Upbeat (TV series)
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|Also known as||The Big Five Show|
|Presented by||Don Webster|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Production company(s)||Herman Spero Productions|
|Original channel||WEWS-TV (1964-?)
|Picture format||Black-and-white (1964–1967)
|Original run||1964 – 1971|
Upbeat was a syndicated musical variety show produced in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, at WEWS-TV (ABC) that aired from 1964 to 1971 which spotlighted on the performers and their hit songs of the 1960s Top 40 pop music genre which was common on such AM radio stations as WIXY in Cleveland and CKLW in Windsor, Ontario, the dominant formatted stations in that region during that particular time.
As such, the series was possibly inspired by Ready Steady Go! (a predecessor series produced in England by ITV) and by American Bandstand as many of the featured performers would often lip-sync to their hit singles (without the audience dancing or similar elements), and was a predecessor of Shindig! which aired on ABC from 1964 to 1966 and Hullabaloo on NBC from 1965 to 1966.
Originally titled as "The Big Five Show" a local program when it premiered in 1964 and was a reference to WEWS Channel 5 and the 5 to 6 pm time slot on Saturday afternoons. When the program became syndicated nationally, stations had the option of airing the program at different times, hence the program's title change and deletion of the Channel 5 and local air time references.
The introduction of the program commenced with a studio musician shouting "HEY LET'S GO WITH THE UPBEAT SHOW!" as the in-house band, Dave C and The Sharptones, would play the introductory theme song with the program's main title logo (done in Viking stencil font) slowly exploding and coming back together again in a quasi-animated frame by frame fashion as the performers were announced for that particular episode. Ironically, the logo was almost similar to the logo of WIXY. The series was aired in black and white from 1964 until 1967, then broadcast in color from 1967 until the series demise in 1971.
The program's host, Don Webster, was a familiar face to WEWS viewers. In addition to hosting "Upbeat," Webster was a WEWS weatherman and also hosted several musical specials, one from Sandusky's Cedar Point in 1966 and one from Expo 67 in Montreal in 1967, bringing with him an entourage of performers from the 1960s Top 40 era.
Local and area performers
In addition to such local talent as The Rapid Transit, The GTOs, The Grasshoppers, The Baskerville Hounds, Bocky and The Visions, The Damnation of Adam Blessing, The James Gang and Raspberries founder Eric Carmen, many regional performers gaining national exposure also appeared on the show including Question Mark & the Mysterians, Terry Knight and the Pack, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, The Bob Seger System, Cleveland's The Outsiders and Canton's O'Jays .
During years when "Go-Go" was popular, the show featured its own go-go girls made up of area young ladies dressed in the popular outfits and footwear of that period.
Headliner performers performing on "Upbeat" (partial listing)
- James Brown
- The Box Tops
- The Who
- Stevie Wonder
- The Rolling Stones
- The First Edition
- B.B. King
- The Miracles
- The Pink Floyd
- The Impressions
- Bobby Sherman
- The Left Banke
- The Vogues
- The Monkees
- Otis Redding with The Bar-Kays (Appeared on December 9, 1967; Redding and 4 members of The Bar-Kays died in a plane crash the next day)
- The Yardbirds
- Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich
- The O'Jays
- The Barbarians
- Blue Cheer
- Jefferson Airplane
- Little Anthony and the Imperials
- Inez & Charlie Foxx
- Lesley Gore
- Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
- Jerry Lee Lewis
- Paul Revere and The Raiders
- The Shadows of Knight
- The Music Explosion
- The Fifth Estate (band)
- Richard and the Young Lions - 2 appearances
- The Shangri-Las
- The Velvet Underground (1969) - This is believed to have been the band's only national TV appearance.
- Jerry Butler
- Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan
- Arlene Fine. "And the Upbeat’ show goes on". Retrieved 2010-05-29.
- Deanna R. Adams. "Rock 'n' roll and the Cleveland connection, page 63". Retrieved 2010-06-06.
3. Constance Gibson "She Can Go Where Pretty Girls Go" See "Upbeat" tribute page[where?]