The George Jessel Show
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The George Jessel Show

The George Jessel Show is a 30-minute television variety program that was broadcast live from New York.[1] It aired on ABC from September 13, 1953 to April 11, 1954.[2]

Overview

After having worked as one of several rotating hosts of Four Star Revue on NBC television during the 1952-1953 U.S. television season, comedian George Jessel gained his own program in 1954. The show used a celebrity roast format, with Jessel drawing on his self-proclaimed "Toastmaster General of the United States" status to give provide a humorous treatment of each week's guest.[3] Guests of honor included Margaret O'Brien,[1]Sophie Tucker and Mitzi Gaynor.[4]

The show's sponsors included Ekco Products Company, B.B. Pen Company, and Gemex Watch Band Company.[5]

Cast and crew

The program also featured Hal Sawyer. Manny Manheim was the producer.[2] Jessel and Sam Carlton were the writers.[1]

Production

Although the program was purported to be live and extemporaneous, it was actually scripted and rehearsed. Writers provided material to supplement Jessel's remarks.[3]

Legal issue

In January 1955, the B.B. Pen Company, Inc. sued ABC-Paramount Theaters, Inc., charging breach of contract and fraud with regard to the company's sponsorship of the Jessel program. The suit alleged that some local stations pre-empted the program, diminishing the reach of the pen company's advertising. The $1.5 million suit was filed in Los Angeles Federal Court.[6]

Reception

A review in the November 30, 1953, issue of the trade publication Broadcasting panned The George Jessel Show, calling it "As sad a variety program as has passed before the discerning eye of a tv [sic] camera ..."[7] The reviewer held Jessel himself responsible for "this shabby excuse for entertainment."[7] After complimenting the quality of guest performers and production personnel, the reviewer noted "half-hearted applause at the end of the Jessel show" as an indication of the audience's feelings.[7]

References

  1. ^ a b c Books, Tim; Marsh, Earle (1979). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows : 1946 - Present. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 224. ISBN 0-345-25525-9.
  2. ^ a b McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television (4th ed.). New York, New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc. p. 322. ISBN 0-14-02-4916-8.
  3. ^ a b Hyatt, Wesley (2003). Short-Lived Television Series, 1948-1978: Thirty Years of More Than 1,000 Flops. McFarland. pp. 50-51. ISBN 9781476605159. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ "The George Jessel Show". TV Guide. Archived from the original on 5 January 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ "Ekco Products Buys 4 ABC TV Stanzas". Billboard. September 26, 1953. p. 3. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ "B.B. Pen Suit Seeks $1.5 Mil From ABC-Para" (PDF). Billboard. January 29, 1955. p. 5.
  7. ^ a b c "The George Jessel Show" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 30, 1953. p. 16. Retrieved 2018.

External links


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