Saturday, April 20, 2024

Frankie Valli Gives “Jersey Boys” Movie No Help on PBS Fourth of July Special


Friday night could have been fireworks for the movie “Jersey Boys.” The Clint Eastwood film, currently in theaters, might have benefited from its real life protagonist Frankie Valli plugging it on PBS’s Fourth of July special live from Washington DC.

Alas, this was not to be.

Valli, who doesn’t like the movie, and has stayed away from its premieres, kinda screwed Clint and company very neatly. He opened his three song set to a national audience with a very long version of the theme from “Grease,” a song that does not appear in “Jersey Boys.” He followed it with “Let’s Hang On,” which is featured only in a medley on the “Jersey Boys” soundtrack. In between he gave in and sang “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”

He did not sing any real Four Seasons hits from the movie or even mention it. No “Rag Doll,” “Sherry,” or “Walk Like a Man.” Ouch. If anything would have helped “Jersey Boys,” this would have been it. The silence was deafening.

This was not just a snub to Eastwood and the movie, but also to his long time songwriter Bob Gaudio. Only “Can’t Take My Eyes off You” was co-written by Gaudio. “Grease” was written by Barry Gibb. “Let’s Hang On,” a minor Four Seasons hit, was a rare tune without Gaudio’s credit.

Valli has played it cool with “Jersey Boys.” He didn’t come to the premieres in New York or L.A. The given reason was that his estranged wife, Randy, was very ill. But that doesn’t jibe with this reality: Frankie and Randy were married exactly 30 years ago on July 7, 1984. He’s been trying to divorce her for 10 years, filing in 2004. Their divorce is more than contentious. This past May, an appeals court ruled that they would have to split a life insurance policy that Frankie had put in Randy’s name. Earlier, a court had ruled it belonged to Randy only.

They are still not divorced.

During the course of the divorce, in 2011, it was revealed that Frankie makes about $500,000 a month from the Broadway show and touring companies. Maybe that’s why he sings “Let’s hang on/to what we got.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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