Jamboree (1957): Roy Lockwood’s Plotless Musical Film

Jamboree takes its name from a phenom that was associated with rock and roll music–and from a show starring disc-jockey Alan Freed that aired over Radio Luxembourg in 1956.

Jamboree
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Freed recorded his featured segment while working for WINS in New York.  Great rivalry developed at this time between Alan Freed and Dick Clark, who appears in this film.

Freed was the pioneer of rock and roll movies (Rock Around the Clock; Don’t Knock the Rock; Rock, Rock, Rock). However, Congressional Hearings into payola practices and radio broadcasting ruined Freed’s career, while Clark’s career continued uninterrupted.

Jamboree was a music film in the manner of musical videos of  years later on MTV, where the story was secondary to the musical performances, and the amateurish acting was less relevant than the musical performances.

This movie is of historical importance due to the cameo performances by various musical acts.

Included in Jamboree are Buddy Knox, who performs “Hula Love,” a no. 9 hit on the Billboard pop singles chart; Jimmy Bowen, performs “Cross Over”; Dick Clark acting as host for a show within the film; Fats Domino, who performs “Wait and See”; Charlie Gracie (who became bigger hit in the UK than the USt), who performs “Cool Baby”; Jack Jackson (British bandleader who acted as the disc jockey host of the Decca records show on Radio Luxembourg; Jerry Lee Lewis (who belts out “Great Balls of Fire” in a different version); Lewis Lymon and the Teenchords; Jack Payne (another British band leader); Carl Perkins (who sings “Glad All Over”); Jodie Sands, who performs “Sayonara”; Frankie Avalon, who sings “Teacher’s Pet”; Slim Whitman, who performs “Unchain My Heart”; Aaron Schroeder in a cameo role as the Songwriter; The Four Coins, who perform “A Broken Promise”; and, Count Basie and Orchestra, featuring Joe Williams on vocals. Connie Francis overdubbed her vocals for Freda Holloway.

Brazilian singer Cauby Peixoto has a cameo appearance under the name “Ron Coby.” Cauby had a brief rock and roll phase is in his career, recording “Rock’n’Roll in Copacabana”.

Carl Perkins (second from left) performing “Glad All Over” with (left to right) Clayton Perkins, W.S. “Fluke” Holland, and Jay Perkins Dick Clark is the host of the “second hour” of a “United Charities” Telethon to raise money to fight what is described only as “this dreaded disease”. Clark is listed as a DJ for WFIL Philadelphia in the credits (at the time this was filmed, he was also hosting the original Philadelphia edition of what eventually became American Bandstand). Clark introduces a number of disc jockey’s from across the US and Canada. These DJs then introduce the featured stars. Later in the film DJs in Europe: Jack Jackson (ATV) and Chris Payne (BBC) in London, England; Werner Goetze (Bayerischer Rundfunk) Munich, and Chris Howland (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) Cologne, Germany are shown introducing “Pete and Honey” records on the air.

Cast
Alan Freed as Disc-jockey
Fats Domino as Himself
Jerry Lee Lewis as Himself – Great Balls of Fire
Jimmy Bowen as Himself
Jack Jackson as Himself
Buddy Knox as Himself
Charlie Gracie as Himself
Joe Williams as Himself
Jodie Sands as Herself
Frankie Avalon as Himself
Lewis Lymon and the Teenchords as Teen Group Band
Slim Whitman as Himself
Carl Perkins as Himself
Jack Payne as Himself
Andy Martin as Himself
Aaron Schroeder as Songwriter
The Four Coins as Singing Group
Cauby Peixoto as Ron Coby
Rocco and his Saints as Rock band
Connie Francis as Herself
Kay Medford as Manager – Gracie Show
Robert Pastene as Manager Lew Arthur
Paul Carr as Peter Porter
Freda Holloway as Honey Wynn
David King-Wood as Warren Sykes
Jean Martin as Cindy Sykes – Asst. Mgr.
Tony Travis as Stage Manager
Leonard Schneider as Asst. Stage Mgr.
Ed Bonner as Disc-jockey – St. Louis
Joe Finan as Disc-jockey – Cleveland
Dick Clark as Disc-jockey – Philadelphia – American Bandstand
Milt Grant as Disc-jockey – Washington
Jocko Henderson as Disc-jockey – New York

Credits:

Directed by Roy Lockwood
Produced by Max Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky

Written by Leonard Kantor, Milton Subotsky

Music by Neal Hefti
Cinematography Jack Etra
Edited by Robert Broekman

Production company: Vanguard Pictures

Distributed by Warner Bros.

Release date: 1957

Running time: 86 minutes

Note

TCM showed this movie on May 6, 2021.