Los Angeles TV viewers will be treated to a rare sight on Oct. 13 — an original primetime docu produced by a local broadcast station. And it’s a groovy topic, too.
KABC-TV reporter Tina Malave has spent the past year working on an hourlong “Eye on L.A.” special examining the lore and legacy of the vibrant music and arts scene that coalesced in the late 1960s and early ’70s in the Laurel Canyon area.
The hills that lie between Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley were home to a who’s who of rock ‘n’ roll greats: Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and other members of the Doors, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, Brian Wilson, members of the Mamas and the Papas, Carole King, David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, to name a few.
Malave worked closely with rock raconteur Harvey Kubernik, author of “Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and Music of Laurel Canyon,” and photogs Henry Diltz and Bobby Klein in getting those who lived through the era to offer perspective on why Laurel Canyon proved such fertile ground for so many influential artists. (For starters, rent and real estate prices were cheap until the area got hip.)
“What I wanted to do with this show is to take those who know some of the stories on a nostalgic trip down memory lane and also give them a few new stories they may not know about,” Malave said. She also hopes to “invite those who don’t know the musical history to become as fascinated as I’ve become, and continue to research and learn about these important artists whose music is timeless.”
The docu highlights a slew of rare photos and film footage from Diltz, Klein, Malcolm Leo and others. A big part of the Laurel Canyon vibe was the neighborly attitude among musicians who spent a lot of time socializing and jamming because they lived in close proximity to one another. It’s said that picnics at Mama Cass’ house were not to be missed.
Malave and the ABC O&O’s investment of time and resources in producing “The Music of Laurel Canyon: 1960s and ’70s” is notable in that few of L.A.’s commercial stations offer much in the way of non-news docu fare these days.
“The Music of Laurel Canyon” bows at 8:30 p.m., though the start time may be pushed back if ABC’s live coverage of NASCAR racing that evening goes long.