GREAT BALLS OF FIRE - THE PRICE OF FAME ____________________________________________________________________________________
Original Broadcast Date: 20/11/1969 ____________________________________________________________________________________
Troupe: Pans People ____________________________________________________________________________________
Dancers: Andrea, Babs, Dee Dee, Flick, Louise & Ruth ____________________________________________________________________________________
Link: http://www.oneforthedads.org.uk/?p=818 ____________________________________________________________________________________
It’s Thursday November 20th 1969 and Top Of The Pops has been cancelled! This is because BBC One has dedicated most of its day to the Apollo 12 moon landings, where, depending on your point of view, we could either watch astronauts setting foot on the moon for the 2nd time or watch them striding around a film set in the Arizona Desert.
In between the specialist programmes with Patrick Moore (Michael Jackson did not host the highlights of the moonwalk), there was still time for Blue Peter, where no doubt an orbiter was made out of a washing up bottle, some toilet rolls and some sticky backed plastic.
Meanwhile tucked away on BBC 2 at 10.05pm was The Price Of Fame, a half hour entertainment show featuring Alan Price and Georgie Fame, while Pans People provided some decorative and artistic backing. Cosmic!!
We are quite lucky to have this footage. Not only did it survive the mass wiping but it is in colour and, as it has obviously been repeated by BBC4, it is in reasonably good quality.
I have to say that I really like this song and have spent many happy moments playing air piano to it. This may have influenced my overall rating. Price and Fame are a little more restrained than Jerry Lee Lewis was but it is a good rendition all the same.
As with all these backing dances we are left wanting to see a little more, and some close ups would have gone down well, but we do get to see a fair bit. I’m intrigued as to why half of the troupe are wearing short skirts and boots and the other half have longer flowing garments with shoes. I thought they might pair off accordingly but they don’t so it seems a bit random. The colour of their outfits is in my opinion a little too bland. They do blend in with the stage and background but there is no requirement for camouflaged dancers.
Plenty of nifty footwork on display and I do enjoy watching it
Goodness Gracious, I’m giving it 8 out of 10!
Obviously Al & Georgie command most of the camera, but what we do see of the late 60s Pans is pretty good indeed. Quite a novel idea having 3 girls dressed in one set of matching costumes and the other 3 dressed in another set. Love the lemon coloured boots outfits. I must admit to not playing enough early Pans and this made for a pleasant change. A shade less than our hosts rating, im at `7.5 out of 10`.
A great combination of talents with Alan and Georgie belting out a decent rendition of Great Balls of Fire, accompanied by the resplendent in yellow Pan's People jazzing up the visuals. It's a lively opening to a music show and a rare light entertainment survivor from an era where this kind of show was decimated in the BBC archives. The masters of the two existing Price of Fame episodes were no exception though to the swathes of videotapes wiped or junked, with copies being returned some years later from Belgium.
The live vocals and instrumentation is great, especially session drummer Barry Morgan seen around this time as part of Blue Mink. There's a great energy and our troupe are obviously enjoying themselves, so it's no wonder that this period is probably Ruth's favourite. The two existing shows certainly seem to have a colour theme to them with the costumes and set design in harmony. Although this is just a backing performance it is definitely worth an 8.
I have to admit that this is another one that I've hardly ever watched. I agree that it is enjoyable (even if much too short), and the girls seem to like this fast-paced number as well. Clearly it's early Pan's but that is nothing bad in my book. An entertaining 100 seconds or so, this is definitely one of the better backing dances.
7.5 / 10
Oh and this number will surely move up my playlist now.
If I only had one love yours would be the one I'd choose
Nice intro OGW; I think you were built for this Hosting stuff. I must admit I rarely watch these early Pans outings so thanks for the reminder. I do like the outfits with their boots and near-seethroughness and think the dance works better than a most "girl on girl" efforts I have to say that this is in my opinion one of those songs that only one singer can do justice but it's not bad. I would have liked more close ups but agree with others on the reason this doesn't happen so all in all I'd give this a 7/10 for being a watchable but rather fluffy piece.
