The Hudson Brothers revival take another unlikely step forward today as the international tastemaking website PopMatters calls to bring back their great lost sketch comedy series, Bonkers!
The Hudson Brothers were pop stars of the Seventies-- up there with David Cassidy, the Brady Bunch, Sonny & Cher and The Bay City Rollers, but lost to time as the three brothers, Mark, Bill & Brett, refused to cash in on 25 years of nostalgia action as they moved forward with new lives, projects and innovations-- Mark as producer and writer for the likes of Aerosmith, Ozzie Osbourne and Ringo Starr, Bill with movies like Father of The Bride and children like Kate Hudson, Brett as writer and producer of TV and films like The Seventh Python and the hilarious influential sports comedy (and Bollywood hit) Cloud 9.
Brett wasn't yet a teen when the trio of Beatles- and Marx Brothers-obsessed rock 'n' rollers came out of Portland, Oregon in the midsixties and played alongside the likes of The Who, Traffic and Herman's Hermits. They were show business veterans by the time they landed in Los Angeles and winding up with the own network TV variety series. And though they were part of the crowd that included John Lennon, Harry Nilsson and various Beach Boys (they wrote their hit Rendezvous with Bruce Johnston at Chez Jay's in Santa Monica), their mainstream TV fame that began with their summer replacement for Sonny & Cher killed their rock 'n' roll credibility, and they rolled into the Eighties on state fairs, Las Vegas and The Love Boat.
And in 1979 they went to England and starred in a series for ITV called Bonkers! Along with Brit comic Bob Monkhouse, the show featured sketches, guest stars and musical numbers, but appeared to be snakebit, for after the airing of four episodes, the rest of the 13-week run was scrapped by a long ITV strike.
But they carried on in international syndication with 24 episodes, were compared to Saturday Night Live and became a cult hit.
And today the website PopMatters ("an international magazine of cultural criticism") ranks Bonkers! as the #1 show on its list of TV that should be on DVD:
"The Hudson Brothers remains the most intangible of ‘70s entertainment entities. Obviously styled after the burgeoning media managed acts that began with The Monkees and ended with The Partridges, the trio of genial musical siblings was pushed into the variety format initially. Yet neither the primetime or Saturday morning kid vid version of their AOR appeal worked. It wasn’t until they traveled to the UK and hooked up with beloved British comedian Bob Monkhouse that they found some smattering of artistic merit. Combining sketches, blackouts, and the mandatory song and dance, this fast paced ITV farce— styled after The Muppet Show— had a short life in US syndication. It deserves a revisit. "The Hudsons' show ranks above The Equalizer, Designing Women, A Cook's Tour, LA Law, and The Prisoner: Cell Block H. Not bad. The Hudson Brother Comedy Hour is already set to be released o DVD. And the surprise new Hudson Brothers MySpace page is running strong.
The next step is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jann Wenner's fiefdom is under severe criticism for its bizarre choices and rejections. (Madonna may be a lot of things, but she ain't rock 'n' roll. Uh, Lou Reed is. And so are The Monkees.) The campaign to vote The Hudson Brothers into the Hall begins here.
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