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Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:21 am

This video is a real treat.

It's Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's appearance on the "What's My Line?" TV Show (CBS), originally aired Sunday, March 9, 1958. This was Episode 28, of Season 9.

From Wikipedia :

"What’s My Line? was a guessing game in which four panelists attempted to determine the line (occupation), or in the case of a famous "mystery guest," the identity, of the contestant. Panelists were required to probe by asking only questions which could be answered "yes" or "no". A typical episode featured two standard rounds (sometimes a third, and very rarely a fourth) plus one mystery guest round. On the occasions on which there were two mystery guests, the first would usually appear as the first contestant."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What's_My_Line%3F

phpBB [video]



It's very shocking to see that such legends of American music as Leiber and Stoller could appear in 1958 (!!) on national US TV as total strangers for most of the audience. It's not that they didn't know their faces, which could be understandable. But they didn't even know their names, which tells us a lot about how real rock and roll, and its main exponents. despite the big popularity of the genre, never really permeated mainstream culture in the same way other artistic forms probably did. There's a similar TV show on YouTube showing Alan Freed in a similar setting, also as an unknown. Very shocking, too.

Among the people questioning them in order to find out who they were, are the great Vincent Price, and also journalist Dorothy Kilgallen, who can't hide her deep anti-rock and roll bias. I like Jerry and Mike's dignity in front of her laughable reaction when she learns that they are rock and roll composers. What a witch.

Note that, although Elvis' name is not mentioned, Jerry and Mike are introduced (for the audience, not for the panelists, of course) as "Rock'n'Roll Composers", and the songs given as examples are "Hound Dog", "Jail House Rock" (sic), and "Don't". The latter is even mentioned as being their latest released song (it came out in January, two months before this show).

-----------------

I also have posted the above mentioned Alan Freed video :

** Alan Freed on "To Tell The Truth" - 1957 : viewtopic.php?f=65&t=79548
Last edited by Mister Moon on Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:41 am

Very intriguing and unintentionally funny clip.
It's clear there is definitely a changing of the guard in this company.

Thanks for posting Mister Moon.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:51 am

The total lack of common decency and respect for these two nice young men is staggering! (Price wasn't too bad, really.) And the ignorance of the guy who thought they were fashion designers!!! :o

But she insulted them, repeatedly, right to their faces! Just blows my mind. She ain't nothin' but a Hound Dog.

(Who said it couldn't be sung by a man to a woman!? You know, for the obvious reason . . .
FemaleHoundDog.jpg
)

rjm
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:44 am

You're welcome, Bobby and Robin. Glad you liked it as much as I do.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:17 am

rjm wrote:The total lack of common decency and respect for these two nice young men is staggering! (Price wasn't too bad, really.) And the ignorance of the guy who thought they were fashion designers!!! :o

But she insulted them, repeatedly, right to their faces! Just blows my mind. She ain't nothin' but a Hound Dog.


Aside from any of other cultural prejudices that Kilgallen may have had, it's possible that her animosity toward rock & roll was linked to her affair with Johnnie Ray, whose career was sidelined in part by popular music's rock-ward shift.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:42 am

PStoller wrote:
rjm wrote:The total lack of common decency and respect for these two nice young men is staggering! (Price wasn't too bad, really.) And the ignorance of the guy who thought they were fashion designers!!! :o

But she insulted them, repeatedly, right to their faces! Just blows my mind. She ain't nothin' but a Hound Dog.


Aside from any of other cultural prejudices that Kilgallen may have had, it's possible that her animosity toward rock & roll was linked to her affair with Johnnie Ray, whose career was sidelined in part by popular music's rock-ward shift.


Thanks, Peter, for your valuable input.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:51 pm

That clip is a very telling display of the cultural divide opened up by the rock 'n' roll explosion. And the appearance is ruefully noted in their autobiography.

Note this episode of "What's My Line" aired on Sunday, March 9, 1958. Maybe Elvis watched from Los Angeles, where he was finishing up "King Creole." After all, the duo had just worked with him on the dynamic, New Orleans-flavored soundtrack.

Thanks again.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:37 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:That clip is a very telling display of the cultural divide opened up by the rock 'n' roll explosion. And the appearance is ruefully noted in their autobiography.

Note this episode of "What's My Line" aired on Sunday, March 9, 1958. Maybe Elvis watched from Los Angeles, where he was finishing up "King Creole." After all, the duo had just worked with him on the dynamic, New Orleans-flavored soundtrack.

Thanks again.


Thanks for your post.

As a big Elvis fan, as well as a big Leiber/Stoller fan, I consider their artistic relationship as a match made in heaven.

The fact that they were not allowed to continue this relationship is, I think, an artistic tragedy.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:22 pm

Mister Moon wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:That clip is a very telling display of the cultural divide opened up by the rock 'n' roll explosion. And the appearance is ruefully noted in their autobiography.

