website. It proudly claimes it has a WORLD EXCLUSIVE. It indeed has one with the publication of a composed picture of Jim Reeves and Eydie Gorme without giving credit. The original picture was used for the playbill cover when Eydie Gorme and husband Steve Lawrence played Carnegie Hall in 1982. A picture of Jim Reeves from probably 1963 or 1964 was superimposed over the image of Steve Lawrence. The writer of that review probably had no videotape of that show, as no stills or video clips from the show illustrated the article. A copy of the original picture is to be found at http://www.steveandeydie.com and the composed one at http://www.jim-reeves.com/dean.html . One can listen to real audio sound recordings from that show there too.
THE JIMMY DEAN SHOW
Frank C. Anderson, the Jim Reeves fan who bought a rare 16 mm kinescope copy of 'The Jimmy Dean Show' submitted his review of the show for publication in the belated March issue of the Jim Reeves fan Club Magazine. The magazine was sent out a few days before another review of that show was published on the Jim Reeves Way
By request of several members of the Jim Reeves Fan Club, Frank C. Anderson ,for the enjoyment of all Jim Reeves fans,gave permission to publish his article (and we also include the stills from the show) on this website .
When most people hear the name Jimmy Dean, they likely think of either sausage or music. Younger Americans may link the name to the meat products they see at the grocerystore, or with the man in the television commercials selling the sausage which bears his name. But to people of any nation or generation who love classic country music the name Jimmy Dean will always be tied to the 1961 record, "Big Bad John". It was a huge hit and it became his signature song.
"Big Bad John" opened a lot of doors for Jimmy Dean. Probably as a direct result of the song's success, Dean was chosen to host his own national television program. "The Jimmy Dean Show" began a three year run on the ABC television network on September 19, 1963. The show was broadcast on Thursday nights from 9:00 until 10:00 eastern time.
By 1963, Dean was no stranger to television. After leaving his hometown of Plainview, Texas, Dean settled in the northern Virginia area. In the early 1950's, he had a local television show on WTOP-TV in Washington, D.C. The local program led to a daytime TV show on the CBS network which ran from April 8, 1957 until June 26, 1959. This CBS show was an attempt to compete with "The Today Show" on NBC. Dean also had a nighttime show on CBS in the summer of 1957. And later, Dean appeared in a dramatic role from 1967 to 1969 in the "Daniel Boone" series with Fess Parker of Disney's "Davy Crockett" fame.
But to readers of this magazine, "The Jimmy Dean Show" of greatest significance was the one broadcast over the ABC network on the night of April 2, 1964. That night, Jim Reeves was a featured guest. It was probably Jim's last appearance on American network television.
"The Jimmy Dean Show" was a high quality musical variety show produced in New York City, with Dean as the star and host. Every week viewers enjoyed pop and country performers backed by an orchestra, finely choreographed dance numbers, as well as comedy.
Dean had his own group of regular performers, among them Molly Bee and Rowlf, the dog. Actually, Rowlf was not a real dog, but a puppet, or "Muppet" created and animated by Jim Henson and his crew. Rowlf was Henson's first Muppet to be featured on national television. Henson, of course, went on to wider fame with public television's "Sesame Street" and other TV shows, and feature films, such as "The Muppett Movie".
Rehearsals for this particular show were scheduled to begin on March 23rd and continue "as required" through the taping on March 26, 1964. It was an eclectic mix of performers who gathered in New York City to rehearse for this Dean show. That's one reason they called it a variety show...
Top billing was given to Eydie Gorme', half of the husband and wife team of Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme'. Just a few months earlier, Eydie was enjoying the national spotlight success of her recording of, "Blame It On the Bossa Nova". By this time, Eydie was a television veteran, having appeared as a featured singer on "The Steve Allen Show" in the mid '50s. And in 1958, she co-starred with her husband in, "Steve Allen Presents Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme' ", which was a summer replacement for Allen's "Tonight " show. Her pop credentials were unquestioned, and on the Dean show she proved that she could also sing a country song, although with a definite pop tinge. And her career was not hampered by the fact that she was a very attractive woman.
Jim Reeves had second billing for this show. He brought his Blue Boys band with him to New York, and except for the times he sang with Dean show orchestra, they backed him as they usually did. The Blue Boys at this time were Dean Manuel on piano, Leo Jackson playing lead guitar, Bud Logan on electric bass, and Jimmy Orr keeping the beat on drums.
The guest comedian for this show was Don Adams, who is perhaps best remembered as Maxwell Smart in the television series, "Get Smart", which ran (on two different networks) from 1965 to 1970.Adams was also the voice of Tennessee Tuxedo in the TV cartoon series of the same name. From 1963 to 1965, he was Byron Glick, the hotel detective on "The Bill Dana Show".
Counting Rowlf, there were two comic acts on this particular show. The Muppett dog was billed after Don Adams, but ahead of the country and western band, Buck and Smitty and The Virginians. The addition of Rowlf was a wise decision by the Dean show executives. How many children begged their parents each week to watch "The Jimmy Dean Show" just so they could see Rowlf?
The show opened with the ringing of a triangular dinner bell while Jimmy Dean said," Come and get it!" The bell was a small part of the larger TV stage set which was decorated in a desert motif, complete with a western chuck wagon, cactus plants, and uncountable flowers, all intended to convey a feeling of the American west. The opening song, "Out On the Western Plains", tied in perfectly with the desert design . And the opening dance numbers, which moved the dancers all around the stage, showcased the set, but primarily served to introduce the guests. During the opening music and dance, Dean first introduced Eydie Gorme', then Jim Reeves, Don Adams, Rowlf, and finally, Buck and Smitty and The Virginians.
