Rare 16mm & 35mm Live Kinescope TV Shows from the 1950's in Need of Restoration
This section showcases the TVDAYS Collection of Live TV Shows from the 1950s during the dawn of the Golden Age of Television that will be familiar to any Baby Boomers everywhere. I have been acquiring these lost gems forgotten for over 45 years, but if they are not restored soon, they will be gone for good.
The major television networks, film production companies and advertising agencies that produced and distributed many of these classic TV show, films and commercials would simply throw them all away. They didn’t seem to be any reason to keep it around, when new product was the main concern and all those film reels were gathering dust in a warehouse with outrageous storage bills.
Without any market to sell them, it made sense to just toss it or burn it. Many rare kinescopes and films of TV’s past were melted down just to get the silver content, a practice still going on today.
My mission is to restore these treasures of American Television history before they are lost forever. Here are some of the jewels that need to be preserved first.
Broadway Open House with Jerry Lester & Dagmar
Broadway Open House is network television's first late-night comedy-variety series. It was telecast live on NBC from May 29, 1950, to August 24, 1951, airing weeknights from 11pm to midnight. One of the pioneering TV creations of NBC president Pat Weaver, it demonstrated the potential for late-night programming and led to the later development of The Tonight Show
Here's a uncut 60 minute 16mm Kinescope of Broadway Open House, that needs to be restored.
Click: To visit the world of Broadway Open House and other Late Night shows.
Jazz Party Collection with Art Ford
Click: To view Art Ford's Jazz Party
on Dumont TV, needing to be restored.
The Old American Barn Dance
Click: View the 16mm & 35mm Kinescopes of the 1954 musical Country & Western Series needing to be restored.
Click: Names like George Vandeman, Rex Humbard, and Fulton Sheen have mostly retreated into the annals of trivia and hazy nostalgia. All waiting for restoration.
THE BREAKFAST CLUB - DON MCNEILL'S
The first installment of The Breakfast Club, Chicago-based radio personality Don McNeill's second attempt at breaking into television, in 1955. Guest singer Eileen Parker does "You Turned The Tables On Me," and the band performs "Jeepers Creepers," Johnny Desmond sings "My Big Little Man"--a song co-authored by a boy later killed in a traffic accident -- "I Dream of Jeannie," and "Pinetree Pine Over Me."
Click: this is the only existing s16mm Kinescope of the Don McNeil's Breakfast Club, needing to be restored.
Olsen and Johnson--often unfairly remembered as a sort of poor-man's Abbott and Costello, but really much better than that-- star in what has to be one of the funniest/strangest variety shows ever made for network television. Sponsored by Buick and its dealers--who couldn't possibly have known what they were getting for their money--FIREBALL FUN-FOR-ALL is basically Olsen and Johnson's vaudeville routines brought to television, live and with full audience participation, like HELLZAPOPPIN' for the home audience. The show was broadcast from the theater at 6 Columbus Circle in New York and features extensive discussion of the city's concurrent heatwave, one of the worst in New York City history.
AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS
Amahl, initially broadcast on December 24, 1951, was the first opera ever written for television. Composer Gian Carlo Menotti crafted a poignant tale about a crippled shepherd boy who encounters the three kings on their way to pay homage to the newborn Jesus. The piece became a perennial holiday favorite and continues to move audiences around the world to this day.
THE GARRY MOORE SHOW
Garry Moore was one of the most popular variety show personalities of the late 1950s, a predecessor to Carol Burnett and the real-life equivalent to the Dick Van Dyke Show's Alan Brady--his writers on this Christmas week show included Buck Henry. Moore has a dialogue with "Stanley," a 3-D cartoon figure. Marty Allen and Steve Rossi present a parody of TO TELL THE TRUTH and I'VE GOT A SECRET, with Marty Allen playing Columbus. Allen and Rossi also sing "Cottonfields." The Garry Moore Fairy Tale Hour has Nancy Walker playing Rapunzel with a certain awareness of television hair-care, and Moore also does a stand-up bit discussing the idea of a zip code for Santa Claus. In "THE WONDER YEAR" sequence, Dussault sings "Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee" and "Forty Second Street," Steve Rossi plays Baby Face Nelson, and the cast does a comic tap-dance to "Shuffle Off To Buffalo." Commercials include Oldsmobile, Winston cigarettes, and Johnson's Pledge. Guest Stars: Nancy Walker, Allen and Rossi, Nancy Dessault, Durwood Kirby.
THE MILT GRANT SHOW
Produced in Washington, D.C. at the same time that Dick Clark's American Bandstand was coming out of Philadelphia, THE MILT GRANT SHOW was less slick and a lot funnier, more spontaneous, and warmer than Clark's program. The one-hour program features dancing teens (to "Bye Bye Love" by the Everly Bros., "I Just Don't Know" by the Four Aces, "Love Letters In the Sand" by Pat Boone, "Pink Champagne" by the Tyrones, and "Suzie Q" by Dale Hawkins), special guest rhythm-and-blues legend LaVerne Baker ("Jim Dandy" "Let's Play the Game of Love") and Johnny & Jo ("Over The Mountain and Across the Sea") lip-syncing to their records, and a Rate-a-Record sequence featuring the Cellos' "Rang Tang Ding Dong" and Johnny Mathis' "It's Not For Me to Say."
TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD SHOW
Two installments from near the end of the run of Tennessee Ernie Ford's daytime ABC musical/comedy series from the mid-1960's, featuring future DATING GAME host Jim Lang as one of the supporting players. The first show, from February 1965, features Ford singing "I Can't Stop Loving You," and--joined by his two lady support singers--performing "Personality." Ethel Ennis is the guest star, singing "The Boy From Ipanema." Sponsor commercials include Lysol, Clairol's Loving Care Hair Color Lotion, Metrical, and Action chlorine bleach (the famous ad featuring the big, muscular hand popping out of the top-loading washer), Rose Lotion Vel, and the Colgate Palmolive Pot of Gold sweepstakes.
The second show features Phil Ford and Mimi Hines as guests, and the song "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You." Comedy includes some examples of zany Valentine's Day cards. Cathy from the regular cast sings a very funny version of "The Name Game." Sponsor commercials include Lustre Creme Shampoo, Borden's Ice Cream, Peter Pan Peanut Butter, and Sara Lee finger rolls, but the best ad is for Ajax Power Cleaner, and features people doing some surprising things with the cleaner in their hand.
ARTHUR GODFREY AND FRIENDS
The musical CBS host Julius LaRosa, The Maguire Sisters, Marion Marlow, and Archie Bleyer. There are also Kinescope segments of Betty Clooney singing, Eddie Fisher appearing on COKE TIME WITH THERESA BREWER, and Jack Parr appearing on THE MORNING SHOW (circa 1950) with Charles Collingwood doing the news. We top off this tape with a short sound bit from Dumont negatives of singer Johnny Angel on the BIG BEAT SHOW (circa 1957). Secondseason host Richard Hays introduces these wonderful segments. The second show, THIS IS MUSIC, features music by Johnny Mercer. Outstanding tunes. THE MORNING SHOW with JACK PARR and COKE TIME WITH EDDIE FISHER-
Greenwich Village Party (Approx. 55 min.)
Of all the original negatives from the Dumont/5 collection, I am most impressed by ART FORD'S GREENWICH VILLAGE PARTY. With all of the glamorous women it has, I think it's got a PLAYBOY AFTER DARK aura. This portrays a Village crowd drinking wine and smoking cigarettes. (circa 1950s) Art introduces legendary piano composer Cy Coleman who joined the show every Friday. When Art mentions her work in FALLEN ANGELS, Nancy Walker discusses Noel Coward. Art then talks with another theater and film legend, Ben Hecht, who talks about his latest play, Winklebird. This tape also features Mamie Van Dorian and one time Paramount Picture president Don Hartman
Polka Party & This is Music (Approx. 55 min.)
DICK SINCLAIR'S POLKA PARTY: This weekly singing and dancing festival came from KTLA in Los Angeles during the 1950's, courtesy of Farmer John's Sausages. Numbers include "Billie," "Happy Time Polka," "Bye Bye Blackbird," "The Merry Widow Waltz," and the "Can Can Polka." Includes commercials for Farmer John's Sausages.THIS IS YOUR MUSIC: A SALUTE TO JOHNNY MERCER. An all-singing, all-dancing celebration of Johnny Mercer's work, featuring Byron Palmer and Joan Weldon. Presented as a rehearsal for a musical called "Words By Johnny Mercer," the beautifully staged and sung production numbers include "Jeepers Creepers," "Skylark," "Fools Rush In," "Dreams," "That Old Black Magic," and "G.I. Jive," several performed with Mercer present and accompanying the singers at the piano.
The Garry Moore Show -- Special Episode
This installment from the early '60s, featuring guest stars Allen & Rossi, Nancy Walker, and Nancy Dussault with regular Durwood Kirby, opens with a hysterical postal clerk song-and-dance.
TV AWARD SHOWS
The first "TV GUIDE AWARD SHOW OF 1960" is a campy look into the effect television's first full decade has had on a typical American community, acted and hosted by Robert Young (stepping in and out of his "Father Knows Best" character), Fred MacMurray, Joe Besser of the Three Stooges, and Nanette Fabray, directed by Bud Yorkin and written by Norman Lear.
Montage scenes include clips from the top shows of the era, and Chrysler commercials are also featured. Music is provided by David Rose and his Orchestra. Quality of the print is good, not great, but the show is historically important.
