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Floyd Vivino

Floyd Vivino aka "Uncle Floyd" (b. October 19 1951 in Paterson, New Jersey) is a television, film, and stage performer primarily known for his comedy/variety TV show "The Uncle Floyd Show". The show has been on the air in the local New Jersey and New York area off and on since 1974, for a time airing on the state wide PBS network, New Jersey Network. It can be read as a children's show, or a parody of a children's show. Much of the humor has a twist aimed at adults in the style of Soupy Sales, or another comedy performer that followed Floyd's lead, Pee Wee Herman.

The show features slapstick comedy, puppetry, some audience participation, and piano music. His puppet sidekick (actually a ventriloquial figure) was named Oogie. The show first aired on United Artists Columbia Cable of New Jersey on January 291974 then starting in November 1974 on UHF TV station WBTB-TV, Newark (broadcasting on channels 68 and 60), later becoming WTVG, then WWHT, as ownership changed hands.

Around 1976 the Uncle Floyd Show was occupying the same time slot as the syndicated TV show, Star Trek. Floyd declared war on that ill-fated show and through the support of fans and Fan Clubs (of which there were at least 400), eventually succeeded in knocking Star Trek off the air. Victory was declared, though only the most ardent supporter would actually believe Floyd's show had anything to do with the programming change.

The first cast members were Pat Cupo and Bob D Caterino. A few years later some other members of "The Uncle Floyd Show" were Scott Gordon , Craig "Mugsy" Calam, "Netto", "Looney" Skip Rooney, Charlie Stoddard and David Burd. There was one album from the show, the titular The Uncle Floyd Show Album, released on Mercury Records, that is much sought-after by collectors, along with several singles self-released by Floyd on his Bioya label (he wanted to call his label "Vivitone" but that name was already being used) around 1980-1983. (Rumors abound that "Bioya" was an acronym for "Blow It Out Your Ass".) Floyd Vivino has also put out numerous CDs of his live performances and Italian-language radio work.

Vivino wrote the lyrics for and, under the guise of his country and western character "Cowboy Charley", sang the locally famous parody song "Deep In The Heart Of Jersey" (based on the tune of "Deep in the Heart of Texas").

Vivino is able to perform hundreds of songs from the early part of the Twentieth Century, and has on more than one occasion claimed to be descended from a traditional line of court jesters from the kingdoms of Italy. He performs live upwards of 300 nights per year, and has appeared in small roles in the movies Good Morning Vietnam and Crazy People. His brothers, Jimmy and Jerry, have been members of The Max Weinberg 7 band on Late Night with Conan O'Brien since 1993.

He has appeared on several television shows filmed in New York City including Law & Order, 100 Centre Street, and Cosby and is currently a regular on the Sirius Satellite Radio program The Wiseguys Show on Raw Dog Comedy (channel 104) hosted by former Sopranos cast member Vincent Pastore.

In 1980, The Uncle Floyd Show, as seen on local channel 68 in North Jersey, went into a small syndication circuit which included WNBC-TV channel 4 in New York and then WTAF-TV channel 29 in Philadelphia and WFLD-TV Channel 32 in Chicago.

In 1999, he was placed in the Guinness Book of World Records for non-stop piano playing, having played for 24 hours and 15 minutes.

In 2008, he starts his 22nd year broadcasting on WVIP-FM 93.5 from New Rochelle, New York, where he plays a wide range of Italian music. He claims to have the largest collection of Italian records in the world.

Tributes

David Bowie, a big fan of the show, recorded the song "Slip Away" on his 2002 album, Heathen, as a tribute. The lyrics mention Uncle Floyd and his puppets "Oogie" and "Bones Boy". When asked how Bowie learned of the Uncle Floyd Show he replied, "John Lennon told me about it."

The song "Work for Food" by Dramarama, on the album Hi-Fi Sci-Fi from 1994, features the Uncle Floyd Show in the lyrics. Footage of Uncle Floyd as Cowboy Charlie also appears in the video for the song. The members of Dramarama were from Wayne, New Jersey and made their first television appearance on The Uncle Floyd Show.

The Ramones also recognized the Uncle Floyd Show in their song "It's Not My Place (In the Nine to Five World), as well as in various live appearances. Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone could often be seen wearing an Uncle Floyd Show t-shirt in pictures of the band circa the late '70s/early '80s.

Bands That Have Appeared On The Uncle Floyd Show

Part of the variety format of the show included in-studio appearances by many rock and roll acts, sometimes lip-syncing and sometimes performing live, making clear that the show was not aimed only at children. Among the many acts (both nationally known and local talent) appearing were The Ramones (multiple appearances, some captured on a recent DVD release), NRBQ, Bon Jovi, Chubby Checker, Cyndi Lauper, The Boomtown Rats, The Good Rats, Howard Stern, Eddie Money, Blue Öyster Cult, John Mellencamp, David Johansen (also known as Buster Poindexter), The Misfits, The Smithereens, Jan & Dean, Agnostic Front, Dramarama, Argon and the Flying Saucers, John Ford (British musician) of the Strawbs, Squeeze, Aztec Two-Step, Thor (the singer/bodybuilder), TV Toy, WKGB, Humans From Earth, The John Earl Walker Band, Blotto, Gary U.S. Bonds, Rachel Sweet, The Rattlers, The Feelies, Shrapnel, The Bongos, U.S.Ape, Fats Deacon & the Dumbwaiters, R. Stevie Moore, The Buttermilk Mountain Revue, The Plastics (also known as Plastics), Polyrock, Zoogz Rift, Crash Course In Science, The Stickmen, Z'ev, Rebecca Williams, The Phones (also known as The Responsible Teenagers), The Brains, Rupert Holmes, Dave Edmunds, Rick Derringer, The Marshall Tucker Band, Peter Tork and Davy Jones of The Monkees (separately), Steel Pulse, The Lords of the New Church, Johnny Science, The Dead Boys, Pussy Galore, The Payolas, Joan Armatrading, Tiny Tim, The Fiendz, Noble Gas, Six and Violence, Tymon Dogg, Elliott Kappel, The Incredible Squirt Band, The Dregs and The Troggs.

Floyd had a cameo in Paul Simon's film One Trick Pony, but his part ended up on the cutting room floor.

Other guests on the show included vaudeville type performers (including novelty performer Benny Bell), frequent celebrities (such as Dr. Demento) and occasionally some fans of the show from the New Jersey area.

Since 2004, on Tuesday nights, Vivino can be found playing the piano at Colucci's restaurant in Haledon, New Jersey.

References

External links

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