The Bobby Darin Amusement Company
Some of the many characters that appeared on the program included Bobby's Groucho impression; the "Godmother," in which Darin was dressed in drag and interviewed by Geoff Edwards; and "Dusty John Dustin," a hippie poet backed by his drummer Tommy Amato on bongos. Some of other characters on the program were Landesberg's psychiatrist role, in which he comically analyzed Bobby every week; and "Skyway Silverman," a helicopter pilot portrayed by Rip Taylor. One weekly segment, "The Neighborhood" was a popular and significant part of the show, featuring Bobby and Bakalyan as two friends sitting on the front porch stoop of their old Italian neighborhood.
Bobby also showed off his muscial talents that summer too. Backed by his band (which included Terry Kellman, Tommy Amato and Bobby Rosario), Mr. Darin sang many songs such as "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," "Charade," "That's All," "Artifical Flowers," "Talk to the Animals," and "Work Song."
Each week during the summer series, Bobby had different guest stars ranging from Burt Reynolds to George Burns to Joan Rivers to Mimi Hines. He also had musical guests including Bobbie Gentry, Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick and Debbie Reynolds.
Darin's summer series became the highest rated summer replacement show on NBC and received overall good reviews. It returned to the air the following January.
In an interview after the January 19, 1973 premiere of The Bobby Darin Show, Bobby was questioned again about the "brashness" he had been labeled with over the previous years.
"Yes, I have a ego ... it was there and is still there. I can't imagine any kind of performer on a public level not having a ego," Darin was quoted as saying. "There is something about us which needs you people, whether you're in the writing game or just sitting in the audience," Bobby said. "There is a need to turn on the audience and for the audience to turn you on. It's something that makes a complete cycle and fills a void that has to be filled, but when its unfulfilled, it can be very deflating."
Mr. Darin made reference to his reputed chip on the shoulder in an almost unconcerned, taken-for-granted manner. "I used to sit here accompanied by a chip, but I believe that chip has been removed," he confessed. "It's a chip which originated personally and came to translate itself into other channels."
"I cannot suffer certain injustices without feeling my innards ripped off as a result of them. Now we all have ways of reacting, but its a question of how we do it, how we provide a layer of insulation and protection for ourselves."
"I do it by being abrupt with certain people who are seemingly less concerned or involved. It has affected my relations with others and I think it still can."
"As a human being, I am subject to the shortcomings anyone is subject to. I'd like to have them pointed out to me when someone is able to articulate them for me, and I do try to work on them and so improve myself. But by the same token, that's a long time coming."
Bobby also commented on the format changes in his show when it came back on the air in January. "I do like applause and I do like comedy. The extent that the comedy has been lessened resulted simply from the opportunity last summer to test our strengths and our weaknesses."
"I am not a comedian. Flip Wilson constantly reminds me of that and I remind him that he is not a singer."
Speaking about his lifestyle change in 1969 when he retreated to Big Sur, Bobby said, "It was deeply triggered by the death of Robert Kennedy, for whom I worked and whom I had seen only nine days earlier ... I tried to take the philosophy I had been living within all my life and apply it to myself extrinsically -- to really live it and face the reality of it. I found out that I could live far more simply than I thought I could, even with the glossy business I'm supposed to be in."
"I divested myself of material things, which I had accumulated over the years maybe to try to make up for early poverty, and to concentrate on that love which is really compelling -- performing. Next to my son that is, who is the whole world to me."
Summer Star Bobby
Darin: Hit or Miss?, The Philadelphia
Inquirer TV Week, July 30, 1972
and "Bobby Darin: 15 Years Later." Also, check out the TV Appearances Page
(Months of January - April) for more details about the show.
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