By this point, it is fairly obvious to Stargayzing readers how I feel about Stairway to Stardom, the local New York cable talent show that ran for almost 20 years and, at least for me, holds a distinctive place on a continuum that includes everything from The Ted Mack Amateur Hour to The Gong Show to America’s Got Talent. But in the pantheon of televised talent competitions, Horowitz & Spector deserve special recognition.
First off I’m living for the metallic jumpsuits. I would wear one right now if you put it in front of me. Fact is, I pretty much wore one in 1988 just like they did. When I watch the clip, I find myself almost reflexively begin to relax. I’m not sure if this is due to the song itself which, for lack of a better title, I call “The Diet Song (Boiled Chicken)”—as witty a piece of special material as many I’ve heard in many a cabaret room—or the question of who is Horowitz and who is Spector, a meaningless point which I roll around my mind over and over like a mantra. I think for people like me who have pop culture-Aspergers, this may be as close to meditating as it gets.
I could go on: the spare-nothing Stairway to Stardom set; the smile of the accompanist in the awesome two-shot with the ladies and the random house plant; the way the women pronounce souvlaki as “Sue Valocky,” like she’s a lady they know from the swim club. In the end Horowitz & Spector sell “The Diet Song (Boiled Chicken)” for all it’s worth; they did a good enough job that 25 years later their chicken is still on the menu.
So tell me Stargayzers, is Horowitz in the silver jumpsuit or the copper?
More Stairway to Stardom:
Stairway to Stardom Redux: “Hairdresser”! A Tribute to Lucille Cataldo
Stairway to Stardom Redux: Dante Sings the “Theme from ‘Exodus’” to Celebrate Stargayzing’s 201st Post!
Stairway to Stardom Redux: A Thrilling Medley and Promo Spot from the Legendary Miss Evie Day!
Stairway to Stardom Redux: Precious Taft Performs a Monologue from Lanford Wilson’s The Gingham Dog
More Chicken in Stargayzing:
Eating With the Stars: Marie Osmond’s Orange Chicken
Eating With the Stars: Lucille’s Ball’s Chicken Sauté
Andrew MartinMarch 25, 2014 at 7:59 pm
Just for the record, it’s Bobbie Horowitz in the copper and Sharon Spector (Schapow) in the silver. I have no idea who the accompanist is. In those days they were most largely accompanied by the late lamented Bob Bendorff. I’ve been friends with these ladies for over twenty-five years and I think they’re fabulous.
David MunkMarch 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm
Oh Andrew I should have just asked you in the first place—of course you would know! I think they’re wonderful too. Sometimes I just watch this to cheer myself up and it works every time. Thanks for reading, as always.
monophylosMarch 26, 2014 at 5:59 pm
There’s something really Allan Sherman about this act–but Sherman’s small store of talent was thoroughly exhausted before the ’60s ended while these ladies are trying to keep the tradition alive still in the mid ’80s.
They obviously love performing with each other, though–you can’t deny them that. However rubbishy their material is, the shared joy they get from performing it together shines through.
David MunkMarch 27, 2014 at 1:01 pm
As I mentioned in another comment. I think their enthusiasm is infectious. Thanks for reading!