Note this episode of "What's My Line" aired on Sunday, March 9, 1958. Maybe Elvis watched from Los Angeles, where he was finishing up "King Creole." After all, the duo had just worked with him on the dynamic, New Orleans-flavored soundtrack.

Thanks again.


Thanks for your post.

As a big Elvis fan, as well as a big Leiber/Stoller fan, I consider their artistic relationship as a match made in heaven.

The fact that they were not allowed to continue this relationship is, I think, an artistic tragedy.


It was a business move, with an underlying concern about management losing their sway over their talent.

The greatest tragedy is that Elvis condoned the decision to remove Leiber and Stoller from the "G.I. Blues" project in 1960, thus ending what had been a very fruitful collaboration, both financially and artistically.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:17 am

The audio from the 1958 clip might be slightly better in this upload:


phpBB [video]

Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller on "What's My Line?" (CBS-TV, Sunday, March 9, 1958)
Host is John Daly, Panelists are columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, actor Vincent Price, actress Arlene Francis and publisher Bennett Cerf.


Upon further reflection, Dorothy Kilgallen doesn't seem terribly condescending, she even expresses interest in Roy Hamilton's "Don't Let Go," a Presley-like number written by Jesse Stone that was currently riding up the charts (Billboard U.S. Best Selling Pop Singles #14, Most Played R&B by Jockeys #3 on March 3, 1958).

What was irksome to everyone on the panel was any mention of that dreaded "Hound Dog." Almost two years since Elvis' remake of the R&B hit by Big Mama Thornton was released by RCA, it still cut deeply into the generational divide.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:53 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:The audio from the 1958 clip might be slightly better in this upload:


phpBB [video]

Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller on "What's My Line?" (CBS-TV, Sunday, March 9, 1958)
Host is John Daly, Panelists are columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, actor Vincent Price, actress Arlene Francis and publisher Bennett Cerf.


Upon further reflection, Dorothy Kilgallen doesn't seem terribly condescending, she even expresses interest in Roy Hamilton's "Don't Let Go," a Presley-like number written by Jesse Stone that was currently riding up the charts (Billboard U.S. Best Selling Pop Singles #14, Most Played R&B by Jockeys #3 on March 3, 1958).

What was irksome to everyone on the panel was any mention of that dreaded "Hound Dog." Almost two years since Elvis' remake of the R&B hit by Big Mama Thornton was released by RCA, it still cut deeply into the generational divide.


Many thanks, Doc, for this nice post.

I doubted between posting this longer clip and the one I posted, but I finally opted for the one which featured L&S alone. By the way, I've tried to play it and it doesn't work, I don't know why !

I noticed Kilgallen's mention of Roy Hamilton's record, but it's very nice to know it was currently riding up the charts. Thanks for this additional research.

Oh, I can't absolutely stand Kilgallen in this clip, sorry. Or any of the other people present with L&S. And I deeply regret that Vincent Price was there, because he's one of my favorite actors.

Judging by Jerry and Mike's reactions, and also by their sad mention of it in their autobiography, it wasn't a good experience for them.

Luckily, they were far above and beyond all this ridiculous anti-rock & roll hoopla.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:13 pm

Mister Moon wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:The audio from the 1958 clip might be slightly better in this upload:


phpBB [video]

Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller on "What's My Line?" (CBS-TV, Sunday, March 9, 1958)
Host is John Daly, Panelists are columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, actor Vincent Price, actress Arlene Francis and publisher Bennett Cerf.


Upon further reflection, Dorothy Kilgallen doesn't seem terribly condescending, she even expresses interest in Roy Hamilton's "Don't Let Go," a Presley-like number written by Jesse Stone that was currently riding up the charts (Billboard U.S. Best Selling Pop Singles #14, Most Played R&B by Jockeys #3 on March 3, 1958).

What was irksome to everyone on the panel was any mention of that dreaded "Hound Dog." Almost two years since Elvis' remake of the R&B hit by Big Mama Thornton was released by RCA, it still cut deeply into the generational divide.


Many thanks, Doc, for this nice post.

I doubted between posting this longer clip and the one I posted, but I finally opted for the one which featured L&S alone. By the way, I've tried to play it and it doesn't work, I don't know why !

I noticed Kilgallen's mention of Roy Hamilton's record, but it's very nice to know it was currently riding up the charts. Thanks for this additional research.

Oh, I can't absolutely stand Kilgallen in this clip, sorry. Or any of the other people present with L&S. And I deeply regret that Vincent Price was there, because he's one of my favorite actors.

Judging by Jerry and Mike's reactions, and also by their sad mention of it in their autobiography, it wasn't a good experience for them.

Luckily, they were far above and beyond all this ridiculous anti-rock & roll hoopla.


