PRLog - Nov. 16, 2009 - LOS ANGELES -- LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - In the 60s and 70s, it just wasn’t Christmas without an annual airing of a holiday TV special starring the legendary King Family. Before the Osmonds, there were the Kings. 39 members strong, the blonde and beautiful multi-generational family act led by Grammy nominated vocal group The King Sisters and Big Band era guitar legend Alvino Rey, were an entertainment phenomenon, stars of the first musical reality television series.
The King Sisters as featured in Christmas with the King Family
Now America's First Family of Song is experiencing a multimedia revival some 45 years following their television debut. The Family has a new television special & DVD release, CHRISTMAS WITH THE KING FAMILY, airing nationwide on public television beginning November 27th and throughout holiday season (check local listings), three new CD's marking the first-ever reissue of their bestselling Warner Bros. albums including their classic Christmas LP, a King Family Cookbook penned by King Cousins Xan Albright and Tina Cole (also the popular star of another TV classic MY THREE SONS), a new website, www.OfficialKingFamily.com, and is contemplating a new concert tour.
In their heyday, the King Family performed on television with stars including Dean Martin, Milton Berle, George Burns, Phyllis Diller and Bing Crosby before headlining their very own special, THE FAMILY IS KING, in 1964. That initial TV outing generated a deluge of letters, over 53,000, to ABC Television requesting a weekly King Family series. This staggering response, in an era before email, was a clear indication of the fervent fan support which made them such a popular and ubiquitous presence on television throughout the next decade in two King Family television series and 17 holiday television specials including EASTER WITH THE KING FAMILY, THANKSGIVING WITH THE KING FAMILY, MOTHERS DAY WITH THE KING FAMILY and of course CHRISTMAS WITH THE KING FAMILY.
The Christmas shows are at the heart of the new public television special which combines classic moments from their original specials interspersed with new interviews with original King Sisters Yvonne King (who celebrates her 90th birthday this January) and Marilyn King, King Cousins including Tina Cole, Cathy Green, Jamie Miller, Xan Albright and Ric de Azevedo and King Kids Cam Clarke, Laurette Walton and Susannah Foshee.
Full length clips feature The King Family, at their tuneful best and backed by the Alvino Rey Orchestra, performing a cavalcade of seasonal classics including a heartwarming rendition of White Christmas by The King Sisters, a hip-swinging bossa-nova medley of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town by The King Cousins, I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm featuring Alvino Rey and his own invention - the talking steel guitar plus delightful holiday favorites including Jingle Bells, The Christmas Song, Happy Holidays, The Christmas Waltz, Do You Hear What I Hear, We Wish You A Merry Christmas and many more!
A true highlight of the new special is a touching clip from the Kings 1967 Christmas show the surprise on-camera reunion of King Sister Alyce King with her son Ric who was serving in the Unites States Army at the time. Unbeknownst to her, Ric had been given a special leave to appear on the show and surprised his mother during her heartfelt rendition of Ill Be Home for Christmas. This classic reunion captured the longing of families across the country whose relatives were serving in the Vietnam War and remains to this day one the most remembered moments in King Family television history.
Discussing the King Family revival Ric de Azevedo noted “It’s like time has stood still, working on this project has given me an opportunity to watch our King Family shows, some from 45 years ago, and some archival footage I’ve never seen. It’s also the first time I’ve been able to hear our original LP record albums digitally re-mastered on CD. It’s rekindled memories of a very special time in my life.”
Though absent from TV screens for nearly three decades the Family has maintained close ties to the business. Cam Clarke, who was just 7 years old when he joined the Family TV series, is today a top voice actor most famous as the voice of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE Leonardo. King Sister Marilyn King remains a popular nightclub and concert performer, Tina Cole continues to act and direct and Ric de Azevedo performs with the musical group Reunion. Additionally, Win Butler and Will Butler, sons of King Cousin Liza Rey and grandchildren of Alvino Rey perform as part of the acclaimed rock group Arcade Fire.
The Family is planning additional public television specials and contemplating a return to the concert stage in an all new live King Family Show.
For more information please visit www.OfficialKingFamily.com
The new television special is produced, written and directed by Rene Reyes and Shane Rosamonda, the production team behind the recent public television hit MITZI GAYNOR: RAZZLE DAZZLE! THE SPECIAL YEARS. In addition to their work on that film, Mr. Reyes and Mr. Rosamonda also conceived and constructed Ms. Gaynor’s new theatrical stage show, RAZZLE DAZZLE! MY LIFE BEHIND THE SEQUINS, which is currently touring performing arts centers across the U.S. Additional production credits include the Los Angeles and West End productions of SONGS MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME starring Lorna Luft, the U.S. Postal Service gala ceremony launch of the 2006 Judy Garland commemorative stamp at Carnegie Hall, and the BBC Television production, SOMEBODYS DAUGHTER, SOMEBODYS SON.
Cam Clarke, Ric de Azevedo and Cathy Green serve as consulting producers with King Sister Yvonne serving as Associate Producer. Yvonne King was host and producer of all 17 King Family specials and both King Family television series.
The DVD of CHRISTMAS WITH THE KING FAMILY is available to public television viewers and to the general public by Infinity Entertainment Group. This is the first ever DVD release of any King Family material and it includes a bonus feature of the complete 1967 King Family Christmas Special.
A companion CD soundtrack is also available to public television viewers and the general public from Collectors Choice Music. This is the first ever official CD release of any King Family material and features the King Family’s original 13 track 1965 Warner Bros. album, also named CHRISTMAS WITH THE KING FAMILY, augmented with 11 bonus tracks culled from their television performances.
Also available from Collectors Choice Music:
2 classic King Family Albums on 1 CD - THE KING FAMILY SHOW with THE KING FAMILY ALBUM (featuring 2 bonus tracks by The King Cousins, their 1965 singles Today Im in Love and Just One Smile)
2 classic King Family Albums on 1 CD - THE KING FAMILY LIVE IN THE ROUND with THE NEW SOUNDS OF THE FABULOUS KING SISTERS
Coming soon from Bear Manor Media: THE KING FAMILYCOOKBOOK.
CHRISTMAS WITH THE KING FAMILY is a Polly O. Entertainment, LLC production distributed by American Public Television (APT).
Rene Reyes & Shane Rosamonda (310) 780-3283
Polly O. Entertainment - pollyoentertainment@
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Polly O. Entertainment is a production, talent management and consulting company founded by writer/producers Rene Reyes and Shane Rosamonda. Mr. Reyes & Mr. Rosamonda are the team behind the 2009 public television holiday special and DVD release Christmas with the King Family (also available through Collectors’ Choice) and the acclaimed documentary special and DVD release Mitzi Gaynor: Razzle Dazzle! The Special Years. In addition to their work on that film, Mr. Reyes and Mr. Rosamonda also conceived and constructed Ms. Gaynor’s new theatrical stage show, Razzle Dazzle! My Life Behind the Sequins, which is touring performing arts centers across the U.S. and Canada. Additional production credits include the Los Angeles and West End productions of Songs My Mother Taught Me starring Lorna Luft, the U.S. Postal Service gala ceremony launch of the Judy Garland commemorative stamp at Carnegie Hall, and the BBC Television production, Somebody’s Daughter, Somebody's Son.