This week on The Obscurity Factor, in honor of the season, we'll be featuring some obscure holiday television specials and movies.
Early on in her career, Liza Minnelli did this odd little holiday special for ABC. It was produced by General Electric, with rather cardboard production values and also starred veteran English actor Cyril Richard, crooner Vic Damone and, strangely enough, rock band The Animals, well cast as the wolf's cronies. The story line is the familiar fairy tale updated and set at Christmas time with new music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Bob Merrill, and the twist of it being told from the wolf's (Cyril Richard) point of view. Ms. Minnelli displays the amazing energy of youth (she was 19) and the numbers are charmingly choreographed and executed. Mr. Richard lends a comically erudite quality to the wolf that has to be seen to be believed. The Animals have only one solo song but it's lots of fun and really contrasts with the big band arrangements of all the other numbers, pointing up the tension that was mounting between the establishment and youth culture at the time.
The upload to DailyMotion from NilbogLAND is in black and white, though the original production was broadcast in color. Here's the first installment. There is also a DVD available that's in black and white as well. It was obviously thrown together to capitalize on the names involved and has received some scathing reviews on Amazon.com for it's lack of remastering. But if you're a hard core Liza fan, it might be worth it!
Obscurity factor: 7 (largely unknown, available on DVD, full version on DailyMotion)