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Jack Good

   

[ A personal message from Jack Good (June 2003.)]

 

"I hate light entertainment shows and I hate smart looking fellows in dinner jackets saying 'Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to .. blah blah blah.. and it goes on!
I just want Wham Bam De Boo Bop, Do Wop Bam Boo..Tutti Fruitti... then next number, next number....and bored with that..next number!"

 JACK GOOD 1981


[Right: Jack with his new 'protege' Cliff Richard]

Jack Good left the BBC in February of 1958, where he had been producing the teen-orientated show 'Six-Five Special'.

He wanted the show to concentrate more on teen music and less on the sports and general interest aspects - a battle which he did not win!

After joining ITV he lost no time in masterminding the first ever teen music programme -"Oh Boy!"

He knew what the teenagers wanted to see and hear and he worked long and hard at giving it to them.


Screeching, honking and generally whooping it up, Oh Boy! bounds back on to ITV screens next Saturday (September 13).

Tried out in June, the show was acclaimed by two kinds of viewers whose tastes seldom coincide. Teenagers found its Tin Pan Alley brashness to their liking, and critics were delighted by the technical brilliance of the camera-work which produced a refreshing vitality. Its deviser and producer, Jack Good, explains the title: "It hasn't got a hard and fast meaning, but it conveys an impression, a reflection of the way I feel about entertainment."

Jack's feeling are always on the side of excitement - a rocking beat, an exuberant anger presented with fast camera movements and cutting to match the pace of the music. His musical taste was formed when he went to the cinema and saw Bill Haley and His Comets. Until that time his tastes had been on the quiet side (at Oxford University he studied English Language up to the time of Chaucer) "but I saw the light during that film," he says.

[Right: Without Jack Good there would have been no 'Oh Boy!'. ]

His studies were abandoned ("I'm always hoping to run into an Olde Englishman so's I can make some use of my knowledge") in favour of rock 'n' roll. Though he still has the look of a slightly cherubic undergraduate, Jack has now established a reputation as a top TV producer of wild, rocking shows. Others may seek to present seemingly casual, relaxed shows. Jack surrounds himself with instrumentalists and singers who can hammer out a relentless beat.

Jack searches tirelessly for new talent and, between auditions, paused to tell me the troubles he has to find the kind of performers he needs in sufficient quantities. "If I were doing this programme in the States, I think I probably would want to vary singers more. It's not easy to find enough talent in England. As soon as anyone good comes along, they are taken up immediately". "But I wouldn't want to change the instrumentalists and vocal groups, because we've spent a lot of money on getting the best available, and they benefit from experience in playing and singing together."

Extract from an article by David Griffiths which appeared in the 5th September 1958 edition of TV Times.


Below is an interview with Jack Good by Derek Johnson, published in the NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS on Friday 12th February 1960.

 Although not directly related to "Oh Boy!" it nevertheless gives an idea of Jack Good's opinions through straight answers to some very direct questions.

[Right: Jack Good in action.]

- A fascinating insight into the pop music scene a little over eight months after the demise of "Oh Boy!"
JACK GOOD, pop music's man of many trades, is the sort of person with whom one can come straight to the point. And that's precisely what I did (writes Derek Johnson), when I called at his Chiswick flat and asked him several no-holds-barred questions.

For his part, Jack was equally forthright with his replies, and made no attempt to be evasive as you will see in this hard hitting person-to-person discussion.

Q. Having established a slick, fast-paced show with "Oh Boy!" why was this successful formula changed to an ordinary run-of-the-mill- type of presentation for "Boy Meets Girls"?

A. There are two main reasons. First, we had to move from Hackney Empire, eminently suited to the "Oh Boy!" type of presentation, to Manchester - where we were allocated a studio which was not capable of this sort of production.

Secondly, ABC were keen on a different show, especially as our formula had been taken lock, stock and barrel by the BBC, and ground to a halt midstream. What's more, I wanted to move on to fresh woods and pastures new myself.
If the result turned out to be run-of-the-mill, it was certainly not intended. It can only be due to production errors on my part. I deliberately abandoned pace and vigour, but it may be that I didn't have enough to put in its place.

Q. Do you think that Cliff Richard would have been more successful or less successful had there never been an Elvis Presley?

A. I don't think Cliff would have existed at all as a singer without Elvis. He certainly wouldn't be the singer he is today. The initial impetus of Cliff's singing was entirely due to Elvis' influence.

[Right: The article (scan), unreadable.]

Q. Your recordings with the Lord Rockingham XI were extremely popular. Is there any reason why you haven't waxed with the current Boy Meets Girls" group?

A. Because of the sort of programme we've been doing, the group didn't register with an identity or individuality of its own. It's not that type of group, and I've had no urge or impulse to record them.

