Tuesday, 10 November 2015


with Walter Chiari thumbing up to Rome...

Mother & daughter in a happy moment.

Gianni Morandi & Rita show they know how to twist...
Rita, la Mamma, Vania Protti, Teddy Reno & Franco their only son in 1963.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

1965 at the Piper Club in Rome

Rita swings at the Piper Club in Rome accompanied by British band The Talismen in 1965.
Geraldine Chaplin unwinds at the Piper Club while Rita Pavone blasts away with The Talismen...
Geraldine Chaplin dances away with Manuelo Velasquez, a Spanish camera-man she met while shooting 'Dr. Zhivago' in Spain.
Rita arrives at the Piper Club in Rome under police protection 24 November 1965.
Rita Pavone breaks into a popular number at a night-club in Rome on 24 November 1965. The singer, Italy’s favourite, needed police protection from her ardent fans when she arrived at the Piper Club. She also protected her voice by wrapping her face in a warm muffler. UPI telephoto. 

The Rokes performances at the Piper Club were notorious...

British band The Talismen win a beat band contest sponsored by Record Mirror at Wimbledon in London some time in 1965 (no date, sorry). By August they were all living and working at RAI TV in Rome, Italy where they supported Rita Pavone in her 4-week TV variety show 'Stasera... Rita'. 

Just like the atmosphere of a Cup Final. Only more so – there were  11 different sets of fans all setting up a-roaring and a-yelling. The grand final of the Record Mirror-sponsored ‘All Britain Beat Contest ‘65’ went off violently well at Wimbledon Palais on Sunday evening.

A crowd of 3,000 jam-packed, shoulder-to-shoulder. Banners fluttering and flailing. Roars of approval. And a near breaking-point atmosphere of tension. Tension which went on after the constest in the judges’ room.

 For there was, on actual marking, a dead-heat for first place. Five judges, allocating up to 45 marks per group, had (to the exact half-point) a tie between The Talismen, from Portsmouth, and Themselves, from Hounslow. The individual sections (presentation, original number, musical ability) were re-checked. And it came down to a casting vote from the judges.

The Talismen (two guitars, drums, vocalist) won by a whisker. The Talismen get a contract with Decca Records, two amplifiers from Messrs. Burns (valued 200 pounds), and a set of suits from West End tailor Harry Fenton, and a publishing contract with Keith Prowse Music . For Themselves, there is a recording test with Decca, plus a Burns’ amplifier valued at 75 pounds. The Daltons, from Crawley, came third and The Cosmic Sounds, from Chessington, were fourth. Both get recording tests with Decca. 

Standard among the eleven competing groups were exceptionally, surprisingly, high. Good, well-varied programmes: each group was allowed twelve minutes to show their pace. Order of playing was fixed by a ‘lucky draw’, but again one felt sorry for The Flexmen, who were drawn to open the proceedings. Again, though, someone has to start the show...

Competing groups not mentioned so far were: The Sidekicks, The Minute Men, The Barracudas, The Southbeats, The Rojeens, The M.L. 4. For all of them, it had been a long trail, through the contest heats over the past few months.

Judges? Bill Phillips represented Keith Prowse Music; Dick Rowe, Decca recording manager, watched for future talent; talented songstress Barbara Kay deputized for Vicki Wickham, who was ill; Chris Roberts was there from Burns’ musical instruments sale; and myself, Peter Jones, Record Mirror. 

Saturday, 22 August 2015

1967 sunset

I could say my enthusiasm for Rita Pavone had been waning as the years went by and Rita was away from the Brazilian media since mid-1965 when Brazilian rock took precedence over Italian music on the radio waves and in the minds of young-people  in the country.

As they say 'out of sight out of mind' and that's true. But even so all through 1966 and 1967 I used to go the extra mile and buy Italian magazines that arrived in Brazil by ship 3 months later to keep abreast of what Rita was doing in Europe.

1966 was a big year for Rita because she was at 'Studio Uno 66' in the early Spring and shot her best film 'Rita la zanzara' in the summer.

In early 1967 Rita was still on top with her 2nd flick 'Non stuzzicate la zanzara' and 'Little Rita nel West'. By mid 1967 Rita had been absent from the Italian Hit Parade since 'Fortissimo', her last #1 following the broadcast of 'Studio Uno'.

If there is a single fact that brought Rita's career down was when she signed a contract with Ricordi and left RCA Italiana. This was the most erratic step the singer could have ever taken.

Rita Pavone poses for the cover of her last RCA Italiana single: 'Non dimenticar le mie parole'. After that Rita enters a confusing phase that takes her anywhere but up...

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Films released in Brazil

18 June 1967 - Lina Wertmüller's 'Rita la zanzara' (Rita, o mosquito) is finally released in Sao Paulo at Cine Metropole. 
8 January 1968 - the sequel to 'Rita o mosquito' , 'Non stuzzicate la zanzara' (Não brinque com o mosquito) is released in Sao Paulo barely 6 months after the original drew a great public to it. But this time there was no proper advertising and being released during summer vacations didn't bode well for it. It looked like the film distributor didn't even tell RCA Victor they were releasing it so RCA didn't bother to release its sound-track album either. A total PR disaster compounded with the Italian pop-music vanishing act. 

The musical numbers staged by Lina Wertmüller were first-rate. Even the newspaper ad claimed: 'A resposta italiana aos shows de Hollywood' (Italians answer to Hollywood's musicals). Conservative newspaper Estadao was lenient with both Pavone's movies but even so 'Não brinque com o mosquito' (Do not tease the mosquito) had the shortest run possible soon disappearing at suburbs's theatres differently from Gigliola Cinquetti's 'Dio come ti amo' that played at suburbs's packed houses for 5 straight years... a real breakthrough. 
... and when everyone thought there was enough of Rita Pavone at the movies... Fama Filmes announces 'Rita no West'... soon at Cine Olido...
15 July 1968 - but actually 'Rita no West' was shown at Cine Maraba instead... and Cine Regencia on Rua Augusta and Cine Goiás in Pinheiros... plus all those movie-houses shown in the movie-ad. Rita Pavone was competing with 'Bonnie & Clyde' and '2001 a space odyssey'... and dozens of Italian so-called spaghetti-westerns...