Tuesday, July 7, 2009
A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY FOR 50 YEARS- RARE CLIPS OF CBS ON THE AIR ANNIVERSARY EVENT - CIRCA 1978
In early 1978, CBS television and radio marked an extraordinary milepost in American media,it's 50th anniversary of continuous broadcasting.
To celebrate , Tiffany Network programmers commissioned an All-Star, anniversary event that featured dozens of the CBS stars from past and present television shows. It aired as seven nights worth of elegant, glossy, musical-comedy specials , and featured rare archival components.
The anniversary event was called CBS ON THE AIR: A CELEBRATION OF 50 YEARS
Every major CBS luminary from Mary Tyler Moore to Alan Alda ,Lucille Ball to Lassie, and George Burns to Walter Cronkite were center stage. Only Jackie Gleason, one of CBS-TV's first major attractions, refused to appear. Some published accounts indicate that he wanted to host the event and wanted a larger fee than CBS patriarch Bill Paley was willing to pay.
As important milestones were observed for competing networks ,ABC and NBC , other world class, star studded, revues would be produced. But CBS ON THE AIR: A CELEBRATION OF 50 YEARS was unique in premise, grand in scale and impressive in scope.
It was a crystalline reflection of William Paley's urbane manner and sophisticated vision for the network he launched and shepherded half a century earlier.Produced at the sprawling,Television City in Hollywood, by video impresario Alexander H. Cohen and variety show veteran, Lee Miller, written by Radio legend Norman Corwin and long-time, Tony Awards scribe, Hildy Parks, the mini-series was directed by Clark Jones.
The impressive production was framed with a Broadway-style score written by the likes of Jerry Herman,Julie Styne and Sammy Cahn.The main theme for CBS's anniversary was the work of the legendary Leonard Bernstein.
Below are the clips which offer a prism into the high-gloss, high-budget event.First is the series open with a parade of stars.Enjoy!!!!!
Next is the open to the Monday night episode, focusing on Comedy, over the years.Enjoy!!!!!
Finally, here is the closing credit sequence, with an impressive "money shot" for the last image of the series.Enjoy!!!!!