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Ken Shapiro, 76, writer/director/featured performer, "The Groove Tube"
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That Derek
2017-11-28 05:05:16 UTC
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https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ken-shapiro-dead-groove-tube-writer-director-star-was-76-1061812

Ken Shapiro, Writer, Director and Star of 'The Groove Tube,' Dies at 76

2:21 PM PST 11/27/2017
by Mike Barnes

The influential and hilarious 1974 spoof of television marked the movie debuts of Chevy Chase and Richard Belzer.

Ken Shapiro, who directed, produced, co-wrote and starred in The Groove Tube, the seminal 1974 sendup of television that marked the movie debuts of Chevy Chase and Richard Belzer, has died. He was 76.

Shapiro died Nov. 18 at his home in Los Cruces, New Mexico, after a long struggle with cancer, his friend Arthur Sellers told The Hollywood Reporter.

Shapiro also directed Chase in another comedy feature, the sci-fi fantasy Modern Problems (1981), which he co-wrote with Sellers and Tom Sherohman.

The Groove Tube employed a hilarious series of skits that spoofed everything from commercials and public service announcements to talk shows, the nightly news and sports commentary.

Shapiro is seen in the film playing a lowlife pot dealer, a TV clown who reads erotic passages from Fanny Hill to young viewers (after the kiddies are told to tell their parents to leave the room) and a female host of a cooking show that doesn't go easy on the shortening product Kramp Easy Lube.

In New York magazine, Judith Crist wrote that The Groove Tube is "bawdy and bright and glisters with some very satisfying bits of originality from the obvious intelligence and burgeoning talents of Ken Shapiro. … [He] has a very nice gift for taking a squint at television's triteness and seeing any number of oddball possibilities with a bit of a leer and a lot of laughter."

The independent release, which Shapiro wrote with Lane Sarasohn, debuted in the U.S. in April 1974, about 18 months before Chase would hit it big as an original castmember on Saturday Night Live. The Groove Tube, in fact, was an inspiration for the NBC show, according to director Gus Van Sant, who, when he first came to Hollywood, served as Shapiro's assistant.

"There was a big group working for him before I arrived, including Lorne Michaels, who was writing a script for him before he went to make Saturday Night Live, which essentially used a lot of the ideas that were in The Groove Tube," Van Sant said in a 1997 interview with Venice Magazine. "Then when Lorne Michaels pitched the idea for SNL, they invited Ken to go along with them, but he felt like he had other important things to do and didn't want to get involved in what was essentially a pilot, even though it was live skit humor."

The Groove Tube was an outgrowth of another Shapiro-Sarasohn innovation, Channel One, which opened in a theater in New York's East Village in 1967 and later toured colleges. Their news anchorman satire, completed with the signature sign-off line, "Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow," was used by Chase on SNL's "Weekend Update."

A native of Newark, New Jersey, and a Bard College graduate, Kenneth Roy Shapiro began showing up in commercials when he was 2 months old. Then known as little Kenny Sharpe, he was a star in the days of live television and appeared often on Milton Berle's Texaco Star Theater as "The Kid."

Survivors include his wife Kelly, sister Cookie, brother Stanley, daughters Rosy and Emily, step-daughter Danielle and grandchildren Cerulean, Willa, Milo and Romy.

[Here's a YouTube link to Shapiro dancing and lip=synching the 1930s song "Just You, Just Me" at the conclusion of "The Groove Tube." The opening shot shows a newly finished World Trade Center ... and any film/TV show containing the WTC should be cherished]


Michael OConnor
2017-11-28 05:51:42 UTC
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The Groove Tube was such a weird movie. At times very funny, at times painfully unfunny, at other points downright disgusting. This was my favorite moment, a parody of the old Kraft recipes they used to demonstrate on TV, this one for a Fourth of July heritage loaf:


RH Draney
2017-11-28 11:04:11 UTC
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Post by Michael OConnor
http://youtu.be/2qqUjbDSzKM
I first saw Groove Tube in a theatre full of people, on a double bill
with Flesh Gordon...when the following scene ran, you could hear the
audience one-by-one recognizing what they were looking at:



....r
Terry del Fuego
2017-11-28 14:10:44 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
I first saw Groove Tube in a theatre full of people, on a double bill
with Flesh Gordon...when the following scene ran, you could hear the
http://youtu.be/2UuF80YYzPA
Both of those movies were originally shown with X ratings. While I'm
absolutely positive that "Flesh Gordon" was cut for an R-rated
re-release (the terrible DVD has scenes I never saw in the theater),
it's never been clear to me that "The Groove Tube" suffered the same
fate. The MPAA listing says "Edited for re-rating" and there's no
shortage of claims that it happened (including an IMDB allegation of a
version cut all the way down to PG), but I've never been able to find
any details.