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
Very much of-its-time this, apart from the song of course, with obligatory horns upgrading it for a light entertainment 'occasion'. Neither the music of the one era nor the style of dancing of the other usually do a lot for me to be honest, but here at least we have a jive with restless variation rather than go-go and as a clip it's fine in its own little way. It certainly has an energy that grabs the attention for whatever lies ahead. Pan's are lively in weak lemon backing quite possibly the most engaging piano face-off until, er, Lyndsey de Paul and Mike Moran. As others say not a good idea to blend the costumes with the set and while the diaphanous skirted ones appeal (and would even more so with close-ups!) their trousered counterparts look like they're in a disposable layer of protective clothing. Like a bracing punk number I think on this occasion the brevity is a strength rather than a deficiency. I'll be magnanimous and match my default score for a good Legs backing dance.
I like the lemon outfits, both styles, although as has been said the occasional close-up would have been nice. Its a bit frantic but then so is the, definitely not on my play list, song, which probably accounts for the brevity. Consequently I reckon a 6.5.
Well its been some time since we went back to the sixties, and although merely a few weeks away from another decade it still counts. With a huge amount of material from this era now gone, its nice to see something that somehow slipped though the wiping net, and in colour too. Georgie and Alan face off in a dualling pianos scenario giving a rousing rendition of Great Balls of Fire, while Pans dance about merrily on a rather neat yellow lego bricks style stage. Flicks packed rather a lot into under 2 minutes (i like the mirroring effect at about 0.20 and the linking arms turning circle a bit later), so its definitely a cut above a simple backing dance. Good stuff 8/10.
It's so good to see something from Pan's People that is from the 1960s and is in colour! I like this one which surprises me as before I wasn't to keen from these non TOTP appearances, but since the miscellaneous dances thread started, I have found myself enjoying more routines like this. It might be considered a backing routine by some, but I think that this just works well with the performance and I would say that they are the stars of the clip and anything else is backing them. Lemon yellow must have been popular, but I can see past that and think that their dancing is excellent which makes this a treat to watch.
Don't worry I'm still here!
Devoted to Pan's People & Legs & Co.
Many thanks to Mikey and Legsfan for their ratings. It is good to know that this dance has been quite well received. One more rating will allow this to be included on the scoreboard, so hopefully that will come in this weekend.
Goodness gracious...and that's just for OGW's witty intro. Vibrant and dashing, the two stars of the show certainly rip through the Rock 'n' Roll standard, grand pianos slotted together as they fire off the notes left, right and centre. Takes a while to properly receive a good view of the dancers, clearly anything but mellow in yellow. A good way to accentuate the balance of blonde and brunette occurs in the rotating line portion with a decidedly less than full blast 'hup hup hup!' of the knees. A closer look at the partnerships would have been appreciated but overall. the performance and vibe is on the same tracks as the following months 'Pop Go The Sixties' would be in saluting hits of the past with a modern day accompaniment. With costume colours matching those of the set, one requires a lemon sorbet to quench that thirst onset.
