Maybe they’re good. Your email address will not be published. The retooled show put more emphasis on outside talent. Or maybe he’s too busy concentrating on his elaborate dance moves such as the “invisible yo-yo” and the “malfunctioning robot”. If you looked hard enough, you’d find several hidden gems. Replacements are made for the same title only. Great content! The brainchild of Italian-American nightclub singer Frank Masi, this public-access television show shined a low-fi spotlight on the good, the bad and the hopeless of New York amateur talent. And thanks for supporting independent artists through an… interesting year. Happy 2021, everybody. You’d be wrong. These programs were delivered to cable subscribers without the nuisance of competent production values, coherent thoughts or even modesty. Except the dedication to 1940’s standards were long gone. This rule was expanded in 1976 to affect all providers with at least 3500 subscribers. Advertisements and content restrictions on these channels were prohibited. New York City was one such municipality. Replacements are made for the same title only. Questions But they’d find demand for their vintage sound had diminished drastically over the years. He wanted television to serve the public in a more positive manner. Acts falling in the second category are the most common. He was barely able to muster up the enthusiasm to alternate between mumbling and lip syncing to Secret Weapon’s “Must Be The Music”. The first category, as well as the most rare, are the genuinely good acts. For a show that had its roots in vocal performances, Stairway to Stardom certainly had no shortage of aspiring dancers. And for every one legitimate professional (see above), there were seemingly dozen of amateurs gesticulating randomly enough to technically consider it dancing, but just barely. Their material, suffice it to say, wasn’t the strongest. Maybe they’re bad. The host performs too? Stairway to Stardom. Melissa Ann Ledwon tap dancer tap dancing Stairway To Stardom New York City cable TV channel talent show Frank Masi Evie Day 1985 1980s singing music dancing Mar 30th, 2020 Open in app Made worse by the fact that, without a real audience, the only feedback was the pity laughter of the crew and other performers waiting in the wings. Let me introduce you to a whole new rabbit hole: Stairway to Stardom. For a half hour, Frank Masi and Evie Day would entertain viewers with renditions of their favorite Big Band Era classics. However, an internet search came up empty. Cable started as a simple means to deliver over-the-air channels to sets located in areas with poor reception. I like the efforts you have put in this, thank you for all the great blog posts. In addition, studio access, equipment and training was to be provided at no charge. (Although one TV producer responded in kind by by naming a wrecked ship carrying seven castaways after him. ) While often buried by inconsistent schedules, these well-produced programs were quite innovative. On May 9th, 1961, FCC Chairman Newton N. Minow called out the National Association of Broadcasters, describing television as “a vast wasteland”. He always had a positive attitude about his career and the hurdles that tripped him up along the way. The city is New York. Replacements. And I assume the Star Search producers set the bar a bit higher than Compleat Entertainer. If you’re looking for the next, great undiscovered comedy legend, you’re not finding it on Stairway to Stardom. Comes on DVD-R in paper sleeves. Specifically, it mostly appealed to older generations who were tired of the slick production values of The Lawrence Welk Show. In fact, the program began under the title The Frank Masi Show: Songs To Remember and was originally intended as a showcase for the nostalgic song stylings of its host, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 88. Especially since she is seriously in no hurry to begin her rendition of The Manhattan Transfer’s “Operator”. But I have to give these acts credit for having the courage to give their dreams a chance to live, even if only for a few minutes. New York City public access series showcasing amateur musical performers. MF: Stairway to Stardom was a public access television “talent” showcase that aired on New York City cable from 1979 through 1993. Despite the shortage of production values and it’s relative obscurity tucked away on public access, the show still found an unlikely fan base. Eventually, it evolved into an industry that was able to offer a vast array of choices without the same limitations of traditional broadcasting. In 1972, the FCC mandated that the Top 100 cable markets offer up to three (but no less than two) channels for public, educational and government interest. The first thing you need to know before going into the series is that it is actually more of a melodrama than it is a romantic comedy. Instead, what it eventually became known for was quite the opposite. It was no surprise that the few memorable public access shows that graduated to commercial television (ex: The Chris Gethard Show, Beyond Vaudeville) didn’t last much longer beyond that. But often enough, there’s simply a healthy amount of quirkiness lingering inside these hopefuls. Shipping Shipping is $3 or FREE for orders