The number in the title 'ABC Stage 67' referred to the one and only year in which this series aired: the 1966/67 tv season. If it had run longer, would they have upped the number every year? (This was done for the children's tv series "Discovery '62", which became "Discovery '63" in its second season.) At all events, 'ABC Stage 67' was an ambitious attempt to repeat the success of the 'Omnibus' tv series a decade previously ... offering a mixed fare of music, comedy, drama, and documentary. Regrettably, 'ABC Stage 67' transmitted only 26 episodes from September '66 through May of the next year. One other episode was produced but never aired: 'Eat the Document', a hodgepodge of rock-concert footage featuring Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Johnny Cash.
This posting is a review of the 12 October 1966 episode of 'ABC Stage 67', an original musical comedy (in colour) called 'Olympus 7-000', with music and lyrics by Richard Adler ... chiefly of interest for a brief appearance by Joe Namath and the New York Jets.
The songwriting team Richard Adler and Jerry Ross wrote the excellent score for "John Murray Anderson's Almanac", a 1953 Broadway revue that really ought to be revived. More famously, they wrote the songs for two Broadway musicals that have been classics ever since: 'The Pyjama Game' and 'Damn Yankees'. Most songwriting teams consist of a composer and a lyricist, but Adler and Ross co-wrote their tunes and their lyrics. They were proteges of the great songwriter Frank Loesser, who likewise wrote music and lyrics. Jerry Ross died of leukaemia before his 30th birthday, leaving us to wonder what great shows this talented team might have written. Richard Adler has continued to write new material, but he has never recaptured the early success of his teamwork with Ross.
The best songs in 'Olympus 7-0000' are 'Better Things to Do' ( a duet for O'Connor and Newman ) and Eddie Foy's number 'The Three of Us' ... but 'best' is hardly the proper word here. This terrible show was directed by Stanley Prager ( who? ), and the musical numbers were staged by Gordon Rigsby (huh?). If you're a fan of any of the performers in this show (including Joe Namath), be assured that all of them did much better work elsewhere. 'Olympus 7-0000' is hardly the stuff of the gods, although I might consider it a Greek tragedy.