The Entertainer _________________________________________________________________________________
Performed byMarvin Hamlischand reaching number 25 in the UK charts _________________________________________________________________________________
Original broadcast date18/04/1974Duration of dance - 3.06 mins _________________________________________________________________________________
Dancers: Babs, Cherry, Dee Dee, Louise, Ruth _________________________________________________________________________________
A link to the dance:
Marvin Frederick Hamlisch (who sadly passed away three years ago) was an American composer and conductor. Some of his biggest successes were the title song and the score for the motion picture "The Way We Were", the James Bond theme song "Nobody Does It Better" (as co-writer) for "The Spy Who Loved Me", and of course the adaptations of Scott Joplin's ragtime music for the motion picture "The Sting", including its theme song, "The Entertainer". Featuring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, "The Sting" was released on December 25, 1973, and became a box office smash, taking in more than US$160 million.
The title song "The Entertainer" was issued as a single and became a big hit in the States, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Buyers in the UK were much less enthusiastic and the record stalled at No. 25. Its low chart position on the British charts was caused to some extent by a second very similar version of the same composition simply entitled "The Sting". Performed by The Ragtimers, the 45 was released in the UK a few weeks earlier than its rival. Even though it went no higher than No. 31, there was definitely a negative impact on sales of "The Entertainer". Nevertheless, Hamlisch's version was reasonably popular and stayed on the charts for an impressive 13 weeks.
When "The Entertainer" entered the UK Top 30 in the week ending April 20, 1974, neither the performer/artist nor a promotional video were available. So the BBC decided to use a pre-recorded Pan's People performance as an insert. For some reason, a tape with all the inserts for TOTP 18/04/1974 has survived the wipings, which means that clips of Limmie & Family Cookin', Little Jimmy Osmond, Mott The Hoople, Terry Jacks (Musikladen) and the Pan's People routine still exist in the BBC archive. Yet the version of "The Entertainer" that is on the blog does not originate from the BBC, but seems to be an off-air recording instead, so most probably comes from the PVL. What's interesting about the bits left of that show at the BBC, is that they contain rare footage of one of the 'forgotten' TOTP hosts, Greg Edwards. Greg appeared only three times on TOTP, all in March/April 1974, and all wiped. He was the first black host of TOTP.
Well, it's nice to have this routine on the blog for all to see. The dance and the clothes are meant to reflect the style of the 1930's, and - not having lived then - I'm inclined to believe they do it well. We rarely see Pan's People dancing like that, but that's not something I'm overly sad about. I find neither the music nor the dance very inspiring. The tune is not suitable for repeated playing as it gets boring rather quickly. And the dance looks somehow unfinished to me. There are some nice moments but all in all it lacks spark. This might fit into a movie for a minute or two, but it's not enough to arrest my attention for much longer. Besides, am I the only one who thinks that some of the ladies are having difficulties to keep the pace?
A refreshing change to the usual style of record to appear in the charts during this period, thanks to The Sting, meant a different dance style and look to Pans for this routine. Being recorded separately from the main episode may have provided Flick more control than usual over the direction of this performance as the construction of the piece flows very well. The look and feel of Pans here in non-pop mode would not have seemed out of place if the result had been slotted into their In Concert programme.
Everyone seems to be enjoying the change of pace and the unusual costumes, especially the swishing around of the old fashioned layered skirts. As far as the shoes go, the defined colour scheme for each dancer appears to have been thrown out for this one - Babs in yellow, Cherry in pink, Dee Dee in blue, Louise in red and Ruth in green. 6.5/10 DotD Dee Dee
I find this Dance enjoyable and quite jolly although the varying rhythm makes the timing tricky for the ladies. I particularly like it when they skip and twirl to the faster sequences. Cherry looks super-cute here but it's Babs who wins DotD for me in her sweet opening. The shoe colours are indeed an interesting departure so thanks for pointing that out PansLegs. Also with Vin's description of the double-release phenomenon I know I bought one of the two singles in days gone by but am darned if I can recall which one all these years later. Anyway this performance earns 7/10 from me. Finally, can I naively ask how those four background Katy symbols (??gambling ?windows) fit into this period piece?
