Floyd Vivino aka "Uncle Floyd" (born October 19, 1951) is an American television, film, and stage performer primarily known for his comedy/variety TV show The Uncle Floyd Show (1974–1998).
Vivino was born in Paterson, New Jersey to Jerry Vivino Sr., a jazz trumpeter, and Emily Vivino. He grew up in Paterson, Point Pleasant, New Jersey, Island Heights, New Jersey, and Glen Rock, New Jersey. He attended Glen Rock High School where he produced a musical revue starring the school's janitorial staff. Floyd began his live performance career working as a child tap dancer in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and began his broadcast career over a friend's pirate radio station while in high school.
Floyd Vivino is the older brother of Jerry Vivino and Jimmy Vivino, who are full-time members of the television's Basic Cable Band, formerly called the Max Weinberg 7, and sought-after studio musicians. Floyd is also the uncle of musical theater actress Donna Vivino.
The Uncle Floyd Show
The Uncle Floyd Show aired in the New Jersey and New York market from 1974 to 1998. It can be read as a children's show, or a parody of a children's show. Much of the humor has a twist aimed at adults in the style of Soupy Sales and Pee Wee Herman. The show featured character comedy, puppetry, some audience participation, musical guests, and Floyd's piano playing. One of Floyd's puppet sidekicks (actually a ventriloquial figure) was named Oogie. His on-air interaction with off-camera staff and sidekicks is somewhat in the vein of what Howard Stern and Chelsea Handler would later do. Local bands such as The Smithereens and The Shades, along with such well-known performers as The Ramones, Tiny Tim, Benny Bell, Bon Jovi, Peter Tork, Squeeze (band), David Johansen and Cyndi Lauper also appeared on Floyd's program.
The show made its debut on UA-Columbia Cable TV of New Jersey (now part of Cablevision) on January 29, 1974, then starting in November 1974 aired on UHF-TV station WBTB-TV, Newark (broadcasting on channels 68 and 60), later becoming WTVG, then WWHT, as ownership changed hands.
The first cast members included Pat Cupo, Bob D. Caterino (known for his Groucho Marx skits), and Marc Nathan, the cameraman, in 1974. Later members were Scott Gordon, Craig "Mugsy" Calam, Richard "Netto" Cornetto, Clark the Wonder Dog, Jim Monaco, Art "Looney Skip" Rooney, Charlie Stoddard and "Artie Delmar". There was a phonograph album from the show, the titular The Uncle Floyd Show Album, released on Mercury Records, and a number of 45 rpm singles on the Bioya label released around 1979-1983. ("Bioya" is rumored to be an acronym for "Blow It Out Your Ass".) Floyd Vivino has also released a few CDs as a solo artist.
In 1982, The Uncle Floyd Show went into a small syndication circuit which included 17 markets, among them WNBC-TV channel 4 in New York, then WTAF-TV channel 29 in Philadelphia, WPWR-TV Channel 60 in Chicago and WSBK-TV Channel 38 in Boston. It aired right after SCTV on WNBC. The national syndication deal was seen as a huge step forward for the show, which up until that point could only be viewed in and around New Jersey and New York City on a single UHF channel and, at times, local cable.
From 1983 to 1986, The Uncle Floyd Show ran on the statewide PBS network, NJN New Jersey Network, which consisted of 4 channels: WNJS (Channel 23, Camden), WNJN (Channel 50, Montclair), WNJB (Channel 58, New Brunswick) and WNJT (Channel 52, Trenton).
Starting in late 1986, The Uncle Floyd Show was then seen on statewide cable channel CTN ("The Cable Television Network Of New Jersey"). During this time, the show went through various incarnations with Floyd sometimes hosting a music-only show, showcasing local bands. Floyd also hosted a show called "Uncle Floyd's New Jersey", where he would visit various towns and businesses in the state.
First-run production of the The Uncle Floyd Show ended in 1992, with CTN showing repeats until the channel's demise in 1999.
From 1992 to 1996, cast member Mugsy produced and appeared in a spin-off show titled "The Eleventh Hour" which ran overnights on CTN.
In 1998, production of The Uncle Floyd Show began in the Cablevision studio of Oakland, NJ. One hundred shows were produced and aired on Cablevision systems throughout the region. Musical guests included Marky Ramone and The Misfits. Although viewer response was enthusiastic, the show was canceled by Cablevision management after the first cycle of episodes.
Vivino has appeared on several television shows filmed in New York City including Law & Order, 100 Centre Street, and Cosby and was a regular on the Sirius Satellite Radio program The Wiseguys Show on Raw Dog Comedy (channel 104) hosted by former Sopranos cast member Vincent Pastore. He performed the jingle (as well as appeared in the TV commercial) to the frontier-themed amusement park "Wild West City", located in Netcong, New Jersey, a jingle that is still used today by the park. He has also had parts in the movies Good Morning, Vietnam, Crazy People and Mr. Wonderful.
He also shot a scene for One-Trick Pony which was deleted.
From 1987 to 2013, Vivino broadcast on WVIP-FM 93.5 radio from New Rochelle, New York, where he played a wide range of Italian music on his Sunday afternoon program, The Italian-American Serenade. He claims to have the largest collection of Italian records in the world.
In April 2013, Uncle Floyd's Garage Sale Music began on WVOX AM 1460 out of New Rochelle, New York. This radio show features an eclectic variety of records from Vivino's large personal collection, most of which he found in thrift shops, yard sales and curbside garbage piles. The program also features discussion between Vivino and co-host Scott Gordon about the music and artists whose recordings are heard on the show, many of whom Vivino worked with personally during his long career. There are also segments featuring written comments and questions submitted by listeners. Beginning in June 2014, a second weekly Garage Sale Music program began airing and streaming on WFDU-FM in Teaneck, New Jersey.
In 1999, Vivino set a world record for non-stop piano playing, having played for 24 hours and 15 minutes in a charity event to raise money for a sick child. In more than 40 years in show business Floyd has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various charities and causes.
In January 2013, Floyd Vivino began the internet-based radio program The Uncle Floyd Radio Show which can be streamed twice a week from the show's website and through various SHOUTcast mobile apps and links.
In 2015, Floyd hosted and starred in The Last Authentic American Traveling Burlesque Show, a tribute to the lost entertainment style of burlesque.
The first band to reference the Uncle Floyd Show in a song was the Johnny Gork Band from Flemington, NJ in the early 80's. Johnny and the band appeared on the show, during which Uncle Floyd said he was honored and humbled to have a band produce a record about the show. It was a 45 rpm single.
David Bowie, a fan of Floyd's television show, recorded the song "Slip Away" on his 2002 album, Heathen, as a tribute. The lyrics mention Uncle Floyd and his puppets "Oogie" and "Bones Boy." When asked how he had learned of The Uncle Floyd Show Bowie replied, "John Lennon told me about it." He has also mentioned Iggy Pop regularly watching the show.
The song "Work for Food" by Dramarama, on the album Hi-Fi Sci-Fi from 1994, features the Uncle Floyd Show in the lyrics. Footage of Uncle Floyd as Cowboy Charlie also appears in the video for the song. The members of Dramarama were from Wayne, New Jersey and made their first television appearance on The Uncle Floyd Show.
The Ramones also recognized The Uncle Floyd Show in their song "It's Not My Place (In the Nine to Five World)", as well as in various live appearances. Also, Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone could often be seen wearing an Uncle Floyd Show T-shirt in pictures of the band, while Joey Ramone often wore an Uncle Floyd Show button on his leather jacket.