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Carpenters...Space Encounters 1978

Carpenters-in-the-crib

Member
Thread Starter
Wow! What was that? I just watched this for the first time since I was little. It was so cheesy. So what is the story behind it? Why were those two celebrities chosen? Does anyone know why the Carpenters chose to cover "Calling Occupants" in the first place? There sure was a big deal made of the song and the TV special. The late 70's sure did have some nutty stuff.

**Side question, did Earl play oboe on "Leave Yesterday Behind"?
 

CARPENTERS-COLLECTOR

Well-Known Member
Does anyone know why the Carpenters chose to cover "Calling Occupants" in the first place?
Richard apparently loved the song and probably did it for a bit a fun. John Bettis has said that a lot of people were shocked they did it and that it didn't do very well, but John didn't feel Richard cared, because he enjoyed it. Sometimes, you don`t have to take yourself too seriously :)
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
They were trying to widen their image with the Passage album, and Klaatu (the group that originated "Occupants") was really the talk of the town at that time, so along with Richard liking the song, they probably did it to raise their "cool" factor. Whether that was a successful move is open for debate....I've always thought their "peak" had passed by that point anyway and they weren't likely to change their career arc. I always thought they should have made a serious foray into country music, considering they had several country songs in their repertoire.
 

ars nova

Active Member
Wow! What was that? I just watched this for the first time since I was little. It was so cheesy. So what is the story behind it? Why were those two celebrities chosen? Does anyone know why the Carpenters chose to cover "Calling Occupants" in the first place? There sure was a big deal made of the song and the TV special. The late 70's sure did have some nutty stuff.

**Side question, did Earl play oboe on "Leave Yesterday Behind"?
preachin' to the choir buddy, preachin' to the choir...
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
To me, their worst special. Christmas Portrait is pretty dire, but at least it's got all that lovely Christmas Music.
 

New Horizons.

Active Member
I really enjoy the Christmas portrait special.Angel in a Christmas play always raises a smile.I would love to see rehearsal footage.Karen must have found it hilarious to do.It's of it's time.I would still like it as a bonus dvd in a deluxe Christmas portrait release if anyone at umg is reading:).Space encounters is my least favourite but Boogie nights/The hustle keeps me watching.I would rather watch any Carpenters special a million times after seeing the Star Wars Christmas special:laugh:
 

adam

Active Member
Hi
I woder it that Space Encounters Special had been brodcast in october 1977 to coincide with the release of Passage Album,rather than may 1978 maybe Passage Allbum might have sold a lot more copies.
Note Space Encounters was the 15th most watced program of the week when it was shown.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
The entire show is worth existing just so we could see Karen sing (mime) "Little Girl Blue" (she's the kind of singer where her physicality during lipsyncing a song makes me never distracted by the fact that she isn't singing live). Her alone in the alley confessing her sorrow to us, looking as lovely as ever. She makes us believe in the "false" narrative that she spent many a night waiting in that alley to go on, hoping to catch a break.
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
Hi
I woder it that Space Encounters Special had been brodcast in october 1977 to coincide with the release of Passage Album,rather than may 1978 maybe Passage Allbum might have sold a lot more copies.
Note Space Encounters was the 15th most watced program of the week when it was shown.
Adam, you're a numbers guy aren't you? Accountant maybe?
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
The entire show is worth existing just so we could see Karen sing (mime) "Little Girl Blue" (she's the kind of singer where her physicality during lipsyncing a song makes me never distracted by the fact that she isn't singing live). Her alone in the alley confessing her sorrow to us, looking as lovely as ever. She makes us believe in the "false" narrative that she spent many a night waiting in that alley to go on, hoping to catch a break.
It's worth a watch, but it's pretty "far out" compared to the other (regular) two specials. But it was the 1970's, and it is a product of it's time, no better, no worse than the comparables.
 

Must Hear This Album

Well-Known Member
Wow! What was that? I just watched this for the first time since I was little. It was so cheesy. So what is the story behind it? Why were those two celebrities chosen? Does anyone know why the Carpenters chose to cover "Calling Occupants" in the first place? There sure was a big deal made of the song and the TV special. The late 70's sure did have some nutty stuff.

