But it would be unfair to say all of public access was strict insanity. For a half hour, Frank Masi and Evie Day would entertain viewers with renditions of their favorite Big Band Era classics. "Stairway to Stardom" the original 1979 public-access television show, was described by NPR as "an amateur talent show many see as a low-rent precursor to American Idol.” Filmed "in what appeared to be a freshly carpeted Staten Island basement,” the host Frank Masi would bring on amateur singers, dancers, actresses, and comedians to show off… You can’t turn away from them. It’s not often the otherwise chatty Masi was left temporarily speechless. Replacements. Replacements are made for the same title only. The city is New York. Guilty Pleasure: “Stairway to Stardom,” hosted by Frank Masi (NY Public Access, 1979-1992) “It’s kind of like ‘American Idol’ if ‘American Idol’ took place in a dude from New Jersey’s basement,” Scheer said. Allegedly, he released a couple of singles in the 60’s, one of was a minor hit in Memphis. Falling somewhere in-between the best and worst of public access, you have The Frank Masi Show: Songs to Remember (a/k/a The Frank Masi Nostalgia Show.). Mitch copied every tape Frank lent him. Required fields are marked *. To go along with these changes the show was rechristened Stairway to Stardom. Please tell us why do you think this movie is inappropriate and shouldn't be there: Be the first to review “Stairway to Stardom (1979–1991) starring Frank Masi on DVD”. But he’s otherwise a sought-after professional with Tony awards to prove it. Finally, the fourth category and the one that likely helped earn Stairway to Stardom its cult following is what I call the “surreal acts”. Cool! The later batch of stairway climbers went up on stage (or rumpus room) to belt out their best rendition of whatever adult contemporary hit was playing on the car radio. Acts on Stairway to Stardom can fit in any one of four categories. For a show that had its roots in vocal performances, Stairway to Stardom certainly had no shortage of aspiring dancers. Granted, many of them were kids who may have jumped at the chance of performing a recital for a slightly larger audience. They do provide the minimal recommended daily allowance of entertainment and are probably affable individuals. Filmed at ELA Studios in Manhattan, the set was dressed up to look like your grandparents rec room except with a house-band that proudly boasts a 90% success rate hitting the correct notes. But that’s the fault of an over-enthusiastic special effects operator. It featured singers, dancers, comedians, actors, magicians, ventriloquists, etc., and was hosted by Frank Masi, a nightclub crooner in his own right. Acts falling in the second category are the most common. And maybe his outfit. Those are the optimistic words of the theme song of Stairway to Stardom, the notoriously low-budget TV talent show which ran on Manhattan public access from the late 1970s to the early 1990s.Much has been written about the show already, and there are more YouTube clips than you'll ever be able to watch. Especially since she is seriously in no hurry to begin her rendition of The Manhattan Transfer’s “Operator”. Required fields are marked *. Both were required to provide two channels for public use. (Often referred to as the PEG channels.) Typically I lump most of the stand-up comedy acts in that category. Comes on DVD-R in paper sleeves. A few years later, Star Search would premiere on Metromedia-owned stations. In addition, studio access, equipment and training was to be provided at no charge. Frank Masi was born in 1925 in Philadelphia, PA. Instead, what it eventually became known for was quite the opposite. Growing up, he was strongly influenced by the the intoxicating, mellow big band sound of crooners like Billy Eckstine, Perry Como, Art Lund, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. But thanks to fans, his legacy and that of Stairway to Stardom will live on for a long time. Keep it up! But there was still plenty of singing. The supreme court struck down this rule in 1979, determining it to be an unlawful intrusion into private business. Other times, it can be blamed on inexperience biting off more than it can chew. If there are other titles you are looking for don’t hesitate to ask. Doesn’t matter. The brainchild of Italian-American nightclub singer Frank Masi, this public-access television show shined a low-fi spotlight on the good, the bad and the hopeless of New York amateur talent. Stairway to Stardom is a multi-media infused original dance-theatre work created by writer, director, and choreographer Amanda Szeglowski and her all-female company, cakeface.. With crackling wit and startling honesty, it is a silver-sequined dissection of the American Dream. Presented by Five Minutes to Live, Stairway to Stardom Vol 1-3 features 2 discs (90 min/160 min) full of cringe-worthy performances as seen on the 1980's public access Star Search knock off. And for every one legitimate professional (see above), there were seemingly dozen of amateurs gesticulating randomly enough to technically consider it dancing, but just barely. Stairway to Stardom is a public-access television series that aired in New York City from 1979 to the early 1990s. Masi also claimed that he had been in talks with Metromedia to bring Stairway to Stardom to syndicated television. And with him came an unusual assortment of “talent”. Your email address will not be published. It is likely you’ve been over-stimulated by Raymond’s elaborate dance routine at the end. For whatever reason (be it scheduling conflict or delusion) it never happened. Shipping Shipping is $3 or FREE for orders over $50. Many of them would never have been able to survive under the strict mandates of network executives and sponsor demands. It may have been too late for broadcast channels to turn things around. Read More. Ephemera / Television. Say what you want about Lucille, she did bring the enthusiasm. You would think that there’s really only so far you can take a ditty about your favorite hair stylist before you run out of things to say. And literally anything can be a musical topic as Lucille Cataldo below illustrates. This rule was expanded in 1976 to affect all providers with at least 3500 subscribers. He was barely able to muster up the enthusiasm to alternate between mumbling and lip syncing to Secret Weapon’s “Must Be The Music”. It was described by NPR as an amateur talent show many see as a low-rent precursor to American Idol. Nothing came of these discussions. Comes on DVD-R in paper sleeves. Of course, results varied wildly. Shipping is $3 or FREE for orders over $50. If their performance fits in the “surreal” category, it’s because it falls anywhere between “exaggerated” and “cat murder”. While working the lounge circuit, Frank would meet former backup vocalist Evie Day. Why not!? However, an internet search came up empty. Evie Day moved to behind-the-scenes work as talent coordinator. Gloria Huddle can help. Amazon.com : Frank Public Island Nyc Television York Access Stairway To Masi Staten Stardom Tv New Cute School Five Star Spiral Notebook With Durable Print : Office Products It was to be an audio/visual representation of the thoughts and concerns of the big city’s diverse population – censorship-free. Frank Masi, Self: Stairway to Stardom. It was described by NPR as "an amateur talent show many see as a low-rent precursor to American Idol. Reluctantly, Frank Masi had to shut down production. Feel free any question you might have. "On the Stairway to Stardom/We've got the other shows beat by a mile!" Melissa Ann Ledwon tap dancer tap dancing Stairway To Stardom New York City cable TV channel talent show Frank Masi Evie Day 1985 1980s singing music dancing Mar 30th, 2020 Open in app Frank and Evie took turns in the spotlight for most of the show, only handing the reins to one guest vocalist, typically saved for the back end of the episode. Nonetheless, several local governments still mandated these PEG channels anyway, usually as a condition for awarding contracts to cable providers. According to Masi, there were plans for him to appear as a guest on Late Night with David Letterman to help spread the word. All the same, it’s hard to ignore the camp value. But they’d find demand for their vintage sound had diminished drastically over the years. “It was kind of this magical show. Questions Friedman shared these with fellow enthusiasts and eventually uploaded several episodes to the internet to entertain and bewilder new fans. Buy 'Stairway to Stardom' by shanghaijinks as a A-Line Dress. But this all seems to fit well with the motley crew of entertainers over which Frank and Tillie presided. The only real constants on Stairway, it turns out, were the low production values and the genial presence of old-school crooner Frank Masi. Your email address will not be published. Late 80’s BQ Cable Documentation. ‘Stairway To Stardom’ trailer, with Evie Day (1982). Filmed "in what appeared to be a freshly carpeted Staten Island basement," the host Frank Masi would bring on amateur singers, dancers, actresses, and comedians to perform. Manhattan (the only borough that had cable at the time) was served by two providers: Sterling and TelePrompter. And I assume the Star Search producers set the bar a bit higher than Compleat Entertainer. These are performers who would have no trouble auditioning at their local community theater. Rare discs not available in stores. Made worse by the fact that, without a real audience, the only feedback was the pity laughter of the crew and other performers waiting in the wings. Ships in 24hrs. Stairway to Stardom is a public-access television series that aired in New York City from 1979 to the early 1990s. Each participating student is placed in a band of fellow student-musicians, paired with a professional music coach and given the opportunity to create, develop, and perform at a professional level. Stairway to Stardom. Much of the run-time focused on Frank and other amateur singers stretching their vocal muscles on a quiet public access set. These programs were delivered to cable subscribers without the nuisance of competent production values, coherent thoughts or even modesty. It certainly was a platform for the voices that would otherwise be ignored – but often times for good reason. Cable started as a simple means to deliver over-the-air channels to sets located in areas with poor reception. Shipping Or maybe he’s too busy concentrating on his elaborate dance moves such as the “invisible yo-yo” and the “malfunctioning robot”. The Frank Masi Show premiered in 1979 on Manhattan Cable Television. On May 9th, 1961, FCC Chairman Newton N. Minow called out the National Association of Broadcasters, describing television as “a vast wasteland”. . Let me introduce you to a whole new rabbit hole: Stairway to Stardom. Su Cheng is a kind and tenacious girl with a dream of becoming an actress in honor of her mother. The second thing you need to know is that if you are watching for Push, he is not present for the entirety of the drama despite being the male lead. Great content! But I have to give these acts credit for having the courage to give their dreams a chance to live, even if only for a few minutes. Sure, we poked some fun at their expense. Getting his number was easy. According to Mitch Friedman, the person responsible for both documenting and reviving interest in Stairway to Stardom, Masi is 85 and still living in Brooklyn, though not in great health now. The year is 1979. No need to waste time endlessly browsing—here's the entire lineup of new movies and TV shows streaming on Netflix this month. Maybe they’re bad. New York City was one such municipality. This simple format would evolve by 1981. Stairway to