Very few cable-access shows can be watched again and again, and fewer still remain entertaining over a decade later. One of the ones that I can rewatch and am still thoroughly entertained by is Seems Like Old Times, the weekly lounge-piano spectacular that was on in the mid-1990s in Manhattan and starred the one and only Mr. Leo Stella. Leo is lost to the sands of time (if you’re out there, give a shout, Leo!), but his show lives on, thanks to those of us with VCRs who captured “the beauty and the splendor of the magnificence that is me” (as Leo would put it).
I have posted on YouTube a chunk of an episode in which Leo holds forth on an old friend of his who was being put in a home by a young social worker — right after he sings a sleepy and suggestive “Some Day My Prince Will Come”:
In another episode, Leo sang the song from the Broadway show Tenderloin that became a hit for Bobby Darin, “Artificial Flowers,” in classic lounge style:
On the same episode, Leo revealed the reason for his mock “street” attire when he performed an utterly mind-roasting rap version of the Noel Coward song “Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs. Worthington”:
And responded to a youthful heckler on the phone (I felt that the show went a bit downhill when he accepted phone calls from the audience) who would just chant, “Faggot, faggot, faggot!” Leo’s response to this young rapscallion was to serenade him in song:
I have more Leo to upload in the future. You won’t be seeing this kind of entertainment on the major networks anytime soon — but things would be a lot better if you did.