Big T.N.T. Show, The (1966)

Big T.N.T. Show, The (1966)

“This could be the night — the night I’ve waited for.”

David McCallum conducts and introduces various rock and folk musicians from the 1960s — including Ray Charles, Petula Clark, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Bo Diddley, Joan Baez, The Ronettes, The Byrds, Donovan, and Ike and Tina Turner — as they perform for an enthusiastic audience in Los Angeles.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Concert Films
  • Rock ‘n Roll

This follow-up to The T.A.M.I. Show (1964) — distributed by AIP — was yet another attempt to chronicle and cash in on popular music acts of the day. As such, it’s essentially more of the same but different performers — and, as with The T.A.M.I. Show, some acts will appeal to individual viewers more than others. It’s always wonderful to see Ray Charles, for instance — and Joan Baez sings a lovely cover of “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”, while The Byrds perform “Turn! Turn! Turn! To Everything There is a Season” (never not a timely reminder). I wasn’t familiar with Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan, so it was interesting to hear a few of his ballads. However, this isn’t must-see viewing as a cinematic outing — only for fans of this particular musical era.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Many enjoyable musical numbers

Must See?
No; this one is only must-see for fans of this era of music.


One thought on “Big T.N.T. Show, The (1966)

  1. Agreed; not must-see – mainly for fans who would find it nostalgic. As per my 6/30/20 post in ‘Revival House of Camp & Cult’ (fb):

    “You didn’t have to be so nice…
    I would have liked you anyway…”

    ‘The Big T.N.T. Show’: I’m not quite sure what the right word is but, when you look back at a time-capsule of the ’60s like this one… well, I don’t want to say ‘scary’ but it almost seems unreal. Packaged by Phil Spector and directed by a real director (Larry Peerce, who had just done ‘One Potato, Two Potato’ and would go on to ‘The Incident’, ‘Goodbye, Columbus’, etc.) so it looks pretty good, this very odd mix of music styles is maybe less interesting (now) for the content than the glimpses we get of the fans of the period (the looks on the faces, the fashions, the hairstyles).

    What some of the performers are singing (i.e., Petula Clark, Roger Miller, The Byrds, Bo Diddley) now seems quaint or dated. It can still bring a smile seeing Ray Charles, The Ronettes or The Lovin’ Spoonful (I always thought John Sebastian was adorable), but other performers encourage other reactions. Am I alone in never understanding the career of Joan Baez? Often singing as though she learned English phonetically, she’s a woman with a voice who never seemed to know what to do with it (certainly in terms of emotion: why is she smiling when she’s singing “It makes me just feel like crying” during ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’?). I’ll admit to being moved when one of her encores was ‘There But For Fortune’ but I’d’ve much preferred hearing it sung by its writer – Phil Ochs.

    Near the end, we get Ike and Tina Turner… more or less acting like Sonny & Cher when singing together, with Ike revealing about-zip in the personality department.

    The performance that struck me most – surprisingly – is given by Donovan. When he sings his 3 songs – esp. ‘The Universal Soldier’ – it’s genuinely endearing seeing how the audience becomes riveted to the messages he’s handing out.

Leave a Reply