THEME FROM SHAFT - NIGHT CLUB
Original Broadcast Date: 20/11/1972
Troupe: Pans People
Dancers: Andrea, Babs, Dee Dee, Flick, Louise & Ruth
Link: http://www.oneforthedads.org.uk/?p=2611 ____________________________________________________________________________________
It’s Monday 20th November 1972. The BBC spent a lot of the day celebrating the Queen and Prince Philip’s 25th wedding anniversary. I hope they both remembered! They were a nice couple, although their kids were a bit irritating. I wonder what became of them! Then later in the evening it was time for another episode of the exciting new quiz show, 'Mastermind'. Over on BBC2, Pans People appeared in a show called 'Night Club'.
Night Club was an international cabaret show. Most weeks it was hosted in London, but this particular episode was from Munich and was presented by Pete Murray. I'm assuming that it must have been recorded quite a long time before transmission as Flick had given up dancing quite some time before, and Andrea had also left Pans People by this time.
The Shaft was an action film released in 1971. The soundtrack album recorded by Isaac Hayes won a Grammy award and ‘Theme From Shaft‘ won the Academy Award for best original song. It topped the US Billboard chart and reached No.4 in the UK. It is also a tune that I like.
This performance is a fairly recent and very welcome addition to the blog. It was supplied by a bloke called Gaz, who I have never met but I like him all the same. It is such a shame that so much footage from 1972 no longer survives. We see plenty of Emma Peel type action poses and the whole routine has a slow motion and stop start feel to it which I think suits the music well. It is quite long at three and a half minutes. Flick & Louise catch my eye the most. I always enjoy watching Flick dance. I think she had a real screen presence. There is no doubt that this would be a lot better in colour but I still find it quite enjoyable and I am happy to award it 8.25 out of 10.
These pictures are lovely - thanks for sharing them out. I remember the TOTP version and it was very similar to this one. They looked very "stern". It is a really difficult song to dance to but I fell in love with it. Someone did a high kick in the air and it was just beautiful where the backing singers sang "shaft".
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
I'm afraid this is not high in my play list, in part because of the music. Of course that orchestra could even have murdered K.525 while this piece should have been buried even before it reached the recording studio. Flick certainly comes up with an appropriately trite routine which, together with the ladies outfits, and the pretend fat cats sitting around the club drinking overpriced dishwater, completes the now very dated picture. For one brief second it looked as though Flick was contemplating cutting loose and abandoning the stooping gait. I wish she had done so. As it stands this was a very long way from conquering and just a (generous) 2.
Hmmm.... I do like the well-balanced hair-colour-contrasting trouser-suited 3-on-3 concept and the moves are consistent with a crime drama too. Here come the buts though; the sub-Philharmonic Orchestra does get on your nerves and the dance gets a bit bogged down with all that pointing and crouching behaviour and the B&W and fuzziness doesn't do us any favours as I think the close-ups and big hair would have had some of us swooning a bit otherwise. Although any original six dance is precious I must admit I've only watched this a few times and that counter is not likely to increase much any time soon so I'm giving 4/10 for a Dance I value mainly for historical reasons. Louise would have got my DotD if it were available and if anyone at all was interested; she has some lovely poses in this.
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
Very interesting..... two quite high scores and two very low scores. Could this be our first assault on the turkey table or will it soar up the rankings?
Those of you yet to rate this have the power to decide.
I think the footage here is rather nice, of course significant in being probably one of Flicks last recordings before moving behind the scenes to focus purely on being the choreographer. It does take a while to get going, all that crouching stuff!, but at least we get a few close ups before the main part. It then plays nicely on the dramatic side of the music with the orchestra with some overemphasised movements, and a kind of stop-start flow, although never getting to anything too taxing. Like the suits too, i think 7/10 is fair.
A nice find as I love the Theme from Shaft. Instantly recognisable piece of music and probably better remembered than the movie itself. I rather like the crouching action poses at the beginning which leaves the viewer in no doubt that Shaft is a full-blooded crime thriller. It also gives the opportunity for some nice close-ups. The picture is admittedly grainy and at first I mistook Dee Dee for Louise. But of course given the vintage and the wholesale wipings going on at the time, we are lucky to have this at all.
I made a guess at the colour of the trouser-suits and decided on deep red and pale pink. No doubt someone will tell me they were green and yellow! After the introductions not a lot happens so I can't really go beyond a five sorry.
I like the trouser suits, and the dance sequence itself is ok. However, the band, competent musicians they may be, lack the soul factor, and the music doesn’t match the edginess that he dancers are trying to convey.
Thanks to Gaz for recovering this performance, but the quality is not brilliant – there’s more haze than Isaac ever had
With all the mystique brought about by the opening appearance to this routine, the disappointment is that Pan's People perform no magic tricks, for that's what the music and moves conjure up for me. It's all very cagey though and what the dance gains in tension, it loses in progression. Through the b&w 'Hayes', the blonde/brunette symmetry works well and, from a distance, the only way to separate Andrea from Babs is by the parts atop their heads. Some of the latter part symmetry is not as tight the cut of those jackets but although neither fireworks nor rabbits are produced, a real curiosity of a routine is.
Unfortunately, it does drag a tad.
I find all these nonTOTP items most interesting as they give a glimpse into the life of the dancers away from the BBC. Whilst no where near top drawer I feel that a 7 would be reasonable. I am comparing this with something like the clapping song which is better preserved but no more entertaining, and since you ask I have not looked at my view on that title.
Thank you for digging out this rare item.
Tragic that this was wiped when it was on Top of the Pops, so I feel very lucky that we get to see Pan's People dance to a song which maybe isn't something that can be the best to at the beginning, but they have done an amazing job which makes this one a very pleasant few minutes. Great job!
Today this stealthy routine might figuratively be taken for a stake out with the mystery villains who shafted so much of their work that year. And in its own time the choreography suits the music well but the suits form part of a list of negatives. I don't like the masculine attire, obviously the murky monochrome drags it down, the music itself sounds bogged down in a mire and when it does break into a semblance of life the risen positions don't inject any verve, and it's just heavy going staying the course of something that doesn't arrest me in the first place.
Thanks indeed to Gaz but this time I'll pass on what Vegemite's left in the jar, it's way past its sell-by date. 3.5/10
Sorry never go to this flagged option at all. I am going to give this dance ten out of ten as it was a perfect dance. It is very difficult to dance to as the late Louise said. Very energetic but so so sexy.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
As there are two videos of Pan's People routines in this section, I shall review them both separately. In this first one we have the ladies all dressed up very becomingly in corsets and short white outfits, armed with skipping ropes, and accompanied by a orchestra, audience and the toothliness of a certain Mr. Barry Crocker. Clearly a cabaret style of entertainment show and performance unlike those we became so used to in the Top Of The Pops Studio. But this is an enjoyable dance to go with the warm vocals of Barry Crocker to this song from a show number. One part particularly pleasing for me was at about 00.30 when the girls intertwine their skipping ropes to make a large shape or frame. ( This action reminded the viewer of his own Primary School's May Day Celebrations, when the 11 year old, or final year, boys would perform a Sword Dance and use our wooden rapper swords to similar effect. I was part of the team of 1971, about a year before this number ).
To recap fairly briefly on this routine, points that I felt especially worth remarking upon were about 01.09 when the team rise up and start to run round as Mr. Crocker sings, leading to the best part where we see some enjoyable hip shaking at 01.12. Then at about 01.16 Pan's wave the ropes around and above themselves, again very noticeable to me. We then come to about 01.43 when we see the girls, using the ropes as props, obviously and commence some as expected very agile skipping round the small stage, followed by the lovely high kicks from the group at 02.02, finishing off from about 02.10 with some more skipping round the stage to the finale on one knee with arms and handles held aloft, with the actual ropes hanging in the expected manner between the girls, led by Andi and Ruth to the front- even if Ruth is obscured by the singer. Obviously, much of the time the camerawork is concentrated on Mr. Crocker and we cannot see the ladies, who may possibly not be moving anyway at those precise moments. A pleasant enough routine all round, even if there is nothing too extraordinary or memorable about the routine. Can I mark this, and suggest a Dancer Award here? Yes, of course I can and will. I trust this is allowed in the 'Miscellaneous Section'!
One thing to be remembered is because of the cabaret type performance and the fact that we do not have any real or genuine close ups, it is sometimes difficult to judge who is who, and there is the risk of wrongly attributing a certain movement to the wrong member. I think I have avoided this, but in my 'Dancer of the Day' quest I seem to concentrate on just two of the team. Louise is very noticeable at about 00.23, producing a great spin right at the front of the screen. And at 01.44 where she circles round the most prominent of all on the right side. On first viewing for this review I felt Louise had done enough to capture the prize today, particularly as I thought she performed a move which, on repeated watching, is in fact by some one else. Yes, step forward my own beloved Ruth! From about 01.52 to the termination of the number she wins it for me as she hops clockwise past Barry Crocker maintaining her poise and beauty right up to the end, even if 'Digger Barry' does block our view of her at the final piece. Earlier on at about 01.13 she performs one of her mesmerising for me hip shakes at the rear of the stage- so very noticeable to me! And at about 01.24 when Ruth undertakes another of her so lovely spins. 'You little ripper' as Barry himself might have said at the time!
DOTD- Ruth of course. Even in monochrome she shines forth for me. A very bright star even on a very dark night.
Routine- 6/10. A nice little number, as an accompaniment to the singer, which we should feel pleased we can still see today. And if the girls had performed this on there own, the score would have been higher.