**Side question, did Earl play oboe on "Leave Yesterday Behind"?
I was just a child at the time (no, seriously...), but I recall Suzanne Somers, star of the mega-hit sitcom, Three’s Company, was, as Karen might say, “hot as a pistol,” at that moment, so it was a shrewd marketing move to feature her (and to get her fans to tune-in...), and John Davidson...well, I’ve never understood that (although I confess he was the Ryan Seacrest of the moment; all style, no substance).
 

leadmister

Well-Known Member
They were trying to widen their image with the Passage album, and Klaatu (the group that originated "Occupants") was really the talk of the town at that time, so along with Richard liking the song, they probably did it to raise their "cool" factor. Whether that was a successful move is open for debate....I've always thought their "peak" had passed by that point anyway and they weren't likely to change their career arc. I always thought they should have made a serious foray into country music, considering they had several country songs in their repertoire.
I often ponder, when reflecting on this time, how much of Passage was a matter of expanding Horizons (pun intended) artistically and how much of it was just trying to cope with the fact that they were burnt out and needed a break. When that ability to be a tastemaker starts to fail, and it certainly was failing as far as Richard was concerned, all he had left was to do what he loved. Although not always commercially viable, that's where the true artistry shines. Occupants (and all of Passage for that matter) is a perfect example of this. I remember hearing Karen in a radio interview in '78 just GUSHING over how great the song turned out, and how much she adored the arrangement. And honestly that's good enough for me, and it's why so many fans love Passage. There was energy there and it was indeed different but still the same in a lot of ways too.
 

leadmister

Well-Known Member
Agree 100%. The script, acting, sketches and choreography are absolutely abysmal.
Charlie Callas was truly annoying to me. Still makes me cringe harder than if I was looking directly into the sun. He mugged for the camera so much he should have had a handle on the side of his head. Suzanne Somers' airhead routine was pretty stale as well. I believe that if it dawns on Richard that the musical performances can be gleaned from these old specials, omitting the cringeworthy parts, he might be able to put together a nice video anthology both he and fans can be happy with. It worked pretty well with the PBS Christmas thing.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
All these guest "stars" in their TV specials only cemented their "uncoolness" in the eyes of the American public. This goes back to the point that has been addressed countless times in this forum; What was their management thinking?
 
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Jarred

Well-Known Member
As someone said in LGB, if they didn't have control over who was on their special's they should have demanded it. I know John Davidson had the same agent as them but come on.
 

leadmister

Well-Known Member
As someone said in LGB, if they didn't have control over who was on their special's they should have demanded it. I know John Davidson had the same agent as them but come on.
I'm thinking it was a trade off with Weintraub. I'll get you the special but you'll need to throw a couple people a bone.
 

CarpentersToYou

What I feel has come and gone before...
Charlie Callas was truly annoying to me. Still makes me cringe harder than if I was looking directly into the sun. He mugged for the camera so much he should have had a handle on the side of his head. Suzanne Somers' airhead routine was pretty stale as well. I believe that if it dawns on Richard that the musical performances can be gleaned from these old specials, omitting the cringeworthy parts, he might be able to put together a nice video anthology both he and fans can be happy with. It worked pretty well with the PBS Christmas thing.
Gleaned is the perfect word choice!
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I remember watching this special the night it aired.
I loved watching Karen, and I loved Passage then (as now):
However, the next day at school, no one--not one student--
made any reference whatsoever to this show.
In fact, to my knowledge,
Carpenters were never referred to (by my peers) during my high-school-years,
1976-1980.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
I remember watching this special the night it aired.
I loved watching Karen, and I loved Passage then (as now):
However, the next day at school, no one--not one student--
made any reference whatsoever to this show.
In fact, to my knowledge,
Carpenters were never referred to (by my peers) during my high-school-years,
1976-1980.
"Carpenters were never referred to (by my peers) during my high-school-years,
1976-1980."

^^Same during my HS years 1971-1975. Even in their heyday, if you were a Carpenters fan, you kept it to yourself.
 

Actorman

Well-Known Member
I'm thinking it was a trade off with Weintraub. I'll get you the special but you'll need to throw a couple people a bone.
Jerry Weintraub was Kristy and Jimmy McNichol's manager as well. I've always assumed that's why they ended up in the Christmas specials.

Suzanne Somers' involvement may have been a mandate from ABC executives. ("Three's Company" was an ABC series.) That happened a lot with "specials" back in the day. The networks thought that having their big name stars guest on variety specials would both raise the profile of that star and increase the ratings for the special. That's why you would often see seemingly random (and extremely non-musical) guest stars such as Penny Marshall on The First Barry Manilow Special. (Come to think of it, McNichol's series "Family" was also an ABC series.)
 
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