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"Fame" Looks at Music '83

Special episode of the cast's first American concert, from the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium performing Music from 1983. The concert was performed at 4.00pm & 7.30pm on December 29th 1983. Starring Debbie Allen, Cynthia Gibb, Billy Hufsey, Carlo Imperato, Valerie Landsburg, Gene Anthony Ray  and the Fame Dancers. With special Guest Star Irene Cara and the Waters Family on backing vocals.

My Review
This episode was not screened here in the U.K. by the BBC as part of season 3. It was shown months later just after Christmas as a one off special, a year after it had originally been made. It was weird because the cast were celebrating 1983 and we were at the end of 1984 just about to start 1985.

At that point Fame’s popularity in the U.K. had greatly decreased. There were no more albums, singles, concerts, magazines and not so much interest in the show from the media. So after the 3rd series had completed here there felt like a very long fame free gap until the 4th season started and the screening of this episode bridged the gap some what.

I knew the cast had done the shows in Santa Monica because the Fame magazine did a whole report about it and printed a couple of pictures but I didn’t know that it was actually to be screened as an episode. I remember seeing Fame in the TV listing but it didn’t give any information about this show so at first I didn’t even know what they were showing and thought it might just be a repeat of the one of the other episodes espeically as it now had a Saturday morning time slot and normally the episodes were shown in the evening. When I started to watch and realised what it was I was really excited.

I love 80s music and 1983 was a great year. By this time I had started to buy records and this show features many of my favourites. It was great to see the cast doing other peoples songs instead of the usual songs from their albums. This show has a great upbeat feel to it. I love the music and the clothes the cast are wearing are great too especially those different coloured jumpsuit type things at the beginning. For me this is the best of all the concert episodes.

The opening medley is brilliant and 1999 was a great anthem to open the show. I love Debbie’s version of “Sweet Dreams” too. Sadly Cynthia doesn’t really get a song of her own and just duets with Carlo although for me it always felt that it was his song and she was helping him out. Sadly the medley fades out and we don’t actually get to see the end.

By the time this episode was made Erica had left the show so sadly isn’t here but they do bring on Irene Cara as a special guest. Also Lee is missing and the Fame magazine reported that he was working on his solo album. They had also reported that at the beginning of December 1983 he was in the U.K. talking to record companies about releasing his solo album. I don’t know what ever happened to that because it never seemed to get released.

All the cast get a solos and they pick some great songs that really suit them.

I was a big fan of Pat Benatar so loved that Valerie covered “Love is a Battlefield”, the lighting during Val’s performance is good too. Val’s voice just gets better and better.

I’m not particularly keen on “Tell Her About It” but Carlo puts in a good performance.

Irene performs her hit “Why Me”, which I always liked but on my version of this episode the song just cuts off midway through and the programme went to adverts. So after watching this episode I downloaded it again and can see that in the original she does get to perform the whole song. It’s a little frustrating the channel it was shown on here edited the show.

I really love Billy’s version of “Maniac” and that’s one of my favourite songs and he puts in a pretty crazy performance.

I also love the little speech that Cynthia gives before she sings, it’s so sweet. I didn’t know “Take Me To Heart”, but really like “Heartattack”.

Interesting that Debbie gets 3 songs in her medley instead of the 2 the other girls got. Still it was a good tribute to Michael Jackson. The Fame magazine reported that Billy introduced this song but obviously they cut that part out of the episode.

I didn’t know “Cold Blooded” which Gene performed as I don’t think it was a hit over here but quickly came to enjoy it. Gene looked to be having great fun, shaking his thing!

The ballad medley towards the end is also a highlight for me. I was always a big fan of Lionel Richie’s “You Are” and Debbie and Gene’s version is lovely. Gene really does seem to have a great respect and love for Debbie. It’s also great when all 6 cast members are singing together on “Never Gonna Let You Go”.

Then it’s the movie medley and “What A Feelin” has to be one of the best songs of the 80s. The song “Far From Over” is such an energetic song and the dancers using little trampolines to get extra height when they jump is really effective. Debbie seems to be working very hard.

Then sadly it’s over as “Fame” rings out through the hall and the cast leave through the audience shaking hands and kissing members of the audience. Oh I would have loved to have been there or had the cast bring this show to the U.K.

The Fame Magazine reported that Valerie sang “Every Breathe You Take” with Michael Delorenzo but sadly that is edited out of this show. They also stated that the whole cast performed “Goodbye” after “Far From Over” but I don’t know if this was a song or just everyone saying goodbye. I would have so loved to see these things and wonder if they are still in the archives.

Episode Pictures 

Production number 2777
Written By Ken Erhlich
Directed by Walter C Miller
Concert Staged and Choreographed by Debbie Allen
Original U.S. air date 28th January 1984
Original U.K. air date 29th December 1984
Guest Stars
The Waters: Julia, Luther, Maxine, and Oren.
The fame Dancers: Derrick Brice, Michael DeLorenzo, Darryl DeWald, Cameron English, Leanne Gerrish, Kimberlee Layton, Joni Palmer, Marguerite Pomerhn, Eartha D. Robinson, Serge Rodnunsky, Allysia Sneed, Bronwyn Thomas, Darryl Tribble, Rocker Verastique, and Margaret Williams.
"1999" – Performed by the Waters (Originally by Prince)
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" – Performed by Debbie Allen (Originally by The Eurythmics)
"Electric Avenue" – Performed by Gene Anthony Ray (Originally by Eddy Grant)
"Gloria" – Performed by Valarie Landsburg (Originally by Laura Branigan)
"Little Red Corvette" – Performed by Cynthia Gibb and Carlo Imperato (Originally by Prince)
"Puttin' on the Ritz" – Performed by Billy Hufsey (Originally by Taco)
"All Night Long (All Night)" – Performed by the Band (Originally by Lionel Richie)
"Total Eclipse of the Heart" – Performed by Valarie Landsburg (Originally by Bonnie   
"Love Is a Battlefield" – Performed by Valarie Landsburg (Originally by Pat Benatar)

"Tell Her About It" – Performed by Carlo Imperato (Originally by Billy Joel)

"Why Me?" – Performed by Irene Cara
"Maniac" – Performed by Billy Hufsey (by Michael Sembello)
"Take Me to Heart" – Performed by Cynthia Gibb (Originally by Quarterflash)
"Heart Attack" – Performed by Cynthia Gibb (Originally by Olivia Newton-John)
"Beat It" – Performed by Debbie Allen
"Baby Be Mine" – Performed by Debbie Allen
"Billie Jean"
"Cold Blooded" – Performed by Gene Anthony Ray (Originally by Rick James)
"We've Got Tonight" – Performed by Cynthia Gibb and Billy Hufsey (Originally by Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton)
"You Are" – Performed by Debbie Allen and Gene Anthony Ray (Originally by Lionel Richie)
"Never Gonna Let You Go" – Performed by Carlo Imperato, Valarie Landsburg and Cast (Originally by Sergio Mendes)
"Flashdance... What a Feeling" – Performed by Irene Cara
"Up Where We Belong" – Performed by The Waters (Originally by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes)
"Far from Over" – Performed by the The Waters (Originally by Frank Stallone)
"Fame"  – Performed by Irene Cara and Cast

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