Doing the mashed potato with Dee Dee Sharp … and Steve


When we last left our friend Steve Vilarino, he was 15 years old and doing the pony at “Hollywood A Go Go,” a teen dance-party broadcast, behind Marvin Gaye singing (er …lip syncing) “Can I Get A Witness.”

Steve pops up again, this time doing the mashed potato, appropriately enough to “Mashed Potato Time” sung by Dee Dee Sharp. (Her real name Dione LaRue, from Philadelphia, PA)

Writes Steve, “I’m on the right, directly in front of Dee Dee Sharp. Lighter colored jacket thin black tie.”

According to Steve, “The show was filmed at Channel 9 KHJ TV in Hollywood. The time was Nov. 1965. The original show was called 9th Street West, but in syndication was renamed Hollywood A Go Go. The host was KHJ Radio DJ Sam Riddle.”

“It was the beginning of introducing Tamla-Motown music to white audiences. Although the performers were black, the teenagers dancing on the Show were white.”

“Dee Dee sang live to a music track but on the TV broadcast what you actually heard was the record recording.”

“They rehearsed the teens first. They ran thru the song once for camera angles. I remember the studio was very hot. They used fans between songs to keep the studio cooler. And the b/w cameras were huge.”

“I’m not sure why they picked me to be in front for various songs. Maybe because I had a light-colored jacket that photographed better?”

Or could it be because you were a good dancer, Steve? Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks that. “I danced in all the local L.A. teen dance shows at the time,” says Steve. “My mom who drove me to the show said I was a good dancer.”

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