I am old enough to remember the duet’s appearances on every conceivable variety show in the 1960s and 70s. (By the way, whatever happened to the concept of a variety show?) The Hollywood Palace, the Ed Sullivan Show, their own Emmy-winning show and tribute to Gershwin “Our Love is Here to Stay” –the two were everywhere on television with well-timed, smooth, seemingly effortless performances. They were always smiling, even when their dialogue included the mild carping of a long-married couple. And they were invariably dressed in tux and gown, bringing a touch of class to America’s living room.
To the teenager I was, they were old hat, corny even. No couple could really be that happy all the time. Their music was distinctly of another age, neat not electric, pop not rock. They could make “Let the Sunshine In” actually palatable to older “uptight” audiences rather than the rough mix of pleading and celebration from the “American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” Hair that spoke to my generation.
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