Dancing! A confession, and some self assessment, but I have never really been that interested in dancing. Never been one to enthusiastically take the floor and start cutting a rug. Or watching any dance show that I could. I have no interest in watching modern dance shows like 'Celebrity Come Dancing'- preferred the old style Come Dancing anyway- or 'Dancing on Ice', and if anybody tried to make me watch contemporary urban or street dancing, then I think I would be running as fast as possible towards some far distant hills. I can watch some forms of Traditional Dancing, in small doses. But that would be all. Why then do the dancing teams on Top Of The Pops strike such a positive accord with me? Was it the mixture of popular and current chart music with movement? The feeling that this was OUR kind of dancing- belonging to the young as I was then? Was it the disposable nature of the product, which we thought was once seen and rarely/never to be repeated? Or was it all down to Flick's style of Choreography, which really established such a special rapport with me? At this remove from those years ago, I would have to say that the latter point is the one that really rings true. With Flick's choreography and the ladies attractiveness and abilities to bring Flick's thoughts to life, this was a form of dancing of presentation and expression that has never been beaten before or since. A joy to watch then, and a joy to watch now. I can remember happily watching other dance groups of yesteryear like the 'Young Generation' or 'Second Generation' on Light Entertainment shows, as they were back then. But these were big male and female groups with, to me, largely anonymous members- apart from Wei Wei Wong, whom I certainly did notice- who could all be different each time as far as I knew. These were dancing and singing acts, who lightened up many a show on British Television in those years. And even later shows, as the oft- remembered 'Hot Shoe Show' could not hold a candle to Pan's or Legs. A different style of dance, perhaps more authentic as dance, but to me, at least, less satisfying, less memorable and less part of my own history. But! The Top of The Pops teams were different. Small groups of easily recognisable members with their own style, character and personality. We knew who they were and would notice instantly if, for example, a member like Dee Dee or Pauline was missing that week, and the loss would be keenly felt until next time. And, of course, the style of dance was so distinct and much more visually entrancing as well. I have eulogised about Flick before and feel no need to do so again, but the style she and her dancers laid before us each week meant that here was a kind of dancing that people like me could enjoy whenever we saw it. Why myself, and so many others, became fans of these groups we saw each week, with the performances that have kept us delighted and enthralled ever since. Much more than any other kind of dancing seen ever again I feel. I would not attempt this myself, but I could still gain a great enjoyment from afar nevertheless. And all down to Flick, surely, and her teams of magnificence and professionalism. No doubt she was demanding, a martinet, even, but the results proved her worth, for all to see.
Here we have our girls on a stage in an appropriate Night Club setting in front of the Orchestra performing to one of the iconic musical film soundtracks of the 1970s. The Theme from Shaft. And with Andi and Flick still among the dancers, showing it must have been recorded some time earlier, but enabling us to enthuse over their craft once more. Presumably, this would have been filmed in colour and we could have seen the differing shades of the suits worn by Pan's People here. My own speculation would be the blondes in red and brunettes in yellow, perhaps. But very stylish and in keeping with the theme of the music, nonetheless. As each member enters the screen individually with their sharp crouching movements and looking to camera- are they detectives or spies? In fact the early section reminded me of 'I'm A Man' by Chicago as some members are crouching other standing and looking round the stage. From 00.57 the group start to move more in harmony, and at about 01.20 as they move left and right round the stage are very pleasing actions. This is a long routine with many movements, suffice to say I found very noticeable the points at 01.53 with the very pleasing body thrusts and hops, around 02.06 as the blondes and brunettes move separately back and forward, and at about 02.28 as a blonde and brunette face each other and perform like a duet together. This separation by light and dark hair colour is a device that Flick sometimes uses very effectively in routines that may support this motif. Always a visual treat to this viewer. And from 03.15, the closing section pleases very much with the arms outstretched up to the final denouement of the piece with the left arm raised diagonally as the performance ends. Very sharp, very stylish and all the girls look lovely here- as so often they do.
All the girls bring their own brand of sophistication here, and the whole number is pleasing to watch from start to finish. And here they come, first Dee Dee, then Ruth, and Babs, followed by Andi, Louise and finally Flick. And as they arrive, they all look gorgeously towards the camera, none more so for me than Ruth at 00.14. But also Flick too at 00.40. Other individual points I notice with affection were Louise at about 1.28 as she moves entrancingly with her hair flicking backwards; and later at about 02.16 as she comes forward looking oh so extra beautifully at the camera. And there is Flick herself up front and taking centre stage with her thrusts at about 01.53, which proceeds to her own solo playful movements, which include another of her delicious smiles at about 1.56. Andi seems slightly underused and does not have much of the attention of a real solo spot, unfortunately, but Dee Dee has one of her seductive and lovely hip thrusts at about 02.54 and Babs long hair seems to take forever to fall back down into place at about 3.17. All memorable moments for me that bring much needed life to the black and white film we have to review. Who should I choose to save me from any criminality from this bunch of law enforcement officers? Or are they in Government employ to wipe out those dastardly double agents from the wicked enemy empire? In whose hands should I place my life for safe keeping here. This team of female super sleuths? This team of brave heroines, from our side?
DOTD- Flick. Of course. Team leader and our favoured Super Agent. Let Officer Colby lead the way and we shall all be saved from any evil intent. And it is a great pleasure and honour to be able to nominate her for my Dance award one more time.
Routine- 8/10. A very stylish and enjoyable piece. Attractive costumes and movements enhancing a harmonious routine all round. Not one to watch very often, perhaps, but you will not be disappointed to come back once in a while to engage with all over again.