The Look magazine awards for the best TV shows of 1953, hosted by Paul Winchell. Meet up with Ed Sullivan and his production staff on Toast of the Town, Miss Francis of Ding Dong School. Jack Webb is presented with the best director award for his show Dragnet by legendary director George Stevens, and Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca receive the award for best comedy team, for their work on Your Show of Shows.
EASTER PARADE 1958 (approx 120 min)
One of the strangest television specials in history. The Easter Parade down New York's Fifth Avenue is a national institution, and in 1958 WABD (Channel 5) in New York planned two hours of live coverage of the parade. But it rained, and there was no parade, so the station had to fill time interviewing celebrities at a VIP lounge at the Gotham Hotel who were obviously completely unprepared for the cameras. The ensuing program is like a '50s gossip column come to life, as host Arthur Van Voren circulates among the likes of Eugenia Shepard (fashion columnist for the Herald Tribune), and a bunch of other journalist/celebrity types.
Flamenco guitarist Fernando Servent performs "Marucca," and the Gotham's chef shows how to make an orange soufflé. All of this is intercut with live shots of rain-drenched Fifth Avenue, and a host trying to make the empty streets seem interesting (and they are today, for the period cars and buses), and footage of sponsor Willoughby's (one of the country's top sporting good stores), with children's show host Fred Scott hawking the store.
The really weird moments occur when the cameras focus on someone utterly unprepared to speak, like musician Sammy Kaye, who is so rattled that he calls HOLIDAY INN (the movie that introduced the song "White Christmas") as a major flop, when it was actually one of Paramount's top grossing films. Jane Keane (THE HONEYMOONERS) and film star Wendy Barrie also appear, the latter sounding very bitter over her career. And Michael Flynn, a long-time driver on the Fifth Avenue bus line, who reminisces about his 45 years on the line. Where else could one get a live performance of David Rose conducting his most well-known piece, "Holiday for Strings"? And that's only some of what's on EASTER PARADE 1958, which has everything but the Easter Parade.
THE GEORGE GOBEL SHOW Vol. 1 (Approx. 55 min.)
From the gag-laden opening credits to the usually abrupt sign-off (sketches often ran long), this live comedy/variety program was one of the funniest and most intelligent series of its period. These two early shows include special guests Angela Lansbury (playing Gobel's wife, tied to a chair by their son) in a sketch) and boxer-turned-actor Buddy Baer (uncle of Max Baer Jr., of The Beverly Hillbillies), along with regulars Peggy King and orchestra leader John Scott Trotter. Peggy King sings "Mountain Greenery" and "Mambo In the Moonlight" in these two programs, and Buddy Baer gets to toss Gobel around as part of a sketch.
THE GEORGE GOBEL SHOW Vol. 2 (Approx. 55 min.)
Guests include screen actress Faye Emerson and monologist Julius Tannen, who plays a stuffy interior decorator who gets the best of Gobel in the opening sketch. Peggy King performs "Teach Me Tonight" and Faye Emerson does a sketch with Gobel. The second show features Gobel using a guitar as a prop for almost 10 minutes of comedy, as he starts to sing a song ("I Just Can't Ride Old Paint Tonight, Because He's Shellacked Again"). Peggy King performs "Somebody Loves Me" in a sketch, made up as a marionette and joined by a toy elephant.
THE JAMES MELTON SHOW (approx. 55 min)
James Melton was a genial, big-voiced Irish tenor with a big grin and an outgoing personality, and as a variety show host was sort of a quieter Jackie Gleason, with classier performers than the June Taylor Dancers surrounding him. His guests here, including actress Joan Bennett (who gets a plug in for her husband Walter Wanger), singer Dorothy Worenskjold, pianist Victor Borge, and comedy trio the Wiere Brothers. The whole program is built around a thematic salute to Paris, complete with dancers, sketches, a fashion show, and music performances, all of which appear layer-upon-layer on top of each other, with Victor Borge breaking up the salute with his comedic take on classical music.
OH KAY Vol. 1
Chicago TV personality Kay Westfall starred in this short-lived series set in her apartment and produced by the same people who were behind SUPER CIRCUS. Actually, OH KAY is a sort of distant antecedent to the MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, although the resemblance may be lost on anyone born much after 1955--both shows are about young, single career women and the rather eccentric men and women who people their lives.
OH KAY is a supposedly candid look at Kay Westfall's daily life and the unpredictable events that can unfold in her apartment, which include her witty pianist friend David LeWinter (always good for a show tune on Westfall's piano), her sometime love interest Jim Dimitri, and various musical guests, along with minor domestic crises such as the party that Kay is having trouble preparing for etc. Note: The cast of SUPER CIRCUS shows up, playing themselves, at her apartment in one of these two shows.
OH KAY Vol. 2
Kay Westfall and her guests David LeWinter and Jim Dimitri entertain guest Ennio Polonini, a concert cellist, who presents a piece by Albeniz and some pop tunes with cello backing. On the second show, singer Betty Chappell of the Dave Garroway Show does "I've Got a Crush On You."
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