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Holidays! 🎄 THE OFFICIAL REVIEW: [Album] "CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT" SP-4726

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 49 77.8%
  • ****

    Votes: 13 20.6%
  • ***

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • **

    Votes: 1 1.6%
  • *

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    63

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^ I make an effort to not "assume" anything. You referred to him as a "creep."
If his contribution to the TV special was "bizarre," that had nothing to do with him and everything to do with the
writing, directing and production of the TV Special.
Put in another context, many people make assumptions about Richard Carpenter based upon his TV 'persona',
and their opinion has nothing to do with him as an individual.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
If his contribution to the TV special was "bizarre," that had nothing to do with him and everything to do with the writing, directing and production of the TV Special.
Completely agree with this. Those who agreed to take part in the TV specials are not to blame: they were paid to do a job and they accepted. Those who wrote the specials and were responsible for the terrible casting are to blame.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Such a shame that one of the last Carpenters noteworthy media circumstances was concerned with an ancient Gene Kelly, a C-lister Georgia Engel, and the non-existent Kristy and Jimmy McNichol.
I'm going to defend these guest star choices a bit. If you were around during the time this special was conceived and aired, you'd find the following:

Gene Kelly was a legend in Hollywood, and appeared here with the Carpenters several years before his turn with Olivia Newton-John in the major motion picture XANADU. While that movie is not exactly CITIZEN KANE, it is highly regarded in certain cult circles and was one of Gene Kelly's last film appearances. He was 66 at the time of the special, hardly ancient.

Georgia Engel was coming hot off of her co-starring role in MARY TYLER MOORE, one of the hottest TV series of the decade. She had appeared initially in an episode as a kooky party guest and she upstaged everyone and literally stole the episode. Because of that turn, she was essentially chosen to replace Valerie Harper who was leaving for her own show.

Kristy McNichol
was a break-out star of the TV series FAMILY, an ABC-TV drama series revolving around the members of the Lawrence Family. She went on to star in some movies and later appeared in the hit series EMPTY NEST.

Her brother Jimmy was the closest here to an also-ran, having been a child actor in some TV series episodes. His appearance on this special was probably an effort to play up the brother-sister angle of the Carpenters.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
From those days I remember that I just wanted to hear Karen sing. I did not mind the banter spoofs for Karen would be next is what my mind told me. I remember hearing from teachers taking the next day who said, Karen has a voice on her and I wish she would have had more time to sing, for it was the best part of the program. As a kid, I did not mind the guest artists for they sang with Karen. The only one I thought had too much to sing was John Davidson, but he had them on the Tonight Show. John Denver was a perfect guest in the first special, and Ella was great in the last one. Suzanne Summers helped in the acting portions. The Passage program was the worst, but not because of the music, but the premise of dancing robots. I loved the Christmas specials. There were all (The Christmas Shows) kinda slanted in those days, but again, I just listened for Karen. I just thought the guests were their friends just as Lucy was Bob Hope’s friend.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
Kristy McNichol was very popular then and you saw her on so many specials and tv spots for ABC. I remember her on Battle of the Network Stars for ABC a very popular and fun show back then where the stars battled it out in sports.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I'm going to defend these guest star choices a bit. If you were around during the time this special was conceived and aired, you'd find the following:

Gene Kelly was a legend in Hollywood, and appeared here with the Carpenters several years before his turn with Olivia Newton-John in the major motion picture XANADU. While that movie is not exactly CITIZEN KANE, it is highly regarded in certain cult circles and was one of Gene Kelly's last film appearances. He was 66 at the time of the special, hardly ancient.

Georgia Engel was coming hot off of her co-starring role in MARY TYLER MOORE, one of the hottest TV series of the decade. She had appeared initially in an episode as a kooky party guest and she upstaged everyone and literally stole the episode. Because of that turn, she was essentially chosen to replace Valerie Harper who was leaving for her own show.

Kristy McNichol
was a break-out star of the TV series FAMILY, an ABC-TV drama series revolving around the members of the Lawrence Family. She went on to star in some movies and later appeared in the hit series EMPTY NEST.

Her brother Jimmy was the closest here to an also-ran, having been a child actor in some TV series episodes. His appearance on this special was probably an effort to play up the brother-sister angle of the Carpenters.
Incidentally, today is the 40th Anniversary of the release of ‘Xanadu’.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
The only two Carpenters TV performances I saw as a teenager at the time of their first screening were 'Live at the New London Theatre' and 'Music, Music, Music'.

