Hudson Valley TalentVision aired from 1998 to 2005 on Kingston/Woodstock PATV. As producer/director for HVTV, Pete Santora brought many great local and national artists to the public access airwaves via HVTV.
Skyline Interview with Pete Santora
AE: Hello Peter it's great to "meet" you. Welcome to Skyline!
PS: Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed for Skyline.AE: Where in the Bronx are you originally from?
PS: I grew up in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. It was very nice there and I sometimes return to see old friends. It has changed quite a bit, but northwest Bronx is still a beautiful place.AE: How did you come to the Hudson Valley?
PS: I had a cousin who lived in the Kingston/Woodstock area and began coming here in the early 80s. My Mom had been coming here since the 30s! Eventually, I bought some property and built myself a home and have been living here full time since 94'.AE: Now you have your own TV show, "Hudson Valley TalentVision", a talent and variety show that airs in Woodstock and Kingston, New York on channel 3. How did you get your own TV show and what is it like to be the host? (this is where the error was picked up. I fixed it)
PS: In 97' I began filming what would become HVTV, The Hudson Valley TalentVision Show in an effort to showcase my own music and performances along with those of artists that I admired. My background in production and some courses at UCCC led me to apply to Public Access Television for a time slot and I managed to secure a good spot for my show on Thursday's at 10pm in Woodstock and Friday's at 8pm in Kingston via Time Warner PATV channel 23.AE: Tell me, how did you get into show biz?
Being host, producer, director, cameraman, editor, soundman and lighting person for HVTV has given me the opportunity to explore fields that are really very exciting and rewarding. I am sure that my background as a performer has made it quite a bit easier for me to do. I enjoy using live performance video of artists as well as in studio recordings along with interviews and editing them together with a few bits and skits to form a typical edition of HVTV. I have been very fortunate to have had so many wonderful people on my show. Check my site @ HVTV.org for a list of the artists that have appeared on our show. We are always on the lookout for new artists and are glad to feature whomever we can. Our contact information is also listed on the site along with some other information.
PS: I began performing at and early age. My first bit was at age seven in a school play as the narrator. My Dad was a part-time entertainer and I aspired to be a singer and actor early on. Elvis was a big influence on my musical development. I joined various groups singing "Doo-Wop" music and also learned to play the guitar. I worked my way through the "folk scene" in the early 60s and "Surf Music" and the Instrumental music craze and R&B, of course, but as with many of my contemporaries, my life changed in 1964 when I first heard "The Beatles". I became a big "George fan". After that, I spent many years in various bands learning and playing some what I continue to think of as some of the finest music ever recorded. In 1973, I joined the first national company of the musical "Godspell" and spent four years touring as a "Broadway Gypsy" with the show throughout the USA and in Europe.
Pete Santora, holding a 1965 Rickenbocker 12-string guitar, is surrounded by his collection of Beatle memorabilia in his Kingston home.
PS: In 1977, I became involved in what would become the Broadway show "Beatlemania". I auditioned for and finally landed the role of my hero, George, and have been "Being Him" for over twenty years now!AE: I know some actors assume the personality of their character off screen (at home, etc.) while shooting movies. Is that your technique with acting as well?
I have worked with various "Tribute Bands" and am currently doing a one-man solo tribute to the music of George Harrison in which I perform 29 of his songs. I have also been fortunate to have worked in film and television as an actor. My first film role was in 68' but it wasn't until the film "Prizzis Honor" that I began serious study with the late, wonderful acting teacher, Mr. Bill Hickey, at HB Studios in New York.
PS: As far as my acting "technique", Bill taught me to just "be myself" within the role, so I am not a traditional "method actor". I have continued to learn and grow and have been very fortunate to have been a part of tremendous films like "The Godfather" and "Goodfellas" and great Television shows like "Law and Order". Working on stage in various plays has also given me the opportunity to grow as an actor. I have been very fortunate to have been a part of the entertainment community in my small way and blessed to have worked with so many wonderful artists. To "Follow That Dream" isn't just a song title for me, it has been my life. I thank God each day for my good fortunes.AE: Do you have any advice for aspiring actors?
PS: Believe in yourself and follow your dream is the advice I would give to anyone, should I be asked to do so.AE: I agree with that advice. You have a wonderful optimistic outlook. Thank you for being a part of Skyline this month.
PS: Thank you and I hope you'll tune in to HVTV, check our web page at HVTV.org and come see my live performances if you can.
Valley TV showcase for celebrities
by George Fletcher. (Reprinted from the Poughkeepsie Journal, August 25, 2000)
What television program would you tune in to in order to watch classic rockers such as Rick Derringer, John Sebastian or "Southside" Johnny Lyons perform live and discuss their music? "VH1 Storytellers?" "Late Night with David Letterman?" Not even close. The fact is, the program that features these and other artists, "Hudson Valley Talent Vision," is produced for public access television in the middle of Kingston by host/producer/actor and musician, Peter Santora.
Santora, perhaps best known for his role as musical director and as the George Harrison character in the Broadway production of "Beatlemania!," has acting credits that include the hit TV show "Law & Order" and major movies such as `Prizzi's Honor" and "Goodfellas." He has since late 1998 produced the highly viewable "HVTV" on Time-Warner's Kingston cable channel 3, airing Thursday nights at 10p.m., with a rebroadcast on its Woodstock affiliate channel 3 on Fridays at 8 p.m.
"We're prime-time, baby," he says of the show that he produces at the same facility that houses WRNN.
Visitors stream In
Though there are plenty of public access programs originating in the region, Santora's program is the only one of its kind in that he has a steady stream of celebrity visitors stopping in to chat with him on-the-air Ä celebrities who could be expected to appear on well-known network television programs. "Jerry Orbach stopped by to do a show. That was a great interview. I know him from doing `Law & Order,' but mostly it's the musical guests I have who set us apart from other shows in the region."
Artists such as Dave Mason and Jim Capaldi, rock veterans from the band Traffic. "Nobody gets these guys, but I do", he continues. "Sometimes, the only other way you will see them is if they do a "Saturday Night Live" or something.
Santora says that he approaches "Hudson Valley Talent Vision" with the same enthusiasm. "Whether I'm playing to five people or 5,000 because that's what's in my heart. I live for the guys who make the music." He has a new Web site at www.hvtv.org, which will soon feature archived footage of the show, and his celebrity interviews appear in "Rhythm and News" magazine monthly. He has been discussing with other cable systems in the area the possibility of picking up his show for rebroadcast, something, he says, that should be a no-brainer. "Who else has these people as guests?" he asks.
Santora, who's network television work includes art direction and commercial jingles as well as acting, says, "I've always loved this stuff. I don't do `HVTV' for the money because there is no money in this sort of thing. I do it because I care about the show and the artists and that's what people have been tuning in to see."