Janis Joplin’s Face, Seven Feet High — Groovy!


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
February 20, 1969, Vol. XIV, No. 19

by Howard Smith

JANIS JOPLIN’s concerts at the Fillmore East last week were the debut for a light show innovation using closed circuit television. On the big screen behind her, two cameras and two special projectors flashed a nine by seven foot image of Janis’s face in perfect sync as she performed.

It was great for the people in the back; they could watch her move and see what her face was doing at the same time. For those in front there was the novelty of seeing her face at two different angles.

Especially interesting were close-ups of her lips and shots of Sam Andrew’s hand playing guitar, although they made the same mistake most tv shows do and only showed the strumming right hand, not the fingering left one where it’s all really happening.

The Fillmore is trying to get their picture larger and a more intense image until they do will only be using it at concerts from time to time.

AN INCIDENT written up in Variety last week unearthed a surprising piece of information that I’d never noticed. Flip Wilson, guest-hosting the Tonight show, took a healthy swig of Vicks cough medicine on camera. And the NBC sales department, like Chicken Little, expected the sky to fall on them.

It seems that until quite recently Negroes were never allowed to touch a product in a commercial, much less use it. You might have seen black faces scattered across television pitchland, but they didn’t actually handle the precious product.

According to Variety, it was a milestone in tv race relations that the Vicks Company didn’t complain about Wilson’s mouthing their syrup…

PRESIDENT NIXON is going to end the war in Vietnam by appointing Robert Moses Ambassador, who is then going to cover the entire country with concrete and call it the Lower Vietnamese Expressway.

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]