I hardly ever watch this one as the emphasis is on the two guys and full marks to them for belting out this song. Pans People in the background just blended in really. Not really an idealistic colour given the lyrics of the song. I would have preferred to see them in a dark red or the existing yellow with flames but irrespective they were there and they gave it their all and certainly gave the impression that they were enjoying themselves. In my own opinion it is a filler and not one I would want to watch again. I will vote seven out of ten. It would have been more but there was no close-ups.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
‘Great Balls Of Fire ‘ as performed by the duo of Alan Price and Georgie Fame, and supported by Pan’s People. The boys with the matching pianos wedged in together like building blocks. And our girls in zesty yellow outfits, transparent to a large degree and three in short dresses with lovely similar-coloured boots, and the other three in loose blouses and trousers. Yellow being a very pervading sense here, with either the stage being decorated so, or the lighting emitting the hue like sunshine, and making the dancers appear as though they are performing in a field of rape-seed. Here in a show entitled The Price of Fame, and showcasing the talents of the eponymous duo, mainstays on a wide variety of Television programmes in the 1960s and 70s. Though I wonder if Georgie ever reminded Alan of his three number 1s to that point. Perhaps Alan countered with his ‘one good one’ when a member of The Animals- ‘House Of The Rising Sun’, which was far and away above the three. No matter. We see the girls in the background for the most part, with only a few closer shots, with the titles for the programme overlaid onto the screen at the very beginning. When the vocals start we see the girls start with some bright shaking and sideways movements. Followed up with a ‘puppet-on-a-string’ and beautiful hip motions. Before the pairing up of Flick/Dee Dee, Babs/Louise and Andi/Ruth, and dancing together with more highly enjoyable actions- including at 00.52 a delightful spin. Also noted with pleasure is the wheel, with blondes and brunettes at different ends, and some lovely high stepping. At one point the camera shot pulls back to show the orchestra and three backing vocalists. Were they The Ladybirds, I wonder? Then, at the final piece of the routine the front pair of Babs and Louise produce a lean forward shimmy, but the two pairs behind do not, which have changed over to Andi/Dee Dee and Flick/Ruth. The whole number has a very 60s type feel to the performance, which it should being from 1969, and is a joy to watch, as well as we can. Clearly, as routine for Pan’s People I would have preferred for the cameras to have focused on them, with some closer shots perhaps. But, as the support to a lead-off song by Alan and Georgie, that was not to be the case. When first viewed I thought not to give the number too much attention, but seeing it a few times increases my judgement favourably. Familiarity certainly not breeding contempt on this occasion.
Picking out individual performances might not be very constructive in what is quite evidently a team routine. No flaws in any performance, and many plusses, in a happy carefree number where all the girls seem to be having a lot of fun, from the many smiles seen as they dance. Pan’s People, still early in their career, before their destiny was truly established. All the members looking utterly ravishing and moving so divinely. This all means that although it is not particularly of any great value, or even easy, to pick any one above the others. You know I will try! Babs and Louise give charming performances as they end up at the front for the final action, twirling round each other and hip-shaking at the very last- when Louise’s dress billows up delightfully. But there is one who seems to be more energetic in this fast flowing piece than the others in my sight- Dee Dee. At 00.21 her hip and bottom movements are enchanting, and her ‘puppet’ actions surpasses all. And again at 00.49 with some magical high-stepping paces that certainly caught my attention. As Dee Dee moves effortlessly round the stage, I am surely not the only one who noticed how heavenly she looks in her yellow dress and boots. A day of radiant sunshine, bringing joyful light upon the World.
We have much to be grateful for to the various European Broadcasting companies, for their efforts in supporting British originated culture. Firstly, for giving artists and performers a platform on which they could demonstrate their talents, and this includes Pan’s People quite obviously. And also for preserving editions of programmes that were considered no longer of worth in the United Kingdom- and that is not just the BBC but the independent broadcasters as well. So much more has survived because of the decisions and efforts taken by these companies, that would have been lost forever if left to those in power in this home country. I mention this because I was under the impression that the routine and programme being reviewed was an example of such a preservation, but this may need confirmation by those with more knowledge on the subject. But even if it were not in this particular case, the reason did apply in many other instances.
DOTD- Dee Dee. A picture of perfection and visual beauty in her citric shift dress- as seen even from a distance. The most gorgeously crafted Marionette ever to venture forth upon a stage, for our delectation.
Routine- 8.5/10. Marked as I watched with tunnel vision, ignoring anything but the dancers. A great throwback to those days of appealing Light Entertainment shows on Television. Delightful movements, delightful costumes, delightful dancers. What is there not to like? Here for all the World to see.
Andi- 7, Ruth- 7, Dee Dee- 6, Flick- 6, Babs- 5, Louise -5. ( 36 routines )
( This routine was missed by the writer in the earlier run of reviews for the early Pan’s People period. All scores for reviews above the number 36 have been updated ).