Friday, February 23, 2024

Hot Hero Sandwich — Short Take on Northern Calloway, Creative Consultant

by G. Jack Urso

 

Northern Calloway, who played David on Sesame Street from 1971-1989, served as the creative consultant for Hot Hero Sandwich. Bruce and Carole Hart, who knew Calloway from their time with Sesame Street in the early years, tapped him to provide feedback on the scripts, according to series writer Sherry Coben. Calloway's extensive stage experience also gave the production team a working actor's perspective.

Northern Calloway.
Being of the first generation of children to watch Sesame Street, those early years of the show hold special memories for me. In fact, the show debuted the day before my fifth birthday, Nov. 10, 1969. By sheer coincidence, Hot Hero Sandwich debuted exactly ten years later, Nov. 10, 1979.

Calloway’s involvement with the writing staff on Hot Hero Sandwich was limited primarily in meetings at the start of production. While not very involved with the writing, Coben noted to me that Calloway’s approval was sought, particularly on matters regarding race, as in such sketches as “The N-Word Monologue,” written by Richard Camp, and the “The Black Family Epiphany,” written by Andy Breckman. Nevertheless, Coben did not recall Calloway asking for any script changes.

“It was very cool to have a Sesame Street veteran in the room,” Coben reflected. “He wasn't around much after the initial meetings as I recall, but none of us felt he hadn't earned his credit as part of the team.”

Calloway’s David on Sesame Street was a colorfully dressed character who inherited Mr. Hooper’s store following the death of actor Will Lee. His character was also the boyfriend of Maria Rodriquez (Sonia Manzano), making it an interracial relationship. Calloway also provided the voice for some Muppet characters. In the early years of Sesame Street, the few human characters on the show became very popular and it was hard not to be familiar with them even if you did not watch the show. They also appeared in spin-off films and specials and on records and in public service announcements and on all sorts of merchandise for the show.

Northern Calloway (David) and Sonia Manzano (Maria).
Before Sesame Street, Calloway graduated from New York City's vaunted High School of Performing Arts and joined the Lincoln Center Repertory Company and appeared in several productions on Broadway and in London in the late 1960s through 1980, including replacing Ben Vereen in Pippen. It was at that point that Calloway’s manic episodes stemming from his mental illness began to overtake his life.

During the time of Calloway’s involvement with Hot Hero Sandwich in the Spring/Summer of 1979, Coben reported, “Northern's struggles with mental health were not glaringly (or even slightly) apparent at the time we were all together.” Yet, it wouldn’t be long after the show that Calloway’s mental health took a dramatic turn for the worse.

In September 1980, I came across a NY Post article about one violent incident in Nashville (see below, courtesy of Hot Hero writer Marianne Meyer). I won’t rehash the details here, but the events were particularly disturbing, both for Calloway and the people he encountered. At 15, I hadn’t watched Sesame Street in a while, but I can remember how shocked I was. Nevertheless, the incident received relatively little attention after that first report. Afterwards, when I asked people if they remembered it, the usual reaction was they thought it was an urban myth or that I was making it up. In the years before the internet, fact-checking such news was a laborious task usually done in libraries and newspaper morgues. 

NY Post article from September 1980.
In the late 1980s, I worked in tape operations at the New York Network, the Albany-based PBS hub for rebroadcasting its shows to member stations throughout upstate New York. It was my job to load and monitor every PBS show we broadcast, including Sesame Street. We ran at least two episodes a day and over the course of the two summers I worked there, I must have seen hundreds of episodes. By that time, however, Calloway’s appearances on the show had been reduced due to his worsening mental health issues and manic episodes. The budding romance his character David had with Maria was ended and she married another character, Luis. Calloway’s last appearance on the show was May 13, 1989. After a violent manic incident in a psychiatric hospital on Jan. 12, 1990, he passed away at the age of 41.

Mr. Hooper’s death, brought about by the passing of the actor Will Lee, became a major cathartic event on the show. Despite occurring over 40 years ago, Lee’s memory is still preserved with Hooper’s Store on set. As for David, he was said to have gone off to help his grandmother on her farm. For 18 years David was a friendly face explaining the world to a couple generations of children — then he vanished and was never mentioned again.