over $50. No need to waste time endlessly browsing—here's the entire lineup of new movies and TV shows streaming on Netflix this month. Allegedly, he released a couple of singles in the 60’s, one of was a minor hit in Memphis. Malaria (1982) with English Subtitles on DVD, Schwitzkasten (1978) with English Subtitles on DVD. Though, in all fairness, the concept of a talent show/competition is not exactly unique. To say it catered to a very specific niche would be a gross understatement. "Stairway to Stardom" the original 1979 public-access television show, was described by NPR as "an amateur talent show many see as a low-rent precursor to American Idol.” Filmed "in what appeared to be a freshly carpeted Staten Island basement,” the host Frank Masi would bring on amateur singers, dancers, actresses, and comedians to show off… Stairway to Stardom is an eagerly anticipated eight-week Summer music program for young, non-professional musicians 10 to 18 years of age. Stairway to Stardom A montage of memorable moments from the entire run of Stairway to Stardom, set to Frank Masi’s performance of “The Way We Were.” Listen to a NPR radio story about Stairway to Stardom here ISU To Face Northern Iowa Sunday will face intrastate rival Northern Iowa Sunday at 2 pm in Hilton Coliseum. Su Cheng is a kind and tenacious girl with a dream of becoming an actress in honor of her mother. Anthony Ciula’s performance (below) might look silly. Stairway To Stardom trailer cable tv talent show Evie Day Frank Masi 1982 1980s New York Mar 30th, 2020 Those are the optimistic words of the theme song of Stairway to Stardom, the notoriously low-budget TV talent show which ran on Manhattan public access from the late 1970s to the early 1990s.Much has been written about the show already, and there are more YouTube clips than you'll ever be able to watch. However, there was one outlet where they were able to put on the kind of show they wanted: the “anything goes” realm of public access. Meet the cast and learn more about the stars of of Stairway To Stardom with exclusive news, photos, videos and more at TVGuide.com To go along with these changes the show was rechristened Stairway to Stardom. Growing up, he was strongly influenced by the the intoxicating, mellow big band sound of crooners like Billy Eckstine, Perry Como, Art Lund, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Rare discs not available in stores. Of course, results varied wildly. Much of the run-time focused on Frank and other amateur singers stretching their vocal muscles on a quiet public access set. Mitch asked Frank for his original tapes to gather clips for a documentary he was producing. Granted, many of them were kids who may have jumped at the chance of performing a recital for a slightly larger audience. It was described by NPR as "an amateur talent show many see as a low-rent precursor to American Idol. A televised talent show entitled Stairway to Stardom premiered on public access and what an impact it has made! Sure, we poked some fun at their expense. Doesn’t matter. According to Masi, there were plans for him to appear as a guest on Late Night with David Letterman to help spread the word. They do provide the minimal recommended daily allowance of entertainment and are probably affable individuals. Falling somewhere in-between the best and worst of public access, you have The Frank Masi Show: Songs to Remember (a/k/a The Frank Masi Nostalgia Show.). Stairway to Stardom is a public-access television series that aired in New York City from 1979 to the early 1990s. Required fields are marked *. And maybe his outfit. Typically I lump most of the stand-up comedy acts in that category. It was flashed on-screen during every episode. Frank Masi, Self: Stairway to Stardom. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Friedman shared these with fellow enthusiasts and eventually uploaded several episodes to the internet to entertain and bewilder new fans. Stairway to Stardom was talent show, ... Friedman told NPR back in 2006 that he tracked down host Frank Masi in the early ‘90s and asked if they could have access to episodes of the show. Stairway to Stardom is a public-access television series that aired in New York City from 1979 to the early 1990s. Guilty Pleasure: “Stairway to Stardom,” hosted by Frank Masi (NY Public Access, 1979-1992) “It’s kind of like ‘American Idol’ if ‘American Idol’ took place in a dude from New Jersey’s basement,” Scheer said. Acts on Stairway to Stardom can fit in any one of four categories. Presented by Five Minutes to Live, Stairway to Stardom Vol 1-3 features 2 discs (90 min/160 min) full of cringe-worthy performances as seen on the 1980's public access Star Search knock off. It was described by NPR as an amateur talent show many see as a low-rent precursor to American Idol. But if you really want to experience the whiplash of emotional cliff diving, I give you Precious Taft. They’re way too bizarre. You would think that there’s really only so far you can take a ditty about your favorite hair stylist before you run out of things to say. Shipping is $3 or FREE for orders over $50. For whatever reason (be it scheduling conflict or delusion) it never happened. Masi also claimed that he had been in talks with Metromedia to bring Stairway to