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Saturday Night Live/Paul Simon/Randy Newman, Phoebe Snow
From The TV IV
Paul Simon/Randy Newman, Phoebe Snow is the second episode of the first season of Saturday Night Live, and the second episode overall. It is the first appearance by its host and both musical guests.
- Still Crazy After All These Years: Paul Simon song. At the end of the song, the lights come up on stage, and one guitarist (Chase) starts to cross. He gets tripped up on some chairs on the stage and falls forward.
- Loves Me Like a Rock: Paul Simon song featuring the Jesse Dixon Singers.
- The Berkeley Collection: A commercial for a line of wallpapers, in which former yippie leader Jerry Rubin promotes wallpapers mimicking graffiti-covered walls featuring 1960s protest slogans.
- Marie: Paul Simon song.
- Sail Away: Randy Newman song. Simon prefaces the performance by saying TV appearances by Randy Newman are rare, and he is pleased to have had this novel opportunity.
- The Bees - Cut Sketch: As Simon starts to throw to commercial, the entire cast except Chase comes out behind him, dressed as bees. Simon tells them the bees sketch has been cut, and the dejected cast shuffles off.
- Weekend Update.
- Paul Simon vs. Connie Hawkins: NBC sports reporter Marv Albert covers a one-on-one basketball game with Atlanta Hawks player Connie Hawkins, who has challenged Simon. Albert performs pregame interviews with Simon (who is wearing the jersey number .02 and is 16 inches shorter than his opponent) and Hawkins. In the game, Simon stomps Hawkins. At one point, Hawkins accidentally knocks Simon over, but when Simon stands up, a title card says, "He's not hurt!" At the end, Simon drops to one knee, and Hawkins leaps completely over Simon, who rises to take his final shot for a score of 14-0 for Simon. In the postgame interview, a worn-out Simon tells Albert he's going to return to singing and songwriting.
- The Boxer and Scarborough Fair: Simon & Garfunkel songs. The performance is preceded by a montage of still photos of Simon & Garfunkel together in their younger days, set to the tune of their hit "Mrs. Robinson."
- My Little Town: Simon & Garfunkel song.
- I Only Have Eyes for You: Art Garfunkel song.
- The Muppets - The Mighty Favog: King Ploobis frets over paying the bills, as his country is "on the brink of default." His lackey Scred suggests they go to the Mighty Favog for advice. Favog asks for payment, but Ploobis has nothing to offer, so Favog offers to accept Scred as payment. After Ploobis throws Scred into Favog's pit, Favog says Ploobis is better off with "one less mouth to feed." Favog suggests Ploobis sacrifice more people to him, and Scred pops his head back out of Favog's pit to request they be female people.
- Albert Brooks Film - Albert Brooks's Home Movies: To promote his short films, Albert Brooks shows footage of moviegoers praising "a current movie." Brooks is about to show home movies from his childhood when his young daughter enters to ask if he's "making millions of people laugh and forget their troubles," but she annoys him when she starts asking what every object in the room is. Brooks threatens to call the police, so she bites him. A cop carries Brooks' daughter away, and he turns off the lights for the home movies. In the blackness, Brooks' assistant tries to find his way back to his seat, but there is the sound of glass breaking and arguing until a woman's voice is heard offering to lead the assistant away. The home movies show Brooks as an infant being pushed over by his father to make him laugh, but he cries instead. At six, young Brooks tries to go to the bathroom by himself, but his father traumatizes him by trying to film him. Brooks' father embarrasses young Brooks again at seven when he is having his first kiss and at 14 when he is losing his virginity. After the home movies, Brooks shows deleted scenes from his upcoming short films, including one scene in which he tries to buy an airline ticket while wearing a cow costume, but the joke fails when the airline attendant recognizes Brooks and sees the camera. In another, Brooks crawls into a dryer in a laundromat and tries to pose as a "talking dryer," but a man sees Brooks in the dryer and pulls him out. Brooks ends the film by encouraging people to come up and praise him if they see him out filming.
- No Regrets: Phoebe Snow song.
- Gone at Last: Paul Simon and Phoebe Snow song, featuring the Jesse Dixon Singers.
- Try-Hard 1-11: A commercial for a battery in which five senior citizens are forced to stand in a field overnight with their pacemakers on. The next morning, only the senior with the Try-Hard 1-11 powering his pacemaker is cheery and awake.
- American Tune: Paul Simon song.
"Live from New York, It's Saturday Night!"
- Chevy Chase as a guitarist who has tripped over chairs step up on the stage.
- Still Crazy After All These Years, performed by Paul Simon: The lead-off track and one of three hit singles from Simon's 1975 album of the same title.
- Loves Me Like a Rock, performed by Paul Simon and the Jesse Dixon Singers: The last track on Simon's 1973 hit solo album There Goes Rhymin' Simon. The album was in part a celebration of American music of all forms, and the song, which was recorded on the album with the Dixie Hummingbirds as back-up singers, brings a gospel flavor to the mixture.
