(Aka Rosalie Hoffman aka Rosalie Spizz aka Mrs. Norman Spizz )

Ken Shapiro aka Kenny Sharpe; Startime Kids, Groove Tube
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Kenneth Shapiro was born in Newark, New Jersey, on June 5, 1942. His father, Frank, was a manufacturer of novelty hats who capitalized on the popularity of the Davy Crockett craze in the mid-1950s by marketing coonskin caps. His mother, Leona, was intent on getting her son into show business. By the time he was two months old he started appearing in print ads &bcommercials. He became a big child star under the name Kenny Sharpe, in the beginning days of television in New York, which were all shot live. He was one of the early leads in George Scheck's NBC/ABC series Startime Kids. He appeared often on "Mr. Television"-Milton Berle's Texaco Star Theater, the show that MADE television, as The Kid.
Kenny shapiro sharpeTheKid

As young as he was he would go toe to toe with the dynamic Milton Berle. Shapiro appeared on numerous other TV shows, but he was unhappy as a busy child performer. 'He had fond memories of Milton Berle as a mentor, but he really wanted to get away from show business and be a kid.'

Texaco Star Theater - Shapiro Pitchman Act, Milton Berle & Commerical

As the Kid,
Episode #1.16 (1948), Episode #1.15 (1948), Episode #1.14 (1948), Episode #1.13 (1948), Episode #1.12 (1948), Episode #1.11 (1948), Episode #1.10 (1948), Episode #1.9 (1948), Episode #1.8 (1948), Episode #1.7 (1948), Episode #1.6 (1948), Episode #1.5 (1948), Episode #1.4 (1948), Episode #1.3 (1948), Episode #1.2 (1948), Episode #1.1 (1948), Episode #1.46 (1949), Episode #1.40 (1949), Episode #1.33 (1949), and many others.

KenShapiroChannelOne.jpg KenShapiroKennySharpeGrooveTubeMadBlueDVD KenShapiroKennySharpeGrooveTubeWhiteGorillaHuge.jpg

Shapiro's 1974 independent film, a collection of skits called The Groove Tube was probably Shapiro's crowning achievement. The Groove Tube was an outgrowth of another Shapiro-Sarasohn innovation, Channel One, which opened in a theater in New York's East Village in 1967. 'The Groove Tube' began as a project with Mr. Shapiro's childhood friend and Bard College classmate Lane Sarasohn. In 1967 they began showing sketches they had videotaped on closed-circuit TV screens in a small theater in the East Village in Manhattan.
Mr. Shapiro and Mr. Sarasohn found additional theaters, and colleges, where they could show the sketches. When they decided to adapt the sketches for 'The Groove Tube' - which required them to refilm all the sketches because the video was so grainy - they used $150,000 in Mr. Shapiro's trust fund from his child performing days and borrowed $50,000 from his father. The film was originally supposed to air at the Channel One theater in New York, a venue that featured R-rated material, which at the time, was very novel. The influential and sometimes hilarious spoof of television marked the movie debuts of Chevy Chase and Richard Belzer. The absurd film was a benchmark for comedy and Shapiro's career. Playboy magazine said that the movie was the 'most stinging assault on television since it was invented.' Not only did the low-budget film receive an X-rating but it satirized media and counterculture of the early '70s, eventually paving the way for like-minded films like The Kentucky Fried Movie. The Groove Tube employed a hilarious series of skits that spoofed everything from commercials and public service announcements to talk shows, the nightly news and sports commentary.
Shapiro is seen in the film playing a lowlife pot dealer, a TV clown who reads erotic passages from Fanny Hill to young viewers (after the kiddies are told to tell their parents to leave the room) and a female host of a cooking show that doesn't go easy on the shortening product Kramp Easy Lube.
'The Groove Tube,' has been lauded as a template for raw sketch comedy. .
In addition to 'The Groove Tube,' another one of his most successful projects was 20th Century Fox's 1981 the sci-fi fantasy comedy 'Modern ProblIn the opening scene. what sounds like a children's program is playing on the television in the background. It is actually a raunchy sketch called 'Koko the Klown Show' from the movie The Groove Tube (1974), Chevy Chase's first movie, which was also directed by Ken Shapiro, who played Koko, and directed this movie. ems,' (1981) which he directed and co-wrote. 'Modern Problems' was about an air traffic controller (portrayed by Mr. Chevy Chase) who gains telekinetic powers from being soaked with radioactive soapsuds. Mr. Shapiro wrote it with Mr. Sellers and Tom Sherohman. Chevy Chase once said of his character in this movie: 'Max Fielder is basically a nice guy who suffers from most of the hang-ups of our society. He's jealous, possessive, uptight, and insecure. But he can't verbalize those feelings, so he's got a lot of repressed rage.' Chevy Chase was nearly electrocuted during a stunt in the sequence in which he is wearing 'landing lights' and dreams that he is an airplane. The lights' wiring short-circuited through his arm, back, and neck, which caused him to lose consciousness.
The film's budget of approximately eight million dollars, was about twenty times larger than the budget of Ken Shapiro's earlier movie, The Groove Tube (1974), which had been around four hundred thousand dollars.
But that would be Mr. Shapiro's final film. Unhappy with Hollywood, he retired from show business before his 40th birthday. He was comfortable financially from 'The Groove Tube,' which had grossed $20 million and had been very much an independent film: Mr. Shapiro owned and distributed it.
'He liked being his own boss, and he had this singular view of how things should be done,' Mr. Sellers said. 'He didn't like studios with so many layers to get things O.K.'d.'

