Most Americans will probably not remember the King Family. It engendered a show that was briefly carried on American television. It was aired in the mid-1960's The show was called appropriately enough The King Family. They also appeared in several TV
specials over the course of several years. Unfortunately, the VCR
wasn't available then, so few images exist of their performances.
The show was about a large family that had many entertainment members in it. The series, I believe, was called "The King Family Show," and although the show consisted mostly of the adults talent (singing, musical instruments and productions) the kids were included in many of the productions, usually integrated in every show once or twice. It was similar to The Lawrence Welk Show, but it wasn't a regular weekly series, only a series of specials thru the years.The dominant family name was "King" and these are some of the member's kids, who performed. They refered to them as "The King Cousins."
The King Cousins who performed were always impeccably dressed for their performances.
The most common outfits for the children were formal clothes as shown in the image. Quite a number of boys appeared on the show. From the early years of the show, and up till the kids started to approach middle childhood, the boys usually had a segment in the show where they were wearing their short pans suits with knee socks. For holiday shows, the boys had black tuxedos with short pants and black knee socks, but
as I remember, they had every type of suit as they grew. I remember Eton suits, casual play clothes with short pants, a lacey type collared suit with short pants, and regular short pants suits, both white and dark. The costumer seemed to prefer white knee socks for the boys.
One HBC contributor remembers specifically how the the boy on the far left of this image was dressed. His name is Cameron (nicknamed Cam) and was about 9 years old at the begining of the series, and about 11 years old when it ended. Throughout all shows, even when Cam was probably 11 years old. The boys all wore short pants and knee socks of one type or another for all productions. They wore quite a number of different costumes, but few images exist if the costumes worn for the different shows. The image on this page shows the boys formally dressed for one of their routiens. The boys had ruffled shirts, black vests,
short pants, knee socks, and shoes, but I can remember them wearing
full formal dark tuxedos with short pants and knee socks, full white
tuxedos with short pants and knee socks.
Even when they were casually dressed, they were impeccable, and always had short pants and knee socks. I don't know what else to tell you about the show, but it was obvious that the family believed in dressing the children in traditional formal styles. I'm not sure if the children were dressed the same at off stage dress-up their for their TV appaearances. Actually appearing in short pants was realtively rare. From the mid-1950s to the mid-1990s, the principal boy characters of American TV series almost never appaeared in short pants. One of the rare exceptions was Eddie Munster from The Munsters and of course the family was made to be a little on the unusual side.
The King Family costumes were designed and created by Bob Mackie. It was one of his first costuming jobs. Mackie went on to become one of Hollywood's premier designers of "Television and Movie Stars" gowns.
Cameron (Cam) Clarke, and his cousin, Laurette Conkling, were often paired off for production numbers. Their performances were often quite charming. They were often costumed formally for these duets. Cam was the oldest of the young group of King Kids. He wore short pants just like the younger ones till he was 9-10 years old. Towards the ened of the series, he finally graduate to longs trousers.
A reader writes us, "I also knew members of the King Family, Bill, Don and Ray Driggs. Their father, Karlton Driggs was the oldest brother of the King Sisters. My sister and I did a lot of singing when we were in high school and one year competed in a quartet contest. Hazel Driggs, the mother of the above mentioned brothers, obtained outfits that the King Sisters wore when they performed and my sister and I were allowed to wear them when we sang in the contest. They were beautiful, white organza skirts and we wore black sweaters with a strand of pearls. The boys who sang with us wore tuxedo pants and white dinner jackets. We did win the contest, and although I think we sounded pretty good, I'm sure our "look" had something to do with it. That was in 1964 in the San Fernando Valley in California." [Aicard]
A cast member member remembers performoming on the show: "I stumbled across your website recently when I did a search on "The King Family". My name is Jonathan King Driggs and I am the youngest boy shown in the picture of the King Family kids on your website about the history of boys clothing. It's fascinates me that we were mentioned in your site. I have a lot of
memories regarding the little suits I wore during the show . It was the best
wardrobe I ever had was probably when I was 5 years old! I wish I had kept some of them."
A fan of the show has provided some interesting insights. I just saw your site on the King Family with the picture of the "King Kiddies" on stage: Cam Clarke, Susannah (Lloyd) Foshee, Steve Driggs, Laurette (Conkling) Walton, Adam Lloyd, Debbie (Driggs) Fox and Jonathan Driggs. The girls didn't look too comfy in those tights! . I grew up with the
kids shown and loved watching all the shows and specials. They were my second
family and still keep in touch with a few. The Kings were a regular show (1965-66), then returned in 1969 for 6 months. Needless to say I was thrilled! None of the family members have the surname King. The name was "adopted" professionally when the King Sisters began performing in the 1930's. Their father was William King Driggs, Sr., so they used his middle name since they felt the "King Sisters" sounded better professionally that
the "Driggs Sisters". I remember all the little boys in their shorts, and wondered when the older ones would graduate to long pants! Cam (Cameron Clarke) is now 43 and owns a voice-over company in L.A. His cousin, Steve Driggs, a few months older than Cam was also in those short pants until he was almost a teen! In the Holiday Cruise special they even did a skit around the fact that Cam was singing with the little kids and with the older male cousins too. Cinderella fashions provided outfits for the little girls, I don't know if they made boys clothes too. Off-stage the kids were dressed neatly but like other kids. Despite
being in show biz they had as close to a normal life as possible. They went to public school, college and/or missions for the Mormon church. All survived their days in the limelight. Most are married now and several of the older cousins are grandparents. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
A publicity article provided some interesting information about the King Family singers. There was 39 members thst participatedf in the weekly show. An editor asks a repoter if he got the names of the singers. "No, boss I didn't. All I said was: 'Drop in and bring the family.'" ... That's the frequantly expressed, hospitable phrase often received by the King family. I quickly learned the dangers of such an expression--32 of the 39 accepted and arrived en masse."
One HBC reader comments, "Hats off to the contributor who sent the King Family
Show picture. It seems like that was Saturday evening show; their music was always beautiful. The clothes of the young performers, much like those of Lawrence
Welk's show, may have been designed to offset the usual teenage garb seen on other musical variety shows, hence the unusual elegance of the young performers.
A HBC reader asks if the King Family had any had or has any music
albums. She also wouldlike to know if they are presently doing any shows or tours? Here HBC has little information. We know that they definitely had some record albums, but we have no information on any current activities. Here we will upload any informations that reades may provide.
Aicard, Bev. E-mail message, November 21, 2003.
King Driggs, Jonathan. E-mail message, Novembr 24, 2002.
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