9 Questionable Choices for Previous Super Bowl Halftime Shows

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The NFL has announced that Madonna will be your halftime entertainment for Super Bowl XLVI in February. As the press release informs us, "Madonna joins an esteemed list of recent halftime acts that includes The Black Eyed Peas, The Who, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Prince, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and U2."

Here are some of the previous acts not being touted by the NFL this morning:

1. Be Bop Bamboozled in 3-D. Back in 1989, Super Bowl XXIII featured the first-ever network broadcast in 3-D, starring world-famous magician Elvis Presto (actually a Solid Gold dancer), who sings his whole magic schtick vaguely in the style of Elvis. This really happened:

2. Super Bowl IV in 1970 paid tribute to Mardi Gras at halftime with the vocal stylings of Carol Channing. She's a legend, but I have a hard time imagining Carol Channing capturing the attention of football fans.

3. In 1974, fans were treated to Judy Mallett, Miss Texas 1973, playing the fiddle. I guess Carol Channing was busy?

4. When Disney was in charge of the whole halftime affair in 1977, they took advantage of the situation to not only get the most annoying and repetitive song in the history of time stuck everyone's heads ("It's a Small World," of course), they also tried to cram the members of The New Mickey Mouse Club down America's throats. Despite featuring superstars like Lisa Whelchel (Blair from The Facts of Life) and Corey Feldman's older sister Mindy, the ratings for the Club were bad. The Super Bowl stunt didn't help - the show was off the air by June.

5. Disney trotted out "It's a Small World" again 14 years later. The 1991 halftime show was all over the place. Kids in random costumes, the Armed Forces tribute, "It's a Small World," NKOTB, giant Disney balloons… there's just so much going on in three minutes.

6. The Winter Magic halftime extravaganza featured a tribute to the Winter Olympics, including live performances from skating champs Dorothy Hamill and Brian Boitano. People were unimpressed, because this was the year the Wayans Brothers took a nice chunk of viewers away at halftime with a special episode of In Living Color.

7. Up with People, the famous non-profit that counts Glenn Close among its alums, provided the halftime entertainment for several shows in the '70s and '80s. This 1986 clip marks the last time they were the big draw. It's worth watching just for the high-waisted pants, neon sweatshirts and jackets with sleeves rolled to the elbow.

8. Nothing says football like a jazz clarinetist, am I right? Apparently the Super Bowl thought so, because the feature in 1973 was clarinetist, saxophonist and big band leader Woody Herman, along with the Michigan Marching Band, in an extravaganza called "Happiness Is."

9. OK, technically this was the pregame, but in 1977, the big act used to get everyone jazzed for the game? Ashley Whippet. A one-hit wonder singer? Nope: a dog who was really good at Frisbee. I mean, really good, I don't want to discount Ashley's athletic prowess. Ashley helped popularize the whole craze and was even the star of an Oscar-nominated 1977 documentary called Floating Free. But still… a Frisbee-catching dog as pre-game entertainment?

This article originally appeared after last year's Super Bowl

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December 5, 2011 - 6:15am
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