Stardom had all the amateurish trappings of other public access shows: needless special effects, a noticeable absence of blocking, primitive character-generator text and microphones that were were too hot. These are the ones that would fool you into thinking you’re watching a different show, were it not for the constant production gaffes. Happy 2021, everybody. But if you really want to experience the whiplash of emotional cliff diving, I give you Precious Taft. BTC is accepted. Sometimes I wonder if he woke up five minutes before filming. Though, in all fairness, the concept of a talent show/competition is not exactly unique. But often enough, there’s simply a healthy amount of quirkiness lingering inside these hopefuls. Except the dedication to 1940’s standards were long gone. After an astonishing run of 13 years, Stairway to Stardom finally ended in 1992. Hosted by Frank Masi, the performances range from singers, dancers, bands and comedians.... none of them good. If you’re looking for the next, great undiscovered comedy legend, you’re not finding it on Stairway to Stardom. Stairway to Stardom (Closed October 29, 2011) | Off-Off-Broadway - Buy tickets and see show information. Through his show, he shared this positive attitude with other determined hopefuls doing what they loved. If so, you need something to take you down from that high. uploaded several episodes to the internet. Surprisingly uncommon, given the reputation of this show and public access in general. No ownership or endorsement implied. To say it catered to a very specific niche would be a gross understatement. A televised talent show entitled Stairway to Stardom premiered on public access and what an impact it has made! With Frank Masi. But mainstream exposure eluded the amateur talent show. I like the efforts you have put in this, thank you for all the great blog posts. Then there’s the third category: acts that are uncomfortably bad. ... Frank Masi took his lounge act to the dark, underbelly of public access television. He was no longer able to pay the weekly studio and band expenses (stated to run over $400 per week.). Stairway to Stardom is an eagerly anticipated eight-week Summer music program for young, non-professional musicians 10 to 18 years of age. It was flashed on-screen during every episode. This sale is for Stairway to Stardom (1979–1991) starring Frank Masi on DVD. Back in the 1980s, a public-access TV channel in New York City aired Stairway to Stardom, an amateur talent show some see as a low-rent precursor to American Idol. Frank Masi passed away in 2013 at the age of 88. Stairway to Stardom was a public-access television series that aired in New York City from 1979 to early 1993. Your email address will not be published. Meet the cast and learn more about the stars of of Stairway To Stardom with exclusive news, photos, videos and more at TVGuide.com He always had a positive attitude about his career and the hurdles that tripped him up along the way. New York City public access series showcasing amateur musical performers. These DVD’s will play on any DVD player anywhere in the world (Region Free). MF: Stairway to Stardom was a public access television “talent” showcase that aired on New York City cable from 1979 through 1993. Stairway to Stardom, the public-access American TV show from the 1980s, is one such example of unprecedented greatness, thrust upon you as you search YouTube for snuff clips or haul videos or whatever your particular time-wasting niche is. But if “enthusiasm” is something you’re actively trying to avoid, then you may enjoy the performance of Raymond Lucky. Mitch asked Frank for his original tapes to gather clips for a documentary he was producing. Eventually, it evolved into an industry that was able to offer a vast array of choices without the same limitations of traditional broadcasting. Stairway To Stardom trailer cable tv talent show Evie Day Frank Masi 1982 1980s New York Mar 30th, 2020 And I realize that they were probably too young to rationally consider their decision to appear on a low-budget public access show. But Community Access Television (CATV or simply cable television) had a promising future. I refer to them as “competent but unmemorable”. The well-intentioned idea behind public access was for television to finally become a two-way means of communication. Club's "Found Footage" segment claimed that "without exaggeration, it was one of the greatest sh… Despite the shortage of production values and it’s relative obscurity tucked away on public access, the show still found an unlikely fan base. He wanted television to serve the public in a more positive manner. Their material, suffice it to say, wasn’t the strongest. Viewers in awe of the unintentionally offbeat talent show fired up their VCR’s, trading with fellow “Stairheads” – even overseas. Sometimes it’s simply stage fright taking an earnest effort down a weird path. Ships in 24hrs. Describing the show, The A.V. Masi was quick to notice the convenient timing between his meeting and Star Search‘s premiere. The retooled show put more emphasis on outside talent. Specifically, it mostly appealed to older generations who were tired of the slick production values of The Lawrence Welk Show. For some reason, Stairway to Stardom provided a last-ditch outlet to those who still haven’t gotten over the closure of Studio 54. All other images and trademarks herein are utilized under the principals of fair use for commentary purposes. Frank Masi may have not gotten to the top step of that stairway. But I also picture some of them as the insufferable-types who take karaoke way too seriously. And, honestly, it looked like everyone was having a lot of fun. February 18, 2019 February 18, 2019 - 1 Comment. They’re way too bizarre. The two formed a professional partnership. Not that adults didn’t join on the fun. 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