It’s time: Put on your best polyester zippered jumpsuit. Put some Vicki Sue Robinson on your old hi-fi. And have Isaac the Bartender mix you a Harvey Wallbanger. Because we’re hopping in our fluxcapacitor-equipped Gremlin and setting the time circuits to the 1970s!
OK, sorry. That got a little silly. BUT GUYS WE’RE JUST SO EXCITED because we recently found THIS tucked away in our archive:
Yeah – that’s a gold lamé script with the word “Charo” on it. And yeah – it’s the script for a variety show featuring Charo.
Written by Bob Booker, the Charo special aired on ABC in 1976 and starred the woman herself – and if you don’t remember Charo, you’ve probably never really been exposed to her. Born María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza in 1951, Charo rose to fame in the 70s on the strength of her vocal and comedic skills, her sex appeal and her married life (according to legend, she married famed Havana bandleader Xavier Cugat when she was a teenager and he was 66). But she’s also a really, really, really good guitarist:
Booker was charged with writing the special by power exec Fred Silverman, who he credits with helping give it broad audience appeal.
“Silverman was your average home viewer,” Booker told us. “He sits there like a madman, just laughing his ass off. He was the perfect audience.”
For much of the 70s, Booker was the go-to guy when the networks needed a script for a variety show. Along with the Charo special, he also scripted amazingly titled shows like THE PAUL LYNDE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL (we’ll have more on this in a later post) and THE WAYNE NEWTON SPECIAL (more on this later too).
But this Charo special, man. It’s great. Full of cool stuff like this:
The centerpiece of the half-hour special was a Revolutionary War-themed comedy sketch featuring Charo as Martha Washington and Mannix star Mike Connors as George, bookended by Charo telling the story of the revolution to her local paperboy. Loaded with topical humor and double-entendres spawned by Charo’s poor command of English (“Every Friday I take a class in adultery education!”), the scene is 70s network comedy at its silly best. The show also get a lot of mileage out of Xavier Cugat, which is surprising considering Charo’s memory in the broader popular culture is arguably much stronger.
The script itself is in amazing condition; Booker bound it in the gold lamé himself (it matches perfectly one of the costumes Charo wears in the show). A former album-cover artisan, Booker made it a point to creatively bind every script he produced (the Paul Lynde script is soft and puffy enough to take a nap on). Preserving cool stuff like this is part of the reason we started the archive.
As I mentioned earlier, we’ll be detailing more of the scripts in the booker collection in the future. But for now, courtesy of YouTube channel CharoTV (where you could do a lot worse than watching this amazing video), here is the special in its entirety: