Shindig

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ABC (ended 1966)

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TomAlger

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Shindig

Show Summary

Shindig! was a rock 'n' roll series that ran from September 16, 1964 through January 8, 1966 on the ABC TV network.

Shindig! was created and produced by Jack Good who had previously produced rock 'n' roll TV shows in his native Britain. With such shows as "Oh Boy!," "Wham!" and "Boy Meets Girls," he perfected his type of fast-paced rock 'n' roll series. In 1962, Good produced a pilot for American TV titled "Young America Swings the World" which was originally ignored, but eventually became one of three Shindig! pilots.

Shindig! premiered on September 16, 1964. During its first season, Shindig was broadcast Wednesdays at 8:30pm Eastern. Premiering as a half-hour series, it expanded to an hour in January 1965.

Most of the top American and British rock/pop acts of the mid-1960s appeared onShindig!. The British performers often appeared in segments taped in the U.K.

Shindig! was different from the rock 'n' roll programs previously seen on American television. Shindig's music appeared to be non-stop, often only interrupted by the commercial breaks. And the performances were live...or so it seemed. In recent years it's been revealed that the backing music and many of the vocals were pre-recorded. The music and vocal tracks were recorded a day or two before the episode was videotaped. To make sure that these "mimed" performances looked live, the performers rehearsed numerous times.

Shindig! was hosted by Los Angeles disc-jockey Jimmy O'Neill. Other series regulars included The Blossoms, a female group who provided the back-up singing. The Wellingtons were the male back-up singers. (Another male group, the Elgibles, often appeared in place of the Wellingtons.) There were also the Shindig dancers, a troupe made up of 10 (or so) young women who performed choreographed dances.

Shindig also had a roster of performers who appeared on a semi-regular basis. These included The Righteous Brothers, Glen Campbell, Donna Loren and Bobby Sherman.

Unlike other shows of the time, Shindig! did not have its own theme song. (The 1965 Shindig! LP begins with a "theme" song, but it's unlikely that it was ever performed on the TV series.) Most of theShindig! episodes began with an opening song or medley performed by the Shindig guests and regulars. The medley consisted of short excerpts from current hits, vintage rock 'n' roll songs, along with gospel, country and folk songs. And the episodes ended with a finale, with a different song performed each week.

Shindig ignited a (short-lived) trend in television which could probably best be described as "rock 'n' roll...with go-go dancers." In January 1965, NBC introduced Hullabaloo, a variety show featuring rock 'n' roll guests and Shindig-type dancers. A few months later, the syndicated rock shows "Hollywood A Go-Go" and "Shivaree" premiered. And in July 1965, ABC added Where the Action Is to its weekday schedule. While Action's format was different from Shindig, it did feature a troupe of dancers called "The Action Kids." Shindig's influence can also be seen in two theatrical movies: "The T.A.M.I. Show" (recorded in October 1964) and "The Big T-N-T Show" (1966).

Instead of airing reruns, ABC produced new Shindig episodes for the Summer of 1965.

The finalShindig! episode produced by Jack Good aired on June 30, 1965. Beginning with the July 7, 1965 show, former Shindig director Dean Whitmore took over as producer.

For its second season,Shindig!was split into two 30-minutes shows airing Thursdays and Saturdays at 7:30pm. The episodes from 30Sep65 through 30Oct65 featured guest hosts.

Shindig's cancellation was announced in late October 1965. Dean Whitmore has often been blamed for the downfall of the series. Supposedly, when Whitmore took over, the show lost its pacing. To be fair, most of the episodes that aired from July through October 1965 are actually quite good. Although there were some changes, Whitmore didn't drift too far from Jack Good's original format. It remained a fast-paced show. Even the addition of guest hosts didn't hurt the show too much. Instead of taking over the whole show, the guest hosts usually sang one song and introduced a few of the other acts.

What probably hurt Shindig's popularity was the large number of rock 'n' roll shows on U.S. television by the Fall of 1965. As mentioned earlier, "Hullabaloo," "Hollywood A Go-Go," "Shivaree" and "Where the Action Is" were on the air. ABC also had the long running "American Bandstand." In September 1964, "The Lloyd Thaxton Show," previously a local Los Angeles series, became nationally syndicated. As if that wasn't enough, almost every large U.S. city had its own local rock 'n' roll TV series.

Another factor affecting Shindig's ratings had to have been time-shifting by local affiliates. Many ABC affiliates chose not to air Shindig in its regular Thursday/Saturday 7:30pm time slot (opting for syndicated or locally produced programs). These stations usually moved Shindig to non-prime time hours. While some time-shifting occurred during the first season, it became even more wide-spread for Shindig's 2nd season.

It wasn't until after the cancellation was announced that Shindig's quality started to decline.TheShindig!episodes from November 1965 through January 1966 are an odd mixture of programming. While some of these final shows resemble Jack Good's original series, there were others that looked nothing like Shindig and have nothing to do with rock 'n' roll. Examples of this are the episodes spotlighting Louis Armstrong (4Nov65 & 11Nov65); George Maharis (27Nov65) and Johnny Mathis (25Dec65).