Northern Calloway’s Obituary (AP).
Still, to this day, Sesame Street only tangentially acknowledges Calloway’s and David’s existence. The critically acclaimed 2021 documentary Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street, while covering all the major original cast members, reportedly didn’t even mention Calloway, though he was discussed in the book it was based on. It’s as if he never existed. Understandably, the reaction stems from not wanting to disrespect someone’s memory by discussing the negative, but not finding a way to honor the positive about them results in the disrespect they want to avoid.

In searching for something to honor Northern Calloway’s memory I found this delightful, joyful clip of him singing “It Feels Good When You Sing a Song” with Alaina Reed Hall as Olivia. This is the way I remember David. This is the way I want to remember Northern.

You should too.


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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Hot Hero Sandwich — Short Take on David Kaestle, Graphic Designer

by G. Jack Urso
 
Hot Hero Sandwich Logo, designed by David Kaestle.

The Hot Hero Sandwich logo looks a bit deceptively simple — just the title and a sandwich — yet highlighted in full neon splendor set against a black background and it really pops. Since most images of the logo are low-resolution screen shots from VHS source tapes, I recently had a graphic designer friend recreate the logo design, and at any size and on any medium the image stands out and is instantly recognizable.  

The logo is the work of David Kaestle (1945-2004), a 1967 graduate of the Pratt Institute who won many awards for his work, including an Emmy and the Art Directors’ Club Gold Medal. Amazingly, I can consider Kaestle something of a hometown boy. I live in Albany, NY, and Kaestle was born one city over in Schenectady, NY, and was raised in the nearby town of Scotia.

National Lampoon Staff: Henry Beard, Michael Gross, Matty Simmons, Brian McConnachie, Len Mogel, Michael O’Donoghue, Barbara Atti, and David Kaestle in DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON. ©Magnolia Pictures.
Kaestle was a graphic designer who was instrumental in the first several years of National Lampoon, establishing the look and design of the legendary publication, and then with National Lampoon art director Michael C. Gross (also his former roommate), left the magazine in 1974 and set up their own graphic design company, Pellegrini, Kaestle, & Gross, Inc., which continued to do work for the magazine as well as for The Muppet Show, and Hot Hero Sandwich, of course. In fact, Kaestle’s then-wife Mari worked as a Muppet designer with Jim Henson Productions and had a hand in creating Miss Piggy. PK&G Inc. also did the logo for Henson Associates (see below). Kaestle later established his own company, David Kaestle Incorporated, and did work for Dreamworks, Lucasfilm, and Nickelodeon.

Hernson Associates logo design by Pellegrini, Kaestle, & Gross, Inc.
In 1979, while working up the Hot Hero Sandwich logo, Kaestle also did graphic design work on the cult classic Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video, by Saturday Night Live writer and fellow National Lampoon alumnus Mike O'Donoghue and starring several SNL cast members. From National Lampoon to The Muppet Show to Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video, Kaestle, who was in his 20s and 30s in the 1970s, was in touch with the youth zeitgeist of the era. His work dovetails with many of the touchstones of that generation.

Kaestle’s Hot Hero logo was also used as the masthead on the show’s stationary.
In a 2015 interview with The Comics Journal, Michael Gross spoke fondly of Kaestle, commending his best friend not only on his talent and work, but also for his modestly and integrity. When I commented to Dr. Tom Cottle about how kind and gracious the Hot Hero cast and crew I spoke with have been Cottle wasn’t surprised because, according to him, Bruce and Carole Hart didn’t tolerate “unkind, un-nice people. You wanted professional people. They didn’t want to deal with rude people.” To find someone like Kaestle in the cut-throat business world of New York City, and in television no less, must have been like finding a diamond in the rough.

David Kaestle caricature by Hot Hero series writer Sherry Coben,
drawn during the time of the series (1979).
David Kaestle passed away far too early at 58 in 2004 due to cancer, yet he left an indelible mark on his generation few outside the industry are even aware of. The comments about his kindness and the quality of his character refute the notion you have to be shark to survive the often murky waters of the entertainment industry. Kaestle found his way by connecting with like-minded talented people who shared his values and created their own opportunities by tapping into the spirit of the time.  

David Kaestle’s Hot Hero Sandwich logo in a neon gif!

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Monday, February 12, 2024

Hot Hero Sandwich Project Archives: Record World Article, Nov. 24, 1979

by G. Jack Urso


The now-defunct Record World, along with Billboard and Cashbox, was considered among the Holy Trinity of U.S. music trade magazines. Its run from 1946 through 1982 covered the height of the Post-War, Post-Modern popular music scene. In this article, the magazine focuses on the music-end of Hot Hero Sandwich with some rare quotes by Felix Pappalardi about the show and plans for the Hot Hero Band which, unfortunately, never came to pass.

