IMDb > "The Nat King Cole Show" (1954)

"The Nat King Cole Show" (1954) More at IMDbPro »TV series 1954-

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Release Date:
5 November 1956 (USA) See more »
The popular singer hosts a muscial variety show.
User Reviews:
Elegant simplicity See more (4 total) »


 (Series Cast Summary - 2 of 14)

Nat 'King' Cole ... Himself - Host (47 episodes, 1956-1957)
Nelson Riddle ... Orchestra Leader / ... (22 episodes, 1956-1957)

Series Directed by
Bob Henry (8 episodes, 1957)

Jim Johnson (unknown episodes)
Series Writing credits
Bob Henry (4 episodes, 1957)

Jim Johnson (unknown episodes)

Series Produced by
Bob Henry .... producer (8 episodes, 1957)
Carlos Gastel .... executive producer (2 episodes, 1957)
Series Art Direction by
Sid Rushakoff (1 episode, 1957)
Series Production Management
Charles Baldour .... unit manager (1 episode, 1957)
Series Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Robert Gilmore .... associate director (1 episode, 1957)
Series Sound Department
Raoul Murphy .... audio (1 episode, 1957)
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Paul Bender .... video (1 episode, 1957)
Jim Kilgore .... lighting (1 episode, 1957)
Series Music Department
Nelson Riddle .... orchestra director / musical director (3 episodes, 1957)

Gordon Jenkins .... conductor (unknown episodes)
Series Other crew
Marie Bryant .... choreographer (1 episode, 1957)
Clair McCoy .... technical director (1 episode, 1957)

Gordon Jenkins .... band leader (unknown episodes)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

15 min | USA:30 min (1957)
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The show originally aired without a sponsor, but NBC agreed to pay for initial production costs; it was assumed that once the show actually aired and advertisers were able to see its sophistication, a national sponsor would emerge. None did; many national companies did not want to upset their customers in the South, who did not want to see a black man on TV shown in anything other than a subservient position. Although NBC agreed to continue footing the bill for the show until a sponsor could be found, star Nat 'King' Cole pulled the plug on it himself in its second season. In the 1956 season, the show had a 15-minute running time. It was expanded to a 30-minute segment in 1957. Said Cole of the doomed series, "Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark."See more »
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Elegant simplicity, 17 September 2005
Author: mpaulshore from Arlington, Virginia

I saw some episodes of this show about fifteen years ago on Washington, D.C.'s channel 32, the Howard University channel, and I was enthralled. My liking for the show stemmed not just from the quality of the music and of the performances, both Nat King Cole's and his guests', but from the warmth and charisma exuded by Nat King Cole in his hosting role, and from the elegant simplicity of the presentation. There was a minimum of showbiz flash: rather, what you had was a gracious host, a simple set, and good music. Each episode felt, in a way, more like a nearly-no-frills concert in an intimate setting than like television musical presentation of the kind we've become accustomed to. It was a cliché of the era to say that television brought entertainment "into your living room"; but this show, with its feeling of intimacy and relaxed understatement, achieves that goal perhaps more than any other television show I've seen.

Of course, much of the elegant simplicity I'm praising here was probably the unavoidable result of budgetary limitations. Virtually all fifties television was low-budget by today's standards; and while I've never seen any other fifties musical variety shows to compare it with (my familiarity with musical variety shows begins with the mid sixties), it's possible that The Nat King Cole Show was lower-budget than most. So personally I'd consider this show to be an example of how limitations can work to the artistic advantage of the creators of a production by leaving them no choice but to concentrate all their attentions and energies on the essentials; although perhaps the average showbiz-flash-craving viewer of then, or of now, wouldn't agree. Television musical presentation of this kind may be destined to always be a rarity; but fortunately the kinescopes of this show have survived for our enjoyment, and to help record the artistry of one of the twentieth century's greatest popular-music performers.

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