Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stella-vision: Leo Stella's "Seems Like Old Times"

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.


alcue said...

I have a Leo Stella clip here in which Leo tries to be affable but loses his cool when a caller goes nutzo on him. Well send you a copy if you like.

Charles Frenkel said...

Joey Reynolds could use a bandleader -- and not Bela!

OTTOBOP said...

Many Thanks for your kind attention.
I am Humbled.
I am alive & well.
Leo Stella {:^)

Fee said...

One of the very fun times in my life was watching LEO....and making those calls and having fun! It started out as just a prank....I am "Disco Boy" and would call him and play Frank Zappa's "Disco Boy" to him over the phone. Eventually we sort of connected a bit and he really did have a good sense of humor. If that is you Leo I'm glad you are alive and well! Please reach out.....