It's possible it's a "Psycho" or "Midnight Cowboy" situation where it
was resubmitted with the *claim* it had been cut even though nothing
was actually removed. It's also not impossible that a less naughty
version was prepared and rated but the exchanges sent out the original
prints, either sneakily or lazily.

As for the clip you reference, I recognize what I'm looking at:
Something shot on a 4:3 negative that was intended to be projected
cropped to 1.85:1. I mean, look at how much dead space there is above
that cute little puppet!
Rick B.
2017-11-28 23:35:54 UTC
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Post by Terry del Fuego
Post by RH Draney
I first saw Groove Tube in a theatre full of people, on a double bill
with Flesh Gordon...when the following scene ran, you could hear the
http://youtu.be/2UuF80YYzPA
Both of those movies were originally shown with X ratings. While I'm
absolutely positive that "Flesh Gordon" was cut for an R-rated
re-release (the terrible DVD has scenes I never saw in the theater),
it's never been clear to me that "The Groove Tube" suffered the same
fate. The MPAA listing says "Edited for re-rating" and there's no
shortage of claims that it happened (including an IMDB allegation of a
version cut all the way down to PG), but I've never been able to find
any details.
I took a look at some advertising in the Chicago Tribune, and the situation
becomes...clear as mud. The first run in Chicagoland was on two screens--a
General Cinema twin in the west suburbs and the Devon, a neighborhood house
on the far North Side of the city. The GCC advertised it as an R while the
Devon called it "adults only" but didn't use the X rating. On later runs,
it played with Flesh Gordon as both "adults only" and with an R. It was
double-billed with everything from Allen Funt's X-rated What Do You Say to
a Naked Lady? to the G-rated (and several years old by then) Don't Drink
the Water. Some theaters called it an X, some "adults only." some an R,
many had no ratings in their ads. In early '76 it was showing along with
Monty Python and the Holy Grail as an R, and in '79 it turned up at the
Devon again, this time as an R, billed with the similar-in-concept Kentucky
Fried Movie.
MJ Emigh
2017-11-29 03:33:49 UTC
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On Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 5:35:59 PM UTC-6, Rick B. wrote:
it turned up at the
Post by Rick B.
Devon again, this time as an R, billed with the similar-in-concept Kentucky
Fried Movie.
Just by coincidence, I watched KFM today. I'm stuck at home for a month following a knee replacement, so I've got quite a watchlist of free Amazon movies. I hadn't seen KFM since it was new and had forgotten how funny it is. OK, maybe "stupid" is more appropriate than "funny," but it sure is one of those two things! Now I have to seek out Groove Tube, which I also haven't seen in about four decades.
Michael OConnor
2017-11-29 05:05:43 UTC
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Post by Rick B.
it turned up at the
Post by Rick B.
Devon again, this time as an R, billed with the similar-in-concept Kentucky
Fried Movie.
Just by coincidence, I watched KFM today. I'm stuck at home for a month following a knee replacement, so I've got quite a watchlist of free Amazon movies. I hadn't seen KFM since it was new and had forgotten how funny it is. OK, maybe "stupid" is more appropriate than "funny," but it sure is one of those two things! Now I have to seek out Groove Tube, which I also haven't seen in about four decades.
Kentucky Fried Movie was directed by a pre-Animal House John Landis and written by a pre-Airplane! Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker. It was one in a film genre of unrelated sketches that were a spoof of television shows. There were a couple of these in the 70's that included The Groove Tube and Tunnel Vision. There may have been a couple others, but Landis revisited the genre in 1987's Amazon Women on the Moon.