Q. Last week the Alley Cat criticised Billy Fury's movements as being unsuitable for early evening viewers. As there are so many children and younger viewers watching TV at that time on a Saturday night, would it not be better to discourage this type of performance?

A. I fully agree that anything suggestive should be avoided - though of course, these things are partially in the minds of individual viewers Frankly there are one or two things Billy Fury does that I would rather he didn't do. I have, in fact, suggested so to Billy, who does tend to get carried away by his performance. But I think he's pretty determined to try and avoid adverse criticism in future.

Q. Why is Cherry Wainer seemingly featured less and less as a solo artist in "Boy Meets Girls"? And why does the dog remain every week?

[Right: Article "Would Cliff Richard be famous today if there had been no Elvis?" Unreadable.]

A. Sometimes the residents have a lot to do, sometimes a little. It's nothing to do with them as artists - it's all a question of finding the right material. I don't believe in having artists fill a definite slot just for the sake of doing so. And if the dog merits angry mentions by the Alley Cat, and prompts you to question me about him, then he's achieving his purpose. Besides, he happens to like the programme!

Q. It has been suggested that, despite his obvious versatility, Marty Wilde sometimes sounds under-rehearsed or uncertain, when singing such numbers as "Why." Can you explain this?

A. I don't accept the question. There's a considerable difference between being inder-rehearsed and being casual. My personal opinion is that Marty sang "Why" one hundred times better than Anthony Newley did the previous Saturday.

Q. What about Britain's best recording manager?

A. And I nominate Peter Sulivan of HMV. Most of the other a-and-r men are dependent on big-name artists doing much of the work for them. But Peter is strictly a creative man, with a strong sense of balance and great ideas on backing.

Q. Which British artists do you tip for stardom this year? And whom do you consider the best male and female singers in the country?

A. I would think there's a strong possibility of Joe Brown, Billy Fury, Jess Conrad or Michael Cox getting to the top - they all have potentially what it takes. And I'd put money on Lynn Cornell of the Vernons Girls making the grade.
Best artists? Well, purely on the grounds of distinctive individuality I would pick Dickie Pride. So far as the girls are concerned, it's a toss-up between Anne Shelton and Lyn Cornell.

Q. In view of the recent national press criticism of recording managers and TV producers with outside interests, are you not exposing yourself to possible attacks by owning a music company and making records for a major label. Also, do you have any interests in any of the artists you use?

A. Of course I'm open to attacks, but they would be perfectly unjustified. You see, all my activities (TV producer, disc-jockey, journalist, and a-and-r man) are on a free-lance basis. And as a free-lance, I must obviously make my living by accepting opportunities as and when they occur. Besides, I have never made a secret of the work I am doing. My music firm, for instance, is called the Jack Good Music Company. I have no interest in any artists, although I've had many offers to do so (including some of the biggest stars). I consider that the duties of TV producer and artist manager are not compatible.

Q. Many people have expressed the opinion that several British artists, who have never appeared on "Boy Meets Girls," are far superior to some of the American imports. Any comments?

A. I believe this to be true...Frankie Vaughan and Tommy Steele, to quote two examples. But it's impossible to get hold of them. In any case, there is a demand by the fans to see the faces behind the record labels - and I believe it's healthy to introduce new faces into television.

Q. Are your extreme close-ups really necessary, especially when they reveal skin blemishes?

A. I have never felt that pimples matter in entertainment. You have only to notice the reaction of the audience (who are watching on a monitor screen in another studio) to realise how delighted they are when we go into extreme close-up.

Q. The Alley Cat has voiced the opinion that Marty Wilde is over-exposed in your show. As the title is "Boy Meets Girls" and not "The Marty Wilde Show," could the apparent drop in popularity have been caused by over-emphasis on Marty?

A. Now this is something I should like to get my teeth into, for it is based on the assumption that the show is less popular (a) than when it started, and (b) than "Oh Boy!" This is a totally false impression for the programme's ratings have gone up, and we are now on average equal to "Oh Boy!" at the same time last year. As for Marty, I can only tell you that since the show started his fan club has trebled. And he receives from age groups who would never previously have written to him.

Q. When you produce your new series in the Spring, how will it differ from the current programme? Apart from this, have you any particular plans for the future in the music industry?

A. I haven't the foggiest notion. I don't believe in thinking about a new series until the old one has finished. As for the future generally, I hope in the summer to do a lot of basic re-thinking about my career - but I need time to make decisions.


 

Here is the text of an article that appeared in the Friday 11th September edition of the New Musical Express (NME):

[Right: Jack Good without his glasses.]

