE shows on the TV!)

I didn't realize it until recently, but the Ramones' song "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio" (which I downloaded because it's just so cool) includes a reference to "Upbeat."

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David Spero has...I was told by Don Webster...virtually all of the Upbeat performances. There are tapes of them out there.

This topic got me thinking about watching the show when I was a kid, and it reminded me that I thought I remembered The Left Banke performing “Desiree†on Upbeat. In those days it was still broadcast in black-and-white. The members of the band were place on risers of different heights, and they definitely lip-synced the song.

This morning I was reading one of the Left Banke sites ( http://leftbanke.larryhovis.net ) I came upon this quote-

“Did the Left Banke ever make a tv appearance?

TOM FINN: Yeah. Around that time, we did the Zacherly UHF show, which was in New Jersey on Channel 31 or something. Zacherly's Disco-Teen. We did the Clay Cole show with the Rolling Stones in New York. We did Shindig, Upbeat in Cleveland, Where The Action Is, American Bandstand. “

There is very little on the web (particularly video) regarding the Left Banke. The "Where the Action Is" performance of "Walk Away Renee" is on YouTube, and also a studio performance which might be one of the other shows mentioned by Finn.

If David Spero could locate this show and upload the “Desiree†performance on YouTube, he would be a hero to Left Banke fans around the world.

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According to Bernie Hogya and Ken Sharp in their book "Eric Carmen: Marathon Man" (page 54), The Quick (featuring future Raspberries Eric Carmen and Michael McBride --- there's a neat photo of them from 1970 here: http://www.ericcarmen.com/press/700201.htm ) performed their single "Ain't Nothin' Gonna Stop Me" on "Upbeat" with Wally Bryson (another future Raspberry) "and Bob McBride sitting in for Randy and Dann Klawon."

The same page says Eric then reformed Cyrus Erie with Michael and Bob McBride, and with Wally Bryson, and that foursome lip-synched "Sparrow" and "Get The Message" on "Upbeat."

David Spero went on to manage Joe Walsh and Eric Carmen. So, if he has the tapes, I hope he gets them out in some format one day.

Don Krider smile

http://www.epinions.com/content_393207123588

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  • 2 weeks later...

Speaking of David Spero, according to Blabbermouth.net (story dated August 11, 2007) at http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=78595 , he's auctioning off some of his rock 'n' roll collection in September of 2007:

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Backstage Auctions has announced the "Rock History – Cleveland Style" auction featuring the private collection of legendary rock and roll manager and industry icon David Spero.

David Spero was destined to be a part of rock and roll history since the age of 13. He got his start working on the set of the nationally syndicated television show "Upbeat" which was created and produced in Cleveland during the mid 60s by Herman Spero, David's father. The young Spero did just about any job his dad would allow from holding up cue cards to suggesting ideas that would appeal to kids his own age and even chauffeured the "stars" around town. Spero's on the job training at a very early age helped pave the way for one of the most interesting careers in the rock and roll business.

Mixing it up with the stars always came easy for Spero. Having worked in the music industry for over four decades his talent roster reads like a who's who of rock and roll; managing or working along side Joe Walsh, THE EAGLES, Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr's ALL STARR BAND, James Gang, STYX, SURVIVOR, Ian Hunter, Don Felder, Eric Carmen, Michael Stanley, Sam Moore, Dickey Betts, JD Souther and Billy Bob Thornton...just to name a few.

David's collection is a 40-year walk down rock history, with each piece telling a story and chronicling his career in the music industry. The auction will showcase well over 700 lots of amazing memorabilia featuring some of rock and roll's greatest icons. Among the more notable pieces being offered are David's personal photo collections that he personally took of Jimi Hendrix, THE BEATLES and THE WHO in the late 60s, a "Yellow Submarine" press photo signed by John Lennon, a HiWatt concert used speaker cabinet ca. 1969 that once belonged to Pete Townshend - THE WHO, Joe Walsh tour/studio used guitars and even Harry Nilsson's bathrobe.

