The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on January 27, 1978 · Page 29
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 29

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Friday, January 27, 1978
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Page 29
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Palm Bch Post, Friday, January H, lTf CI 'Sgt. Pepper' Revived In Rock Roll Movie n Frampton, Bee Gees Manipulated By Alice Cooper, Steve Martin By PETER J. BOYER HOLLYWOOD - While Old Hollywood languishes around the Polo Lounge griping about the prohibitive cost of moviemaking, a slick pop music tycoon with a pocketful of money and title to 29 Beatles tunes has been busy doing what the studios used to do. Robert Stigwood took his purchased songs to a writer, bought himself a plot, hired some rock stars and: Presto! Instant extravaganza. Of the dozen or so pop-rock films in release or in the works, Stigwood s new $12 million pop epic, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," is far and away the most musical (it contains no dialog) and is certainly the most fanciful. Unlike the Streisand-Kristofferson rock version of "A Star is Born" or the upcoming Bette Midler rock trauma-drama, "Rose," or even Stigwood's own "Saturday Night Fever," "Sgt. Pepper" doesn't bother with straight drama. It is, rather, a surreal fantasy in opera form, a kind of Alice in Wonderland with amplifiers. After Stigwood (whose RSO Records empire finances his film ventures) spent bundles for the rights to 29 Lennon-McCartney songs (mostly from the Sgt. Pepper album), his first thought was to get some of it back. He tried a "Sgt. Pepper" stage show and, when that didn't work, he went to rock writer Henry Edwards. Stigwood showed him the songs he had title to and asked Edwards for a movie script. "I spread the songs out on my apartment floor and went to work," said Edwards, who had never before written a script but had impressed A. H & Steve Martin . . . plays a villain Only Silverman Has a One to Go By JAY SHARBUTT Tto A s soc la td Preu LOS ANGELES - News of the future, 1981: Fred Silverman, the programming genius who led CBS, then ABC, then NBC to dominance in the ratings, just accepted a job as president of PBS. "Heck, there's only one network left to conquer now," he said in a statement issued by jubilant executives of the Public Broadcasting Service. He immediately plunged into program meetings. Sources say he already has scheduled three new series for public television "Downstairs, Downstairs," "Easthampton Beach Bums" and a drama about ancient Rome called "I, Laverne." Silverman, who joined PBS moments after his $500,000-a-ayear contract as NBC's president expired, said he was "excited and challenged by this new opportunity, even though it doesn't pay much." PBS declined to make public his new salary. But sources said part of it will come from the nation's 212 public television stations next month in what is to be called "Freddie's Pledge Week." Industry observers were puzzled by Silverman's move. There were no rumors he was unhappy at NBC. His relations with top management there were described as "frank and candid." As NBC's president, not only did he make big dough, he also had lavish stock options, a chauffered limousine, priority use of the company jet and three company-supplied television sets. But one high-level network executive, noting Silverman had made successes out of all three major networks, best summed up the industry's attitude this way: "He really wants to get even no w . " Reaction by the public television community to Silverman's hiring was mixed. "I don't think we'll have to stop talking about the important issues," chuckled a spokesman for "Washington Week in Review." "It could mean the end of the dull documentary as we know It," said a worried executive at New York public TV