The complete article is provided below.

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‘Hero Sandwich’ Offers Varied Menu

By Joseph Ianello, Record World, Nov. 24, 1979

NEW YORK — Ten years ago, “Sesame Street” debuted on American television with revolutionary approaches to children's programming and educational instructional methods in general. Bruce and Carole Hart, a husband and wife team who were members of “Sesame Street's” original writing staff, last week (10) debuted “Hot Hero Sandwich,” a weekly series at noon on NBC-TV that may change the existing concept of Saturday morning television.

“Hot Hero Sandwich” is an hour-long potpourri of interviews with “Hot Heroes” of today. The first show included Bruce Jenner, Olivia Newton-John, Erik Estrada, and Donna Pescow; sketches performed by the “Hot Hero Sandwich” repertory company, a group of seven performers in their late teens and early twenties; animated sequences depicting the dreams of adolescents as told to Dr. Lee Salk; and music sequences done by a new group called “Hot Hero” with special guest stars like Sister Sledge, Joe Jackson, Little River Band, Eddie Money, the Persuasions, Rex Smith, and Stephen Stills.

“For years we had been going to the network saying we'd like to do a series that was something different from the typical Saturday morning programming, but we could never get them to agree to it,” said Carole, who won an Emmy in 1974 for co-producing the Mario Thomas special Free To Be . . . You And Me. The typical Saturday morning programming that Carole and Bruce abhor along with so many others is the continual parade of anti-social and violent cartoon characters who are glorified for their foolish behavior and senseless actions.

The original Record World article.
Mixed Media

The Harts had just finished “Sooner Or Later,” a March 25 movie musical made for television, about a teenage girl's emergence into womanhood, when NBC totally reversed their previous stance and offered them an opportunity to come up with something of their own. “We came up with an idea of building mixed-media entertainment around a kind of emotional core of interviews with a series of interesting people, Carole reflected. The show has developed into a fast-paced, high-energy program that entertains while encouraging viewers to confront personal feelings, ideas and values conflicts while offering possible resolutions. None of the humanistic interviews, sketches, animations, or musical interludes are longer than three minutes, but all are in some way related to a central theme that ties together each show. And central to the success of these themes is the humor and music which are used to maintain interest while underscoring important points.

“The kind of humor you find on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ irreverent and hard-hitting, is the kind of humor young people relate to,” Bruce commented. “We thought that if our humor was any less than that, if we didn't have them laughing at the funny parts and boogieing at the music parts, then they wouldn't sit around for the talk parts.”

“One of the most important ingredients in the linkage of one concept to another within the total thematic framework of the show is the music, those little transitional pieces are quite instrumental in keeping the whole thing together,” Bruce added. Recognizing from the beginning how important music would be to the show, the Harts set out to find a music director who had an extensive background ranging from pop to rock to classical. Felix Pappalardi, producer for the Youngbloods, Cream, Hot Tuna, and Mountain, fit the bill and the circumstances surrounding his hiring are as unique as the job he fills, as Carole recounts: “We were breakfasting with a friend who's a psychic just about the time we were looking for a music director and she said, ‘Carole, see the name Felix behind your head’. Bruce and our film editor simultaneously said Pappalardi. We called him in Nantucket and he was working for us the next night.”

The pop-rock guests perform songs from their catalogues that fit the themes of the show rather than promote their latest record. On the first show, Sister Sledge sang “We Are Family” to tie in with the idea of friendship which was dealt with in the last act of the program. In a future program, Joe Jackson will do is Radio, a song about a young man being frustrated and wanting to get back at the people who held him down. “That's a thing that lots of young people feel so even though it’s a great pop tune, it’s expressing a fairly universal emotion,” Bruce stated.

According to Pappalardi, all the music is prerecorded because the show uses a neon set which creates a loud hum when amplifiers are turned on. While the superstar guests appear mainly to elaborate on themes, the show's “Hero Band” writes some of the music and performs almost all of the interludes, transitions, bumpers, and its own songs. The band is comprised of Robert Brissette, lead vocalist and bass; Mark Cunningham, lead and rhythm guitar; Richard Annunziato, lead vocalist and guitars; and Michael Ratti, drums. “We're not using the band specifically to break them,” said Bruce. “We were looking for a good young music act whose material would fit thematically while serving as audience identification models.”

