Written by
Bob Stumpel

December 21

Ray Charles Makes 3 Bucks In The Scene (1971?)

'71c TV Scene

Still from watermarked archive clip.

The Scene was a dance show that ran on WKY-TV (now KFOR) in Oklahoma from 1966 to 1974. The program was hosted by DJ Ronnie Kaye. The Dr. Pepper sponsored format ran for 8 years, and was syndicated in 10 markets in the southwestern United States including California and Texas.
In a Love Special from 1971 (?)*, Ray Charles performed I Can’t Stop Loving You.

Historic Films was somehow able to license the performance (ID # TS-13); it can be watched in low res (and watermarked) here. Their database says Ray lip-sync’ed, but I think he simply sang and played piano live over an orchestra tape.

In the documentary Television Pioneers Kaye stated:

So if a Ray Charles would come to town or a Tina Turner would come to town I’d head to the Civic Center and say, “Mr. Charles I’ll pick you up in the morning at nine o’clock, would you come out to the station?” And Ray said, “You know I think I will.” Here I am with a genius of the business and I’m riding in the front seat with him coming out to Channel 4 and his manager leans over from the back seat and says, “How much are we getting paid for this?” and I said, “Oh my gosh we don’t have a budget you know people just appear for the promotional value.” He said, “Well we just turned down five thousand dollars to appear on the Ed Sullivan show.” And my heart sank and I said, “Sir I’ll have to turn you around and take you back to the hotel.” He said, “I’ll tell you what, just because we are members of the union if you will give us three dollars we will do it.” I said, “Ok!” I gave him three bucks and we did the show.”

In 2009 The Scene was on display and the subject of an event at the Oklahoma History Center (shaky clip):

* In the clip Ray actually looks 2 or 3 years younger to me…


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