I always liked Kentucky Fried Movie, the Zinc Oxide education film was hilarious:


RH Draney
2017-11-29 06:35:57 UTC
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Post by Michael OConnor
Post by Rick B.
it turned up at the
Post by Rick B.
Devon again, this time as an R, billed with the similar-in-concept Kentucky
Fried Movie.
Just by coincidence, I watched KFM today. I'm stuck at home for a month following a knee replacement, so I've got quite a watchlist of free Amazon movies. I hadn't seen KFM since it was new and had forgotten how funny it is. OK, maybe "stupid" is more appropriate than "funny," but it sure is one of those two things! Now I have to seek out Groove Tube, which I also haven't seen in about four decades.
Kentucky Fried Movie was directed by a pre-Animal House John Landis and written by a pre-Airplane! Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker. It was one in a film genre of unrelated sketches that were a spoof of television shows. There were a couple of these in the 70's that included The Groove Tube and Tunnel Vision. There may have been a couple others, but Landis revisited the genre in 1987's Amazon Women on the Moon.
http://youtu.be/DaDJdHPykEA
One of my favorite bits too, but not a patch on the courtroom sketch a
few minutes later....

Tip for MJ: while you're making your playlist, see if you can find
"Amazon Women on the Moon"...among the high points, a Siskel & Ebert
spoof featuring LA DJs Lohman and Barkley, the framing movie parodying
1950s B sci-fi (with "that guy" Dick Miller as the sidekick, and a
different release date given each time the movie returns to it), and an
actual Penthouse Pet playing a Penthouse Pet shown as she goes about her
everyday activities completely nude....r
Michael OConnor
2017-11-29 14:42:49 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Tip for MJ: while you're making your playlist, see if you can find
"Amazon Women on the Moon"...among the high points, a Siskel & Ebert
spoof featuring LA DJs Lohman and Barkley, the framing movie parodying
1950s B sci-fi (with "that guy" Dick Miller as the sidekick, and a
different release date given each time the movie returns to it), and an
actual Penthouse Pet playing a Penthouse Pet shown as she goes about her
everyday activities completely nude....r
Amazon Women on the Moon had its moments, such as this:



Terry del Fuego
2017-11-29 14:17:39 UTC
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Post by Rick B.
I took a look at some advertising in the Chicago Tribune, and the situation
becomes...clear as mud. The first run in Chicagoland was on two screens--a
General Cinema twin in the west suburbs and the Devon, a neighborhood house
on the far North Side of the city. The GCC advertised it as an R while the
Devon called it "adults only" but didn't use the X rating.
I don't claim to know what I'm talking about, but I can think of a
couple possibilities. It's not impossible that two versions were
simultaneously available and each theater chose a different one. It's
also possible that the Devon's landlord wouldn't allow an X to be
shown (this can STILL be an issue today) so they got sneaky. Or maybe
they had the R-rated version but management just thought that didn't
go far enough.

As for two different versions floating around at once, I can remember
that happening circa 1970 when "Paint Your Wagon" came off its first
run engagements. It lost about 20 minutes for most of the "popular
prices" showings, but I have a very clear memory of a drive-in
advertising that they were running the "original roadshow version with
20 more minutes of Clint Eastwood!" It's stuck in my mind all these
years because back then I had no clue what "roadshow" meant or that
the version I had already seen had been cut.
Post by Rick B.
On later runs, it played with Flesh Gordon as both "adults only" and with an R.
As a film nerd with an interest in censorship, this is genuinely
fascinating to me and I thank you for looking it up and posting it!

While poking around yesterday I found several claims that "Flesh
Gordon" had hardcore scenes shot, but they were confiscated by the Los
Angeles police because freedom. They were never shown to audiences and
were presumably destroyed.
Anglo.Saxon
2017-11-28 20:30:24 UTC
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Post by Michael OConnor
The Groove Tube was such a weird movie. At times very funny, at times
painfully unfunny, at other points downright disgusting. This was my
favorite moment, a parody of the old Kraft recipes they used to
Post by Michael OConnor
http://youtu.be/2qqUjbDSzKM
That was good...you could just see the getting-angry frustration in the
hands when the stuffing and re-stuffing of the olive pits were going off
the rails. LOL. Thanks
Michael OConnor
2017-11-28 21:40:07 UTC
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Post by Anglo.Saxon
That was good...you could just see the getting-angry frustration in the
hands when the stuffing and re-stuffing of the olive pits were going off
the rails. LOL. Thanks
And at the end when the loafs come out and they're like a couple of concrete bricks and they shatter the plate.
That Derek
2017-11-28 23:52:27 UTC
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Did somebody say "GCC"? All 1970s regular GCC attendees will appreciate the following YouTube link:


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