Greetings, one and all! Even though this was my editorial from March of 2000, this holds a very special significance for me since it marked the 20th anniversary of the debut of Pink Lady and Jeff. So I decided to save these words of wit and put them here for all to see. Perhaps my words will invoke some pleasant memories for you when you first saw Mie and Kei on TV here in the States.
It was March 1st, 1980. On a bitterly cold and snowy Saturday night, I was bunkered down behind the closed and locked door of my bedroom, seated in front of my TV, the microphone of a Radio Shack tape recorder clutched tightly in my hand. Openly nervous, my palms were sweaty and butterflies the size of fighter jets were raising hell in my stomach as I eagerly awaited the stroke of ten PM. When the clock struck ten, I hit the mike's 'on' button to start recording when the music began and I heard those four delightful words for the very first time:
"WELCOME TO PINK LADY!"
And my wildest fantasy, one I thought would never come true did. Mie and Kei. On American television.
I sat only a couple of feet away from the screen as I endured Jeff Altman's dull and boring monologue. Johnny Carson he most definitely wasn't. Finally, the magic moment I anxiously waited for arrived when Jeff stopped babbling and introduced the real stars of the show. When Mie and Kei came out onstage, dressed in kimonos and looking just as lovely as ever, it took every last bit of will power I had to keep from screaming: "IT'S THEM! DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN! IT'S REALLY THEM!" My heart was pounding like a triphammer as this was the first time I had seen the Ladies in over two years, so it was like discovering them all over again.
Mie and Kei did a bow, then threw off their kimonos to reveal Vegas-like showgirl outfits as they did a rendition of Earth, Wind & Fire's "Boogie Wonderland". I was downright awestruck. The rest of the hour was a pleasant blur: watching the girls banter with Jeff (Mie flattered him while Kei put him down) as they played the role of naive newcomers to America, cheerfully chirping "Yes!" whenever they understood something, then meekly saying "No!" seconds later when it turned out they didn't. After skits with guest stars Bert Parks and Sherman Hemsley and high energy song and dance numbers, the girls closed the show by dragging a reluctant, tuxedo clad Jeff into a hot tub.
It was silly. It was ridiculous. It was absolutely, positively wonderful.
After the closing credits ran, I was emotionally drained following one of the happiest experiences of my life. Twenty years after the fact, I'll readily admit Pink Lady and Jeff wasn't exactly must-see television. The odd pairing of a nearly unknown comic and two Japanese singers who barely spoke passable English was a sure-fire recipe for ridicule. However, I never gave a damn whether the show was good or not, all that mattered was seeing Mie and Kei on U.S. television. My only regret was not having a VCR so I could capture the event for posterity. It would take another two decades before I got a second chance to relive the magic from that special night in 1980.
To most of the people I've corresponded with since I put up my Pink Lady site, their very first exposure to Mie and Kei came via the show. Proof positive that something good can indeed come from something bad. And their memories of seeing the Ladies on TV here were just as fond and as lasting as my own. So, here we are, celebrating the 20th anniversary of a short lived, little seen program widely considered one of the worst shows in the history of American television. Yet, to us, Pink Lady and Jeff holds a very special place in our hearts, because we got to see our Japanese dream queens giving their all for us. Jeff? He was just along for the ride.