Hullabaloo, Volume 11 (1997)

Dionne Warwick brings the pain

In many ways, Hullabaloo, Volume 11, is the perfect encapsulation of popular music in the mid-1960s. This is not to say that mid-'60s pop was actually good. Rather, it was a painfully schizophrenic sonic era that sought to bridge the oceanic gap between Sinatra and the Stones.

The Beatles -- a sock-hop-schlock British boy band that would later discover narcotics and make some pretty fair albums -- were the biggest act of this period. This isn't to say there weren't some stalwarts. Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel and Judy Collins were three very competent folk singers who deigned to appear on Hullabaloo. Bob Dylan refused, but the show's producers just had to air a Dylan medley, and the results here are disastrous.

Few things are more deplorable than host George Maharis' wooden rendition of "Like a Rolling Stone." One of those things is Dionne Warwick doing "Mr. Tambourine Man" -- slicing a chunk off of one's chin with a meat cutter before being dragged face-first through a gravel parking lot by a team of Iditarod dogs would be only slightly more painful than Warwick shitting all over Dylan's handiwork with her dreadful, off-key, lounge-act vibrato. (Also possibly more painful would be having an Uzi filled with shards of glass rapid-fired up one's rectum. Possibly.)

Every bit of goodwill built up in Hullabaloo's cheesily entertaining first half-hour (worth watching simply to ogle a youthful George Hamilton, sans maroon tan) is squandered by Maharis and Warwick. He's a dreadful host, and she's a horrible performer. He possesses neither rhythm nor comedic timing, and she can't hit a note. These are supposed to be prerequisites for the jobs of "variety-show host" and "featured vocalist." Evidently, somebody forgot to check the references of these two hacks, whose utter incompetence takes this well-meaning compilation off of life support and gouges out its eyeballs with the plug.

Each week the author treks to the Schlafly branch of the St. Louis Public Library, where a staff member blindfolds him and escorts him to the movie shelves. After selecting a film at random, Seely checks it out and reviews it.

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