The 10 Oddest Super Bowl Halftime Performers

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

The Super Bowl seems to be running out of stadium-sized performers who can attract eyeballs (the Black-Eyed Peas?), and this year they're hoping that faded scandalist Madonna will do the trick.

It's not like they haven't been desperate before.

In the early days of the event, producers regularly turned to black marching bands like Grambling or Florida A&M to spice things up. Then they tended to celebrate Hollywood or Mardi Gras a lot, depending on the location.

Along the way, there have been some oddities onstage, performers who are either obscure, seem out of place, or names you'd forgotten had ever been involved with the show.

Here are ten:

10. George Burns and Mickey Rooney If there's a pairing that says "excitement" more than George Burns and Mickey Rooney, we'd like to know what it is.

The two took part in a "Salute to Hollywood's 100th Anniversary -- The World of Make Believe" in 1987, which would have made them both 110 or so.. But magnetic!!

9. Indiana Jones & Marion Ravenwood In 1995 the theme was "Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye" because, hey, what the hell.

Included were two performers who were not Harrison Ford or Karen Allen and -- because this is what you think about when you think "Indian Jones" -- Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass and the Miami Sound Machine.

8. Judy Mallett (Miss Texas 1973) on fiddle The crowd that descended on Rice Stadium in 1974 were amply rewarded with a terrible football game and a halftime show featuring the UT band and a Miss Texas on fiddle. Talk about going away satisfied. 7. Ben Stiller & Adam Sandler Yeah, we forgot they did it, too.

6. Up with People Up With People was the go-to halftime entertainment for years, so perhaps they're not "odd" enough to be on this list.

Then again, they were the performers in 1982 for the show themed a "Salute to the 1960s and Motown," which, to be honest, we wouldn't call them a real snug fit for. Two years earlier, when they performed "A Salute to the Big Band Era"? Absolutely. Motown and dirty hippies? Not so much.

In 1986, they appeared again for a show themed "Beat of the Future," which we'll assume presaged the rise of grunge.

5. Warren Moon The Oilers quarterback was part of the show in 1991, which was a salute to 25 years of the Super Bowl.

Just what connection Moon had to any Super Bowl, beyond helping to piss away a sure playoff lead in the year the team was expected to make it to the big game, was never explained.

Luckily for America, this halftime show came after the game, because the real halftime was taken up by breaking-news coverage of the first Gulf War. Small World Tribute to 25 Years of the Super Bowl

4. Elvis Presto We can't be absolutely sure about this, but we have the feeling this was the performing highlight of Elvis presto's career, such as it was. (Or is, who knows?)

He performed as part of the "Be Bop Bamboozled" show, which featured what we are told were thrilling 3-D effects. Because Elvis Presto can't be contained in no two dimensions, yo. 3. Olympic Figure skaters Brian Boitano & Dorothy Hamill Nothing says "Super Bowl" like figure skating, because that's what other networks usually counterprogram against the game, since the Venn diagram of those who like both features a very tiny common area.

But in case you weren't turned on by the thought of seeing two skaters, this off-the-charts introduction by NFL commissioner Pete Tagliabue would get anyone revved up, especially those who appreciate expensive vases.

2. Carol Channing Carol Channing is so inimitably tied to the NFL that she has taken part in two Super Bowl halftimes, 1970s twibute to Mardi Gras and 1972's salute to Louis Armstrong. If you were born too late to have caught them, you are leading an empty life.

1. Ken Hamilton When all that Google shows for you is your inclusion on lists of Super Bowl halftime shows, it's clear you didn't use your big moment to break through. Hamilton comes off better than some other performers of the 1979 show, however, who are sometimes just listed as "various Caribbean bands."

Follow Hair Balls News on Facebook and on Twitter @HairBallsNews.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.