Shapiro's discomfort with the corporate structure of studio and television networks drove him to leave Hollywood and relocate to New Mexico.

Ken Shapiro, center, with comedian Chevy Chase, left, & writer Lane Sarasohn, who worked with him on 'The Groove Tube.'
Kenny shapiro sharpe

In her review in New York magazine, Judith Crist wrote that Mr. Shapiro 'has a very nice gift for taking a squint at television's triteness and seeing any number of oddball possibilities with a bit of a leer and a lot of laughter.'
And in The New York Post, Archer Winsten said that the film 'marks the emergence of a comedy group that, given time and opportunity, could brighten, sharpen and broaden American comedy of the next decade or so.' .
Mr. Shapiro's decision to satirize television might be the most enduring impact of 'The Groove Tube.'
'Television didn't refer to itself much back in 1974, and neither did film,' Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Pop Culture at Syracuse University, said. 'The Groove Tube' 's legacy was that it established a structure, an attitude and a style of burlesque that would become familiar in later shows like S.N.L.,' Mad TV' and especially `SCTV.' '

In what some critics singled out as the film's highlight, a news anchorman (Mr. Shapiro) ends his broadcast with a loquacious signoff (it begins 'And that's the way it is, was and will be'), but when he has nothing more to say, he grows increasingly panicked as the camera lingers on him for more than two minutes.


In one 'Groove Tube' sketch, a clown (played by Mr. Shapiro) reads passages from 'Fanny Hill,' the 18th-century erotic novel, to children after they've shooed the adults from their rooms; in another,

Baking for 4th of July. A take off on the Kraft cooking television commercials of the day.

In New York magazine, Judith Crist wrote that The Groove Tube is 'bawdy and bright and glisters with some very satisfying bits of originality from the obvious intelligence and burgeoning talents of Ken Shapiro.
[He] has a very nice gift for taking a squint at television's triteness and seeing any number of oddball possibilities with a bit of a leer and a lot of laughter.'
The independent release, which Shapiro wrote with Lane Sarasohn, debuted in the U.S. in April 1974, about 18 months before Chase would hit it big as an original castmember on Saturday Night Live. The Groove Tube, in fact, was an inspiration for the NBC show, according to director Gus Van Sant, who, when he first came to Hollywood, served as Shapiro's assistant.
'There was a big group working for him before I arrived, including Lorne Michaels, who was writing a script for him before he went to make Saturday Night Live, which essentially used a lot of the ideas that were in The Groove Tube,' Van Sant said in a 1997 interview with Venice Magazine. 'Then when Lorne Michaels pitched the idea for SNL, they invited Ken to go along with them, but he felt like he had other important things to do and didn't want to get involved in what was essentially a pilot, even though it was live skit humor.'
Their news anchorman satire, completed with the signature sign-off line, 'Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow,' was used by Chase on SNL's 'Weekend Update.'
A native of Newark, New Jersey, and a Bard College graduate, Kenneth Roy Shapiro began showing up in commercials when he was 2 months old. Then known as little Kenny Sharpe, he was a star in the days of live television and appeared often on Milton Berle's Texaco Star Theater as 'The Kid.'
Various industry observers credit Shapiro and his 1974 independent raw sketch comedy, 'The Groove Tube', with being the template for modern comedy's media-wise, frank sensibilities. Film director Gus Van Sant said of Ken, 'I learned much more from him than anything in school,' and further credits Shapiro with being the pioneering source of Saturday Night Live. Jim Knipfel, of, wrote: 'In terms of contempora

Allmovie reports that 'The Groove Tube (1974) was originally rated X' in the U.S. Film critic Leonard Maltin concurs that the film was 'originally X-rated, later trimmed' for a toned-down modified version.
'Movies on TV and Videocassette' stated that this film 'started out life in an off-Broadway showcase where the sketches were seen on TV screens'. Further, according to Wikipedia, 'the film was originally produced to be shown at the Channel One Theater on East 60th St. in New York, a venue that featured R-rated video recordings shown on three television sets, which was a novelty to the audiences of the time'. Moreover, according to the 'Virgin Film Guide', 'The Groove Tube was an outgrowth of 'Channel One', a comedy troupe (in an off-Broadway experimental multimedia theater) formed in 1967, by (Ken) Shapiro, Lane Sarasohn, and Chevy Chase. Instead of performing live, they videotaped parodies of TV, and showed them in a ratty theater in Greenwich Village. (Chase left early on, and was replaced by Richard Belzer). After touring a collection of Channel One's best bits to colleges, Shapiro transferred them to film, and assembled this movie.'
Born: June 5, 1942 in Newark, New Jersey, USA Died: November 18, 2017 (age 75) in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy.

The film's budget of approximately eight million dollars, was about twenty times larger than the budget of Ken Shapiro's earlier movie, The Groove Tube (1974), which had been around four hundred thousand dollars.
Ken Shapiro, director, writer, and star of the independent sketch comedy film 'The Groove Tube' and 'Modern Problems,' , died on Nov. 18 at his home in Los Cruces, N.M. after a battle with cancer. He was 76.


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