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STUDIO: MPI Home Video
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 354 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: None
Liberace playing a shload of piano in black and white.
Liberace, his brother George, variouds musicians, dancers.
Before he became the most flamboyant entertainer of his day, Liberace hosted a 1950s television show that showcased him in his prime playing musical pieces ranging from Tchaikovsky, to My Old Kentucky Home to Ragtime and back again.
There are certain titles we reviewers like to pick up here at CHUD just for the chance to abuse them. Discs that we know are going to suck and upon which we plan on perpetrating a vicious critical drubbing. I thought Liberace: Greatest Songs was going to be one of those. Imagine my surprise when it wasn’t. At least not exactly. Doubtless few people under 30 are going to have any appreciation of or even knowledge of who Liberace really was. I myself have vague memories of him on such shows as Carson’s Tonight Show, or Laugh-In reruns or the Muppets. He was a pianist who rivaled Elvis and other entertainers of the 1950s through the 1980s for his extravagant stage productions that featured gawdy costumes, dancers, musicians, animals, et al. He famously said that he was a “one-man Disneyland.”
But this two-disc set pre-dates all that, and is from his television show in the 1950s that simply featured him playing musical pieces of all types, from classical to modern. He would sometimes be joined by other musicians, singers and dancers. His repertoire would include La Cucaracha, Ave Maria, Dixie, 12th Street Rag Moonlight Sonata and Yankee Doodle Boogie among many others. I hadn’t seen Liberace in years and certainly without all the technicolor circus of his act. I was surprised by how much this dude, who was long known for his outlandishness and closeted homosexuality as much as his piano playing abilities, could flat out play damn near anything you could name. Whatever else he might be remembered for (including his creepily saccharine voice), Liberace could torch a set of ivories.
I wish George (Clooney) were here…
This set is little more than a collection of 1950a, Lawrence Welk-style pieces. But if that’s your thing, you might actually appreciate this.
The presentation is in black and white TV standard, that looks pretty good considering it’s almost 60 years old. Sound is in Mono of course, but isn’t terrible. There are no special features.