The King Sisters, Donna, Yvonne (Vonnie), Luise. Maxine and Alyce, were often featured on the first season of the Nick Vanoff and Bill Harbach produced ABC-TV Saturday night variety series "The Hollywood Palace." Prior to the second black and white broadcast season of the "Hollywood Palace" variety series, Vanoff and Harbach produced an hour "King Family Show" pilot special for ABC TV (during the month of August 1964). The pilot production staff was assembled from the "Hollywood Palace" creative team, directed by Grey Lockwood, production designer Jim Trittipo, art director Hub Braden, choreography and staging by the husband and wife team, Marc Breaux and Dee Dee Wood, and with lighting designer Jack Denton. The "King Family" special-pilot, multiple (5) camera, was video taped at the Hollywood Palace studio facility with Mitchell Ayers and the HP orchestra. This "special" (pilot) aired on January 23, 1965, following the lead in of the "Hollywood Palace", introducing the mid-"black and white broadcast season" ABC-TV (January-June 1965) one-hour program; the television production was scheduled into the ABC Hollywood Palace Studio stage rehearsing and taping from Sunday-Tuesday, with the Hollywood Palace rehearsed and taped from Wednesday-Saturday. "The King Family" video-taped-series replaced ABC's Wednesday night film-series "The Outer Limits." A new production team was assembled for the new series by Executive Producer Nick Vanoff, with Saul Ilson functioning as Producer. Marc Breaux was the director, who worked with his wife Dee Dee Woods in staging, and choreographing the King Sisters' mob-and-family in all the production numbers. Romaine Johnston was the Production Designer, with Michael Baugh as his art director. Jack Denton was lighting designer. Mitchell Ayers and the HP orchestra served both the HP and the King Family shows. The series featured husbands Alvino Rey, Del Courtney, Alyce's husband, actor Robert Clarke, and her sons, Ric de Azevedo, Lex de Azevedo and Cam Clark. In all, some thirty seven members of the King Family, ranging in age from seven months to 79 years, were seen on the show. Tina Cole, later featured on "My Three Sons," regularly appeared. While successful in its initial B&W season, ABC network trimmed the show to a half-hour "color broadcast" on September 18, 1966, moving its start time from 7:30 to 8:pm (EST) enabling "Shindig" to appear before it. The show's ratings declined, up against Jackie Gleason on CBS and "I Dream of Jeannie" on NBC, but the show had an intense loyal following. The "King Family" show was canceled in January 1967. In March 1969, after the television program "Turn-On" was canceled after a single airing, ABC brought back a pared-down "King Family Show" that focused on a sub-group of the family "The Four King Cousins" - which consisted of family members Tina and sister Cathy Cole, and their cousins Candy Brand and Carolyn Cameron. The color format program occupied the ABC-TV Wednesday 8:30-9:00 pm time slot until September 1969. See more »
King Family Show---still memorable after all these years.
TV viewers either seemed to like them a lot, or consider them corny. Actually the music was highly professional....The King Sisters had been singing stars for years, and were a big part of the series, especially Yvonne, who was the hostess of the show. She's now 88. The sisters' kids, The King Cousins, were musical, too, and went on to spin off a group called The 4 King Cousins, which performed for years. Given the times--the turbulent late 1960s, it was no small feat for the group to star in 2 network series, make dozens of specials, and guest on all the variety shows. They toured for years, as well. The youngest King Sister, Marilyn, is still singing as a solo act. People have wondered about getting DVDS--check out Marilyn's web site. Cam Clarke, who did the station breaks with his cousin Laurette, also has a website (he's a major voice-over star). Cam also markets DVDs of the King Family shows. They were, and are, fun people. Despite the sometimes square image packaged for TV, they were hip individuals. They enjoyed being together as a family, and isn't that what most people, cynics included, want? The King Family act finally broke up in the late 1970s. The King Sisters continued to sing together professionally until the late 1980s. One of the later gigs was the second inauguration of Ronald Reagan.
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