Stardom to syndicated television. Nothing came of these discussions. Surprisingly uncommon, given the reputation of this show and public access in general. Even better were those who wrote their own songs. Unlike the “bad” acts on popular talent shows like that serve as comic relief, Masi genuinely saw a hint of talent in everyone he put on. Meet Frank Masi, your hammy, mustachioed tour guide through his wonderful world of off-beat “talent” acts. Manhattan (the only borough that had cable at the time) was served by two providers: Sterling and TelePrompter. February 18, 2019 February 18, 2019 - 1 Comment. He was no longer able to pay the weekly studio and band expenses (stated to run over $400 per week.). But it would be unfair to say all of public access was strict insanity. Club's "Found Footage" segment claimed that "without exaggeration, it was one of the greatest sh… However, there was no documentary. Please tell us why do you think this movie is inappropriate and shouldn't be there: Be the first to review “Stairway to Stardom (1979–1991) starring Frank Masi on DVD”. Through his show, he shared this positive attitude with other determined hopefuls doing what they loved. The later batch of stairway climbers went up on stage (or rumpus room) to belt out their best rendition of whatever adult contemporary hit was playing on the car radio. Viewers in awe of the unintentionally offbeat talent show fired up their VCR’s, trading with fellow “Stairheads” – even overseas. Evie Day moved to behind-the-scenes work as talent coordinator. Then there’s the third category: acts that are uncomfortably bad. ... Frank Masi took his lounge act to the dark, underbelly of public access television. Not that adults didn’t join on the fun. But Community Access Television (CATV or simply cable television) had a promising future. Stairway to Stardom was a public-access television series that aired in New York City from 1979 to early 1993. A few years later, Star Search would premiere on Metromedia-owned stations. Ships in 24hrs. Late 80’s BQ Cable Documentation. The supreme court struck down this rule in 1979, determining it to be an unlawful intrusion into private business. The year is 1979. The only real constants on Stairway, it turns out, were the low production values and the genial presence of old-school crooner Frank Masi. Both were required to provide two channels for public use. I refer to them as “competent but unmemorable”. Hosted by Frank Masi, the performances range from singers, dancers, bands and comedians.... none of them good. Inspired, Masi spent his evenings as a lounge singer. And I realize that they were probably too young to rationally consider their decision to appear on a low-budget public access show. The second thing you need to know is that if you are watching for Push, he is not present for the entirety of the drama despite being the male lead. Filmed at ELA Studios in Manhattan, the set was dressed up to look like your grandparents rec room except with a house-band that proudly boasts a 90% success rate hitting the correct notes. For some reason, Stairway to Stardom provided a last-ditch outlet to those who still haven’t gotten over the closure of Studio 54. If their performance fits in the “surreal” category, it’s because it falls anywhere between “exaggerated” and “cat murder”. Mitch copied every tape Frank lent him. Each participating student is placed in a band of fellow student-musicians, paired with a professional music coach and given the opportunity to create, develop, and perform at a professional level. uploaded several episodes to the internet. “That was beautiful, Precious” – Frank Masi The Cult of Stairway. Read More. If there are other titles you are looking for don’t hesitate to ask. One fan, Mitch Friedman, managed to get in touch with Frank Masi. These are the ones that would fool you into thinking you’re watching a different show, were it not for the constant production gaffes. But I also picture some of them as the insufferable-types who take karaoke way too seriously. Frank Masi may have not gotten to the top step of that stairway. It was to be an audio/visual representation of the thoughts and concerns of the big city’s diverse population – censorship-free. But if “enthusiasm” is something you’re actively trying to avoid, then you may enjoy the performance of Raymond Lucky. And, honestly, it looked like everyone was having a lot of fun. Your email address will not be published. Stairway to Stardom is a multi-media infused original dance-theatre work created by writer, director, and choreographer Amanda Szeglowski and her all-female company, cakeface.. With crackling wit and startling honesty, it is a silver-sequined dissection of the American Dream. The two formed a professional partnership. But he’s otherwise a sought-after professional with Tony awards to prove it. After an astonishing run of 13 years, Stairway to Stardom finally ended in 1992. (Often referred to as the PEG channels.) But that’s the fault of an over-enthusiastic special effects operator. BTC is accepted. It certainly was a platform for the voices that would otherwise be ignored – but often times for good reason. Keep it up! Finally, the fourth category and the one that likely helped earn Stairway to Stardom its cult following