station WNET. "Hard to tell," said a source at Boston's WGBH. "For example, can we still buy stuff from the BBC, old chap?" "It's like a shot in the arm," said a happy official at KCET in Los An- geles. "We've Just hired Kate Jackson to host 'Hollywood Television Theater.' " "I can't talk now, ipomebody from People magazine is here," muttered Dick Cavett, the PBS talk show star. Whatever the reaction, everyone agreed Silverman now has an almost impossible task - to raise public TV, which now barely disturbs a Nielsen meter, to No. 1 in the ratings. Said one expert: "You've got to realize that only a handful of people sleep through 'Masterpiece Theater' each week. But literally millions do that with 'Happy Days. "He's got to turn that ratio around and I don't envy him." (Those who deny this is the news of the future, 1981, probably are In the pay of NBC, which Silverman definitely will join next June.) Stigwood with some rock analyses written for the New York Times. "Mr. Stigwood wanted a concept. I told him I'd like to do a big MGM-like musical; we'd synthesize forms and end up with an MGM musical, but with the music of today." Edwards finally chose 22 of the Lennon-McCartney songs Stigwood had purchased, plus one George Harrison number, "Here Comes the Sun," and wove them into a zany tale of youthful innocence vs. big-time greed. He wrote a modern Holy Grail yarn in which four sweet musicians from Heartland, U.S.A., leave their idyllic homeland for fame and fortune in smog-choked Los Angeles. Their sweet music helped by magical instruments left to Heartland by the legendary Sgt. Pepper and his band enraptures greedy record company boss B.D. (Big Deal) Brockhurst, who immediately sets out to bleed the talented innocents for all they're worth, with drugs and loose ladies. Brockhurst is aided in his villainy by the boys' equally avaricious manager, evil stepbrother Dougie. The boys get tangled in a dastardly web of greed and meanness, spun by an international cartel whose motto is "We Hate Love. We Hate Joy, We Love Money." The rotten bunch tries to corrupt the boys while stealing their money and manages to steel Heartland's magical musical instruments along the way. The baddies eventually threaten to take over the world when . . . well, let's just say that music especially Lennon-McCartney music indeed hath charms. To play the golden-haired hero, Billy Shears, Stigwood hired golden-haired hero Peter Frampton. The Bee Gees (out of Stigwood's record stable) play the other members of the new Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. For villains, Stigwood hired Alice Cooper (who plays Father Sun, a money-grubbing druid who snares innocent youths into his cult), and comic Steve Martin who plays a Dr. Frankenstein-type who transforms feckless old folks into mindless Nazi-like youths. Playing Frampton's down-home sweetheart, Strawberry Fields, is a , sweet-voiced fresh face named Sandy F arena. Writer Edwards did a credible job of weaving a story out of two dozen songs that have no logical connection, especially considering that he only provided one brief bit of dialog an introductory narrative by Heartland's lovable old mayor, played, of course, by George Burns. And then, there's the music. The Beatles consider "Sgt. Pepper" representative of their best work and the songs, given a new vitality by former Beatles' producer George Martin, are certainly the film's strnnffMt attraction Frampton was at first worried about committing a "sacrilege" against pop music's demigods, but soon began to see it "as an honor." "This is the first serious, successful attempt at redoing some of the Beatles' better stuff. George Martin solved the problem (of bringing the music up to date) by doing the music as if the Beatles had written it yesterday. So it's slightly more funky and has some of the world's funkiest musicians doing it." Those