In 1964, veteran TV variety show producer Steve Binder assembled a once-in-a-lifetime array of British and American rock, pop, and R&B acts for a two-night extravaganza at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Called the "Teenage Awards Music International" (T.A.M.I. for short), the lineup included superstars Chuck Berry, James Brown, the Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, the Rolling Stones, and the Supremes. The entire production was filmed live (no second takes here) using an innovative precursor of digital called "Electronovision," and the performances sizzle with joyful, unadorned dynamism.
Even by today's standards, this landmark concert movie delivers as "The Greatest, Grooviest, Wildest, Most Exciting Beat Blast Ever to Pound the Screen!" While not all the acts hold up uniformly well (we could live without Jan and Dean's bantering, as well as dated performances from The Barbarians and Billy J. Kramer), most everyone else is incredible. Highlight: James Brown's legendary performance — so electric he actually upstaged the Stones! And the backdrop of pulsating go-go dancers (look closely, and you'll see an uncredited Teri Garr) only adds to the fun. In 2006, the National Film Registry honored "T.A.M.I." by naming it a film of great cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance. Honors aside, this show rocks the house!