Historical Television Highlights
The EDSEL Show-October 13, 1957
Here is the oldest use of videotape for network television recording in existence. The Edsel Show was recorded as it was presented live on CBS on Sunday, October 13, 1957. A TV Guide® Close-Up is shown here from the Indianapolis edition showing it aired on WCIA, Channel 3-Champaign, WISH-TV, Channel 8-Indianapolis, WTHI-TV, Channel 10-Terre Haute and WANE-TV, Channel 15-Fort Wayne.
It is truly significant because the videotape was used to delay the broadcast for viewing in the Pacific and Mountain time zones the previously live broadcast which was broadcast live for Eastern and Central time zones. Bing Crosby was notoriously in favor of pre-recording his radio shows to fit into his schedule and was considered a financier and developer of the use of audio tape for the AMPEX company to be used for his radio broadcasts. He then by the mid-1950s was working with AMPEX to develop video tape recorders to bring a live broadcast look and feel to pre-recorded programming.
This is also significant for its sponsor, the Ford Motor Company which introduced one of the largest failures of an American automobile maker in history to that point. The Edsel was named for the son of Henry Ford and was meant to compete with the likes of General Motors Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick divisions. Unfortunately, it was introduced during a time of an economic recession which lowered the sales numbers of the entire automotive industry. Plus, the car developed a reputation for being less than reliable.
Enjoy this fine example of not only a TV special but a TV spectacular with three huge names in the music industry of the 1950s. Sinatra was enjoying a comeback of sorts after being on the skids in the early 1950s. He was now riding high after his Oscar and Golden Globe awards "From Here to Eternity" in 1953. He went on to star in several other popular films of the mid-1950s including "Young at Heart" with Doris Day, "Suddenly" with Sterling Hayden, "The Man With the Golden Arm" and "High Society" with Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly. "High Society" was one of the highest grossing movies of 1956, the year before this TV special. He also rejuvenated his recording career during the mid-1950s with a large number of recorded albums with the likes of Nelson Riddle and his orchestra.
Meanwhile, Bing Crosby was also very active in film, TV, and radio having hosted a long-running radio variety special and appearing in the "road" pictures with Bob Hope, who makes a cameo appearance in this special. He was also a broadcast owner purchasing KCOP-TV in Los Angeles in 1954. He also owned for a time, KPTV in Portland, Oregan.
Rosemary Clooney began with a hit record in the early 1950s called "Come On-a My House," "Botch-a-Me," and a number of others. She starred with Bing Crosby in the 1950s color version of "White Christmas." She was the mother of actor Miguel Ferrer, the sister of Nick Clooney and the aunt of actor George Clooney.
Bing Crosby died in 1977, Frank Sinatra in 1998 and Rosemary Clooney in 2002. The Edsel was removed from production in 1960.
The Steve Allen Show
Steve Allen was one of the 1950s and 60s favorite entertainers being in radio, television, but also a composer, musician, comedian, writer, and a movie actor.
He's best known for being the original host of "The Tonight Show" but also hosted his own show during the late 50s and early 60s. After that he emceed "I've Got a Secret" and "What's My Line" for CBS and wrote, produced and hosted the PBS show "Meeting of the Minds."
If you ever watched his show you would have known he was a pianist and composed many standards of the era including "This Could be the Start of Something Big." You probably wouldn't know he also wrote more than 50 books from novels to children's books.
He was born 1921 in New York but listed his hometown as Chicago. He died in 2000 and was active in show business for the last 60s years of his life.
Beginning in 1956, NBC would air "The Steve Allen Show" opposite "The Ed Sullivan Show" to try to chip at the ratings of a long time CBS popular variety show. His show contributed to the TV careers of Tom Poston, Bill Dana, Pat Harrington Jr., Don Knotts, and Gabe Dell. His guest starts included Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, and Elvis, along with other movie/TV personalities Kim Novak, Abbott and Costello.
What we show here are samples of "The Steve Allen Show" as it was sponsored by the Chrysler Corporation. To read more about Steve Allen go to Wikipedia here.
From January 1956, "The Tonight Show" starring Steve Allen from Miami, Florida. Guests include Andy Williams and Eydie Gorme with comedian George DeWitt. This would have been seen on WICS, WEEK, WGEM-TV and KSD-TV.
From December 1957 a complete installment of "The Steve Allen Show" complete with commercials. Guests include Errol Flynn, Martha Raye, and Don Adams. Check out Gene Rayburn("The Match Game") doing a commercial for GreyHound.