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
Well I love this one. It evokes the world of art deco, of the speakeasy and ocean liners. Whose for a game of deck quoits ?! The costumes are perhaps just a shade too victorian in their voluminosity but that does allow the merest suggestion of a spot of the Folies Bergère and the entire confection fits the music to a tee.
Cherry flutters her eyelashes to good effect but Babs captures the spirit of the age, and this viewer, with her opening solo, and so is my Dotd with a 10 for the routine.
It's a rare outing for one of the more traditional style dance routines, that, I'm certain Mary Whitehouse approved of, at first I thought that it was going to be a Babs solo effort, but the arrival of the other dancers as better late than never, as they say.
I rather like the comedic facial expressions, especially from Cherry, summing up all of the frivolities involved with this performance.
Had it been made a couple of years later, Lulu would've played her part perfectly.
At the same time Radio 3 did six programmes on Ragtime, excellent music so the BBC wiped the tapes. I had two programmes on reel-to-reel and passed them to a BBC researcher through Kaleidoscope. I don't suppose that they will ever appear in public. In my experience , the BBC does not even say thank you for copies of wiped programmes. Back to the dance a little too sweet I think, but does demonstrate their versatility . I will give an 8, with Babs as standout.
Not only is this a wonderful piece of music but also very versatile. I’m reminded the BBC where keen on using it during their coverage of the world snooker when they put together their tournament highlights montages.
The routine itself I find to be on the sedate side of pedestrian which is fine but results in a gentle performance although this works well with the era The Sting is set in. Pans People, in my opinion do an honest day’s work with the track which would go on to become an academy award winner and without checking become another milestone on their list of achievements. I wonder if our main character Henry Gondorff and his team of grifters would have approved of this presentation, I’m not sure as they were used to something a bit more risqué in their usual haunts while honing their ‘con’ skills around Chicago.
Finally I’ll suggest this routine has a tenuous link to two future performances from Legs and Co. when they would dance to theme music from film soundtracks? I know someone will get the connection.
As Mac has mentioned in his post, this tune was used for a while by the BBC for their snooker coverage, and when I hear it I tend to start thinking of Dennis Taylor and Ray Reardon. Thankfully the Pans girls are a little easier on the eye and they turn in a pretty good performance, showing their versatility as it is quite different from most of their other dances. The tune I find gets a little irritating after a while although I find myself whistling along to it.
It is all quite sweet but I don't think it is one that I would watch very often so my score is 7 out of 10.
DOTD is Babs.
I'm happy with an outing back to the days of varieté, but more close-ups please Monsieur Directeur! Cherry's has quite an impact following the wait, but after a brief flourish alas it doesn't spark the vitality desirable to fulfil the routine's potential. It's a tasteful performance with as SF implies a dainty undercurrent of sauciness. And they convey with perfect light brush-strokes that there's something intrinsically funny about dancing to this droll instrumental with its playful changes in mood. But though agreeable it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi.
A nice period piece with some interesting costumes and old wireless (?) images in the background, on initial impression quite un-TOTPs like, but is it “Entertaining”?, well of course it is. The flow of the music seems unusual, a series of slow and then faster sequences allowing for a few solos, balancing out the more lively up tempo dancing giving a nice contrast. It certainly has a theatrical element to it you don’t normally see and as diversion from the norm it works well. 7/10 DOTD Babs.
I find this tune so so boring. It really was very popular in the seventies and I get the feeling that it was used in a TV ad that was heavily plugged and/or a comedian used the backing music for their show but it just did nothing for me. I find music like this dull as dishwater and sounds something like you would hear in the supermarket.
The dance itself was fairly good but it is not one I would want to watch again and again. The girls did reflect the era very well with their outfits but to me it just did nothing. I will award the best dancer to Babs and the dance itself gets eight out of ten.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
I have heard this song many times before, but I can't seem to remember where or when. I had watched this Pan's People routine before, but not in the correct form, so really this is the firts time I have watched this routine properly. I like the theme of this routine and it clearly has been thought through, though I do find it goes really quickly. If you look what was charting in 1974 and compare it to this, it is no surprise that it didn't make number one. It was nice to see Louise shortly before her departure though the star of the show here must be Babs.