This Bell Telephone Hour show is a salute to the music of Richard Rodgers and it was hosted by Ray Bolger, a performer for whom Richard Rodgers was key in his rise. Other guests included Howard Keel and Dolores Gray, each of whom did a medley of Rodgers songs. Keel in fact was in road company productions of Oklahoma and Carousel before he started his Hollywood career.
The highlight though is Bolger who got his first big break in 1936 doing On Your Toes. Unfortunately he didn't do any of his numbers from By Jupiter which was the last Rodgers&Hart collaboration which he also starred in on Broadway.
Bolger did not get to do the screen adaption when Warner Brothers purchased the property. It was a tepid film that starred Eddie Albert. The show is best known for integrating the ballet within the book of the musical. Prima Ballerina Vera Zorina co-starred with Bolger on Broadway.
The highlight of the show is the ballet Slaughter On Tenth Avenue. In the film Words and Music, Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen did their version of the number. I wish Bolger had done it in partnership with someone, maybe even Vera Zorina who was still dancing at the time. Still it was nice to see him perform the dance that was written for him. It might be the only filmed record of it.
For that reason, if you can find a tape of this Bell Telephone Hour show, catch it by all means.
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