Solid Gold (TV series)

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Solid Gold
FormatVariety show
Music chart
Created byAlfred Masini
Developed byBob Banner
Presented byDionne Warwick (1980-1981, 1985-1986)
Marilyn McCoo (1981-1984, 1986-1988)
Andy Gibb (1981-1982)
Rex Smith (1982-1983)
Rick Dees (1984-1985)
Nina Blackwood (1986-1988)
Arsenio Hall (1986-1988)
Narrated byRobert W. Morgan (1980-1986)
Charlie O'Donnell (1986-1987)
John Harlan (1987-1988)
Opening theme"Solid Gold Theme"
music by
Michael Miller
lyrics by
Dean Pitchford
Ending theme"Solid Gold Theme"
music by
Michael Miller
lyrics by
Dean Pitchford
sung by
Dionne Warwick (1980-1981, 1985-1986)
Marilyn McCoo & Andy Gibb (1981-1982)
Marilyn McCoo & Rex Smith (1982-1983)
Marilyn McCoo (1983-1984)
Deborah Davis (1984-1985)
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes332
Production
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Brad Lachman Productions
Bob Banner Associates (1980-1984)
Operation Prime Time (1980-1987)
Paramount Television Service (1980-1981)
Paramount Domestic Television (1981-1988)
DistributorParamount Television Service (1980-1981)
Paramount Domestic Television (1981-1988)
CBS Television Distribution (current)
Broadcast
Original channelSyndicated
Audio formatMonaural (1980-1984)
Stereo (1984-1988)
Original runSeptember 13, 1980 – July 23, 1988
 
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Solid Gold
FormatVariety show
Music chart
Created byAlfred Masini
Developed byBob Banner
Presented byDionne Warwick (1980-1981, 1985-1986)
Marilyn McCoo (1981-1984, 1986-1988)
Andy Gibb (1981-1982)
Rex Smith (1982-1983)
Rick Dees (1984-1985)
Nina Blackwood (1986-1988)
Arsenio Hall (1986-1988)
Narrated byRobert W. Morgan (1980-1986)
Charlie O'Donnell (1986-1987)
John Harlan (1987-1988)
Opening theme"Solid Gold Theme"
music by
Michael Miller
lyrics by
Dean Pitchford
Ending theme"Solid Gold Theme"
music by
Michael Miller
lyrics by
Dean Pitchford
sung by
Dionne Warwick (1980-1981, 1985-1986)
Marilyn McCoo & Andy Gibb (1981-1982)
Marilyn McCoo & Rex Smith (1982-1983)
Marilyn McCoo (1983-1984)
Deborah Davis (1984-1985)
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes332
Production
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Brad Lachman Productions
Bob Banner Associates (1980-1984)
Operation Prime Time (1980-1987)
Paramount Television Service (1980-1981)
Paramount Domestic Television (1981-1988)
DistributorParamount Television Service (1980-1981)
Paramount Domestic Television (1981-1988)
CBS Television Distribution (current)
Broadcast
Original channelSyndicated
Audio formatMonaural (1980-1984)
Stereo (1984-1988)
Original runSeptember 13, 1980 – July 23, 1988

Solid Gold is an American syndicated music television series that debuted on September 13, 1980. Like many other shows of its genre, such as American Bandstand, Solid Gold featured musical performances and various other elements such as music videos. What set Solid Gold apart was a group of dancers in revealing costumes who at various points in the program performed various (and sometimes borderline risqué) dances to the top ten hits of the week. Many other specials aired in which the dancers would dance to older pop hits as well. Reviews of the show were not always positive, with The New York Times referring to it as "the pop music show that is its own parody...[enacting] mini-dramas...of covetousness, lust and aerobic toning--routines that typically have a minimal connection with the songs that back them up."[1]

The series ran until July 23, 1988, and it was usually transmitted on Saturdays in the early evening. In 1986, Solid Gold added the current year to its title, so in the seventh season the show was known as Solid Gold '86/'87. For the eighth and last season the program became known as Solid Gold In Concert, reflecting the addition of more live performances than had previously been featured on the program in the past.

Production background[edit]

Solid Gold, which Al Masini had created as part of his Operation Prime Time production unit and which Bob Banner had developed for the same purpose, was produced by Brad Lachman Productions for all eight of its seasons and Bob Banner Associates for its first four, after which Banner's company began producing Star Search for Television Program Enterprises, Masini's other production company.

Solid Gold was packaged by Operation Prime Time (which was a co-venture of Masini and Universal Pictures through its MCA Television unit) and Paramount Television, and was distributed by the remains of Paramount Television Service for its first season. Paramount's syndication unit took over distributor ship for the remaining six seasons. Operation Prime Time continued to produce Solid Gold until Masini elected to merge it with Television Program Enterprises in 1987 (TPE did not, however, share in any distribution or packaging as Paramount assumed that themselves).

From its debut in 1980 until the end of its fourth season, the show was taped at the Golden West Broadcasters studio facility. Beginning in September of 1984, Paramount, who had previously owned the Golden West facility in the early days of television, moved production of Solid Gold to its studios with a redesigned set.

At the start of Solid Gold's first season (1980), Michael Miller was chosen by its very first host, Dionne Warwick, to be the show's musical director. Miller stayed on for the entire series and composed the theme song for Solid Gold with Academy Award winning songwriter Dean Pitchford, who provided the lyrics. The song, re-recorded various times to reflect ongoing music trends, was performed by the show's hosts (with the exception of the 1984-85 season) at the beginning and end of each program, with the closing theme accompanied by a final routine from the Dancers.

