John Denver’s initially stab at Television was a people songs clearly show shot in D.C.

John Denver’s initially stab at Television was a people songs clearly show shot in D.C.

As a university student concerned in scholar government at Northern Virginia Group College or university in Annandale in the course of the 1969-70 school calendar year, I had an abnormal possibility. Numerous learners had been requested to take part in filming a John Denver Television set pilot. My recollection is the concept was a series hosted by Denver with the environment to be the Cellar Door in Georgetown. The dozen or so college students showed up at a studio someplace around Alexandria. A set gave the look of the Cellar Door. For perhaps two several hours John Denver sat and stood on the stage and repeatedly played his acoustic guitar, singing a song, “Something to Sing About.” I also recall his either describing or reciting that the first episode would feature Peter, Paul and Mary. I have not located any reference to the display. Denver’s vocation skyrocketed not prolonged thereafter and I have assumed this challenge simply withered on the vine.

David Grimes, The Villages, Fla.

This individual job might have withered on the vine, but John Denver did not. And the towheaded troubadour experienced a special link to Washington.

The previous Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. (it was almost certainly a excellent thought to alter his title) had developed up all about the region as an Air Drive brat. When he was 13, his mother and father bought him a guitar. It served as a good ice breaker when he moved to a new faculty.

In 1965, Denver dropped out of university — Texas Tech, where by he was learning architecture — to sign up for the Chad Mitchell Trio, a folks group that on Denver’s arrival had to modify its identify to the Mitchell Trio. (Denver experienced changed founding member Chad Mitchell.)

The trio at some point disbanded, but Denver experienced set up himself as a standout existence, producing “Leaving On a Jet Plane” — a strike for Peter, Paul and Mary — and coming beneath the wing of producer Milt Okun.

Okun had labored with the Chad Mitchell Trio. He produced Denver’s solo debut, “Rhymes & Reasons,” released in August 1969. A calendar year previously, Denver experienced recorded three figures for a compilation of classic folks tracks arranged by Okun. The identify of that 3-document set was “Something to Sing About.”

“Something to Sing About” was also the identify of a prospective display centered all around the Cellar Doorway, a famed and significantly-loved new music venue at 34th and M streets NW. And it was the name of the tune Denver done at the opening of the show’s pilot.

Answer Man is aware this mainly because he’s noticed a videotape of that pilot. It is in the collection of Universal Media Inc., an incredible archive of audio materials. The organization — operate out of Alexandria, Va., by Eric Kulberg — does investigation legal rights and permission and clearances for documentaries and museum exhibitions.

The pilot starts with a graphic that reads “Recorded live at the Cellar Door, Washington, D.C.” That’s partly genuine. An in-home data card ahead of that notes the clearly show was generated by Logos Teleproductions. Logos was at 3620 S. 27th St. in Arlington, the place WETA would afterwards find a home.

Kulberg and former Washington Submit pop tunes critic Richard Harrington viewed the pilot and had a handful of observations. They felt the functionality of Peter, Paul and Mary probably was shot at the Cellar Door, although a blue curtain had been set up together the back again wall, possibly to make the performers much more obvious.

The introductory scenes with Denver, nevertheless, surface as if they were edited in after becoming shot in other places, most probably at the Logos studio on a fake Cellar Doorway established.

“Something to Sing About” was created by Dick Cerri and directed by David Silvian. Silvian experienced labored in community television, together with a stint with “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Cerri was a D.C. disc jockey who presented a demonstrate called “Music Americana.”

“I have the tape only due to the fact Dick Cerri produced it,” Kulberg explained. “His brother Bill Cerri was my housemate.”

The plan was that a various selection of folks functions would show up each individual week, taped when they were being in town taking part in the Cellar Door and introduced by Denver.

“Something to Sing About” was shot about the time that Denver obtained a new supervisor: Jerry Weintraub.

Kulberg suspects Weintraub experienced a diverse prepare: To e book Denver on community Television shows alternatively than have him entrance his own syndicated demonstrate.

“I think he was ideal,” Kulberg explained. “I would have liked for Dick to have performed it, but Weintraub was proper in that evaluation. That’s why you have a very good manager.”

About a calendar year after taping the moribund pilot, Denver was staying with Monthly bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert of the D.C. duo Fat City when participating in the Cellar Door. Just one night they played him an unfinished music encouraged by a generate on Clopper Street in Montgomery County, Md.

The trio stayed up late to entire Denver’s 1st strike: “Take Me Residence, State Roadways.”

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