of you who like to think $12 million movies must have a point hidden somewhere will be in for some deep searching. But for the rock stars-actors connected with the film, "Sgt. Pepper" is nothing less than a right-on allegory about the evils of the-music business. FAIR PARKING ft OY SCOUT LOT i oo o NEXT TO THE RIDES South 3 Flo. i sFoir N..I to Fairgalc, Cornr Rubin Rd. & So. Blvd. look for Sign. Southern Blvd. zl acl ONLY DONATION 4000 SPACES BUY'S Restaurant HOME COOKING featuring: lake Okeechobee Catfish & Home-made Soups 21 Friod X ( Shrimp Dinnor J 16 ot.X I N Y Strip I RIBEYE STEAK mn With MeiM A 4 ft A Snip. JiM. Not ' VEAL CUTLET mm mmmm tun Vf foMt, Mmim( B W J inf. itttt. Hoi Roli 4 lfrr. I OPEN DAILY 6 A.M. to 10 P.M.-SUN. 6 A.M.-3 P.M. 500 SO. CONGRESS AVE. r Mile South of Airport) W.P.B. 686-4458 OPEN 'Till 5 A.M. ,()lt ' AVPEAMSG y2V LA5T n ia r n A mm HAPPY HOUR MON.-FRI. THURS.-FRI.-SAT. . 9 P.M. to 2 A.M. 1950's SHOW DANCE FLOOR NO COVER 3-7 P.M. LADIES NITE WED. 30' 7 P.M INCLUDING AMUSEMENTS JADPN9QJEIEN 1901 N. DIXIE W.P.B. (Formerly ChontiCleor) 832-9119 The All New SYZ. DELICATESSEN RESTAURANT "COME HEAR OUR PIAYER THEATRE ORGAN" Mm. Toot. Wod. IWtn. lot IH i.Mpm M I Uf. tmm Ml Mii.ifcl 1 HI BREAKFAST - LUNCH AND DINNER " O COCKTAILS O For Something Different GRAND CONCOURSE SPECIAL ALA-CARTE SIQ - SAT - SUN - " Complete DINNER S3.33 US ENTREES AT VERY REASONAIIE PRICES n FRI OTHER DELICIOUS SANDWICHES ICE CREAM IATE SNACKS YOU'LL ENJOY DINING ON OUR BEAUTIFUL TROPICAL PATIO S07S OKEECHOIEI ILVD-CRAND UNION CENTER WEST PALM REACH, FLA. PH. 684-1253 - 684-1254 V PRESENTS M if ll ( - BAND i f t mawiiii nom o tm rim M STK ' A SEE THEM LIVE IliCT ' lA A HERE FEB. 4 - 8 30 Kit " A '6". 50, 40 m i !Qfi ( Ji i i ....r . J ,. Mm I 'AS Ti' a 1 j BERNSTEINS Peter Frampton H B'WAY TRIUMPH! M ... hai role of hero Billy Shears M .,0 -,0 M M , O , J M "I would say this Is a put-down of take all that money and leave you M W'WYAWW I J I M the pop music business from begin- with very little. There are a lot of r "" mng to end. that's the way I see it." groups that had an enormous jflj SHOWMANSHIP M says Bee Gee Barry Cibb. "This is amount of success but are broke to- M ' M the story of a group that makes it to day. That's where it is the bui- f the top and then gets screwed nesseals us for breakfast." 1 M Everyone that's in it is based on a Frampton, who after two months m I I " 11 n character in the real world. The of shooting was still not used to the M 1 U l J - manager is the symbol of all the hours, yawned agreement to Cibb's V '; jLy managers In the business, their way assessment of the movie's message. M . 'JV ) jr of thinking is his way of thinking. "Yeah, we're playing ourselves. m M ..i,. il . . .w .u basically. Obviously It's all exag- . Jlr , I f ''.."Ak"1 t?6re' in.. ,h' gerated in the film, and that's the true to the SSrk ThSe are 'unny Slde f the mV'e But 11 aH M managers in this business who wiU Turn to SGT. PEPPER, C8 M OOEHlCS r- . M n no n 7 M (J 'limwwi ' m j M " ' r m ' WMfifr 'Awn tt' nam- M "' " w M . See Voce atfte-C w m ooooeoooooo o O'O'O Jan. Stop by 97 . Fnh Z our booth in Mdg. to meet: Norv Roggen, editorialist Jan. 27 The Timet Ross Parsons, columnist Norv Roggen, editorialist 28 The Times Belinda Hare, trends ed. Bill McClinchy, bus. editor 29 The Times Bob Bassine, sports editor Bob Rollins, bus. editor 30 ne potf Sam C. Rawls, ed. artist Thorn Smith, listening pott 31 The Post Jack Foster, editor Earl Dapp, managing ed. Feb. 1 The Times Tom Kelly, editor Sam Pepper, managing ed. 2 The Post Rosa Tusa, food editor 3 Post-Times Frank Colavecchio, columnist 4 The Pott Ron Wiggins, columnist 5 The Pott Talk About: O Sports O Health O Editorials O Food O Your Views of O Business The Palm Beach Post-Tlmis Step Out and Stop Byl f

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