With the apparent departure of La Verne’s self-proclaimed favorite hillbilly host Billy Bob, played brilliantly by University of La Verne Professor of Communications Don Pollock, the 2006 edition of “Halloween Live!” had a little bit of a different feel this year.
“We almost didn’t do it,” 2006 ULV alumnus Yesel “Yak” Manrique, a.k.a. Billy Bobee, said.
“It was on me to keep the tradition alive and I had to do it,” Manrique said.
The show, broadcast live on LVTV Channel 3, began just like any other with first-time hosts Roxy Darr, a 2005 alumna of San Diego State University and Billy Bobee, a family relative of Billy Bob, welcoming all the viewers to the show and inviting them to come down and share in the festivities.
In honor of former host and show coordinator Billy Bob, a tribute video, including highlights from previous shows, was shown.
At the conclusion of the tribute, Billy Bob himself made a surprise guest appearance on the show much to the chagrin of the hosts.
However, after sharing some jokes, he was off again to continue his hilarious hijinks elsewhere.
“I don’t know if he’ll be back,” producer Shane Rodrigues, operations manager of KULV and LVTV, said. “It’s always a question.”
Even though a few mistakes were made here and there, the live show was able to keep the entertainment coming despite the last minute cancellation of two guests.
“It was a little nerve-wracking due to the two cancellations, but I’m happy with the turn out,” Rodrigues said.
Despite the absence of those two guest, there was no shortage of walk-on visitors, which included trick-or-treaters from the local schools, the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion ULV women’s volleyball team, Gary the Gorilla, a giant “ghostee pop” (ghost lollipop), the Phantom of the Opera and the children of ULV communications faculty and staff Eric Borer, with his 3-year-old daughter Sarah, and George Keeler, with 8-year-old son Nathan and 3-year old-daughter Becky.
“It was really fun interviewing the kids,” Darr said. “For some of them it’s their first time trick-or-treating so it’s really fulfilling to be able to share that with them on live TV.”
The variety-show-style program had just about everything you could ask for; Billy Bobee and Roxy telling Halloween jokes, visits from various guests, Roxy and the Phantom of the Opera singing a duet, Halloween-themed videos done by ULV students and faculty, call-ins from a gang of monsters, Prince, and KULV’s DJ Oswald, and even a few singing attempts by Billy Bobee.
“I think the lowlight was me trying to sing ‘Missin’ Bones,’” Manrique said.
Though there were problems getting videos rolling and so forth, the cast and crew had fun with it and just kept chugging along as if it were planned.
“We were just rolling with it,” Manrique said. “When in doubt just act stupid.”
It was a bit of a struggle for the production side getting everything to fit well together in the time they had, but they found a way to make it work.
“It’s always an interesting battle,” Rodrigues said. “Balancing trick-or-treaters, videos, and still being able to hit airtime can get tricky.”
That said, it was fun for all, as evidenced by the celebratory dance done by the cast and crew while the credits were running.
“It was definitely a well-spent Halloween,” Darr said. “I get to do what I love. I’d rather be on TV than at a party.”
“It was a lot of fun,” Manrique said.
“I hurt my throat a little bit (doing the Billy Bobee voice), but it was really fun, really spontaneous.”
This “Halloween Live!” along with other works done by Roxy Darr, can be found on her Web site www.roxydarr.com.
Kevin Zeni can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.