Shindig's cancellation was part of a mid-season reshuffle at ABC, which the network called "The Second Season." The final Shindig aired on January 8, 1966. As if to add insult to injury, many of the songs performed on that final Shindig were presented as sketches saluting the new ABC shows! One of these sketches was a tribute to "Batman," the series that replaced Shindig!

In the early 1990's Rhino Home Video released twelve Shindig tapes on VHS. These were not complete episodes but compilation tapes with themes such as "Groovy Gals" and "Sixties Superstars."


Surviving episodes

--All of the Shindig episodes survive as 16mm kinescopes.

All but four of the Shindig!episodes were originally shot on videotape. But most of ABC's copies are from 16mm kinescopes, which were made during the show's 1964-66 network run. Kinescopes were a videotape-to-film transfer produced by aiming a 16mm film camera at a TV monitor. The quality of the kinescopes aren't bad but they don't match up to the picture and sound quality of the 2" master videotapes.

Here is a list of known videotape clips and shows.

Videotape clips (hopefully, the complete episodes survive on videotape):

--1964 Pilot: Videotape clips of audience members appear on the home video release of "The Beach Boys: An American Band."
-- 07Oct64 (Episode #4): Videotape clips of the Beatles' performances and the Karl Denver finale survive.
-- 23Dec64 (Episode #16): A videotape clip of the Beach Boys performing "Dance, Dance, Dance" appears on "The Beach Boys: An American Band."
-- 27Jan65 (Episode #21) Videotape clips of Bobby Sherman ("Splish Splash") and Glen Campbell ("Dixieland Rock") were shown on "Good Morning America" in February 1984.
--26May65 (Episode #37) The Howling Wolf segment survives on videotape.
-- 30Jun65 (Episode #42) A videotape clip of Jerry Lee Lewis ("Rockin' Pneumonia") was shown on "Good Morning America" in February 1984.

Complete Episodes:
-- 4Aug65 (Episode #47) Dixie Cups / Great Scots / Nooney Rickett 4
-- 11Aug65 (Episode #48) Ronettes / Donovan / Rolling Stones
-- 08Sep65 (Episode #51) Patty Duke / Guilloteens / Searchers
--30-Sep-65 (Episode #56) Mickey Rooney / the Turtles / Lesley Gore

--Note: As mentioned above, all of the Shindig episodes survive as 16mm kinescopes. The above list is an attempt to catalog all of the known surviving 2" network videotapes. It's been reported that some of the above 2" tapes are held by someone other than ABC/Disney, and that this other company may have videotape masters of additional Shindig episodes.

The four Shindig episodes shot directly on film were the two "Shindig in London" shows and the two "Shindig in Europe" shows. The "Shindig in London," shows, filmed at the Richmond-On-Thames Jazz Festival, aired 04-Dec-1965 & 09-Dec-1965. The "Shindig in Europe" episodes were broadcast on 18-Dec-1965 and 01-Jan-1966.

Note: This guide is a fan site and is not associated with ABC/Disney. It is edited by Tom Alger.

Thanks to everyone who's helped with this guide, including:

-- Gary Belich - gary558@yahoo.com
-- Ben Chaput - editor of the RVSP (Rock Video 60s Project) and the RVSP Message Board.
--Charlie Harvey - editor of the Unchained Melody Collection website.

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The Blossoms

The Blossoms

Female Backup Singers

James Burton

James Burton

Himself

Teri Garr

Teri Garr

Dancer (Sept. - Oct. 1964)

Donna Loren

Donna Loren

Herself (singer)

Bobby Sherman

Bobby Sherman

Singer

Jimmy O'Neill

Jimmy O'Neill

Shindig host

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • I loved this show. I couldn\'t watch it at home so I went next door to watch it with my Grandmother. She was cooler than my Dad.

    9.0
    I was just 14 when this show debuted and was into music. I had just become enamored with the music of the \'Stones as I always love R&B from the 50\'s and 60\'s.

    My father hated my music and would not allow me to watch it at home. I used to go to Nonni\'s house next door to watch it. We had a weekly \'date\' with Shindig.

    The show was at the cutting edge, bringing all kinds of music into the living room.

    I particularly remember the \'Stones performing \"Play With Fire\" while hovering over an automobile.

    I remember Billy Preston\'s appearance. His recent death shook my memory of Shindig and all the fun I actualy had watching the show with Nonni.

    I wish that the episodes would be released on DVD. A wonderful show in a better time in life and wonderful guests and performances.moreless
  • Fab.

    7.0
    Shindig was the place to go when you wanted your pop music straight. No having to wait through jugglers or comedians to get to the good stuff. Get on, do your songs, get off. Everyone from Neil Sedaka to the Rolling Stones appeared, and the energy level usually stayed fairly high. But they never got Elvis. Too bad.

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