By Alan Pergament
Many local fans of Marvin Hamlisch have been waiting for the American Masters tribute to the late principal pops conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra scheduled nationally for this Friday night.
They'll have to wait longer here to see the 90-minute celebration, "Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did for Love."
WNED-TV, the local PBS affiliate that is known for occasionally and annoyingly playing programs at a different time than the national schedule, is delaying the Hamlisch special for four nights.
Ron Santora, the station manager, said the delay is because WNED-TV has been carrying a regular movie feature in the Friday time slot for more than a decade.
Instead of the Hamlisch program this Friday, WNED will be carrying the 1978 movie "The Great Train Robbery" starring Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland.
The Hamlisch special will air at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31 as part of a big musical night for the station.
"We try to do a great lineup of musical programs on New Year's Eve," explained Santora.
After the Hamlisch program, WNED is carrying "Judy Garland Duets" at 10:30 p.m., another Judy Garland special at midnight and a Tony Bennett special after that.
I've seen the Hamlisch program twice -- I loved it so much the first time I watched it over -- and can assure you that it is well worth waiting for on New Year's Eve.
It includes a memorable story about how Hamlisch came to perform for Garland as a teenager, and countless other terrific stories about this extremely likable musical genius, along with his incredible tunes. I'll tell you more about it next week before WNED-TV carries it.
There is only one major disappointment. Buffalo and Hamlisch's work with the BPO aren't mentioned, though several city orchestras that he conducted and helped save before he died are mentioned.
I'll make one guarantee: If you watch "What He Did for Love" and never saw Hamlisch conduct and perform in Buffalo, you will wish you had.
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