Saturday, July 24, 2010
JUST OVER THE RAINBOW : THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE WITH JUDY GARLAND - ABC-TV- CIRCA MAY 7, 1966
FROM HOLLYWOOD!!! THE HEART OF THE ENTERTAINMENT WORLD!!! THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE!!!!
That emphatic greeting, voiced first by announcer Dick Tufeld and , later, by the legendary Ernie Anderson, heralded the biggest and most successful , weekly variety show that ABC-TV ever mounted: THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE.
Like so many things in network television, it was born of desperate need.
In the Fall of 1963, ABC-TV signed comic icon Jerry Lewis , fresh from incredible success guest hosting on NBC-TV's TONIGHT SHOW. He was hired to star in a LIVE, 2 hour, Saturday night variety show, telecast in B&W from the refurbished Hollywood Playhouse Theater in Los Angeles. THE JERRY LEWIS SHOW was one of the most anticipated offerings of the 1963-64 television season.The program was kinetic in pace and lavish in production. It was almost instantly rejected by the audience and was cancelled after three months.
So,if you are, as ABC-TV was in late 1963, America's third placed television network,left with a gaping hole in Saturday prime time and a multi-million dollar investment in a vacant theater, what do you do?
You'd fill one of those open hours, and your renovated stage space, with a weekly variety show, designed to showcase the greatest and most eclectic array of talent in show business, hosted by a globally recognized superstar, each week.
That's just what ABC-TV opted to do, creating THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE.From January 4, 1964, until the curtain came down on February 7, 1970, producers Bill Harbach and Nick Vanoff delivered a polished, wholesome, engaging, video-variety series with a kaleidoscopic array of performing talent and a glittering assemblage of guest hosts.
The Harbach/Vanoff team, which had worked with the innovative, inventive Steve Allen, decided to showcase unique talent in a traditional vaudeville format, They would amass rock & roll groups, opera singers , aerialists (often videotaped in the parking lot), stand-up comedians, comic sketches, and impressive production numbers, and sometimes, did it in a single episode.
The weekly guest host set the tone for the show.
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby , Elizabeth Montgomery and Fred Astaire were among those who made appearances as performer/hosts. The Rolling Stones made their American TV debut on the show, as did a young Raquel Welch, who served as a"billboard girl" on the show. The show helped to solidify Saturday-night viewing for ABC-TV, along with THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW and THE KING FAMILY.
Judy Garland hosted hosted THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE in 1965 and,again, in 1966. Much has been written about her being a tortured soul with a superlative talent. Her second and final hosting stint was on May 7, 1966 with guest stars including her former MGM colleague Van Johnson, comedian Jack Carter and rocker Johnny Rivers singing his hit theme to CBS-TV's SECRET AGENT.
This appearance was about two years after her vaunted, Emmy-nominated, Sunday night, CBS-TV, variety series was cancelled, after one season opposite NBC-TV's ratings powerhouse, BONANZA. It has been reported that she was humiliated by the cancellation. This show was one of many television appearances that helped her regain her place in the pantheon of show business and popular culture.
Here from the DENTEL2 YOU TUBE site are four clips that comprise her 1966 episode of THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE and a fifth clip with rehearsal footage. Enjoy!!!!!