Bobby Darin, 24, tests his flair for showmanship as host of Bobby Darin and Friends, his first TV special Tuesday on NBC. The youthful swing singer, who's delivered such hits as "Mack the Knife" and "Artificial Flowers" promises viewers "a Bobby Darin they've never seen before. Me-- on a mattress of what I am, and what has made me that way."
Just what he is-and is not- Bobby reveals at the drop of an interviewer: "The thread on which I exist is simple directness. If I'm in a mood, I'm in a mood for everybody. I'm not the 'hiya, ole boy ' type...I'm not a social climber. I refuse to be classed. I have the truest type of friends, those of no particular set. They're not in the business as we know it, not entertainers. There is no pacts involved. You don't just pick up a paper and see that five of us just happened to get together for a party. There are no photographers at my parties!"
Of his TV friends--Bob Hope , ballad singer Joanie Sommers, and folk singing duo Bud and Travis --Bobby admits "they're not old friends. But it's sort of a mutual admiration society, which offsets chronological age, in my opinion. "
Answering questions about his acquaintances, apparently split between Darin boosters and Darin critics, Bobby says, "I don't even want to be considered. I'd rather be liked or disliked as a talent. The rest (the personal part) is mine."
And which way will the viewing audience lean? "It'll depend on John Q. People's reaction," says Bobby. "It's not that I have such confidence in that reaction, but I have confidence in my attempt to give John Q. People what he likes."
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