After a commercial, Dean sang his first solo of the evening. But instead of a country song, he sang the old standard, "Alexander's Rag Time Band", and did a rousing rendition of it. Then Dean moved over to a part of the set which was intended to look like the front porch of a rural home, complete with wooden porch chairs. There, he lamented the fact that his show was presented in black and white instead of color because the TV audience could not appreciate the" more than eight thousand flowers" which decorated the set.
Next, Rowlf did a comedy routine and then Jimmy Dean joined him for more comedy. During their routine together, Rowlf made a mistake which Dean seemed to thoroughly enjoy. Dean seemed relaxed with Rowlf and to be having a good time. This segment of his show highlighted another facet of Dean's many entertainment talents: he could do comedy, too.
Following another commercial, Dean introduced Eydie Gorme'. She sang, "Make the World Go Away", which Ray Price had put on the country charts the previous year. Her arrangement of the song was similar to the Eddy Arnold hit version recorded in 1965, and not much like the softer, smoother version Jim Reeves recorded later in 1964. From, "Make the World Go Away", Eydie went directly into the Johnny Cash classic, "I Walk the Line", and did it with a strong pop feeling and a sexy interpretation.
After some brief banter, Jimmy and Eydie sang, "Mississippi Mud". They seemed to enjoy themselves and the chemistry between them really was working in this number.
Later, The Virginians performed, "I'll Keep On Loving You", and it was easy to see why Smitty had won awards for his banjo playing and Buck was an award-winning fiddle player. A square dance number with The Virginians, the dancers, and Dean as the caller led into a commercial.
At the end of the station break, the camera showed a man in silhouette standing among the cactus plants and flowers. Right away, the audience heard," Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone..." Then Jimmy Dean appeared in the left foreground of the picture and said," I probably don't need to tell you that the voice that you've just heard was that of a boy named Jim Reeves, a one-time professional or semi-professional baseball player. A man who is now one of the bigger record sellers in the country. A guy that I'm very proud and happy to call 'friend'. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome Mr. Jim Reeves".
As Jim stepped from the shadows into the spotlight, the violins rose in the background and he sang, "Welcome To My World". It was his single record release at the time, still high on the charts( as, "Love Is No Excuse", was moving up), and was an album cut on the, "A Touch of Velvet", LP released two years previously. Of course, he did a fine job with the song, closing his eyes as he swayed from side to side. But his close to the microphone singing style was not all that compatible with the overhead boom microphones used on television. The mike was just too far removed from him to pick up the full subtleties of his voice which studio microphones could capture.
When Jim finished the song and as the applause died down, he
stepped over to the porch, shook Jimmy Dean's hand , and the two of them
sat down. What followed was one of the most unique Jim Reeves performances
to be preserved. Of course, it was scripted or at least outlined, but after
the music, viewers saw Jimmy Dean and Jim Reeves sitting in wooden
chairs on a front porch chatting about the fact that they had passed
up songs which later became hits for other artists. At Jimmy Dean's
suggestion, Jim told how he found his hit song, 'Four Walls".
The story lead perfectly into Jim reaching for his guitar and singing
a bit of the song, with Dean joining in on the chorus. It was a very enjoyable
and rare glimpse of Jim Reeves, the entertainer.
With Jimmy and Jim still seated on the porch, Jimmy introduced Don Adams, who did one of his popular, "Roving Reporter", routines. Assisting Adams was Pat McCormick, one of the talented writers on the Dean show. In 2002, Adams's material seems dated and a bit old fashioned, but at the time it was quite popular. Adams's comedic skills served him quite well in his "Get Smart" series beginning the following year. His performances in that show earned him three Emmy awards for, "Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series".
A male chorus and a single rhythm guitar accompanied Jimmy Dean as he sang, "Shenandoah". Then, the sound of a familiar lead guitar played as Jim Reeves began, "Bimbo", this time surrounded by all of his Blue Boys.
Once again, the mike was too far from him, and was even more noticeable than in ,"Welcome To My World". But it was Jim Reeves and The Blue Boys on national TV, a sight rarely seen. Jim did one verse and the chorus, then Eydie sang a big band pop version of ,"Oh, Lonesome Me". When Eydie was done, the camera showed a close up of Dean Manuel's hands as he and The Blue Boys played ,"Last Date". Jimmy Dean introduced the group and named Dean Manuel specifically during the number.
From ,"Last Date", The Blue Boys played the introduction to, "This Old House" which Jimmy began, and Eydie joined in, and Jim sang the chorus on the first verse. During the second verse, Jim appeared to have forgotten to come in and sing his part at the appropriate place, and so Jimmy sang it. Just why Jim had this momentary lapse is open to speculation, although he did appear to have his eye on Eydie Gorme' at the time. Jim Reeves was probably not the first man Eydie Gorme' had distracted.
It was a very minor glitch within the song and barely noticeable, and certainly not significant enough for the show's director to stop the taping and do it all over again. But Jim knew he had made a little mistake because when it happened he looked at Jimmy Dean and shook his head.
Jimmy Dean sang the shows final number, "Nobody", in a slow, bluesy style, seated and under a spotlight.
To close things down for the evening, Jimmy listed his guests for the following week as the orchestra played and the dancers were seen in the background. One by one, the guests passed in front of the camera to shake Jimmy's hand as the credits were shown on the screen.
It is unknown to this writer if Jim Reeves ever had the opportunity to see himself on this particular show. The show was taped on March 26th for broadcast on April 2nd. According to Billboard magazine, April 2nd was the scheduled departure date for the well-known RCA sponsored country music tour of Europe, which Jim Reeves headlined. A Lufthansa airliner had already taken him to Europe.
All pictures in the this article: courtesy by Mr. Frank C. Anderson
Previously published in issue #80, March 2002 - The Jim Reeves Fan Club Magazine