However, I remember seeing Kristy McNichol on 'Starsky and Hutch' around the time of the Christmas TV special, (probably before), and was completely 'taken' by her, so, if I had seen this special advertised, hearing that she was on it as a guest actually would have enthused me, as an early teen, if I hadn't been enthused already - which I definitely would have been.

A quick check on the internet reveals that the Starsky and Hutch episode I saw was called 'The Trap', (1978 - in between the two Christmas specials).

I imagine that a number of other early teens and pre-teens would also have had an interest in Kristy McNichol at the time.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
I'm going to defend these guest star choices a bit. If you were around during the time this special was conceived and aired, you'd find the following:

Gene Kelly was a legend in Hollywood, and appeared here with the Carpenters several years before his turn with Olivia Newton-John in the major motion picture XANADU. While that movie is not exactly CITIZEN KANE, it is highly regarded in certain cult circles and was one of Gene Kelly's last film appearances. He was 66 at the time of the special, hardly ancient.

Georgia Engel was coming hot off of her co-starring role in MARY TYLER MOORE, one of the hottest TV series of the decade. She had appeared initially in an episode as a kooky party guest and she upstaged everyone and literally stole the episode. Because of that turn, she was essentially chosen to replace Valerie Harper who was leaving for her own show.

Kristy McNichol
was a break-out star of the TV series FAMILY, an ABC-TV drama series revolving around the members of the Lawrence Family. She went on to star in some movies and later appeared in the hit series EMPTY NEST.

Her brother Jimmy was the closest here to an also-ran, having been a child actor in some TV series episodes. His appearance on this special was probably an effort to play up the brother-sister angle of the Carpenters.
I think you've successfully made the case that most of these guests were not "also-rans"; however, none of them, in my view, were, at that time, big A-list must-see attractions, either.

It could be argued, of course, that neither were the Carpenters at this point in their career.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
I think Gene Kelly was a present for their parents, and the McNichols were popular with the teen/tween set then. They also released their album in 1975, with a bit of buzz. That’s where Carpenters heard Slow Dance and recorded their much better, but unreleased version until after Karen died. It probably was Jerry Weintraub’s gathering of MOR artists that had family appeal. A major guest like John Denver was probably hard to land by then. There were so many variety and music shows around at that time. Carpenters didn’t do most of them. To busy? Who knows. But I don’t recall them being on Tony Orlando and Dawn, Mac Davis, Dolly Parton, or Sonny and Cher/ Cher shows. Competition? Image? Again I think bad management decisions or they just didn’t have time. Only Richard would have that answer. Maybe Chris could ask him, if it matters.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
:laugh:
I'm going to defend these guest star choices a bit. If you were around during the time this special was conceived and aired, you'd find the following:

Gene Kelly was a legend in Hollywood, and appeared here with the Carpenters several years before his turn with Olivia Newton-John in the major motion picture XANADU. While that movie is not exactly CITIZEN KANE, it is highly regarded in certain cult circles and was one of Gene Kelly's last film appearances. He was 66 at the time of the special, hardly ancient.

Georgia Engel was coming hot off of her co-starring role in MARY TYLER MOORE, one of the hottest TV series of the decade. She had appeared initially in an episode as a kooky party guest and she upstaged everyone and literally stole the episode. Because of that turn, she was essentially chosen to replace Valerie Harper who was leaving for her own show.

Kristy McNichol
was a break-out star of the TV series FAMILY, an ABC-TV drama series revolving around the members of the Lawrence Family. She went on to star in some movies and later appeared in the hit series EMPTY NEST.

Her brother Jimmy was the closest here to an also-ran, having been a child actor in some TV series episodes. His appearance on this special was probably an effort to play up the brother-sister angle of the Carpenters.


As always, I respect your opinion Harry. I might not agree with it at times, but I respect it.

As we leave the 1970s...

The Carpenters are trying desperately to re-invigorate their careers. If they were trying to attract a younger audience to themselves, booking Gene Kelly with that God-awful hairpiece (wig, was more like it) and at that time no one under the age of 30 would know who he was. Bad booking...

Georgia Engel - Her character on the MTM Show was "grating" at best and probably annoyed more viewers of the show than endeared. I'm talking about that kinda whining/baby talk delivery she had that I first thought was only her character on the show but then I saw her on a talk show and that was the real her! Still annoying. And again, how many "under 30s" were watching the MTM Show? Bad booking...

I can see getting the McNicol's cause a younger audience would know them. But still, is that the target Carpenter audience -adolescents?

