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Good special, but...

Author: Daniel Selby from United States
2 September 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This Olivia special was aired for the first time in the summer of 1978 to tie in with the release of Grease. This special though is flawed by the use of annoying children who "act" out scenes in the program. They really grate on your nerves imitating Olivia and her guests. It looks as though the scenes with the children alone were not well rehearsed and taped after the shows main parts were finished. Olivia looks fabulous (as always) and sings a lot of her hits on the program. Her guests, ABBA and Andy Gibb, also sing their big hits. Having this on laser disc I am happy to say you can skip past the annoying children. I hope this is issued on DVD along with Olivia's fantastic 1977 special titled "Just Olivia."

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Olivia (1978)

Author: musicreels from France
9 August 2016

It was filmed on Monday 8 May 1978, in The Columbia Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles and broadcast on Wednesday 17 May 1978 (ABC), USA and it was released on a laser disc in the USA in 1978. ABBA were special guests, along with Andy Gibb, on Olivia Newton-John's TV special. This was during "ABBA Month" in the USA. The songs performed LIVE:- 'Remember The Days Of The Old School Yard' (with Olivia and Andy Gibb) 'If You Love Me' (backing Olivia)'' Dancing Queen' 'Fernando' (edit) 'I Just Wanna Be Your Everything' (backing Andy Gibb) 'Have You Never Been Mellow?' (you don't SEE ABBA on this clip) Please Mr Please (backing Olivia) 'Take A Chance On Me' LIVE 'Shadow Dancing' (dancing along to Andy Gibb (not singing)) Hopelessly Devoted To You (Olivia) If You Love Me (all together)

You also see ABBA singing Money Money Money (not LIVE) behind a large glass box where dollar bills are flying down from the top as part of a board game 'skit'.

The 'jamming' session with Olivia and Andy Gibb included the following:- Help Me Rhonda Barbara Anne Opera bit ("Una voce poco fa" from "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" (The Barber of Seville by Rossini) - Frida Holiday - Andy Gibb Jailhouse Rock What'll I Do - Olivia

Thank You For The Music (with Olivia and Andy Gibb) as the credits rolled. Duration 48:25

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Author: John Hope
21 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Preface: When i was 15, my 20 years old sister recorded the show live into VHS. She is so smart that she managed to cut out in real time all the kids scenes. You can imagine the result: the best TV musical show ever. I have 2 versions, that one, and a complete version. What happens when i watch the second one is that i miss my sister's cuts so much...

Review: Olivia Newton John looks, sings, and acts amazingly. The music seems to be live and to me it's arranged even better than the original songs. I really loved the story of the show: the life time line. The way the songs are sequenced, the way they are modulated and chained is stunning and reflects amazingly the various ages narrated.

And i must mention the production design. The minimalist and futurist design is unique.

And the camera movements are stunning. In the first song there is a single dolly-in from very wide shot to just eyes shot, and back. The light on Olivia is always perfect.

Conclusion: If you want to fall in love (you decide if for Olivia, Agnetha, Frida, Andy, or the music) this show will do the job.

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Olivia's Adieu to Easy Listening Pop

Author: HarlowMGM from United States
23 October 2013

OLIVIA was an ABC-TV variety special vehicle for Olivia Newton-John, then the reigning queen of popular music just as she was hitting new levels of fame with her major film debut in GREASE. The songs are largely in the mode of the easy listening pop Olivia became famous for in the early 1970's, a style she would soon abandon with the release later that year of her more rock-flavored music in the blockbuster album TOTALLY HOT, followed by her even bigger hits in the format with the 1980 XANADU soundtrack and 1981's PHYSICAL. Nobody could have predicted this was the last (for some time at least) of sugary sweet, gentle Olivia singing mostly soft pop music not unlike The Carpenters or earlier stars like Patti Page.

This special has a loose "childhood" theme and since the guest stars are exclusively singers (with the exception of a cameo by Gary Frank of the TV drama FAMILY) the acting largely falls to several kid actors who appear to have been directed to be deliberately amateurish in their delivery, not unlike a school play. It really does not work well but there's not that much of it so it can be overlooked. The hour is packed with music, most of it such in melody form and there's a sensational hits melody with Olivia, ABBA, and Andy Gibb that must run at least fifteen minutes that seamlessly blends their various songs together, with the other performers often singing backup as one artist sings verses from their hits. Later in the show there's a nice roundtable like format as the vocalists sing hits of the past. This will likely be the only chance you'll ever get to hear ABBA do "Help Me Rhonda" or Olivia perform "Jailhouse Rock". There's also a cute bit in this getting to know each other segment when one of the guys in ABBA asks Andy Gibb, "do you have any brothers or sisters?" Soul gossip artist James Cleveland makes an appearance in another segment as he and Olivia sing a hand-clapping spiritual accompanied by a church choir.

This program was later released on videodisc back in the 1980's and may be hard to track down today but it's worth it to for a sweet piece of 1970's pop nostalgia with one of popular music's greatest female stars at the peak of her early career.

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