History and format overview[edit]

Year-end Top 40 countdown shows[edit]

The first episode of the show in January of 1980 would become a yearly tradition, as they counted down the Top 50 songs of 1979 in a two-hour television pilot special, called Solid Gold '79, hosted by Dionne Warwick and Glen Campbell. Solid Gold would return in the fall of 1980, as a weekly series. Of the eight original Solid Gold '79 dancers, only four would join the Solid Gold series cast: Darcel Wynne, who would be the program's principal dancer for its first five years, Deborah Jennsen, Paula Beyers, and Alexander Cole. Gayle Crofoot would join the roster in late fall of 1982, replacing dancer Lucinda Dickey. Every year thereafter through 1986, they would host a two-hour year-end Top 40 countdown show.

All chart information for the Solid Gold countdowns was taken from the Radio & Records magazine chart lists, which only tracked airplay. As such, the placement of singles on Solid Gold usually did not match Billboard's placement; at the time, Billboard did not have an airplay chart and singles were strictly limited to the magazine's Hot 100 list.

Solid Gold Hits[edit]

In the summer of 1984, the producers of Solid Gold added a daily thirty-minute series called Solid Gold Hits to the weekend program. Actor Grant Goodeve presided over a general grouping of the week's hit songs and a second set of Solid Gold Dancers was employed for this series led by Solid Gold regular Deborah Jennsen.

Performers/personalities[edit]

Hosts and announcers[edit]

Dionne Warwick and comedian Marty Cohen hosted the first season of Solid Gold, but neither returned for its second season in 1981-82. In their places were singers Andy Gibb, The Bee Gees' younger brother, and The 5th Dimension's Marilyn McCoo, who had forged a solo career after the band broke up. This pairing, as with the previous one, only lasted one season as Gibb departed. Singer Rex Smith joined McCoo for the 1982-83 season and she hosted by herself for a third season in 1983-84. Following that season McCoo departed the series and was replaced by Weekly Top 40 radio host and DJ Rick Dees. However, Dees did not last the entire season as host due to a lack of popularity and the addition of more comedy sketches to the show. Beginning in early 1985 and continuing for the rest of the season, a rotating guest host arrangement was employed.

Warwick returned to host in the fall of 1985, but once again only lasted one season before giving way to a returning McCoo in 1986. She was joined by original MTV VJ and then-Entertainment Tonight correspondent Nina Blackwood and comedian and future late night host Arsenio Hall, who hosted the remaining two seasons of Solid Gold. Hall had, in fact, taken over for Marty Cohen as the in-house comedian; Jeff Altman had succeeded him.

For the first six seasons of Solid Gold, Los Angeles area DJ Robert W. Morgan was the show's announcer. He was replaced in September 1986 by former Wheel of Fortune announcer Charlie O'Donnell. At the time, in addition to his game show announcing duties for Barris Industries and The $100,000 Pyramid O'Donnell was announcing for another weekend music program, ABC's American Bandstand, with which Solid Gold had many similarities, except for Bandstand not having the dance crew Solid Gold employed. For the final Solid Gold In Concert season, veteran game show announcer John Harlan served as the announcer; American Bandstand moved into syndication in September 1987 and O'Donnell chose to keep his position on Bandstand instead of staying on Solid Gold.

The Solid Gold Dancers[edit]

The weekly one-hour show played segments from the Top 10 charting songs accompanied by the Solid Gold Dancers. Darcel Wynne was the principal dancer on Solid Gold during her five-year reign. She appeared on the show from 1980 to 1984, but she took most of the 1984-1985 season off and rejoined the roster for the 1985-1986 season. In 1986, Wynne had many speaking roles on Solid Gold, regularly announcing the countdown re-caps towards the end of the show. Wynne and most of the other dancers left the program at the end of that season.

The last appearance of the Solid Gold Dancers in media was not on Solid Gold itself, but rather in the 1988 motion picture Scrooged. The movie, which premiered in November 1988, was scripted and filmed before Solid Gold was officially cancelled.

However, on January 4, 2011, three of the Solid Gold Dancers (Darcel Wynne, Deborah Jenssen & Lezlie Mogell) appeared together for the first time in almost 23 years as they competed on the new TV show Live to Dance. They advanced to the next round of competition.

The choreographers who plotted out the dancers' routines over the years included Kevin Carlisle, Anita Mann and Lester Wilson; the last of these had also staged and choreographed the musical numbers for Saturday Night Fever.

Guest performers and the usage of the Top 10[edit]

At times, artists who had a single among the week's Top 10 appeared as guest performers. Often the vocals were lip-synchronized, or "lip-synched;" rarely, they were performed live. For the live performances, Michael Miller, the Musical Director, would either record the backing instrumental tracks with his Solid Gold Band or with the artist's band, and then the singers would sing live on stage at the taping. One of the more prominent guests to receive this treatment was Joe Cocker, who performed "Up Where We Belong" on Solid Gold several times with Jennifer Warnes, as well as one solo performance of his song "Seven Days." Celebrities also occasionally served duty as guest hosts, and all the duets that Dionne, Marilyn, Andy or Rex ever performed with their guest hosts (which Michael Miller arranged & produced) were done live. During the 1986-1987 season, the Top 10 was no longer accompanied with dancing from the Solid Gold Dancers but instead was simply listed halfway through the show.

Awards[edit]

Solid Gold won Robert A. Dickinson three Primetime Emmy Awards for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lighting Direction|Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Series (two of which were co-won by Frank Olivas). Choreographer Anita Mann was also nominated twice, in 1985 and 1986, for Outstanding Choreography.

Pop culture references[edit]

Episode status[edit]

All episodes of Solid Gold exist, including the 1979 pilot. VH1 aired episodes of this series for a brief time. Neither CBS Television Distribution, CBS Home Entertainment nor Paramount Home Entertainment, however, had made them available on home video, DVD or Blu-ray as of early October of 2012.

References[edit]

External links[edit]