It seems to me host John Daly is very nice to the boys, and I don't get anything other than a sense of an "older generation" vibe from Price, Francis, Cerf or the live audience. In their wonderful 2009 autobiography, Jerry Leiber most regretted their agreeing they would write "more serious" material in the future.

But it's so clear how the mere mention of "Hound Dog" was a hot-button for those who disliked the rock 'n' roll explosion.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:57 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:In their wonderful 2009 autobiography, Jerry Leiber most regretted their agreeing they would write "more serious" material in the future.

In the sense that Daly, et al., understood it, they lived up to their agreement. But, for Leiber & Stoller, theatrical songs weren't "more serious" than R&B or their own brand of R&R; they just required a different sort of rigor and a different set of techniques and conventions.

But it's so clear how the mere mention of "Hound Dog" was a hot-button for those who disliked the rock 'n' roll explosion.

This must have been very problematic for L&S, because they themselves had reacted negatively to Elvis' "Hound Dog," which at that time represented to them—in contrast to Big Mama Thornton—the difference between rock & roll and rhythm & blues. So, while going along was somewhat disingenuous, so would defending Elvis' "Hound Dog" have been.

When Bennet Cerf asked L&S what inspired them to write "Hound Dog," Jerry starts to answer, but then quickly goes with, "Nothing, really." I'm sure he would have loved to tell the story that he and Mike told in their autobiography and in countless interviews; but, to do that would have required explaining who Thornton was, and reciting lyrics that might have scandalized a mid-'50s TV audience (even at 10:30 PM). Of course, no one on the panel could have been expected to understand the dynamic (which is precisely why there was such a dynamic), and even John Daly only knew enough about L&S to get through the episode. So, the boys smiled, nodded, and anxiously awaited their escape.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:22 am

"Hound Dog" had to be awkward in the extreme; they were not responsible for the (Elvis) record they heard on the radio! They had written a novelty tune with a genuine narrative; Elvis was screaming invective at they knew not what. (Or, more accurately, at whom.)

So, if asked about Elvis's "Hound Dog," they didn't think anything about it when they wrote their "Hound Dog."

"Nothing" was the only correct answer. Even if they couldn't explain why it was.

They were more than gracious in the face of insults. "Pain," she says, right at their faces about their music!

Hard to imagine anyone saying that to any composers after that time period.

rjm

Sent From My Phabulous Galaxy Note II Phablet Using Tapatalk 4

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Fri May 09, 2014 12:45 am

Mister Moon wrote:This video is a real treat.

It's Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's appearance on the "What's My Line?" TV Show (CBS), originally aired Sunday, March 9, 1958. This was Episode 28, of Season 9.

From Wikipedia :

"What’s My Line? was a guessing game in which four panelists attempted to determine the line (occupation), or in the case of a famous "mystery guest," the identity, of the contestant. Panelists were required to probe by asking only questions which could be answered "yes" or "no". A typical episode featured two standard rounds (sometimes a third, and very rarely a fourth) plus one mystery guest round. On the occasions on which there were two mystery guests, the first would usually appear as the first contestant."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What's_My_Line%3F

phpBB [video]



It's very shocking to see that such legends of American music as Leiber and Stoller could appear in 1958 (!!) on national US TV as total strangers for most of the audience. It's not that they didn't know their faces, which could be understandable. But they didn't even know their names, which tells us a lot about how real rock and roll, and its main exponents. despite the big popularity of the genre, never really permeated mainstream culture in the same way other artistic forms probably did. There's a similar TV show on YouTube showing Alan Freed in a similar setting, also as an unknown. Very shocking, too.

Among the people questioning them in order to find out who they were, are the great Vincent Price, and also journalist Dorothy Kilgallen, who can't hide her deep anti-rock and roll bias. I like Jerry and Mike's dignity in front of her laughable reaction when she learns that they are rock and roll composers. What a witch.

Note that, although Elvis' name is not mentioned, Jerry and Mike are introduced (for the audience, not for the panelists, of course) as "Rock'n'Roll Composers", and the songs given as examples are "Hound Dog", "Jail House Rock" (sic), and "Don't". The latter is even mentioned as being their latest released song (it came out in January, two months before this show).

-----------------

I also have posted the above mentioned Alan Freed video :

** Alan Freed on "To Tell The Truth" - 1957 : viewtopic.php?f=65&t=79548

WOW! Never seen this before...thanks for posting, Mr. Moon.

Re: Leiber & Stoller on "What's My Line?" - 1958

Sat May 10, 2014 11:12 pm

mysterytrainrideson wrote:WOW! Never seen this before...thanks for posting, Mr. Moon.


Glad you liked it. It was great to find it. Jerry and Mike rule !

If you check YouTube, there's tons of other (non music related) episodes of this program, some of them very interesting, and usually funny.

Thanks !