Even though Bruce readily admits that “Hot Hero” was custom made for the show, he also recognizes that the series could act as a springboard to propel the group into national hit-maker status. The Harts’ recent success with “Sooner Or Later” and the subsequent emergence of Rex Smith from a co-starring role in that show to teen idol with his top 10 single "You Take My Breath Away,” makes the idea that much more feasible. “These guys are bad-assed players," said Pappalardi. “Bruce, Carole and I have definitely talked about cast, theme or band albums for the future and I can't wait to do a ‘Hot Hero’ record but there are no plans at the moment.”

The broad age appeal of the program and its concern with the real life experiences of today's heroes who at one time were going through the same problems as the viewers, should make it a hit. Yet there are those who claim that the fast pace and brief segments encourage hyperactivity and shorten the attention span of the audience while only superficially treating serious problems. Bruce addressed himself to this criticism stating, “We spend a lot of time trying to make things relate to one another so the viewers' attention carries over from scene one to scene 35.” Pappalardi, who calls young people his favorite in the world, adds, “Kids don't get talked to enough at home so it’s nice when they see people that perhaps they emulate all of the sudden saying things like, ‘hey, it was hard for Bruce Jenner on his first kiss.’ It's really like that for other people too!”

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Saturday, February 10, 2024

Hot Hero Sandwich — Short Take on James Biondolillo, Music Coordinator

by G. Jack Urso

There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.
— Albert Maltz, The Naked City.
 

The above line from the classic movie and TV series The Naked City symbolizes the aspirations and dreams of the many people drawn to New York City. Some are lifelong citizens, some are transients, some are homeless, but whether we land in Peoria or Paris, everyone has a story. Hot Hero Sandwich was produced by a mix of talented people from across the nation drawn to New York City by its opportunities. Their stories help define both an industry and an era. 

Jimmy Biondolillo and the Godfather of Soul James Brown (photo Stereo Society).

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Mr. Conductor, If You Please . . .

James “Jimmy” Biondolillo was one of the music coordinators for Hot Hero Sandwich (the other being Tony Fiore). Jimmy was brought to my attention by series writer Marianne Meyer. In the Hot Hero Sandwich Project’s ongoing effort to shine a little light on those behind the scenes, I now turn the spotlight on Jimmy and his role as a music coordinator.

A music coordinator serves as a sort of liaison between the producers and musicians. According to Hot Hero band drummer Mike Ratti, the music coordinator for the show was “the one up that will put the music together and the musicians that had to be hired . . .  he [Biondolillo] was known for that. He was on that circuit.”

According to Marianne Meyer, at the time of Hot Hero Sandwich, Biondolillo lived in a studio apartment across the street from the Ed Sullivan Theater. Surprisingly, he only had a “crappy little stereo,” not a high-end, high-tech classic 1970s audio set-up she expected him to have. Biondolillo replied, and paraphrasing him here, “I work in studios with the greatest equipment but, when I come home, if it sounds good on this, I know it’s a great track."

Meyer reported Biondolillo worked on a solo album with Roger Daltry (Parting Should Be Painless) and on a project with Frank Sinatra — and had Frank’s coffee cup as a souvenir to prove it! He also worked on albums with The Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Bronski Beat, the Communards, Bobby Day, Frankie Vallie, Tatsuro Yamashita, Odyssey, and many more.

Biondolillo hailed from Cleveland, Ohio, where, in an interview with Mike Thorne of the NYC-based Stereo Society, Oct. 16, 2001, he notes that his early experience included playing, and by his own admission “poorly,” in wedding bands, working his way through college. While he spent time in London, LA, and Nashville, he preferred the fast pace of New York City.

In the interview, Biondolillo describes his job as knowing not only how the music for a project should be arranged, but who can deliver the performances needed for the right sound. Beyond just technical musical knowledge, the music coordinator needs to have an extensive working knowledge of the musicians available and how they play. Additionally, Jimmy wrote arrangements, usually on the spot, and the musicians typically were expected to nail it in one take.

Jimmy Biondolillo apparently was very pleased to meet Nancy Sinatra (Getty Images).

