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Film / T.A.M.I. Show

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T.A.M.I. Show, aka The T.A.M.I. Show, is a 1964 concert film directed by Steve Binder.

There were actually two shows, October 28-29, 1964, at the Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica. The best clips from each concert were edited together into a single film that was released on December 29, 1964.

The idea was to combine American acts with British groups that were flooding into the American pop scene with the "British Invasion" of 1964. The lineup combines flash-in-the pan 1964 acts with all-time greats. It included, in order: Chuck Berry, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Lesley Gore, Jan and Dean (who also hosted), The Beach Boys, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, The Supremes, The Barbarians, James Brown, and The Rolling Stones.

Probably best remembered for a particularly dynamic performance from James Brown. It was also one of the last times Brian Wilson performed with The Beach Boys, as he had a nervous breakdown just a couple of months later and retired from touring.

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Director Steve Binder later earned himself a bit of Hollywood infamy as the director of the Star Wars Holiday Special. A 20-year-old Teri Garr can be seen as one of the go-go dancers on the stage—she's next-to-last in a line of dancers that passes in front of Marvin Gaye, and she's wearing a sweater with circles on it as she dances behind the Supremes.


Tropes:

  • All Drummers Are Animals: Dennis Wilson broke a drumstick during the performance of "I Get Around".
  • Artistic License – History: Contrary to the lyrics of the opening theme song, The Rolling Stones were not from Liverpool! A different band was from Liverpool, but the Stones were Londoners.
  • Cool Old Lady: "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena" is, after all, about an old lady who drives like a maniac, challenges young men to drag races, and wins. ("She's the terror of Colorado Boulevard.")
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  • Concert Film: A pretty strong lineup of some of the biggest acts of 1964. Although feature-length concert films date at least as far back as 1948 and Concert Magic, and there had been concert films in other genres like 1960 film Jazz on a Summer's Day, this film is the first significant rock concert film.
  • Cool Board: Jan and Dean's song "Sidewalk Surfin'" is about zipping down the sidewalk on a skateboard. Dean pulls a skateboard out of a guitar case and wheels around the stage for a little bit.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Starts with a song over the opening credits, "(Here They Come) From All Over the World", sung by Jan and Dean, which basically explains that there's a big concert coming with acts from all over the world. It even mentions some of the songs that the acts in the show will sing.
    "Chuck Berry's comin' in from St. Lou/He's gonna sing 'Maybelline' and 'Memphis' too."note 
  • Fanservice Extra: Throughout the concert there are a series of dancers boogieing on the stage and on a platform behind the stage. Many of the female dancers are scantily clad in hot pants, tight dresses, or bikinis—a particularly curvaceous woman in a bikini is Gainaxing behind Chuck Berry during his first song.
  • Grand Finale: All the acts as well as all of the go-go dancers come onstage for the last song, "Let's Get Together" by The Rolling Stones. Director Binder did not tell The Rolling Stones about this, which is why Mick Jagger is visibly surprised when the stage starts flooding with people.
  • In the Style of...: If "Bad to Me" by Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas sounds like a lost B-side by The Beatles, that's because it is; Lennon and McCartney wrote the song and made a demo before eventually giving it away.
  • Large Ham: James Brown, everybody; they didn't call him "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business" for nothing. He dances on one foot. He does splits. His performance of "Please Please Please" included a little bit of stage business in which Brown pretends to drop to a knee while singing "don't leave me", only for one of his band members to pat Brown on the back and drape a towel over his shoulders. Reportedly The Rolling Stones were terrified at having to follow Brown and close the show; Keith Richards later called it the biggest mistake of their career.
  • Lyrical Shoehorn: The title! The producers clearly came up with the catchy acronym "T.A.M.I." and then struggled to find a title to match it, which is why it was sometimes referred to as Teenaged Awards Music International" and "Teen Age Music International".
  • Re-Cut: Due to a dispute over rights, The Beach Boys's set was cut from the film after the original theatrical release and remained missing for decades. The film was not released for home video with The Beach Boys included until 2010.
  • Shout-Out: The film has been referenced in pop culture since its release.
    • The Police song "When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" contains a reference to "James Brown on the T.A.M.I. Show ".
    • Tami Show was the name of a Chicago-based pop band in the late 1980s.
  • The "The" Title Confusion: Many sources render the title as "The T.A.M.I. Show", but posters for the film, as well as the DVD release 46 years later, go with "T.A.M.I. Show". It doesn't help that the opening credit says "Teenage Command Performance".
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