Mail

Originally Published: March 20, 1977

Cooper makes it cut and dried

Alice Cooper's million-dollar nightmare doesn't finish when he leaves the stage.

Author: Dennis Atkins

It follows him around and has a nerve-racking effect on everything he does, or tries to do.

Yesterday it followed him to the ABC studios at Collinswood where taking of tonight's "Countdown" show was scheduled to take place.

Rehearsals were set down for 2 p.m. but the word was out: Alice had taken his nightmare home from his sensational Football Park concert on Friday and he was feeling decidedly ill.

Executive producer Michael Shrimpton paced and eased the tension with some jokes: "I passed (director) Paul Drain in the corridor and he eyes crossed."

But the mighty ABC underestimated the power of Vince Furnier's alter ego. This guy Alice Cooper can change two dimensions into three, as he demonstrated on Friday night, making a film of himself come horribly to life as more than 20,000 people stomped and clappped.

Finally, sporting blue jeans and a red football T-shirt, eyes like road maps, Cooper entered the studio and was placed a seat.

"Do I talk into this?" he asked, holding a telephone.

He ran through the rehearsal coolly, moving form one seemingly choatic situation to another.

In a quiet moment he sat, hidden by strange-shaped props., sipping a Coke in tribute to his delicate stomach. "I just hope I get back to the motel." he said.

Back in the studio the record executive clutched a gold record of "Welcome to My Nightmare" and eased himself, nervously, to the wall. "So this is who buys the records," he seemed to be thinking.

Alice was taken backto the dressing room for make-up and the audience of very young girls was ushered in. They follow directions in the studio like sheep in fog.

A new character had arrived back stagem, Cooper's 10-ft. hairy cyclops which doubles as a beer courier. His job was to lead Alice into the studio.

Suddenly taping had begun. Camermen raced through the corridors lugging heavy equipment as shooting switched from the dresssing room to the studio.

"This is Alice Cooper and welcome to my television nightmare," said the man in question, forgetting to add just what the ture dimensions of this horror show were.

In the control room Paul Drain was going into his act. Arms waved as he continuously stood up and sat down again.

"Bring in one. Cover with two. Ready to fade on one. Give me tape. GIVE ME TAPE! Applause. Applause. Applause. Make those buggers clap!" he screamed, apparently at nobody.

Alice's co-compere Glen Shorrock add libbed and acted dazed and confused as the star wandered through the Kafkaesque ABC studios.

Cooper finally make it on the set, announcing he was early, with just five minutes to go. A quick hallo, gold record presentation, and competition result and Countdown was on tape.

Cooper went back to the dressing room. Paul Drain scurried around desperately trying to wind down. The rest of the ABC sat down and sighed physically and mentally.

And all those young girls hurried outside to tell the world.

~ Originally appeared in the Sunday Mail in Australia, 20th March 1977 ~

(Kindly submitted from the collection of Steve McLennan)