is what I call the “surreal acts”. This simple format would evolve by 1981. Buy 'Stairway to Stardom' by shanghaijinks as a Essential T-Shirt These DVD’s will play on any DVD player anywhere in the world (Region Free). Why not!? According to Mitch Friedman, the person responsible for both documenting and reviving interest in Stairway to Stardom, Masi is 85 and still living in Brooklyn, though not in great health now. At first Stairway to Stardom was almost indistinguishable from Masi’s previous effort. Frank Masi was born in 1925 in Philadelphia, PA. Amazon.com : Frank Public Island Nyc Television York Access Stairway To Masi Staten Stardom Tv New Cute School Five Star Spiral Notebook With Durable Print : Office Products Shipping It may have been too late for broadcast channels to turn things around. Reluctantly, Frank Masi had to shut down production. But before long, the call for participants started bringing in those with more aspiration than talent. Feel free any question you might have. BTC is accepted. Stairway To Stardom (1984) - Don Costello does his "Mahna Mahna" bit All the same, it’s hard to ignore the camp value. Your email address will not be published. And with him came an unusual assortment of “talent”. Frank and Evie took turns in the spotlight for most of the show, only handing the reins to one guest vocalist, typically saved for the back end of the episode. While working the lounge circuit, Frank would meet former backup vocalist Evie Day. With Frank Masi. It featured singers, dancers, comedians, actors, magicians, ventriloquists, etc., and was hosted by Frank Masi, a nightclub crooner in his own right. Back in the 1980s, a public-access TV channel in New York City aired Stairway to Stardom, an amateur talent show some see as a low-rent precursor to American Idol. If so, you need something to take you down from that high. “It was kind of this magical show. Frank Masi passed away in 2013 at the age of 88. It’s not often the otherwise chatty Masi was left temporarily speechless. AOL.TV described it thusly: “Starting in 1979, Brooklyn resident Frank Masi created and hosted a program on local New York television called Stairway To Stardom. The well-intentioned idea behind public access was for television to finally become a two-way means of communication. Required fields are marked *. No ownership or endorsement implied. Describing the show, The A.V. Stairway to Stardom had their small cult of fans and a handful of curious onlookers. Super high-quality! But this all seems to fit well with the motley crew of entertainers over which Frank and Tillie presided. Many of them would never have been able to survive under the strict mandates of network executives and sponsor demands. ‘Stairway To Stardom’ trailer, with Evie Day (1982). Masi was quick to notice the convenient timing between his meeting and Star Search‘s premiere. Cool! This sale is for Stairway to Stardom (1979–1991) starring Frank Masi on DVD. And literally anything can be a musical topic as Lucille Cataldo below illustrates. These are performers who would have no trouble auditioning at their local community theater. Original content Copyright ©2020 TeeVee Games. Stairway to Stardom (Closed October 29, 2011) | Off-Off-Broadway - Buy tickets and see show information. . Gloria Huddle can help. Filmed "in what appeared to be a freshly carpeted Staten Island basement," the host Frank Masi would bring on amateur singers, dancers, actresses, and comedians to perform. But there was still plenty of singing. Stairway to Stardom, the public-access American TV show from the 1980s, is one such example of unprecedented greatness, thrust upon you as you search YouTube for snuff clips or haul videos or whatever your particular time-wasting niche is. Comes on DVD-R in paper sleeves. But mainstream exposure eluded the amateur talent show. You can’t turn away from them. Ships in 24hrs. Ephemera / Television. These DVD’s will play on any DVD player anywhere in the world (Region Free). Nonetheless, several local governments still mandated these PEG channels anyway, usually as a condition for awarding contracts to cable providers. Say what you want about Lucille, she did bring the enthusiasm. Buy 'Stairway to Stardom' by shanghaijinks as a A-Line Dress. Sometimes I wonder if he woke up five minutes before filming. But thanks to fans, his legacy and that of Stairway to Stardom will live on for a long time. Your email address will not be published. "On the Stairway to Stardom/We've got the other shows beat by a mile!" Frank’s wife, Tillie, took over co-hosting (but not performance) duties. All other images and trademarks herein are utilized under the principals of fair use for commentary purposes. Sometimes it’s simply stage fright taking an earnest effort down a weird path. That had its roots in vocal performances, Stairway to Stardom was almost indistinguishable from Masi s... The Lawrence Welk show a televised talent show many see as a lounge.. Talent coordinator material, suffice it to say, wasn ’ t know by the way to gather for. Some fun at their local Community theater hesitate to ask young to rationally consider their decision to on! Channels. ) taking an earnest effort down a weird path standards long... 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