On February 9, 1958 "The Steve Allen Show" staged a spectacular tour of the new NBC Burbank, California studios with a single shot being made as Steve Allen, Eydie Gorme, Ann Southern and others join him and performed on the tour. The song they sang was Allen's "This Could be the Start of Something Big."
Check out where they were comparing the 1958 version with what the same space in the NBC Burbank studios looks like in 2013.
From 1960, a rare color videotape recording of "The Steve Allen Show" from November 16, 1959 with Jack Kerouac, Frankie Laine and William Bendix. Sorry about the timecode readout at the bottom of the screen and the missing credits. Even with the missing elements, this is an excellent recording worth watching.
Steve Allen hosted a number of primetime variety type series including "The Steve Allen Show" on CBS, Monday-Friday from 1950-51, then a Thursday evening series from July through September of 1952. These would not be seen in mid-Illinois as there were no local TV services.
The ones above were broadcast on NBC from 1956 to 1960 and were seen on NBC stations across mid-Illinois, WICS, WEEK-TV, and KSD-TV. The last season from September to December 1961 would air on ABC and the stations WTVP, WTVH, and KTVI.
In 1967 he would host an hour-long comedy series called "The Steve Allen Comedy Hour" for CBS. Supporting players included Ruth Buzzy, Louis Nye(from the original series), John Byner and his wife, Jayne Meadows. It would air on WCIA, WMBD-TV, KMOX-TV, and on WTHI-TV.
The "Steve Allen Comedy Hour" would return to television on NBC from October 1980 to January 1981 and included a very large group of supporting actors in various comedy bits. It was broadcast on WICS, WEEK-TV, WTWO-TV, and KSD-TV.
"The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable Shows 1946-present" by Tim Brooks and Darle Marsh
This 2-hour, 40-minute video is from a kinescope of a live CBS Special that was broadcast November 15, 1952 (before any local TV stations were on the air in mid-Illinois to actually watch it) on CBS. It features stars from its many TV shows which were broadcast either live or recorded on film at the facilities grand opening.
(Note: Audio might not play on some smaller devices)
On April 27, 2002, CBS celebrated the 50th year of CBS Television City with a variety show which included many who had worked and performed there over the years. The special was hosted by Carol Burnett.
This page also includes a video of the first commercial videotape used for broadcast television and the oldest surviving program on videotape. "The Edsel Show" produced in 1957 was broadcast live and recorded on videotape at CBS Television City.
In October of 2018, it was announced that CBS had made the decision to sell its iconic studio location in Los Angeles. By December of 2018, the announcement came that CBS had sold their home for $750-million dollars to an LA-based real estate developer Hackman Capital Partners.
This agreement means that Hackman Capital Partners will continue to use the name of "Television City" but CBS will continue to produce TV shows there at least in the foreseeable future.
The network purchased the property in 1950 located at Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard. The facility was built for $7-million dollars.
The American Bandstand "Scrapbook Gallery"
"American Bandstand" was one of ABC's longest running TV series and certainly the first musical series to feature rock an' roll as is only musical genre. It premiered on WFIL-TV in Philadelphia and was hosted by Bob Horn from 1952 to 1956, then Dick Clark. Soon after, in 1957, "Bandstand" became "American Bandstand" when it went national on ABC every afternoon Monday-Friday.
In August of 1963, it would cease being a weekday series, and would only be seen on Saturday afternoons. The following year it would be relocated to Los Angeles, I assume to fit the schedule and location for what would be Clark's growing empire in entertainment and production of TV series. He would also produce "Where the Action Is" and "It's Happening" for ABC in the mid-1960s.
From April 4, 1959 Edd Byrnes joins "American Bandstand" with his hit (with Connie Stevens) "Kookie, Kookie Lend Me Your Comb." Both were Warner Brothers contract actors and were stars of WB series on ABC. Byrnes with "77 Sunset Strip" and Stevens with "Hawaiian Eye."
Danny and the Juniors had the hit "The Hop" and this video begins with a shout-out to one of the TV stations featured on this website, KTVI, Channel 2 in St. Louis. See it here as it was broadcast in 1958 right after Channel 2 became a full fledge ABC affiliate. This was from the prime-time version of "American Bandstand" from 1957-58.