- Blowin' in the Wind, performed by Bob Dylan: Released as a single and on his 1963 album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, "Blowin' in the Wind" marked Dylan's shift early in his career from traditional folk songs towards the protest songs which would characterize his album later that year, The Times They Are A-Changin' . In fact, the song, with its musings on peace and freedom, would become one of the key protest songs of the era and would be a high watermark in the rise of popularity of folk music, which would make stars of both Dylan and his contemporaries Simon & Garfunkel. The song can be heard on the soundtrack at the start of the sketch "The Berkeley Collection."
- Marie, performed by Paul Simon: A short love song written by Randy Newman and released on his critically acclaimed, commercial hit 1974 concept album Good Old Boys.
- Sail Away, performed by Randy Newman: A song about an African slave trader which lead off Newman's 1972 album of the same title. The song was later covered by Ray Charles and Linda Ronstadt, among others. In introducing the song, Simon calls it "a song that I wish that I had written." This may be more than simply polite praise on Simon's part—many of his later works, particularly his 1986 album Graceland, demonstrated Simon's fascination with Africa and African music.
- Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, performed by Paul Simon: Simon's first post-Simon & Garfunkel single and first solo 1970s hit. The song provides the soundtrack for the basketball game in the sketch "Paul Simon vs. Connie Hawkins." Hawkins makes reference to the song during his pregame interview with Marv Albert when he says, "Well, actually, uh, I'm probably known as one of the best one-on-one basketball players in the schoolyards, and, uh, I found out through the grapevine that he's probably one of the best basketball players in the schoolyard, and I challenged him to see who's the best."
- Mrs. Robinson, performed by Simon & Garfunkel: The second hit single for Simon & Garfunkel. It hit #1 on the US charts when it was included as one of three previously unreleased Simon & Garfunkel songs on the soundtrack for the 1967 film The Graduate, although the full version was released the following year on their album Bookends. The song was so well-loved that it led off the duo's 1972 Greatest Hits album. It is also one of the few pop singles in American history to have developed an entire folklore around it, some of which may even be true.
- The Boxer, performed by Simon & Garfunkel: The duo's 1969 follow-up single to "Mrs. Robinson," which was later included on their 1970 album Bridge over Troubled Water. In their performance on SNL, Simon & Garfunkel include the so-called "missing verse," which Simon wrote for the original version of the song but was not heard on either the single or the album and was replaced with an instrumental melody composed by Garfunkel. However, after the duo's split, Simon restored the verse when he performed the song live. The lyrics to the "missing verse," which comes between the third verse and second chorus on the single version, are:
- Now the years are rolling by me.
They are rocking evenly.
I am older than I once was,
Younger than I'll be. That's not unusual.
No, it isn't strange.
After changes upon changes,
We are more or less the same.
After changes we are more or less the same.
- Scarborough Fair/Canticle, performed by Simon & Garfunkel: Simon & Garfunkel's first hit single as a duo from their 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, although it was not released as a single until after it, too, was included on The Graduate soundtrack. The song is based on a traditional English folk ballad.
- My Little Town, performed by Simon & Garfunkel: The first new single released by Simon & Garfunkel after their 1970 break-up. This episode marks their first public performance of the single, which was included both on Simon's album Still Crazy After All These Years and Garfunkel's album Breakaway.
- I Only Have Eyes for You, performed by Art Garfunkel: An American pop standard originally written by Al Dubin and composed by Harry Warren for the 1934 Warner Bros. film Dames. The most famous version was the one performed by the doo wop group the Flamingos in 1959, although the Lettermen also had a 1966 hit with it. Garfunkel's cover charted at #1 in the UK.
- No Regrets, performed by Phoebe Snow: A jazz song originally recorded by singing legend Billie Holliday. Snow's version in the show mimics Holliday's brave, defiant version, but the version she included on her 1976 album Second Childhood after the birth of her child Valerie (see also: Trivia: Behind the Scenes: Prelude to Misfortune) is much more melancholy.
- Gone at Last, performed by Paul Simon, Phoebe Snow and the Jesse Dixon Singers: Another track originally released on Still Crazy After All These Years.
- American Tune, performed by Paul Simon: Another single from There Goes Rhymin' Simon. The music is based on a chorale by Johann Sebastian Bach. Since the single's release, Garfunkel has expressed regret that Simon did not write the song prior to the duo's split.
- Pratfalls: This episode was the first time Chase took a pratfall before saying, "Live from New York, it's Saturday night!" (In the previous episode, cast members O'Donoghue and Belushi took pratfalls before Chase spoke the line.) This recurring gag of Chase taking the pratfall and saying the line would become a trademark of his run on the show.