Equally exciting, the auction will also feature the Alice Cooperstown collection that once graced the walls of the recently closed Cleveland location. Some of the most impressive pieces include several of Alice's gold and platinum record awards; a concert used leather jacket (complete with pins, patches and chains), an elaborate collection of posters and photos and much more. The restaurant recently reopened under a different name and theme which resulted in a vault filled with rock and roll memorabilia. It was only natural that we combined the two collections — for one unbelievable auction event.

The auction will begin on Sunday, September 23 and will run for one week ending on Sunday, September 30. The full auction catalog, which will feature over 700 auction lots, will be available online to view beginning Sunday, September 16 at www.backstageauctions.com .

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If you then go to http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/auction.php , you will see that among the "featured artists" are "Alice Cooper, James Gang, Joe Walsh, The Eagles, The Beatles, Ringo Starr's All Starr Band, The Who, Harry Nilsson, Aerosmith, Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter, Dickey Betts, Ted Nugent, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Carmen, Styx, Survivor, Nelson, Jackson Browne, KISS, Eric Clapton, Bad Company, Janis Joplin, Michael Stanley and so many more."

Don Krider smile

http://www.epinions.com/content_393207123588

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If you then go to http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/auction.php , you will see that among the "featured artists" are "Alice Cooper, James Gang, Joe Walsh, The Eagles, The Beatles, Ringo Starr's All Starr Band, The Who, Harry Nilsson, Aerosmith, Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter, Dickey Betts, Ted Nugent, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Carmen, Styx, Survivor, Nelson, Jackson Browne, KISS, Eric Clapton, Bad Company, Janis Joplin, Michael Stanley and so many more."

Don Krider smile

http://www.epinions.com/content_393207123588

I'm curious to see what Eric Carmen, Ian Hunter and Michael Stanley memorabilia go up for auction.

Don Krider smile

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To get back on the "Upbeat" topic, some photos of interest to "Upbeat" fans from ClevelandSeniors.Com (which show why this show needs to be released on DVD):

http://www.clevelandseniors.com/people/donwebster.htm --- photo of series host Don Webster with David Spero, The Beatles, Gene Pitney, John Denver (when John was part of The Chad Mitchell Trio), Mitch Ryder, Otis Redding, Simon & Garfunkel, Bobby Goldsboro, and others.

http://www.clevelandseniors.com/people/donwebsterp.htm --- host Don Webster with B. B. King, Jerry Lewis, The Monkees, Jeannie C. Riley, The Outsiders, Ed McMahon, Canned Heat, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Johnny Nash, Terry Knight, Billy Joe Royal, Lesley Gore, Stevie Wonder, Gene Krupa, Eric Burdon (The Animals), Lou Christie, Rick Derringer with The McCoys, The Fifth Dimension, John Sebastian with The Lovin' Spoonful, The Shangra-Las, Spanky and Our Gang, Dizzie Gillespie, Pete Best, and The Lettermen.

Amazing stuff.

Don Krider smile

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  • 16 years later...
On 8/3/2007 at 1:03 PM, MJ said:

Tommy - did you watch Uncle Floyd as well on UHF? He always had cool acts but it was later on in the 70's.

Uncle Floyd (Vivino) was on UHF Channel 68, which is still operating today in NJ as WFUT, a Spanish language station. He also appeared frequently as a solo act in a local establishment, The Stage House in central NJ. Ch. 68 dropped Uncle Floyd in 1983, and he was picked up by the PBS affiliate WNJN, Ch. 58. In 1986 he moved to CTN until 1992, when the show ended permanently.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/24/2024 at 5:53 AM, RCT said:

Raw Choir footage from Upbeat. Wally's not there, but Jim and Dave are.

That Choir footage is RARE, indeed!!! I nearly fainted when I saw it. I'm sure they were lip-synching to something. Wish it had sound.

I asked Jim about it and he said it was most likely Wally's song, "When You Were With Me." According to Jim, Dave sang lead vocals on the single.

 

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