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Changing Times

Biondolillo acknowledges in the interview that the advance of technology has led to a new generation of musicians who don’t understand how a good music coordinator contributes to the success of a project. This is compounded by a steadily shrinking Rolodex of colleagues who know the importance of his work, but who have since left the business or have been sidelined themselves. Nevertheless, review of his later work on the website Discogs reveals a focus on arrangement and conducting, suggesting he segued to more specialized work.

Hot Hero’s Mike Ratti, having worked through that era, conceded the industry has changed since the Hot Hero days and the duties of the music coordinator have been divided between individual specialists rather than lumped together with the music coordinator.

“The business had changed,” Ratti noted, “and they didn’t really need people like that anymore. They were bringing in arrangers, people that were writing the music for the session so that [the music coordinator] wasn’t needed. It wasn’t the animal that was needed anymore so people like just kind of faded away, and that part of the industry.”

In some respects, I can relate. In the 1980s, my audio and video skills were pretty sharp and honed on state-of-the-art equipment. When I tried to reenter the business in the mid-1990s after a five-year gap working in education, I found that the digital revolution had made most of the equipment I trained on obsolete. I took up a few brief part-time radio jobs as an announcer now and then. When I would explain to my younger co-workers how I used to edit audio with a crayon, razor blade, and tape, they looked at me like an obsolescent curiosity straight out of the Stone Age.

As noted above, Biondolillo continued his work long after Hot Hero Sandwich. When trying to track him down, I found the Stereo City interview and an email address for Jimmy hosted through the website. I reached out, but instead got a response from the interviewer, Mike Thorne, who administrates the website and reported that he hadn’t heard from Jimmy in quite a while and a quick survey of other Stereo City NYC-based audio professionals revealed the same. No one has heard of his current whereabouts. Likewise, my own research efforts have turned up nothing. 

Biondolillo and Marianne Meyer collaborated on a script, Under the Lights, about the true story of a pair of high school football players Jimmy brought to her attention, but nothing developed from it. On a visit to New York City a few years after the show, Meyer stopped at the front desk of his apartment building across from the Ed Sullivan Theater to inquire if Jimmy was still there, but he was long gone and the concierge did not recall him.

The Ed Sullivan Theater, left; Jimmy Biondolillo’s apartment building was a few blocks away at Carengie Mews (Google Maps).
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Concluding Thoughts

I recently read a review of the Twilight Zone episode, “The Odyssey of Flight 33,” where a commercial airliner gets caught in a powerful jet stream that takes it to different points in the past. The episode ends with the jet trying to get back to its own time and running out fuel. The journey continues, but the episode ends. We never learn what happens to the passengers. Somewhere out there, Flight 33 is still trying to get home. The reviewer didn’t like the episode because there was no conclusion, no resolution, to the story, and all good stories must have a conclusion, right?

Well, I’m not sure where Jimmy Biondolillo ended up, but I like to think that, as with Flight 33, he is still out there somewhere — if only in the worn-out grooves of old records and on wonky cassettes and discarded CDs or riding some radio waves still traveling far out through space . . . or even in a wedding band in Cleveland, Ohio.

I hope Jimmy found his way home because, in a way, we’re all on the same path.

 
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UPDATE April 2024: Jimmy Biondolilio has turned up! He is scheduled to appear at the Wickliffe (Ohio) Public Library, May 8, 2024, to discuss his career. Looks like Jimmy made it home after all! 

UPDATE May 2024: To catch up with Jimmy, please read my interview with him at Hot Hero Sandwich — In Conversation with Music Coordinator Jimmy Biondolillo.

Recent picture of Jimmy Biondolillo (Wickliffe Public Library).
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Sunday, February 4, 2024

Hot Hero Sandwich Clip Job! Captain Hero

by G. Jack Urso 

Captain Hero Theme Song performed by the Hot Hero band.


Captain Hero

Stronger than a frog

Faster than a rock

Smarter than a piece of pie

What a guy . . . Captain Hero

Captain Hero!

 

Captain Hero, portrayed by Hot Hero Sandwich’s resident child actor Adam Ross, along with the Puberty Fairy, is one of the show’s more surreal elements. On Hot Hero Sandwich, Captain Hero typically appears when there is a threat to a friend or family member, using his intelligence or a special ability to foil the evildoer.
 
It’s a common enough experience for children to pretend they’re superheroes. On one hand, it is a relatively healthy exercise of the imagination, provided one does not jump off a roof pretending to fly. On the other hand, imaginary play can become a safe place from dysfunction and trauma. It is not uncommon for children of dysfunctional families to grow up and work as counselors, teachers, social workers, and First Responders — becoming, in a way, the superheroes they always wanted to be.