Jack is no backroom TV producer

PRODUCERS are often called the "backroom boys" of show business. But in the case of Jack Good, it doesn't apply. For he's as well known by name to millions of tele-viewers as many of the singing stars who have appeared in the programmes!
Jack has probably done more for "big beat" fans via the medium of television than any other producer in Britain. "Boy Meets Girls" is his third major show, previously he had a hand in the success of the BBC's "6.5 Special" and was the guiding light behind ABC's "Oh Boy!"
It was on "Oh Boy!"last September that Jack introduced an unknown singer named Cliff Richard, the lad who's since become one of the biggest pop stars in Britain. And that's only one of many people Jack has helped to the top of the ladder via his TV show.
But Jack hasn't made a name for himself solely in the production field. Noted for his originality and constant search for new sounds and ideas, it was Jack who set machinery in motion for the formation of the exciting Lord Rockingham's Eleven.
The band, featured throughout the "Oh Boy!" series (and also in a stage version of the show later produced by Jack) waxed the most successful British instrumental composition ever released in this country - the No. 1 smash hit "Hoots Mon." Afterwards came a second hit in the shape of "Wee Tom."
Right now, Jack is an important cog in the recording world at Decca, where he holds an artists and repertoire position. Last week he supervised his first session - two titles set for release next Friday by Italy's Little Tony and his Brothers.

 

Born in Greenford, Middlesex on August 7, 1931, boyish-looking, bespectacled Jack was a producer at 16. At Trinity Grammar School, Wood Green he founded the Dramatic Society and produced "Twelfth Night" and "Othello."

[Right: Jack Good in 1992.]

Out of school hours, he studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Drama and soon after reaching Oxford, became president of the Balliol Dramatic Club. 1955 found Jack appearing in The Queen And The Rebels at London's Haymarket Theatre, and the following year, he teamed up with producer Trevor Peacock (Drumbeat compere and Boy Meets Girl script writer) to present a double-act at the famous Windmill Theatre. A far cry from Shakespeare at Oxford! That year was also important for two other events...Jack's marriage to German student Margit Tischer, closely followed by his appointment as trainee-producer at BBC television. On February 16, 1957, he produced 6.5 Special for the first time - the initial milestone in a success story that has led Jack to become one of Britain's most outstanding and respected television producers.

His contract ended by the BBC, following a disagreement over the format of 6.5. Special he moved to ITV in 1958 where he produced the Oh Boy! show.     ITV replaced Oh Boy! on 12 September 1959 with Boy Meets Girl, produced by Good, with Marty Wilde as the resident star. Boy Meets Girl finished on 5 March 1960 and Good was given a new show called Wham! on 30 April. Keith Fordyce was the resident disc-jockey with other regulars such as Billy Fury, Joe Brown, Jess Conrad and the Vernons Girls. Wham! ended on 18 June. Meanwhile, Good produced Billy Fury's debut LP 'The Sound Of Fury' and records for other hit-makers of the day including Karl Denver and Jess Conrad.

He continued to promote rhythm and blues and went to the United States in 1962.  In 1963 Good produced Around the Beatles and was involved in numerous similar projects with other artists such as the Monkees. Using his own money, he produced a pilot show for the American market - after no interest in it was forthcoming, he gave up and returned to the UK. A year later, the tape of the pilot show was shown to a TV boss, who asked to see Jack. This pilot show gave rise to Shindig which was broadcast in the U.S. on September 16, 1964. It was actually an episode of Ready Steady Go with the title changed but after some time, Jack fell out with ABC executives and walked out. The show could not survive without Jack's dynamic influence and it was cancelled in January '66.      

In the late sixties he orchestrated Catch My Soul, his rock interpretation of Othello in which he also starred as the Moor, but a try at reviving a fast-paced show like Oh Boy! in 1980 - Let's Rock was a flop. 1991 saw his autobiographical stage musical Good Rockin' Tonight feature in the West End. He went on to produce the stage musical, Elvis.

Out of school hours, he studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Drama and soon after reaching Oxford, became president of the Balliol Dramatic Club. 1955 found Jack appearing in "The Queen And The Rebels" at London's Haymarket Theatre, and the following year, he teamed up with producer Trevor Peacock (recent "Drumbeat" compere and "Boy Meets Girls" script writer) to present a double-act at the famous Windmill Theatre. A far cry from Shakespeare at Oxford! That year was also important for two other events...Jack's marriage to German student Margit Tischer, closely followed by his appointment as trainee-producer at BBC television. On February 16, 1957, he produced "6.5 Special" for the first time - the initial milestone in a success story that has led Jack to become one of Britain's most outstanding and respected television producers.

 

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MIDAS TOUCH

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