22 October 2003 | Chip_douglas
Actually it's 'The Special Arizona State Park Special'
Somebody got the idea to make a one hour commercial for the Arizona State Park. So they rounded up every celebrity in the area and filmed at the Amphitheater, the tennis court and the replica of the Tower Bridge. The result is truly mind blowing. Having already been involved with specials for Nancy Sinatra (Movin' with Nancy, 1967) and Raquel Welch (Raquel!,1970), director/choreographer David Winters now gives Tom Jones, fresh from his hit series 'This is Tom Jones' (1969) a chance to try out his acting skills decades before Mars Attacks (1996) and Agnes Brown (1999)
The show stars of with a pre-credits sequence recycled from Raquel Welch's special two years earlier. They must have figured most people would not notice, and those who did would not mind an encore showing (remember, VCR's did not exist yet). So once again, Tom serenades Raquel (this time uncredited) with 'I who have nothing' (the original version, not the abomination rerecorded for his album 'Mr. Jones'). However, they obvious took the old video tape and stuck it in here, judging by the inferior picture quality. This leads to Cartoon credits and what follows after that is almost indescribable. Here are just some of the crazy highlights:
Tom, now sporting enormous sideburns, belts out a song about his beloved London. Split-screen, freeze frames and quick cuts of London flash across our screen. But when he gets off a double decker bus he finds the Tower bridge relocated to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Cover Girl Jennifer O'Neill welcomes him to America by singing a song from "Oliver!" and dancing with the Yankee Doodle Dandies. So begins a love/hate relationship between Tom and Jennifer, England an America and inevitably, many duets of varying quality.
Guest Star Jonathan Winters pops up playing a tour guide and most of the members of his group. His routine is so bad that Engelbert Humperdink, in a Special Cameo Appearance, jumps off the bridge. A performance by Special Guests The Carpenters suddenly turns into a dramatic ballet by Rudolph Nureyev and Merle Parke from the Royal Ballet. The dancers dissolve back into Tom and Jennifer in Arizona State Park as they 'act out' the lyrics to the rest of The Carpenters' medley.
Next, they all attend a tennis match between Michael Landon and Charlton Heston. These two may well have been filmed without there knowing, as they have nothing to do with the rest of the production. Luckily Tom starts daydreaming and this turns out to be one of the highlights of the show. Jennifer and some dancing Zorro's somersault around the tennis court to Jones's 'She's a lady'. Here David Winters gets to show off his unique style of choreography, which is much better than his tendency to have his actors copy the actions as described in the lyrics.
In a Western town, Cowboy Tom meets Kirk Douglas and the two of them do a little tap dance in top hat and tails! Jennifer is kidnapped by 'The Villain' (a very hairy Elliot Gould) and they appear in a silent movie. When Tom finds out the kidnapping was a set up, he and Jennifer naturally have to to do another duet in split-screen. Unfortunately Jennifer's part was dubbed into an existing Jones recording of "If" and she has trouble matching his voice range. Once again film editor John A. Martinelli does a lot of experimenting. Not all shots work, like Tom pretending to walk when obviously not moving, but it all culminates in a shot of the two lovers turning into birds at sunset. It may look primitive now, but remember this was produced a decade before MTV.
As the show reaches it's climax Tom and Jennifer finally get back together at The Carpenters' sold out concert in the Lake Havasu City Amphitheater. This turns into a romantic scene on Tower Bridge but before you know it Tom and Raquel Welch (in more footage from "Raquel") are performing a medley of Little Richard tunes in a nightclub! Suddenly, it's all over and Tom is back in London. Was it really all a dream or just a bad trip?
A crazy 7 out of 10!