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Country Comes Home (1982)
What a lineup! A "Who's who" from the early 1980's!
Johnny Cash open the 1981 show with a song written for the event, taped at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The song mentions most of the performers appearing and Cash shakes hands with the audience members as he sings it. Later, he and June Carter appear in one of several tributes to the earliest country music. Other highlights include Doug Kershaw and his fiddle with the "Battle of 1814", Roy Clark who plays "Dueling Banjos" by himself, a star studded tribute to Hank Williams led by his son Hank, Jr., plus the Dirt Band with "Make a Little Magic". The Statlers also do a neat bit where the show what they might have sounded like had they lived in earlier eras. All this, plus Glen Campbell & young Tanya Tucker, Crystal Gayle, Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama, the Gatlins, Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff, Hoagy Carmichael, Charlie Pride, and many more make this a can't miss for vintage country music fans. It's hard to find, but worth the effort!
Everything that could go wrong did!
This was the year of the mishap at the Oscars. Sound cues were missed, and film clips that were to be shown could not be found. The audio of the live telecast was substandard and you could often hear the crew yelling at each other and haphazardly moving things abound behind the curtain over the poor presenters on stage, already stumbling through the moldy jokes given to them by the show's "writers". The Best Song nominees, with accompanying performances that have in the past been show highlights, provided no such relief this night as each nominated tune was mediocre at best, with the live performances only underscoring this as they ran the gamut from awful (Melissa Manchester and her latest clichéd piano schmaltz) to ghastly (Sandahl Bergman's interpretive dance to the sounds of "Eye of the Tiger" from Rocky III) Further, the pastels of 1980's fashion were in full bloom all over the garish garden of the evening's attire (much glitter, too!) as was the massive amounts of hair spray topping off the big hairdos, many soon to evolve into full-blown mullets. (Take that, intelligent design!). Finally, in a departure from then regular host Johnny Carson, the show tried a novel approach with four hosts who unfortunately, were slated to open the show with a spectacular musical number: Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore, Richard Pryor, and Walter Matthau. Always a trooper, Liza did her best, but Matthau clearly had not learned the song, and Pryor, well, there are several reasons why he may have mumbled through his portion, but none excuse his butchery. The look on Liza's face as she realizes the whole thing is an unmitigated disaster even as she nevertheless presses on is utterly priceless. Finally, co-host's Moore and Pryor clearly hated each other and their awkward banter with one another leads to ad-libs that quickly degenerate into each man boasting to the other about how much they are paid per film. Very tacky, but then, it set the stage for what must be among the most worst Award shows ever, and not limited to mere Oscar telecasts.