The rise of the Cowsills, the celebrated singing family that will have a half-hour special on NBC-TV Nov. 23, is a show business phenomenon.
But the rise of their attractive young managers, a husband-and-wife team named Leonard and Myrna Stogel, is also pretty remarkable.
Until 1965, Leonard, now 33, was in the import business in New York, specializing in housewares. Myrna has a long family background in the music business – her father being a veteran figure in the industry.
Leonard, who resembles his new next door-door neighbor in Los Angeles, Pierre Salinger, and Myrna, a lovely blonde who looks like a cover girl, now have a publishing company, a record firm and a management business.
The national success of the Cowsills has taken place in just one year. The Stogels were introduced to them by a producer, saw them rehearse and thought they were impressive.
Soon came an investment of about a quarter of a million dollars to impress the act on the public. This included, in addition to an exceptional promotion campaign, a 23-city tour in 30 days.
On the inside, meanwhile, in the key area of recordings, Stogel was accomplishing a major deal with MGM – at a time when a family act was going against the trend. Soon MGM was enthusiastic too, getting behind the Cowsills.
Of his own business and his whole-scale commitment to the Cowsills, Stogel says:
“We went for broke. If it clicked, we were home. If not, we were in trouble – committing so much time to one act.”
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Financially speaking, a tremendous break came when a commercial arrangement with the American Dairy Association was set this year for $1 million.
Like most managers with a hot act in this town, the Stogels hope to expand into television production. And it may well be – depending on the usual factors, such as ratings and other audience reaction – the Cowsills’ special could result in a series. Some shrewd show business brains feel they have the makings of an institutionalized act.
The Cowsills made their network television debut with CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan a year ago. In February, they were featured in a two-hour special on NBC-TV’s “Today” show.
Says Stogel: “They can perform in a facet of the music business. They can do a Motown show in Detroit, country-western in Nashville, or hard rock. Or, for older people, all the standards”
And now the target date is Nov. 23 on NBC-TV. It is a big month in the life of the Cowsills – and the Stogels.