Column: Memorable lineups – and some less so – of the Super Bowl halftime show

I was watching a TV interview the other night and they asked a famous celebrity who I couldn’t identify if he was excited about the Super Bowl halftime show. He said he was.

I have, at least, heard of some of this year’s performers, but I couldn’t identify one of their songs.

Incidentally, this year’s lineup includes Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar. I know Dr. Dre produces an expensive line of headphones and Snoop Dog is now famous for pedaling beer.

Someone did a study on water pressure during the Super Bowl and it seems like a lot of people are going to the toilet bowl. Water pressure drops across the country as the commercials and halftime arrive.

The first Super Bowl was called the AFL-NFL World Championship. NBC had the rights to the AFL games and CBS had the rights to the NFL games, so the championship aired on two networks at the same time. This was in the pre-cable era, so many viewers had little choice in what to watch.

By the way, a ticket to the first league game sold for $12 and it wasn’t sold out. This year, a cheap ticket is $6,000 and the most expensive ticket is around $100,000. I can’t imagine paying more than the cost of my first car for the cheap seats and more than my first house for the expensive seats.

High-production halftime entertainment didn’t really begin until the 1990s. The Grambling State University Marching Band appeared in many of the early halftime shows and were joined by jazz legends such as Lionel Hampton, Al Hirt and Pete Fountain.

There have been an assortment of supporting acts, including a magician named Elvis Presto. I had to be in the bathroom when it was on.

In 1973, Andy Williams delivered what was to be a memorable performance of “Marmalade, Molasses and Honey”. I’m a huge Andy Williams fan, but I also had to be in the bathroom for this one.

The performing arts group, Up With People, has appeared at a few Super Bowls. In 2010, rock band The Who appeared at the Super Bowl in Miami. You may not remember The Who, but I found myself saying this when I looked up the names of artists over the years.

At first, showbiz types such as George Burns, Carol Channing and Mickey Rooney appeared in the middle of the game. Few under 40 would recognize any of these people.

Michael Jackson was featured in a high-tech production in 1993 in Pasadena, when the Rose Bowl hosted the event.

Today, even those who do not follow football watch for advertisements.

In 1967, a 30-second spot on the game cost $40,000, or $300,000 adjusted for inflation. This year, a 30-second spot will cost you $6 million. That’s $200,000 per second. A local spot during the game will probably cost as much as the national spot in 1967.

During the big dot-com boom, the various companies spent as much on the production as they paid to air the spot.

Online brokerage firm E-Trade ran an ad featuring a chimpanzee on horseback in a western ghost town. I’m not sure of the message, but the chimp was kinda cute dressed like a cowboy.

It’s all for this week. I have to dust off my Up With People albums and get ready for the big game.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns are published weekly.

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