Oh Yeah, Peter Pit, really?...Was PeeWee Herman's calendar full at that time?


Meanwhile, you have Olivia Newton-John and her TV Specials

Among her guest stars;

The Bee-Gees: Biggest selling pop act closing out the decade. Immensely popular

Andy Gibb - Solo Gibb brother whose star was on the rise and was going to break-out bigtime until he met cocaine and Victoria Principal. Good looking guy; the women loved him. Garners big TV ratings.

ABBA - Attractive singers with enormous popularity and talent. Internationally famous. At the height of their game.

Too name a few...

And a side note - Was trotting out the Parents a good idea in retrospect? I don't think so. It was an awkward moment (Harold looked like he didn't want to be there).
 

adam

Active Member
Hi
I think Jerry Weintraub should have booked mega stars like Elton john.Diana ross or Cher to appear on Carpenters Tv specials.Might have given Carpenters some street cred.Or maybe they didnt want these artists on their show or vice versa.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
Hi
I think Jerry Weintraub should have booked mega stars like Elton john.Diana ross or Cher to appear on Carpenters Tv specials.Might have given Carpenters some street cred.Or maybe they didnt want these artists on their show or vice versa.
Pure speculation of course, but I could see a case where some artists' management would recommend against appearing with the Carpenters, by this time, due to a combination of the Carpenters being on the downward leg of their career arc, and their reputation that continued to dog them.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Hi
I think Jerry Weintraub should have booked mega stars like Elton john.Diana ross or Cher to appear on Carpenters Tv specials.Might have given Carpenters some street cred.Or maybe they didnt want these artists on their show or vice versa.
Putting "divas" together wasn't a popular idea during this time frame. They were competitors. Cher, Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt were all vying for the same audience.. It was cut-throat competition. And even our wonderful Karen understood this and had her knife sharpened and ready.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
^^ I don't know, what do you think? That the music business is not all that kind and wonderful. That Karen was no slouch. She liked her fame, wealth and recognition as much as anyone. And she certainly was not going to play second fiddle to any of the notable female singers of her time. I didn't mean it literally Mark-T, only in the context of the music business. I'm surprised you're not more perceptive to this.
'
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Oh I had a friend who was very popular in the 80s and 90s music. (Name will not be shared :) ).

So I know its cutthroat. I meant by "knife sharpened" , did Karen have a plan how she would hold her own in such wildly popular company when she was perceived as part of a duo first? If so, I'm sure the solo disc was part of it. I was always under the impression back then that between artists (but not companies) the competition was friendly ie "We're in a tough business ladies, let's watch out for each other", compared to the diva battles that came later. Perhaps Olivia's kindness is what helped make she and Karen friends. I'd love to hear your feedback and others too.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Thankfully Olivia and Carpenters, though rivals on the radio, didn’t record the same songs, and very different singers. I really dislike her lame years, 72-76. Then she got better with Grease, and I love Magic, from Xanadu, and A Little More Love,her Abbaesque sounding song. She was hanging with them then. I’m sure she introduced Karen, hence The Girl With Golden Hair song they performed, but never released. I thought it was an odd choice for an ABBA cover, since Agnetha who is very blonde/golden hair, sang it first, and Karen, a brunette. There are so many better songs they could have covered that Abba wrote. Again just my opinion. My Love, My Life, Day Before You Came, are a couple.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Mark - T Karen learned early on that her voice made the cash registers sing. And her older brother finally learned that too. Oh Olivia is soooo kind, but when push comes to shove, she is shoving with the best of them. They don't "watch out for each other" they want to drive a stake in each others careers. OMG like "there is no crying in baseball", there are no "friends" among competitors in the music business. Karen was envious of ONJ's good looks and movie career and ONJ was envious of Karen's God-given voice and musicality.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Mark - T Karen learned early on that her voice made the cash registers sing. And her older brother finally learned that too. Oh Olivia is soooo kind, but when push comes to shove, she is shoving with the best of them. They don't "watch out for each other" they want to drive a stake in each others careers. OMG like "there is no crying in baseball", there are no "friends" among competitors in the music business. Karen was envious of ONJ's good looks and movie career and ONJ was envious of Karen's God-given voice and musicality.
I knew your first two lines and the last line to be true, but I wasn’t aware of the rest. Seems to me you can happily compete without wishing the worst for someone else or sabotaging them. In my profession, I’ve learned to be a person who helps others succeed and then enjoy their success.
 
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