- MIA: Cast members George Coe and Michael O'Donoghue are not credited and do not appear in this episode. In fact, except for Chase, the rest of the cast is only seen in this episode for 28 seconds, in the blackout sketch "The Bees." Only Aykroyd has an audible line in the sketch. ("Aw, shucks!") Chase, too, is seen this episode only twice, first when he opens the show, and again in the shortest WU in the series history at only 100 seconds. Significantly, however, Chase is the only cast member Simon mentions while saying his thank-yous as he closes the show, although he asks if he's forgotten anyone, and an off-camera voice reminds him, "The Bees," in reference to the rest of the cast's only appearance. Simon quickly thanks them and says, "I could not forget the Bees."
- Host and Star: Simon's appearances in the sketches "The Bees" and "Paul Simon vs. Connie Hawkins" mark the first time the host of SNL also appeared in its comedy sketches. Simon's predecessor, George Carlin, had performed standup monologues only in the show's first episode. However, none of the Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players appear in the latter sketch, and the former sketch is a brief blackout in which Simon, as host of the show, simply tells the cast their piece has been cut and apologizes. In these early days, the show's format was still a far cry from the more familiar formula to contemporary viewers, in which the host—whether or not he or she has much comedy or acting experience—appears in almost every sketch, usually in costume or in character.
- Together Again: When Simon announces his name, the studio audience gives Garfunkel a 40-second standing ovation. As Garfunkel takes his seat, Simon asks a visibly annoyed Garfunkel, "The movies are over now?" Simon & Garfunkel were the most successful musical duo in history from 1965 through the release of their final studio album in 1970, Bridge over Troubled Water. In 1970, they split, partly over scheduling conflicts with Garfunkel's work on the 1970 film adaptation of the novel Catch-22. Their appearance on SNL was only the second time they had performed together in public since the dissolution (the first being a benefit concert for Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern in June 1972).
- Vote SNL: As Simon says good night, New York Knicks player Bill Bradley enters to present Simon with an enormous trophy for his one-on-one win. In 1978, Bradley was elected to the United States Senate for the state of New Jersey, where he served until his retirement in 1996. In 2000, he ran in the Democratic primaries against then-Vice President Al Gore for his party's nomination for the presidency, and although he was the leading contender, Bradley lost to Gore. This episode thus marks both the first appearance on the series by a future, former or current U.S. Senator and the first appearance by a future, former or current candidate for the presidency. In fact, the show would rack up an impressive list of both those categories over the following decades. Senators Gore, John McCain, Bob Dole and George McGovern all had appearances on the show (either as hosts or in cameos), along with several others. In addition, all of those men ran for president at least once, as did Al Sharpton, Ralph Nader and Rudy Giuliani. However, appearances on SNL seem to be a jinx for future and current presidential candidates and a booby prize for past candidates. As of 2007, no future President has appeared on SNL, and those past candidates who have appeared on the show appeared only after losing either in the primaries or general election. (Then-sitting President Gerald Ford and then-former President George Bush are the only two presidents to have made appearances thus far. Ford, who was never elected president or vice president, appeared months before losing his re-election race to Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia, and Bush—the only person to have both won a presidential election at least once and appear on the show—appeared two years after losing his re-election to Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas.) It should be noted that, while Bradley is the first senator to appear on SNL, he may not be the first future senator to have been involved with the show for much longer, as Al Franken, a writer for the show since its first episode, has announced his intention to run as a Democratic candidate for one of Minnesota's two seats in 2008. However, as of this episode, Franken had not yet appeared on-screen in the show, although he would do so frequently later in its run.
- All-Music Episode: Of the approximately 66 minutes of showtime in this episode (that is, the time devoted to the show itself, not the 90-minute runtime, which includes commercials), over 33 minutes are comprised of live musical performances by host Simon, musical guests Newman and Snow and/or special musical guests Garfunkel and the Jesse Dixon Singers. This half of the showtime does not include Simon's introductions of the guests or songs and audience applause. By point of comparison, in 2007, musical guest and special guest or musician host performances—introductions, applause and all—rarely account for much more than ten minutes and never more than 20 minutes of any given episode's runtime.
- Crazy Credits: Announcer Don Pardo credits the cast of the Muppets segment over the closing credits, but he misspeaks Richard Hunt's name as "Richard Hum."
Behind the Scenes
- Buzz Off!: The only sketch featuring the Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players except Chase, "The Bees," recycles costumes from the previous episode's sketch "Bee Hospital." NBC executives had expressed confusion over that sketch and asked Lorne Michaels to pull it. Thus, the only appearance of most of the cast in this episode exists solely as Michaels' way of thumbing his nose at the network.
- Prelude to Misfortune: As he introduces her, Simon makes reference to the fact that Snow is seven months pregnant. The child, Valerie, was born in December 1975, and was severely brain damaged.
- Awards: Director Dave Wilson won the Emmy for "Outstanding Directing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series" for the 1975-76 season for his work on this episode.
Allusions and References
- Simon & Garfunkel perform "The Boxer" and "Scarborough Fair/Canticle."