Regis Philbin

It's Time for Regis!

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For most pop culture-savvy record geeks of the '90s, Regis Philbin is nothing more than a morning talk show host, and an irritating one at that. Usually, they don't realize that his gratingly cheerful persona is an act, one that's served him well for decades. Ever since the '60s, he's positioned himself as an over-the-top, all-around entertainer, and he had his first taste of national exposure on The Joey Bishop Show in the late '60s. His appearances were popular enough that he landed a record contract, releasing the wonderfully titled It's Time for Regis! in 1968. Bishop himself contributed liner notes to the record, saying that Regis "is the kind of guy who sings a song as if he's heard the lyrics before the recording session." He continues: "Rege's warmth and sincerity, which we have come to depend on and appreciate at The Joey Bishop Show, is apparent in each song in this album." Now, depending on your point of view, these words are either sentimental and honest or archly ironic, since to many viewers, Philbin never seems to exude warmth or sincerity. Any way you look at it, however, it's clear that It's Time for Regis! is little more than a novelty for both dedicated fans and kitsch mavens. The problem is, it just isn't that entertaining, either as a conventional big band record or as a camp classic. Philbin's personality does surface now and then, such as on the ridiculous medley of "Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goodbye)" and "Baby Face," but for the most part, the album is a little bland and rarely much more than a curiosity.

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