Here's a nearly complete installment of "American Bandstand" from August 2, 1969, as broadcast on ABC. It's missing the number one song of the week, having been blocked by YouTube for copyright issues. Once again, historic videos are being defaced by Copywrite issues by YouTube.
Dick Clark with the dancers in the bleachers introducing ABBA from 1975.
This is an entire episode of "American Bandstand" from October 16, 1982. In this edition it was a salute to Hall and Oates. This is really special as it includes ABC promos of the day and commercials as broadcast on ABC and WAAY in Huntsville, AL.
The 50th Anniversary of "American Bandstand" aired on ABC in 2002 and was the final one of the series. This is a short clip from the beginning of the show featuring the guest stars of the early 2000s.
The final American Bandstand edition from the original series was seen in 1987 ending its run on ABC. It was later seen in syndication for a season with Dick Clark, then with replacement hosts. Dick Clark died in 2012 after suffering a stroke in 2004. He did continue co-hosting the New Years Eve Specials on ABC until his death.
Children Panel Show/Cartoons Based
The first being the traditional "kids panel show" in which at least several children would be a part of the on-camera production. Most of these shows for the kids were modeled after "Howdy Doody" with a host that would be the adult "leader" talking and relating to the local kids on the show. The host would sometimes have a co-host which was usually there as comedy relief and to help keep the show rolling as the kids would participate in games and contests between the airing of local cartoons. Some times the theme of the show would coincide with the cartoons being shown. You'll see examples below
WCIA, Channel 3 late weekday afternoon kids shows included: "The Popeye Show," "Popeye's Circus," "Captain Eddy," and "Sheriff Sid."
WTVP, Channel 17 broadcast "Davey's Locker," "Space Angel," "Dick Tracy's Crimestoppers," and "Kartoon Kampus" as well as others. "Romper Room" the young children's show franchise is also included.
WICS, Channel 20 aired "Pegwill Circus," "Pegwill Pete," "Clickity Clack(or Clicka T. Clack," "The Funny Company," and "Kim's Kiddie Korner," and "Popeye and Kim."
WEEK, Channel 43/25, Peoria had the "Captain Jinks and Salty Sam Show."
WTVH, Channel 19, Peoria was the franchise holder for "Romper Room."
KTVI, Channel 2, St. Louis broadcast "Mr. Patches."
KMOX, Channel 4, St. Louis featured "Cooky and the Captain."
KSD-TV, Channel 5, St. Louis had "Corky the Clown."
KPLR, Channel 11, St. Louis broadcast " Captain 11's Showboat."
KACY, Channel 14, Festus(St. Louis) featured "Millie and Cricket."
Funny Company was a syndicated concept children's program which would be done locally with local hosts and kids participating. It aired on WICS with Clicka T. Clack as the host on WICS. Unfortunately, there are no videos of the local production seen on Channel 20. This is the opening titles used by WICS.
This is a segment from more recent days as WEEK's children's program "Captain Jinx and Salty Sam."
This goes back to February of 1953 with someone's home movies of their child's appearance on "Romper Room" from 1953. This took place at WBAL-TV in Baltimore, Maryland. I'm hoping that someone at WTVP(WAND), WTVH(WIRL, WRAU) have similar home movies of their child's appearance on "Romper Room" or any other locally produced children's show. If you have one and have it in a digital format, I would like to feature it here! Please contact me!
Here is "Cooky and the Captain" from KMOX-TV, Channel 4, St. Louis. It'unknown when this particular clip from videotape aired but it's definitely from the early 1960s.
LOCAL TELEVISION STATION
Teen age Dance Programs
Teenager Dance/Music Shows
The second type of children's show was for teenagers. It basically was top 40 radio on TV as teens danced to their favorite songs of the day.
They were all pretty much the same format, consisting of a male host who also was the disc jockey. He would interview the teens, perhaps include a "rate-a-record" type of review of newly released records and an occasional dance contest.
From the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, local TV stations would include a Saturday afternoon or sometimes a weeknight hour-long program dance program.
WCIA broadcast "The Hop" with John Coleman and later Ed Mason.
WTVP, Channel 17 broadcast "The Frank Monte Show" later "Marty's Dance Party."
WICS, Channel 20 aired "The Pepsi Dance Party."
WDAN-TV broadcast "Danville Bandstand."
Unfortunately, there's virtually no video that exists of any of the local dance shows, other than some kinescope segments from "The Hop" that was broadcast on WCIA. I don't have access to those, but I'll try.