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Producers' Showcase (TV Series 1954–1957) Poster

(1954–1957)

Trivia

This program premiered on 18 October 1954, two days before the Mary Martin "Peter Pan" made its debut on Broadway. Just five months later, "Producers' Showcase" telecast "Peter Pan" from the NBC Studios, with the entire original cast, and it became one of the most famous, highest-rated and critically acclaimed television programs ever done.
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Between December 1954 through March 1955, CBS Television negotiated to inaugurate a new "spectacular color television special" program and series to counter NBC Color Television's "Producers' Showcase"; NBC had inaugurated 18 October 1954, a dramatic color broadcast production of "Tonight at 8:30" electronically transmitted from NBC Television's New York City studio. Both NBC and CBS networks scheduled these 90 minute color specials once a month. During this time period, not all of NBC's television product was broadcast in color, becoming a full color network in the late 1950s. CBS approached Noël Coward about starring in three of these CBS Spectacular Specials for $600,000.00, scheduling Noël after his Las Vegas Desert Inn (3 June-4 July, 1955) cabaret concert appearance. Noël's first CBS commitment would coincide with the CBS inaugural new "Ford Star Jubilee" series. Noël Coward had also been approached by Chrysler and General Motors offering him more money to perform on television. Noël, hesitant, decided on the lesser fee since he was more comfortable with the CBS offer. CBS insisted that Noël's first television special be based upon his London Café de Paris and Las Vegas Desert Inn Hotel and Casino concert act material. Noël agreed proposing his close friend Mary Martin would appear in the 90 minute musical special with him. Mary was delighted with the proposition, agreeing to share the stage. After Las Vegas, Noël returned to Jamaica with Peter Matz arriving later, followed by Mary Martin and Richard Halliday, to develop, write, compose, arrange and orchestrate the concert act's material. The first "Ford Star Jubilee" special featured (#1.#1) "The Judy Garland Show" broadcast 24 September 1955 from CBS Television City, Studio 43, Hollywood, California. (#1.#2)"Together with Music" starring Noël Coward, Mary Martin and Peter Matz on the Steinway Concert Grand piano was broadcast the next month on 22 October 1955 from CBS New York City-Studio 72, Broadway and 81st Street. This color television program broadcast was the first color show transmitted for the CBS network. This telecast copied during the electronic transmission process in black and white kine-scope is the only example of Noël Coward performing his famous cabaret concert material on film.
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On 28 May 1956, the show aired a television adaptation of the Arlen/Harburg Broadway musical, "Bloomer Girl", starring Barbara Cook and Keith Andes. If a kinescope of this exists, it will add an important chapter to the history of Broadway, as no portion of the show except for this TV production was captured on film or tape.
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When José Ferrer was nominated for an Emmy for his performance as Cyrano de Bergerac, he became the first actor to be nominated for an Oscar, Tony and Emmy for playing the same character. He won a Tony for playing Cyrano on Broadway in 1946, and an Oscar for the 1950 film version.
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This series was telecast in color, but the surviving programs now exist only in black-and-white kinescope. It is not known yet how many of the programs have survived; archivists are still searching.
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