Film of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band performing Diddy Wah Diddy and Who Do You Think You’re Fooling was broadcast on Dick Clark’s television show Where The Action Is on 24th May 1966. Shot on location at a Californian beach Captain Beefheart’s sexy glowering beatsters played their music to an audience of gyrating valley girls and boys.

This film is a joy to watch, so now that it has been pulled from YouTube for being used without permission we can only hope that Dick Clark Productions, Inc., the copyright owners, have plans to let their film be more widely seen elsewhere.

Film of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band’s first television appearance may also still exist. They played on a programme called 9th Street West which broadcast live in Los Angeles on 28th April 1966, shortly after Diddy Wah Diddy was released. Tapes of this show were produced for syndication but none have yet resurfaced.

Gary Marker tells the story of how this performance degenerated into a very messy slapstick between Don Van Vliet and the TV host Sam Riddle (see Gary’s story below).

A newly discovered contract relating to the 9th Street West TV show is currently being offered for sale by former Warner Bros executive Jeff Gold. This contract carries two different signatures by Don, one as Don Vliet and the other as Don Van Vliet. Because of this, Jeff considers it to be a unique document and prices it accordingly.

Included with the contract is a receipt issued to Don which lists the various aliases of Captain Beefheart at that time. “Captain Beefheart (aka Don Vliet, Van Vliet, Velite)”

Velite? Don Velite? That is unique too, although it is almost certainly only a typo. Gary Marker wrote to me about the organisation which issued the receipt, “….my recollection of the office staff at AFTRA back then is, if their brains were dynamite their eardrums would be in no potential danger. They once cut a check (or “cheque”) to me as “Gerry” Marker.”

Jeff Gold’s Captain Beefheart contract and receipt are for sale at recordmecca.com

A less well known Captain Beefheart appearance was on American Bandstand, another Dick Clark television show, which broadcast on 18th June 1966. The programme had performances by Love and Steve Alaimo plus a telephone interview with Don Van Vliet. This was somehow recorded, and has been seen listed on audio tape traders lists. If anyone can arrange for us to hear this interview we’d be very grateful.

Gary Marker’s Most Amusing Beefheart Moment

Back when “Diddy-Wah-Diddy” was released, Don and the band did the mandatory lip-synch appearance on a local L.A. teen dance show called “9th Street West.” It was hosted by an annoying, smarmy, miniscule, super-hyper DJ named Sam Riddle. Riddle’s usual M.O. was to schmooze with the artist for a bit of time, either before or after their on-air performance–usually by asking a lot of inane questions. (He once actually asked Doug Sam, when “She’s About A Mover” was chart-bound, “How many of you are there in the Sir Douglas Quintet?”)

So anyway, back then no one knew that trying to interview Captain Beefheart was, at best, a shaky proposition. What happened was (and keep in mind that this was LIVE TV), after the Magic Band had finished their lip-synch, Sam Riddle came bounding up to Don, carrying a huge wad of white, waxed butcher’s paper. “Captain Beefheart, Captain Beefheart!” he was yelling in his usual helium-drenched hyper-voice. “Look what I’ve got for YOU!” And with that, he whips open the butcher’s paper, revealing a gigantic, wet, raw genuine beef heart–which he shoves up toward a startled Don Van Vliet’s face. “It’s a real beef heart! Whaddya think of THAT, Captain Beefheart?” he squeaked.

Without a second of hestitation, a now very angry DVV snakes his arm out, grabs the raw beef heart in his bare hand, holds it over Riddle’s head, at which point the munchkin-like host starts backing away quickly. But not quickly enough. “What do you think of THIS, Sam Riddle?” Don growls, giving the heart a hefty squeeze. Bloody beef heart juice squirts, drools and dribbles all over Riddle’s trendy pastel suit, with some overspray on his thick facial make-up. “You gotta lot of nerve sticking that ugly thing in my face,” Don mutters, while Riddle smiles like an imbecile and announces a breakway for commercial a couple minutes ahead of schedule.

Needless to say, Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band were never invited back for another appearance on that particular TV show.

Gary wrote a caveat to the above story.

The appearance I documented was a live, real time event, broadcast only to the LA area. They also taped the show for syndication across the country. When I told friends of mine in other cities to be sure and watch Beefheart’s antics on the show, most reported back that the pivotal moment wherein he douses Sam Riddle with beefheart juice wasn’t there; it had apparently been edited out. So, if any tapes of that particular show still exist, it’s a rather tame version and the best moments of the encounter are missing. But it really happened, I saw it with my own two eyes, and so did a lot of other people in Los Angeles.

– Gary Marker

Thanks to Jeff Gold for permission to use his photographs and to Gary Marker for his generous help.

2 Comments »

  1. Neil says:

    Great story – thank you Gary! Almost warrants a second edition of the biography.

  2. PaulSempschi says:

    So does weird things happen because of the band or just when the band’s around? What a wonderful moment. Funny no one mentioned it till now. Fabulous! Made my day! Haha, what were they thinking?

Leave a Comment »




Popular topics:

2017 | Alex Snouffer | Anton Corbijn | Art Tripp | Bat Chain Puller | Benjamin Horrendous | Big Eyed Beans From Venus | Bill Harkleroad | Bluejeans and Moonbeams | Bongo Fury | Byron Coley | Cal Schenkel | Captain Beefheart The Biography | China Pig | Clear Spot | Collaborations | Creem Magazine | Dave Dimartino | Death | Denny Walley | Derek Laskie | Diddy Wah Diddy | Dirty Blue Gene | Doc At The Radar Station | Don Aldridge | Down Beat | Elaine Shepherd | Encounters in the wild | Eugene Chadbourne | Exhibitions | Frank Zappa | Gary Lucas | Gary Marker | Graham Johnston | Grow Fins | Henry Kaiser | Herb Bermann | Ice Cream For Crow | Interview | Jan Van Vliet | Jasper Leach | Jeff Cotton | Jimmy Carl Black | John French | John Lennon | John Peel | Knoedler and Co | Kristine McKenna | Legendary A&M Sessions | Lester Bangs | Lewis Taylor | Lick My Decals Off Baby | Los Angeles Times | Magic Band reunion | Mark Boston | Mascara Snake | Michael Eivaz | Michael Traylor | Michael Werner Gallery | Mike Barnes | Mirror Man | Mojo Magazine | New York Times | Nulsh | Old Fart At Play | Orange Claw Hammer | Orange Claw Hammer (band) | Outtake | Pamela Des Barres | Phonograph Record Magazine | Retirement from music | Revenant | Rhino Handmade | Robert Palmer | Robyn Hitchcock | Rolling Stone | Ry Cooder | Safe As Milk | Shiny Beast | Sounds | Spotlight Kid | Steal Softly Thru Snow | Steve Froy | Strictly Personal | Sugar 'N Spikes | Sundazed | The Artist Formerly Known As Captain Beefheart | The Dust Blows Forward | The Guardian | The Independent | The Lost Episodes | The Wire | Through The Eyes Of Magic | Tom Waits | Tragic Band | Trout House | Trout Mask Replica | Unconditionally Guaranteed | Victor Hayden | Wha?
Captain Beefheart Radar Station - about us