David Amram on Wonderama

While we’re watching counterculture moments on television from the 1960s,here’s something else I just stumbled across: the joyful jazz composer, performer and beatnik David Amram on the kid’s show Wonderama. He demonstrates his favorite instruments, and naturally leads a jam session with the kids, who are way into it.

Amram turns 82 years old this weekend, which means the promising new film David Amram: The First 80 Years must be nearing its second birthday … and I haven’t seen it yet! I hope this documentary film will reach more theaters, and will get a much-deserved spot on public television or some other music channel. One thing’s for sure: audiences will love it, because Amram never fails to win an audience over. Here’s the trailer for the film:

David Amram has collaborated with everyone from Jack Kerouac to Dizzy Gillespie to Charles Mingus to Leonard Bernstein to Bob Dylan to Raffi to Willie Nelson to Phish. I hope this film captures a lot of his past music and poetry performances; I wonder if it also features his daughter Adira Amram’s explosive, highly original music/dance/comedy live show, which is currently easy to catch at various hipster nightclubs in New York City and around the world. Happy birthday David Amram!

5 Responses

  1. This is a wonderful and
    This is a wonderful and whimsical post and I think you for it.

    I remember Wonderama and Bob McAlister, but it wasn’t an always watch show for us growing up. It may not have been on that long where I grew up in the Bay Area. It was a New York show and a bit exotic in some way.

    I always will remember one guy they had on who played his head like a drum with his knuckles. He opened his mouth and his skull made a hollow sound and he could modulate the tone by how much he opened or closed his mouth.

    I tried it and it worked — anyone can do it. I still do it to this day at times.

    And I remember the time they had green bagels for St Patricks Day. I thought that seemed like the coolest thing of all time, looked delicious and I wanted one. I didn’t really know what a bagel was, though.

    David Amram is such a treasure. A friend had the African Thumb Piano way back when and I had a lot of fun goofing around with it.

  2. Hey Levi:
    Hey Levi:

    Lawrence Kraman here, director and producer of “David Amram: The First 80 Years” Thanks for the kind words about the film Email me your address and I’ll be happy to send you a screener.



  3. Great to hear from you,
    Great to hear from you, Lawrence! Thanks … my address is:

    Literary Kicks
    328 8th Avenue #337
    New York NY 10001

    Looking forward to finally seeing this movie, and I hope many others will get to see it too.

  4. Dear Levi:
    Dear Levi:

    So sorry not to reply to you sooner. Will be sending you a DVD of David Amram: The First 80 Years tomorrow. Sorry for the delay.



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