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Pink Lady

Thanks to your pal
Ted Rosenberg
for the Pink Lady photos!


"I enjoyed reading your summary, but the two photos don't do justice to the great beauty of Mitsuyo Nemoto and Keiko Masuda. The next time that you're in a bookstore, check out their micro-miniskirt photo on the cover of "The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture" (NY : Weatherhill, 1997), which mentions that in 1982, Mie "made a shocking comeback as the star of 'Call Girl,' a movie about a woman who sells herself to save her former lover from a gang of Middle East terrorists" (!) In the mid 1990s, Pink Lady became a popular nostalgia item in Japan, and consequently a copy cat group, Pink Lady X, was launched in September 1996."

-Robert Young


"Even though the 'Pink Lady and Jeff' show ran only six weeks, I recall seeing Alice Cooper as a guest star one week performing his new single "Clones". This was the 'new wave' Alice Cooper, and, as such, I remember his outfit as army fatigues and neo-gothic makeup, sort of a proto-Nine Inch Nails look. Cheap Trick may also have been guests, but I'm not as sure of that ( I do remember them being on 'Kids Are People Too' singing "Voices")."

- Bill

Pink Lady

"I recall recording one of the shows audio with my horrible, mono Radio Shack tape recorder because the band Blondie was scheduled for that particular show. Blondie never actually appeared on the show, or if they did, they only did a non-performing appearance - because when finally Blondie "appeared," it was only a video clip of the band from one or two of their Eat To The Beat album songs, which they were plugging at that time.

Blondie was super-hot in 1979 so they were appearing on any television show they could get their video clips onto, and Pink Lady and Jeff must have seemed a perfect venue for them. I wonder if they're sorry now! Also appearing on the show were canine actor, Boomer, and veteran actor Lorne Greene. God, this show was horrible! I recall loving it though for two reasons only: Blondie being on (cause I love Deborah Harry) and for the Pink Lady girls, who were gorgeous and cute. Other than that, forget it....a nightmare.

Thanks for the website and the memories, Scott Briggs

Pink Lady

"Your WEB site of forgotten TV shows is loads of fun. One variety show - perhaps the last gasp of the genre - that you have not included was NBC's Pink Lady and Jeff.

This series ran for six weeks in either 1978 or 1979. Pink Lady was a Japanese singing duo - very popular in Japan, but virtually unknown in the US until this show came on. The Pink Lady ladies were named Mie and Kei. They managed to have one song break into the US Top 40 called "Kiss In The Dark".

Another "hit" of theirs (only in Japan) included a cover of The Village People's "In The Navy". They substituted the lyric "Pink Lady" (pronounced in the song as 'pink-a-lady" every time the lyric "in the navy" occurred in the original song.

They spoke practically no English, so to compensate for this, NBC teamed them with a comedian named Jeff. The show did not run for long, as you can imagine, but it remains burned in my memory as one of the most unbelievable things ever on television - mainly because the concept was so strange.

Best regards,
Al Parker "

Pink Lady

When historians write the top ten list of the worst shows ever on network television, 'Pink Lady and Jeff' will be right up there with 'My Mother the Car', 'Me and the Chimp' and 'Supertrain'.

Actually, this isn't a Seventies variety show at all, but it misses being one by only by a few months. Pink Lady was first broadcast on March 1, 1980 and lasted only six weeks. It starred Mitsuyo Nemoto (Mie, pronounced 'me') and Keko Masuda (Kei, pronounced 'kay') - and comedian Jeff Altman.

The show was half sitcom and half variety show and was one of (then new) NBC president Fred Silverman's projects. It was Silverman's idea to give Sonny and Cher a variety series in the Seventies when he was head of programming at CBS - and he was hoping lightning would strike again when he took over the programming duties at NBC.

Fred Silverman hoped this would be a 'new wave' 'Sonny and Cher Show' - the fact that two of the three stars couldn't speak English (and the other played a hopelessly bad comedian) would be seen as a clever gimmick, he hoped. Silverman was desperate for a hit at this point. He had tremendous success at CBS, then again at ABC, but almost every programming decision he made at NBC proved to be a bad move.

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WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

The concept was simple: Jeff Altman serves as 'interpreter' for the two ladies, which meant 'translating' (upstaging) their songs and talking oriental gibberish to his two confused co-stars in an attempt explain American culture. They interact with the guest stars - then at the end of the show, they all jump into a hot tub together.

'Pink Lady' did so poorly on the first Saturday night outing that the very next week it was moved to Friday nights and retitled Pink Lady and Jeff with Jim ('Ernest') Varney joining the cast. After the series was mercifully canceled, the Pink Ladies went back to Japan, and Jeff Altman went on to host the last few seasons of 'Solid Gold'.

Of course, by 1980, variety shows had lost their favor with television viewers anyway. Soap operas like 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty' were what people wanted now. No variety show since 1980 has ever been a hit, and very few since 'Pink Lady and Jeff' have even been attempted (although Tim Conway went almost two seasons in the 80s).

The prime-time television variety show died with the Seventies, and 'Pink Lady and Jeff' drove the last nail into the coffin.


"Here are some video clips from the series - these clips are large files, optimized for faster connections!

"One is their mangling of that song made equally infamous by Kathy Lee - 'If They Could See Me Now'.

"Another was a bit that had an appearance by Jerry Lewis, which showed Mie & Kei's linguistic limitations."

- Michael H.


"Yes, the show was that bad!

"One of the ads for the show in TV Guide had Jeff "saying", "You girls are the biggest thing in Japan!". They replied in their word balloon, "No, Jeff! The biggest thing in Japan is Godzilla!" I can still recall with some wincing their cover of Donna Summer's "On the Radio", in front of a large and cheap boom box set.

"Casablanca Records, the label of Pink Lady was having NO luck with their TV tie-ins. They had no success with them, nor did they have any luck with the "Laverne and Shirley" cash-in, "Lenny and the Squigtones". It was amazing that the '70s had failures such as singing moppet Lena Zavaroni (The Carol Burnett Show), the Hudson Brothers who had two shows and were on the Hollywood Squares (they were billed in TV Guide as "a cross between the Marx Brothers and the Beatles", albeit with the musical or comedic talent of neither aggregation) and Pink Lady, without the benefit of even ONE hit single in the U.S.

"The thing that gets me is that they got such amazing placement! In defense of Jeff Altman: granted, he was lousy on the show, but who wasn't? Altman is actually quite a good stand-up comedian, who should just stick to stand-up.

"If you want bad stand-up, try Kelly Monteith, who not only had a show here, which flopped, he apparently had one in the UK and from the episode I saw there, exporting him didn't help."

- Brian Phillips

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