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Remember the King Family? DVD set is coming

By Rich Heldenfels Published: January 28, 2014

 

The trailer, above, is qutie a time capsule by itself. The official word: Get set for singing, dancing, music & family fun in four top-rated hour-long TV spectaculars starring the delightful King Family in this 2 DVD set.  The King Family Classic Television Specials Collection Volume 1 encompasses four of the family's most popular TV hits - "Easter with The King Family ", "Mother's Day with The King Family ", "September/Back-to-School with The King Family " (all from 1968) along with "June with The King Family" (from 1969).

Experience these "Holiday" specials that entertained a generation featuring the groundbreaking four-part jazz vocals of The King Sisters, including songs from their Grammy-nominated LP Imagination (1959-Best Performance by a Vocal Group) - the sizzling sounds of the Alvino Rey Orchestra - pop hits by The Four King Cousins with Tina Cole (My Three Sons) - powerhouse ballads from Mame and
Carousel by Alyce King - Broadway tunes from Cabaret and
Funny Girl by Marilyn King - the swinging jazz vocals of Kent Larsen, producer of the Grammy-winning classic Stan Kenton's West Side Story (1962-Best Jazz Performance-Instrumental) - plus showstopping hits from Gigi, West Side Story, Hello Dolly, The Music Man, Little Me and Great American Songbook Classics such as "April in Paris," "Easter Parade," "September Song," "Over the Rainbow" and much, much more with the 39 members of The King Family.

 

These lavish productions were shot in unique Southern California locations (some that no longer exist) including MGM Studios, Descanso Gardens, Bullock's Fashion Square Sherman Oaks and the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden (home of the Queen Anne cottage from TV's
Fantasy Island).

 

In 1967, following the success of their hit television series The King Family Show, the Family launched a series of popular monthly syndicated TV specials which would spawn a show business phenomenon.  Over the next five years the Kings produced and starred in 17 specials (most of which re-aired annually for nearly a decade), released 6 top-selling albums, headlined a second TV series, and appeared in concert at the nation's top venues including The Hollywood Bowl.  There was even a "King Family Day" at the 1964/65 New York World's Fair.

 

The King Family Classic Television Specials Collection Volume 1 showcases the trademark musicality and warmth of this real-life family and is sure to delight both lifelong fans and those discovering their talents for the first time.

 

Special Features

Featurette: Valentine's Day with the King Family: The "Lost" Special
Rare on-set home movies from Mother's Day and September specials including a brief tour of the backlot at MGM Studios
Multiple performances from the "Graduation Day" episode of The King Family Show (1965)
An 8 page booklet filled with archival photos, behind-the-scenes notes and more

Pre-order: http://www.seeofsound.com/p.php?s=MVD6203D

 

Hi Res Cover Art: http://mvdb2b.com/i/300dpi/MVD6203D.jpg

 

Links and Social Media Assets:

http://www.officialkingfamily.com

http://www.fourkingcousins.com

http://www.facebook.com/officialkingfamily

http://www.facebook.com/4KingCousins

http://www.facebook.com/TinaYvonneCole

twitter.com/fourkingcousins

 

Program descriptions:

EASTER with The King Family - Premiere Airdate: April 12, 1968

The King Family salute Easter in their fourth "Holiday" special with a lively showcase videotaped at three separate Los Angeles area locations. Highlights of the hour include "Hey Look Me Over," the popular Broadway favorite introduced by Lucille Ball in the 1960 stage musical Wildcat.   This number kicks off a section taped at Bullock's Fashion Square, the open air mall in the San Fernando Valley built in 1962.  This segment offers a unique view of the mid-century architecture of Welton Becket and Associates, who designed the popular shopping center (along with multiple L.A. area landmarks including the Capitol Records tower), particularly during Ric de Azevedo and Tina Cole's dance to Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh's "Real Live Girl," and Marilyn King's strolling showstopper "Don't Rain on My Parade," from Bob Merrill & Jule Styne's Funny Girl.  The King's then travel to Descanso Gardens, a lush 160 acre botanical preserve in the La Cañada Flintridge area of Los Angeles.  Highlights here include Alyce King's jazz-ballad rendition of Johnny Mandel & Paul Francis Webster's "A Time For Love," the Academy Award-nominated classic from 1966's An American Dream.  A unique, moving crane shot was utilized for this number which gave viewers the illusion that Alyce was floating amongst the trees as she sang the haunting lyric. The Kings then move to the Van Nuys Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for a joyful rendition of Jerry Herman's "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" from Hello Dolly, and the King Kids charming take on Irving Berlin's Easter Parade.

 

MOTHER's DAY with The King Family - Premiere Airdate: May 11, 1968

The Kings celebrate Mother's Day in a special the Hollywood Reporter reviewed as "glossily produced, nicely paced, and warmly realized."  Shot on the massive backlot and soundstages of MGM Studios in Culver City, the tune-filled hour features the King Family specials' debut of The Four King Cousins.  Here the group, featuring Tina Cole and her sister Cathy Cole, along with cousins Candy Conkling and Carolyn Thomas, essays The Turtles' 1967 hit "Happy Together."  The Four King Cousins, whom would release their Capitol Records debut LP later in 1968, would  become a staple of future King Family specials, and also headline the second King Family ABC Network television series in 1969.  Later in the show, three of the Cousins (Tina, Candy & Carolyn) join their Aunt, Marilyn King, for a knock-out rendition of John Kander & Fred Ebb's "Don't Tell Mama," from Cabaret.  Additional Broadway selections include the King Father's take on Jerry Herman's "It Takes a Woman" from Hello Dolly, and Alyce King's stirring rendition of "If He Walked Into My Life," Herman's composition from Mame.  The King Cousins join King Kids Cam & Susannah for a rendition of "When Are You Gonna Learn," a number they previously performed on The King Family Show (1965).   This time the number is shot utilizing the famed Esther Williams swimming pool at MGM Studio's backlot #2.  The King Sisters lend their trademark sizzle to a Lex de Azevedo arranged "Rock-A-Bye Your Baby (with a Dixie Melody)," complete with a rousing "one more time" reprise.  The hour's moving finale features the entire King Family serenading the family matriarch, The King Sister's mother, Pearl Driggs, with the sentimental "My Mom."

