Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour (1948–1970)

TV Series  |  TV-G  |  Comedy, Family, Music
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A direct descendant of radio's "Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour" (1934-1946), hosted by Major Edward Bowes until his death. After a one-year hiatus, Ted Mack, who had directed Bowes' ... See full summary »

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Title: Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour (1948–1970)

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Series cast summary:
Ted Mack ...
 Himself - Host (5 episodes, 1949-1968)


A direct descendant of radio's "Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour" (1934-1946), hosted by Major Edward Bowes until his death. After a one-year hiatus, Ted Mack, who had directed Bowes' auditions, revived the show (which lasted into 1952) and brought the concept to the DuMont Television Network. The at-home audience voted by postcard for the favorite, winning performer(s) each week. Written by Hup234!

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1970s | 1960s | 1950s | 1940s | variety | See All (8) »


Comedy | Family | Music






Release Date:

18 January 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


(1948-1956 and 1957-1966)| (1956 and 1966-1970)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Acrobat, Coach Russell Nesbit (born Charles James Russell Nesbit) performed on this TV show. Mr. Nesbit was the leader of the Flying Nesbits acrobatic troupe in the 1950s. See more »


Himself - Host: [Recurring phrase] Round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows."
See more »


Referenced in Timecode (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

This was a show that nourished showbiz dreams.......
31 December 2005 | by (Chapel Hill,North Carolina) – See all my reviews

Long before TV's American Idol became a mega-hit,there was one radio and television series that started the talent competition craze. It was called "The Original Amateur Hour". On television the host was Ted Mack. On radio it was Major Edwward Bowes and on cable it was Willard Scott. Almost 50 major stars of movies,records,stage,screen,and television got their start on this series. This was a show that made the "gong" famous(long before Chuck Barris)as well as "the wheel of fortune" and the phrase: "round and round she goes,and where she stops nobody knows." From there,the contestants would show off there talents in between the commercials. Yes,it was a simpler time,indeed. The Amateur Hour made the transition from radio to television in 1948,joining the Dumont Network,then went from NBC to ABC and finally over to CBS. The series was shown on all three major television networks where it ran until 1970,where it was last shown as part of CBS' Sunday afternoon lineup of special shows,in its final season after 22 years from 1948 until 1970.

Like "American Idol",the "Amateur Hour" was a phenomenon among the highest-rated shows on radio and then on television. In 1992,a new version of the series was revived on cable and was hosted by Willard Scott of "The Today Show",where it lasted one season. Like "American Idol,"the public chose the winners,calling operators on duty or sending postcards. Three-time winners won cash scholarships or other prizes. Unlike "American Idol",or another show on the same level,"Star Search", "Amateur Hour" was short on glitz. Contestants performed on a simple stage and exchanged scripted pleasantries with Bowes(who hosted the show on radio)and his successor Mack(who hosted the show on television). No fireworks,no bombastic sound or lighting effects. Ted Mack was forever introducing one-man bands,impressionists,bottle players,bird callers and other acts that were considered entertainment value at the time.

Some of these first-time of struggling amateurs who got their start on "The Original Amateur Hour" are a who's who of great American artists of the 20th Century. These artists included Frank Sinatra, Gladys Knight, Nick Carter, Pat Boone, Connie Francis, Jim Stafford, Ann-Margret, Robert Klein, Raul Julia, Maria Callas, Beverly Sills, Joey Dee And The Starlighters,The Primettes,with a teenage looking Diana Ross,long before she was ever discovered by Motown,and Penny Marshall in a tap-dancing number. There were others too including Robert Merrill,and also a young man by the name of Louis Wolcott,who came to be better known as Louis Farrakhan,minister of the Nation of Islam. By the way,Farrakhan,it should be noted can really play the violin. There was others as well of these great stars that appeared on the show when they were still virtually unknowns. This was a show that became the forefront of the talent competitions shows that were to come. This was a show that nourished those showbiz dreams and went on to become something even bigger beyond belief-long before "American Idol" came to view.

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