The reproduction quality of these "Hollywood a Go Go" clips on You Tube keeps getting better. This one, with Chuck Berry going through extravagant motions on a lip-synch of "Maybellene," was taped in the KHJ Channel 9 basement on May 15, 1965 and aired here and across the U.S. a week later. That's Lucille Wills of the Gazzarri Dancers up on stage with Berry, and Deanna Mollner dancing in front of the stage. "Finally got this clip in HD," Mollner posted on Facebook over the weekend. "So good and loved dancing in front of Chuck Berry!!"
This was a pretty big night on the "Hollywood a Go Go" stage, the website Gazzarri Dancers.com recalls. Besides Berry, the Rolling Stones made their first and only appearance on the show. "It appears that KHJ realized that they had scored a major coup by getting these two acts on the same show," says the site. "The audience dancers seem to be among the best culled from previous episodes." The Stones also got to spend some backstage time with Berry, apparently.
Donalie Fitzgerald, the associate producer of "Hollywood a Go Go" at the time, says in her book, "If You Fall Down, Pick Yourself Up Like A Lady," that she used her own car to pick up the Stones at the Ambassador Hotel since the show had no limo budget. When the band arrived at the TV studio near Paramount teenaged girls swarmed and the band rushed inside. But when the Stones came on stage to lip-synch their three songs, the cameramen were quickly told to move in and only shoot them from the waist up. Or down. You can see how close the cameras are to the band.
From Fitzgerald at the Gazzarri Dancers website:
Nobody noticed them, not until they were in place, on camera, live. Every one of them had removed his socks, rolled them up, and stuck them in their respective crotches. It was a grotesque look anywhere, and this was a teenage television show, live, on the air. No makeup, no rehearsal, no socks. Just large bulges where their penises might have been.
It disgusted me. From the control room, we told all three cameramen to stay away from the Stones' pants' bulges. We saw a lot of Mick's spindly, flailing, dancing tennis shoes that day.
Years later, my daughter Valerie encountered Bill Wyman at a Paris cocktail party, and she reminded him of that California day. His reply was, 'Oh, yeah, your mum was the one who made me take me bubble gum out of me mouth'."
Note: "Hollywood a Go Go" never aired live. And apparently there were some retakes on "The Last Time" because of some play between Brian Jones and the camera.
That is Gazzarri Dancer Dale Vann prominent at the start of "Playing With Fire," and Mollner with host Sam Riddle at the end.
Previously on LA Observed:
June Fairchild, 68, Gazzarri Dancer on TV and actress