 

JUNE with The King Family - Premiere Airdate: June 14, 1969

The King Family revels in the beauty of the historic Los Angeles Country Arboretum and Botanical Garden in the San Gabriel Valley suburb of Arcadia for this colorful musical excursion.  Tony Charmoli  (The Dinah Shore Show) who was serving as the director of the family's second ABC variety series (in the midst of its 1969 run as this special premiered), helmed this showcase along with several latter King Family syndicated outings.   The show kicks off in grand-style with a family bike ride to the tune of Rodger's & Hammerstein's "June is Bustin' Out All Over," which segues quickly into The King Sisters' take on the contemporary pop hit "Little Green Apples."  The Four King Cousins later join the Boy Cousins on "Goodbye Columbus," the theme to the 1969 film of the same name, and a hit for The Association.  Several production numbers, including Jamie Conkling's charming "I Feel Pretty," and Alyce King and Alvino Rey's "(Back Home Again In) Indiana," are videotaped at the Arboretum's famed Queen Anne Cottage.  This Victorian structure, originally built in 1885, would later become familiar to TV viewers during the opening sequence of the popular series Fantasy Island.  Other highlights of the hour include Ric de Azevedo's "Get Me to The Church on Time" from Lerner & Lowe's My Fair Lady; Marilyn King and the Boy Cousins reprise of a 1965 King Family Show medley featuring "Side By Side" and "Two Lost Souls;" The King Sisters rendition of their 40's hit "For You," and Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg's Wizard of Oz favorite "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," staged here at a family picnic.  The King Family closes the show with a short reprise of their family theme song, "Love at Home."  The inspiring hymn, with fitting lyrics such as "there is beauty all around...there is joy in every sound, when there's love at home" performed in their signature soaring harmony, would close virtually every King Family Show episode, special, and concert throughout their performing career.  It remains a staple at family gatherings to this day.

 

SEPTEMBER with The King Family - Premiere Airdate: September 3, 1968

This first entry in the second round of King Family specials originally announced in July 1968 was billed as a "musical salute to Fall and back-to-school days."  Shot on-location in Camarillo, California (home to Alvino & Luise Rey) the hour opens with The King Sisters' jazzy take on Al Dubin & Harry Warren's "September in the Rain."  The number quickly devolves into a comedic set-piece with the entire family literally drenching the Sisters in water.  The action is ably captured by the Technicolor camera unit lead by director-producer Bill Burch. Breaking from the action, Yvonne King introduces a selection of summer home movies chronicling the King Family's recent concert tour (including an appearance at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City), in addition to their summer vacation fun.  The 'school days' theme is center stage during an outdoor staging of Marilyn King and the Boy Cousins version of "You've Gotta Be a Football Hero" the 1933 football anthem by Bobby Fields, Al Lewis & Al Sherman (father of the famed Disney songwriting team of Richard & Robert Sherman), paired with Donna King Conkling and the Girl Cousins' rendition of The Beach Boys' "Be True to Your School." Choreographer Alex Plasschaert stands-in as a "Boy Cousin," along with Marilyn's husband Kent Larsen, during this number.  Larsen, famed trumpet soloist, and occasional vocalist for the Stan Kenton Orchestra, later offers a fine take on Gordon Jenkins's lush ballad "This is All I Ask." Cutaway sequences set to the 1907 tune "School Days (Dear Old Golden Rule Days)" feature King Cousins Jon Rey and Raymond Driggs, and King Kids Jonathan Driggs and Adam Lloyd in lightly humorous bits.  Additional highlights include The King Sisters' Grammy nominated rendition of "Early Autumn" from their 1958 LP Imagination;  a "Mother & Daughter" medley featuring "It's a Lovely Day Today" paired with "Back in Your Own Backyard," Alyce King's heartfelt treatment of the Rodger's & Hammerstein standard "You'll Never Walk Alone," and a closing medley of school-themed songs featuring the entire King Family.

 

Featurette description:

The family taped the third entry in their initial series of "Holiday" specials at the NBC Studios in Burbank during December of 1967.  Valentine's Day with the King Family premiered on February 11, 1968 and was re-aired annually through the mid-1970s.  The original master of the show, videotaped in glorious color and featuring many costumes designed by fashion icon Bob Mackie from the King's 1965 ABC-TV series, has since been lost.   In 2010, a 1970 promotional compilation of multiple King Family specials was found at the UCLA Film & Television Archive in Los Angeles.  Happily the tape contained several highlights from the Valentine's Show.  All footage currently known to exist is presented here, along with rare on-set home movies of the production shot by music industry pioneer Jim Conkling, co-founder of the Grammy Awards, President of Warner Bros. Records and husband to original King Sister Donna




 

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