The Cowsills – an improbable name to begin with – think maybe they’re on the verge of hitting the big time.
They’re not sure yet, but if things go the way they have been led to expect there just might be a new family situation comedy series starting on television in the fall of 1968 – starring, of course, The Cowsills.
Basically and professionally, the handsome-looking Cowsills are a singing group of six people.
But there are really nine Cowsills in all. In fact, there were so many Cowsills in the Marriott ballroom Wednesday night it was confusing.
There were Daddy and Mama Cowsill (Bud and Barbara), and five singing children – Susan, 8; John, 11; Barry, 13; Bob, 18, and Bill, 19. Two non-singers who do other chores in the act were Paul and Dick, who is a twin of Bob’s.
All wore long Beatle-type hair down over their foreheads, but they were neat and well-groomed and a dynamo of personality even when alone together.
Bud Cowsill started the whole thing when he married Barbara when she was only 17. “I’m 39 and he’s 42,” she said, “and DON’T get it backwards.”
Although Bud was a career man in the Navy for 20 years – he retired four years ago as a chief boilermaker – the kids kept coming like clockwork, and it seemed that each one of them had a hankering to make music, although none has ever had any formal training.
Barbara the mother, who can sing it smooth and cool in her mini-skirt when her younger jet set decides to slow down the rock beat, said she and Bud “scrimped, saved, borrowed and went broke” in an effort to help their children develop their talents – which included buying all sorts of musical instruments, amplifiers and sound systems.
They decided three years ago to go for broke. “Making it in the big time is the name of the game,” Barbara said.
“Singing has always been a family hobby with us,” Bud said. “Barbara’s only musical background was singing in the kitchen. The boys really groomed her and coached her and helped her with her stage presence.”
The Cowsills recently were on the Johnny Carson and Mike Douglas TV shows and hope to be on the Smothers Brothers show later in the fall.
But aside from what singing ability they might have and their new connection with a recording company, the biggest break for the Cowsills is the interest expressed in a possible TV series.
“We’re the craziest family you ever saw,” Barbara said. “Enough wild things go on in our 22-room house (in Newport, Rhode Island) to supply enough material for the entire televisions series.”
A pilot film of the Cowsills already has been made in New York. They will find out something definite about their TV future when they arrive in California in October after completing a current publicity tour around the country.
Watching the young Cowsills by themselves as they joked and pranced and lectured each other just before going on stage Wednesday night was almost like seeing a real, live situation comedy show.
There is such a drive and earnestness and honesty about the young Cowsills it is difficult to see how they can miss what they’re shooting for.
So tune in next year for further developments. You just might be watching the Cowsills every Tuesday night.