Pink Lady was a television show that aired for a month on
NBC in 1980. It is considered by many to be one of the worst television
Pink Lady was a Japanese female singing duo composed of Keiko Masuda
("Kei") and Mitsuyo Nemoto ("Mie"), and they were
joined by American comedian Jeff Altman, who served as their interpreter.
The format of the show consisted of musical numbers alternating with
sketch comedy. Jim Varney, who achieved later fame as "Ernest P.
Worrell" in the Ernest
series of movies and television shows, contributed as a character actor.
The show was produced by Sid and Marty Krofft and its head writer was Mark
Evanier. Musical guests appearing on the show included Blondie, Alice
Cooper, and Bobby Vinton.
Pink Lady became famous in Japan for singing The Village People's
"In the Navy," changing the lyrics to "Pink-a-La-dy"
and "I want you, you want Mie/I want you, you want Kei" in place
of "They want you as a new recruit." (The reworking, titled
"Pink Typhoon," made the Japanese top 10 in 1979.) When they
came to America to film the show, they knew very little English. The
producers had Mie and Kei struggle through English-language disco songs
such as "Boogie Wonderland" and "Knock On Wood" and
balked on letting them sing anything in Japanese, which frustrated Mie and
Kei to no end. On top of that, the show was filled with gags which most
might consider "groaners," such as:
Jeff: "You girls are the biggest thing in Japan!" Pink Lady:
"No, Jeff, the biggest thing in Japan is Godzilla!"
Pink Lady had actually first attempted a U.S. breakthrough before their
TV show, in 1979, releasing an English-language album on Elektra/Curb. The
disco single "Kiss In The Dark" peaked at #37 on Billboard's Hot
100 and #49 on the Cash Box top 100, but the follow-up single, "Show
Me The Way To Love," flopped, and they had nothing in the way of
American chart success afterward.
By that time, Pink Lady's popularity was also past its peak in Japan.
The duo had monopolized the Japanese pop charts for most of the late
1970s, with a staggering streak of nine consecutive million-selling
singles, including "Peppa Keibu" ("Sergeant Pepper"),
"Wanted," "UFO," "SOS" (no relation to the
ABBA hit of the same name), and "Chameleon Army." During that
time, the duo became a huge marketing machine in Japan, endorsing
commercial products from shampoo to radios to children's books including
step-by-step instructions of how to do the synchronized dances Mie and Kei
performed in their stage act. The duo's managers even financed a
television anime cartoon series chronicling their history and rise to the
top. Their first concert in the United States was in 1978 in Las Vegas.
They were then guest stars on a Leif Garrett TV special in the spring of
1979 that was meant to be a springboard for their U.S. career.
Pink Lady officially disbanded in 1981 but have reunited for concerts
and new recordings a few times since. Both Mie and Kei have also had
successful solo careers in Japan. Today, their music is only available in
America as Japanese imports. Meanwhile, no other J-pop act would attempt
to conquer America through the medium of television until 2004's "Hi
Hi Puffy Amiyumi," which has far outlived "Pink Lady and
Pink Lady and Jeff can be seen on Trio, a television network
which designates June as "Flops!" month.