"The Wayne Newton Special"--a stunning contradiction in terms. "Las Vegas is one of a kind," says Newton, hovering over sin city in a whirlybird. "Crazy, upside down, but always action." This follows a prologue in which we see baby Waynie, Indian child, with faithful pony, lugging a guitar around arid climes because the other kids won't let him play baseball. And all of this is by way of getting the big galoot to New York, "the Big Apple" as he catchily calls it, because, "I can honestly say that I really got my start in New York."
You don't have to be from Mars to ask, at this point in the program--airing at 10 tonight on Channel 7--"What start? Who is this man?" Newton is sort of singer, and a top draw in Vegas. But on TV, his tacky gambler's mustache, Corleone wardrobe and riotous absence of range appear to exist only so that SCTV might later attempt to satirize them, though it won't be easy.
It's but a twinkling from the chopper and the pony and Las Vegas to the Eastern Shuttle terminal at Laguardia, where Newton has mysteriously surfaced only to assault the nation's digestive enzymes with yet another rendition of "New York, the stupid old big apple, home of, says Wayne, "a world-famous landmark for a great many show business people, myself included, the world-famous, Copacabana!"
To an empty Copa he sings his prehistoric record hit, "Danke Schoen," then wanders off to a cheering throng at the Palace Theater. "Look at this group!" he congratulates them. "Do it!" he says to a guitarist during "C.C. Rider." Later he instructs the band, "Get it on, let's do it; this is a hot group tonight." And he introduces Lauren Bacall, his incongruous and briefly seen guest, as "a superstar in her show ('Woman of the Year') and a superstar in a real life."
Finally, Newton bolts New York for the glitter prairie, singing of his own success, "The crowd kept shouting out for more and more/I thought they'd never let me leave the floor/Everybody loves me, everybody loves me, everybody loves me/But the only one I want to love me is you." When he gets to the last line, he is reunited at long last with his horse. Those still glued to their sets by this time are in serious need of a Cheryl Ladd special, just to remind them of what true musical talent is--relatively speaking, of course.