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Hot Hero Sandwich Episode 2: The Case of the Disappearing Signature 

Captain Hero thwarts an evil landlord trying to cheat his parents.


 

Hot Hero Sandwich Episode 3: The Case of the Radioactive Bicycle

With Special Guest Star Stanley Dipstyck. In this episode, Stanley reveals why he wears a bag on his head!

 

Hot Hero Sandwich Episode 5: The Case of the Angry Boyfriend

With Special Guest Villain Matt McCoy!

 

Hot Hero Sandwich Episode 7: The Case of the Talking Toilet

A quick toilet trick by the Captain deters a felonious plumber!

 

Hot Hero Sandwich Episode 9: The Puberty Fairy Strikes!

With Special Guest Andy Breckman!


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Saturday, February 3, 2024

Hot Hero Sandwich Project Archives: TV Week Article, Nov. 4 — 10, 1979

by G. Jack Urso


The Hot Hero Sandwich theme, a catchy, straight-ahead rock song, almost single-handedly sustained fan interest in the show. In my research, however, I found little directly from Bruce and Carole Hart about theme song until I came across this article from the Nov. 4 — 10, 1979, Sunday News TV Week. The complete article is provided below.

The theme song was written by Bruce Hart and Stephen Lawrence. Hart also co-wrote the lyrics for the theme song for Sesame Street, and along with Lawrence wrote the soundtrack for the NBC TV movie, Sooner or Later (which featured Hot Hero Sandwich music guest Rex Smith and Hot Hero Band member Mark Cunningham as a member of Smith’s band).

Personally, and I think I speak for many fans, the importance of the Hot Hero Sandwich theme song in sustaining the series’ memory cannot be underestimated. As a teen, I immediately connected with its message that just surviving all the daily dysfunction of our young lives is nothing else than heroic — and given the state of the world today, that journey has become a labor of Hercules.

At least the kids could have a damn good theme song.
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NEW YORK — An original theme song, “Hot Hero,” will open each weekly telecast of “Hot Hero Sandwich,” the series utilizing music, comedy, celebrity interviews, film segments and animated sequences to focus on the fun and frustration of growing up.  It premieres on NBC-TV Saturday at noon.

The “Hot Hero” song is part of the musical accent placed on each program in the series. There will be guest performances by contemporary music headliners and additional original music will be written for the series by a diverse group of composers.

Bruce and Carole Hart are the creators and executive producers of “Hot Hero Sandwich,” part of NBC’s continuing commitment to the international year of the child.

The theme song was written by Bruce Hart (lyrics) and Stephen Lawrence. Said Hart: “We’ve tried to capture the spirit of ‘Hot Hero Sandwich’ — adolescents doing the best the can to cope with experiences and changes in their lives which can be pretty wild at times. With the upbeat music, the lyrics say, in part: ‘Got out of bed today/Got to school okay/Did what I could do; Pretty much like you/You’re a hero, too.’

“Carole said it for us when she described the show this way: ‘It’s about going through the wonder, the worry, the exhilaration and pain of adolescence and it focuses on the inner feelings common to all teen-agers. Our sub-text is: Look, you’re not crazy – you’re normal. This is just the way things are.’ “

The theme song and other special material will be performed on camera by the Hot Hero Band, whose members are Richie Annunziato, Robert Brissette, Marc Cunningham and Mike Ratti.  The show’s music director is Felix Pappalardi.

Bruce Hart and Stephen Lawrence previously collaborated on the score for “Sooner or Later,” and NBC World Premiere movie created and produced by the Harts. An album featuring original songs from “Sooner or Later” became a Gold Record. One of the tunes, “You Take My Breath Away,” sold more than one million copies and was on the Top 10 lists of best-selling singles, as ranked by Billboard, Cashbox and Record World.

“Hot Hero Sandwich,” has been recommended to schools across the nations by the National Educational Association.

The NEA said: “Adolescence — that complicated period in our lives when both social and physical changes usher us to the world of adults — is brought into sharp focus by ‘Hot Hero Sandwich.’ Through the use of comedy, celebrity interviews and contemporary music, it communicates the universality of the adolescent experience and presents a positive outlook designed to be instructive as well as entertaining. This series is highly recommended.”

 The Hot Hero band performing the theme song.

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