The Cowsills of Newport popular singing group now becoming a nation-wide favorite starred in its first half-hour musical TV special Saturday night, when NBC presented “A Family Thing.”
Buddy Ebsen guest-starred, introducing the family in a home setting chatting with father – founder Bud Cowsill, and joining the youngest of the clan, nine-year-old Susan, in a son-and-dance version of “The Old Soft Shoe.”
Also appearing in the family were Bill, 20; Bob, 19; Paul, 17; Barry, 14; Johnny, 12; and their mother, Barbara Cowsill. The only Cowsill not on hand was Bob’s twin brother, Dick, who is in the Army.
On the program were “What the World Needs Now,” “Consider Yourself,” “A Doodlin’ Son,” and one of the family’s best selling records, “We Can Fly.” They also sang and played “Indian Lake,” while Barbara weighed the pros and cons of being a performing mother.
Barry, John and Susan were the trio for “Happiness” and the five boys were heard in a barbershop medley including “Sweet Adeline,” “You Are My Sunshine,” “Zip a Dee Doo Dah,” “Rockabye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody,” and a novelty number, “Leonard Nimoy” to the tune of “Frere Jacques.”
The Cowsills in one year have risen from local popularity to national acclaim as one of the country’s leading singing and recording groups. They will be seen again on the NBC network in another special, “The Wonderful World of Pizazz,” for which they are writing an original number,” The Pizazz Song.”